Friday, February 25, 2011

So many decisions!

So many decisions to make about hotels, wedding bands, invitations, and the honeymoon! There's too many options and that makes it difficult. Sometimes I wonder how a person's even supposed to make a decision about these things! I've spent a lot of time online researching today because there was no school:)

Yesterday Jimmy was a very sweet fiancĂ©. One of my car tires (which are very old and worn out) got a huge crack in it and everyone told me not to drive on it because it looked like it was going to blow. Well being the stubborn girl I am, I was going to drive it to get it fixed just 20 minutes away. Jimmy was so worried about me that he took off work, came to my school and drove my car to get it fixed. He even paid for it! I'm so thankful for such a great guy to look out for me:)

Tonight me and Jimmy get a date night FINALLY! It seems like we both have such busy schedules that we don't really get a lot of time just the two of us. It's his birthday tomorrow so we'll celebrate that tonight too! Tomorrow we are going to work on the new church building where our wedding ceremony is going to be. Believe me, it needs a lot of work before May rolls around...

This is a photo we took at the tux shop while Jimmy was modeling the different tuxes...
78 days till we get married:) 

Be all I can be!

Wednesday night at small group, I was asked to share my testimony with the ladies (something I hate doing). I know God has been giving me lots of opportunities to share my past with others and as I talk about things, I think it is kind of a healing process for me as well as brings glory to God! Six months ago, I never talked about things that happened. It hurt too badly, and it was easier for me to just not think about it. Now, every time I go back into the past and remind myself of the things I have been through, it is amazing to look at where I am now and be so thankful to God for saving me. If it were not for his love, I can honestly say I would not be where I am today. He is the only one who has always been there for me and never stopped loving me!

After I finished sharing about my childhood up till the present, one of the ladies looked at me and said "honey, you really should go to counseling to deal with all that!" I laughed because, while it's true I probably should go to some sort of counseling, I have already learned so much about dealing with my past, and forgiveness and starting over with a new life. God has placed wonderful people in my path who have had similar situations, and given me great, godly counsel on coping with things. That's what the church family is for! The added bonus is, they don't charge me:)

Lately, God has been teaching me about emotions, and not letting them get in the way of being all that I can be. So often, I let my feelings of insecurity stop me from reaching out to the people around me and as a result, I start to feel out of place. I don't have it all figured out yet, but God has shown me that I need to have peace about who I am and come to a place of peace about my past and realize that I don't have to live there anymore! I am slowly learning to come to terms with the negative aspects of my past, as well as embrace the positive ones. 

"Being set free doesn't mean you will never have another problem or that you will ever feel fearful, depressed, or anxious again. But when upsetting things happen, these things do not control your life."

Jeremiah 30:17 "I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, says the Lord". 
Isaiah 61:7 "Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs."
Clearly, God not only has the power to restore, but also gives us far more than we could ever deserve!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

wedding planning!

Looking back, I've posted a lot of what I have been learning, but I haven't really given an update on my life, so here goes! 

Wedding planning is at the top of my list right now even though I haven't really had too much time for it. In between work, school, and friends I've been making reservation phone calls, buying little things here and there, and shopping around for the best prices. If there's anything I've learned from watching my friends get married, it's to not stress out or make a big deal out of the little things.

I think culture places a lot of pressure on brides to impress, compete, and live up to people's expectations, and I will be the first to admit it is really easy to get sucked into that. Sometimes I too forget what my wedding day is really about and start to stress out about food, flowers etc. When it really comes down to it, May 14 does not have to be the prettiest day of the year, the fanciest wedding, or even the most fun wedding, it just has to be the most memorable for me and Jimmy. It's the beginning of our life together...that's all that really matters.

Over the weekend, I went with Jimmy's family to Indianapolis for his brother's wrestling tournaments. Even though we spent about 20 hours watching wrestling, it was still a good bonding time:) Now it's back to a week of classes, work, homework, and everything else that seems to pop up! I guess it's life! 

 Jimmy and I watching wrestling...after a few hours you can tell we're a little bored:)
2 of Jimmy's sisters, sister-in-law, and me on top of a sky scraper! We climbed over 300 stairs to get there!

Friday, February 18, 2011

draw near to Him

James 4:8-Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

Isn't that what we all want...for God to be close to us, leading us, guiding us, protecting us, and loving us? I know thats my hearts desire, but so often I act like it is God's responsibility to do all that when I don't even draw near to Him or seek Him.

Yesterday I was so blessed because my sister, Grandma, and Aunt, all sent me some money for Valentines Day to help with the wedding! You know that feeling. I was all like God is taking such good care of me! Later in the day, I was reading in "The Power of a Praying Life" about laying up treasure in heaven and how trusting God to provide for our needs is so crucial. When we act like we are the ones working hard to take care of things, and stress ourselves out to make sure they get done and we do enough, it belittles God's power!

Growing up, we always had just enough, or maybe it was just under enough. never had any money to spend on anything until I started working for myself at 14 years old. Even though right now I really am comfortable with my 3 jobs, and Jimmys full-time job, there is still a huge fear in my life of losing control and ending up like me family! That's why I work myself so hard. If there is anything I can do to stay on top of things financially, I will do it. I have never been in debt, never been a big spender, and feel secure only when I have money saved in the bank.

Well the ironic thing is, last night, I got a phone call reminding me that I owed $500 in taxes and then another $200 doctor bill. For a college student, that is a lot. It really upset me for a while. Then I realized, that I was so happy when God had provided that extra money earlier, and I trusted Him then. I needed to trust him even more with these bills, that He knows exactly what he is doing in this situation.
Luke 12: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes....Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?....And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well....For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I have read this passage of verses more times in my life than I can count, but I always treated them as "feel good" verses. Aww God is going to take care of me, I don't have to worry etc. This morning when I read them, I realized it is so much more than that! This is God speaking to me, and commanding me not to worry. It doesn't really get any clearer than that.

Working, and school, and stress, and all this stuff that takes up so much of our not the important stuff! Even ministry is not the important stuff. It is seeking God's kingdom. Granted, all that stuff has its places in our lives, but think what a greater feeling it will be to know that we have stored up treasure in heaven, even if we don't have it all together here on earth. It's like an even better savings account that will never run out!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

God's love

I wonder how often we think about God's love in human terms. Lately I have had feelings of guilt for not living for God like I should. I have been putting a lot of other things first, and really not been giving God all that He deserves. I guess somehow, I feel like since I haven't been doing my part, God is going to stop doing His. Is He going to stop loving me? 
This is when I realized that I really do not have an accurate understanding of the role God's love is to play in my life.I think a lot of my childhood experiences tainted my view of love. I always had to earn acceptance and love from my parents, and sometimes I just wasn't good enough. When I apply that to God's love however, I couldn't be more wrong. Roman's 8:28-29 says that NOTHING can separate me from the love of Christ...not even myself or mistakes I make! That's the beauty of the love of God. It should make us feel secure in ways that no human love can. 
A verse that I found in Hosea 11:4 says, "I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them." God's love draws us to himself and frees us! You know that feeling of always trying to earn love from those around you? God's love fills all those needs so we are no longer in bondage to others.

Once I understand and accept the unconditional love of Christ, I can let his love channel through me to love others! John 13:34-"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you". God, fill my heart with your love for everyone around me that when I love them, they see You.  


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