Thursday, March 6, 2014

LENT - That I may know Him and the Power of His resurrection



I was challenged by a comment made on facebook regarding Lent.  Unfortunately it was a very uneducated and judgmental comment.  It angered me but at the same time saddened me.  I've only been observing Lent for two day and have already experienced so much joy and excitement in drawing near to Him in this time.  It makes me sad for that person...I felt they were missing out on this sweet opportunity to share with Christ in His sufferings (not that I could ever suffer in the way He did- but I can be reminded of His sufferings through denying myself something)  As someone who is new to this concept of Lent, it challenged me to really dig deep into why I wanted to observe it.  One of my favorite bloggers wrote a BEAUTIFUL explanation of Lent over at her blog "Life in Grace" If you have time...I HIGHLY suggest reading it.

Ultimately, we all choose to grow in our relationships with Christ in different ways. As someone who grew up in a church that didn't observe Lent, I've very much felt like I've missed out over the years. Since moving to Oklahoma City, MANY of the Christian churches here observe Lent. It's a beautiful time to reflect on the days leading up to Christ's sacrifice & a reminder OF that sacrifice. 

Easter is HUGE for me...it's the day that I was saved from eternal death! I am more than happy to give something up to be reminded of ALL Christ gave up for me...to be quite honest...it's probably something I should try to do EVERY day!  My sole desire as a follower of Jesus is this: "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death," Philippians 3:10

If you choose to observe Lent...just know that it looks different for EVERYONE!  You can give up food, social media, beverages, sleep (getting up early for quiet time), you can change it up each week...it's between you & God.  All that matters is that your focus is on Jesus, the temptation & suffering He endured for YOU!  

My church and another church in the area have collaborated on a daily devotional for this season.  Feel free to download it and use it on your journey!  

If you choose to participate, please let me know how it's going & what God is teaching you through it!

Friday, February 14, 2014

5 Years...Time Flies When You're Having Fun!!

Be warned...this post is PACKED full of pics!!!  A lot's happened in 5 years & we all know I'm a picture freak! 

Wow...I can't believe it...5 years ago today (yep...Valentine's Day) I packed up a U-haul & moved to Oklahoma City.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, but due to a layoff, I had to go where I could find work.  I had four friends in the surrounding areas, all married with children.  The first few months were incredibly hard...I was missing my dream job that I just lost, my co-workers who were more than just co-workers...they were dear friends, my new church that I was just getting plugged into and my family.  I truly didn't understand why God allowed all this to happen but I wanted to believe He had a good reason for all of it.

I quickly found a church and started to get plugged in by taking classes and joining a community group.  It was in the Hosea precepts Bible class that I truly felt I understood what God was doing in my life at the time.  As I was sitting in my apartment reading Hosea 2, I came across verse 14 that says "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her."  I realized at that moment I had been "lured into the wilderness for the Lord to speak tenderly to me".  In Tulsa I had it all...wonderful friends, a fun family I enjoyed spending time with, a great church & a great job I truly loved.  BUT, I was investing more of my time in those relationships than I was in my relationship with Him.  Once He revealed that to me I was very excited that He cared enough to "lure" me away so that He could "speak tenderly to me"!  This was a time I could really sit, without any distractions & listen to His voice...to ask what it is He wanted to do now. 

I've been on a wonderful journey of growing closer to Him and, as always, He's taken me on a beautiful adventure...one I could've never dreamed up on my own. 

I'm just going to list the things that I've had the pleasure of experiencing over these past 5 years...God is so cool & truly knows how to love each and every one of His children in the way they need to be loved

Gaining a deeper relationship with Jesus
Going on mission trips to Malawi & Kenya
Friends that blessed me with my dream camera for my birthday 3 years ago
A great church family, pastor & community group
Sweet friends who love on me in ways I never imagined
Volunteering at Love OKC with my friends from church
Emotional & spiritual healing through a wonderful friend & Biblical counselor
The opportunity to do High School ministry for three years
Fun room mates (I'm an extrovert & 7 months of living alone was more than enough for me)
The joy of witnessing friends fall in love, get married & have babies!
Fun nights out with my friends before marriage & babies came along
Quality time with friends & their families
A passion reignited in photography
Went on a Safari in Kenya...DREAM come TRUE!
Took up running for a season & did a 5k
Volunteering in the Wonderfully Made Class at church for the special needs kiddos...they have my heart
Saying goodbye to the sweet girl who inspired that class in the first place - she was my sweet little friend
Thunder games
Meeting Steve Moakler at a house concert...sooo FUN!
Volunteering with my dear friend, her oldest daughter & one of my former HS girls after the May 20th Moore Tornado
Becoming an OKC Local Foodie - we have SO many amazing local restaurants here!
Meeting Coach Scott Brooks the day after winning the Western Conference Championship in 2012
Meeting Nick Collison on my birthday
Redhawks games
Making the Mustache Bash Website- What What!!!
Attend the annual Friendsgiving with a great group of people
Published in the Newspaper
Took up painting ;-)
Introducing my niece to Thunder madness by enrolling her in the Devon Thunder Kids Club
A Trip to San Francisco
Meeting a Photographer on flight to San Fran willing to mentor me
Met the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond
A great job that allowed me the time off to spend my last moments with Nana before she went to be with Jesus...when I came back they had my favorite flowers & a beautiful box of encouraging words waiting for me
Sweet friends who came all the way from OKC to Tulsa to be with me during Nana's funeral
Meeting the entire Thunder team last year
OU Games
A trip to Philadelphia to see my Dad's family for Thanksgiving
Went with the roomies to the tree farm to cut down our own Christmas tree
My very own house - this still blows me away...I'm so thankful for how He takes care of me
Many opportunities to love on people the way God has loved on me
Two sweet kiddos I'm crazy about in Kenya
A group of middle school & high school girls Bible study that I get to be a part of
The list goes on & on people!!!
I'm so thankful & look forward to many more years and surprises ahead.  God is so good, people!!!