Faith

I find myself thinking and writing just before bed…as I’m winding down from the day and enjoying some quiet time.

I recently started following a blog that belongs to a woman named Meagan. Since I get emails whenever she publishes a new post, I find myself reading them at the end of the day during this time. She’s been writing posts using words that start with each letter of the alphabet and I love it. I’m trying to read some of her previous posts to get a better sense of her views and writing style. So far I feel as if we’re alike in our views of the world and how we write about them.

For the letter “F” she wrote about the word faith, you can read her post here, and what she said resonates so well with me. Although I feel as if I write about my faith often, I don’t proclaim it as often in my everyday life such as at work and other public places.

I know this largely stems from not wanting to steer people away from conversing with me. I don’t want them to think I’m going to tell them they’re going to hell if they don’t go to church, yada yada. I cherish the moments, though, that I get to take some time out of my busy work day and talk about church or Jesus or a sermon with a coworker.

Being a social worker can be tough when it comes to talking about this kind of stuff, especially with clients. I generally don’t talk about my faith as it’s not necessarily my role in the relationship. In rare cases, if a client were to bring up a faith-related question, I may answer it. It depends on the client and that moment. I do know that by showing compassion and kindness to those around me whether with clients, family, friends, coworkers or whoever, I know I’m sharing the love of Jesus.

In my heart and soul, I love Jesus. I have no doubt that he has done great things in my life and now our marriage.  I fully believe that if one’s faith is put into His promises for us, then we will receive the desires of our hearts ten-fold.

I think back to when I was involved in youth group at a pentecostal church in my hometown. They are some of the sweetest memories I have and I’ll forever cherish them. Those people made such a difference in my life at that moment and I’ll always be thankful for it.

I want some of that hunger for the Lord back. The closeness I felt to Him then is something I yearn for now.

I’m not ashamed to express my faith here, on this blog. I think for those who follow it understand what I’ll be writing about based upon the name of the blog. It’s important to say that I respect all who are different from me, everyone who encompasses that. I think that’s one of the perks of being a social worker is having compassion for those who are different from me in class, race, gender, and all of the above.

Showing compassion in my posts is a way I think I can draw the attention of many, no matter their beliefs or background. We’re all beautifully and wonderfully made and that’s something to rejoice about.

xoxo

Life’s a Blur

On the way to our church small group tonight I was telling Taylor how fast time has gone and is going. How is it that time moves so quickly? Didn’t we just celebrate the new year? And now it’s already almost March??

The thing I struggle with most is being present in the moment. I’m either worrying about what happened in the past or I’m thinking ahead for what needs to be done the next day. Most of my ‘present moment time’ is spent in a different time frame. That makes me sad.

I’ve been telling myself for the longest time that I need to be more present in the moment instead of worrying myself about the past and future. It’s a problem that I do this because, when I stop to think about things, I’m shocked at how quickly time has passed. I’ve already been at my job for eight months. EIGHT!

When I was a freshman in college graduation felt so far away, as if it was unreachable at the time. Now I’m done with grad school and in my first job in the field.

I ask myself, and Jesus, daily if what I’m doing is what I’m meant to do. I wonder how long I’ll be at this job and what the future holds for my career. I need to rest easy in knowing His plan for me is the right one.

I want to be more present in the moment and soak up all the time I have with my friends and family. Life feels like a blur to me and I want to try to change that.

via Daily Prompt: Blur

False Expectations

We’re currently in the middle of a marriage series at church and the first thing I thought about was the pastor’s discussion around false expectations.

The word of the year is Honor and, as you can imagine, also relates to the current series. He talks about why many marriages fail due to a lack of honor in the relationship. To honor means to treat someone as precious and valuable. Therefore, we are meant to continuously honor our mate. Whether that means cleaning the house, listening to one another, or taking time to simply date each other… don’t confuse it with respect, as that is earned. Honor is given to someone. When you honor your mate you pull them up despite their actions being dishonorable.

If you’re married, or simply living with your partner, did you have in your mind the way things would be prior to living together? Did you expect your partner to put the dishes away without asking? Or expect him or her to have dinner ready when you came home each day?

False expectations can also happen with the way someone assumes they’re going to receive affection. I highly recommend taking the love languages test with your partner. It’s very insightful as it starts a discussion surrounding how you and your partner prefer to receive affection. Taylor and I did it during our pre-marriage counseling and I’m so glad we did.

Eliminating false expectations in your relationship is, in my opinion, key to honoring your spouse. Once you learn that things are a little different than you thought they’d be, talk about it with your partner. He or she can’t possibly know you don’t like something if you don’t tell him or her.

Creating false expectations lets yourself down and puts too much pressure on your partner. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we do this in our relationship, but we’ve gotten better about it as time has went on. We’ve had long talks about this very thing and have grown closer to one another by doing so.

Honor one another as you honor God by putting Him first in your marriage. It makes a difference.

via Daily Prompt: Expectation

Abide in Him

Today my Mom and I attended a women’s conference at my church, River’s Crossing, which featured Lisa Harper, included women of the church sharing their testimonials, and we also uplifted the Lord in worship.

How empowering it is to come together as the strong women that we are and worship as daughters of Christ.

I can’t begin to tell you how moving Lisa Harper’s words were today. She talked about many of her life experiences and how they relate to scripture in the bible. I’ve never heard her speak before today and she had an awesome way of mixing humor with biblical teaching. The main idea for the conference was talking about how to abide in Him. Since it was a day-long event, it’s hard for me to talk about all of the messages we heard today. The biggest thing that stuck with me, though, is this: Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing.

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Before I say this next thing, I want to say that I plan to go more in-depth about our struggle in the journey my husband and I are currently on. This is something so very personal and difficult to talk about, but I’m getting more comfortable about doing so. I plan to either vlog or simply write a blog post about it, I’m not entirely sure just yet. But I’m a firm believer in giving testimonial about the trials one experiences in his or her life; it’s how we grow in our own journey while allowing others to do the same through inspiring words.

Taylor and I are dealing with infertility. Specifically male factor infertility. To see the sadness in my husband’s eyes when he realizes he can’t physically provide something for his wife…I don’t wish it for any woman. This is one thing I never thought would be an issue in my adult life and here it is. We’re still seeing specialists and we know that it is not impossible for us to conceive with a little bit of help. We still have faith. Like I said, I don’t want to go too in-depth right now as I want to stay on track for the focus of this post.

I’ve been saying for the past almost year and a half that we will conceive in God’s timing, not our own. I haven’t fully believed that until today. This trial we’re currently facing is not by accident. I have faith that if we abide by Him and continue on our spiritual journey, we will receive the desires of our hearts.

The worship team sang the popular (and honestly, overplayed) song on the radio called “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams. I love the song, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I’ll change the station because they tend to overplay it. Even so, when they began to sing that song today, it was like a switch was turned on. God opened my heart to fully commit my faith to his plan for us.

This specific part of the song simply states, “If you believe it, if you receive it, if you can feel it, somebody testify.”

If you believe it, if you receive it…

Ask Him and you shall receive…

The Lord has a funny way of sending you messages when you least expect them. Taylor’s aunt and uncle came to visit last night and while talking to her she said something very similar to that; she said she’s a believer in, “What you think about, you bring about.”

What you pray about, you will bring about.

Ask and you shall receive.

Alright, God, I’m listening.

In order to abide in Him I will continue to keep my faith in His plan for our lives, but, now this is the important part, I will also keep my faith that the timing of that plan will unfold when He knows we’re ready to receive it.

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xoxo

Criticism: Friend or Foe?

When I hear the word criticize, I associate it with a cringe of discomfort. That word has such a negative connotation. No one likes to be “criticized” for something they’ve done.

What if we changed our approach to the concept?

Instead of running away when our thoughts or actions are up for criticism, what would happen if we ran toward the criticism and discomfort? Imagine the possibilities of growth and learning one person could have.

Thinking of this in terms of my own life… I could list countless times I felt anger, resentment, sadness, and many other emotions whenever I received harsh criticism about something I’d said or done. I’m the first person to give in to the “what if” and allow the fear associated with it to creep into my mind. As I sit here now, I realize I’ve started to embrace the discomfort and fear in my role as a social worker.

This role is something I can never turn off–it’s practically ingrained in my soul by now. Compassion and empathy are driving forces in both my work and personal lives and I’m working so hard not to lose them.

With eight months under my belt, I’ve learned so much in my first job out of college as a social worker. I’ve learned many different skills in the field while using others that I’ve learned in school. One thing they don’t teach you in school, though, is to embrace discomfort.

I’m believing more and more each day that someone can learn the best lessons from an uncomfortable situation. A good example of this is receiving feedback about a project you’ve been working on for awhile. I like to think of feedback as a nicer worder for criticism. Whether it’s positive or negative it’s still feedback, right? What if you had the same response to either scenario? Get positive feedback–embrace it and make your project better than before or get negative feedback–embrace it and make your project better than before.

Again, I cringe at the thought of someone giving me feedback on my work. I get nervous. I want to impress. I want to show him or her that I’ve put in a lot of effort. Instead of feeling fear I’ve started to tell myself to feel ready. Ready to accept the feedback. Ready to take the words of someone else and roll them around in my head. Ready to grab onto someone else’s thoughts and put my own spin on them. Ready to feel uncomfortable.

To me that’s the beauty of working together with another person or a whole group of people. Receiving feedback is the only way we can create change, no matter what that means for you. Will you run from it or embrace it? Your choice.

via Daily Prompt: Criticize

A Hike in the Woods

I heard the sweetest sounds on our first hike with a couple of friends last weekend. I invested in some sturdy hiking boots, layered up for the cold February morning, and packed a bag.

I’ve always loved being in nature. So the fact that I could exercise, turn off my brain for awhile, and admire nature–this was the perfect chance for some self care.

I heard birds chirping, the slight wind moving the trees… and later the beautiful sound of water rushing down a bed of rocks covered in icicles.

I’ve been searching for different ways to practice good self care and I’m definitely going to add hiking to my list. I’m so looking forward to seeing many more beautiful places.

 

via Daily Prompt: Heard

Six Years

Six years ago I was 17, just about ready to graduate high school. That sounds so long ago as I think back on it now.

Six years ago I also started dating my now husband. I guess I should rephrase it, though, and say it’s when we got back together after he graciously took me back.

Now that we’re married we only “officially” celebrate our wedding anniversary. Despite that, I still like to remember this date to think back on how far we’ve come in our relationship, our lives, and our love.

God knew what he was doing when relationships never worked out with guys who I thought I was “in love” with and treated me badly. I needed that one loving, gentle giant to show me how I should really be treated by a man and that it’s easy to have a relationship when the other person truly cares for you.

Taylor has taught me so many things, I could fill pages trying to list all of them. I’m a better person because of him and he reminds me daily to try harder to go with the flow of life.

Six years ago I knew I had someone special by my side, but I never imagined he would love me more with each passing day. My love for him grows the same.

I am enjoying life with you and I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else for the past six years. Marriage is a blessing and I’m so thankful we were put into each others lives. I love you.

xoxo

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