Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dare 2

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32
Good morning! Fortunately for me, my patience was not tested yesterday, so I passed yesterday's love dare with flying colors:) It is so much better to be off to a good start than quickly falling behind. However, I will continue yesterday's along with this new one...after all, it could not hurt to practice patience. And I do love my husband so much, which is enough reason to hold my tongue and not say anything negative...come what may.
For today, I am dared to focus on kindness--which is love in action. "If patience is how love reacts in order to minimize a negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance." Friends, I must say I love being positive. And the fact that Zane and I were drawn towards each other and began to fall in love the more we were kind to one another causes me to wonder if we could fall even deeper in love with more kindness being portrayed? If love makes you be kind, then how is it that so many marriages become drastically unkind? I believe that at some moment in a marriage, one or both people become self-serving (I say 'become self-serving,' assuming that at the beginning of a marriage, spouses are so wrapped up in each other, almost every action is geared towards making the other more comfortable, and feel loved.) It doesn't help that society preaches independence and that one can only count on themselves. I believe that one of the reasons I am so secure in my marriage is that I recognize my independence was changed into something more beautiful when I said "I do." Now I have the opportunity to share my life, my ideas, my insecurities, my private moments, with someone who is in this as much as me. And if I am self-serving, and neglect the intimacy that can be realized through caring for one another, then yes, my marriage will be unkind, and lack love.
Kindness encompasses 'four basic core ingredients:' 1)Gentleness--being sensitive, tender, speaking the truth in love. 2) Helpfulness--meeting needs. "Kindness graces a wife with the ability to serve her husband without worrying about her rights. Kindness makes a husband curious to discover what his wife needs, then motivates him to be the one who steps up and ensures those needs are met, even if his are put on hold." 3)Willingness--being agreeable, cooperative, flexible. Compromise. Accomodate. I am not going to pretend any of those are easy. I have the willingness to bend to my will. But it is so terribly difficult for me to compromise--and that is a must in a marriage. 4)Initiative--kindness thinks ahead then takes the first step. (This is great...I can treat this like a competition! And win, because I am way more competitive than my dear husband. He is terrified I will be that soccer mom that all the other parents despise because I yell at the ref...or worse, the kids on the opposing team. Fortunately I have plenty of time to work on my sportsmanship!) A kind husband or wife greets first, smiles first, serves first, and forgives first. Not conditionally. Not when it is easy. Even when it is hard, the kind one extends the hand first.
I wonder how Zane would rate me on the 'kindness meter?' In Proverbs 31:6, a woman's husband and children bless and praise her because of her noble attributes, saying "She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." I bet her mouth opens in wisdom because she is patient and seeks kind words rather than reacting negatively. I would love for God to mold me into a woman likened to the Proverbs 31 woman. But, I must pray for patience as He molds me into the woman He created me to be.
Todays Dare: Do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
Previous Dare(s): Be patient.

--Inspired by The Love Dare.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dare 1

"Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:13
Good morning! I am off to a new adventure and thought you might enjoy it. I bought The Love Dare at the beginning of the year, and am finally getting around to it. This book is by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, and was the inspiration for the movie Fireproof, or Fireproof inspired the book. Either way, I am excited to be tackling this. Everyone can dare to love more! So, 'The Love Dare is a 40-day challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love.' I'm looking forward to this. I hope you are too! I will take the dare day by day and let you know how and when I stumble (I'm sure it will happen), what the dare is, and a corresponding verse to go with it. I'm looking forward to how God will increase my love for my incredible husband...and the best thing is, he does not know I am going through the book:) And no, he doesn't read my he will either think I am crazy at times, or find me really charming and loving. A hopeless romantic. I will be dared to think differently than the world tells me to--lead my heart rather than be led by my heart. Blogging about it will help me to capture what is happening to both me and Zane along the way...and further roots my understanding the I have the responsibility to protect and guide my heart. Here goes:
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Eph. 4:2 Did that make you cringe? It made me! That familiar scripture was the first thing I read upon Day 1, after the title: Love is patient. Oh no. The gentle part, I can handle. The humble...well, I'm earnestly seeking to get better. But patient? Friends, I don't know about you, but I absolutely loathe going through something that requires patience. I'm not good at it...and I'm not sure I necessarily want to be good at. I want what I want, when I want it. But I also fully understand how beautiful and indescribable it is when something we have longed for, waited for, comes to pass. Patience is such a difficult virtue to master. One that God is always teaching me. But as a Christian, I am told repeatedly to be patient. The scripture is full of God's patience towards His people. Of His unconditional love for His people. If God were not patient, He would not love us unconditionally. He wouldn't love us. We would all be in so much trouble--because we make the same mistakes over and over and over and over. When someone makes a mistake towards me, my patience is already short. But when someone makes that same mistake twice, my fuse is shot. Praise God He loves us. He is jealous for us. And He will be patient with us, that we may abound in His steadfast love.
So, I suppose that is where this Dare comes in. I vowed on our wedding day to love Zane til death. We wrote our own vows, and read traditional ones, but part of my vows were to be patient, be slow to anger, to seek kindness and be that gentle tongue which turns away wrath. I promised that our strengths mixed with each other's weaknesses would only allow us to love each other more and abound in our need of Christ. And, I vowed to seek Christ, with Zane, and keep Christ the center of our lives, that we could grow to learn how to love each other perfectly...loving better as each day passes.
So, this means for me, that when I get my hopes up, I will be patient--which means kind and loving--and bear with my husband. Listen to his view point. Compromise where a compromise is possible. Notice that in the scripture, vs. 2b states to 'be patient, bearing with one another in love.' Being patient won't always be easy. But if I can be conscientious of Zane's heart, and bear with him in love, then God will enable me to be patient.
"When you choose to be patient, you will respond in a positive way to a negative situation. You are slow to anger. You choose to have a long fuse instead of a quick helps you settle down and begin extending mercy to those around you. Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm...Patience is where love meets wisdom...few of us do patience very well, and none of us do it naturally. But wise men and women will pursue it as an essential ingredient to their marriage relationships."-Kendrick
So my dare? Resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to Zane at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. "It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret." Or as Thumper says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Monday, June 28, 2010


Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend, too. Mine was incredible. I spent my weekend in Chattanooga with friends and family...the people that bless my life more than words can say. This will be my shortest blog EVER. But I really just wanted to get on here and ask you to spend time with the people you love most. Take a moment to think about who they are and make time for them. As I get older and more 'life' happens, it becomes more and more difficult for me to make the time to spend with family and friends...and it most certainly does not help living in another state. So please, take some time and get together with the people you love and cherish every moment with them. The Fourth of July is coming up this weekend. Sounds like a good time for me and my hubby to travel to Knoxville!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Trust for Security

Well, good morning! Welcome to my corner. I am having an absolutely beautiful morning. My husband flew back late last night from a business trip in Seattle...I am not ready for him to be gone from me so long. That, and my dogs got accustomed to sleeping on the bed (it helps me feel safe), so it was slightly sad watching their faces go from sheer joy from seeing their daddy, to mopeyness from sleeping on the hard floor. They think they have it so bad...silly things.
There has been so many studies done on whether dogs have emotions or not. If I was just reading a study and had no personal experience, who knows where I would stand on that. But my pups...they definitely have emotions. Frisbee thinks she is the best thing to ever happen. And Moxie thinks everything is out to get her. There is never a dull moment at our house! Especially when I bring out this red puppet named Harry that I've had since I was a little girl and chase the dogs around the house. Have you ever seen a Rottweiler/German shepherd mix quiver in fear. would if you saw her reaction to this puppet!!! I know my dogs realize they are completey safe with me and Zane. But how quickly they forget to trust us when something beyond their control happens.
So, this very well could be the 2nd to last blog regarding So Long, Insecurity. My women's biblestudy only has one meeting left which will be discussing the last chapter, as well as how God has been working in our lives to make us more secure. I have enjoyed every moment of learning our insecurities together...not because it is refreshing to learn that I am not the only one with security issues, but because we were all so open to share and have a hunger to be secure in Christ. And through these last several months, we have shared in each others experiences as we battle through our insecurities, and learn that we have absolutely nothing to fear.
Just to quickly tie in this entry with the latest "Sphere of Influence," please be reminded that we have a responsibility to our peers, our daughters, and the generations to come to live differently. Appropriately. Securely. It overwhelms me when I start thinking of the battles my children will one day have. Oh I just want to save them from everything! But if I did that, I would cripple them. I want them to be able to live in this dark world as a light...which means they will make mistakes, and God-willing, learn from them and step into His glorious riches. Beth Moore discusses how culture really gets in our way of letting our children be children for as long as possible. She says "there are a few things I genuinely hold in contempt. one is our culture's propensity to force our children to grow up too fast. Another sits in tandem beside it: teaching our daughters from the earliest age the high priority of sensuality..." and following up with "I don't expect advertising to improve, but we'd better start saying a few things to ourselves and our girls at significantly higher volumes." Well, I couldn't agree more. While I will most assuredly try and protect my children from the images that advertising displays these days, I can't do that unless I am to lock my child in a dungeon. Which, I won't do. So, me, and you...we will have to learn to better teach our kids that sensuality does NOT equal value. That they are beautiful and valuable the way they are. Following in society's advertisements will only chip away at your core, making you less and less secure by the moment. "Try as we might, we are not likely to change our culture. But we can let God change us, and vital change will happen within our culture." Remember, we will never know how far God reaches through us as the lives we live ripple throughout our sphere of influence.
But as long as we are self-absorbed people, we will recline on insecurity's chest as blind as possible. We must pour ourselves out to others, that we can leave this world better. Fuller. Securer. Christ showed us that giving, rather than getting, is the means to receiving. "To find yourself, your true, secure self, you must lose yourself in something larger...pursuing a life of purpose is one of our strongest guards against buying the superficiality that feeds security." And the only way to find our purpose, and be secure, is by the grace of God. We MUST learn to trust Him. Not trust Him to get my husband home safe from Seattle...but you better believe I was praying it! But trust Him to comfort me and grant me peace even if my husband didn't make it home safe. "Believe that He loves you and has you covered and takes every one of your hits as if they were aimed at His own skin." Whatever frightens you, lay it at the thrown of mercy. Give it to God, and trust His perfect will. Trust God with yourself. With your husband. With your job. With your health. With your family. With your friends. With your threat. Isaiah 33:6 promises us that "He is your constant source of stability." Amen! Mrs. Moore perfectly sums that up as, "we can drop the conditions off of our trust and determine that God will take care of us no matter what. Let me say that again. No matter what."
Let me paraphrase her: God has promised that His grace will be given according to our need...if we trust Him and hold on to Him for dear life...we will also thrive...we can give ourselves to purpose. In Psalm 112:7-8 we see the psalmist write "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes." That means we can be free because we know that in the end we will look in triumph on our foes. God will work all things, no matter how difficult or devastating, out to our advantage. And in the end, it will be beautiful.
Hold fast to this passage from Isaiah 58:6-11 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

--Inspired by Beth Moore's So Long, Insecurity.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Good morning! I know it has been a few days since my last post. Believe me when I say I have wanted to blog, but time is rare these days! I already have in my mind things I need to blog about...they are backing up. But rest assured, eventually I will get it all down.
So, friends, I have this huge desire in my heart now. During one of my trips to Romania I heard the term prayer warrior for the first time. I was intrigued by the term, but to be honest...embarrassingly honest...I thought that type of prayer life sounded boring. Sure God tells us to pray with out ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), but He couldn't have been serious. We have a lot going on! We can't just drop everything all the time and pray...who would have time to get stuff done. Not to mention wondering who has enough time to be a prayer warrior...praying the same things over and over and over...and really seeking God's will.
The truth is, I was still wrapped up in my will at the time. Being patient enough to be taught how to pray was not a top priority. But then I began to pray. I began to understand that while I'm driving, I can pray. While I'm talking with a friend and I say, "I will be praying for you," I can actually say a silent prayer right then. While cooking, cleaning, taking a shower, etc...I can pray. And if for some reason I run out of things to talk about...or my mind just goes blank for a moment (which has been happening a lot during the middle of my prayer times lately), I can sit. Be still. And listen. When praying, I so often fail to let God get in a word...but prayer is communication. Yes, God has provided prayer because we NEED Him. Not for His benefit, but for ours. Still, He has words of wisdom to speak to me, yet I keep rambling on.
The reason why I'm posting about this is because my very first post was inviting you on my journey as I grow closer to God. This is a journey I am embarking on. I want to learn how to be a Prayer Warrior. I want to pray without ceasing...and really understand what that means. I ran across a Prayer Bible the other day while looking for a novella from Stephanie Meyers to go along with my Twilight Saga...yes, I like the books. This bible went from Genesis to Revelation with devotionals and prayers and really focusing on how God's people prayed. I have asked my hubby to get that Bible for me for my upcoming birthday. Since I am asking you to join me on this journey, I also want your words of wisdom as well. Do you know of any studies I can do to teach me how to pray?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Living Sacrifice

It has been one tiring day just squeezed into a very tiring week! I hope you are feeling more relaxed than I am. I am in desperate need of a day at the spa...well, not need...but it would be absolutely fantastic if I could have one!
On Tuesday a tornado touched down in my parent's neighborhood. They are fine...Archie, their dog, is fine...but the backyard which they have been laboring over for weeks (years really) to get in prime condition has been destroyed. The fence. The fire pit. The auning (or however you spell that). Trees are all over the place. While the hammock is still attached to the trunks of the trees it swings from, poison oak has been tangled up in it...just a guess, but my parents may get a different hammock instead of reusing that one. However, the house was completely untouched! The garage my father built...the tree which stretched out over it laid in front of the garage door. I should say 'placed' in front of the garage and I both know God kept the tree from destroying my father's work of art!
Isn't that just incredible that God protected my parent's home. In fact, not a single home was destroyed. Some cars were damaged, but no homes, and no lives were taken. Praise God! I love hearing about daily miracles taking place!
So, for some reason I have had a song stuck in my head, so I did a little research. Every now and then you may come across the reason behind why a song was written. For example, Natalie Grant recalled the reason behind her song "Held" at a concert of hers that I went to. She had very dear friends that had been trying to have a baby for 10 years. Finally, they conceived and were full of thanksgiving! Of course! 10 years had been a long time. Then, 2 months after the baby was born, their baby was taken to be with the Lord. Oh the heartbreak! Every time I hear that song, and the lines "Two months is too little. They let him go, they had no sudden healing. To think that providence would take a child from his mother while he lay is appalling"...I just tear up. Knowing the story behind a song gives the lines new meaning.
The band BlueTree wrote the familiar song, "God of this City." I was speechless when I heard that song's story...chills made the hair on my arms was a beautiful moment when I learned about the song, and I so wished I had been there when God wrote the song upon BlueTree's lips. BlueTree is a band from Belfast, and they toured Thailand a few years ago. They were looking for a place to play and came across a bar. They were granted permission to play a show at the bar...what a great opportunity to sing God's praises and witness at a place where many looked to the bottom of a beer bottle for comfort rather than Jesus Christ. Well, as BlueTree was performing, they looked up to see all of these girls, ranging from children through teens, being auctioned off to top bidders. The lead singer recalls thinking that this was not where they were supposed to could God be letting this happen?! All of a sudden he starts singing 'You're the God of this city. You're the God of these people. You're the Lord of this nation, You are. You're the light in this darkness. You're the hope to the hopeless. You're the peace to the restless, You are. And there is no one like our God. There is no one like You God. Greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city."
Wow. A song never rehearsed. Lyrics not even thought of. God's promise about that city was coming through BlueTree. Greater things are still to be done in this city. You are the God of this city, these people, this nation. Does that not give you chills as well?
Well, the song I have had stuck in my head is one you may be familiar with. "Take My Life and Let it Be." I googled it to find a little more about it. Turns out, in 1874 a man by the name of Frances R Havergal was inspired to write this song based on one scripture alone. Romans 12:1. "Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." When I read that this song was inspired by this verse, one of my favorite verses in the Bible, it made complete sense. This song is a prayer of making every part of your body holy and pleasing to God...that your life may be lived for Him. Let's make it our prayer.
Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own. It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Your feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be, ever, only, all for Thee.

Modern artists have added a chorus that sings 'Here am I, all of me. Take my life, all for Thee.'
May God be so gracious to use all of me as a vessel for His name. I hope God gives me strength to pray this hymn every day.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Good afternoon, friends! I hope you had a very relaxing weekend. I sure did, though it went by extremely fast. My husband and I enjoyed eating blackberries in our back yard, giving the dogs a bath, going on a date and eating Thai, and many other things.
If you have been following my blog for a while, then you have probably figured out I love songs. Lyrics can be written in the most perfect is true. I could never explain God's grace in a way better than it is explained in 'Amazing Grace.' Nor could I praise God through pain and explain it to you in a way more clear than 'It is Well.' My soul comes alive to hymns. Far too often I feel like something inside me is about to just jump out of me. I suppose that is the extreme desire to be closer to be with be with my Father. What a glorious day that will be!
So, today I will share with you a song. This song has such a way of convicting me. Of humbling me. Though it is not a hymn, it is so powerful and shows our need to rely on God and to seek Him for wisdom. Seek Him for security. For love. For meaning. For everything. After all, what do I know of holy? I am a sinner. Unrighteous. Needy. And saved. But always in need of more Jesus. Always in need of less me.
I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from heaven, But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all, no
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes, could I behold You?
I guess I thought I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about how You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees
What do I know of You who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?
--Addison Road

I remember the very moment that the stories of God were no longer words upon a page. I remember being brought to my knees, feeling dumbfounded by the idea of Him being so close and me not caring. Me not surrendering. I remember how overwhelming it was when I realized I did not have a clue of holy. And how complete I felt when His grace and mercy embraced me. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! I never will forget that moment. His unconditional love.
I hope this song speaks to you. I pray these words will resonate so deep within us that we understand we cannot grasp the depth of Christ. We cannot begin to imagine how great He is. Our minds try to enclose Him, but it is impossible. He is Holy. He is all sufficient. He is to be feared. And He is mighty to save.
What do we know of holy?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sphere of Influence II

Good afternoon! I would just like to let you all in on a wonderful surprise and blessing. While letting our dogs play outside, I just happened to stumble upon a huge blackberry busy. We now literally have 1,000s of blackberries in our yard! At the beginning of the month, Zane and I had hoped to go pick blackberries at Washington Farms but were unable to due to a virus that had swept through their blackberry vines killing them all. God happened to bless us with more blackberries than we could have ever picked there. And they are free. Even better. Just a little reminder that God loves us freely and has a plan to prosper us. I love that in this moment He is doing so with blackberries.
Alright, onto setting good examples. In Sphere of Influence, I finished by quoting Beth Moore's statement: "Every acne-faced middle school girl you pass in the mall, texting on her cell phone or checking out that older guy in the food court, is your daughter. What are you going to do about her? What would you be willing to do for her?" And yes, I did feel like that was worth typing out again. It is far to easy to forget to remember that every girl around us we have the God-given responsibility to set an example for her! Dear friends, I fall short of that far too often. God help me be more like Jesus!
You may be wondering how we can set a better example for those around us. Before we do that, we have to STOP comparing ourselves to each other. Just because your best friend happens to fit perfectly into that cute summer dress from Target that doesn't quite accent your body in a way you would prefer doesn't mean you're fat. When we compare ourselves to each other and come to these unreasonable conclusions, it can take away from the intimacy of close friendships. "Intimidation suffocates the life out of intimacy" (Beth Moore). We tend to become competitive with one another--trying to be the prettiest, or the smartest, or the most athletic. You name some character or personality trait, and women can manipulate it into a competition. I hope you don't mind me sharing a little from Beth Moore's chapter 15: "The nature of our competition depends to a large extent on what we tend to value...We tend to make our toughest comparisons according to our top priorities...But we can stop playing the game even if no one else in our environment signs the no-compete...When we work from an activated mentality of God-given security, we are fully capable of thinking another woman is beautiful without concluding we are ugly. We can esteem another woman's achievements without feeling like an idiot. We can admire another woman's terrific shape without feeling like a slob. Where on earth did we come up with the idea that we have to subtract value from ourselves in order to give credit to someone else?" Friends! She nailed that question on the head. When I read that, I had to stop for a moment and think...yeah, where did I learn that? It is crazy. But far too often, we do just that! I have to give you a few examples that were pointed out in the book.
I tried to talk to her+she seemed really distracted=she hates me.
She's really gorgeous+she gets a lot of attention that I don't=she must be really conceited
Do those comparisons crack you up as much as they did me when I read them? Wow. I could definitely think of things in my own life where I had come to conclusions based off of the 'she is this+I am that' mentality.
We have to stop making these rationalizations about one another! Either we get hurt, or she gets hurt, or both of us! Not to mention, other people are often caught in the crossfire. And when we draw those conclusions about a dear friend, sometimes that conclusion can fester in us and become overly exaggerated--before you know it we see that friend as a rival rather than a person to share tea and laughs with. But before someone becomes a rival, we have to depersonalize them. They just become someone who is out to show us up. Or make us look bad. "And make no mistake, it's a vicious habit. In order to nurse a rival mentality, we almost always view our competitor through a one-dimensional lens. She is not a person. She is a contender."
Friends, how on earth can we set good examples for one another when we are so caught up in competing with every person we see?! 1 Peter 3:9 tells us to "Not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless one another, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing."
So how do we break the cycle? Ask God for help. We must humble ourselves before our Father. He already sees all the dirt inside us. We must ask Him to cleanse those areas and make us love one another. Love one another better. In doing so, God will make us into secure women, by making us more secure in Himself. In doing so, He will also enable us to encourage our friends into security. And as we become secure women, those around us will see. God will work in our lives more than we will ever know if we will just call on Him and let Him change us. "If you'll become the first example in your sphere of influence, you won't be the last" (Beth Moore). Isn't that refreshing?! Those acne-faced middle school girls can catch a bit of our God-given security and take it into their schools with them. Oh if our youngsters could just be secure in themselves, in Christ, then they wouldn't need to turn to boys. We must set the example. We have a world that God can and will change, and I sure hope He takes me along to be used as His vessel!
Beth Moore concludes this chapter by pointing out a verse. I never would have thought to think about this verse in this way, but I am so glad she pointed it out! When I became a Christian, Jesus came into my heart to dwell. And He is there right now, dwelling within me. Psalm 84:1 says "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!"
Breathe that in. Now reread that verse. Can you just imagine how different we would live if every one of our days we started off saying "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!" As Christ compels me to change, which I do as my relationship with Him grows--it simply cannot stay the same, and if it does, there is something terribly wrong in my life keeping me from my Saviour--then I grow more lovely. More lovely to be used by Him. Praise God! Too often we think we are growing uglier, older, less valuable. But Jesus thinks we are lovely and He has chosen to spend eternity with us.
So let's go out into the world secure, and with dignity, and with confidence, because the God of all creation, the ONE TRUE GOD, thinks that we have value...and He thinks we are lovely.
-Inspired by Beth Moore's book, So Long, Insecurity.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The First Day

Today is a very special day for me and my husband. Not as special as our Wedding anniversary, but pretty close! 2 years ago, on June 10th, 2008, Zane and I embarked on a new journey.
I woke up that early Tuesday morning feeling different. I just knew something big was about to happen. It was amazingly clear to me! I spent the next two hours or so trying to pick out exactly what to wear. I was not necessarily 'stressed' because I knew Zane couldn't care less about what I wore, but I needed to look good nonetheless. After throwing clothes here and there, I finally resorted to an old red shirt, pink shorts with red stripes, and the super cute pink shoes I had bought in Romania. I was ready to go, and ready to start the day that had been planned out by my boyfriend.

On our way towards Signal Mountain--the base is roughly 10 minutes from where I lived at the time--I started getting hungry. Sometimes hunger is calling and there is nothing you can do about it! Fortunately, there was a Pizza Hut right next to where we were so we pulled in there. I'm not going to lie...there could not have been a better location to stop and grab lunch. I LOVE pizza!

While there, I began my 20+ questions of where we were going to go after lunch. When Zane wouldn't respond to my pesky questions, I began guessing witht he promise that if I guessed right, Zane would let me know. I guessed everything from the aquarium, to the blue hole, to horse-back riding...everything! Zane had convinced me I would never guess so the next words out of my mouth were: "Are you taking me to an orchid farm?"

He lied. Of course. He had to. Besides, how on earth would I guess something like that?! I didn't even know orchid farms existed...especially not in Chattanooga, TN! And Zane didn't want to spoil my surprise, so he responded with, "Is there even an orchid farm around here?"

After lunch I waited with eager anticipation for our next stop. We travel up Signal Mountain and sure enough, Zane pulls into an orchid farm. Now, you must know: I think Orchids are the absolute most beautiful flower in the world. I am so incredibly thankful that God made them! I'm not really sure when or how my fascination with orchids came about, but when it did--it was full fledged love! As I read the sign stating 40 acres+ of orchids, I was breathless. I don't remember if I even looked at Zane, or what words might have been said...I was focused on more orchids than I ever could have imagined.

Zane and I get out of the car and he insists that I can take as long as I want. My only job: to pick out my favorite for him to buy for me. Really? 40+ acres and he wanted me to pick my favorite? Men just do not understand how difficult that can be! I walked up and down rows for the longest time, looking at all the different colors and types. Finally, I start thinking about what orchid would look best in my hair while walking down the aisle? I knew Zane was the one for me, and I wanted the first orchid plant he ever bought me to be one I could replicate on my wedding day. I spent probably another 30 minutes trying to pick out the perfect white orchid with a purple throat. Then, there it was. Perfect. Cascading. Made just for me.

I'm pretty sure Zane was relieved that I had finally chosen a plant. It had taken me long enough! We started driving around Signal Mountain looking for a good place with a view of the city. We stumbled upon a vacant house for sale and decided to park in that driveway, look around, and just spend time together. Little did I know that Zane had brought my journal along. You see--I had started keeping a journal, 2 months and 11 days prior, of our time together. It started with the moments of our first date and had continued on to everyday life. Zane pulled out the journal and asked me to read it to him. He had already heard the story...I mean, he had lived it too! But I started reading anyways. It was a good 10 pages or so, front and back, long so we had a great deal of time sitting and reminiscing of just a couple months before. When I was done Zane said, "That's a great story. I can't wait to start the next chapter." I told him, "You can't read the rest though. Not yet anyways." (You see, I had this idea in my mind that the journal would be a wedding gift to him. I didn't want him to read all my private thoughts before sealing the deal, if you know what I mean?!) Zane firmly said, "Just flip some pages and find something you can read to me." So I did. And there it was. A page that he had written on. Will you marry me? And my ring was taped just below.

It took just a moment, and then I quickly asked, "Are you sure?" I couldn't believe Zane actually wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He had certainly told me before that I was the one for him. But this was serious. He was actually proposing this time. There was a ring there! Zane was on one knee at this point telling me all the reasons why I was the one for him and the life he wanted to share with me. Then he asked me again, "So, will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?" I said, "Get the ring on my finger!" When looking at the picture you see just a little smudge where the tape that was holding my ring remains on the journal.)

To this day, we are unsure as to whether or not I ever said yes. He thinks I did. I think I didn't. But who cares. I said 'I do' 10 months later so 'yes' is implied. God had given me not just the man I had been praying for my whole life. He had given me someone even better.

And that was the first day of the rest of our lives. I love you, Zane.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sphere of Influence

Good evening! How was your day? Mine was full of commuting and work, until just about 30 minutes ago. Zane and I arrived back home, I whipped up a yummy avocado chip dip (courtesy of my mother's recipe), went outside to water the tomato plant and clip off the yellow leaves while inspecting for worms crawling about, cleaned the kitchen, and now will relax for a moment before making some dinner. Strangely, although the day has been busy, I feel relaxed at the moment. Extremely relaxed. It is such a breath of fresh air to be able to sit back and write down my thoughts!
Last night was Tuesday...which means women's biblestudy as we learn to say, "So Long, Insecurity!" If you are just stumbling upon my blog, the women's biblestudy I partake in has been studying Beth Moore's most recent book, So Long, Insecurity. We are learning to be secure women in the Lord--taking back our God-given strength, and our God-given dignity!
The chapters we read for this past week were more of an editorial, with one important message: the way we live our lives now will impact our friends, our family, our daughters, their daughters, their daughters, etc. And each woman has a hard life to live. We all make mistakes and have our various bumps in the road, but Christ has called His children by name, with a distinct purpose, and He has cleansed His children from unrighteousness. While we all may have been ugly once on the inside--despicable even--once we ask Jesus to come into our hearts, He cures us.
Despite the immediate cleansing of ourselves once we ask Jesus to come into our lives and change us, we, like Paul, often have the desire to do what is good, but the lack of will to carry it out. You know what we have to do to change that? Abide in Christ. Submit to His steadfast love and will, and know that He will always provide a way for us to choose the right path. I don't know about you, but it is a daily prayer for God to keep my eyes open that I may not drift away again, like I have so many times before. And as I attempt to find my security in Christ, God is changing me daily. That isn't to make me prideful or think I'm better than you. I have simply become more aware of my need for Christ, my inability to be secure without Him--haha. My inability to be anything without Him. "I am not the woman I used to be, but the fact is, I started this journey because I wasn't yet the woman that I wanted to be"-Beth Moore.
Knowing that I am not where I want to be or should be pushes me on towards Christ more. One day, God-willing, I am going to have a little girl. She is going to have some pretty rough times from finding her first best friend, and then her best friend decides to be best friends with someone else, to her first pimple, to being over developed...or like her mother--'flat as a piece of paper,' to having a first crush who ends up asking her friend to the dance...or worse! Her friend asks her crush to the dance! Not getting the A that she studied all night to achieve, not fitting into the swimsuit that she wants, not getting into the college she desires, not getting first chair at a band competition. I could go on and on. It is a wonder any girl makes it out of 8th grade alive! And then there is highschool. HELLO! Followed by college which opens up a whole new door of endless insecurities to clothe in. Friends. We have got to wake up and see the girls around us who desperately need secure women to look up to. I'm not talking about girls who mask themselves in security by flaunting their ever-loving low cut halter top. I'm talking about secure women firmly rooted in Jesus Christ! If He is for us, who can be against us! (Romans 8:31b) If our young women can understand and believe that, then out! "You and I have got to make a definitive decision to be strong for our daughters...Every acne-faced middle school girl you pass in the mall, texting on her cell phone or checking out that older guy in the food court, is your daughter. What are you going to do about her? What would you be willing to do for her?..It's time we girls helped each other out."--Beth Moore

--Inspired by Beth Moore's book, So Long, Insecurity.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Good morning! I hope your morning has started off smoothly. I have yet to have my cup of Green Tea, but seeing as I will be going into a long meeting momentarily, the tea will have to wait.
I was listening to The Fish today on the radio--no surprise--and was paying attention to the words of Steven Curtis Chapman's song 'Fingerprints of God.' For whatever reason, I felt overwhelmed to blog this to you; one of you may very well need this reminder. I know I have needed to be reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Why is that so easy to forget? In the midst of our society's pressure of never living up to expectations, not being pretty enough, successful enough, smart enough, etc, not to mention the pressure we put on ourselves! reminded that the God of the universe made you for a purpose and He will see that purpose fulfilled--you just need to jump on board. There will never be another person quite like you. God made you an individual. Knitted you together with different fabric of His choosing.
"I can see the fingerprints of God when I look at you. You're a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds. And you're covered with the fingerprints of God."--Steven C.C. Dwell on that for a moment! Isn't it a bit overwhelming?
Be reminded of that. Hold those words dear. I hope they bless your heart today and forever! Have a wonderful day and make sure to pass along this to someone who may need to hear it. You never know how God may use you to pick someone else's insecurities up off the floor and bless their heart.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Good evening! Have you had a relaxing weekend? I sure hope you have! Mine has been--yet gone by too fast. I am currently listening to the pitter patter of rain on my window in harmony with the wood chimes hanging outside my front door. My dogs are fast asleep at my feet, my husband watching the basketball game, and all is well at the Seals house! Welcome to my corner:)
Several months ago, one of my dear friends gave us 2 tomato plants. Now, I have never grown fruits and vegetables before. I cannot even keep an orchid alive which requires little water and sun. Needless to say, one of the tomato plants died before we even dug it a hole to root in. The other has kept my attention as I water it daily, minus the days it has rained. My husband tilled up the hard Georgia soil, filled it up with Miracle Grow, and placed our first tomato plant into God's earth. To me, that sounds like the makings of a great start for our fruit!
While looking on as it grows, it reminds me of the care God has put into my life. The time He has taken to water me with His scripture, with Christian friends, to teach my husband that He may lead me, to plant me in the foundation of His hands, till my heart and mind when I am too stubborn to see clearly. He never gives up on His own. And I am incredibly thankful for that. I want to grow into the woman God predestined me to be. I want to be the wife He calls me to be which will enable our marriage to be as God intended. But if I neglect prayer, communication with God, reading His word, spending time in fellowship, and serving those in need, then my longing to be closer to Christ is just words.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" John 15:1-11.
Today, I went outside to see 3 tomatoes now revealing themselves beneath pretty yellow flowers. My tomato plant is bearing fruit. If the little bit of work that I have put into it can bring life, how much more will all the plans God has made for me bring life if I abide in Him?!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Crazy Love

Good morning! My Saturday morning started off early with Bible Study at 9 am. My LifeGroup met at Panera Bread this morning to discuss the last chapter of Crazy Love, the book we have been studying by Francis Chan. Dear friends, it is such an incredible book designed to wake up the sleeping church of America. There is no such thing as a 'lukewarm' christian. We may all go through times where we experience 'lukewarm' tendencies, but if we have Jesus in us, if we believe in Him, have faith that He is who He said He is and everything in the Bible is literal and true, we have no choice but to run towards Him, giving away ourselves for His for the Kingdom of God.
Everything I am about to blog is straight from Francis Chan...what now? Now that I know there is a choice that must be made, what will I now do. I want to share with you things that stuck out to me in chapter 10, 'the crux of the matter.' Please, if you have not read this book already...I know I just told you in my previous blog to go purchase So Long, Insecurity...go get this book. And wake up! Jesus has a plan for each one of us and I can promise you, none of us want to miss out!
"After the apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, people 'were cut to the heart and said...Brothers, what shall we do?' Acts 2:37. The first church responded with immediate action: repentance, baptism, selling possessions, sharing the gospel. We respond with words like Amen, Convicting sermon, Great book..." Friends, does that convict you? When I read those words, I was heart broken. Really. Even in this blog I am telling you what a great book Crazy Love is. I do not want to become paralyzed and forget everything I have studied. I want to live. Fully. And prosper. I want to obey God, no holding back. No questioning. I pray for this. If we say Amen, convicting sermon, and great book, and then go about our day then we are the very definition of hypocrit. That is the blunt and honest truth.
'Oswald Chambers writes, "never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you."...allow God to be as creative with you as He is with each of us.' I don't know about you, but me personally...there are so many times that I just want a friend to be changed the EXACT same way I was. If a sermon affected me this way, it better affect Zane the same. Since amazing grace makes me cry every time I sing it, it best make you cry too or else you are not really thankful for the grace God has given you. You must just be singing the words and not thinking about the meaning.--sadly, I actually have thought that so many times! Shame on me. Just because I have an extreme passion for orphans and music doesn't mean my friends, my husband, my family have to as well! "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 Francis Chan goes on to mention "that is why I cannot say in this book everyone is supposed to be a missionary or you need to sell your car and start taking public transportation. What I can say is that you must learn to listen to and obey God, especially in a society where it's easy and expected to do what is most comfortable."
If we love, we obey. Really. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" John 14:15. Even if it looks crazy to the world. My life is not suppose to make sense to a nonbeliever. If it does, I am not living like Christ wants me to live. Friends, if we are Christians, we must be completely obsessed with Christ. We must remember (1) 'if I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.' (2) 'we are not alone...there is so much more to our existence than what we can see. What we do reverberates through the heavens and into eternity.'
Francis Chan challenges us, christians, to try for a whole day to be conscious of heaven. Can you imagaine how different our day would look if we were looking above. If our minds were dwelling on eternity rather than the present? I have become more aware over these past months how much the actions of a christian can far effect the church. We do not know how far our actions will ripple throughout others lives, but people are watching us. If we call ourselves Christians, people will look up to us in certain situations, watch how we behave, and some will wait and hope for us to stumble. How I behave has a direct influence on how someone could see Jesus. As a christian, my reputation affects Jesus' reputation. That is a heavy burden! I am so thankful Jesus is with me along the way, to be my foundation and strength when I fall. Oh and I am so terribly thankful we have a merciful and gracious Lord! Furthermore, "how we believers live out our lives is a microcosm of the life of the church." I'm sure we all know people who have left the church because of a particular person. Friends! We have to be more aware of how we are perceived. "You do not need to preach to your pastor or congregation; you simply need to live out in your daily life the love and obedience that God has asked of you."
"For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God; for it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:10-12 When Francis Chan asked, 'what will people say about your life in heaven?' I had to put down the book and start praying for God to radically change my life. I do not want to get to heaven and look down upon the earth and realize how I wasted my God-given opportunity to work and serve for His kingdom. 'How will you answer the King when He says, "What did you do with what I gave you?'" Yeah...ponder that one. Ouch. If you are like is time we make a change. I want to be able to answer God that He may say 'well done, good and faithful servant.' If I were to die today, my response would be...umm...and then speechless.
I know this has been long. I am almost done! I promise! Let me tell you a story from the book. "I was recently told about a man who heard me preach on 1 Corinthians 15:19-20, where Paul writes, 'if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.' This man was convicted that since Christ is indeed alive, he needed to live like it. So he quit his well-paying job and became a pastor--something he had felt called to do for a while. When people make changes in their lives like this, it carries greater impact than when they merely make impassioned declarations. The world needs Christians who don't tolerate the complacency of their own lives."
May each of us be able to respond to God when we reach heaven's pearly gates, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8

--This has been a summary of my thoughts from Francis Chan's Crazy Love.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Strength and Dignity

Good evening! How are you doing this Friday night? It has been an exhausting day for me and my husband, but we are not going to let it get the best of us. We go to bed by 10 pm every night during the week; therefore, we are going to put in a movie right now, at 9:50 pm, and make it through. It is a Friday night! We must stay up until at least 11!!! (But, bright and early in the morning we will discover if that was a good idea or not due to us having biblestudy with our friends at 9 am. I know my eyes will be extremely heavy. Nevertheless, there is no better way to start off a Saturday morning than in fellowship with believers, studying God's word.)
So, I have not yet given an update on this past Women's Biblestudy! I apologize for that. It was full of growth! Dear friends, we are getting it! I am so excited. We were able to share stories of how God was building our confidence in certain situations--defining our actions with strength and dignity that He has given us. I really do not have too much to share with you. I believe I will ruin the book for you if I tell you every little piece, but please, PLEASE, go out and buy yourself a copy of So Long, Insecurity. It will do you good! Believe me. We all need to be more secure in Christ!
"The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord grants His people security." Psalm 29:11
"Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36
There you go! Those are the only items I will give you from chapters 10-13. It is time you get the book yourself and become firmly strong in the Lord, holding onto your confidence, and gain your dignity back! No one has the power to take it, but we give it away too often.
I love you all so much! Have a fabulous evening, hug the ones you love, and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ--that our confidence will be in the Lord. Strong and unwavering.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Good morning! I am so sorry I have been distant on here. To be completely honest, the long days are getting to me and by the time I get home...I just want to sit. Not open a computer. Just. sit. However, I want to fill you in on how the last week+ has been:
Zane has started his internship! He absolutely loves it. He and I commute to Atlanta each morning to get him to work, then I head back towards Lawrenceville for my job. After work, I head to Atlanta to get him, then we truck back home to Athens. Friends! It is so tiring. We are having a great time together in the car: Praying together, talking about our jobs, listening to Kevin and Taylor in the morning. In fact, yesterday morning I got on the radio and sang the chorus of 'Happy to be Stuck with You" to Zane. We were both so embarrased...but it was unbelievably cherishable! I am so thankful for the little blessings God keeps giving us. All this piled into the huge blessing of Zane's love is a miracle. It really is. Love is a strange and undefinable thing, but it really is a miracle to watch it grow. To feel it grow.
Later this evening, or perhaps tomorrow, I will update you on this past week's session of So Long, Insecurity with my dear friends from church. It was another blessed time to sit and discuss the strength that we are seeing God live out in our lives. I love that He is changing us. I love that we are praying for each other and seeking Him to change us more. We are going to be Secure women in Christ before long, full of His gracious love!
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39
Have a beautiful day! Please do not let all these thunderstorms get you down. Jesus loves you and is for you.