Thursday, May 19, 2016

Living a Life for God with Anxiety

Many of you know if you read my last blog post, the journey that I am currently on. The magazine and all its excitement and struggles! I love it! Now I can't say I feel this way every day because I will tell you there have been days of this journey where I have been ready to throw in the towel. I see myself getting distracted to the point where I'm not focusing on my family, I see the struggle in my teammates, I wonder if God is really in this as much as we thought....all these struggles and doubts have crept into my mind more than once. However the biggest struggle of all for me is dealing with my anxiety. Now anxiety is a term many people don't take seriously if you've never experienced it full force. However anxiety for me means headaches, stomach aches, muscle soreness and complete and utter exhaustion at the end of everyday but a difficulty sleeping through the night.

So how do I deal with this physical reality while living full out for God?

 Let me tell you it's not easy and I'm far from good at it! As I write this I can feel the knot in my stomach from a build up of stress. I wonder if all my efforts on the Kickstarter campaign will pay off. I seek the Lord for answers about how we are going to make it moving forward. But the honest truth is that I know I can't do this without God. I can't deal with all the anxiety and stress involved with this magazine without God. We can't overcome our battles without God. The magazine can't survive without the financial blessing only God can provide. We can't get passionate people behind it without God. And yes I am using the word can't and I wouldn't have it any other way. Sure we might be able to try to do some of these things in our own strength but let's be honest I would end up in a bad situation and state of mind. I need God. My anxiety isn't going to go away and so for me God is my only safe haven. The only path I know I can confidently walk. Yes there will be struggles maybe even more so but I'm protected. God has already won. He's already seen the outcome of these two weeks, of this year, of my existence on this earth. He's not bound by our time. He completes what He promises! And this is how I follow God with the sometimes crippling effects of anxiety! He is my hope and my strength to walk every single day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Following God's Call...

Do you ever wonder what it would have really been like to be Jesus' disciples in Acts? All of that persecution as they are walking in the ways of God. Do you ever try to put yourself in their shoes? Being absolutely honest for me, I don't want to. The thought of being physically, mentally and emotionally beat up sounds horrible. But yet how do we still follow in the will of God knowing that this is a very real possibility for our lives? Their is a real devil that doesn't want us living for God. How do we handle that? 

Well for me I've seen and experienced bits and pieces of this struggle throughout my life but nothing like what I've experience recently. Some of you may know that my mom and I have decided to start a magazine for tweens in Mid Missouri! This idea, the process, and the people involved are only explainable by God. I can honestly say he orchestrated everything! And we have had our fair share of bumps in the road but up until recently everything has gone fairly smoothly with lots of excitement from almost everyone we talk to! 

Now we have a core team of three. Myself, my mom and a very dear friend of ours. All of us see the mission and know this is Gods plan! What we didn't expect was the extent of the struggle to get there. Now I understand starting a magazine is HUGE! It is stressful, exhausting, overwhelming, time consuming...all of which would wear anyone down in itself and it definitely has but the passion lives and breathes much greater! However the struggle doesn't stop there for our team...we are less than a month away from our deadline of getting all content and ads submitted to get the first issue out in August! We are working in overdrive to get this baby rolling, but not without some personal struggles...our dear friend is fighting some very real and very ugly personal situations. It breaks my heart to see the tears of pain in the midst of this deadline, while she is struggling to still give all she has to seeing this magazine come to life.

Then just two days ago at the end of a photo shoot for the magazine, my mom falls ill. She's in pain, light headed, shaky, the works. Eventually it becomes so bad that she does to the ER. Come to find out she has a large gall stone and will need surgery. 

Now I'm not sure if I've expressed accurately the pressure we are under for this magazine but it doesn't leave much time if any for downtime in May. We need to utilize the whole month to pull this magazine together. However the adversary is at work. This could be the end of the story and we may or may not in human strength get everything completed but thank God it's not just us!

Around 2am when I got the texts about moms condition and I remembered the disciples journey in Acts. Everything that they had to endure on their journey and quite honestly my first reaction was fear! Questions raced through my mind...what's next? Who's next? What if something bad happens to me or somebody I love? How much of this can I take? And then I remember that this battle has already been won. Yes it may be excruciatingly difficult to walk in the call of God but we have to remember who has already won! 

1 John 4:4 says, "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."

I can't promise that I will always be this mentally strong but I just hope when I do start to falter some one will come up beside me and lift me up with these words. We are battling each and everyday. Sometimes each and every minute of the day to overcome and keep moving but hallelujah we have the King of Kings on our side!

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am you God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

May will be crazy and there are still many more battles to come but seeing the end result, seeing the excitement on the kids faces and bringing the community together to help these kids is what matters most! We are here to live for God and help expand His kingdom through genuine love, compassion and support for his children in a tough portion of their lives! We want them to see and know their worth! That beauty isn't measured on the outside and that whatever they do is awesome! We want to show them that we care!

Also, if you want even more encouragement in this area check out the First 5 App this weekend and watch their video on "The Holy Spirit's Power in Persecution." 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

True Love in a Broken World

Wow it has been awhile since I have written a blog post and a lot has happened in my life over the last six months!  As many know I am engaged to the love of my life who I will marry in less than 2 months!  I could not be happier but this joy and love has not happened without struggle and heartache.  About six months ago now I wrote this following post but the wound was too fresh at the time to share.  Now I want to share all the struggles and most importantly joys of the guy that changed my life!!!

December 16, 2013:
“Everyone is broken”...I have heard this phrase several times in the past couple weeks but I really disregarded it until today.  I know everyone is broken, even myself, but I was feeling so great that I didn’t take the time to stop and think on it. So many people have different degrees of hurt and healing. Sometimes we can be going along just fine and that right thing pricks the skin or busts a scab, and it brings about new hurts or reveals old ones. We all have these things…we are all broken. For me personally though, a scab was picked recently. But in this case I believe that God picked it because it wasn’t healing properly.

You see a week and a half ago I met this guy...this guy is the nicest guy I have ever met.  We girls see all the time in chick flicks and sometimes even in the real world, these guys that are completely in love with these girls and treat them like princesses.  I don’t know what girl wouldn’t want that.  I know I wanted that.  It wasn't until I met this particular guy however, that I realized how broken I was and how deep my past hurts really were.  It was not as easy as I thought it would/should be.

I have been in a couple lengthy relationships in the past that did not turn out so well. One, way worse than the other but both came with challenges. In these relationships I endured sexual pressures, manipulation, unappreciation, verbal abuse and not to mention all the issues during the breakups. In all, these two relationships lasted a total of 3½ consecutive years, which is a long time for these things to leave deep wounds.  In the past two years however, as a single woman, I have healed a lot and have forgiven and made peace with this past.  The thing that I didn’t realize, is how much deeper than this, it really cut. 

It wasn’t until I met this guy…who is such a sweet Christian guy, that I am starting to understand how much I was affected by my past. You see this guy is incredible. He treats me how every girl should be treated and deserves to be treated. However, today I woke up feeling so unworthy. Like I did not deserve a guy who could treat me right and care so much about me after a couple short weeks. It just wasn’t making since.

The thing is that when you have had such a challenging past you begin to doubt the future. I tend to think a guy that is super sweet won’t stay that way for long or if a guy is disrespectful in some way that I deserve it. I have found it so hard to wrap my mind around someone who can genuinely care about me and want to be with me.  I feel so unworthy of such a guy.

I worry about the future.  I have been hurt so much that I question my own judgment. I have an inner battle within.  One side is so overwhelmed with joy being around this guy and the other is filled with doubt and unworthiness. I’m sincere in my words but know there is a part of me that’s not willing to let down my guard.  I worry about making the same mistakes…moving to fast too quickly, being blinded by my own genuine care, etc…

BUT GOD…It is amazing what God can redeem! His timing and plans are perfect, always. As my mom reminded me today, God is good! He sees me as worthy, as His beloved daughter and as precious as a jewel. He sees my past mistakes and purifies me.  He gives me things, good things, I deserve in His perfect timing. It is just so overwhelmingly good! Prayer is surrounding him and I in this and I trust my Daddy to take care of me! HIS WILL, HIS WAY J I look forward to seeing what the future holds!!!

I look forward to not only having that deep intimate connection but having a best friend.  Someone I can count on to always be there!  To go on crazy adventures with and to hold me tight when I’m hurting.  Things are so different for me this time and I want to do things differently.  I want to honor God in every way, always.  With all my hurt I believe we can make this happen but it will take a lot of hardwork and love.  I look forward to this journey and walking side by side every step of the way.  I’m thankful God has given me this opportunity to grow in so many ways and to see an image of His love in human form!

Today (June 10, 2014):
Looking back on this post I can still feel the pain that I felt when I wrote this and some of the struggle still remains today. God is still working to put the pieces back together for me to be ready to be the wife that my future husband deserves!  Despite all of this my man has remained true and supportive throughout this whole time.  He is the greatest blessing God could have given me! While only being 21 and he 20 I couldn't be more ready to marry this amazing man.  

I have gained new understanding throughout this journey that God's timing is not restricted by this world.  Like any normal couple, already knowing that we wanted this relationship to last, we had plans before becoming engaged and getting married.  However, God worked in miraculous ways by bringing his family here to meet me and my family.  Allowing me to go to Indiana to spend time with his family and friends over spring break.  And finally, as heartbreaking and difficult as it was he gave me the strength to turn over the mission trip to Burkina Faso to two wonderful ladies.  All of this, along with many busy weekends to come this year, led to a wedding date much sooner than expected.  But yet not soon enough!  

We are so blessed to have each other in our lives and most importantly to have God at the controls!  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"For the JOY of the Lord is my strength"

Joy pretty much describes my life right now for so many reasons!!!  

First of all, I feel so blessed to have made so many new and amazing friends this semester at CCCB.  As the semester comes to an end, I am sad to part ways for the holidays but I will look forward to see everyone's smiling faces when I return!  God has taught me how important friendships are while being here because I am that introverted person that can tend to neglect friendships, especially if I have homework or other things going on, but these girls keep me balanced!  It has been truly wonderful to be around people of faith, especially when I get crazy God-given ideas for the future!

My heart continues to be poked and prodded by God in so many ways!  However, my love for Africa still runs the deepest!  Since arriving back in America after my first trip to Burkina Faso I knew I wanted to go back! (Maybe not right away because it was VERY difficult but nonetheless I planned on going back some day!) I had no idea the journey I was about to embark on though!  Through these past two years I have grown leaps and bounds in my faith and I wouldn't have it any other way!  I have experienced so many incredible things and met so many incredible people!  Even in the midst of all of this I would have never of dreamed I would be back in college!  I thought coming back to college I would be terrible and that it would be years before I was ever able to go back to Burkina Faso.  But oh how I was wrong!!! :)

Over this past summer while driving over to the Church one day I randomly asked my mom what she would think of me leading a team on a mission trip.  It was a thought that just popped into my head.  I had never really thought about leading a team...I just knew I wanted to go on another mission trip.  But, this was really the extent of that and it was pushed aside as I got prepared to go off to college. It wasn't until about the beginning of October that it came up again.  I happened to be babysitting one night at Church and was talking to a friend who felt God was calling her to missions.  Of course this got me all excited because I love missions but she was feeling understandably hesitant about it.  So, that night and nights after I got to thinking how amazing it would be to lead a team of young adults who have a call to missions but aren't too sure what to do with it.  I felt for the first time the desire to actually start walking out in this so after getting the "ok" from my parents I sat down with my missions pastor and started planning (well rather praying)!

Contrary to what most people probably would think, I did not plan on going back to Burkina Faso right away.  I was leaving that door wide open for God to take me and this team wherever He would choose. However, I began to realize how perfect a trip back to Burkina Faso would really be.  I already have connections there which is really important since the team is my responsibility and there is also such a wide range of ministry opportunities there.  They have the orphanage, schools, a medical clinic and a widows distribution program!  This opens the door for so many experiences!  And, this was soooo exciting for me to finally be going back :) I really can't believe how well everything is actually coming together!  That is when you know it's ALL God!!!

I'm continuing my planning and preparation and so excited for the first of the year to start really putting everything into action!  Next semester I plan on taking a french class on top of college to get some basic communication skills down, mainly to get through the airports!  I also am so excited about getting a team together!  It obviously won't be a cheap trip but I know God will provide and bring together His perfect team!  It just fills me with so much joy to be taking others to such a life changing place!

Never would I have dreamed after taking my first trip to Burkina Faso that I would have grown so much in relationship with God and others, in knowledge of the Bible and in my faith in general!  God's plans may not make sense at the time but He is so good!  I would have never imagined this journey but I wouldn't change it for anything!  I am really looking forward to the hearts and lives God touches and changes through this trip (including my own)!

If you would, meet me in prayer in all of this because I couldn't do it without all of you behind me as support!  And if God touches your heart to go, by all means contact me :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Whole New World

It's been a while since I have posted and oh so much has happened in the last several months!  God continues to amaze me in all He is doing in my life.  For all who may not know I am currently a Freshman at Central Christian College of the Bible studying Christian Counseling.  It has been amazing semester here and I have met so many wonderful people and continue to expand my knowledge and understanding of God!  Coming to CCCB was far from my plan but God knows best.  God answered so many prayers in my coming here.  After finishing with my Discipleship Training School I had no clue where God would lead me.  I was completely walking by faith!  Going back to college was one of the last things on my mind that is for sure!  However, after searching the internet one day God lead me to CCCB's website.  There were two major reasons I did not want to go back to school...I did not want to take pointless classes and I didn't want to go in debt. Well CCCB gives a full-tuition scholarship and it is a Bible College so even the classes that don't have to do with my degree I am learning more and more about the word of God!  I can't believe that I am here but I am so happy!  While being back in college my biblical understanding has grown leaps and bonds and I have met some incredibly amazing people...such a different experience from my first go at college!

God hasn't stopped with college though!  My love for missions continues to grow!  Just yesterday I got to attend the International Conference on Missions!  This was an incredible experience. Having missionaries from all over the world in one location was amazing.  Each organization had their own booth for people to come around and find out information about them.  My heart continued to break each time I saw pictures of African children and I have an ever increasing desire to return to Africa!  God is continuing to guide my steps as I follow His direction!  I just ask for everyone that reads this to join me in prayer as I continue to follow God's guidance in these next few steps of the future!  I know God is so faithful and I can't wait to see where He takes me!

From the day I heard this song it has been my prayer!  Walking on the water with God is a true walk of faith!  I know God will always be with me each step of the way even if I feel as if I am drowning He reaches to pick me back up immediately!  I am so blessed to have such a loving, caring, and jealous Father!

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."    Matthew 14:28-33

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Body of Christ

God is truly incredible and I can't say that enough!  I love Sundays because I enjoy going to church and worshiping the Lord as a body and hearing a message about the Lord!  Today was no exception.  Worship today was so great!  The songs were moving and on top of that my pastor spoke a wonderful sermon today on focusing on the end times.  I would really suggest listening to the sermon at when it gets up!  It really changes your way of thinking!  But also something exciting today my family and I went up to Anchorfest to see the Sidewalk Prophets concert!  They are a really remarkable band!  However it wasn't just the music that captivated me...

I couldn't help but smile as I sat there at the concert even though I didn't know the first thing about any of the people around me, nothing about their past, present or future.  There were so many different types of people there.  People who in this "average American society" wouldn't normally associate with each other but we were all there.  We were all at a christian concert worshiping the same God.  You go to country, rap, blues, etc. concerts and you typically see country people at the country concert and so on.  But it wasn't this way here we were all here for God, the one and only God.  We all love Him and He loves us!  All of us!  It is truly amazing!  Young and old, rich and poor, fat and thin.  My God, the God loves each and everyone of us the same and even though we may not appear to have the slightest thing in common; in reality we have the greatest thing in common!  We love The Lord!

What made this whole experience even more interesting was that I did know one of the people that surrounded me.  I actually knew a little bit about this persons past which was honestly a little rocky (but whose isn't).  We all have struggles, addictions, etc. that lead us down the wrong paths in life but when like this person you turn toward the Lord none of that seems to matter anymore.  It makes me smile so big when I see people like this that have felt the Lord and thirst for Him!  So much that they would come out and listen to a Christian band play!  I love to see people grow in the Lord and turn away from the sins of the past and head towards Him, growing the body of Christ!  Especially when this person has young kids and you just know now the kids can really grow up getting to know and love our same Lord!

I pray for this particular person and the children along with all those others that were there today and those of you reading this that each and every person will just grow closer and closer to the Lord!  I know God has amazing plans for each and every person!  He loves us all more than we can even fathom!  How great is that!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

God Never Ceases To Surprise Me!

I have now been back home from Atlanta for about two months!  It has been good to be back and spend this time with my family.  Since I have been back I have just been kind of walking through the motions not exactly sure where I was going.  It wasn't until a few weeks ago that God really surprised me again!  My mom, grandma and I went into town one morning to do a few errands.  While waiting for my mom at the Chiropractor my grandma got to talking to me about my future (a topic I avoided mostly because I hadn't a clue what my future held).  Anyways it got me thinking.  That afternoon I was on my laptop, bored so I was just searching different things, when I felt lead to look up the Bible school that I knew was in Moberly.   I had been on their website a while back during my DTS but for some reason (aka God) different things on their site caught my eye this time.  And you must know I really was against going back to college for a couple reasons, one being I had absolutely no desire to take classes that meant nothing to me and two I didn't want to go into debt (I want to be a missionary I can't afford debt).  So, I was looking up their different majors, my favorite being Christian counseling!  This may sound silly but it was awesome to me when I looked up the classes I would need to take and even the core classes where about the Bible!  Now I can handle learning about the Bible!  Also while I was looking around on their website in several different places it talked about this Full-tuition scholarship that they offered.  Seemed too good to be true to me!  I did a little more looking and it seemed to me that it was offered to everyone and seemed legit so I was hooked!  I couldn't believe after being totally against going back to college I was excited again!  Next thing I had to do was tell my parents...I think I was way more shocked then they were.  :)  Anyways my mom suggested we take a trip up there and see what it was like.  So we did just that a few days later.  We got there around 9 and didn't leave until around 2.  It was a really cool experience.  My mom and I got to sit through a class, got a tour and got to talk directly to the admissions director!  Everyone seemed so energetic and friendly!  I shared a little bit of my story with the admissions director and he flat told me that he wanted me at their school (which made me feel pretty good)!  Within the next week I had my application turned in and all my forms sent their way!  And well I will be attending Central Christian of the Bible this fall!  I am so excited!  It is so amazing living a life were God guides your steps!