Theocentric Thursdays!

Hey friends! This week my blog “Hope for the Single Ladies”  is being featured for #Theocentric Thursday, and I am co-hosting  with Carrie Ann Tripp! Read the information below from Carrie, and link up to be apart of the fun!
How can it be Thursday again already? I simply can’t believe it! It’s the last week of summer school here, and after tomorrow I will have several weeks to focus on writing, house chores, and perhaps some relaxing.
I can’t bring myself to type, or even think, the number of weeks that are left of summer. So much I wanted to do and accomplish that will be put off to another summer, another dream, another could’ve, would’ve, what if.
I hope your summer has been all you have dreamed so far and that you are being blessed with family memory upon memory! Perhaps we should have a #TheocentricThursdays challenge the first week of August where we try to submit a post reflecting on our favorite summer memory from 2015. Sometimes I think we overlook our biggest blessings by simply forgetting to think about them.
What do you all think?
Well, week 3 of #TheocentricThursdays brought in yet another great selection of blog posts. With a LOT of work, I finally got voting up a bit. I would love it if some of you could help tweet, repost, etc. the opportunity to vote on blogs. Even if it’s just your own! Let me know if you need help explaining how to vote!
This week we have Keturah Colette as a co-host.

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My name is Keturah Stewart. I am a teacher and have been for seven years. I love to teach! There is no such thing as a boring day in my profession. I am engaged to an awesome man. We will be married in October and I cannot wait! I love the Lord with all of my heart and am beyond grateful for the family and friends that he has blessed me with. I am active in my church and in my community. I am an animal lover! I have a dog named Coco and a cat named Sammie and I adore them both.
I’m going to add our last few blog posts from last week to this week’s hop. They didn’t get as much traffic as everyone else and I want them to get lots of love too! If you didn’t visit their blog and leave a comment, please hit them up first this week! If you ARE one of the bloggers I already added to the hop, please add a new post for this week!!!! You aren’t excluded from new content just because I carried over your old!

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This week’s featured post focuses on God’s plan for the single ladies out there. Make sure to check out Hope for the single ladies by Keturah Colette at Throne of Grace and leave some love for Keturah! I think you’ll be blessed by her testimony of God’s perfect timing.

If you’re like me and immediately started singing this song, it’s not at all what Keturah’s talking about, but so I’m not the ONLY one with it stuck in my head, here ya go:


Don’t forget to grab the button if you were featured this week!

TheocentricThursdays Featured Post

TheocentricThursdays Featured Post

If you’re linking up, we’d love it if you would share a button for this hop on the bottom of your post or in your sidebar!

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All family friendly posts are welcome as long as you can do the following as soon as you post your link(s):

Please make sure to follow the hosts and all co-hosts blog! We would love to hear from you, too!
In order to help everyone grow their blog, please read and comment on the TWO blogs posted directly before you. (I can see exactly how many times each blog has been accessed from my site. If it hasn’t been accessed at least two times and there are two blog posts added after it, then I know participants haven’t been building each other up. I will be checking comments on posts that do not have the minimum required clicks. If you haven’t left comments on the two blogs prior to you in the list, you forfeit your eligibility to be the featured blog post of the week.)

Be sure to vote for your favorite posts each week. Voting begins when the linky closes Sunday night and stays open until noon on Wednesday. We will feature at least one blog post based on voting each week. Make sure to send your friends and family by to read and vote!

 

Now, let’s get to hopping!

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It’s Not About Me

When I was in college, I was involved in an organization called Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). Cru is an interdenominational evangelical Christian organization. There were things about the organization that I liked and disliked (as with most organizations), I won’t bore you with a list of either. However, I will say that one of my most life altering experiences came from being involved with this ministry.

In the summer of 2005 (the summer before my Junior year at SFA – Axe Em’ Jacks), I was given the opportunity to travel to Australia for six weeks with an amazing team of people – mostly northerners (I was the token Texan of the group).

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While we were there, a portion of our outreach took place at The University of Melbourne (referred to as Uni). We were given a charge to go out and make disciples of men (Matthew 28:19).

Well, that should be easy.

Jesus is awesome. I wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t, as a matter of fact, no one would be. So surely EVERYONE wants to talk to me about how awesome he is. Not only that, but I did the training! I know how to lead people to the Lord! I have a bag full of Cru issued “bring people to Jesus” pamphlets, so this should go very smoothly.

I could not have been more wrong.

I was out there giving it my all, sweating it out for Jesus. I was walking all over that campus giving the best Jesus pitch I could muster up. Not only did people NOT want to talk to me about how awesome Jesus is, most of the people I talked to had NEVER EVEN HEARD OF JESUS (I know right? Pick your jaw up). Some people gave me the courtesy of letting me talk my way through the explanation of how the best and worst of us fall short and need the sacrifice that God made, sacrificing his only son (Jesus), to bridge the gap between us and him. They nodded in all the right places, but in the end refused to let me pray with them so that they could accept Jesus into their hearts.

After that first day I was defeated. I was tired. I was crying. My feelings were hurt. I felt rejected and disrespected. I literally just shared a way to spend ETERNITY in paradise with the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. That doesn’t interest you at all? I just felt sad. Needless to say, my world was rocked. I remember thinking, “these people must be crazy if they think I am coming back here to do this again tomorrow.”

This is why they send you to across the country with a team. A team of people who encourage you.

After seeking counsel from my peers, I walked away knowing that one, Christ had it way worse than my few weeks of outreach – I definitely wasn’t crucified. Two, just because these young adults didn’t receive Jesus from me, right then, didn’t mean they wouldn’t receive Him! Maybe they went home and research further. Maybe they finally accepted a friends invitation to attend a church service. Maybe some of these college students would eventually turn into Christ loving, Bible thumping Christians who’d make their way around Uni witnessing to people themselves. Three (and my main point for this entry), THIS WAS NOT ABOUT ME. It wasn’t about how I felt, I wasn’t there to feel warm and fuzzy. I wasn’t there to make friends. I wasn’t there so that people would like me. I wasn’t there to blend in. I was there to share the love of Christ, and to try and recruit as many people to #TeamJesus that I possibly could.

Philippians 2:4 says, “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others”. Surely we can all agree that I needed to set my PRIDE aside, and march my Texan self back onto that campus, and talk about Jesus until my face turned blue, because the best interest of the “others” in this situation was life or death. I do believe life outweighs pride, and it should in every account. So I did.

I would love to say that this molded me to be the most selfless person on this side of Texas, and I NEVER struggle with making situations all about me, how I feel, how I was treated unfairly, how I was offended, how I was cheated, how I’m so tired, I am not considered, or how I’m not respected, but, this just isn’t so. I sometimes get caught up in the hype:

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The truth is, it never is.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” -Galatians 2:20

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The Liebster Award: Discover New Blogs

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As you all know, I am new to this blogging business. Since becoming apart of the blogging community, I have been welcomed with open arms and have been given a lot of advice on how to grow the traffic here. There are so many beautiful bloggers who blog about various topics and are willing to take new bloggers (like myself) under their wing.

This week, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Mindi ( a fellow faith blogger who has an amazing gift for writing – please visit her blog and show her some love).

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The Liebster Award is a great way for bloggers to be introduced into the blogging community and get to know each other better. So, I will introduce myself, and then introduce the bloggers that I am nominating for this award.

As a nominee, there are 11 questions Mindi has asked “about me” that I will gladly answer:

1.)  What made you decide to start blogging?

The unction to blog just fell into my spirit. I serve an outstanding God, and He gifted me with the ability to write. I needed a platform in which to share His grace and mercy, and a blog seemed like the perfect outlet.

2.)  What is your favorite movie quote?

First let me start off by admitting that I am a “Potterhead,” I love all things Harry Potter. I know every line in every movie and every book. There are a lot of life lessons in Harry Potter, right now my favorite is: “Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” -Albus Dumbledore

3.)  Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My mom has hands down had the biggest influence in my life. She introduced me to my savior! What greater influence is there?

4.)  What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

My favorite place in the entire world is anyplace I can fellowship with my family. It could be at home, a baseball game, or in the middle of nowhere. As long as I’m in their company, I’m in my favorite place.

5.)  When you cook do you follow the recipe or wing it?

It depends! I am definitely not an expert cook, so more than likely, I’m following a recipe. But, I do know, based on baking, that once I become good at making something and I start understanding how the flavors work together, I am more likely to put my own spin on things. I love to bake cupcakes (from scratch). When I started off, I stuck strictly to recipes (and sometimes I still do) but as time went on, I became more confident to try to do a little experimenting. I imagine I’ll be the same with cooking.

7.)  Are you a dog, cat or goldfish kinda gal?

I am an all of the above kinda gal! I just love animals. If it swims, barks, meows, has fur, a tail, whatever, I love it. I’ve had each of those a pets and many others. Right now my fur babies are Cocoa (my pug mix) and Sammie (my sweet/mischievous orange cat).

8.)  What’s your biggest goal in life right now?

This is a difficult question. I suppose my biggest goal is to be a blessing to other people. That can look different in each area of my life, at work, at church, at home, with friends, or with family, but ultimately, I just want to be a blessing in any way that I can.

9.)  What’s your favorite article of clothing you own?

My Dallas Cowboy sweatpants! If I could wear them everyday, year around, all would be well! Unfortunately, with this Texas heat, and having a job and all, that just isn’t possible.

10.)   What season is your favorite and why?

I didn’t even need time to think about this one. Fall has always been my favorite season. Great things happen in the fall, the weather is awesome, and it isn’t too long before Christmas!

11.) What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Trust God. He knows what He is doing.

Now, Mindi (who nominated me), listed 11 random facts about herself, which I loved, and so I will do the same!

  1. I am a teacher (which is something I really love despite how challenging it can be at times)!
  2. I have worked two jobs for the last three years and it has been an exhausting experience.
  3. If I hadn’t been a band nerd in high school (which I absolutely loved being very much), I would have been a cross country runner ( but I probably wouldn’t have, because you couldn’t have paid me enough money to run for fun back then).
  4. I have two tattoos, both have faith meanings, and both took me quite some time to commit to. I don’t take tattoos lightly. 
  5. I have a pet-peeve for misspelled words (given that mostly everything is done using technology and spell check is readily available) and the blatant use of incorrect grammar.
  6. It really cooks my grits when divers do not signal before turning or changing lanes, ALSO when they get into an inside double turning lane and swing wide!! Who gave you a drivers license??
  7. I am both of my parents only biological child. I do however have a lot of heart siblings – which to me is just as good as blood (said the only child). 
  8. I love to run. Even though sometimes I feel like dying. I always feel accomplished in the end. The longest I’ve run is a 10K (with my mom), I do have my sights on a half-marathon, so we’ll see how that goes. 
  9. I love to bake cupcakes! I do not love what they do to my body after I eat them. 
  10. I am a reader. Once I pick up a book, I am unreachable. I get lost in them. I often can’t hear people calling my name who are in the same room as me. It is wonderful.
  11. My mom is one of the best friends anyone could have (but mainly me). She is simply amazing.  

Now, enough about me, I must pass the torch and nominate other awesome bloggers for this award. Please take the time to click on their names and go visit each of these blogs – they have a lot to share and it’s all from the heart.

And the nominees are:

Marilyn Stewart, Brittany Parker, Erin Sumego, and Vanessa King

11 Questions for my nominees:

  1. What is something/someone that really makes you laugh?
  2. What is one item that you could NOT live without?
  3. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to and why?
  4. Why did you start blogging?
  5. What is the story behind your blog name?
  6. What is the best thing you have ever splurged on for yourself?
  7. If you could spend the day with one celebrity, who would it be?
  8. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  9. What is your favorite place in the entire world?
  10. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
  11. What is the greatest advice you’ve ever been given?

I am looking forward to hearing all of your responses! Happy blogging, be blessed.

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Hope for the single ladies…

There are probably more people than I realize who have struggled with singleness, but only a few who I know that will really be able to identify with what I’m saying.

I know that God’s timing is the best timing. I know that He calls the shots, but it is a really hard mindset to keep when almost every friend you have is getting married, already married, and has began working on babies, and here you are just single.

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To make matters worse, one year at a winter conference, I listened to a speaker talk about a calling to be single. She went into detail about how some people are called to lead married lives and some people are called to lead single lives. Well, this did not inspire me. It freaked me out. I prayed and begged God, “PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME TO BE SINGLE! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! I want to get married, I want to have children, puhhhhhleeeeeeease don’t leave me single.” I didn’t know this at the time, but that was already a very clear indicator that I wasn’t called to be single.

God and I talked a lot about being single. I didn’t want to date frivolously, my end goal was marriage. I knew exactly what kind of man I wanted, and I made a very detailed list of musts in my journal. When I finished my list, I felt accomplished, but I also felt like finding this man was a long shot (little did I know, I already knew him).

In December of 2010 (age 25- dating a wolf in sheep’s clothing), I visited the Mazda dealership in Mesquite. The sales person (Korey Traylor) was very helpful and nice and treated my mom and I very kind as we shopped around for a possible new car for me. There was a specific car that I liked and I wanted in a specific color but it wasn’t available at the time, so I decided to wait.

Toward the end of 2011 (age 26 – single), I went back and purchased the car that I wanted, in the color that I wanted it in. That same very nice sales person (Korey) sold it to me. After purchasing the car, I would take it up to the dealership for oil changes and stop by and briefly visit with Korey.

Summer of 2012 (still 26 – still single), I visited Mazda for some car maintenance, and Korey and I made plans to see a movie. We began hanging out and seeing lots of movies. We’d meet at the theatre, he’d walk me to my car, and we’d make plans to do it again. Eventually, we progressed from meeting at the theatre to him picking me up (and maybe even going to dinner before).

August of 2012 (still 26 – hanging out with Korey), Korey came up to the school and helped me hang stuff on my walls and get my classroom ready for school to start. I knew that I really liked him. We’d had several conversations about what we were looking for in a significant other, and we knew that neither one of us was dating for fun, we were serious. Knowing this, Korey “courted” me for a while before he decided to make this official – he wanted to be sure (and I can definitely appreciate that – especially in a society where people live in fast-forward).

October of 2012 (age 26, 2 days before my 27th birthday) Korey became my boyfriend! Three years until I knock on thirty’s door and we just started dating. Shortly after we’d made the boyfriend/girlfriend commitment, everyone under the sun started questioning us about when we were going to get married. Poor Korey, it wore us both out.

October 27, 2013 (age 27, two days before my 28th birthday) we celebrated our one-year anniversary. Some time during this year, I took the time to look at the list of “must haves” in my journal and was able to put a check mark next to every single thing I requested in a man when it came to Korey. Not only that, there are so many behaviors/qualities that Korey has that go above anything I could have asked for. When God showed up, He showed out.

October 29, 2014 (my 29th birthday) – With blessings from both of my parents, Korey asked me to be his wife. Best. Birthday. Ever (you can click the “About The Author” tab above to read our engagement story).

This year, October 24, 2015 (five days before my 30th birthday) we will be married. Most of our friends are: already married, already have kids, working on kids, etc., and I’m okay with that. We don’t live by any biological clocks, or what everyone else is doing clocks… We live by God’s clock – and his timing is perfect. Korey and I often talk about God orchestrating our meet. It was the perfect time in both of our lives. Both of us dated people who clearly were not for us, but those experiences put us both in a position to appreciate each other all the more.

So, here I am almost 30 and just starting this marriage journey. There is hope for the hopelessly single. There are great men out there. There are men who love the Lord, who will tell you you’re beautiful every day, who open your doors, pull out your chairs, who won’t sit until you’re seated, who consider you when making life decisions, who will put you first, who will pray for you, who surprise you with flowers, who’ll run to the car in the rain to get the car and pick you up at the door so you don’t have to get your hair wet and have an afro, who’ll shower you with gifts, who will stand up for you, and who will put you before himself. I know they’re out there, because I’m marrying one, not late, but right on time.

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Cast Your Cares Upon Him

Last year, I got hit really hard with “kitten fever.” I have owned every animal under the sun (literally – dogs, bunnies, hamsters, a prairie dog, a chinchilla, horses, and fish) but I had never owned a cat and I have always loved them. So, I asked Korey if he would pretty please with sugar on top get me a kitten. Being the considerate person that he is, he asked my mom if it was something she was okay with (since I still live at home). At first she wasn’t totally in to the idea, mainly because she usually ends up becoming part owner to these babies that I acquire, but she came around (because although she’d never admit it, she’s an animal lover too).

Toward the end of the school year, one of my teacher friends ended up with some kittens that were found. She knew that I had been wanting a kitten, so she gave us one. The day we got him, Korey and I went to Walmart and bought everything we thought he would need and then we took him home. Korey, my mom, and myself sat around trying to think of a name for him. We were trying to pick something based on his color, but we didn’t want to go with anything too cliche like “smokey”. My mom was goggling names, when she ran across Scooter, and that was one we all loved. He was such a precious baby.

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Scooter was very quiet, not very active, slept a lot, didn’t eat a whole lot, and pooped EVERYWHERE but in his litter box – all signs that he wasn’t a super healthy kitten. We didn’t really know this though, because we had never been a cat owners before. When we got him, we tried making an appointment with a vet to see him, to make sure he was in good health, but he was too young. They preferred that he be a couple weeks older before we brought him in. We had Scooter for about one week, when my mom and I left for a short trip to Philadelphia. While we were gone, my mom’s fiancé Kevin stayed at our house to take care of Scooter until we returned. The night before we left Philadelphia, I had a dream that we came home to an orange cat. I remember thinking, something was off because Scooter isn’t orange and he’s still a baby. When I woke up, I told my mom about the dream, and told her how weird it was. Before we left Philadelphia, we’d talked with Kevin, he was at the house cleaning up ( with Scooter following him around everywhere meowing like he had been doing all week). We had such a great trip, but it’s always good to be going home, and I was so excited to see Scooter! We made it home a little after noon. When we walked into the house, Scooter didn’t greet us like usual. We called his name and looked in all of his usual hiding places, but he wasn’t anywhere. Finally, my mom found him in our living room. He was laying by the coffee table, and he had died. Devastation is the only word to describe my state at that point.

We didn’t know what happened. He was fine that morning and that afternoon he wasn’t. After a while, both my mom and Korey suggested that we get another kitten. I didn’t really like that idea, I just kept thinking, “what if this happens again?” I wouldn’t even be able to handle that.

But, I ended up agreeing, and we began looking for another kitten. Specifically an orange one, just like the one from my dream.

The first week in July, my mom and I headed over to the animal shelter in search of the perfect little orange kitten. We picked up and played with a few, but there was one that we loved immediately. So we began the adoption process. It took a couple of days before everything was final and we could go and pick him up. When we did I was very excited. It took us longer to come up with a name for him than it did for us to name Scooter, but eventually, we all agreed on Sammie.

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As you can imagine, I was very paranoid about Sammie’s health. I was watching him like a HAWK. He was a sweet kitty! Playful and full of energy (as kitten’s should be). I made an appointment at the vet for him immediately. The vet determined that the only thing he had was fleas (which we knew) – so we began to treat those. But, after a few weeks, Sammie stopped playing, he got very quiet, not very active, slept a lot, didn’t eat a whole lot, and pooped EVERYWHERE but in his litter box. Sound familiar? The vet was probably growing tired of my phone calls and visits, but I knew that something was wrong. They ran tests, did stool samples, etc. and determined that Sammie had acquired a parasite. They prescribed an antibiotic which Sammie took very well until he began to act a little more like himself.

In the midst of all this, I decided to take Sammie to be groomed. His fur was all matted and smelly from when he was peeing and pooping everywhere (and on himself). I found a PetSmart that had special grooming procedures for kittens and I took him there around 8:00am one morning. Unfortunately, while he was under their care, he got too cold (I think they left him wet too long) and became hypothermic (kittens don’t have the ability to regulate their body temperatures like cats do). When I picked him up from the groomer, he was very lethargic and just shivering. I immediately called the vet on my way home to make an appointment for that same day, but they were completely booked. They put me on “stand by” for an appointment at 3:00pm. Sammie wouldn’t walk, move, anything, all he wanted to do was sleep. He didn’t even move to go to the restroom, he just laid down and went on himself.

This same day, I was supposed to meet Korey for lunch. I didn’t want to leave Sammie at home by himself, I was too worried. So I decided to take Sammie to Korey’s job with with me. On my way there the vet called and said that she had something open up earlier at 1:00pm, and I told her we would be there. While we were at Korey’s job, Sammie literally just went limp. Korey told me to go ahead and just take Sammie to the vet immediately. So I did. The whole way to the vet I was praying that Sammie would be okay. When I got to the vet, the sweet lady that I’d dealt with on many occasions before, was on the phone and gave me the “just a minute” hand gesture, but I didn’t have a minute. I took Sammie out of his travel box, and just laid him on her counter. I told her “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY”. She immediately hung up and rushed Sammie to the back. It felt like I was waiting a very long time before anyone came to tell me how he was doing.

When the vet finally came out, she told me that Sammie had a seizure, they couldn’t regulate his body temperature, and that there was nothing else they could do at this facility. She told me she didn’t think he was going to live. She cried with me.  She said the only thing left to do was to take him the emergency clinic to see if there was a chance that they could help him. So I did.

The doctors there took over, asked me a lot of questions, and told me I could leave. They said they would call me with updates throughout the evening. Around 7:00pm, we got a call. Sammie was still alive, but they told me he wouldn’t be alive much longer. As a matter of fact, he’d already lost consciousness once, they had to revive him, and put him on oxygen. They asked me if they could move him to “do not resuscitate,” and I said yes. She told me that she would call me back to let me know when Sammie had passed, it wouldn’t be too long.

When I got off the phone with them, I told my mom and Korey the update, then we stood in a circle and prayed. My mom said, “Lord, we know Sammie is the cat you showed Keturah in her dream. We know you are a God that cannot lie. So the next call we receive, in spite of what the doctor says, will be good news.” We all agreed and said amen. What I haven’t told you yet is in the dream that I had all those weeks ago in Philadelphia, the orange cat I saw was AN ADULT cat, so we were standing on our faith that Sammie would live to be an adult, no matter what the doctors said.

That evening, Korey and I had plans to double date with some friends. We thought about canceling our plans because it had been a very high stress day and we were worried about Sammie, but we decided not to. I kept my phone on the loudest ring possible so I could hear the phone call when it came… but it never did.

I prayed for Sammie the entire night while I slept – I know we all did.

The next morning, my phone rang around 7:00am. It was the vet. I answered it, nervous to hear the news.

I will never forget what she said… “I don’t know what happened, but shortly after we spoke, his health began to turn around for the better. His body started responding to the medicine, his temperature rose, he got up, started moving around, began eating, and now he is meowing very loudly for attention from anyone who walks by him. It is nothing short of a miracle. We’ve prescribed antibiotics that he’ll need to take every day for 2 weeks. You can come pick him up today.”

She may not have known what happened, or how it happened, but we did. We serve a God that cares about us so much, he cares about the things we love, the things that matter to us, even little orange kittens.

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Cast all your cares upon Him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

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Walk by Faith

When I was sixteen, the first semester of my junior year in high school, something happened that really solidified my faith game.

A month or so before Christmas break when the “what are you getting for Christmas?” questions started floating around. I already had my answer prepared.

“I’m getting a car!”

Before long, all of my friends, their parents, and their parents friends knew that I was getting a car for Christmas. Word got back to my mom, and she was telling me, “Keturah! You have to stop telling people that you are getting a car!” But I wouldn’t.

By the time school let out for winter break, my mom really wanted me to understand that we just didn’t have the money for her to buy me a car. She didn’t want me to be disappointed when Christmas rolled around and I didn’t have one. I knew that we didn’t have an abundance of money, and our finances weren’t in a car buying place, but in my heart, I was still believing for a car.

That year I spent Christmas with my dad and New Years with my mom. My dad came to pick me up and my mom ended up spending Christmas in Houston.

After my time with my dad, he took me back to my mom’s house. When I saw my mom, we were both happy to see each other.  I told her about the visit with my dad and she told me about her trip to Houston. During our conversation my mom explained that she didn’t have the money to buy me much at all, but on her way back from Houston she made a stop at a store, saw a keychain that said “Class of 2003,” and she bought it for me. It was a silver keychain, oval shaped, with a cross between the words class and the number 2003. Although it may not have appeared to be much to most people, It meant a lot to me (and still does). I was very appreciative of the Christmas gift from my mom.

After I opened my present, we decided that we were going to get dinner and then have a movie night. So we loaded up, and headed to blockbuster. I was so into the conversation we were having, it took me a while to realize that we’d been in the car way too long to just be going to blockbuster. When I asked where we were going, I was told that we were going to make a quick stop by my aunt’s house before the extravaganza began.

Once we got there, we visited with one another. We talked about Christmas and what everyone did. My aunt ended up asking me what I got for Christmas, so I shared what all I received from my dad, and then I told her about the keychain that my mom bought me and gave it to her to see.

When I got my keychain back, there were keys on it. I looked around wondering whose keys they were, only to find out that they were mine. I was a PROUD (and I mean VERY PROUD) owner of a white, 1990 Mercury Tracer… which in my eyes, may as well have been a Lamborghini. To say I was excited would be an extreme understatement. I drove that car home – humbled and in awe of how great God is.

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I later found out, that my mom truly did not have the money to make this happen- an unexpected series of events- that involved several people (and can only be described as an act of God) got me that car. As it began to unfold, it was evident to my mom that God was providing exactly what I was standing on my faith for.

Looking at the facts, I didn’t have the money, my mom didn’t have the money, we didn’t win the lottery, my mom didn’t get a raise, we didn’t sell anything, and we didn’t have a fundraiser. But somehow, I got this car, and drove it to school the first day back from winter break just like I believed I would. Not only that, but I drove it well into my college days.

Now, thirteen years later, I am encouraged by my sixteen year old self to stand on my faith. I’m getting married, we have a wedding to pay for, we want a house – which requires a down payment, closing costs, etc., we have tuition to pay for, and bills on top of all of that. It’s a lot harder as an adult, knowing how finances work, to stand on that same faith, but I am. I am standing on my faith, because I have never been disappointed by what God has done in my life thus far. I know that God will provide every cent that we need, and when he does, there is a place on this blog for that miraculous story.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all- how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” – II Corinthians 5:7

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No Negativity Zone

Things don’t always go the way we hope they do. For me, when things aren’t working out, I often think that I want someone to listen to me talk about how it sucks, and then join into my “what the heck is this life” wallowing session by agreeing with me that yes, it does suck. Unfortunately (but really fortunately) the people I confide in will not do that with me.

My confidants are uplifting, trust in God, the glass is half full people. So when I start wallowing and wanting people to feel sorry for me, I get absolutely no back up, and most of the time it is super annoying.

This is what they tell me, “stay positive,” “it’ll be alright,” “you don’t know what kind of plan God has,” “all things works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), or, “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Oh just stop it.

But they don’t. And this is good. No matter how much I don’t want to hear it, it is necessary to be heard. Sometimes my spirit needs a good reminding that God is in control, and He has my very best interest at heart.

What kind of constant state would I be in if I let the people around me fed into my cast down spirits? I imagine that I would walk around depressed and feeling sorry for myself. I wouldn’t be very encouraging or uplifting. I wouldn’t be positive. Basically, I’d be a Debbie Downer – and who wants that in their life?

The crazy thing is, I know exactly who to go to in order to feed  into my negativity. When I’ve chosen that route, I’ve left the conversation feeling worse than when it started.  So I continue to seek the ones who drive me bananas with their Christ centered reminders. I think I choose to confide in those people because in the end my spirit knows exactly what it needs. Do I walk away from the conversation feeling as free as a bird, walking around singing “I ain’t got no worries”? Ummm.. no. The encouraging reminders and the “you’re not supposed to think that way” declarations, usually do not work instantly. It’s not magic. My annoyance duration varies, but thankfully, I usually come around.

I know how easy it is to complain (especially in my profession). I could write a dictionary length book full of all of my “it’s not fair” moments. But the word of God says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain (Philippians 2:14-16). I am trying, although not always successfully, to apply this to my daily life.

Do me a favor, and don’t start trying to remember all the things you have heard me complain about. I am sure you have heard plenty. I don’t always do a great job of remaining positive and complaint free, but I am working on it. Feel free to hold me accountable at any time. Initially, I may be a little annoyed with you, but the message will be received.