Monday, March 26, 2012

If I could write a letter to me...

Dear 16-year-old me,

Your quirks, your talents, your uniqueness are beautiful. 

Make God a priority. Talk to Him about everything. Study Him and know Him. Serve Him and tell others about Him.

Those girls beside you are your rock. Don't take them for granted. Don't hurt them. Make a lot of memories with them and cherish every one. You have so much to look forward to with each of them. Always build them up and pray for them. They know your heart and your past...and if I were to tell you that they'll share much of your future and you'll love them even more in eight years, I doubt you would believe me. 

I'm proud of you for making family a priority. For Survivor night - which won't easily fade away. For sitting down for dinner. You have amazing parents...parents most people aren't blessed with. And always let your little brother be your best friend. Never lead him in the wrong direction. Love him and laugh with him.

Spend a lot of time with your grandparents. Especially Papa. Go by and watch his judge shows with him. Eat honey nut cheerios. Stare at the easy smile that finds his lips. And don't rush away from fish fries because of "homework".

Keep writing. Write down everything. Write beautiful, crazy, unbelievable stories. Write your heart.

Dress modestly. Classy.  Always like a lady. Oh yeah, buy a hair straightener - you'll love it.

You are blessed to be a part of your class at Wake Christian. Not many people have what you all have. Enjoy every moment, for it will soon be gone.

If you have the chance while in high school or college to go abroad and visit another country - do it. You'll never have the same opportunities when you have a full-time job.

The Hope Diamond and Statue of Liberty are both smaller than you had imagined. Just be prepared. Oh, and your mom is going to lose her camera in Central Park while trying to help someone - losing all of your running-like-Phoebe photos. Take it from her and hold it for her.

You don't have to please everyone. Don't worry - I'm still wrestling with this one myself.

I'm proud of you for not dating. For putting your friends and yourself over any guy.

Dance with the boy at the Valentine's party next year. Just one dance to make a memory. But don't focus on the boy. Focus on your friends.

Never lower your standards for a guy. It's not worth it. Even though it may be easy to rationalize, there's a reason you are who you are and you set the standards you did.

If you have to force a relationship, it's not the right one. Love should come naturally. It won't be easy, but it should feel right. God has the right guy for you - and it will fall into place beautifully. Just be patient.

Get more involved in student life at Campbell. Don't just go to class and go home :) 

In the summer of 2006 at Campbell, you’ll meet a boy named Derrick Green. It may not seem important at the time, but remember every detail of the first time you meet him.

Don't forget to truly live. Take every chance you have. Laugh a lot. Don't be afraid to cry. Make memories. Make friends. Make it count.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A comfortable existance...

I am afraid I have become too comfortable. Too complacent. Too indifferent.

I ask God almost every day to use me. Use me to reach others. Use me to encourage others. Use me to share Him. But when it comes down to it, do I really allow Him to use me when it might make me uncomfortable? Not so much.

I have family members, coworkers, people that I come in contact with every single day who don't truly know what it is to have a relationship with the Lord. They believe there is a God. They believe Jesus existed. But they don't choose every day to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They don't know what it is to have redemption and freedom through Christ.

These people are in my life. God has given me the opportunity to reach out. But I'm too afraid that it will become uncomfortable. That they'll think I'm weird. Judgmental. So I say nothing...I keep praying to be used, but I say nothing. I don't know how to begin. I don't know what to say. And I don't know if I am the one who's supposed to share or if God has another plan.

I was talking to a friend today who just got back from 10 days in a third world country. A region that is just recently hearing the gospel for the first time. And, upon getting saved, the natives are encouraged to tell the Good News to everyone they know. And they do. With a thirst and desperation, they share what has happened to them. They risk ridicule, rejection, and even death to share their childlike passion and relationship with God with everyone they know and love. And I, who am blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve, am too afraid to share.

I love my life. I am so incredibly blessed with my husband, my family, my friends, my job, and my church. But, when I think of what matters for eternity, I wonder if I should be doing more. Traveling the world for Him. Giving away my possessions for Him. Giving up my comfort for Him.

If my world were shaken, would I still be able to hold true to my relationship with Him? Would I have unwavering faith? Would I still trust God?

In 100 years, what difference will I have made? What evidence will God have that I was a good and faithful servant? And will I get to heaven, only to realize that those I could have reached were left behind...

Pray for me to have the courage to be used. To have the words to share His redemption. Pray for me to be passionate. Pray for me to be uncomfortable.

Monday, March 12, 2012

No honeymoon stage?

This past weekend I was asked if Derrick and I were still in the honeymoon stage (after five months of marriage)...

Without much hesitation I answered no. I don't think we really had much of a honeymoon stage. (as most people would define it)

You are probably feeling sorry for me. Thinking my marriage must be horrible. Praying for that we can work through this. Thinking of advice to give me to reignite the passion in our relationship.

Well, stop worrying. I love my marriage. I love my husband. And I feel so so so incredibly blessed in so many ways. Life aside from Derrick is with Derrick is so much happier.

When we went from dating to being engaged to being married the transition was smooth. It felt natural. Normal. It was weird how normal and comfortable it felt. In a good way. Sure, there were some big changes...some things we're still getting used to. Parts of each other we're still learning. And we don't have life figured out yet. But marriage - for us - wasn't some huge step. It was just right. 

Derrick and I have always had comfortable chemistry. Passionate friendship. We've always been able to talk about almost anything. Be silly together. Be flirty together. Be boring together. Be ridiculous together. And we've always been best friends. The first few months we dated, there were bird-size butterflies, interrupting fireworks, and awkward pauses. Heck, I couldn't yawn around him the first few months for fear he was paying attention. But things quickly settled back into a soft soundtrack and the whispers of laughter.

So, when I say there hasn't been an obvious honeymoon stage, I'm saying that it wasn't like we woke up married, making out all the time, couldn't keep our hands off each other, always had to be together, ignoring each others faults, in pure absolute bliss...and one day we'll wake up from this honeymoon stage and he'll realize I don't close the mustard cap and I'll realize that he never fixes the bed and we'll just want to watch television in our pajamas.

I'm saying that our life is both of those...passion and pajamas. Mixed in together. Settled. Comfortable. Romantic.  Friendship of the most wonderful kind.

We still have a lot to learn. There will be days with little passion. Days with no romance. Days of frustration. Days when we do realize something new and annoying.

But I like watching television on the couch in our pajamas. I like the simple traditions and quiet nights. I like our routine. I like the spontaneous living room slow dance or stolen kisses. I like the crazy, retarded laughter. I like that we know each other and are settled. I like that we're still learning. I'm trying to remember to close the mustard cap and be patient when the bed's not made ;) And figuring out life together - while it might not be easy at times - is such an awesome blessing.

I like my best friend. And I like going through life together - through the good and bad.

So here's to no honeymoon stage but a forever friendship with ups and downs, good and bad, laughter and tears...learning life together. 

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,  two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Friday, March 9, 2012

A blogger? No. A writer? Yes.

Not sure if you've noticed, but I haven't blogged in over a month! I was feeling a little down. Overly critical. Cynical even. I am not a blogger. I don't follow a lot of other bloggers. I don't have a lot of followers. I don't keep up with the blog world. I simply use my blog as a way to write.

I am a writer. God allows my thoughts to flow from my fingertips much more easily than my lips, and that is how I best share my heart. So I quit blogging for a while, but I can't give up writing. I can't give up the chance that maybe something God says through me will speak to just one person. Will encourage one woman. Will change one life. Will help one marriage.

So I'm back. I have no brilliant words to share today - because I'm busy at work, enjoying the silence of spring break, and then headed to the beach with the wonderful Green family! I'm so excited about good conversation, good food, board games, movies, laughter, and relaxation! God has blessed me with a wonderful new family, in addition the best old one :)

Here are a few random things I'll be writing about soon:
- Our search for a new church
- 5 months later - an update on married life
- Judge and jury - my struggle
- Too many TV shows...
- The simple life is expensive

Stay tuned!

Until then, I'll leave you with one of my absolute favorite verses and encourage you to live life abundantly! If you know Jesus, you are free! You are redeemed! You are a child of God! You are called to do more and be more and live more! 

 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
 I am come that they might have life, 
and that they might have it more abundantly!
John 10:10