Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Renewal

A few months ago, I downloaded an app called Moment. This app tracks the amount of time you spend on your phone every day. I had been feeling bogged down by the amount of time I was spending staring at a screen and thought it would be a neat experiment to track just how much time I was wasting. So I downloaded it, saw that I was spending at least an hour and a half on my phone every day and didn't do a single thing to change it. 
Side note: An hour and half might not seem like that much, but that is strictly data from my phone (it's worth mentioning that I spend very little time actually talking) and does not include time spent on my laptop or ipad. 

social media fast 
(my most impressive day)

Flash forward to New Year's Eve, and it is obvious that God had a plan when I downloaded that app. Instead of dreaming of how this time next year I will be 20 pounds lighter, debt free and happier than ever, I find myself preparing for a social media fast. 

A few days ago, my pastor called our church to a 21 day fast. I'll admit when I initially saw his video message, my inner teenager groaned a little, rolled her eyes and thought "I'll sit this one out." However, in the days following, I felt God tugging at my heart to give up, not just social media, but the internet in general, to put down my phone so I can actually hear His voice. 

The internet is such a distraction from my relationship with God. I find myself so thirsty to connect with Him on a deeper level, but instead of using my free time to talk to Him or read His word, I find myself spending countless minutes reading articles like "what the position you sleep in says about you" or taking quizzes to find out which character from Friends I am most like. 


The Bible says that it is through the renewing of our minds that we are able to discern God's will. But, God cannot renew our minds if our minds are too busy scrolling through our Facebook feeds and He cannot reveal His plans to us if we are distracted making our own plans on Pinterest. So as of midnight, I plan to disconnect from the world so I can reconnect with the Lord. I plan to spend these next 21 days allowing God to truly renew my spirit and my mind. My prayer is to come out of this fast with a fresh fire and a deeper level of intimacy with my Lord and Savior. 

I am so excited to see what God is going to do through this fast. I hope will you will consider doing one of your own. Think about the thing in your life that most hinders your relationship with God and remove it for 21 days. You will be surprised by what God can do in your life when you simply allow Him to move. If you do decide to participate, I would love to hear about your experience! 

Watch Jason's message here!

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will." 
Romans 12:2

Missional Women

Friday, September 18, 2015

Honduras Looked Like...

If you're new here, my husband and I recently returned from a medical mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras with 20 other people from our church. It was the greatest experience of my life so far.

While we were there, one of the missionaries was talking to Roger and I and he told us that we were blessed to be on the trip together. He said that when you get home, it's hard to explain your trip to others who have never been. He was so right! I can't ever seem to find the words to really do the trip justice when describing it to people so I usually resort to "it was great!" Nothing I could write here would ever do it justice, but I am determined to paint a picture for you so here goes. 

Honduras looked like community. Surprisingly, as a serious introvert, my favorite thing about the trip was being with 21 other people who are on fire for Jesus for an entire week. Our group was made up of the young and the old, people from all different walks of life and walks with Jesus, but in Honduras, we were all the same. We encouraged each other, prayed for each other, cried with each other and supported each other as we were stretched out of our comfort zones. We played silly games at night. We cheated. We argued. We laughed until it hurt. We celebrated an engagement and we prayed in desperation when one of our team members became seriously ill.  

The day we arrived at the mission house, I found that my bag had been left at the airport, my carry on. You know, the one that they say to put all of your important things in in case your checked bag gets lost? From church clothes, to make up to toiletries, all of the women pulled together and made sure I had everything I needed until I got it back. Their generosity ensured my first couple of days weren't a disaster. A few days into the trip, I was feeling tired and homesick. On my Bible, I found a sweet note from one of the girls I had grown close with. It was timely and encouraging and gave me the strength to get through another long day.

When I reflect on the sense of community I felt within our team, I can't help but imagine that I got a glimpse into the relationship Jesus and His disciples had among themselves. Sharing the good news and performing acts of service and love together creates a close intimate bond and I believe that is how God intended for His people to live.  

Honduras looked like joy. The most surprising thing about the Hondurans was how happy they always were. We often think of people who live in such extreme poverty and we feel sad for them. We imagine they are probably depressed and angry because of their circumstances, but after experiencing the joy the Hondurans have, I feel sad for us. So many All of us take our blessings for granted. 

Many of the people we encountered in Honduras literally live in a one room shack (with multiple other people). Clean water is like gold and many suffer from dehydration or illnesses resulting from the intake of contaminated water. People suffer through sickness without the medications they desperately need. Kids walk on the dirt streets barefoot. They have nothing, but to experience their joy, you would think they have everything.


The Hondurans always greet you with a big smile and a handshake that turns into a hug. When evangelizing to them or assessing their medical needs, they asked me questions about my life as well with a genuine concern. They were appreciative for the smallest things. They were joyful.

Honduras looked like worship. We began and ended each day at the brigade by singing "This is the Day that the Lord Has Made." The Hondurans sang in Spanish as we sang in English. It was beautiful and a reminder that God is the same in all languages.

(I wish this video was better. You can't really hear the Spanish, but here's a peek)

We worshiped Him in the morning, we worshiped Him in the evening, we worshiped Him before meals, we even worshiped Him on top of a mountain. The entire week was filled with a constant spirit of worship. Sunday we went to church in one of the very poor villages. I couldn't understand a word they were singing, but love for the Lord was thick in that one room church. It was humbling to see that despite their desolate state of living, they still find a reason to praise.

Honduras looked like love. This requires little explaining. Love is the reason that God sent His only son to save us all from our sins. To spread that love was our purpose in going to Honduras. Every time I looked around on this trip, I saw the love of Jesus being shared in a multitude of ways. 

I feel honored to have had the opportunity to serve in Honduras with some of the most incredible people and as I type this and reminisce I am a teary eyed mess. I could never fully describe to you what a mission trip like this is truly like. If you ever get the chance to go, I hope that you will. I promise that, like mine, God will break your heart open and change it forever.

A look a what we accomplished in Tegucigalpa:
  • 1,712 People received medical and/or dental care
  • 360 Children received lice treatments and learned about Jesus
  • 34 People recommitted their lives to Christ 
  • 73 People accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior for the very first time! 

Friday, August 7, 2015

I Know the Plans

This picture was taken last week on my trip to Honduras. As I looked at it the other night and thought about that very moment, I was taken back by the dreams reflected in it. Currently I am struggling with knowing which direction my life is going. There are so many things I would like to do and this picture encompasses them all.

Jeremiah 29:11

 This picture holds my dream of becoming a mommy. I've wanted to start a family for a few years, but my husband and I have been waiting on the "right time" that we all know doesn't exist. I can remember exactly how it felt to hold this sweet little boy and I know I could get used to that.

This picture holds my dream of traveling the world doing God's work. I would love to go on more mission trips and visit more countries. I've thought about doing some full time missionary work. I'm a serious homebody though so I'm not sure I could commit to that.

This picture holds my dream of going back to school to further my education in nursing. I was planning on starting some classes this Fall, but something just keeps pulling me away from it.

This picture holds the part of me who has been curious lately about what it might be like to adopt a baby just like this one, to provide a stable, loving home to a child who has little chance at a successful life otherwise. 

This picture holds so much more than I am capable of recognizing. 

There are so many roads I could travel down. Maybe I'll take all of them at some point. Maybe I'll take none of them. I mentioned Jeremiah 29:11 in my last post, but I'm going to mention it again because it is one of my favorite verses.

"I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

What I do know for sure is that God knows. He has planned out every single second of my life and because of that truth, I will not let worry or fear take over. Even though the waiting is hard, I know that watching His beautiful, perfect plan unfold will be so worth it.

 If you're like me and are not sure where God is leading your life I want to encourage you to trust and to know that even though it's not clear to you, it's clear to Him. God knows every second of your past, present and future. 

Missional Women

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five Minute Friday: 10 Years Ago

This post is part of the five minute Friday link up over at Bloggers have a one word prompt and must write a post in 5 minutes. This week's prompt is "ten." Head on over to Kate's blog to join in!


Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago around this time I was 15. I thought I knew everything, like most 15-year-olds do. My first serious boyfriend had just broken up with me and my world was over. In my mind we were supposed to graduate high school, go to the same college, get married and start a family. Needless to say, that didn't happen. 

If I could encourage 15-year-old me now I would tell her to move on. You are going to look back on this time and regret all of the time you wasted sulking. God's plans for your life are way beyond what you think they are now. He is using this situation to shape you into the woman he created you to be. Believe that and cling to it with all you've got.

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Seek Him and you will find that love that you are so desperately searching for. His love is enough for you sweet girl.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mission Trip to Honduras

Honduras Mission Trip

In 9 short days, my husband and I, along with 20 wonderful people from our church, are heading to Tegucigalpa, Honduras for a week long mission trip. Even before I was a Christian, going on a mission trip was always a dream of my mine. After I became a nurse, I had an even stronger desire to go. The idea of using my nursing skills in a foreign country to help those far less fortunate than me sounded incredible. The problem was when I mentioned it to my husband and family the thought of me in a dangerous country with people I didn't know was less than appealing to them.

 Well fast forward three years later. We got involved in a great new church and last Fall they announced they would be participating in a medical mission trip to Honduras. I could not get to the sign up table fast enough to guarantee my spot. The best part was that my husband, Roger, even agreed to go!

While we are there will be setting up a clinic in a local church and providing medical and dental services to hundreds of people, some who have never seen a doctor before. We will also be providing four concrete floors while we are there, as most homes and buildings have dirt floors. Most importantly, we will be sharing the love of Jesus with them. 
I am humbled, nervous and excited, but mostly I am grateful. I am grateful to God and to our church for this opportunity. I am grateful to our family and friends who made this trip financially possible for us. I am grateful for the 20 other members of our team and the relationships that are already forming between us. But most of all, I am grateful that God chose to place me on this side of the situation. He could have just as easily chosen me to live in poverty in Honduras, to wait outside in the heat, in a line of hundreds of others, waiting to be seen by a doctor for the very first time in my life. Instead, today I sat in an air conditioned waiting room, completely healthy, to have some lab work drawn and I complained (to myself) because I waited for an hour and I was "starving." It is shameful to admit.

I can't wait to get home and share the experience with you! For now, I'm asking that would join my team and I in prayer over this trip. Pray for our safety and pray that our hearts would be opened wide so that we may pour out into every soul that we encounter and be blessed in return.

 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
1 Chronicles 16:24


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Love That Always Wins

June 26th 2015 went down in history as the day that "love won." On this day the supreme court legalized same-sex marriage across the nation. In the following days, the hashtag "love wins" and profile pictures taken over by rainbows flooded social media. Many rejoiced, many were angry, but the worst reaction of all came from "Christians" who took the situation as an opportunity to bruise others with their beliefs.

Love Wins

That night I saw the most beautiful rainbow on my drive home. It made me reflect on the true meaning of the rainbow. If you don't know, God placed the first rainbow in the sky after he flooded the earth to wash it clean of sin. He placed it there as a reminder that he would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Even deeper, it is symbolic of the hope and love that can be found in Jesus despite our sin.

Instead of being angry when we see the rainbow being used to represent gay pride, we should remember its true meaning. We should allow it to remind us that we should be planting seeds of love, not of condemnation. We all know what John 3:16 says, but we tend to forget about verse 17. It says "God sent His son to the world, not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." The only person who has ever been without sin is Jesus. For some reason we forget that and we are quick to throw stones, but just because our sins haven't made national news doesn't mean they are hidden from God. The great news is that just as we ALL have sinned, we can ALL be forgiven if we accept Jesus. 

It's our duty as believers to make it known that the love that always wins is the love of Jesus. To do this we have to drop the name calling, the judging and the hate. We have to start seeing the person, not the sin. The bible says "if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is brought to full expression in us (1 John 4:12)." We often miss the opportunity to love one another because we are more concerned with others' shortcomings than their salvation. We may be the only example of Jesus' love people come into contact with. We need to make sure we are portraying Him correctly. 

Love Wins

If you are a Christian, would you lay down your weapons today? Remember that just as Jesus didn't come to this world to judge it, we are not here to judge either. We should strive to be so focused on loving others that their sin becomes invisible to us.

If you are struggling with homosexuality or are caught in some other sin, whatever it may be, I just want to say I am not here to judge you. I see you for who God created you to be and I want to share his great love with you. His love is one that you can never be separated from once you have received it. His love is the love that always wins

Side Note:
Did you know that most rainbows are actually circular? You have to be above ground to see the whole thing. What a perfect picture of our lives. From where we stand we can only see what's right in front of us, but our God above can see it all. He knows how every piece of our lives fit together to tell a beautiful, colorful story.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Boldness for Jesus

I struggled with what my first blog post would be. Before I actually created this blog I had tons of ideas, but as soon as I sat down to write my first post, I had nothing. I prayed and prayed for the Holy Spirit to breathe an idea into my heart, but it just wasn't happening. For a few days I waited. I got discouraged when the perfect idea didn't come. But then something prompted a girl I work with to share a few ways in which God has been good to her throughout her life. It was obvious that she felt odd doing so and worried what we would think of her. When the short conversation ended a four letter word came to me: BOLD.

Boldness for Jesus
2 Timothy 1:7-8 tells us that "God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, love and self control." It goes on to say "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord." You see God doesn't call us to be afraid to share the gospel and our testimonies with others. He calls us to do so with boldness.

I am much like my coworker (probably more so) in that I feel awkward and nervous when sharing personal stories of what God has done in my life. My fear is one of the biggest reasons I have put off starting this blog. Even as I'm typing this I am wondering what people will think of me when they read this. However, I am reminded it's not about what people think of me, but what they think of Him.

Nonbelievers need to hear real life stories of real life people being changed through the love of Jesus. They need to know that we are just like them. That we experience pain and suffering and sin just like they do. The difference is we find healing and forgiveness in our faith. It's not enough to hand someone a bible or quote scripture in an effort to minister to them. All of that means nothing if they don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you know what interests people in beginning that personal relationship? Observing that relationship in others' lives. I know this because I have experienced it first hand. Long story short, a few years ago I met a lady who was very open about her relationship with Christ. She spoke of Him as if He were her friend. I had never met anyone like that and I longed for that same relationship in my own life. 

I now possess that relationship, but what I don't possess is the transparency, the boldness, that my friend does in sharing that relationship with others. 

Boldness for Jesus
In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas are speaking in a Jewish synagogue and the Bible says that they "spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed." Can you imagine that? Turning others to Jesus simply by the way you speak of Him? The great news is that God didn't just reserve this kind of power for his disciples; we too can change the hearts of the people around us by the way we speak about Jesus. By showing others the role Jesus plays in our lives we are making it real to them and isn't that what we're all after? Evidence. Proof that our God is a living breathing God who is faithful and who loves us and fulfills and sustains us like no one else can. 

If we know all this to be true, why are we afraid?

Later in Acts 14, Paul is stoned by the Jews and they drag him out of their city. But do you know what Paul did next? He ROSE UP and continued preaching the word of God. Not even the threat of death could stop him. Paul was bold for Jesus. 

This post is just as much for me as it is for you. I fail at this daily. So I plan to let this post hold me accountable. I want to be bold for Jesus because He was bold for me. He lived and died for me so that I might live to proclaim him to the world and that is what I plan to do through this blog.

So if you have a personal relationship with Jesus I challenge you to be bold for Him today. Don't be ashamed or afraid to share his work in your life with others. 
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus find a friend who does and ask them to share their testimony with you or send me a message; I would love to share mine. I firmly believe that it is through the testimonies of others that believers are made. 

"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" Matthew 28:19

Missional Women