Thursday, November 25, 2010


On this Thanksgiving, I am overwhelmed with blessings and I don't even know where to start. I have certainly been blessed in the past, but only in this past year or so have I truly been able to see how God has blessed me and given me reasons to thank Him with all that I am. This year, I'm not thankful because I'm supposed to be thankful; I am thankful because of the overflow of this full heart of mine. So, on this Thanksgiving day, here is what I am thankful for:

I am thankful for my God. For His provision, His providence, His protection, and His redemption. For His forgiveness that I can't begin to comprehend. For Christ, whom He sent so I could be saved. For the fact that He has a better plan for me than I ever could ask or imagine. For the transformation He's doing in my life. For the blessings He gives and hard things He brings me through for His greater glory. For the fact that no pain or grief or sin is ever wasted, but He uses it and brings good from it. For the assurance of salvation... I am so happy I don't have to worry about where I will spend eternity.

I am thankful for my family. For the testimony we have as a family who didn't let hard things get them down, but kept pressing on and honored the Lord through it. For y'alls support in my crazy idea to go to Rome. For the love you show me even when I'm unlovable. For the fun I can have with you... y'all crack me up.

I am thankful for my friends. For the laughs. For the tears. For letting me be myself. I am blessed by your presence in my life. I couldn't have picked better friends. I don't know how you put up with me sometimes, but you do. You love me more than I deserve.

I am thankful for my 242 girls. Without you, I don't know where I would be. Y'all were there for me in the toughest times and are with me today. You know me inside and out, and still love me. You are the community everyone longs for but can't seem to find. I feel so at home with you, and love you dearly. And y'all make me die laughing. The inside jokes are innumerable, and I love it.

I am thankful for my leaders in the faith. For Lindsee, Dondi, Angie, Jessica, JJ, Mrs. Ina, Mrs. McKeand, Ms. Diane, Pastor Brian, Mr. G, Mr. Terry, Allison, Amy, Dave, Dana, Beth Moore, and others. For showing me how to serve the Lord with joy. For teaching me what it means to be a Christian. For being mature Christians I look up to and want to be like when I grow up. For investing into this nerdy, homeschooled, redhead's life. For supporting me and believing in me when I don't believe in myself. For speaking wisdom into my life continuously.

I am thankful for my teachers in school. Mom, Mrs. Money, Mr. Frazier, Mrs. Snow, and Mrs. Kapavik, just to name a few. For pushing me academically even when I didn't think I could do it. For helping me love learning and learn to appreciate the wonderful education I've been blessed with the opportunity of having. For helping me realize that God desires for us to learn and use our brains wisely.

I am thankful for the Word. For it's correction, reproof, and teaching. For the way God speaks to me through its words. For the fact that it is God-inspired and inerrant. For the blessing of having it in my own language and owning multiple copies.

I am thankful for technology. As annoying as it is sometimes, I am thankful to be able to communicate with people that are far away. For Skype that will become my best friend in Rome. For the convenience of so many things that were, at one time, so inconvenient. For the knowledge I am continuously absorbing (there's also countless junk I absorb, but let's concentrate on the positive, people!).

I am thankful for all of my material possessions. I have always had EVERYTHING I need and MANY of the things I want. I eat much more than 3 grains of rice a day. I have clean water readily accessible. I have never been without electricity (not even a need! People lived without it for hundreds of years!). I have tons of clothes, a home, and air conditioner (THANK the Lord for the air conditioner!).

I am thankful for my church. For the people who have loved me since I started coming to church as a baby. I've seen you grow in the Lord and it encourages me to grow along with you. For Greg, who has pushed me and stretched me and had faith in me and encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone to serve the Lord.

I am thankful for the opportunity to go to Rome. I want to learn to be more like Christ. I want to help the Elliott family obey what the Lord is doing. The desire of my heart is to serve God with every part of my life, and that includes where I decide to live and what I decide to do, not just how to go about my American dream with a Christian twist.

I am thankful for transformation. For the work God is doing in my life. For the grace He has given me despite who I am. That I don't have to stay where I am, but that God welcomes change in my life so I can be more like Him. I don't want to be who I was, but I want to continually be more God-honoring every day.

Hoping and praying you are able to remember things you are thankful for today! Would you share some things with me? Let's rejoice in each other's blessings!

Psalm 100
"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Just Hard

Life isn't all sunshine and roses. Everything that happens in life isn't always fun. Trials come, hardships are inevitable. Just as life isn't always easy, going to Rome isn't always easy.

Today I had my first run-in with opposition in my decision to go to Rome. To be honest, it pretty much stunk. People have asked questions and been interested in figuring out why I'm going, but they haven't told me directly that they think I'm making a big mistake. Maybe they're just being polite, but I sure am thankful!

My sweet mom got the brunt of it today, but she came home and told me and I was about in tears. And it wasn't long before they were full-fledged tears. Now, I understand that people are just trying to look out for my well-being and they're not deliberately trying to be discouraging or rude. They think they know what is best for me and want to voice their opinion. I am thankful for their thoughtfulness. Yet, in my frustration (mostly because I'm realizing my family and friends have to deal with all of it and not just me!) I am reminded that Jesus was mocked and ridiculed. It also reminds me that this is the reason I am serving God rather than men! If I was doing this for men's glory, I'd be continually discouraged and talked out of leaving. Because man's approval is the approval and acceptance I want, I am free to live as God calls me.

Life isn't always fun, but God makes it worth it. He make bad into good. He takes the hard times and turns them into joy. He turns opposition and ridicule into solidification that this is God's will for me. After all, if people understand exactly why I'm going, is that really faith? Is that really trusting God to lead me? I'm convinced it probably isn't.

Honestly, what I really don't understand about all of this is that, if God is calling me to serve Him in Rome, why do you feel the need to tell me not to follow Him? Christians (and I mean this VERY generally! I happen to know MANY people who are the complete opposite and encourage me, but it still happens.) tell the younger generation to love the Lord and follow Him in everything and don't worry about what other people are saying but as long as you're at peace with God about it then go for it, but we turn around with a plan and a direction where we believe God is leading us and what happens? It's too dangerous, it's too expensive, it's too this, too that. ISN'T THAT WHY WE HAVE A BIG GOD? I understand the need for safety (especially for minors under the care of their parents) and to be cautious and such, but didn't the disciples risk their lives for the sake of Christ? Wasn't Paul put in jail because He was following the Lord? And didn't God take care of them?! He most certainly did! AND He furthered His kingdom through it! Also, the Bible clearly command us "preach the Gospel to all nations" and tells us to "suffer for his sake" but we also can lean on the truth that He will take care of us! Even if I die in Rome (and I don't plan to and there's no reason I am led to believe I will... AT ALL!), isn't my life for the glory of God? If God brings me home for His glory isn't that all I care about? I, too, am often frightened by the unknowns of living life in another country but in the core of my being I know without the shadow of a doubt that the Lord will take care of me, and that's all I need. You are free to say whatever you want to about where God is leading me, but I am following Him with joy in the call He has placed on my life to follow where He leads and that's not negotiable.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Resurrection of the Blog

Why yes, I am still alive. I know, I know, it's hard to believe after this over-a-year-long blogging absence. Rest assured, I have been well.

Because of the recent development of my upcoming trip to Rome, Italy, I've decided to pick up the blog again (and because I've missed blogging and wanted to revive it a long time ago!). This will be a place for me to update on how the preparations for Rome are coming along and also just to write out what I am thinking/feeling in the process. I will also post prayer requests and financial support info. Once I get to Rome, I will be updating on my life there and let you in on what God is doing in and through me while I'm there. Because I like to think and write a lot, I will also be posting random things as I feel the need.

In a nutshell (in case anyone doesn't already know), I am leaving in January to go be a nanny for the Elliotts, a missionary family with Campus Crusade for Christ who have 4 kids. Because of the demand of 4 children (and the added stresses of living in a foreign country, like having to go to the market almost every day), they are in need of someone to help them with the kids and around the house so they are better able to concentrate on the most important things instead of being caught up in logistics. I am so excited about this opportunity to serve the Lord with my experience in working with kids!

First update: I bought my plane ticket to Rome this past week! I am leaving January 4th, and simply can't wait! The Elliott's are living in Houston at the moment and I will be able to fly back with them (versus flying back after they do). It didn't look like it was going to work out for me to be on the same flight as them, but the Lord provided and for that I am grateful! It was so surreal buying a flight to ANOTHER COUNTRY! For SIX MONTHS! When I was ready to press the purchase button, I just sat there for a few minutes to think about what I was doing. I had dreamed about that moment for years, and it was finally coming true. For the past few years I have been sensing a call on my life to international missions. How right it is that God gives us all gifts and abilities to serve Him. Although I never thought I'd be using my experience with kids to further the Gospel in Italy, God provided a way and I am thrilled to be a part of what He is doing in the world.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a life of adventure in You! What a blessing it is to use the gifts you have given me to further the Kingdom!
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