Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Ebenezer

His Proposal was filled to overflowing with the Word of God. I could not have sat for 2 days just listening to women's personal anecdotes and words of wisdom. That was what I was afraid I was going to get. But I got Jesus. The Word. And He is life giving. And refreshing. I was overcome with the Bible. Totally captivated.

Confession time. I am not a morning person. I am a snooze pusher. I don't like the process of having to wake up or open my eyes or come out from under the covers or crawl out of bed. It's torture. But I have wanted to get up earlier. It has not been happening. Last week the Lord woke me up day after day literally one minute before my alarm was to go off. And day after day I ignored Him and rolled over starting my snooze routine. The Spirit started to convict me big time!

Then last weekend happened, and it has been so much easier to get up. I was hungry to get in the Word. I've never been one to write in my Bible or any book really, but I got this Notetaker's Bible and have been writing all over the place. I am doing a Bible reading plan to read through the entire Bible this year, and I am playing an audio version of the Bible to help me focus while I read and digest. I couldn't be more excited about God's Word. My first morning I gave myself 20 minutes, and 35 minutes passed before I even checked the time! I thought it had been maybe 10 minutes! I have been so thankful for a few snow days this week where I have been able to spend lots of time in the Word. I know every day won't be this way. I'm the least busy I'll be in my whole life and I want to take advantage of that. Goodness knows, I'm not writing these things to brag on myself, but to brag on God. He is giving me, a girl who is not a morning person, the grace to get up and get wrapped up in Him. And you can too!

Pray that the Lord gives you a hunger for the Word. He will.

Friday night Jennie gave away some prizes. I was the first to spout out an answer to her question (fitting for me the word was creation), and she gave me a pink sparkly Bible with a designable cover. I was so happy. It was silly, but it felt significant. I was already committing in my heart to be more in the Word, and then came that. Out of nowhere the Lord whispered in my heart that this was my Ebenezer. A funny word to receive at the time. But it felt fitting. I later looked up what that was in Scripture.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

Thus far the Lord has helped me. That was His reminder to me the whole weekend which I wrote about a few days ago. That pink sparkly Bible was the sign to remind me of what He has done and what He taught me that weekend. It is a sign to remind me of God's love for me and to remember the importance of being in God's Word.

What kind of Ebenezers do you have set up in your life and what do you need to remember today? Honor Him by remembering.

Friday, January 31, 2014


As I said before, I spent last weekend at a women's conference in Florence called His Proposal. It was a wonderful renewing weekend for me, and I'm so glad I went. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear what was spoken. One of the first things that reached its way down into my heart and set the tone for the rest of the weekend (I want to say it was Jennie who said it) was the story of Moses, after he had seen God on Mt. Sinai. When he came back down the mountain, his face was shining.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.
Exodus 34:29 

She said there is no one as beautiful as one who has been with God. And I knew that I wanted that kind of beauty to be seen in me. I could strive to attain beauty by the world's standard. Or I could just be with Jesus, and He would make me beautiful. A hunger for more of the word of God and time with Him began to grow in me.

You see, when I was a senior in high school my youth pastor at the time, stopped and made a comment to me that I will never forget. He talked about how some guy was going to be lucky someday to have me and he would need to know that "there are some days that you just shine." And I knew it too. It was like the beauty of the Lord in me was at last confirmed by someone outside of me.

Since then I have always known that I wanted a man to see me shine, to recognize the beauty of the Lord in me, to see me as He sees me. A couple of months ago I was really thinking about how I wished to be seen me that way, and then our women's Bible study wrote encouragement notes to each other. Half the ladies wrote something about me shining or glowing or being radiant. It was like they knew! God did! I was beaming just reading their sweet notes. I am seen and known!

That statement that Jennie made was like handing me a key. So the more I am with the Lord, the more beautiful I will become? Yes! I desire that beauty! More on the Word tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jehovah Jireh

"But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You.
For You, Lord, bless the righteous one; You surround him with favor like a shield." -Psalm 5:11-12
From Pinterest (origins unknown)
I'm sitting here while a blanket of snow is falling quietly outside, thinking about what The Lord has done and is doing in my life. This past weekend I was at a weekend conference for young women at a church in town. I almost didn't go. Why would I give up my weekend to sit with a bunch of women and hear a bunch of things I probably already knew? Somehow The Lord would not let me say no, even though most of my friends were not going. So I said yes. And I am so glad I did. Today, I'm not going to write about my experience at the conference, though I'm sure I will soon. Today I am prompted to write some of what God has brought to my mind as a result of the conference.

As I wrote at the end of 2013, a lot has happened in the year and a half that I wasn't writing. While I felt no need to recount it all at the time, I was sorely mistaken. God wants us to remember what He has done for us, and I don't want to rob Him of the glory for what He has done in my life. I want to boast about Him. To brag on The Lord for a bit.

I have to be reminded about the Lord's provision a shameful number of times. At the times I am waiting for the Lord to provide, He has to remind me of the divine ways He has provided for me in the past, to keep me from whining about the present (impatient much?) and to continue in hope and dependence towards the future. He has provided oh so clearly and beautifully my whole life, the fact that I still doubt is ridiculous.

One thing that I will say that I gained from the His Proposal conference last weekend was a renewal of hope and of my dependence on Him. I have in some ways prided myself on not speaking on this topic, but while I don't want to dwell here, the label on this season of my life is "single." Now I can fill my life with all kinds of wonderful things and people. I am good at that. No one can accuse me of not having a full life. But at the end of the day there is still this slight ache and a feeling of missing something. I'm not going to open a can of worms here, but what I heard from the ladies at His Proposal and these reminders the Lord gave me leave me confident that my Lord is a God who provides, Jehovah Jireh. 

So let me share about this past year and a half...
I moved back to my small hometown of Florence, SC basically in August of 2012 to look for a job. I had no intentions whatsoever of staying here after years in Atlanta and West Palm Beach. While I knew I needed to start my career, my heart is not to be a career driven woman. More than anything I want to start a family, and Florence is not exactly crawling with young, Jesus-loving men. In fact, church was another issue. I had learned so much about the Lord in my time away that I could not imagine going back to my home church. It did not fit me anymore and was an invitation to complacency. But almost all of the churches here are dead, dying, or well not for me. So I just knew that a larger, younger, bustling city would be the right move for me. Only I had to find a job.

It's not easy to find a job these days, and my profession makes it even more difficult. I had a job offer in Florence within a month of being home. But I had barely begun to look elsewhere so I turned it down. Trying ever so hard to leave this town.

Enter Rachael. Within my first couple of months home 2 people had told me about this girl who had also just graduated with a counseling degree and was looking for a job. They thought we would be great friends. Spurred on by the Lord I made a call and then another one, which led to an awkward voice mail message, which led to instant friendship. It was all God. She was my first new Florence friend, and the true beginning of a brand new life here in Florence. I was so grateful.

After Rachael and I's first lunch together, we had both wanted to find a church to get involved in and were both excited to go looking together. For two months we searched, not excited about anywhere. Then, it's as if a church appeared out of no where. A tiny church had opened on the other side of town, pastored by a man I knew and thought highly of when I was in high school. I knew the first Sunday that was it. I didn't know a soul, but I threw my whole self in.

Some of you have read my exhausting stories of my previous church failures and successes in Atlanta. Be prepared to have your mind blown...In less than 1 month I knew more people at that church than I did at both Atlanta churches in those 3 years. I'm not talking about people I met once and then forgot. There were probably a hundred of those. But this was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. God. All glory to God.

Then I got involved in the youth a month and a half after starting at that church. And met my second new Florence friend. Our hearts beat as one for the teenage girls at our church, and we were together almost nonstop.

All the while I was fighting my hardest to spread my wings and fly far far away. It doesn't sound like I was, but the Lord had clearly told me that my life was not on hold while I waited for a job. I didn't get a "Get out of church free" card or a "Get out of serving" card or a "Spend all your time on self" card. Many jobs waved hello and quickly goodbye to me, and I rode on an emotional roller coaster for months upon months. But I wasn't allowed to get off even when I wanted to, because I was single and must have a job.

It wasn't until March that I finally surrendered. It was when I realized that I was just as scared of leaving Florence as I was of staying in Florence that I decided to go back to my first job offer and beg them to consider me again. It was not an immediate yes and there were concerns that I would not be able to have insurance. I showed up for what I thought was an interview or to discuss what they could offer me (expecting less than before). I showed up and they just started talking about when I would start and logistics. They offered me more money than they had previously and insurance was covered. It was a dream. Seriously, it was more than I ever could have possibly asked for in a first job, and I get to work within my specialization. It was God.

All that remained for the start of a brand new life here was to be out of my parents' house. My youth leader friend started inviting me over to this girl's house every Monday for a dinner get together. There were four of us and we really enjoyed each other. The girl was looking for a roommate and after six weeks of getting to know each other we decided to be roomies! I was terrified the moment I said I would move in, because I had just started my new job, I didn't have to pay rent at home, and home was comfortable. But again. I just knew somehow that it was right and worth taking the risk. God knit it all perfectly together.

Honestly, I put a lot of effort into a lot of things the last year and and half. None of my striving is what brought me my whole new Florence life. I did things. Yeah. But I cannot deny that God orchestrated all of this. It has been exactly what I needed. Every single time.

So here's to Jehovah Jireh. My provider. Your grace is sufficient for me.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dance Walking

As I was talking with some friends over lunch the other day, the topic of dance walking came up. In light of my recent post I have decided to share the wonder that is dance walking...
You are welcome.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Just Dance

A couple of weeks ago I woke up with a revelation that I had let my life become boring. 

I had become so practical and hard working and serious and tired and sad and blah, blah, blah. I'm not that girl! I want to be a classy and respectable woman, but that does not have to mean stuffy and unbearably serious. I was taking an image a little too far. Part of it was due to the fact that I am a young girl trying to be taken seriously as a counselor. But I don't want to become boring based on a possibility that someone might question my qualifications. I want to be me and at that, the best me. So what's a girl to do when she wants to reclaim an exciting life, a front row life? Dance!

I went to town! Crazy, fun town! I decided I want to start and end everyday letting loose and dancing my heart out. Laughing at myself. Enjoying my self. Not taking life too seriously. And everywhere I looked there was something about dance. I have been feeling the benefits of it. I smile more, stress less, am more relaxed, and overall feel like I am breathing more life back into myself.

It's funny, because just a couple of months ago I wrote out this little prayer (below). I believe the Holy Spirit lives in me. And I want to be someone He can be active in. I want to hear his voice and respond. I want my life to be filled with God adventures. Because those are the best kind of adventures. And part of that is freeing myself to be the person God made me to be. My heart is a dancing heart. As long as I've been a Christian, dancing has been an act of worship for me. I love it. When I was younger I got to share some of that with my church through interpretive dance. People would always comment that they could see that I was truly worshiping. And I always found it funny, because I never got up there for a performance. 

A couple of years ago I went to a prayer night at my church and there were some artists praying and painting prophetic art pieces for those who were being prayed for. This was the painting that a lady painted for me. When she gave it to me she said the Lord had given her a picture of a dancer that was like a butterfly. She spoke about the connection between dancing and freedom in my life. So that 's what I equate dancing to. Freedom.

Heaven will be an eternity of worship. And we will be perfect and completely free. I cannot wait to dance for Him. Seriously. I just know that all of the songs I've choreographed in my head will come to life before my Creator. Such joy.

I've never had a dance class. I take that back. There was a season of tap dance in first grade. I might have stuck with it, if it weren't for the hideous yellow and black recital ensemble I was forced to wear. I've also dealt with more than my share of social anxiety and ran from too many social opportunities to dance  for me to count. The moments I remember that I just cut loose and danced are precious treasures that have pushed me to loosen up and propelled me onto the dance floor as life has gone on.

I could talk a lot on this topic, but my point is this. Don't let your life be boring. Maybe it's not dancing. Maybe it's something else. But do it. Today. And don't have a boring relationship with God. He isn't boring, and He invites you to have an exciting walk with Him!

Photo credits: Photo 1, Photo 2(unknown), Photo3, Photo 4, Photo 5(unknown), Photo 6 & 7 (mine)