Friday, July 30, 2010

Beauty From Ashes

Kelly's Korner is hosting Show Us Your Life Friday- Share your testimony. As I was reading her blog, I realized that I don't think I had blogged about my testimony. I thought I would share..then I got to thinking, "God has done so much for me..where do I start?" So I figured I'd just share my heart..hopefully it won't be too long!

I grew up in a Christian home and was raised in church. My parents struggled for nearly 10 years with infertility before I was born and the story around my home church is that the church prayed me into the world! At age 7, I was baptized and "prayed" to receive Christ as my savior. I used "prayed" because I realize now it was my lips moving. I had all of the head knowledge of God and Jesus, knew the songs, knew the Sunday school answers. I was the "good kid."

At age 14, some friends from school invited me to attend a play with them. It was called Judgement House, basically a walk through version of Heaven's Gates and Hell's flames. I realized that night, I was lost as I could be. If I died that night, I would go to hell. I needed a Savior. On October 28, 1995, I began a real genuine relationship with Christ.

My teen years were rough. I mean, I wasn't rebellious, but tell me whose teen years aren't rough? My grandparents became very sick at different points, school, I was still trying to figure out who I was, where I was going. At age 16, I was diagnosed with depression. At first, I didn't understand (and I still don't!) but I knew that God was faithful. This has been a battle (I say battle, because some days it is a literal battle.) I've realized that this isn't necessary a bad thing, it's just something that God has given me to make me rely on Him more than ever.

I graduated high school and began my freshman year of college. That year brought about so many changes. I wrote in an earlier post about my ex boyfriend that was killed in an accident. That event literally brought to me knees and I learned so many lessons from my grief, even 10 years later. I became involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries and it changed my life forever. I began to experience God for myself- my own experiences, my own learning lessons. I met some of my closest friends to this day and learned about servant leadership. I learned to love missions. I grew in my faith so much during that time.

I remember after graduation, grad school ahead of me, at our last worship service. My friend Joe was speaking and he talked about priorities. He said that God should not be a priority, but the page that we write our priorities on. At that moment, I felt the Lord gently tell me, "50 years from now, it's not going to matter how many degrees you have, how many letters behind your name or how many children you have. What matters is how you live your life for Me." It was a defining moment.

I went to grad school and then moved 200 miles away from family after graduation. I remember thinking "What in the world am I doing? God, where are You?" That was 6 years ago. These 6 years have been some of the most challenging, painful, yet beautiful years of my life. I can't put into words how good God has been to me during these years. I have my dream job in ministry (after questioning my calling to ministry at age 17 for years!) I have seen God provide for my every need, send me family where I am, given me joy beyond measure in little moments. Life looks totally different from my plan: at 29, I'm single, own my home, and have my dream job. There's no husband or children, or even a dog. Not exactly what I had pictured my life to be at this point, but I'm learning that God's timing is perfect. Some days, I look at how messy life can be and how flawed I am as a human being. But then I see how God has and can make beauty from my ashes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A little about me (AKA: Profile for Kelly's Eharmony/!)

I love blogs. Kelly's was one of the first ones that I read. I love her! (even if she is a Razorback fan!) She does this post on Friday's called Show Us Your Life Fridays, where people link back to their blog a posting on a particular topic. Well, this week's SUYL is rather's called "All the Single Ladies.." Just check it out for yourself.

I know that I've been a blog slacker lately and am not very connected to the "blog community" (I think i may have 3 readers!) but I thought that I would tell a little about myself so that if I get any new readers then they can know who they are reading about..(could one of those new readers be my future hubby??! LOL :) You never know...the pic at top is of me and my best friend...(my hair is a bit shorter, but still as curly as ever!)

I am 29 and live in North Louisiana. I moved here six years ago from Baton Rouge after graduating from LSU (geaux tigers!) with my master's in social work. I went to work for a hospital as a social worker on the labor unit. I learned so much that first year that I learned that that type of setting was not for me!! I then went to work for a faith based non profit working with children and families in crisis. I've been there 5 years and love it! I have transitioned into working more with adoptions and foster care, which are my passions. I earned my Licensed Clinical Social Work license in Jan. 2009. I know that I'm called to do this, as I've never really seen myself as having a social work job outside of ministry. Now I get to do what I love and minister at the same time...I love how God works.

I grew up in a Christian home, but did not come to know the Lord until I was 14. I walked the aisle at age 7 and was baptized but realize now that I did it because I felt it was expected of me. I was called to the ministry at age 17 but had no idea what that would look like (I'm still learning!) In college, I became very involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries where I met some of my closest friends and really grew in my faith. I began to experience God for myself. I did summer missions 2 summers and had a BCM minister who taught me and modeled servant leadership.

family is very important to me. I live nearly 200 miles away from my family, but we talk all the time and I try to get home as much as I can. I love spending time with my friends. I love traveling, although I don't get to do it much as I would like. Last year, I went to Croatia on a mission trip...AMAZING! I love to shop (only if it's on sale..I'm the bargain queen!) read, cook, work out, go to garage sales and thrift stores, paint, and sing. I recently purchased my first house(something I never thought I would do single!) but I love it!

This is definitley a season of change. I've gone through major changes at work(which have taught me so much!) plus changed churches. Not something that I had planned on, but when God moves, He often moves big. I recently read "Crazy Love' by Francis Chan and it really opened my eyes and challenged me. I'm excited to see what God has in store.

I feel like I'm on the blind date circuit! I've been on more than I care to count. Sometimes I think I have a sign that says, "OOOH, set me up with the strangest person possible!" But its all about the experience. I'm the last one in my circle of friends to be married and that's okay. God has taught me so much over the years in my season of singleness. I've realized that marriage is not the be all to end all so to speak. I'm at the point now where I want to share my life with someone, to serve the Lord together, not to make me happy.

This is so starting to sound like a profile for Match. com! :) My top 2 criteria for a husband: Love God more than he loves me, and realize that God loves me more than he ever will. I want to be able to serve the Lord together as a family, on the crazy adventures that God has in store for us. I love my job, but really want to be a wife and mom (and adopt one day too!)

So hopefully, you now feel like you know who you're reading about. Leave me a comment and let me know about you!

I know it's been a while!

I knew that it had been a while since I blogged, but had no idea it's been since February!! Alot has gone on and there may two posts today. Needless to say the past few months have been extremely busy and exciting! Here's some of what I've been up to:

  • Was in 9 different cities in Louisiana from Feb. to April doing foster care/adoption presentations for churches
  • Went on vacation to Gulf Shores the day after the last conference and went parasailing! It was so much fun!
  • Turned 29!
  • Celebrated being in my house for a year. Hard to believe it's been that long.
  • Am in the process of my first major home renovation project: my guest bathroom. It's being painted, and the new countertops ordered soon. (I know, eventually I'll get around to posting pics of the house- I really do have one!)
  • Was MOH for my dear friend Misty. It was a beautiful wedding, but hot!! Nothing like a summer wedding in LA.
  • Hosted my first wedding shower at my house
  • Had my first houseguest other than family
  • The entire family came for a weekend and we didn't kill each other! LOL
  • My precious "niece" Vivienne turned one and she's going to be a big sister. Aunt Ash can't wait to find out the gender and go shopping!
  • Went on 2 dates-one of which lead to 2 more dates, but I realized that it was going nowhere fast. The other one- we realized we were better off as friends. Mutual decision and no hard feelings.
  • Had a spa day- so much fun!
  • Getting ready for my Maw Maw's 90th birthday party
  • Have picked up some contract work on the side- extra $ which is always a plus
  • Read Crazy Love and it totally rocked my world, which leads to my next highlight
  • I started attending a new church. I'm really excited about it, it's relatively new and small, but very refreshing. It has opened my eyes to a new way of doing church- of church being a lifestyle. So excited to see what God is going to do. Portico
  • God is showing me so much in so many it.

I really need to do better at posting. So much to share. On to the next post...