life beyond the well…


I Wish Someone Had Sold Me on Jesus

I grew up in church.  We faithfully attended Sunday School and church, and it wasn’t until I went away to school that my church attendance waned.

I served in church- from a young age. Youth choir, Junior Missionary, Youth Usher Board were among the few areas where I was involved.  I enjoyed it, which is good; but I also didn’t have a choice.  I served because I saw other people serving, and because I was taught that I should serve.

But in all that, which WAS good, I was never completely sold on Jesus.  I had the basic knowledge, meaning I could tell you about John 3:16, and I knew that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that He rose on the 3rd day, but no one really pushed me to understand what that meant.

I was never sold on the gospel- the good news of Jesus Christ. I was never sold on the power of the cross and His resurrection. I was never taught to really understand that I serve a risen Savior.  I was never taught to understand how because of Christ, I didn’t have to live in fear, or shame; that I was redeemed, that I was WORTHY of His love. I was never taught to understand the magnitude of God’s love for me.  And as a result of all of these things that I didn’t understand and that I wasn’t taught, I had a distorted view of church and the gospel.

When I coupled that with the fact that I saw people in church week in (day in) and week out (day out) whose lives never seemed to be changed, I was even more confused. Because, in my mind, if there is a God who loves us, and has this power to change us from the inside out, why is EVERYONE the same?

I wish someone had sold me on Jesus.

I wish someone had sold me on Jesus because then I may have begun to understand that both salvation and sanctification are a process.  I wish someone had sold me on Jesus because then I would understand that serving doesn’t get me salvation; that I can’t work myself to death for a Kingdom that I have not professed to believe in.  If I had been sold on Jesus, I would have been more equipped to demonstrate the love of Him to others. I would have been able to handle the discrepancies that I saw in people–between who they were and where they desired to be–without leaving the church because “people are hypocrites”. I would have understood the need to be gracious and forgiving to others, because Christ has done the same for me.

Here’s my plea: sell people on Jesus.  Tell your testimony- how your life has been changed because of the work that He has done in you and through you.  Church is awesome, and we absolutely need community and accountability to help us grow into who we are called to be…but most of all, we need Jesus.


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This Space

It happens every year.  Sometimes it happens more than once a year.  But usually around this time of year, life really starts to pick up and I’m forced to pick and choose where my focus will be.  I usually find myself in a space where I’m relying more and more on Starbucks and less on God’s sustaining power.  And when that happens, it means that it’s time to refocus, prioritize, and get back in the saddle.

A lot has happened over the past month since I’ve written here.  We are gaining momentum in the church planting process (more on that to come), and I’ve hit a really good stride with my work; along with having some pretty major accomplishments. Life is busy, but life is good.  Really good.

I wish that I could adequately express in this space how blessed I feel. I serve a risen Savior. I have been blessed with the most amazing husband who truly loves the Lord, loves me, and pursues the Lord’s calling on his life daily. I get to be a step-mother to the most amazing five-year-old on the planet. I have a job. I have a job that I love. I have family and friends across the country who love me and are praying for me, and always send those reminders at the best time. I have a place to go home to each evening. I don’t worry about IF I will eat, I worry about WHAT I will eat. And that’s just the icing on the cake.

I’m grateful for my portion.  While it may push me away from this space for a while, I have been tremendously blessed.

Your life may be busy and may seem overwhelming so much so that it pushes you from those things that you love.  Be encouraged. Look for the joy in your portion, and trust God.

Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!

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Weekly Word 2014 Week 11: Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Preacherman and I have been enjoying a wonderful Spring Break week with our little one.  And as usual, the time that we spend with her is going by entirely too fast.  It seems like there are never enough moments being shared, not quite enough memories being made, not enough pictures to hold us over until the next visit.  We view each of these times that we share with our little one as an opportunity to continue to pour into her, pray over her, and continue the process of molding and shaping her- just in person.  She is such a blessing to our lives.

Our time with her has inspired this verse for this week:

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” -Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NLT)

While raising a child is a huge responsibility, I’m grateful for the Lord’s wisdom and love to guide us on this journey.

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


More About Me

I’ve been writing in this space for almost 10 years now, and while there are some things you might be able to guess about me just from reading, there are others that may surprise you.  I decided to share some of those things that you:

  1. Ketchup is my favorite condiment.  It’s been this way for as long as I can remember.  My mom says that I used to put ketchup on my eggs when I was little, but I have no recollection of that.
  2. Though I don’t have as much time for it as I’d like, reading is something that I love (which is why you see all the book reviews).  There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good book.  
  3. I’ve had 3 favorite colors over the course of my life: purple, blue, and now pink.  I’m slowly starting to like green, but I think it’s because I find myself often thinking of my grandmother, and green was her favorite color.
  4. Speaking of my grandmother, she was my first reading teacher and forced fostered my love for reading by making my read everything to her aloud.  The newspaper, signs, random sheets of paper- nothing was off limits.  I wish I could thank her for that today.
  5. I attended a high school focused on science and math- and while there I had AMAZING humanities teachers and a FABULOUS counselor that inspired me to work in education.  
  6. I never planned to attend UNC, but going there changed my life. I found Jesus, met my husband (though we didn’t connect on that level until years later), and became friends with some of the most amazing people in the world. 
  7. I hope to author several books over the course of my life.
  8. I am ridiculously southern, and have an unapologetic love for mason jars, monograms, and pearls.
  9. Before dating Preacherman, I rarely ate salmon. Now I have it for dinner once or twice a week.
  10. My work love language is “wearing jeans”.  I love jeans, but I don’t have the opportunity to wear them as much. When we’re allowed to wear jeans at work on days OTHER than Friday, I get so excited!


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Recap: Pastors and Leaders Conference 2014

This past weekend, Preacherman and I had opportunity to attend the 2014 International Pastors and Leadership Conference hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes in Orlando, Florida.  We loved every minute of it.

Being busy without direction is dangerous because it can lead you to waste time, energy, and resources.  One of the biggest gains from this conference was being able to understand the HOW and the WHY of what we should be doing in regards to our ministry.  Not only that, we left with a clear idea of what we can do right now in our church planting process.  Every night, Preacherman and I found ourselves making to-do lists, reaching out to people, and processing all that we were learning.

A huge highlight for us was being able to connect with people–meeting others on the same journey as us, meeting people who have been in ministry for years, and seeing friends and family.  Our pastor, Andy Thompson presented at the conference on Marriage and Ministry, and did a phenomenal job! His session was engaging and entertaining, but grounded in wisdom and biblical truth.  It is such a blessing to be under the leadership of him and his wife, and we are so appreciative of their love and support of us in this journey.

There really are no words to describe how full we felt after leaving this conference.  Since being back, we’ve been hard at work applying the things that we’ve learned, building relationships, and finally hitting a stride in the church planting process.  Though we are at the beginning of this journey, it’s exciting to see things begin to take off and move in the right direction.

To God be the glory for the things He has done.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

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Weekly Word 2014 Week 10: Isaiah 32:17

I wish that I could say that every time someone has done me wrong, I have responded appropriately.  I haven’t.  And even now, years into being saved and growing in Christ, there are times where I WISH I could just respond to people “any kind of way”.  Preacherman is excellent about not being driven by his emotions, and he takes great care to make sure that he not only responds appropriately to situations and circumstances, but that his response is one that not only glorifies God, but also one that displays righteousness (being in right standing with God).

What I have learned is that I’m not accountable for how other people treat me, but I am accountable for how I treat them; which is why my response to situations is paramount. As I was praying about a situation that really challenged me this week, I kept hearing in my spirit something that I heard a fellow ministers’ wife say before: “the reward for righteousness is peace”.  That thought leads me to this week’s memory verse:

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.” -Isaiah 32:17 (Amplified)

When I reflect on this verse, I realize that I’d rather have the peace that comes with handling situations in a Godly way, than to have to worry about the effects and negative consequences for responding out of my flesh.  Furthermore, doing so can allow others to build confidence and trust in me, which is needed if we want to reach people for God.  If people can’t trust in me, how can they trust that what I say about God and who He is is real?

Things to ponder.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

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Weekly Word 2014 Week 9: Psalm 90:12

As I mentioned last week, things are busy.  We are busy with our jobs.  Busy with ministry.  Busy with marriage.  Busy with life and all that it entails.  There are so many things that can easily consume my time if I’m not careful.  Preacherman and I have been making a dedicated effort to be a better steward of our time- which is the most precious commodity that we have.  If wasted, we never get it back.  Each day, we desire to get closer to fulfilling the purpose God has for our lives.  With that thought, we have this scripture for the week:

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

While I hope to be a good steward of all of the resources that God has given me, it is a sincere prayer that I master my time and that I use it in a way that gives God the glory.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

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Book Review: The People Factor

Relationships are a huge part of life, and something in which I want to be very good.  I desire to have healthy relationships in all of the roles that I assume- as a wife, a steppie, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a coworker, etc.  I was excited to review Van Moody’s book “The People Factor” because I’m finding myself in a new phase of life where I actually have to seek relationships, build them, and maintain them.  Since we have moved to Jacksonville, we’ve been trying to figure out ways to not only meet people, but to develop authentic, healthy relationships with them.  And since that was a goal, I hoped this book could offer some good insight.

Let me just say- this book is awesome!  I found myself wanting to read it faster to get through (because it’s so much GOOD, RELEVANT TEACHING), but also wanting to slow down and take many, many notes.  This is also the first book that I’ve read for review that I’ve had the opportunity to recommend to someone in person (at the hair salon, someone had recently heard about the book and wanted to know if it was good).

Here’s the thing- we can ALL be better at relationships.  Moody’s book provides us with not just an understanding of how and why relationships matter, but tangible tips on how to identify which relationships to stay in (or enter in).  Not only that, at the end of each chapter, he provides excellent relationship reminders and great questions to help you raise your relational IQ.

This book provided a great foundation to help in my approach to relationships in this new phase of life.  This is definitely a book that I will be using as a resource, and that I will recommend to others.  Check it out!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Weekly Word 2014 Week 8: James 1:12

Our life is busy and filled with work. Good work, but still work. And sometimes in that work, you face challenging situations that can test your faith and can make it difficult to act on what you believe as opposed to how you feel in the moment.  Preacherman and I both faced situations like that, over the past week…which has led me to this memory verse:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”- James 1:12 (NIV)

Choosing to persevere in a way that God would desire in a trial is not always the easiest.  However, pleasing God is what is most important, and there’s a reward for my obedience and perseverance.  And I have learned that in those difficult situations, God can use us to be conduits of grace, love, and mercy–in the same way that He so freely gives all three of those to us.

Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!



A Higher Definition

In all seriousness, Preacherman is one of the smartest, most gifted people that I’ve ever met. Sometimes we have conversations and I find myself in awe of how his mind works- his ability to make connections and to explain complex things in such a simple way that it’s almost impossible to not understand it.  He does this incredibly well all the time, but it is amazing to watch him do this with the word of God as a preacher and teacher.

In preparation for our next season, Preacherman will preach messages to me- actual messages that he would preach to a church full of people. They are awesome.  And I’m not just saying this as a proud wife.  I’m saying this as a believer who leaves the message having experienced God in a new way, and having learned something that I can apply to my life, making me a better person.

A couple of weeks ago, Preacherman preached this message entitled “A Higher Definition”. It was such a powerful message, based out of 1 John 3:1-3 and 1 Peter 2:9-12.  Here are some of my key takeaways from this message:

  • The world and its systems do not own me.  I belong to God.
  • I am not to be defined by what others say I am: I am CHOSEN, I am HOLY, I am ROYAL, I am a PRIESTHOOD!
  • We are set up to be victorious.
  • Real victory is achieved with real opposition, not just going with the flow of the world.
  • I cannot allow myself to be defined by anything other than Christ.  That’s too low of a definition.
  • Because I am a child of God, I have promise, power, and purpose.
  • If I fail to live a life like Christ, I am allowing others to die in darkness.

This was SUCH a good word, and I hope those snippets above bless you as the message blessed me.  Interested in hearing the message? Let me know and I’ll figure out a way to get it to you!

Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!


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