Saturday, July 14, 2018

A New Move that makes a Different Outlook...

Sometimes God has this way of completely dropping you in a place that you never even knew you needed.  Actually that has happened a lot of times in my life.  I've found myself always surrounded by people that I didn't even know I was missing from my life, till I met them.  This move is no different.  Although it is only 30 minutes from where I grew up, I am finding that it is far enough away that I have to get used to the culture here, but I am still in this place of familiarity. 

Let me tell you how God is working.  First of all I knew that I was going to need a different place to live.  My living situation this past year was challenging due to different personalities that never should have been living in the same apartment, and me really just not feeling comfortable having strangers in and out of my living space all of the time.  So, I started thinking and looking for a roommate.  That was when my good friend told me about someone that was moving and needed a roommate.  I was nervous and was not sure if it was even worth looking into.  Then I found out that she found a place in Jeff City.

So.....  I said yes, and decided I would just commute to and from CoMo. 

Then I found a job to apply for within CC. 

And I got it! 

So, now I think about how God continues to work  and move.  I think about how He puts people in my path.  I think about the reasons that He might want me in Jeff City. 

As I continue on this journey of the single life, I realize that my life moves don't have to revolve on finding "someone."  Because in all reality we are made for community, it just looks differently for different people.  For me I am done letting my life moves be made based on where I might find someone. 

Instead I believe with my whole heart that there are people that I need to meet in JC that I wouldn't have been able to meet if I had stayed in CoMo.  Our life is meant to be lived with love. 

So... as I journey along..... I realize that this truly is my best life, because it is the life that gives me a chance to love His people. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Not being offended....

This week I did a study through my Bible App that was about being unoffendable.  Wouldn't you know that it seemed like there was something that happened everyday this week that I had the opportunity to get offended or not.  I wish I could say that I succeeded most of the week!  But I didn't! 

I will say that today something happened that I really am having to work through.  Do you ever have something happen, or in this case it didn't happen and it makes you question your worth and value to others?  It makes you wonder if you even matter at all. 

That's where I am at today.  I'm in this place of wondering if I even really make a difference to those around me.  Even as I type this I feel the tears welling up in my eyes.  I know that people care about me.  But isn't it so easy for us to just dismiss people out of our lives?  I feel like I miss people a lot more than they miss me.  Maybe that is just my personality.  Maybe I just have a sensitive heart, and I am always going to be the one that hurts more when people step out of my life.  Or maybe I just express my affection more.  I am not sure... but I sure do know that I never want other people to question their worth the way I am questioning mine.  I never want to be the person that makes others feel like they don't matter. 

So, I am going to take this as a lesson.  I am not going to be offended, but I am going to be a little hurt.  I can get over the hurt though.  I am going to use the hurt to engage in helping others.  I am going to continue to go out of my way to make sure that other people know that they are loved, valued, and that they are important in my life.  Not just when I see them everyday, but they are important because they impact me.  They are important because they are a part of my journey. 

Now I know that not everyone is meant to be in your life for all seasons.  I get that.  I know that sometimes you have to let people go.  Some people are only meant to walk with you for a little while.  But I think that even if people are only meant to walk with us for a little while, we still have the responsibility to tell them that they are valued by us.  We need to be building each other up.  Making sure people know what they mean to us.  Inviting them in, even if maybe they aren't our best friend.  Taking the time to listen to their hearts.  Taking the time to ask ourselves how we can be there for others.  It doesn't take a lot to lend an ear to someone, or invite them along on an outing. 

I am going to try my best in the coming weeks to be less offended by others, and show more love, invite people places more, and include everyone even those that I don't necessarily connect with immediately. 

We are all just doing our best, so let's make sure that our best is loving those around us, and letting them know what they mean to us.  Because everyday matters in making memories, and knowing you are loved. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Year of No Spending.... Life changes take 2

My original post was going to actually be on this topic, then I ended up writing about immigration, and I didn't feel like those two things belonged together. 

I am getting ready to move, and I feel like there has been a common theme surrounding this move.  The theme is "GET RID  OF THE CRAP!" 

I could be considered a hoarder in some areas of my life for sure. I am definitely an impulsive buyer.  I will spend money on something and then it will sit for days, weeks, months, or even years.  In fact some things that I have bought I have just never even used or opened.  Or I will buy something like paintbrushes, and then put them somewhere safe, only to need them again and I can't find them.  Then I will buy more because they are only $5.00!  Ha! 

So, about a month or so ago, my friend told me about a book I should read... maybe you have heard of it...

Cait Flanders is the author. I actually have a couple more on my list to read as well before I embark on this journey.  But I am going to embark on this journey. 

A year of no spending. 

I haven't decided on all the rules I am going to abide by, but I have decided I am going to do it.  Mostly because I just have too much crap.  I had to have a storage unit this past year, with stuff in it, that I didn't even look twice at for a year. Now.... if I haven't used it in a year... do I really need it? 

Even the keepsakes, I am just becoming less and less attached to.  Like do I really need to keep all the scrapbooks that I made for my junior high/high school/college days?  Sure they are fun to get out every once in awhile, but I mean come on....  who is going to want to keep those when I leave this earth?  Probably no one! 

So...I am getting prepared for this year of no spending.  It doesn't mean that I am not going to go out, it doesn't mean that I am not going to spend any money at all.  It just means that I am going to say good-bye to the things that I spend money on that I don't actually need.  Like craft supplies, and Starbucks.  Things that I could make myself for a whole lot cheaper. 

I don't want to have to have a storage unit to store my stuff.  I want to be able to pack it all up if I need to and go.  Why do I need boxes and boxes of stuff?  What's the point? 

So.... the first step is getting rid of a bunch of stuff.  The next step is not buying stuff that I don't need.  The third step is investing in travel, paying off bills, and people instead of stuff. 

Check back for updates on my journey! 

I am excited!  I don't have an official launch date, but it is coming! 

Life Changes.... where do I stand?

I've tried to be kind of quiet on FB these days, just because I feel like I am constantly bombarded with things that make my skin crawl, and turn my stomach inside out.  There are some pretty big changes about to happen in my life this next month. I am switching to the Jeff City  location, and moving in to a new apartment in Jeff City.  A couple months ago I felt like God was making some big changes in my life, but I didn't know exactly what those were going to be and where it would take me.  I was prepared to move across the ocean.  I was prepared to step way outside of my comfort zone, but turns out that He wants me here for awhile.  I had also been feeling like He was changing my church location.  I didn't know where  He was going to move me to, but I felt it, and I kept pushing back against it. 

Until I had the realization that maybe my journey needs to be somewhere else.  It isn't anything against where I am currently attending, volunteering and majorly involved.  I think that my heart is just being moved.  For me I need to be in a place where people are standing up for kids that are being torn away from their parents.  For me I need to be in a place that is going to take a stand against hate.  Take a strong stand against injustice.  You see I don't need all the information to know that what is happening isn't right.  I don't need to know all the laws, and all the ins and outs.  I just need to know that kids are being taken from their parents, for seeking asylum.  For seeking refuge.  I just need to know that love isn't winning in order for me to stand up for what I believe to be right.  What I believe to be the way of love, grace, and mercy. 

I will never be a typical American.  Living overseas for 5 years changed me.  It changed my heart, it changed the way that I view the world, and it gave me a new perspective.  It changed my loyalty.  I became loyal to Christ first, before any country, flag, or anthem.  I became loyal to loving people, all people instead of only seeing the needs in my own country.  I would never choose the life of an American over someone from another country, just because they are American.  It's not how He has created me to be.  That character trait alone, will cause some people to hate me, and I am okay with that.  It could even put my life in danger, and I am okay with that.  Because when I get to where I am going next, I don't want to say.... well I thought that you created Americans better.  Nope, I want to say... I loved everyone just as you would have.  I treated everyone with the same compassion, love, and grace that you would have.  I put my loyalty in you, my faith in you, and trusted that you were where my heart should lean towards.

My comfort zone is not inside the walls of this country.  My comfort zone doesn't stop at someone who can only speak English.  I don't feel distain for those that are trying to run away from the various hardships that they are faced with on a daily basis.  I don't look at myself as better than them, because I was born here and they were born into poverty.  I don't want to spew hate towards those that believe differently than I do.  Towards those that come from a different culture, a different religion.  I would choose anyone of them to be my neighbor, even if it meant that none of my friends or family agreed with me, or chose to visit me. 

So, as I ponder where my heart is being led, and what that could mean for my future.  I stop and pray everyday that we, no really that I never lose sight of who God has called me to be.  My voice isn't really heard very much, but I am going to keep speaking it.  I am going to continue to be a voice for those that are being treated with hate and discrimination.  I don't think laws should be broken, but you know what?  I also don't think people anywhere in the world should be forced to live in conditions that are causing them to die, or get murdered. 

I won't walk around blindly, just because someone spews a few Bible verses here are there.  Actions speak louder than words, and I for one would prefer that my actions, my words, and my beliefs all match. 

So.... I get ready for the next steps in my journey. I get ready to stand up more, speak out more, and love a whole lot more.  I get ready to put aside my bias, and try to do what I can to make this world, this country a better place for everyone. 

My hope and comfort is that nothing is impossible for Him.... nothing. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Sometimes You Have to Just Say Yes

I'm pretty well known for my sense of adventure, and moves across the world.  It is kind of what I do.  So, when I found myself in Columbia, Missouri for going on a 5th year, in July I wondered what the future might hold.  It wasn't that I was doubting God, or wanting to flee, probably for the first time in a long time I was content with staying.  It was just that I knew there was something more.  I felt it.  I knew that this year was just a transition year.  That things were changing.  I think my first sign of change came when I lost some friendships that were really important to me.  They were friends that I thought were going to be there for a very LONG time, and instead they were kind of just taken away.  Then next I just got this feeling of being unsettled in my current place.

I am all about looking for ways to embrace life, and be a bigger part of my community.  I have absolutely LOVED volunteering for all the events that CoMo has to offer, and being a part of this amazing work environment.

So when moving to JC came up, I just decided it was what I should do.  Knowing that I would be commuting 3 days out of the week, it wasn't a bad thing at all.  In fact I was looking forward to the time in the car.  But the more I thought about it and prayed about I felt this tug that there were more changes on the horizon. 

So applied to a couple jobs in JC.... and I got one. 

The difference in this than any other time before is that it just seemed so easy.  I'm not second guessing myself.  I'm not wondering what would happen if I stayed.  I'm not thinking that I am ruining my life.  Maybe it is because I am only moving a half hour away and every other time I have moved it has been across the freaking ocean.  Maybe. 

But this time just feels different.  It feels like I am on the verge of some great things.  It feels like I am getting ready to embark on this grand adventure that even I am not ready for. 

Sometimes you have to say yes to things that you are unsure of.  You say yes because you just know that it is the right thing.  You say yes because God's ways are SO much bigger than your ways. 

I don't know what this next year has in store.  But I sure am excited about it! 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Grace.... and why I need it....

I have a lot to get done in the next few weeks.  Next week I am leading a class for Kid's Club, on top of working my full time job.  That means that I will be gone from 7:20 AM till 9:00 PM everyday.  It is going to be a fun week, but I already know that I am going to be exhausted. 

The past 2 weeks have had some really big ups and downs.  I have been able to process a lot of it though, and realized where my mistakes were, and perhaps understood a little bit more of why things had to happen the way that they did.  I still don't like it, and I wish that I would have made better decisions a long the way, but ultimately I know that it happened the way it needed to, so that I could learn a few lessons. 

I am doing the #100daysofgodspromises book from Dayspring. 

It arrived today, and I am already loving it! 

Today's topic was grace. 

Why do I need God's grace? 

I need God's grace because I am horrible at loving others.  I need God's grace because I am constantly judging, being sassy, looking down on, and ruining what God could be doing if I would let Him. 

I need God's grace because on my own I mess up a lot. 

A couple of weeks ago I had someone betray me probably in one of the worst ways that anyone has ever betrayed me before.  I really didn't want to give this person any kind of grace.  And if I am honest I still don't actually.  This person basically took my heart, and trust and stomped all over them.  I know that this person probably doesn't even care that they hurt me.  They were just playing their cards, keeping me on the side just in case something else didn't work out.  I get why they did it.  It doesn't mean that I agree or like it one bit.  But I get it. 

It's hard for me in instances like that to understand grace, and how to give grace, while still keeping boundaries.  But you know what grace doesn't mean that people get to do whatever they want, right? 

God's grace isn't even like that.  Yes, He gives me grace.  My weaknesses are made strong through that grace.  But that doesn't mean that His grace is a free ticket to do whatever I want.  I think that goes with others too.  I can give someone grace without allowing them to damage my heart.  I can love someone with God's grace without allowing them back in my life. 

We give each other grace, but that doesn't mean that we let people act however they want.  Love means boundaries.  This is something that I am just learning.  It would have been more beneficial if I had learned it a long time ago, but sometimes you have to go through some hard things in order to be ready for what God wants to teach you next. 

My next is boundaries and grace.  I'm excited to see how He uses this on my journey. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It's Okay to Let Go....

This past week I had to block someone from FB, and it hurt me a lot.  It was one of those times when I knew that I needed to take that action, but I knew that it would come at a cost.  I have a hard time with boundaries.  I have a really hard time with letting people go.  Especially people that I have come to love (as a friend) and care deeply for.  People that I would do anything to help.  Those are the people that I just want to keep giving over and over to, but in the end I know that sometimes we have to let people go.  We have to take a break from those that continue to use us and cause us more harm than good.  It doesn't mean that they are awful people, necessarily.  It just means that our lives are better lived a part for awhile. 

One thing that I have made a practice in my life is that I don't become good friends with men that are dating someone, married, engaged, or best friends with another woman.  It makes life messy, and I also don't ever want to be the cause of a relationship getting broken, damaged, or becoming non-existent.  I have enough friends in my life that I don't need to be in the middle of someone else's drama if I can help it.  Sometimes I can't because people are not always truthful, and they aren't always transparent.  But when I can help it, I take myself out of the situation, even if it means that I lose a friendship. 

Friends keep leaving my life here lately, and it is hard and it hurts.  For awhile I put a lot of the blame on myself.  Even this last friendship my first instinct was to question what I did wrong.  Why wasn't I enough?  What about me caused him to want to choose her over me? 

Here's the thing, if I constantly question the way that God made me, if I am constantly questioning my worth and other people's motives, then how am I allowing God to shine through me?  If I am constantly putting myself down, then I am doubting that He created me for good purposes, right?  So, I had to come to a point where I just let it go.  I let go of the lies, the deception, the thoughts of not being good enough.  I let those go, and filled it with the truth.  The truth that I am a created being.  I have a compassionate heart, made for love.  My heart sometimes gets hurt way more easily than others.  Sometimes it is too sensitive.  Sometimes it holds on to something when it needs to let go.  But God made my heart, exactly how He wanted it, for the purposes that He has for me.  My heart is unique in what it feels, and how it understands this crazy messed up world. 

I don't want to just give my heart to anyone.  And that's what I have been doing.  I am not going to be okay with just handing over my time, energy and love because someone shows me attention.  I think that is the culture that I have grown up in though.  We are so convinced that people's lives are better married, or in a couple than not that we put so much pressure on our single society.  If you are not with someone, then there must be something wrong with you.  You aren't good enough.  It's just not how I am going to live my life ever again.  I refuse to be with someone that is not going to treat me like I am worth his time, energy and effort.  I am not going to put energy and time into someone that is not pursuing me with his whole heart.  I'm just not going to do it.  If that means that I spend the rest of my days single, then I am okay with that.  Because I have learned a valuable lesson.  I'm worth it.  I am worth fighting for, sacrificing for, moving mountains for.  I am worth the effort that it would take to win my heart.  Just like his is worth it to me.  But I refuse to be just another girl to anyone ever again. 

My heart, my life, my love... it is worth pursuing, and if it's not then I will probably let you go.  At least for awhile.  Because in the end....  I don't just want a mediocre kind of love.  I want that walk through the storms, muddy waters, and climb mountains kind of love.  The together kind. 

That's going to require me to let go of people sometimes, and put boundaries in place.  This is day 1 of some new boundaries, and better view of my worth and value.