Worship Wednesdays #12

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this lovely week.

There will be some changes coming beginning next week. I am moving my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Basically that allows me to control my blog and content by choosing to self-host. This will allow me to grow and change as I see fit and truly own my content.

In addition, I am changing my design for the blog. My friend Erin Lauray is creating it for me as we speak and it will be uploaded on the new blog sometime next week. Keep your eye out for that! Make sure to follow on my facebook page or on twitter to keep up with the latest information.

I wanted to share a really great song by Jesus Culture that has been blessing and encouraging me lately. I hope you enjoy it – and may you be encouraged by it, too.

Jesus Culture – Come Away

 

The Case for Community

For many years I have prayed for a best friend. I have had many close friends over the years, but because I have issues of trust and struggle with relationships, I have always felt that I didn’t fully connect with many of my friends over the years.

In the last 6-10 months, God answered my prayers. But not in the way I would have imagined or planned for myself. I had the honor of becoming best friends with the wife of my husband’s best friend – but not in person, through text messaging about our husbands (LOL).

In addition, I met a few of my other besties online – through The Influence Network. Like me, they are women who seek to deepen a relationship with God and to make Him known in every area of their lives.

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{My crazy friends. Love them!}

Most of my close/best friends do not live near me. Several I have never met in person. Awkward? Maybe. But am I blessed? You have no idea.

These friends are women I trust with my life. My deepest secrets. They are people I can vent to, who build me up and correct me when I am wrong. Like I stated earlier, one of my best friends is married to my husband’s best friend. We share life together and are bound together by a calling so big it scares us and excited us both tremendously!

Why are intimate friendships & community necessary? I believe Hebrews 10 states it perfectly – that we are blessed when others come to us with a need. It blesses us. And it propels us towards good work, towards helping others for His glory.

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{Another gem from the She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah}

Getting into relationships like this is not apart of a magic formula. You cannot sit around and wait for people to come to you. You must be vulnerable, reach out and connect with others, whether online or in your local community.

Reach out online. Set up coffee dates with people from your church or from your workplace. It is awkward at first, but is so worth it in the end. It took me many years to get here – and it has taken work on my part. (And I am still a work in progress!)

And don’t be surprised if friendships change over the years. People grow and seasons change, and people may come into and out of your life. Be blessed in the now and thankful for friends past, present and those to come.

Do you struggle with building friendships? What are some ways you can reach out to build new/deeper relationships??

Be blessed,

Worship Wednesday #11

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I hope ya’ll are having a blessed and joy-filled day.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure which worship song(s) I wanted to share with you today.

But then I was perusing instagram yesterday, and found this gem:

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{You can find Jessi’s blog & shop here}

So, you know I had to find out about this song. I don’t listen to a ton of Hillsong United music, but the ones I do like have AMAZING lyrics.

This song did not disappoint. Holy Spirit moved in on me quick when the song began playing from YouTube. It is such a beautiful picture of Peter walking on the water and how that applies in our lives currently. It is an encouragement to trust in Jesus in the toughest of times or situations. May it bless you today and encourage you to keep on keepin’ on in the faith.

worship wednesdays instagram

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.”

Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Influence Network Giveaway!!

I’m so thrilled to be co-hosting this amazing giveaway (worth $400!), for not just ONE, but TWO Influence Network LIFETIME Memberships! 

Influence-Network-Giveaway-Main

Finding and joining The Influence Network has changed my life.

In the Fall of 2012, I was teaching in the public school system and I was seriously down. I felt like my life wasn’t going anywhere. I felt lonely, like I had no friend who “got” me. And after the election, I felt as if Christians were using social media to deter the cause of Christ rather than further it.

When I found The Influence Network through using She Reads Truth devotionals, I felt like this was a God-thing. As a new(er) blogger, the network has offered me support, fellowship with other bloggers, and prayer. I have forged some amazing friendships with ladies who I would’ve never met had this network not been formed. As a lifetime member myself, the investment into a community of women who are working to use social media and the internet to further the kingdom of Christ is FAR and AWAY worth the money spent.

Giveaway Info:

What does a Lifetime Membership include? Well I’m glad you asked.

Please check HERE for all the details!

This giveaway is open to ANYONE, but ONE Membership will be specifically reserved for someone who is not an Influence Network Member. Our hope is that this giveaway will enable someone who wouldn’t otherwise have money in their budget, to be apart of The Influence Network.

To enter the giveaway, please visit the website here!

Funny Things on a Friday, Part II

For your enjoyment….more funny things to make you laugh this Friday.

sassy

soft kitty

squirrel meme

duck dynasty

cat

And….a little clip of the Scrubs “Air Band” episode to lighten the mood.

Happy Friday, folks. Be Blessed!

Getting to know you….

Today I am sharing some fun facts about me as apart of The Influence Network’s getting to know you link-up! We were asked to share one photo of ourselves, three facts and the impact the network has had on our lives. I hope you enjoy reading it!

Photo(s) Of Me: I couldn’t choose just one so I am sharing a couple. 🙂

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{My husband and I at the Third Eye Blind concert in February!}

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{My family. We are weird and we aren’t ashamed!}

Three Facts About Me:

1. I have a tendency to get really obsessed with TV shows. Typically, if I get really into a show, I will watch ALL of the old seasons on Netflix or Hulu right in a row. Sometimes in just a couple of days. I have been through entire shows like Bones, The West Wing, Big Bang Theory….and now I am watching old episodes of Duck Dynasty. 🙂

duck dynasty

2. I have an unhealthy obsession with a local Mexican restaurant’s salsa. Their secret, I believe, is adding cilantro. Whatever it is, I am obsessed. I but a cup full and bring it home about once a week. 🙂

3. I absolutely LOVE Psalm 46. It is one of my favorite passages of scripture, and I use it often to encourage others who might be going through a rough time. For me, it is one of the most encouraging passages of scripture.Psalm 46

{Photo Credit: http://www.newquistvisuals.com}

Side-Note Info:  I am a public high school teacher (for almost 8 years), worship leader/team member (play piano and sing), love girl scout cookies, sleeping in and watching ESPN. I am an avid Florida Gators fan and love carbs. 🙂

What valuable thing have I gained from The Influence Network?

There are so many things I can mention here, but the biggest benefit I have received from Influence Network (so far) has been the tremendous support of the leadership and members. As a newer blogger, I have had tons of questions about a variety of topics. I know I can always go to the leadership for help, or ask questions of the members in the influence network forums. I also have received tremendous support and prayer from the leadership and members when I was in grave need of prayer. It feels so good to know that I now have friends here who love and support me, and want to see me thrive in my walk with Christ and want to help my blog be successful for Him

I am excited to “meet” all of my fellow Influence Network ladies online, and to FINALLY meet some in person at The Influence Conference in September!!!

Have a blessed day, ya’ll!

Funny Things on a Friday

Today I want to share with you some funny and awesome things I found on Pinterest….yup, I’m a pinning addict and I ain’t ashamed! 🙂

Enjoy…. Happy Friday everyone!!!

Duck Dynasty 2

Mom E-Card

Big Bang

Duck Dynasty

Cosby Show

And because I love Madea so much…an inspiration quote from her.

Madea

Brand “You” – The Best Ways to Own Your Voice

I had the great honor and privilege to attend a wonderful class through The Influence Network this past Monday night. Called “Brand You,” Stephanie Bryant gave a wonderful talk about defining your online brand, owning your voice and finding the best and most authentic way you can serve others for Christ (whether that be in a blog, business, or both).

Brand You Pic

What are some of the wonderful take-aways I got from this course?

1. Find your own voice. “Your brand is simply the space that God has called you to fill in the world.”

Stephanie did such a great job explaining this. She mentioned spending time finding out what your “hearts cry” is. Another question she asked us during the class was, “What is the topic or topic(s) that really speak to you? What are you just naturally good or something that comes easy to you?”  God opened my eyes during this portion, and showed me that I am called to be uniquely me, and He has given me a particular voice for this time and this season of my life. It is up to me to use it appropriately.

2. Be authentic. “What is the thing YOU’RE designed to do?”

I have been struggling with this. I think I spent too much time worrying about what other well-known bloggers think of me. I have perhaps lost my way a bit, as I have been too concerned with patterning my blog design, content, networking, etc. after what the majority of other bloggers are doing. While getting advice from mentors or seasons folks in your area is certainly important, straying from who you are as a person (or in my case, as a blogger) is NOT authentic. God has called me to be a unique tool for His use and His glory, not a mediocre copy of someone else.

3. Serve others. “Who are you designed to serve?”

Stephanie talked at length about using your blog to serve others. Ultimately, this blog is a means to serve my readers. God has given this blog to me to use as a tool to serve others, to reach them for Christ and to bring the glory back to Him. What other bloggers do should not be my concern. I am called to serve my readers, not theirs.

Psalm 115 1

What does this mean for the blog?

I have some promises to make to you, my readers. It’s time for me to “embrace my name” as Stephanie put it during the class.

My commitments:

1. A key component of my blog is authenticity. I promise to post authentic, faith-related and lifestyle-related content. If I do not feel I can be “totally real” when writing a post, I will not be sharing the content. This means certain topics may be off-limits to protect others privacy.

2. I will also be sharing more of my struggles on “waiting with joy.” This means I will be sharing more of our church-planting journey as we go through this process, as well as other issues that pertain to “waiting with joy.” I hope this portion can be a support to those working in ministry, too.

3.  Finally, I plan to continue to share Biblical passages/devotionals and worship music to encourage my readers. Encouragement is something I am extremely passionate about, and I love finding songs or Biblical passages/verses/devotionals to help other women who are struggling, just like me!

I’d love to hear more about what your “brand you” is and/or who you feel called to serve in your workplace or in your personal life. Please feel free to share in the comments. 🙂

Blessings,

Northface Giveaway :)

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My wonderful blogger friend Sarah is doing a great giveaway that I am blessed to be apart of! She is celebrating having 300 followers today by graciously giving away a beautiful Northface jacket! I encourage you to go over to her site, Love Sarah K, and check it out! OR, you can enter below.

Rules:
There will be one winner!
Winner will be chosen completely at random and will get to choose the color (upon availability)
All entries will be verified, so please be honest!
Winners will have 48 hours to reply to my email otherwise another winner will be chosen/
Open to U.S. Residents only
**Good luck!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

De-friended

politics

The presidential election last year revealed many negative aspect of social media. Never before had I witnessed such harassment and vitriol displayed online (and many of these folks claimed to be followers of Christ!). Being an avid user/lover of all things social media, I became disheartened in how it was being used as a tool to fight, judge and harass. This led me into a depression, with feelings of sadness and hopelessness. I had already been fighting this nagging feeling that I wasn’t valued and that I had no purpose, and then something else happened:

I began to see friends in my real life delete me on social media sites. (Presumably because we differed politically).

I saw other “real world” friends fight on Facebook and then delete each other.

And as any normal person might feel, I felt the singe of pain and hurt. I began to negatively over-analyze the situation and wonder to myself, “What did I do to deserve this? How did I hurt this person so badly, that they felt they needed to delete me?” When I would see these friends in public or at church, it felt as if our encounters were awkward. I struggled with what I should do next. Should I confront them and have a dialogue? Just pray about it ? Let it go? As the questions and frustrations built up, I decided to seek out counsel before making any hasty decisions.

To my surprise, my good friend and accountability partner Katie gave dispelled some sage-like wisdom regarding her take on the social media debacle:

“Just because I “defriend” you on Facebook does not mean that I defriend you in life. ” 

That really stuck with me. Maybe we place too much emphasis as a culture on what happens online. Perhaps we need to cling to Luke 6:27-29 when he says,

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.”

He goes on to say in verse 36,

“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

So, maybe there was some drama on Facebook and it upset you. Maybe you were de-friended. Blocked. Whatever. God’s word is clear – whether hurt or not, we must show compassion and love to all.

Your first step is to forgive the person for the hurt caused to you. But  should I do anything beyond that?? My suggestion? Pray about what God wants you to do – whether it be to confront the person about the online issue or not. He will make it very evident to you.

forgive

Some social media etiquette suggestions:

  • If there is something you want to post and you’re not sure if it is appropriate to post online, then DON’T.
  • When posting on something that evokes debate, consider editing it before posting it. If you don’t want to start a debate on someone’s status, but still want to share your opinion, I highly suggest personally messaging that individual.
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