Archive | January 2012

The Grass is Always Greener…

A friend on FaceBook recently shared this quotation: “You may think the grass is greener on the other side.  But if you take the time to water your own grass, it would be just as green!” (anonymous).  I don’t remember now who shared it, but I was struck by the implications of this simple statement and have been thinking about it ever since. 

Girls, in general (and I definitely speak from experience here), have a tendency to gaze longingly at what someone else possesses and desire it for themselves.  Have you ever seen a picture of a girl on the front of a magazine at the checkout stand, and thought something along the lines of “If only my hair was gorgeous like that!” or, “If only I had such flawless skin!” or, “I wish I could be a little skinnier…or curvier…or taller…or thinner…” or any other variation.  Maybe you envy someone’s eyes, or their perfect teeth.  Maybe you long for different clothes and shoes.  I obviously don’t know the inner heart of every female on the planet, but I’ve spent enough time with young women to know that even the most self-assured girl longs for her “grass” to be a little greener than it is.  We gaze across the fence into another’s life and are sure that somehow that person has it better than we do. 

Unfortunately, this longing gaze causes us to neglect our own grass.  Imagine along with me for a moment:

Garden

A carefully tended garden

A young woman is put in charge of a garden patch.  She doesn’t know much about gardening, but she starts out excited by the possibilities.  Next door is a lovely, flourishing garden, and she can’t wait until hers look the same.  Every day, she hurries to the fence to see how the neighbor’s garden is doing, and every day, she is thrilled by the new blossoms and wonderful scents that come from it.  She watches as the neighbor waters her garden, pulls out the weeds, fertilizes, and trims back the dead foliage.  Imagine that our young lady continues her vigil for a month.  Day after day, she sees the wonderful beauty of the garden next door, and finally turns back to survey her own garden with disgust: overgrown with weeds, flowers dead or dying from lack of water, the smell of decay more prevalent than the smell of lovely roses…

Of course, this is a fanciful flight of the imagination, but I’m sure you understand where I’m going with this idea.  This young lady’s garden could be aptly compared to the lives of many young women in the world who see something in someone else’s garden and want it, desire it, even lust after it…but never do anything about their own gardens. 

Somehow we’ve tricked ourselves into the mindset that our lives are just going to be a miserable mess.  That girl on the other side of the fence is just naturally gorgeous!  That actress is just lucky to have men falling all over her.  The popular girl at school just happened to have the right looks, or possessions, or charm.  Notice, however, that I used the word “tricked.”  Yes, life sometimes throws difficult circumstances our way, but that should never stop us from attending to our little garden/lives. 

Carefully water, weed, and fertilize your own life, and I think you will be surprised at how remarkably beautiful your “garden” can become! 

Note:  In the next week or two, I will be sharing some of the ways I have discovered to take care of my little garden called life.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas, as well!

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Lessons from a Cell Phone

Life lessons can be learned from almost anything, including a cell phone!  Several months ago I brilliantly managed to drown my almost brand new touch screen Android phone.  When my husband got home from work, I confessed that my phone was now dead and showed him the dismembered remnants of my phone: SD card, SIM card, battery, back, etc. Of course, I was in tears.  As we all know, cell phones don’t come cheap and I felt so stupid for my clumsy accident.  

Adam quickly did everything he could to make sure all the component were dry, then dropped the phone in a bag of rice and proceeded to put his arms around me and say, “It’s just a phone.  Don’t worry about it!”  The next thing I knew, he pulled out his nice touch screen Android phone, pulled out the battery, replaced his SIM card and SD card with mine, then handed me his phone.  “Here you go, all better now!”  He then took one of our old phones, put his SIM card in it, and used the old phone for the next several months.  
I got to thinking that his actions were a wonderful example of what Christ does for us.  He takes our mistakes, our broken lives, our hurts, everything…and replaces them with His own.  He sacrifices for our gain, even when we absolutely DO NOT deserve it in any way!!  Jesus came not only to die for us, but as 2 Corinthians 5 tells us, he came to become our sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God.  To me, this means that our lives become reflections of Jesus’ life…the beauty of His perfect character is reflected onto us, replacing our darkness with His light.  In much the same way that the sun reflects its light onto the moon (which has no ability to shine on it’s own), lighting it up, so the Son of God reflects His beauty and light onto us (who have no ability to shine on our own), lighting us up with heavenly light!  When we look at the moon, what we are really seeing is the sun’s reflected light…and so whoever looks at us should be seeing a reflection of God.  
Read the following verses and consider the wonderful truth that Christ’s righteousness is ours, totally and completely:  
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.  Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:14-21, NASB).
What are some life lessons you have learned about God’s love? Have you seen Jesus reflected in someone’s life recently? 

Our Love Story, Part 1

This is the beginning of our love story, written in February of 2011.  Since this was written, our courtship continued, he proposed, and we were married in August of 2011.  The rest of our story will come later as we finish writing it!  

 

In January of 2010, a young man named Adam Woodiwiss moved to Pendleton to become the youth pastor at the church I attended and worked at.  At the time, I was very excited for the gift of working with Adam to bless the youth, but as the year went on, I discovered that God had something even bigger and better in mind. 

My life goal has always been and continues to be to ultimately bring God honor and glory in everything I do, reflecting His life and love in all my actions.  I have always been committed to living a life of purity and integrity to the best of my ability, and part of that commitment has been lived out through intentionally not dating anyone until such a time as God saw fit to bring someone extraordinary into my life and made it very clear that person was part of God’s perfect plan for my imperfect future.  Sometime during the summer of 2010, I began to suspect that Adam might be that special someone.  However, I continued to live my life as I always have, trusting God that if it was His will, he would work it out in His timing and His way.  During this time, I focused on putting God first and followed that with a strong commitment to my family, ministry, and education. 

Adam consistently supported this focus and commitment and we both chose to keep healthy boundaries as coworkers.  Little did I know at the time that God had been working in Adam’s heart throughout the summer to grow and develop a love for me that is now in full bloom in his heart.  It was late that summer that Adam began to realize and receive all that God was working in his heart.  Over the next few months, we worked together as a ministry team focused on impacting the youth of Pendleton for God.  God used that focus and dedication for His glory and we both believe He touched and impacted many of the youth of this community.  In December, we both stepped away from the church due to some internal conflict.  During the process of leaving, and Adam and I no longer being coworkers, God began to work in both of our lives.  We both sought Him first, seeking His healing and His guidance for both of us as individuals. 

It is often through hard times that we really learn to see the people who matter to us the most.  And it was through this hard time that God began to especially work in Adam’s heart.  During the first few weeks of January 2011, through several conversations with pastors, Adam’s family, my family, and fasting and prayer, he believed that God was directing him to take action in communicating his feelings and intentions with me.  On January 21st, Adam and I met for breakfast at Dennys and we had “The Talk.”  From that talk, we both decided to publicly declare what God has done and is doing in our lives. We have both maintained healthy boundaries in our lives…waiting for God to move in this area of our lives and to provide the blessing of a lifelong spouse worth waiting for.  We both believe that God is pouring out this blessing to us in each other. 

Adam and I both have 3 to 4 months of intense education before us (I am finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies, and he is completing Level 1 of the Berean School of Ministry), and finishing that education is a big priority, to both of us and to our families and friends.  Although we have chosen to make our commitment to each other public, we are not entering into a traditional “dating” relationship.  This means that the majority of the time we spend together is in group settings.  We are committed to keeping time alone together at a minimum and at times and in situations where maintaining physical purity is not a major challenge. 

A lot of people may question this and wonder how we are going to get to know each other.  My answer: We already know each other!!  We’ve spent a full year as friends and working together in ministry.  We’ve laughed together, played together, prayed together, and cried together as friends and as ministry partners.  Through these experiences, we’ve learned a great deal about each other, how we think and how we react both in stressful situations and in times of just enjoying life and having fun.  We have discussed our values in relation to God, to ministry, and to life; we have shared frustrations and joys, disappointments and victories.  I firmly believe that the past year has been a precious gift from God to us so that we could get to know one another as friends before romantic feelings ever entered the picture. 

Although the love that I have for Adam is growing deeper each day, it is not based out of shallow, worldly attraction.  It is founded in the deep appreciation I have for him as a dear friend, and out of the amazing character he has consistently displayed in all the time that I have known him.  He is a great man of God whose first and foremost concern is to live all out for his Lord.  

As Adam and I move forward together through the next several months, we ask that you, our friends and family, cover us in prayer: first for strength and provision as we finish school; second for strength to continue to maintain our strong boundaries; and third for clear direction from God and wisdom regarding our future together.  Please join us in being a part of our story in these ways.  As always, we pray that this year will hold abundant blessings for us as we move forward in God’s will, and the same for each and every one of you. Thank you for being a part of our lives.  God bless you and keep you always!  

Reflecting Beautiful

I love beauty, but what girl doesn’t?  There is something about the feminine heart that longs to be beautiful and to be surrounded by beauty.  This blog is meant to be a place where beautiful things are discovered, defined, and shared.

This entry was posted on January 17, 2012. 1 Comment