Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Season for Everything

One of the biggest lessons we learn as a Christian is that there is a season for everything. And these seasons don't last forever. The good and the bad comes and goes. In the valleys we are strengthen, taught to rely on God for our provisions and most importantly to trust in the plan he has developed for us. During the good we get a chance to sit back and marvel at the amazing things God has provided for us, and look back on the journey that brought us to where we are.

My time at City Life started in a fairly shallow way. I wasn't truly seeking God or the plan he had for me. My cousin and his wife had just had baby who I instantly fell in love with. Going to City Life meant I got to spend a few extra precious moments with him each week before and after service. It quickly morphed into more. I started longing to be there, longing to find ways to be involved.

One Sunday three almost four summers ago, Joey Fink walked up to me to see if I would consider going on the upcoming missions trip as a leader. At this point in my life I had never been on a missions trip, I had only been to the occasional retreat. I honestly didn't feel equipped to do it. In ways only God can design things began to fall into place for me to go. The next thing I knew I was on a bus heading to Indianapolis. Never did I expect those 5 days to effect me the way they did. 

I came back with a desire to work with kids, students. At the time I thought it was just by being a student leader. Almost four years later I know it was setting the path to guide me towards my current job at Wichita State. 

It's funny how God uses seasons. My time with students has lead to probably the most significant development of my faith. I've grown not only in my knowledge of Christ but in the confidence of who God has designed me to be, and for one of the first times in my life I know I'm where I'm suppose to be. God used my time with these kids, to not just develops them but to develop me. I praise him and thank him for the relationships I have gained, the memories it has given me, and the love I've been privy to experience. 

It's with a heavy and somewhat excited heart that I have made the decision to step down from the student leadership team. But what is cool is I'm not completely stepping away from working with students, just moving into a different age demographic. God has presented me with some unique opportunities to become involved more with campus organizations. I'm going to get the chance to hopefully work more with students on campus and help them through their college years. For anyone that knows me, you know my own college years were at time rocky and I wish I had had a someone to walk along side me.

So thank you Joey Fink for giving me this amazing opportunity. To the student leaders past and present that have become family, I love you and I know students is in very capable hands. To the students, I have grown to love you like my own kids, you are special, talented and amazing gifts from God, thank you for letting me be a small part of your journey. Please know I will always be a phone call/text away. But most importantly thank you God for this life changing season, while there were ups and downs during it, I can see how how you were growing, developing, maturing, and leading me to the opportunities I have now. The opportunities that would not have been possible with out this season. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Being Single with a Faith Like Job's

Can I just start by saying being single is pretty much the worst!!! Sorry but I really had to get that out there and off my chest. I get all these people telling me it is the greatest time of my life. Well guess what... You are a bunch of liars. Maybe they aren't, maybe they really do believe that but it is not the reality for me.

Have you ever desired something so much and are completely at a loss on how to achieve it? It's really how I feel right now. I feel as though God placed a desire in my heart young, a desire to be a wife and a mother, but nothing is happening. It's just sitting there growing, getting stronger. Slowly, I'm becoming fixated on how to fulfill that desire.

I thought I met the man I was to marry in college, praise God that didn't happen, but now what. I'll be honest, it's very hard to be in your thirties and single in Wichita. It's not like the bigger cities where there are a plethora of single people. People get married young here, a lot right out of college. (Let me pause here and say I am glad I didn't get married right our of college because I am no where near the same person as I was then.) Most of my friends met their future spouses in college. If they didn't meet them them it wasn't very long after that. I'm now at the stage in my life where friends don't have single friends anymore, and I'm way too old for the bar scene. So what is a girl to do?

When you add being a strong Christian into the mix it makes things about a million times more difficult. I don't want to lower my standards but in dark times it seems like that may be the only option. Even though in my heart I know it isn't. Many nights I have been in tears praying, asking what more am I suppose to be doing? I attend church regularly, I serve faithfully within my church, I pray constantly, I read my Bible, and I have placed my trust for my future in you. What else is there?

No, really what else is there? It's not a formula. You can't take all these things add them up and get 6, or in my case a boy. It doesn't work like that, God doesn't work like that. I begin to really question and examine if I am truly grateful for what he has given me. I have a good job, a roof over my head, food in my stomach, my health, a great family and amazing friends. These are things many people in the world don't have. Am I just hung up on this one thing. While to me it is a VERY big thing, but to God it may just be a small part of my journey, a small part of my story. A story that he has been writing long before I was thought of by my parents, a story that maybe one day will be used to help someone else.

It is very easy to become fixated on the things we don't have, the things we desire, but in doing so we over look the amazing things we do have. I have have this desire in my heart to be a wife and mother, and if it's truly from God then it will come to pass one day. My days need to be praising him and thanking him for the things he has given me. I've been reading in Job a lot the last few days and this reminds me of  his story a little. Although, he had way worse things happen to him then I have! Fortunately for me. Job who in his darkest days, when everything had been taken from him, he remained faithful. He questioned why, he looked to his friends for counsel, but ultimately his faith was what got him through. A faith that God later rewarded. 

So maybe the question shouldn't be what do I have to do for God to give me what I desire, but rather how do I have faith like Job? How in this time of feeling like my greatest desire isn't being answered, do I continue to be faithful? It's an on going process one that I don't pretend to be perfect at and one I will continue to falter with, but the good news is that I'm not doing it alone!


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Magical Weight Loss Secret

So I'm not one to put my weight loss journey out on social media for the world to see. And let me tell you nearly one year later, 50 pounds less and a half marathon in I have some things to brag about (she says very humbly). There is the occasional transformational pictures. You know the ones, you go back find the worst picture of your self at your heaviest, find the skinniest picture of yourself now and in one of those photo editing apps place them next each other. BOOM you have an instant ego and confidence booster. Soak in all those likes, and comments about how great you look! I've added one just to show you what I'm talking about ;)

I've been on the weight loss journey with my best friend, she started about 15/20 pounds less then me, lost it faster, didn't plateau nearly as after, started running before me and hit her goal weight while I still have 30 pounds left to go. Let's just say the jealousy can be raging at times, but I love her and am grateful for her.

Between the two of us we have basically lost a high school girl, 120 pound to be accurate. I'll pause while you do the math to figure out how much she has lost. Got it? Good. For those of you who don't want to do that math that's 70 pounds. Between the two of us we have heard everything there is to hear about losing weight.

The most annoying comment we get ALL THE TIME is "What is your secret?" If one more person asks me that I may punch them in their face. Ok, well maybe not but still! I get it, with all those different supplements programs, fad diets and get skinny fast schemes out there it's easy to hope there is some magical way to get off the weight that took YEARS to put on.

I'm here today to tell you what that secret is. I know right, I'm so awesome to pass this along to everyone. So come close, closer... and I'll tell you. Are you ready?

THERE IS NO SECRET!!!!!!!!!!! What? How can this be? I know, what a let down! Trust me if some how during this process I could have taken a pill and the weight would have just melted off I would have taken it.

It boils down to two very simple and yet incredibly difficult things. Things that we hear all the time and we all guilty of ignoring.

The first, eat less and healthier foods. The healthier part has been beyond painful for me since I'm one of the pickiest eaters I know. Before I was eating out about 5-6 times a week at fast food restaurants around where I work and live. To change this habit I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and tracked every single thing I put into my mouth. This was awful at first, and I got very hangry. Over time I learned how to eat every couple of hours, making sure I was eating snacks high in fiber or protein to help keep me full.

Secondly, get up and get moving. This started with me purchasing a Fitbit and just getting up and moving around. Instead of calling my boss for something I would walk to his office. Got to get those steps in any way you can! I will warn you this can become quit addicting and if you add friends it can become very competitive. Eventually when I hit yet another plateau I started running. The more ran, the more I saw my weight coming off. It's so weird how that works! I literally was working butt off!

Trust me I'm like every other person out there, it sucked and continues to suck as I work towards getting these last 30 pounds off. But in the end I'm more confident and wearing things that a year ago there is no way I would ever consider wearing.

If you are thinking about making a change know that you can do it! And if you have questions I would be happy to share the very limited knowledge I have gained over this last year. I don't pretend to be an expert by any means. If I was I sure would be making more money!

Until next time...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What can I say about 2013?

I’ve been looking back at the last year and trying to pin point the times where I felt like I really changed. I wanted to write a blog that would give the high lights and the low lights of the year. One that would say I met two of the three goals I set for myself last year, one that would possibly say what the goals for this up coming year would be. I’ve written this blog over and over again in my head, one I even almost posted, but the more and more I thought about it, the more I became unhappy in where they were going. Way to much happened for me to give you that kind of run down.

To say this year has been the most significant year I have had spiritually in a long time, if not ever, would be an understatement. I took so many steps towards a better understanding of who I am in God and where I feel he is leading me. Although, let me tell you I have no clue what his plan is for me, and as someone who is a planner I am still learning to except this. Most importantly I had a believer’s baptism on Mother’s Day. Some may be asking why at 29 were you baptized. Weren’t you as a child? Yes I was, but a believer baptism was my choice. I choose that day to give my life to Christ and to continue walking in his word, his love, his light. Because I was not active in my church growing up and the church I did attend did baby baptizes this was never and option to me. Frankly, it wasn’t really something I knew a lot about. It wasn’t until I started the process to become a member of City Life (done on Mother’s Day as well) that I started to really understand the significance of it. How cool is it to make that choice that you will follow Christ and his teachings? To proclaim that in front of your family, friends and your church! It was a special moment. I’m so glad that I was able to share it with my mom on a day that celebrates Mothers. After all she is a large part of why I am the way I am.

Since I started at City Life I have felt at home there and a desire to be involved, this lead me to working in the nursery. Once a month I was able to get my baby fix, and love on the next generation of our church, after all these kids are the future of our church. In May Joey asked me to go as a leader on the student’s mission trip. I still tease him that I was his last resort since another leader wasn’t able to go. I’ve told Joey this before but not in this way, this really was the beginning of a huge change for me. After the trip I stepped down fom the nursery and started as a member of the Student Leaders Team. Working with these kids has provided me with an opportunity that I never knew I wanted. There are not enough words to describe how amazing the kids are. They are some of the kindest, loving and most hard working people I know. They are willing to serve who ever needs it, and do whatever is asked of them. Seriously, if these kids are our future we have nothing to worry about. We will be in good hands! I have loved walking with them over the last six months, watching them grow and mature. The conversations I have heard them have, the advice they have given each other at times is light years ahead of where they should be. Sometimes it’s ahead of where I am. I can only hope that I have had half the impact on them as they have had on me. My dream would be to build such lasting relationships with them so when they are off at college, or where ever they go when they leave us, that they will want to continue a relationship.

I have been amazed at the relationships which have been built and strengthen this year. There’s a group of girls that I have been friends with for years and we continue to grow with each other. The relationships grow and we become closer, something I am still amazed at since we have been friends for almost eleven years! You would think that by now we would know everything there is to know about each other and have gone through everything there is to go through. Somehow new things keep popping up and we continue to learn about each other. A new relationship started this year, one that will last a life time. My God Son was born. I'm pretty sure I have not yet had such a massive honor in my life as being asked to be apart of Archer's life in this capacity. I was honestly a little nervous about it at first. How was I going to walk with this little guy? Would I have the answers to his questions when he came to me? Over time I just became more and more excited to have been asked by his parents to walk along side their son, someone that was so precious to them. While he is only 4 months old right now and we aren't really having deep conversations yet, I can't wait to continue this journey with him. To show him and teach him about God's love. I guess Andrea and Adam are stuck with my for a while! 

One of  the biggest surprise has come from the relationships with the other student leaders. It was kind of weird, things just kind of clicked with all of us and we became close pretty quickly. Most of Sunday is spent together, between church, tear down, lunch, students and many nights dinner after the kids have all gone home, we seem to always be together. Then through out the week we find way to hang out even more. You would think we would get tired of each other after a while! I have never felt a relationship grow so quickly with a group of people. I truly am blessed to be spending so much time with them. I’m sure if you asked Joey it is because he has done such an awesome job at choosing who servers at leaders, he may be right, but I’m not going to be the one to tell him that.

This year has exceeded my wildest dreams; I never expected the things to happen that did. I guess that just goes to show you that when you give up your own desires and place your life in God’s hands amazing things will happen. The biggest thing I have learned this year is; the plans you have for yourself will always fail in comparison to what God has planed for you. That’s not to say this year was not with out it’s trials, but the more I gave up control the more I realized that I don’t have to have it all figured out.

So what’s the plan for this year, you ask… I’d love to say that I don’t have one, but if I’m being honest with myself I do. After all I am human! Most importantly, I want to grow in my understanding of God, grow closer to him and stronger in my faith. I want to really to find a way to really let go of a few things in my past and start a new. I want to continue to develop, grow and nurture the relationships in my life, those with my family, my friends, the other leaders, the students and really any one I come in contact with. And I want to learn to let go of the things I can not control and rely more on God to give me what it is I need and not what I think I need.

“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” (Jer 29:11)

Monday, November 18, 2013

God's Little Lessons

It's been a while since I have been on here and there has been so much on my heart that I felt like I need to write some of it down, this is my way of processing things sometimes. Bare with me here it's 6 in the morning, I've been up since 5, and I'm not normally up this early. I'm just hoping my thoughts come out coherent.

Almost six months ago that Joey asked my to go on the missions trip with the students to Indy. I had been considering volunteering for a while but wasn't sure if it was what I needed to do at the time, or if I was prepared to do it. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. At the time I never could have imagined the ways it would change me.

What I wasn't prepared for was how quickly I would form a bond with my girls. With a few I felt myself becoming more and more protective of them, worrying about them and loving them during that trip to Indy, with others it was more gradual. There have been times that I want to hurt those that are hurting my girls. I walk this line between being their friend and a mother duck, but as I do I can feel God working not only in me but I can see it in these girls.

Growing up due to swimming as much as I was I didn't spend a ton of time in church. My mom and dad showed me a love for Christ and I began to know him, but between practice and school church took a backseat. This is to no fault of my parents they were supporting me in something I loved. However, this caused me to not have a significant knowledge of scripture, my greatest area of concern when working with the girls. I was afraid that because I did not have this knowledge I would not be an effective leader for them. But as I place my faith in God and as I trust more and more in his plan (something that is extremely difficult for me), the more I find myself being at easy with my students. I love sharing with these girls as they triumph, grow and mature, and I hurt when they hurt.

The last couple of days have really shown me the difference between expensive and cheap love. About how as you truly invest in someone the ways they begin to affect your own life, not just how it is affecting theirs. I find myself hurting when I know my students are hurting. This was the case on Friday. I was brought to tears at work as I learned of something one of my girls was dealing with. I found myself praying over and over again for this girl, her family and her friends, praying that God would show me how to handle the situation.

 I don't tell you this so I can get a pat on the back, but I share it to show you how much these girls are affecting my life in ways I never thought possible. Through them I am learning so many of God's little lessons. To trust in him and his plan for me, something I really need to apply to another situation in my life, that when I trust in that plan he will give me the tools I need to accomplish it, and that by showing expensive love rather than cheap love I will truly see a true, deep and even sometimes spiritual difference in someone. It's always funny the ways God decides to share these little lessons with me, I will forever be grateful to him that he has chosen to share them with me through these girls!

Well I probably should get ready for work. It's going to be a long day!

Until next time...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Indy 2013: So much more than just a road trip!

So I have sat down to write this blog a couple of times, I have started it in my head even more. Naturally I am deciding to do it while I should probably working on my test which is due tomorrow or my make up assignment from missing class during the trip. I'm not really sure where to start, what is really important and how in detail to go.

Let me start by saying I had been considering going on the trip for about a month before Joey asked if I was interested in going. When he did ask me my natural reaction was to say no. Those of you who know me know I am hardly an adult. I have avoided being one as much as possible, so going on this trip would be brining me way to close to actually being one. As I started to really think about it the more I felt lead to go.

For over a year I had been praying every night for my path to be shown to me. I have been looking for a place to fit in within the work force. For something I would really want to do for the rest of my life. I had began to feel like I was being called to work with kids, high school or middle school age. Although, I wasn't really sure if that was something I really wanted to do. I decided to use the mission trip as a way to see if working with that age group was really something I wanted.

To say the trip was life changing may be going a bit too far and sound a little clique, but it definitely was way more amazing than I could have imagined it to be. I honestly wasn't crazy excited about going, I was pretty blah about it. Hence the fact that at 7pm on the night we were scheduled to leave three hours later I still wasn't packed. But within a couple hours and several different conversations with our students I realized why I was suppose to be there.

Let me take a minute and just say that I am beyond proud and honored to know the students at City Life! They have changed they way I am looking at the future. If they are any indication of the people that are in this world we will be ok. They are some of the most giving, selfless, and hard working people I know!!! I learned so much from them, their personal stories and their actions while we were gone. I'm pretty sure I came away from this trip changed more by the students we took than the work we were doing. (I really hope that is ok!)

This trip quickly become about more than just painting a few buildings, pulling weeds or organizing a thrift store. It was about giving hope and inspiration to not only the people who would be using those ministries but for myself and for the students. On the last night in Indy I'm sitting in the debrief with the students listening to them speak about what the week had meant to them, it was then that it hit me, this is what I am suppose to be doing. I am suppose to be working with this age group.

I have no idea what this is going to look like. Will I get a job some where and work full time with the age group? Or am I being called to just be a leader on our student team? Well for now I'm taking the steps to do both. I have begin applying for jobs within the school district as well as a few non profit organizations, and I am currently in a "probation" period with the student team to make sure I want to be a leader. What I do know is that I want to be part of their walks with our Lord and Savior, I want to go to their games and watch them play/cheer, I want to develop a relationship with them where they feel comfortable to come to me when they have an issue, and I want to see what they will make of themselves and how they will change the world. Because believe me these kids are going to do some AMAZING things!!!

I want to take a moment and just ask those of you who are reading this to say a prayer for me as I continue to follow this path I feel God is laying in front of me but also please pray for these students. They are not only the future of our church, they are the future of our city, our country and our world!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Where To Go From Here?

It's been a while since I've been on here and not a lot has changed. I'm currently working at an apartment complex, and continuing with grad school. Not much is going on right now, other than my search for what I want to do with me life. You would think since I am so close to 30 that I would have some sort of idea. Well you wouldn't be alone in this line of thinking. I kind of feel like I should too.

As a kid I wasn't really the one that knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. Unlike both of my brother who knew from a very early age. Mac basically was born, looked at the doctor and said airplane. This kid could tell you all the specs on a ridiculous amount of airplanes by the 3rd grade. Jarrett was about the same age when he decided he wanted to be a doctor. Thanks in large part to the amazing ones he had as a child. For a while I wanted to be a marine biologist, then a sea world trainer, those are the last jobs I can remember really wanting to do.

So fast forward to my college years, I was entering WSU with no real idea of what I wanted to do with my life. Upon advice I received from my parents and those around me I declared my business major my first semester of my freshman year. Looking back this may not have been the best move for me. In retrospect I wish I would have taken the time to take a few different classes to see what I really enjoyed. I choose business because I knew in the long run it would end up being a versatile degree but to be honest I never really loved it. (Yes I realize the irony in the fact that I am currently working towards my MBA!)

Over the last few months as I have been applying for jobs this dilemma I have been facing for the entire life still hasn't become any clearer. I have applied for almost anything and everything under the sun in hopes that somehow thing would become clearer. At times I have begun to feel extremely lost, like I have no idea what the road God is leading me down and what it is I am suppose to do with my life. Nightly I pray that I can see where he is leading me and that he would show me what his plan for me is.

I have started to feel what I can only assume is a calling towards working with children. My time serving as a team leader for the nursery at church and then my excitement when I was asked to be a leader on the student mission trip this summer has started to open my eyes a bit. What is confusing to me is if this is really my calling or if this is me trying to read into the situations around me. How does one really know?

Yes, I realize I blog about this a lot, and I know I am constantly saying that I know there is a plan for me but there aren't really any truer words than those. My plan will be revealed in time and when it does it's going to be amazing! Until then thank you for taking the time to walk this path with me.