Content In All Things?

I am sharing this post on my friend Carly’s blog today, Texas Lovebirds. Go check her out!! She is amazing!

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{I took this photo during church this past week.}

I am one of those people you’d categorize as frugal. Cheap. Maybe even a tight-wad.

I adore the teachings of Dave Ramsey and I look for ways to save money.

You might even say I find some of my security in having money available. I am not talking SUPER WEALTH or anything. But just knowing I have something in case I need it, that gives me peace.

And for many years this has brought me guilt (okay, the Holy Spirit has convicted me). My husband is quite the opposite of me. He loves to give gifts to others and bless others in monetary (and non-monetary) means. I have always wished I could give that freely without feeling scared or worried that we might need that money down the road.

david platt quote

{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

Then this past Sunday, my church began a series entitled Content in All Things. My worship pastor, Brian, spoke last week, and shared the story of the rich young ruler from Matthew 19 –

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” – Matthew 19: 21-24

Immediately, I became convicted again because I knew God has been working on me to surrender this area of my life to him. I have certainly come a long way. But this continues to be an area of dis-trust for me. In his message, Brian argued that one of the major issues facing Christians in the West is that we may be missing the mark in the area of generosity. He discussed how in the U.S. we value the idea of scarcity and attaining more things to equal ones worth as a person rather than being generous with others.

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{A favorite quote recently from Ann Voskamp.}

However, I don’t think this missing the mark with generosity necessarily means monetarily/material things only. We may be missing the mark if we hoard our money, for sure. But what about not being generous with our time? Our giftings? Our knowledge & wisdom?

Jesus asks us to forsake ourselves and live fearlessly for His glory. This means forsaking our agenda, our plans, our 401k plans, our savings accounts, our to-do lists, and yes….even our lives. And it is SCARY. It requires major TRUST because it involves great risk in the eyes of man.

Radical_cvr:Mechanical File

{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

One of the resources Brian mentioned in his message last week was the book Radical by David Platt. I have had the opportunity to read it, and it shook me to the core. David Platt does an excellent job of analyzing some of the issues/problems with the lack of generosity, lack of missional mindedness, lack of discipleship and community building happening in the current American church today:

“This is really the core issue of it all.  Do we trust him?  Do we trust Jesus when he tells us to give radically for the sake of the poor?  Do we trust him to provide for us when we begin using the resources he has given us to provide for others?  Do we trust him to know what is best for our lives, our families, and our financial futures?” – David Platt, Radical

derek webb

Ultimately, Jesus was communicating to this man [rich young ruler] that there was nothing he could do to enter the kingdom of God apart from total trust in God.  It is impossible for us to earn our way into heaven.  In the process, though, Jesus was exposing the barrier that this man’s wealth was to seeing his need for God.  His wealth on earth would ultimately keep him from eternal treasure. – David Platt, Radical

So, what do you think? Personally, I don’t think Jesus is calling everyone to sell everything they own and move into poor neighborhoods. I think Jesus is asking believers to lay down their choke-hold on their stuff and surrender fully to Him. This may mean you go through times of plenty or times of dire need. In both circumstances, give thanks and fully trust/surrender to Him. Allow Christ to lead you. And may you be encouraged by Paul’s account of the matter in Philippians 4 –

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little”  – Philippians 4:11-12

Please take a listen to the sermons mentioned above. Listen to the one by Brian Wages first, then to Jeff Henderson’s second. In addition, take a listen to the song “Rich Young Ruler” by Derek Webb. It puts to song the message behind the story in Matthew 19. Extremely convicting but necessary for our growth as Christians.

Rich Young Ruler – Derek Webb

I am giving away a copy of the book “Radical” here!! I hope it can bless someone else like it has blessed me!

Worship Wednesday #10

Hey all!

It has been another busy week in virtual teaching world. I am sure hoping it slows down some in the coming weeks so I can return to blogging on a more consistent basis! I am hoping to implement some of my organizational strategies to help me get on track with blogging!

For this worship wednesday, I wanted to share some Gungor music with you. I have been re-listening to some older Gungor music and I am just LOVING their lyrics and musical stylings. (It doesn’t hurt that they are a husband & wife team, which just tugs at my heart!) 🙂

worship wednesdays instagram

I hope you enjoy worshiping today with these songs – check out my post later this week on some of my favorite Bible reading plans/apps, too!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace….today and every day ahead.

Gungor – Beautiful Things

Gungor – Jesus and John

Gungor – Please Be My Strength

Gungor – Dry Bones

God Is Up To Something…

Psalm 23

For those of you who read my blog, you may have noticed that I have been in and out lately. My new position as a virtual school teacher has kept me quite busy as I learn all new sorts of things and prepare to begin teaching new students at the end of this week. As I have been posting my day-to-day thoughts on facebook and twitter, I have been encouraged by some of my blogger friends to keep sharing what the Lord is teaching/showing me as I move through this process of transition.

The funny thing is, I feel like I have been in the process of change/transition for many years now. Ever since the call, my husband and I have been on a wonderful and scary journey with the Lord.

He has taught me so much about trust. About faith. About waiting on Him. And as I begin a new journey in my professional life, I once again find myself in a place of reliance on Him. Because honestly, I cannot do this new thing without His help and guidance.

The times where change is the toughest for me is when there is a large unknown factor….and that is when my phobia of the “fear of the unknown” often kicks into overdrive. As a teacher, this often occurs on the first day of school. Since I am beginning with a new group of students in an entirely new (to me) environment that is virtual school, if feels like the first day of school jitters times a million.

romans 8 31

Since I have had many experiences like this in the past, I know that I can trust God to carry me through. I will survive the first week or so of new students with difficult questions I may not be prepared to answer. I know He will guide me as a I learn new systems and will bring me into a place of holding onto His hand as I learn to form new relationships with colleagues, leadership, my students and their families.

The biggest goal I have for this new position is that I want a chance to be a light for Christ for my students and their families. I hope I can be someone they come to for help, not just for school issues but for other issues as well. I pray I am someone they can come to trust.

And most of all, I am believing that God will use this exciting (albeit complete scary right now) situation to further His kingdom and to bring me into a closer, deeper relationship with Him.

Thank you to those folks who have been thinking of me, lifting me up in prayer and for those who have encouraged me over these last few weeks. You are such a tremendous blessing to me. I can only pray my journey with Christ is an encouragement to you all. Keep pressing on into a deeper relationship with Him. He will use you. You are not alone. You are loved.

Blessings,

Worship Wednesday #6

worship wednesdays instagram

Happy Wednesday, Ladies!

I pray you’re having a blessed day.

For those of you struggling through something tough, I pray God grows you in His grace and that He reveals to you His perfect plan for you, in His time.

May you come to know how much He loves you.

I pray that you continue to grow in your trust & in your knowledge of God’s faithfulness.

Some of my favorite worship songs when I am going through tough times are those written by Rita Springer. Enjoy. May it bless you today as you worship Him!

Worth It All – Rita Springer

Mansion – Rita Springer

When I Think About The Lord – Performed by Rita Springer

The Bitter & The Sweet

WARNING: INCESSANTLY LONG POST AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…. 🙂

It is with a joyful but heavy heart that I write this post.

As is no secret to those who know me well, for some time I have desired to transition to virtual school education. Having been a public school secondary (middle & high school) teacher for almost 8 years now, the pressures and exhausting schedule had begun to wear on me and my family. I have several friends who work for our state virtual school, and really enjoy it. While they work year round and have to be available and different times of the day for student questions, they are able to have more flexible schedules to meet their families needs.

Back in December, I got a call from the virtual school asking to begin the interview process. I had applied for a position a LONG time ago and forgot about it. Taking it as some sort of sign, I decided to go with the flow just to see what happens. The first initial phone interview went well. Then I didn’t hear ANYTHING for over a month. I was surprised when almost 6 weeks later, they called and asked me to go ahead with the second phase of the interview process: an online orientation and an all-day group interview at their corporate offices in Orlando, FL.

Prom

{My husband and I chaperoning prom last year}

Excited and nervous, I went forward. I was extremely impressed with the company. They seem to value individual student learning, and genuinely care about their staff. They were completely forthright with their requirements and emphasized that transitioning to virtual education is a family decision (again, because you need to be available for random times of the day, unlike the traditional public school where you’re only there until 2:30 P.M.

At the end of the all day group interview, we were told that we would get an email letting us know if they wanted to continue the interview process with us or not. If they did, then you entered the hiring pool and were told you might have to wait months to hear anything. I got asked to continue on. Again, I was very excited and nervous because frankly, I was surprised to make it this far. And so I waited.

About 4 days later I got a call requesting I come BACK to Orlando, FL for a face-to-face, individual second interview. At this point the whole process began to seem EXTREMELY real. I began to have my few close friends and family who knew about this situation to pray. I felt strongly that if God wanted me in this position, that every detail would be worked out – including issues with our vacation at the end of the month, issues with having to leave immediately from work, etc.

The second interview went great. I got the opportunity to speak with one of the social studies leaders and a lead teacher for American History who was with us by phone. Both of them asked me questions and we had a good conversation about different experiences I have had with students. When the interview was over, I asked the social studies leader who was present a few questions about my details and concerns about getting hired so quickly. He eased my concerns by informing me that he was recommending me to be hired for a full-time position, and that he felt confident they could meet my scheduling needs.

WOW. What a wonderful, detail-oriented God we serve! Being a detail-oriented person by nature, it never ceases to amaze me how God is an on-time God, and concerned Himself with every small detail of a situation. It shows just how much He loves me and values even my seemingly trivial concerns.

All of that to say – I will soon be transitioning from a public school high school teacher to a virtual school high school teacher.

I am both excited and scared. Change is tough for me. But this is a challenge I am looking forward to.

Why am I making the move? For many reasons, but the main few are: more flexibility with work and a significant pay raise. This means I can increase how much money I put towards debt reduction and savings (for our eventual move to Phoenix to plant the church) without having to take on a second job. I can also be more readily available to my daughter as she transitions to VPK and Kindergarten in the coming years.

The hardest part about leaving my current school is leaving my students and my amazing co-workers. I love my students as if they were my own children, and I hate leaving them behind. I also have formed wonderful, supportive relationships with many of my co-workers, and I dread not getting to see those folks every day. I am thankful for the time I spent working with them and I know I will build great relationships with my new co-workers at FLVS.

graduation

{Helping with graduation last year, posing here with some of my wonderful colleagues!}

Your prayers are appreciated for my family as we make this transition. Thank you to those of you who have been praying for us! We are so grateful.

Could you pray for me?

Hey all…

Not much to post today. But I wanted to ask if you could pray for me. Some stuff going on today that could potentially change some things for us. In a good way. So, if you think of it, lift me and my family up today in prayer during the afternoon EST. I so appreciate it!

Pray Without Ceasing

{Photo Credit: theologigal.wordpress.com}

Blessings,

Is Worship a Corporate or Unique Experience?

What does the term worship mean to you?

What does it look like?

How do you, uniquely you, worship the Lord?

Is worship a corporate-only or unique experience that varies for each individual?

OR BOTH?

These are things I am pondering.

I am inclined to think that worship can be an individual and yet a corporate experience, and both can happen simultaneously. I just believe God is totally able to utilize individuals and their unique make-ups to worship corporately, yet done in a totally unique manner for each person involved.

What about you? What do you think? Please join us on instagram today for the Worship Wednesday link-up to share your thoughts or to share the worship music that is inspiring you/driving you to the throne today.

worship wednesdays instagram

The songs that have been my heart’s cry lately:

Everything to You (Spontaneous)  – Bethel Live: Jenn Johnson

Who You Are – Bethel Live: Jenn Johnson

Overcome The Lie

I was so excited when Ashley over at The Story Project shared her idea for an Overcome The Lie campaign. Her idea was to have women come together to share lies spoken over us, and to support one another through prayer and the Word to diffuse the lies. I was really inspired by this, because I know as a woman that we all struggle with lies spoken over us. I fully believe it goes back to the Garden of Eden and the fall of man.

One of the lies I struggle with often is that I am not “good enough” or “worthy enough”, especially when I think about being a worship leader. I always question my leadership abilities, musical abilities, singing abilities, etc. I am constantly over-analyzing and criticizing myself. I know in my mind that these are lies, but in my heart, I still struggle. I am finding that the only way to combat these lies is through God’s word. I must choose to believe what HE says about me, and not what Satan tells me, which are lies.

What lies do you believe about yourself or tell yourself? What lies have been spoken over you? Please share in the comments below, or follow along on twitter using the #overcomethelie hash-tag.

If you struggle with any lies, I encourage you to consider going to God’s word to combat these lies. Another great resource is Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word. Listed below are some  of the scriptures others have given me this week have helped tremendously.

Zephaniah 3:17

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Psalm 139:17-18

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Romans 8:17

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Ephesians 3:19

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

I pray you find God’s truth and believe what He says about you, and not the lies. We can overcome.

Blessings,

rsz_overcomelie2

{Photo Credit: Ashley @ The Story Project}

#PrayerDare

Today, I welcome my friend Amanda, who is speaking about a wonderful prayer initiative I am participating in! Read below for more information.
Hi y’all. My name is Amanda and I blog at A Royal Daughter. I’m really not here to talk about me, so if you want to know more, head on over to my little space on the internet and say hi!
I’ve been working with a handful of amazing, godly, praying women, and together we are excited to announce the launch of a brand new, year-long community initiative: #PrayerDare

What is #PrayerDare?

#PrayerDare is: an online community initiative with the goal of equipping, encouraging, and holding women accountable to practice the daily discipline of prayer. Each month, the #PrayerDare community will dedicate the entire month to praying for a specific topic. #PrayerDare will launch on February 1, and we’ll be spending the “month of love” praying for our husbands*.
*For those of you who are not married, PLEASE don’t feel excluded. In fact, we want to extend a special invitation for you to join us one of two ways:
1. Join us by spending 28 days praying for a man in your life who holds special importance, but is married to someone else. We’re talking about guys like your dad, brother, pastor, or maybe even your best friend’s husband. The point is, they need to be prayed for, and there’s nothing that says it can’t be you praying for them.
2. If you do not feel called to singleness, why don’t you consider joining us by spending 28 days praying for your future husband? We know that God’s not bound by time or circumstances, and spending a month praying for your future husband is probably one of the best things you can be doing for your future relationship.
All the Single Ladies….

…please join us!

The first goal of #PrayerDare is to equip women to practice the daily discipline of prayer. On February 1 we will be providing free downloadable prayer cards on aroyaldaughter.com. The prayer cards are intended to serve two purposes:

1. A daily reminder – After downloading the prayer cards (they will be available in black & white and in color), print them, cut them out, and place them somewhere in your home where they will serve as a daily reminder to spend some intentional, quality time in prayer. Maybe you can put them on your refrigerator, or bathroom mirror. Or you can put them in your Bible or quiet time journal. Just don’t put them in file 13. They’re no help in file 13.
2. A daily guide – The Lord told us that His Word will not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11). Each prayer card will offer a concise and specific prayer that is based on the Word of God. The prayers that we’ve written are meant to guide you as you begin (or continue!) to practice the daily discipline of prayer. We’d recommend writing your own prayerw, or prayer requests, on the back of each card. They will serve as a sort of testimony to your prayer life, and will allow you to go back and see how God has answered your prayers.
Our second goal is to encourage women to practice the daily discipline of prayer. We’ll be building our community of praying women primarily on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #PrayerDare. Following the #PrayerDare hashtag is an easy way to connect online without having to get involved in another website or follow another blog. We know you’re busy, so are we! But we’re not too busy to spend a few minutes each day praying, and then connecting online and encouraging others to join us.

Our third goal is to hold women accountable to practice the daily discipline of prayer. This is the doozie, right? We think that having someone (or a few hundred someones) holding us accountable is exactly what a lot of us need. So how are we going to do that?
Using the hashtag #PrayerDare, we want you to check in with the community every day. You can tweet, “Hey #PrayerDare sisters! I’m just checking in – have a great day!” or you can be more specific: “I love teaching my kiddos how to pray for their daddy. #PrayerDare” <— It doesn’t matter how you check in, just that you do. And here’s where it gets real good, friends. Our idea is that if you miss a day or two or three, someone is going to notice. And it’s their responsibility to reach out to you and make sure you’re okay.
Did you see that? In order for #PrayerDare to work, each and everyone of us has to take responsibility. We have to be responsible for ourselves: that we check in each day. But we also have to be responsible for others. We need to be actively encouraging other women to pray, and reaching out to them if they slack off. And we need to do it with loads and loads and loads of grace.
FAQ:
I’m not on Twitter or Instagram, how can I connect?
We’ve created a Facebook page for #Prayer Dare. However, please keep in mind that the primary location of the community will be happening on Twitter and Instagram. So if find yourself on the Facebook page, you might find yourself in a leadership role right away! Feel free to take the reigns and get that community growing!
How do I follow a hashtag?
You can’t actually follow a hashtag, so we’d recommend a two-fold system to stay in touch with each other:
1. Search for the hashtag #PrayerDare.
2. Create a list on Twitter for #PrayerDare. As you see new people in the community, add them to your #PrayerDare list.
How will I find people in the community?
Well, you can start tweeting and using the #PrayerDare hashtag! Get the word out there, we don’t mind! And on February 1 we’ll be hosting a link-up so all those who want to be a part of the #PrayerDare community can link up their Twitter or Instagram accounts. That will be a quick and easy way to make connections!
I’m not really active online, how can I participate?
While the original idea of #PrayerDare was to be an online-community, we DO NOT want to exclude those of you who aren’t very active in the virtual world. You are more than welcome to print off the prayer cards. In fact, print as many as you want as often as you want. You can even use them to start your own #PrayerDare community in your local church, MOPS group, gym…you get the idea. The point is: if you do not want to be a part of the online community, make it happen in your own personal sphere of influence.
Can we share prayer requests?
Yes! In fact, if you’re comfortable sharing prayer requests, please do. You’ll have at your fingertips a whole community of women who will be able to pray for you at a moment’s notice. You might want to take advantage of that!
How can I get the word out?
We’re glad you asked! Start tweeting using our official hashtag, and it would be super helpful to point your followers to this post. Feel free to share in any way your heart desires. If you plan to join us, you can also put our badge on your website or blog.
A Royal Daughter
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If you have any questions that haven’t already been answered, please contact us!We can’t wait to see you on February 1!

Keepin’ It Real

I had another post planned for today…but for some reason, this is on my heart.

I had the great privilege to attend the first Influence Network class last night with Jessi Connolly. The class was absolutely amazing. Jessi talked about Rhythms of Life & Rest, and how we need to spend as much time emphasizing rest as we do emphasizing work.

The class was full of wonderful women, who, like me, tend to want to do “all of the things” and then find themselves spiraling out of control. We also found that we had a tendency to be competitive with other women and constantly compare ourselves to other women, too. And often we feel not good enough. Not loved. Not wanted. And last night, it was so evident (and frankly, encouraging) that I wasn’t alone in this.

This hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been struggling. With being not good enough, with not feeling wanted, with becoming more and more frustrated by my increasing lack of control over things in my life. All of this points back to one thing – do I find my full self-worth in Christ? Do I really trust God to take care of me? Do I really believe His word and what it says about me? And how He feels about me? And what He wants for me life?

And I have to be honest….. it’s a NO for me right now. I have been having a hard time believing it. And feeling it. And trusting Him. And letting Him take over.

But at the end of the day, it really all comes back to this, “my life is not my own, I am hidden in Christ….” (Davy Flowers).

And so I covet your prayers. And I will be praying for you. Because after last night’s class, I know I am not alone in this battle. Satan is attacking women in these areas all over the country and the world. May we find comfort in Christ and in His word today. May we know how He truly sees us. May we not believe the lies Satan and this world are telling us, and instead cling to the truth in His word today.

Ladies, our lives are hidden in Christ. Our lives are not our own. Hallelujah!!

Be encouraged by this song today, sisters. We shall overcome.

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