Sunday, August 1, 2010

Life Lessons

My intent when I started this blog was to use it more as a journal to track thoughts and moments in life that I really wanted to remember... to record life lessons... to see how God is moving in the course of my life. My desire is to be more consistent... more intentional.

I have been in the midst of transitioning into a new job for the past month. Lack of knowledge has left me feeling nervous, excited, and often overwhelmed. The desire to be a great teacher has made my days very full... often with meaningless busy work. I have not been faithful to Christ... to knowing Christ as I should. It's true, nonetheless, that in times of nervousness, fear, and being overwhelmed that I can always look to Christ for peace. I read Scripture and even in the midst of conviction I feel peace. My priorities realign and Christ reigns King once again... often, until tomorrow, when I begin the struggle all over again. Living life in the kingdom is a daily thing.

I am very grateful that in the midst of my shortcomings and failings that God is still faithful and loving. He teaches me daily. There have been a few Scriptures that I have been meditating on... trying to understand.

One of the is Isaiah 5:11-12. Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands. Alcohol has never been a struggle for me... but excessive media consumption has been. It has been my "drug of choice"... my addiction. I don't know how many times I have read this scripture feeling quite self-righteous because I was not one who struggled with that sin. And then I read it a few days ago... and my mind has drifted back to this verse. I realize that there is nothing different than me and the individual in this scripture besides our "drug of choice". I am one who rises early to see the latest episode of fill-in-the-blank. I am one who stays up late wanting to just veg and turn off my brain to the world and watch one last show... one last movie. I am so consumed at times that I fail to see the Lord moving around me. And... honestly, even since I have been convicted of this, I still am struggling with giving it up.

And then there is Romans 10. I shared my thoughts on this with Justin and this scripture has been messing both of us up. There is still a chunk of it that I really don't understand at all (vs. 6-8). But there are some many treasures in this passage... Christ being the end (or purpose) of the law... people desiring God, seeking him, being zealous for knowing him, but being ignorant of the righteousness of God... and then confessing with your mouth and believing with your heart that Jesus is Lord to receive salvation- daily salvation. And this all ties back in to the heart being the wellspring of life. If one believes in their heart that Jesus is Lord, praise, love, and devotion to the King will direct one how to live and what choices to make.

Thank you, Lord, for being a faithful teacher. May you continue to soften my heart to hear your word.

Monday, June 21, 2010

conviction: teach what is in accordance with sound doctrine.

Yesterday, I was reading a book, Miniskirts, Mothers, and Muslims (to be exact). The author referred to Titus 2 where it commands us to "teach what accords with sound doctrine." She pointed out that often we choose to hear, "teach sound doctrine." But... that's not what it says.

I am not saying that teaching sound doctrine is wrong... it is a crucial element to growing in faith, but should we only teach with words?

Titus 2 continues... Paul is giving commands on how men and women should live as members of Christ's kingdom. When Paul says, "teach what accords with sound doctrine," he continues to tell us how we should treat our spouses, our children, our family, our friends, etc.

This is when the conviction began... I realized that often I talk... not even talk to my unbelieving friends but only my believing friends about the love of Christ. I try to live Christ-like but more often that comes across as a good, upright, moral person. Either way, I am failing to let the Spirit take control and work in and through my life.

I have never wanted to be a Sunday only follower of Christ... and I don't want to believe that I am... I have seen evidences of God's grace in my life. I feel His power enabling me... but I want more. I want to be consumed. I want my response to life to be prayer. I want my heart to mourn for the lost. I want that to spur me to prayer. I want to run to God for forgiveness and strength to be humble when I wrong my husband instead of playing the silence game or blaming him. One day, I want my children to see me run to prayer at the first hint of anger... I want them to see me run to God in prayer when I get overwhelmed by life's circumstances... I want every moment of the day to draw me to God... I want my conversations to have a God-ward orientation... not to push people toward God or to throw my religion in their face, but I want my faith to be so interwoven in my life that it is an overflow of love for God and for people.

So... may I teach what accords with sound doctrine by being reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine, teaching what is good and training the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not be reviled.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Where is my hope?

Lately, I feel God doing a lot in my heart... a year ago, I had so much resistance in my heart towards God opening certain doors, primarily in moving overseas for an unknown period of time. It has been quite the journey... and has required a lot of processing. And, I know that I am only in the middle (or possibly even the beginning still) of a life-long journey. Thankfully, I have been given abundant grace. I have been given the gift of community... and without their encouragement and prayers and the Spirit's work, I would not be on this path.

This path is one of heart transformation. I see it and feel it and yet I still try to resist. Today, I started Colossians and read, "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven."

I continue steadfast in my faith in Christ and in trying to love other people intentionally and intelligently because of the hope in the present and especially the hope of the coming kingdom when the totality of God reigns.

But I have realized that either because of the resistance in my heart towards God opening some doors or a factor that contributes towards building the resistance in my heart is misplacing my hope.

So... is my hope laid up in heaven? Or... is my hope in things of this world, even those things that are good?
Where is my hope?

If my hope is not in Christ, the sacrifice will be too great.
If my hope is not in Christ, I covet, am jealous, and compare myself to others.
If my hope is not in Christ, I am not content with my portion.
If my hope is not in Christ, it all seems vain.
If my hope is not in Christ, I feel alone.
If my hope is not in Christ, I fear. I fear death. I fear people who are different than me. I fear failing. I fear other people's judgment. I fear losing the control that I never really had. I just fear.

But... when I see Christ before me and hope in the kingdom now and to come, all these things are gone... and I am free.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Years of Wedded Bliss...

I have been happily married for two years now. Sometimes it feels like I just met my beloved and other times I can hardly remember life before him. I have thought a lot recently about our beginnings... we met a little over five years ago. I thought he was handsome immediately... but we were no more than just friends. Throughout our first year of friendship, we lived in community together with other friends... sharing happiness, sadness, prayer, feasting, laughter, and tears. Christ drew us together slowly. And then we began dating... or really, courting. My beloved said last night that he knew shortly after we began dating that he knew we would marry. And... I felt the same way. We exchanged "I like you's." in April four years ago. It wasn't long before those turned to "I love you's." Then, two years ago, we exchanged vows to selflessly love each other always. It hasn't always been easy as two sinners living together makes for some challenges, but we continue to choose to love one another... and that has worked well for us.

(Our traditional anniversary pic... we took the top one this year, the middle one on our first anniversary, and the bottom one on our honeymoon!)

So... in honor of two wonderful years together, we ran away to Galveston for a mini vacation. The weekend entailed a lot of relaxing, some fun in the sun, a tandem bike ride, yummy food, some hard-core scrabble play, and lots of love.

The word of the weekend was flexibility. With the exception of one thing... I wanted to ride a tandem bike with my beloved. And we did...

As we were riding, my beloved and I began thinking. We thought about marriage, our distinctive roles as husband and wife, and how we related to one another as husband and wife.
1. I took the back seat; my beloved the front. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us that the husband is the head of the wife. My beloved is the leader... and I am to submit to him as we both submit to Christ's lead. Along our ride, I could choose one of two views: I could either look at my husband's back or I could take in my view to my right and my left. Looking in front of me was not really an option. My beloved had to lead because he was the only one who could see where we were going, and in this instance, I had no choice but to submit. How often, as the wife, do I try to lead with my husband still sitting in front of me trying to fulfill his God-given role as leader of our marriage?
2. I admit that I would not ride a tandem bike with many (at least, not in the back)... and even if I were to ride, I believe I would be most comfortable with my beloved. But... why is that? It has to do with his character. Having someone guide you on a bike with traffic and the seawall dropoff is a little absurd if there were no trust in the relationship. Furthermore, as the backseat rider, I had no control over the direction of travel (the handles in the back are more just for looks... they were completely useless when it came to steering) and the speed (with the exception of slowing down slightly). I trust my beloved. I trust him with my life. How he treats me is selfless and loving. He has never hurt me and his desire is to protect my heart. I cannot tell you how many times in our relationship he has immediately gone into fighting mode to protect me (mostly, when I freak out over a bug... sorry !). Because of my beloved's trustworthy character, I could take in the scenery and enjoy the ride... I did not fear what was ahead because I knew that my beloved was a good leader as evidenced in our marriage and I believed he would take care of me.
3. As wife... as submitter to my beloved's leadership in our relationship... I learned some valuable lessons about my role as wife. While riding, I never had the final decision in which direction we were going or how fast we were traveling. If I wanted something, I had to present the idea to my beloved to be considered... we had to communicate! Most often, my beloved would naturally consider me and what I wanted. In the end though, he had the final say and I had to accept that (he had the handles that steered!). I realized how important my role as helper is in the relationship. As wives, we have the privilege to submit... hopefully, to God-fearing, prayerful men. Our husbands make the final decision but it is never without consideration of the wives. We are helpers... we are to listen to God too and to encourage our husbands.
4. In my role as my beloved's helper, I realize how much I can encourage or hurt him. Imagine how a husband would feel if he had to drag his wife around... and everywhere he led, she followed begrudgingly. It would be like me being on the back of the bike and not peddling at all or even worse, pushing the brakes while he was trying to move forward. Like I said before, I had no control over how fast we were going, but if I didn't help out... my beloved knew. His load was much heavier. And... it was even worse if I tried to brake. I could not stop the bike altogether by pressing the brake but my beloved would have to work that much harder to keep us moving forward. Imagine if I did not trust my husband on this ride or in our relationship, we would both be pretty miserable. I would always be nervous of where he was leading... trying to take the reins from him. And... he would always be dragging me along. This is not what God intended marriage to be! As wife, I get the opportunity to come alongside my husband throughout our daily life and lighten his load for I am his helper. In our daily routine, this might mean making him dinner after he had a really long day of work... this looks like me washing his work clothes and looking out for when he is running low so he never has to wear dirty clothes to work... it's the little places in life that I get to help (and sometimes the big places too).

The bike ride was just another mirror of what God intended marriage to be. I am grateful for this illustration. I am grateful for this getaway with my beloved. I am grateful for two wonderful years. And... I am grateful for everyday more that I get to be one with my best friend.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Summer Reading

So... I have been thinking a lot about my role as woman, wife, daughter, sister, and future mom (Lord willing). Work is a beautiful gift of the Lord... before the fall, God established that man was to work the field... "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it" (Genesis 2:15)... so, work is good. Because of the fall, work is hard... and from my experience as of late, it is hard to come by. I have been pursuing teaching positions for the past year or so. I recently interviewed at Creech for the fifth grade position. I got great feedback from the principal but I did not get the position (some one filled it in-house), but that does not take away the pain of rejection. The rejection I have had in looking for a job has lead me to seek peace alone in Christ, to look for God's will in my life, to look to Him for guidance and direction. I believe He has answered my prayer in giving me a heart to understand my role as female... wife, daughter, sister, and future mother.

After study and reading the Word, I believe that my role as woman begins in the home. I am to be homeward focused... this idea is very contrary to our culture and society. Sometimes, I feel such peace in fulfilling this God-given gift of being homemaker (for not all women can choose to stay home and work part-time) and the other half of the time, I feel like I should be working full-time, using the degree that I worked so hard to achieve... feeling like I need to fit in. But is that what I am called to do as a follower of Christ? Fit in society and culture... or does God call us to be in the world but not of it? To love the world like Christ but not live like the rest of the world? (I want to say this is what I believe for myself... as a woman, if you choose to work, I am not judging you or saying that you are wrong for wanting to work... this is where I am personally.)

So... here are things that have brought me to the conclusion that I should first and foremost have a homeward focus...
1. Proverbs 14:1- The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
2. Of course the example of the Proverbs 31 woman- a few examples, "She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens"... "She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy"... "She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet"... "She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue"... "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her"...
3. 2 Timothy- Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

So those are just a few examples... now when I mean a homeward focus, I do not mean that women should stay in the house and only focus on the chores... what I AM saying though is that it is God's gift to women to prepare her home to love others including her husband, her children, her family, her friends, her poor and needy neighbors, etc. I believe my role as a homemaker is to TEACH: women younger than myself, women who are preparing for a stage of life that I have already experienced and learned from, my children (even though they are not yet here). I believe my role of homemaker is to be HOSPITABLE: to open my home and be prepared for guests... to welcome them in and share the love of Christ by being genuine and authentic and living life WITH them. I believe my role as homemaker is to STEWARD: in Proverbs 31 it talks of the woman being wise with her resources to best benefit her family and the kingdom... it is my role in the house to be a wise steward of our resources whether that means coupon-ing, buying things on sale or at the end of the season, preparing meals in advance, etc. I believe my role as homemaker is to LOVE: to walk alongside people who are hurting or celebrating and share life with them.

My husband has blessed me this year by allowing me to work only part-time. In the meantime, I have gotten to live in rich community with some precious friends. I have gotten to partake in the gift of living life with people... it is a priceless gift that is invaluable.

Some women have jobs and I believe that you can still be focused on the home... but I pray that you think and be intentional about being a homemaker. What does it mean to steward your resources well? To love other people well? To welcome people in your home and serve them and let them live life with you? To love your children well even if you don't have any yet?

I am not sure what this means for me when it comes to a job. I have sought out jobs and one has not come up. If a teaching job doesn't happen, I know that my time will be spent loving people, preparing to love people, and choosing to intentionally live life with people... for this is my biblical role as homemaker.

So... for summer reading, I am preparing. I am preparing to love the children in my life now and my future children. I am going to read Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper... I want to celebrate all days in the year intentionally always pointing to God and rejoicing in Him by being grateful for what He has done for us. I believe that holidays and everyday will look differently after I read this book. The other two books I want to read are geared at raising children. One is called Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware. The goal of the book is to teach parents and those who know children how to share the greatness of God with children in a way that they will understand. We are encouraged in Deut. 6 to diligently teach our children to love the Lord and obey his commands... that His words shall be everywhere throughout the day... as you sit, rise, walk, and as you lie down. And the final book is called Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp... it is the sequel to Shepherding A Child's Heart (which I would highly recommend). Another book about how to raise up your children in a God-fearing, God-loving home.

I don't have children and don't know when I will but it is never too early to start preparing myself to be a great mother and wife. And... right now, I can practice sharing the gospel with children who are in my life that I love... I want them to know the Lord too!

At the end of my life, I will be pleased if I, like the Proverbs 31 woman, have my children rise and call me blessed and my husband also... not for my glory but for the Lord who deserves all the praise!

Monday, April 12, 2010


I have been in the unknown for quite some time pertaining to my job situation. About 6 weeks ago, I interviewed for the position at Houston Christian. I have yet to hear from them. I have called and every time I call, I get told that the decision will be made soon but not quite yet. It has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, and I have determined that not knowing will not make me go insane even though sometimes it seems like it will. But the fact is... I still really want to know. I don't want to hear a no but I am sure that having closure will be better than a 'no'... and it still could be a 'yes'. I continue to pray that I find peace in the Lord's sovereign will and that regardless of what happens, I will be content.

Friday, February 19, 2010


2010 is in full swing and I can hardly believe that it is already mid-February. This year has already been quite full of celebration, struggle, busyness, joy, encouragement, peace, and challenge. I have learned SO much!

Spiritually, I feel like i am learning what it means to love others more than myself. Recently, I have been constantly aware of places that I demand my own way while at the same time, I pray, "Lord, not my will but your's." The other day, I got upset at Justin because he wouldn't stop a get me a diet coke during happy hour at Sonic before church (we were late and he leads worship). I pitched a "23 year old fit" really meaning I gave him the silent treatment and when I broke it began to vent frustration on other areas of life completely unrelated to me wanting a diet coke. Long story short, I demanded my own way and broke down when I did not get it. Fortunately, I serve a forgiving God who softened my heart and gave me the grace to apologize and seek reconciliation. All this over a diet coke... DIet cokes have become a bit of an ebenezer in my life. I have recently sought to give up cokes and every time that I really want one (which is more often than I would like to admit), I remember how it is not my will that matters but the Lord's... and He is the best of planners! So... I know this all really centered around diet coke... but that proves that God can use anything in life to change a heart... and that has really been driving what I am learning recently. I have an interview at Houston Christian High School for a position that I would really love! I want this job... it seems to be such a perfect fit and the way I found out about this job just seems like a God thing. I have to keep reminding myself that my worth, my happiness, my satisfaction in life is found in Christ. Not my will but His be done in my life. Whether or not I get this job, my desire is to love God and love his people. Not wanting to compartmentalize life anymore than I already try to... but God is doing work in another area of my life. I feel myself being able to joyfully submit... praise the Lord! For the past month or so, I have realized what a master TV is in my life. It was such a huge part of my life... I wasted so much time... I was consumed. I have realized this and have tried desperately to quit. This week, I have implemented a fast from my TV viewing. I more or less covenanted with the Lord that I wanted to uproot this idol in my life and replace it with His Spirit and I could only do it by his power. I have been super encouraged my Psalm 40. Psalm 40:17 says, "As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought of me." Wow! The Lord takes thought of me in my poor, weak, completely helpless spot. Praise Him! Needless to say, I learning...

Academically, I have been reading a book called Teaching with the Brain in Mind... it has changed how I think about teaching. It has made me think so much about raising children at home and at school... taking in account what is happening in their brain and how we can use what we know about their brain to most effectively teach them. I would highly recommend it!

Parenting-wise... I have thought so much about how I want to raise children one day... and no, there are no children on the way! But I do think about my future children (Lord willing) often and every time, I pray that the Lord would captivate their heart. Tonight, I listened to a podcast by Ted Tripp on parenting that I would recommend to any parent. I want to be a gracious parent. I think one of the greatest things I heard tonight is to covenant to God, your spouse, yourself, and your children never to discipline when your heart and spirit are not in check. YOU CANNOT RELY ON YOURSELF (for we too are depraved people)... I pray that I would be a prayerful wife and mother who first goes and prays and check myself... and then disciplines out of love... I want my children to honor their father and mother, as the Lord commands, that their days my be long, and that it may go well with them (Deuteronomy 5:16). Other ideas I have had about parenting, I want to take my children to the store periodically and let them pick any fruit or vegetable that we cannot identify. Together, I want us to find a recipe and makes something that uses that item... then, I want us to all try it. I think it could be fun and it is such a teachable moment in some many ways! 1. Children are learning basics on cooking, 2. they are learning how to cook healthy things (like veggies), 3. they are learning to identify fruits and veggies (sometimes I forget that this is not genetic but learned), 4. it would be a fun bonding activity, 5. why not?!?!

Well, this does not even come close to summarizing where I am at in life but it's a start... Peace along the way...

Friday, January 1, 2010


Since my sophomore year of college, I have had two fabulous girlfriends that will forever be soul friends. A year and a half ago, one of them moved to Virginia. In August, the other one moved to Waco (but I am happy to say that she is back in Houston). These two women are loving, listening, praying, thoughtful, considerate, reliable, beautiful, intentional, and so much more. We can go weeks, sometimes months, without a deep conversation, but like the best of soul friends... they are my confidants, the ones I turn to when life throws a curve ball, women who know how to celebrate life.

With our significant others, we met at Cafe Express for some priceless AA&M time. I cherished our time together. Thank you ladies for your friendship! I can hardly wait until we meet again!

2010: Joyful Obedience

For the past couple of years, in an attempt to live more intentionally and with more purpose, I have "named" my years. I have chosen a word or phrase which I strive to live according to throughout the year. This past year was a year of faith. I think of many places in which I have failed to live in faith and instead have chosen to live in fear. I remember a time when I loved and cherished diversity. I loved culture. And... this past year, it was like I took two steps back. I began fearing that which was different. I feared not being accepted or fitting in. I feared disappointing myself or someone else. I struggled with comparing myself to others. I feared death... more generally, the unknown. Over the past couple of months, I have seen God work in my life. I have seen Him open my heart to that which is unknown. He has worked despite my fears... and my God has proven Himself once again much, much bigger than all my fears.

So... this year, I am determined to stop telling God to wait... wait until I am ready to handle diversity, fear, comparison because I don't want to wait any longer to experience real life found only in Christ. This year, I am going to strive to live in faithful, joyful obedience.

I read a book to prepare myself for the advent season called Preparing for Jesus and there was a section on Mary. Mary was a young girl much younger than myself. When approached by an angel of the Lord telling her that she was going to be impregnated by the Spirit before she got married to Joseph, her response was not, "Wait... let me count the costs" but instead "Behold I am the servant of the Lord, let it be according to your word." That challenges me... here was a young girl who was facing a teenage pregnancy, rumors of infidelity among her people, the possibility of divorce by her betrothed, and so much more... and she did not hesitate to act obediently.

This year, my prayer is that my response to whatever or wherever the Lord calls will be, "Behold I am the servant of the Lord, let it be according to your word."

Intention vs. Action

Proverbs 23:6-8
Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. "Eat and Drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten and waster your pleasant words.

This verse struck my heart strings this morning. I felt conviction... If you ask certain people, I am sure that I could be described as a generous person. I realized this morning that my actions may be generous but my heart is still evil and depraved in many ways. While my actions are doing one thing, my heart is telling another story. I see myself as the calculator, the Pharisee who wants everyone to look up to them for their generous giving...

I had a conversation with Amy last night about giving and what is required of us. We both agreed that we wished it was specifically outlined in the Bible, but at the same time, we both agreed that it is probably better that it is not... When I think of giving, I am reminded of the widow in the Bible who "put in everything she had to live on..." Her actions seem pure there. I want that. I want to understand what it means to put in everything I have to live on and do it with pure intentions.

Somewhere this ties into hospitality. Muslims hugely value hospitality. I want to open my home as they do... never letting a glass get empty... always having something to offer anyone who stops by... and refusing to hoard things to myself including my time (which might be the most difficult thing). I want to give selflessly.

I don't want these verses to be true of me...