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

 

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)

When Waiting Sucks

Sometimes waiting just sucks.

We are in the middle of a lot of changes in our home. With my new job, our schedule has turned upside down…and it has been (at times) a rough adjustment for all of us. My husband has had to take on additional responsibilities while I work for a couple of hours in the afternoons when Eden is home from school. It certainly has not been easy.

In addition, we have been feeling/wading our way through another season of frustration in waiting for the next step. It seems to come in waves for us – periods of peace and trust in Gods timing and plan, and periods of frustration and feeling like we will never make it to step 2.

But the Word of God, my sweet brothers & sisters in Christ and worship music have all been a great blessing/comfort to me.

I posted this pic the other day on my instagram….it definitely shows me that our waiting period is for a purpose. “…waiting time is never wasted time.” MAN – God was pointing a finger right at me with that one!!!

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The She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah has had a profound impact on me. I think the book of Nehemiah is a preview of what is to come for my husband and I when we finally move to Arizona. It has blessed and encouraged me so much – and I am so thankful.

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And while I know in my head that everything will be alright – that God has a plan and is working it out as we speak. Sometimes waiting just plain old sucks – and I have to work through these seasons of frustration through Gods word and through prayer. I am reminded of a very important verse that gives me strength:

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I have to believe. God is good. Amen.

Blessings,

Living in Acceptance

Many of us have experienced some sort of relationship breaking apart. For many, that may be a once or twice in a lifetime occurrence. But for me…well, you could say this is a “thorn in my flesh” kind-of a thing.

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What I mean is….abandonment & loss of relationship has been a running theme in my life. From losing relationships with precious & loved family members, to loss of friendships, to church friends and other friends de-friending me on facebook.…I have learned well what it means experience a loss of relationship. Some of these have been because I was in the wrong, some had nothing to do with me at all and others were from issues done to me.

Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud…” 2 Corinthians 12:7

But as I have aged, I have come into a place of acceptance of such things.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was in therapy for some issues stemming from my parents divorce. One of the most profound things my therapist said to me at the beginning of my journey was, “You’re extremely angry now. But you must come to a place of acceptance in order to survive.” At the time I thought what she was saying was plain old ludicrous.

I mean….I was so mad that coming into acceptance of what was happening seemed like an IMPOSSIBLE task. But as I moved through the stages of loss and grief, I found my way into acceptance. Getting there was certainly a long journey, but living there? Another story altogether.

Living in acceptance means that you must daily forgive those who have wronged you, as well as yourself for those you have wronged.

Living in acceptance means you must fight the apathy and avoidance that seek to cut you off from authentic, vulnerable relationships.

Living in acceptance means you have to be willing to risk heartbreak and open yourself up to new relationships with others.

Living in acceptance means you must reject fear and embrace love.

I am not going to pretend that I get it right all the time. I honestly struggle with creating new friendships and relationships. I have been told by many people that I come off as cold, stand-offish and even bitchy when they first meet me (because of how nervous I get around people I don’t know and trust). I struggle with maintaining intimate relationships with those I love. I have a difficult time communicating how I really feel.

But God is faithful. He is using this time of acceptance as a means to grow me and use me for His glory. He is using my weaknesses as a means to bring others to Himself. And He is showing me it is okay to trust and rely on Him, and others.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I am getting there.

Blessings,

A day in the life

Virtual Teaching intro

When I transitioned to teaching virtually a month ago, many began to come up to me and ask me what it is that I “do.”

Presumptively, many might think I sit around at my house all day in my PJs (OK – I admit, I do often spend my days in my yoga pants) and do nothing.

But truth be told – I am working harder than I have in a long time. But surprisingly, I feel LESS stressed than when I was teaching in the public school environment. Perhaps it is all of the support I get from the top (my principal) down (my peers). Maybe it is that I get to speak into the lives of individuals every day and (finally) have the time to focus on the one-on-one relationship building teaching brings.

Work Schedule

This is my weekly schedule. Every hour is planned to keep me focused and productive!

Virtual teaching involves more phone calling and interaction, grading papers, facilitating and less of a focus on lesson planning and classroom management. I spend most of my day helping students and parents and calling to check on new students. I do teach “live” a few times a month, for students’ required live collaboration lessons they must attend.

What is the best part of working from home?

The flexibility. I love that I can work on a schedule that isn’t bound by needing a substitute. I am able to be there more for my daughter during the day and can support her better. If she is sick, I can be there and still work effectively. If I want to attend an event at her school, I don’t have to rush out to my classroom. If I desire, I can travel to my mom’s house and still work, while spending time with family.

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Where I do most of my work – at my new desk! Thanks honey for getting it for me!

Do I miss the live, face-to-face interaction? Do I get bored? Am I lonely?

Truthfully – I do miss it some. I mostly miss the students I had to leave behind. But I am getting much more interaction and support working virtually.I am able to work and interact more with my colleagues in the virtual world than I ever did while I taught in the public school system. We communicate/chat on a daily basis and we are required to team and support each other. This fosters a sense of community and support, which I often felt was lacking in my previous job(s).

In order to be successful while working from home, you must be willing to stay to a strict schedule for yourself, and be flexible in meeting the needs of your students. One way I help stay out of a “rut” is by attending group get-togethers. Many virtual teachers live in my area and we meet weekly at Panera to work together. In addition, there is another group that meets monthly to go out to lunch. It is a nice way to fellowship and meet new co-workers (and see old friends!).

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What is a day in your life like?? Do you love what you do? What do you wish you could change?

Praying for you all today – thankful for you, too. 🙂

Blessings,

Worship Wednesday #9

As my work life has gotten quite busy these past few days, I have been reliant on the Lord now more than ever. The strength He has given me, the peace He has provided….it has been phenomenal. The precious friends who have graciously prayed for me as I sent frantic texts to them, asking for help….what a blessing.

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One of my favorite worship songs that we do at church is an amazing song written by Martin Smith, lead singer of Delirious?. It so touches my soul. It speaks of those struggling, who can find comfort in letting go and letting God take over. It speaks of a place of surrender.

I pray you are blessed by this song. Whatever you are going through, know He sees you. He has everything under control. You are loved.

Find Me In The River – Delirious?

Recent Events

This week is going to be pretty busy for me at work. I was just given about 90 new students that I have to call, discuss things with and then activate into the course. Each call takes about 7-10 minutes, so….you do the math. 🙂

I am really enjoying it, however. The people I work with are amazing, supportive and uplifting. My students and parents have been gracious and friendly (so far). Every question I didn’t know the answer to, I was able to find out and get back to them within the day, keeping them happy.

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{Photo Credit: Caryn Recker}

As someone who hates being on the phone, I am not on the phone ALL THE TIME. And I know God is using this as a way to build up my communication skills. I feel this is necessary as I move into a role of church planting in the future. I have a difficult time communicating, especially with people I don’t know well or trust. I have felt an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment as I have moved forward into this new job. I know only God can do that, because I am massively uncomfortable talking on the phone, especially with people I do not know.

This week is going to be a big week – lots of phone calls, but also I have some great things upcoming:

  • Tuesday, I am getting some head-shots/photos taken by my good friend Adam. He lives in New Orleans and came home with his lovely wife to visit family, and agreed to do some shots for me. He recently opened his own design & production company. If you’re in the New Orleans area, check him out!
  • Wednesday, I get to go out to lunch with some co-workers who live in the Jacksonville area. Since we are virtual teachers, we most often work alone in our homes. FLVS teachers host get-togethers monthly so we can get out of the house and work together or just fellowship. I am looking forward to a great lunch and a nice time of meeting new co-workers!
  • Friday & Saturday my church is hosting a “Wounds that Heal” conference, led by Dr. Steve Seamands. He is going to be teaching about bringing our wounds, hurts and issues to the cross. If you’re in the Jacksonville, FL area, please come out. It is free! 🙂
  • My husband has been after me to begin writing music with him. I have felt God speaking to me about faith and trust for some time. Please pray for me, that I might be open to God’s voice and write down what He has to say (and not force something to happen).

If you think of it, please lift me (and my family) up in prayer this week. It is a busy week, and I want to make sure I balance my work and family time appropriately.

Thank you all for your continued support and love. How might I pray for you?? Please feel free to e-mail me with prayer requests, even if they are unspoken.

Blessings,

Worship Wednesday #8

Since I am going through a season of transition while still waiting on the Lord for our future endeavors, I often find myself during the day feeling overwhelmed at frustrated. I don’t think that is uncommon, nor do I believe I should feel ashamed for feeling this way. I think this is apart of the process as God teaches me to trust Him and to rely on Him.

In the meantime, God has been using worship music (and His word) to bless me and to calm me as I move through this process and season of my life. One of my favorites lately has been “God I look to You”, sung by Jenn Johnson at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. I am linking a YouTube video below. Please take a listen. It will encourage you and bless you, especially those of you who are going through something similar.

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I pray God shows Himself to you today. I pray He uses you to be a blessing to others, too. Don’t forget to thank Him for who He is and what He is doing in your life! He is faithful! Hallelujah!

Blessings,

God, I Look To You – Bethel Music (feat. Jenn Johnson)

Rushing God’s Plan

My husband and I often get similar comments from folks when they find out that we have been called to church planting, especially since we were called way back in 2009 to Phoenix AZ. This is often what they say, “When are you leaving?” “Why are you still here?” “Do you think you jumped the gun a little bit?” and “I thought you guys were moving, what happened?”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not angry at these folks. They are well-meaning. But I think our culture has bought into something that concerns me. Many people in our area who get into church planting immediately begin fundraising, get involved with an organization to sponsor them, and within a year or two they have launched a church. We have seen SEVERAL churches who have sprung up this way in our area. And perhaps this is why people keep questioning my husband and me.

Psalm 73 23 24

It becomes very difficult to explain to people that WE WOULD LOVE to be there in AZ. My husband and I both feel our hearts pulled to the area and we would absolutely love nothing more than to drop everything and get on out there and begin ministering to those lovely folks in Phoenix/Scottsdale.

However, we both sense God asking us to wait. One of the major issues holding us back is our financial situation, particularly the fact that our home is currently upside down in the mortgage. (That means that we owe more than what it currently appraises at, so we’d have to essentially file for foreclosure or a short-sale in order to get out of our house payment.)

It would be easy to walk away. I could quit paying my mortgage tomorrow and find myself able to move to AZ in a heartbeat. It would be so easy. But my husband has had many conversations/prayers with the Lord and he believes God wants us to be honorable in our finances. That means we have to keep working hard at being financially responsible and wait on the Lord to bring us to a place where we are ready to move. Maybe that is in a year. Maybe it’s in five years. I don’t honestly know WHEN it will be.

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{Photo Credit: @spolleys on Instagram}

I can predict. Give you an estimation. But ultimately I just don’t know. And the further along this path I go, I am more and more comfortable with that. It means I have to trust God. It means I cannot control this situation. It means that God has to lead me. It means I must have faith.

And I am okay with that.

I pray you are learning to trust God in your life. If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure when God is going to move or where God is going to lead you, it is okay. He has you in the palm of His hand.

Blessings,

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.

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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,

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