life beyond the well…


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Weekly Word 2014 Week 5: Mark 11:24

Due to travel, this week’s weekly word is a little late, but here’s what Preacherman and I are focused on committing to memory this week:

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”- Mark 11:24 (NIV)

This is timely, as we wrap up the end of Consecration 2014 and still find ourselves deep in prayer for things that we are believing God to do.  We must continue in the belief portion, and exercise our faith as if it’s already done- because it is!  Although it may not be done HOW or WHEN we expect, the fact remains that it is still done, and we must act accordingly.

Be encouraged!  Peace and blessings!


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Friends for the Duration

I was completely surprised to realize that this post from almost six years ago has been one of the most popular posts I’ve written.  I figured it was time to do an update, and I did, explaining my thoughts about friendship and how life causes things to change.

But I also hinted at the fact that there ARE people in your marathon of a life, who will be with you for the duration. How do you know if people are with you for the duration of your marathon? I guess “you just know”.  But if I had to quantify it, reflecting on the people in my life who I know are with me for duration, here’s what I think:

  • They like the “old” you, but they love the “new” you.
  • There’s no conversations that are off limits- good/bad/ugly, you can (AND DO) talk about it all without judgement.
  • They make you better-they don’t let you get too comfortable or complacent.

Looking at this closer, here’s what I mean:

They like the “old” you, but they love the “new” you: One of the best things about my friends who are with me for the duration, is that they have fond memories of me from “way back when”.  But, even with those fond memories, they really LOVE me as I am now.  They have accepted that I have grown and changed, but their friendship and love towards me HAS NOT changed.

No topics are off limits, and it’s judgement free: I appreciate having the freedom in my friendships to be my complete self: good/bad/ugly, and know that I’m not judged for who I am, how I’m feeling, or what I just said.  They know that AT MY CORE, I’m not the person I may sound like I am on the phone or via FaceTime, and they provide a safe space for me to vent my concerns or frustrations without fear of judgement.  Also, it’s a safe space for me to ask any/all questions without fear of judgement.

They make you better: So, while they don’t judge me for what I say or what I ask, they respectfully push back and challenge my thinking and my behavior to help make me the best version of me that I can be. They let me whine, but they don’t let me wallow. I can complain, but I’m challenged to not be complacent. And often times, they provide direct feedback on HOW to be better.  Not just saying “you need to do better” (I mean, that DOES happen), but “have you tried this?” Or connecting me with actual resources to be better and to make better decisions.

I realize that I have been incredibly blessed to have a strong circle of people who are running the marathon with me, and it’s not something that I take for granted. I pray that you have the same “circle of love” in your life.

But how about you? I’d love to hear how you determine who’s with you for the duration.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


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Weekly Word 2014 Week 4: 1 Corinthians 4:20

Here’s what Preacherman and I are committing to memory this week:

“For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” – 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NKJV)

This is such a great reminder of that living for God and being a part of the kingdom of God is not just about words, but also in letting the power of God rest in you and guide you accordingly.

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


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Updated Thoughts: Outgrowing Friends

Nearly six years ago, I wrote this post entitled “What Happens When You Outgrow Your Friends?” and it’s hard to believe that it’s been one of the most popular posts on this blog.

It is indeed possible for you to “outgrow” your friends, purely because life happens.  And as life happens, things change. We change. We adapt and we evolve. And as that process happens, you may find yourself in a different place than some of your friends.  While “life happens”, it doesn’t happen to everyone at the same rate/same pace/same time.  It’s like puberty- some people are “early bloomers”, some blossom late.  Those changes impact your values, as well as where and how you focus your time and energy- and your friendship can be one of the casualties of such change.

But here’s another truth: when you remove the commonalities that you share with your friends that merge your life together (school, church, work), it really requires effort to maintain a friendship.  So, in some cases, you haven’t “outgrown” a friendship, it’s just that with the change of circumstances, neither person is willing to put forth the effort required to maintain a friendship. Is that bad? I think it depends on how you define “bad”.

However, I do believe that everyone isn’t meant to go with you all the way.  Life is a marathon.  As you run your marathon, you’ll find that your running group and your crowd changes across the miles.  There are some who are with you for the duration.  There are some who are there to get you through some of the difficult miles.  There are some who help you get off to a good start, and there are some who help ensure that you finish well.  There’s value in each of those roles, and you should appreciate people for them.  But when it’s time for roles to change, be accepting of that as well.  And that, I believe is truly more difficult to do.  However, you can do yourself more harm by staying in relationships that need to end, as opposed to dealing with the emotion and moving on accordingly.

The best way that I’ve found to handle these situations, is to trust that God has provided me with all that I need for the season that I’m in–and that includes the friends that I have.  When friendships change, I praise God for the opportunity to have had that relationship, and then I continue in prayer for them and for my ability to move forward.  Each time, God has been faithful, and equipped me to be able to move forward with grace.

Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!


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Weekly Word 2014 Week 3: Psalm 24:7-8

This week, Preacherman and I find ourselves about to transition into the next phase of our Consecration.  Consecration 2014 has not been easy, especially with our work schedules and what has been required.  Nevertheless, we have been trusting God to sustain us and He has proven himself to be faithful once again.  We have been pressed to allow God to rule and reign in our hearts and to fight battles for us, and have dedicated many goals to Him for this consecration.  Because of that, we are reflecting on this verse for this week:

“Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” – Psalm 24:7-8 (NIV)

There are things that we are believing God for that ONLY He can do. There are battles that need to be won, that we cannot do alone. We need Him to make it happen, and we are reminded of His glory, strength, and power in these verses.

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


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The Orange String

This morning as I was finished getting dressed, and was preparing to gather my things to leave, I noticed a string hanging from the last button of my blazer.  While this normally wouldn’t stop me, I paused because the string was orange.  My blazer (and pants) are tan.  There’s no reason for any stitching on these garments to be orange, especially in this one place.

I started to pull the string, thinking that it would just be a stray from another item in my closet.  But as I started to pull, I realized that it was attached to the button.  Under closer inspection, I saw that in some kind of way, this orange string had been used to tighten the button to the blazer.

And once I saw that, I immediately knew the culprit was: my aunt.  You see, as Preacherman and I were preparing to completely uproot our lives in Durham and move to Jax, my aunts came to our home nearly EVERYDAY for two weeks, to help pack, clean, organize, and reorganize our belongings. They did this while we were away at a conference for our new jobs, while we were back, but working the final days at our old jobs. But not only did they help pack, clean, organize, and reorganize; they fixed stuff.  Stuff like this button, which I don’t even recall being loose.

I’m thankful for the orange string, which slowed me down this morning, and allowed me to reflect on God’s love for me through family.  Both Preacherman and I have been incredibly blessed to have our families love us beyond the miles, and having these little reminders just makes the distance seem that much shorter.  I’m grateful for the gift of family that God provides us, and I’m thankful for my family.

Where have you been reminded of God’s gift of love for you through your family?

Be Encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


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At Once

Every time I read The Bible, I learn something new, or get a new “takeaway” (as I would say in my teacher language).  For someone like me who loves learning, I love the “aha” moments that come from reading The Bible.  I also like the stinging moments that come when I feel convicted.  I believe that both are necessary to get me where God desires for me to go.

I was reading the following passage from Mark 1:17-20 (NIV) and felt the sting of conviction:

““Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.  When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”

This passage is where Jesus call his first disciples.  And what really sticks out to me in this passage are two words: “at once”.  Jesus calls out to Simon and Andrew (Mark 1:16 (NIV)), and they leave AT ONCE.

Whew.

How awesome is their faith and obedience? Jesus calls for them, and they stop what they’re doing, and followed him.  There is no delay.  There is no “wait til I’m finished” or “I’m coming, right after I finish this”.  They go immediately.

So many times the Lord has called me to do something, and I’ve hesitated. Instead of placing my faith in Him, and being fully obedient, I have chosen to casually follow the call, but not with the immediacy that the Lord requires (and expects).  I wonder how many missed opportunities are out there because of my lack of faith and my hesitance.  How many things have been delayed, not because of God, but because of me?  How might I have better impacted lives for the Kingdom if I had moved “at once”?

My prayer is that the Lord would give me an “at once” spirit, that I may hear His calling, and have the faith and obedience to move right away.  I’m believing the same for you, as well. I pray that we are never in a position where we feel that our agenda and our autonomy (free will) are more important than God’s authority in our lives.

Here’s to having an “at once” spirit, operating in total faith and obedience in 2014!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

 


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Weekly Word 2014 Week 2: Matthew 5:16

If you missed last week’s weekly word, you can find it here.

Here we are for week two, and our scripture of focus is Matthew 5:16 (Holman Christian Standard Bible):

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 (HCSB)

As Preacherman and I strive to live our lives worthy of the calling for which we have receive, our pray is that God always gets the glory. Anything good in us or about us is because of God. We pray for the boldness and confidence to continue to let our lights shine for God’s glory.

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


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Celebrate Those Still With You

As the new year comes in, I’ve seen my social media feeds flooded with people proclaiming their plans to leave behind people who they feel no longer need to be a part of their lives.  I believe that’s a necessary part of life- everyone isn’t designated to be with you for the duration.  Some relationships have expiration dates, and we can literally make ourselves sick when we continue to indulge in those relationships after they’ve reached that point.

So, I get it.  I totally understand that you want to (and need to) let people go.  However, I think there’s another side of this that often gets overlooked- are we celebrating those who are still with us?  Have we expressed our gratitude to those who have held us down over the past year(s)?  Have we taken the time to let them know how much we appreciate their friendship and their loyalty?

There are some people who have been with me since way back. Since before I could comfortably walk in heels, since before I knew how to wrap my hair and apply makeup; back to the time where I was happiest rocking a hoodie and some fresh sneakers. They’ve been with me and they’ve watched me grow.  They’ve let me change.  They held me when I cried from brokenness, and they celebrated with me as I some of my dreams came true. They might not be in every physical picture, but the photostream in my mind is full of moments where they are present.

I know that you have people like that in your life.  I’m sure that as you read this, you immediately thought of 2-3 people who fit the bill.  My hope is that you’ll take some time to let them know how much you appreciate them for staying with you.  Cheers to a great 2014 with the people who helped you make it this far!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


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Weekly Word 2014: Week 1- Psalms 126:3

If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember that last year Preacherman and I embarked on a challenge to memorize more scripture.  I thought that posting on the blog would help to keep us accountable to this, but it wasn’t.  So we’ve regrouped for this year, and come up with a plan to ensure that we don’t miss a week.  Since this year started on a Wednesday, you should see a new verse every Wednesday.  Pray for us as we strive to further learn and commit God’s word to our hearts and our lives this year.

Now- here we are for week 1:

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”- Psalm 126:3 (NIV)

As we begin 2014, and reflected on 2013, we found this verse to be true to us.  We are filled with joy and excitement as we pursue the purpose that God has for us and how He plans to grow us in 2014.  To God be the glory for the things He has done.

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

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