You Are A Missionary

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I do not believe being a missionary is a choice. I do not believe that was an option Jesus gave his followers. And I do believe that if the disciples could see Christians today, they would wonder why that’s a common misconception in our society.

At the end of Matthew, Jesus commands his disciples to do some stuff after he leaves. A lot of us know this as The Great Commission. If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry, I had no idea what it was until my first semester of Christian college.

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NLT

Like I said, I don’t think Jesus put exceptions on this. “Go out and make disciples of all nations EXCEPT if you work a nine to five job, then that’s your job so leave disciple making up to the pastors.” As silly as that sounds, a lot of people think this way. Its kind of hard not to think this way.

Before I felt like I should go to Lee University to study Missions, I just thought that being a missionary was for someone else. I always thought that it could be something I could do maybe once a year or on occasion but I never thought of my life revolving around this sort of idea. I believed that Jesus wanted me to tell others about him but it was kind of like separating church and state. There was your church life and then there was your regular life where you had a job and made money and made Daddy less worried about your well being. I was blinded by what I had always been told. I also had the wrong idea of what a missionary was. And maybe you do too.

Although I am going to school to get a degree in Intercultural studies (Missions) and hopefully one day live in another country telling people about Jesus everyday…I have no idea what God is going to do with me. God could tell me tomorrow to change my major to business and work on Wall Street (Just so everyone knows, God would never say this because I am not smart enough and he knows this lol). The point I’m trying to make here is not everybody is going to be an Intercultural Studies major or live in Africa running a non-profit so how is everyone a missionary?

The cool thing about this passage in Matthew is that Jesus only gave a few specifics. These are the most important things to remember but it leaves room for how you can do this.

Jesus said to go make disciples everywhere.

He said to make sure they obey all his commands.

And He said to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son & Spirit.

I’m convinced that what’s stopping Christians from doing this is thinking that this passage is only meant for Cross-Cultural Missionaries. In reality, Jesus commanded this of all who follow him. I’m also convinced that every single person is unique and exceptional. Every single person has a gift God has given them and a specific opportunity in their life RIGHT NOW to share the good news about Jesus to those around them that don’t know.

You are a missionary.

And your nine to five job, your classroom, your neighborhood, your community… these are all your mission field.

My dad is a really good kick boxer. And he’s an even better teacher. I’m convinced that he could use all his resources, with the support of many in the community, to open a gym in the inner city of our hometown to teach kickboxing and love kids who don’t know what love looks like. This could be his mission field.

My mom is amazing with kids and an amazing mom. I can see her welcoming single mothers into her home to play with their kids and encourage those who need love and support and maybe just a friend. This could be her mission field.

My friend Molly is great at preaching. And sometimes in our hometown, she shares the gospel with middle schoolers at our church. I believe that she could do this everywhere. That she could preach the gospel to everyone around her and even to the middle schoolers in our college town. This could be her mission field.

I don’t say this to call everyone out for not doing things, but to encourage those who think that you have to live in another country to be a missionary. And I’m not outside of this. Just because I’m studying the bible everyday doesn’t give me a pass to not be a missionary in my community now. I also say these things to remind Jesus followers that God has already equipped you in unique ways to love and share the gospel with those around you. And what encourages me the most from this passage in Matthew is the very end…”I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We’re not alone, friends.

 

 

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So What?

As humans, we get life twisted sometimes.

What do I mean by this?

A lot of the time, we convince ourselves that we can’t change the way we’re living. We convince ourselves that if we leave our current situation, the consequences are going to completely consume us and we will probably die and the worst possible thing will happen and then life is over. Although I can’t guarantee these things won’t happen, I’d like to call BS on that way of thinking.

There are so many people that I know who believe that God is calling them to be completely stagnant. That God doesn’t believe in risks…That God doesn’t believe in movement…And that God only wants you to be comfortable.

This is false information that we are being fed.

I live in a world, created by a God who didn’t design me to be safe. If you haven’t noticed, God doesn’t call people to be comfortable. And I say this not to be rude, but in hopes that some people (ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA) will wake the FRICK up and realize that our God calls us to sacrifice.

This does not mean going once a year on Thanksgiving to serve at a homeless shelter; this means dying to yourself every single day. Every single day, getting out of your warm cozy bed and praying big, BOLD prayers to the creator of the heavens and the earth, asking him what the plan is for that day.  My God is not a God of the American Dream. My God is a God who gave me the Holy Spirit and told me I could move mountains with faith in him. What is stopping you? Life is not an excuse, kids are not an excuse, money is not an excuse.

The consequences never outweigh what God has in store for you. God calls your family to Africa and your excuse is that you have 6 kids….SO WHAT. The more the merrier! God told you to quit your job and pursue something else and your excuse is that you don’t think you can do it… You know who else thought they couldn’t do it? Moses. Do you remember what God did through Moses? Do you believe in the bible? Because if you believe in the bible then you will find some crazy stuff that God did through people who let him radically transform their lives!

Don’t get me wrong here. I understand responsibilities. I get that there’s a level of work that has to be done. I get that some people are called to certain professions and people need some sort of system. But if you live your life without purpose, thinking that what your supposed to do in life is get up every day and work to make money, then you are missing out on something so much bigger than a paycheck.

I say all this not to bash everybody else, but to remind myself of  what living a life dedicated to Jesus is all about. Sometimes I convince myself that I could get out of it all. That my husband could become a doctor and I could be a stay at home mom and my only responsibility would be getting my nails done and playing tennis. And we could save up money and have babies and do all the right things and one day move to Florida to die from natural causes when I’m 90 years old. Sometimes I convince myself that it’s all about me, that this world revolves around my perfect little life…but it doesn’t. And I’d get zero joy out of a life like that. It may feel good for a while, but I won’t be doing what I was created to do and I was created to BOLDLY share the word of God. I was created to AGGRESSIVELY AND INTENTIONALLY LOVE!  With no reservation and no fear for my own well-being.

 

A lot of the times when I write, I just let myself loose. Later, I go back and delete everything and re-write something a little less aggressive.

I didn’t this time.

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You Can’t Do It All

I usually write about my convictions because that’s how God works in me. I think that’s how he works in all of us. The moment you think you can handle your life and you’ve got everything together is the moment God shows you that he has a much better understanding of what is actually going on.

I’ve always been this super independent person that can do everything! And I mean EVERYTHING. In high school I went to school, worked two jobs, cheered (blah) and still had time for homework, friends and family somehow. I never cracked, and if I did just a little bit I was told that I could handle it and I made it through.

I’ve noticed that college is a lot different from high school. The load is much heavier, the purpose of what you’re doing is fuller and consequences are a lot bigger.

But I’m Caden right? I don’t need help or rest or anything. 

Wrong.

The reason that I have not posted a blog post in two weeks is because I couldn’t. You see, the weight of life became really heavy these past few weeks. And I don’t want to sound like a broken record or complain about something everyone is feeling because I know there are a lot of people out there that are doing just the same amount of work that I am.

Going to school. Working a hectic job. Dealing with relationships. Trying to balance life.

But it’s gotten to a point that I sit down to write, (Writing being my source of decompression) and I realize that I cannot. The sheer terror of my own anxiety freezes my thought process. And yeah sure I can chalk it all up to writers block but what about prayer? I sit down to pray and I can’t even muster up the words to ask God for help because I feel so clogged. I feel like I need to cleanse myself of the distractions that have filled my life. Even my health, physical and mental health, are going down the drain. I’m doing so much that all I can eat is whatever’s fast and easy, full of processed garbage and zero nutrition. And I’m so distracted by what I’m behind in and what I need to get done for tomorrow that I forget about a counseling appointment that is supposed to help me. Where am I right now? What’s going on?

So I sit on my couch and break down because I realized I filled my plate so much that now everything on it is falling off and breaking into a million pieces.

Some things have to go. A very wise professor told me this week, “Caden, you can’t do it all.”

And she’s right.

God promotes rest. He agrees with doing things well. But most importantly, he wants us to let him be in control.

I think sometimes we get blinded by things we think we are supposed to be doing. Yes, God wants me to go to school. And he wants me to work. And he wants me to do this and that and whatever! But if we think we can handle a big pile of life by ourselves then we’ve got it all wrong. I DO want to work hard and I know God wants that too, but when we can’t even find the time or effort to pray…then what is this all worth? What am I working for? Am I working so hard because I need the approval of my parents? Am I trying to get a raise because I want to have more money? Am I spending so much time with this person because I want them to think I’m cool? If that’s the case then I’ve missed the point.

God provided school so that I could train to be a missionary.

God provided people in my life to pour into me and vice versa.

God provided a job, not to accumulate money or things, but to support myself and give generously.

This hasn’t been my focus for these things. I’m being consumed by them.
And that is not how it’s supposed to be.

So today, I leave you with this: Cleanse yourself of the things that are in the way of the REAL purpose of your priorities and simply seek God’s will.

I will do the same.

 

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Taking My Own Advice

8f140cd092bba6e337f44a53fa43e5c0Do you ever have those days or weeks or even months where life is just kicking you in the head over and over again and you can’t seem to get it together?

That’s me, right now.

My blog name is Quirky Caden because it’s a less offensive way to say awkward. I’m just kidding, but kind of. I’m pretty used to these sort of things. I trip at least once a day. I almost always have 5 things in my hands at one time. I am continually getting in people’s personal bubbles making encounters a lot more awkward than they need to be. And I usually don’t have a lot together. And that stuff is okay. I kind of like it.

But these past couple weeks have been killer.

It’s like every single thing I do I can’t get it right. And this is how I am feeling. Whether it be true or not, I have felt like this.

Excluding work and being a wife, which I have put on the back burner (not okay), I’ve been falling short in the school department. We (as a school) have been having lots of exams, quizzes and papers, due to mid-term and fall break coming up. I have been really trying. My life seems like a never ending battle between academics and Caden, and Caden is loosing. A good example of this is the last couple exams I’ve had.

The first was a Theology exam. We had lots of people over to our apartment and we all relentlessly studied. Going into the test I felt super confident, exiting the test I felt like I had failed. It wasn’t because of the lack of knowledge, it was the lack of time I had to write my thoughts. It takes me a week to write a blog post about what I am making up in MY brain! To write what someone else came up with in an hour is pretty hard for me. The next exam was an exam for Foundations of Western Culture over The Odyssey. I crammed in what studying I could and hoped that God would provide me with wisdom on remembering all the stupid names we had to know…after the test…eh (shoulder shrug). Lastly, the Urban Evangelism and Church Planting exam. I walked out of the test feeling like I did really well. I was one of the first done. When one of my friends came out we started to discuss how we felt and she mentioned doing the two questions at the bottom. “Wait, I thought we were only supposed to do one,” I asked. Getting a confused no I rushed back in to beg the TA if I could try to get the last question in in the last 15 minutes of class. Life.

School is hard for me. I’ve never been very good at studying, I’m a slow reader and I usually freeze and forget during tests. I’m sure there are a lot of people that can relate to me. But one person who cannot relate is my husband. Nick Eckert is a genius. He has an insane gift of being able to turn his brain on and off. He can sit in a classroom and fully focus for the whole period. When he studies, you would think that he has a photographic memory. He understands. He’s quick. It’s awesome!

And I don’t mean to say all of these things to brag on Nick, or to make myself look bad, or to even complain about my week- I’ve done enough of that. I say these things because I feel hypocritical.

My big thing that I love to encourage people with is to be confident in themselves! I can see all the good qualities in people and I love to point that out. But when it comes to myself I get all dramatic. I can’t take my own advice and it’s not okay.

Just because I struggle with something doesn’t make it okay to feel bad for myself. I’ve been moping around telling myself that “I suck at school” and “Why can’t I just be like Nick.” I’m digging a hole for myself to sit in and be jealous and a big fat baby. The truth about confidence is that it isn’t easy. Yeah, some people are better at displaying it than others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to get up and work hard. Confidence isn’t being good at something and bragging about it. Confidence is believing in yourself and doing the best that you can. Nick reminded me that we each have different gifts. He may be good at school but I’m pretty good with people. Does this mean that I should quit school and Nick should never interact with anyone ever again? No. We both have to work even harder at the things that we struggle with, and that’s being confident.

It took me forever to come up with something to write this week. It wasn’t that all the school work got in the way or that I worked too much, it was me not allowing myself to take a honest look at the things on my heart. When I stepped back this morning and examined my cold demeanor, I realized I couldn’t write because I wasn’t being real with myself. This week I haven’t felt like i’ve done anything right. I’ve let my emotions pile up and instead of confronting the issue I’ve let it all boil inside of me. It’s really tough for me to admit that I’ve had a hard time believing in myself lately. This may be because I have “She believed she could, so she did” tattooed on my arm, or maybe it’s because I tell everyone else to be confident but I think it’s mostly because when I don’t believe in myself, I’m selling myself short.

I know that I’m not the only one with this issue. It’s hard. Life is hard sometimes. And believing in yourself is hard, too. But we can do hard things, right? I think so. I’m done sitting in the pit of self-doubt and I’m ready get going again. I don’t really have an inspirational quote for you or a song lyric to pick you up, but I will say this: It’s okay and you can do it! I know sometimes it isn’t that easy, but sometimes it is. Sometimes you need to apologize for your self-pity and sometimes you need lots of encouragement. And other times you just need to be told that everything is okay and that you can do it.

So go out friends and kick life back in the face! Praying for a boost of confidence in all our days!

Whenever someones having a bad day/week/month, I think the best medicine is dancing. SO here we go…

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The Edge of the Pool

Lately I have felt convicted of not showing enough reverence to God and not fully diving into the life Jesus offers to me, (And you, and the disciples and everyone).

I kept thinking about all these cool ways I could tell you about my conviction! Like that’s even possible. It isn’t. So I will spill my guts like I do every week because that is all I know how to do.

There is this imaginary line I feel like I walk on between being “ALL IN FOR JESUS” and just being a regular Joe. This subject gets brought up a lot in Christian conversation, which I’m sure all of you know. I find that super annoying. I also find myself annoying. Mostly because we bring it up and nothing ever changes. I get all amped up in the conversation and the next day I can’t make myself get out of bed five minutes early to talk to the Lord. Mind you, the Lord that created the Heavens and the Earth. The one who breathed life into me and knit me in Kim Wheat’s stomach! The one that provides for me and allows me to speak his name! THAT LORD. FIVE MINUTES!

I can’t help but want to punch myself in the face.

We were talking about this in our small group last week and I put the thought into a metaphor:

It’s like walking up to the edge of the pool that I’m trying to decide if I want to jump into or not. Outside of the pool I’m hot and sweaty and sick of my feet burning on the concrete. But it takes a lot of courage to jump in a pool! And plus, I don’t want to get my hair wet. You’re committed if you jump into a pool. You can’t undo being wet. I think about all the times I’ve jumped in before and I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated. And think about all the things you can do in a pool that you can’t do outside of a pool! You can swim, do flips, float! But swimming isn’t always easy, it takes a lot of work.

The pool is the life that Jesus offers us. Refreshing, rejuvenating, hard work. If you live a life for Jesus, you will do things you could never do before and it’s always worth it. Concrete is normal life. Hot, hard and if you fall on it you get a huge noticeable scar that everyone can see and make fun of you for. A little dramatic…but pretty true.

After going back to this metaphor 3 million times in my head, I noticed that the conversation wasn’t stopping and the conviction was still in my heart. It kept me up last night, pounding my thoughts! Caden, get out of bed, get on your knees and surrender! Sleep can wait, food can wait, Nick can wait! I come up with excuses, which are always all too familiar. I’ll tell myself that I will do it in the morning, tomorrow, next week. I don’t have time. God I’m sorry. Blah Blah Blah Blah.

I NEED TO WAKE UP! THIS IS NOT OKAY!

We can’t keep doing this. We can’t keep telling ourselves that we will talk to God later or follow him later. Later you’ll be dead and then what? And then what? I’m sorry to bring up the dead word but we’ve got to get it together. I don’t want to fall asleep during prayer anymore. I don’t want to have dumb conversations with my friends anymore. I don’t want to spend hours watching TV or checking my phone. How ridiculous is that? I want what Jesus gives. I want to do his will. I want to tell people of him. I don’t want to be scared to jump in the pool! Even just before I wrote this I sat in my closet on a box to be in the Lord’s presence and I couldn’t get myself to sit still or not be afraid that demons were going to confront me (And yes that is an actual thought of mine). What kind of God do I serve? The one that says I should be lazy and afraid? No way, man! God promotes life, boldness, adventure, obedience, love, zeal, hard work! God promises it’s worth it! DO YOU TRUST YOUR CREATOR?

Again this is not an unfamiliar conversation. We talk about this all the time. But the difference between today and yesterday is actually doing what you said you were going to do.

The truth of the matter is there isn’t a lot left to say. I could sit here and type 10 more paragraphs about how sick and tired I am of all this. I could challenge you to be tired of this too and to take action. But really we’ve all got to make the effort to jump in the pool. We’ve all got to passionately and aggressively follow Jesus. Sure, we’ve got jobs and money and family and spouses and school and all other loads of crap we have to deal with that are pretty important but what is all that worth if we aren’t pursing Jesus fully?

 

Take Shia LeBeouf’s advice and apply it to Jesus, of course…

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Let’s get uncomfortable


Sometimes I think about Heaven. And when I do this, I imagine all the people I’ll see. I get excited that I’ll get to see Jesus and the Apostle Paul and Moses. I think about my family being in heaven and all these people I get to interact with. It’s interesting what you can imagine about something you have never seen. You can make it anything you want…. And you know what? Everyone I picture is white.

Right now I’m crossing a boundary of very uncomfortable conversation. Please don’t back out on me.
Last Sunday, our pastor at church crossed this boundary and it opened my eyes. He encouraged us to keep talking about this issue because it’s important. I thought about what it looked like for me to confess my prejudice mindset and the only way I could do that and be completely honest with myself and the world was writing it down.

I’d like to give a little background of my upbringing. I was raised in a family who welcomed anyone into our home. It did not matter if you were black, white, latino, rich, poor, handicapped, gay, straight, what ever. My parents are some of the most hospitable, welcoming people I’ve ever met. I went to school, all 13 years, in the inner-city schools. They were very diverse. When I decided to go to college, I picked Intercultural studies as my major, and my roommate was black. I now have 3 black cousins. I love people and I always denied any sort of prejudice in my heart, until Sunday.

Our Pastor, Todd, asked a question for himself at the beginning of service.

“Do I have any sort of prejudice in my heart?”

I could feel my stomach start to get tight. These were, again, boundaries that white christians should probably just not mess with. Any time this was brought up to me in the past I would throw ou
t something about my upbringing (which I listed above) and simply state that I am called to love people. Classic get-away-from-the-subject line, huh? But as I was sitting there I searched deeper into myself and, of course trying to practice authenticity, pulled out what really went through my mind about some of these issues.

I don’t think it’s wrong to admit you have prejudice thoughts. You know what I think IS wrong? It’s letting that fester in your body, not admitting that you’re wrong and not asking for forgiveness from those you hurt. You know what’s hurting us as a society? The prideful mindset that denies any sort of wrong doing and “claims” that we love everybody. No, I have never made an outspoken comment to someone about their race, but have I thought about something that could’ve hurt a person’s feelings if I did say it? Yes, I have. Admitting this is really hard and uncomfortable. But if I don’t admit this and lie that I make mistakes, that’s doing just as much damage. You see, when we lie about this and keep this inside, the issue is never dealt with. We learn nothing when we keep quiet and pretend.

This isn’t just about race. I actually don’t think it’s about race ever, or about gay people, or gender, or income. The issue is pride. Think about a prejudice thought you’ve had before? You looked at that homeless guy and thought, “Wow, what a lazy person. He needs to get his life together.” Was that thought really because you hated that guy? How can you hate someone you don’t even know. Most of the time these thoughts are because we put ourselves above someone else.
Of course we can’t lump every issue together and assume that everyone wants to help the greater good. There are some people that have hate in their hearts and hurt people on purpose. I pray that these people can have a change of heart and seek grace from God and others for the hurt they have caused people. But the same is true in the opposite way. Not every person who thinks a prejudice thought hates people.

Now in no means am I trying to say that it is okay to be prejudice against someone. This is never okay. We can learn from our history as a country and from the Bible that this is not alright. Todd, our pastor, brought up a great point: many times Jesus broke down the walls of race, gender & the class system. And Jesus himself was a middle eastern man!

So what is the point of all this? A lot of times we talk about this issue and Christians want to put everything in a big snuggly love coating and act like as long as we say we “love” everybody that solves the problem. Now as much as I want that to be true, saying you “love” someone doesn’t really mean crap if you don’t act it out and acting it out isn’t being scared to confront it. So what example do we have of the truest act of love? Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins and now God shows us grace and mercy. We ask for forgiveness and fully accept the grace that God has given us and love is shown! So here’s the deal guys, I am prejudice sometimes! Sometimes I judge people before I know their situation or who they are! I AM WRONG IN DOING THIS! And I need to ask for forgiveness and try to understand where these people are coming from. I need to seek out ways where I am ignorant, so that I can get rid of this prideful mindset. And those who are hurt need to show mercy, just as Christ has.

Love talks. Love confronts. Love helps understand. Love isn’t quick to get angry. Love shows mercy.

 

 

I asked my roommate Morgan to read this and tell me what she thought about it. The truth of the matter is, I will never know what it’s like to not be white, and I will most likely never experience the prejudice battles that people like Morgan do. I thought that getting an opinion from her would be a great point of view. She sent me thisIMG_1641:

“If we’re gonna be raw about it, I sin daily. We all do. That doesn’t make me more or less of a person & neither does being prejudice as long as I realize my wrong doings and make it right between the Lord & I.
I guess it kind of ties into the quote “watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions”
As a whole: Prejudices can break us down, but forgiveness can build us back up.”

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Authenticity


I’ve been craving something lately that I think a lot of people have been craving too. Authenticity. Now I’m not talking like doesn’t have fake boobs or something. I’m talking hardcore truth coming from people and the way they act. This may sound stupid or it may ring true to you, either way we don’t see it too often. Now I don’t
IMG_4633mean to act like I’m not at fault here because I’m one of the worst of them all. I want people to think I’m cool just like any other person. And we act certain ways to make us seem like we have it all together. That’s probably the last thing I have…it together. But I will tell you this I want to get rid of the BS that is filling my life. I mean this in every way. Spiritually, physically, relationally. How many people do you know that will tell you the truth in love? How many people do you ask how they’re doing and they say good, like you don’t know that they’re bad? This is an epidemic and it is destroying our relationships.

My husband and I were at an estate sale the other day. As we were walking out of the house and to our car, a man who was walking next to us started to talk to us. He said hi and introduced himself. We made small talk for a minute or so and we arrived at our car. The man was kind of strange and it was one of those encounters where it could get really awkward if he was just a little less weird but he was totally out there and super outgoing so it was okay. As we were getting in our car we told him to have a good day and he said this:

“Like my dad always used to say…If the handshake ain’t real, don’t shake the hand.”

What the heck.

It came out of nowhere and I had no idea what it meant. I immediately started to wonder. And then it kind of made sense to me in a way that was actually really familiar. If we’re comparing handshakes to people than there is a lot of wisdom in what random estate sale guy said. If the person isn’t real than why be with that person? I know that sounds really cold but hear me out here. We fill our lives with lots of people and some of those people we choose to become close to. What I think has happened is our definition of “close” is not right and the people we think are “close” to us actually don’t know us at all. Because of this, the intimacy of our relationships are basically crap. We were made to be authentic. We were made to tell the truth and own our mess and express our love. So how do we this?

I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing for a while now and I’ve been trying to be more authentic in my conversations. I get really excited to talk to people and sometimes it just comes out so awkward…I end up asking people “How’s your heart?” and “What are your dreams or aspirations?” These questions are asked with full intention of wanting to know more intimate details about a person rather than where they got the dress they’re wearing. Although because of the lack of warning for these questions and how soon they come out of my mouth after meeting a person, I seem to spit them out randomly and scare people. (Oh my gosh Caden, that’s so awkward! I know). But I think that’s a start.

My craving for intimate relationships and REAL conversation cannot just happen over night. And I think the best way to practice this is to live it out myself. I want to be the person that tells it how it is (in love, of course). I want to be the person that slips up the word Sh*t because I got excited and the people around me can forgive me rather than judge. I want to be the person that someone can sit down with and feel like they can be completely transparent, like they don’t have to put on a show. Don’t you want that?

We’ve heard it a thousand times, “Real christians are not perfect!” How are we living that out? A lot of Christians will claim that they are not perfect, but will a lot of Christians claim to be authentic? We can stand up and tell the world that “we make mistakes too!” Yeah, they know. The world can see that eventually you will make a mistake and the world will probably call you out on that. But can the world see your authenticity? Can people sit down and have a conversation with you about deeper issues that how the weather is outside? Do people know your story? Are you going to tell that person that you had a crappy day and you need some prayer? Tell your friend it hurts your feelings when she doesn’t open up to you. Ask someone a hard question, even if it’s awkward. BE REAL! We’re living in a time where it’s okay to be anything you want and people are becoming who they “really are” all the time. We, as Christians, like to complain about all this change. Well I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t think complaining is going to do us any good. I’d like to be who I really am. So maybe this is a challenge to you to be more authentic, maybe it’s a challenge for you to find more authentic relationships, or maybe this was just a way to practice my own authenticity…either way I leave you with a few things I need to get off my chest in hoping you will also share authenticity with someone else.

 

I was scared to put a cuss word in this entry because I’m scared my grandparents will read it and be upset with me.

I want to write a book.

Sometimes I think in 3rd person.

I want more intimate relationships with my friends but I’m scared to tell them.

I’m scared to admit I like beef jerky because I think it’s a boy thing.

I stay up at hours on end in the night worrying about my family.

I dream to travel the world and tell people about Jesus.

Sometimes I get mad at God.

I want my brothers to express their love to me more.

I have to get two root canals and four fillings because I haven’t been to the dentist in 6 years.

 

 

 

There are just a few things. You are more than welcome to call me, come by my apartment, or see me on the street and challenge me to be more authentic. I will do the same for you.

 

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Going to the Chapel…

It’s been another while since I have posted anything on my blog. Hopefully, after the wedding and honeymoon and moving into our first place, I will have enough time to regularly blog. Again, a lot has happened in the last couple of months. Most of what has happened has been wedding planning, which is very exciting and stressful. The day is almost here! This post would be three years long if I updated everyone on what has happened recently, so instead I’m just going to talk a little bit about my heart and Jesus, as usual.

I’m staring at the calendar thinking, “Where the heck did the time go.” I remember being twelve and thinking how cool it was going to be when I found the man I was going to marry. Unknowing that I was going to meet him in a few short years to come. I think around eleven or twelve was when I started praying for my husband. (I tell everyone this story because I think that it’s cool). At that age, I didn’t know anything hardly, but I did know that someone had suggested that I pray for my future husband. I wish that I knew who told me this lovely piece of advice because I would love to thank them for being such a great role model in my life. Sadly I cannot pinpoint the exact person but I listened to whoever it was. I prayed for my husband regularly. I prayed that God would give me a very humble man. Looking back on this now, I wonder if I even knew what humble meant and I wonder why it was something I was so stuck on. After a few years, I realized that humble was something I wanted in my husband. Thank goodness I had prayed for this because it is such a great God-given quality. So where are we at, maybe fourteen or fifteen? This is around the time I met Nick. Although we were just friends for most of the years I’ve known him, I always knew there was something special about him. Our junior year of high school we started dating and the rest is history.

Today I woke up, I opened my eyes, and then closed them again. I shouted praises to the Lord in my head.

This was the first morning I woke up and it hit me, that everything that I have been planning, all my prayers and all the excitement of marriage was about to begin! I told the Lord that I was so filled with joy and so thankful for his plan and for soon-to-be husband. I thanked the Lord for how amazing he was at providing for us and for placing everything right in the way it should be placed. I thanked the Lord for listening to me all those years and giving me the most humble man I had ever met.

On July 31st of 2015 I married my best friend.

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Update

Here’s a little update on what has been happening in my life since the last time I posted something.

My sincere apologies for taking FOREVER to write anything, it has been a very busy few months.

Thanksgiving Break

Wow, Thanksgiving was a very long time ago it seems like but I have not stopped since then! I had almost a week off for this lovely carb-filled holiday. It was very enjoyable! My fiancé and I (Did she say fiancé ?) brought home our friend Nacho, who is from Spain, and shared a first Thanksgiving with him! It was very fun and I ate a whole bunch of crap.

Finals

As soon as I got back from break, finals started and it sucked.

Christmas Break 

But shortly after the dreaded finals were over, my fiancé and I (She just said fiancé again…) got to drive home and we had a lovely Christmas break. It was a little over a month and it was wonderful. Christmas is my favorite holiday, not just because of the presents, lights and cookies, but I also love that fact that we can celebrate the birth of our savior.

I bet when Marry had Jesus it didn’t even hurt! Because Jesus is THAT awesome.

Two days after Christmas my fiancé’s sister (What the heck! DID SHE…) had her wedding. It was very fun and I am very happy for her and her hubby!

Oh yeah, and I got engaged!

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Not Worthy, But Loved.

I attended a seminar called Worthy Now. My wonderful school (Lee University, AKA the best college of all time) put on this event for the ladies of the school.Worthy now was put together to show women that they are worthy now, hints the name! It empowered us girls to say “I don’t have it together all the time but I am beautiful, strong, and loved by God.” It had many great points about body image and self worth. I want to thank every women and man who put this event together, it was something that really touched me and many other girls.

There were a few different people that came up to speak but one of the ladies that spoke said something that really punched me in the face.

Side note: If you’ve been around me for no more than 5 minutes and we’re talking about Jesus, I’ve probably used this “punched me in the face” term. I get really excited. I also come from a family of fighters. SO naturally I relate my faith vocabulary with kickboxing vocabulary. It happens. Sacrilegious? Nah. I think God likes it.

So this thing she said punched me in the face. She said “We’re always trying to get there, but there really isn’t a place!” This sounds very strange out of context, but hear me out. I so, on soooooo many levels get this. She was talking about how we think that if we could get to this next step, we would finally be worthy enough. The thing is though, that step never ends! We keep wanting to get to something different and we aren’t content with where we are or we don’t feel worthy in where we are. I do this all the time!

“If I could only graduate high school, I could get on with my life.”

“If I could only get done with college, God could use me then.”

“If we could only get married, I’d feel secure and consistent.”

“If I could just get out of the country, I wouldn’t feel pressured anymore by things of this world.”

Sometimes to feel worthy, we feel like we need to have it all together. We feel like we can plan out our whole entire life and it will work according to that. But life hits you and curveballs come speeding towards your face. The path that you planned or the there you’re trying to get to messes up and then what do you do? I look at it like this: Life is a whole lot like skydiving. Before you go skydiving the instructor tells you all the stuff you need to know when you’re about to jump out of the plane. They tell you where you’re supposed to put your arms, how much you should bend your feet, at what point you’re supposed to pull the parachute. So you’re in the plane going over your instructions… “Arms across my chest, feet bent under the plane, 5,000 feet pull the chute.” It all makes sense right? And then you jump. The once solid ground under you completely vanishes and all you can think of is that you’re falling! What the heck do you do! Here’s the catch. The guy that is attached uncomfortably to your back, who you may think doesn’t know anything because your falling to your death right now, is placing your hands where they need to be. He is guiding your body in the right position and he pulls the chute and you are safe. That guy kinda sound a lot like God. Life falls and God guides us to exactly where we need to be. God pulls our chute. He shows us the right path. He not only saves us, but he shows us a path that is better than what we thought of in the first place. Just like in skydiving. I could have remembered all those things and tried to do them, but I’d still be flopping all over the place like an idiot and the instructor would have to save me.

See here’s the thing. We aren’t worthy. We didn’t do anything for this life. And we sum up these plans for ourselves like we know what we are talking about. But we don’t know anything. I know that sounds harsh, but hear the truth people! Really think about… We aren’t worthy and yet he still loves us. We still have hope and peace and joy in him. When we choose to stop living for the there that we’ve made up in our own minds and start living for Gods will, we will feel worth it! We will feel like we are living a life for a purpose. And in this we know that it isn’t about us. It’s about him.

God’s crazy. I love this phrase because I don’t mean it in a mentally unstable way. I mean it in a mind-boggling, really cool, can’t understand it way. I feel all these things about myself. I feel un-content with my life and where I am but the second I change and follow his path, peace like I’ve never felt before overwhelms me and I have to give him the glory. I did nothing to deserve that, I don’t even understand it! But he loves me and makes me feel worth it anyway. We have an awesome God, my friends. We really do.

For your entertainment. If you put it in HD it’s better. Haha.

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