Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Singleness is a Blessing

For the the majority of my 38 years I have been single and it has been a love/hate relationship with myself to say the least. Fresh out of high school I enrolled in a Christian college and found myself expecting to find the man of my dreams along with a ring on my finger by graduation. Looking back I realize that I wasted valuable time and energy chasing, yes I admit it CHASING, after boys in hopes of fulfilling my desire for a happily ever after story book romance. For all my efforts I was left in my mid-twenties in a place of loneliness and disappointment. While residing in this dark place, I attempted to find community within the church, in hopes that I would find something to fill the void that was this status of single. I bounced around from church to church always hoping to find that one place where their would be others like me or people who would embrace me just as I was, single.

As I began to approach a new decade in life, I found myself back in community with a church that welcomed me.  My restlessness began to fade. I wasn't searching for a place to belong. I was no longer just the single girl. I was Susan. The ironic part is that this church was the very same community of believers that had embraced me as a teenager, it was home. Within this church I not only found community but identity. I became a friend and a sister, a teacher and a leader. I shared life with them and they shared life with me. I also finally allowed the saving grace of God to change me and I began to finally see my worth in His eyes and not in my status, whatever that was to be.

Recently I read a blog by Karina Kreminski (You can read it Here). Karina talked about ways in which we need to be more "inclusive of singles" and how we need to rethink the conversation of singleness within the church. I found myself nodding in agreement the whole time I was reading and wanted to shout Amen a few times. From families needing singles as much as singles needing families to the DNA stamp of community on all our lives, Karina nailed it.

The church needs to wake up and realize that the single girl in her twenties or the thirty something man in the pew next to the family of four, are equally vital to the life of the church. From the new born to the elderly adult, the church is the people not a building or a program. We are community, the body of Christ. I love cuddling a new born, hearing and seeing pictures from teens about their latest life experience and listening to the wisdom of those who have walked this faith journey far longer than me. I believe we all personally and spiritually thrive on sharing life together.

Singleness is not a curse or something to be fixed, it is a blessing. Let those in your church who are in a season or a lifetime of singleness know that they are a blessing to you and you will find that you are a blessing to them.

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." ~ Acts 2:42 (NASB)

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

At a Lost for Words

I have tons of words, stories, and topics I want to blog about. I have an array of pics I would love to share. I have actually started this blog several times, never seeming to get very far because the post just didn't seem to capture everything. It is as if words are failing me. It could be lack of vocabulary or simply exhaustion, but no matter the reason I am at a lost for words.

I have been able to catch up with old friends while making new ones. I have been able to share quality time with my nephew. I have shared life with an amazing group of teenagers and adults over these last few days. As I sit in a quiet hotel room, longing to take a nap, one thing keeps running through my heart and mind. To God be the Glory!!!!

"I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your Name forever." ~ Psalm 86:12 (NASB)


Thursday, March 31, 2016

What's Your Passion?

The first quarter of 2016 is drawing to an end. Tomorrow starts a new month and with it the beginning of a very busy three months. It all kicks off with a 3 hour trip to a youth convention followed by a trip to Nashville (Love that City) a few days later. In Nashville, I will have the opportunity to serve, support, cheer, and worship with teens and adults from around the Southeastern Region of the Church of the Nazarene as we (NYI) gather for TNT @ TNU 16. I will get to see old friends and I look forward to meeting new ones at both of these events. Then I will tackle the next event and each one after that, such as a Senior Expo for work where I will head up the Wheel O' Fortune Booth with prizes, a few church fellowships, a fundraiser for the youth group, NMI/SDMI/DA with my Alabama South Family, a graduation party for the youth at church, a pool party, Teen Camp, and hopefully a trip to Texas with my family. I'm sure I've missed some event scheduled for these next three months but none the less it is going to be an exciting, challenging and fun time.

A friend made an observation regarding how people don't express their passions and it got me to thinking. What is my passion? Do I really understand what it means and do I have passion about anything? So of course I wanted to get to the root of it and so I googled Passion. The Merriam-Webster website gives the first definition of Passion as "a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something." (There are two others but I think this gets to the point my friend was talking about.)

Enlightened by this understanding of the word passion, I have realized I do have a passion for more than one thing but they all seem to come out of one source. That source is God. For God is love and has called us (me) to love. I have a passion for living out Mark 12:30-31, "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (NASB) My passion is to Love God and Love Others. My passion is to love, care and enjoy time with my family. My passion is to help others in both psychical and spiritual matters. My passion is to enjoy this life that I have been given to the fullest and to be grateful. My passion is to grow in knowledge and grow in my faith.

As I look at the list of things ahead of me these next three months, I can't help but realize that my life is full of all my passions. Each day, with great enthusiasm I serve God in ministry at work,church, home and in the community. I'm excited to get up early on a Saturday just so I can spend a few hours with teens and adults who all are sharing in the Story of God. I'm absolutely pumped to spend four long days with little sleep just so that I can help serve at an event where teenagers get to use their talents for God, fellowship with other teens/adults, worship God and continue to engage in His Story. My life is overflowing with abundant joy, love and passion.

What's Your Passion?

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Jesus Lives!!!

During lent this year, God has been drawing me closure to himself through the life, sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus. On Maundy Thursday, while reading a devotional I enjoy from time to time, I was impressed by the fact that it is the presence of Jesus within me that gives me life. That my very existence is reliant on Him. That every move I make is in direct relation to who He is in me.  Just like that I was stopped in my tracks and have continued to reflect on what this truly means to my daily life.

This isn't new information, I have heard this truth for most of my life. But amidst Holy Week, I found myself wondering if I truly live daily with the awareness that Jesus Lives in Me. For Jesus to live in me, also means that my life should reflect His at every moment of my day. I have a lapel pin that I received some years ago from my then senior pastor. Recently, I placed the pin on my work lanyard to remind me of Jesus as the Servant, washing the feet of the disciples. One of my biggest challenges has been to be Christ like in my workplace. To be a servant first. It all comes full circle now. It isn't just at work or church but EVERYWHERE and at ALL TIMES.  Jesus humbled himself in his life and ministry to love people in practical ways in order that they may know God and be reconciled to Him. We are no less called to do the same.

I have come to the awareness that I must be Christ like at all times and in all things. I need to be held accountable to this and not waiver under the temptation of my human flesh. I am to be a humbled servant, willingly crucified to self, a living image of Christ to our world. Jesus Lives!!! He Lives in Me!

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." ~ Galatians 2:20 (NASB)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Whirlwind in my Head

I feel the need to blog today but I have no clue where to even begin. And I definitely don't know where it will end. So welcome to my chaotic thoughts for this brief moment in time.

My thoughts are swirling around as if I had a huge whirlwind in my head. There is a list of "to dos" that grows it seems hourly. I check an item off only to find two more things added. I'm sure many of my friends and family, as well as,you the reader, would think that a single woman wouldn't have much to worry about. I mean I have no children nor a husband to care for and worry over. BUT you all would be wrong. Singleness is not a free pass to a life full of sunshine and relaxation with no worries.


Despite this jumble mess going on in my head and a list of things to do, my thoughts keep coming back to the fact that it is Holy Week. A week full of highs and lows that culminates in Celebration. This past Sunday Christians around the world sang Hosanna while remembering Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and by Friday we will be mourning the crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah.  Those of us who have actively participated in Lent have walked a path of preparation, seeking and serving God as we find ourselves paralleling Jesus' own time in the Wilderness.

These last 35 days have not been easy but I have drawn closer to God. I have witnessed Him at work in and through me like never before. There are a few more to encounter on this journey to the water basin, table,  garden, court, cross, and tomb. I know Sunday is coming but to be able to Celebrate I have to go through Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

I pray you all take time this week to stop all the busyness of life to reflect on the Journey that Jesus took that week so long ago. He did it in order "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Romans 10:9-10 NASB

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Gazing

"Gaze at me, Glance at problems" are the words written by Sarah Young in her book Jesus Today. The "me" wasn't Ms. Young but Jesus. She writes entries as if it were Jesus speaking to the reader. A friend of mine had referenced this statement in our Sunday Evening Bible study recently. The next day at work before starting my usual task, I  picked up Ms. Young's book to read as I do most mornings and there as my next entry to read were the words "Gaze at me, Glance at problems". Hebrews 12:2 says, "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Life goes through ebbs and flows, of good followed by difficult times. We all will find ourselves faced with struggles, hard decisions and problems that require our attention throughout our lives. Unfortunately, I have found that 9 of 10 of those situations in my own life tend to drain me of all that I have because I become so hyper-focused on the situation that I loss sight of everything else. After the situation has passed, I begin to realize that most of my time was spent worrying which led to inactivity and more stress than the situation ever should have produced. I was gazing at my problem and barely glancing at Jesus, "the author and perfecter of faith".

This morning, I woke up singing an old favorite hymn Turn your eyes upon Jesus. The chorus says "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." I haven't stopped singing this chorus and I'm sure a few people have wished I would stop since I am not a great singer. There is a more modern Christian song that echos that of this hymn by For King and Country - Fix My Eyes.

God is calling us to refocus our lives. The Bible makes it clear that we should place our gaze on Jesus not on this world and all of it's problems. And it appears to this preacher girl that God wants this message to go forth from the Scripture because he has inspired words penned in a book to a few song sung through the ages to now words on a blog. No matter where we are in life's journey we are called to focus our attention on Jesus, He is "the author and perfecter of faith".

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Tomorrow - New and No Mistakes, YET!!


I can't help but laugh at my pitiful attempt to be a blogger. There is no escaping the fact that I have failed horribly. But as L.M. Montgomery said "isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" So today, is my tomorrow. I'm not making promises but everyday is a chance to do better than before. This is just one person's attempt at being transparent and sharing a few thoughts.


Quick Update: I was Ordained in April, 2015, as an Elder in the Church of the Nazarene. I continue to serve God as a Youth Pastor and in my full-time job. In 2015 I was able to attend TNT@TNU 2015 and NYC 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. I started working with another in coordinating an annual event for my district. I still work full-time as a Quality Assurance Specialist for a Medicaid Waiver Program. Lets just say it was a busy year, but a Great Year! I have put more time and effort into ministry and spiritual/physical health, but there is still much room for improvement.

This year I have been challenged by my devotional/prayer life to fully understand what it is to live life "rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer."(Romans 12:12 NASB)
There was a time in my life that I had lost all hope and the last thing I wanted to do is pray. I blamed God for all my heartaches, sufferings and lost opportunities. Never fully comprehending that almost everyone of those negatives were due to my own choices. Choices I was able to make because of a loving God who granted me free will, even if it meant I would choose wrongly and those choices could bring me harm. God loves us and seeks us at every moment but he will not force himself on us. I realized in 2007, that he had never turned his back on me but was always there gently reaching and seeking me. I had been the one who rejected and pushed him away. I'm grateful for a God who is merciful and gracious. I'm also grateful that he provides us with Tomorrow's that don't have any mistakes. So, I rejoice knowing that through Jesus I have hope for a new, brighter tomorrow and so do you!!!


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