Life, Spiritual Walk

Just do it.

This weekend has been meaningful encounter after meaningful encounter, and this morning, after saying “yes” to many an upcoming coffee date, phone conversation, and upcoming meeting, I thought to myself:

Am I going to have any time left for me?

As an introvert, this is a question I think about frequently and is actually a point of anxiety. I crave my solitude and recharge time.

When is my next alone time?

I found myself overwhelmed by this question, And immediately knew I had to hand my schedule over to God. I know He is calling me to be open and available in this stage of life, and I trust that He won’t give me more than I can handle. It’s important to balance self-care and ministry, but when God says go, trust that He will also prepare the rest and recharge that you need.

Just a thought!

Rachael-2

Life, Spiritual Walk, Thoughts

“What do you think of me?”

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit lost in my relationship with Father God. If I’m being honest, I’ve had no problem hearing Him for other people while I’m praying for them, but for me personally, I feel like I haven’t received anything meaningful or encouraging for awhile. Then suddenly it occurred to me, when was the last time I asked?

If you’re feeling like you haven’t heard God’s voice in awhile, I want you to try something. Imagine you’re in a room with Him: His throne room, your home, your favorite place of rest, anywhere. Once you see yourself with Him, I want you to ask Him the question “Father God, what do you think of me?”

God is always waiting to give us a fresh word and pour His love and affection upon us. We simply need to be ready to receive.

Just a thought.

Rachael-2

Life, Thoughts

Unexpected Generosity

Exactly one month ago today, I came home from work and was rushing to get ready and out the door to a graduation party. As I was changing, I saw one of my necklaces on the floor. I picked it up and went to put it back on a necklace holder on my dresser when it hit me: all of my necklaces were gone. I started looking around my bedroom and noticed that MOST of my jewelry was gone and my jewelry box was cleaned out.

I immediately called my husband, even though I knew what had happened. He hadn’t done anything with my jewelry. “Check your closet for the lock box.”

It was gone.

I went into the spare bedroom and started looking around. As I looked up at the guitar hanger on the wall I stopped. “Andrew, your guitars are all gone.” That’s when it clicked for him.

Since then we’ve had police at our home, filed claims, and moved on. It’s been a slow process and absolutely nothing has happened. It’s been frustrating, to say the least, when a month later I still don’t even have a police report. Today is especially hard as my phone inquiries are greeted by voicemails and people seemingly unable to help me.

But through it all, we’ve had moments of tremendous comfort.

On Sunday, my pastor came up to me before the service and handed me a white envelope. “We know it won’t cover everything, but we wanted to help.”

On Monday morning, I went into the conference room at work to see my entire department already sitting around the table. They presented me with a gift card to Pandora to help replace my favorite charm bracelet.

Today as I’m feeling sad and tired, I’m challenged to look beyond my circumstances to the people around me. Who can I encourage? Who can I surprise with a hug or a gift? What can I do for someone else? If anyone is feeling the way I’ve felt the past month, I want them to know that this is just a season, and as in all things, this too cannot last forever.

Just a thought.

Rachael-2

Health, Life, Thoughts

Run, Running, Runner

I didn’t realize it, but as of three days ago, I’d officially hit three months as a “runner.” I put it in quotation marks because I don’t feel like a true runner: there are days when I literally can’t run more than 5 minutes because my calves are sore. My pace is an 11.5 min mile, and I’m still not able to run an entire 5K. I haven’t lost any weight, which is one of the main reasons I started running.

But I can run a full mile without getting very winded and in 11.5 minutes! Aches and pains that bothered me when I first started are gone. I can run two miles straight!

It amazes me what can change in three months: muscles and mindsets. Things that seemed impossible have been accomplished. Disciplines have changed.

Imagine what else can be accomplished in three short months.

Just a thought.

Life, Spiritual Walk, Thoughts

Patiently Waiting

I recently ran out of pages in my prayer journal and started a new one (the crisp spine and feel of the leather cover is heaven). Before I packed away my journal, I decided to spend some time reading over promises and prayer requests that I have recorded since I began in 2016. In doing this, I discovered I’ve been praying for the exact same thing for two and a half years.

For some requests, that’s not a lot of time, but this specific request is not hard. In fact, if I decided to do it myself, I could have it done in less than a month.But that’s not what God has called me to.

Time after time, God has called me to wait on His timing. It’s hard. I want things taken care of immediately. But over and over, God has shown me His unsurpassed love and perfect timing. Many times I’ve looked back on a sequence of events and said, oh, okay, I get it now.

Today, once again, I turn over full control and resolve to wait patiently.

Just a thought.

Life, Spiritual Walk, Thoughts

Let Your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’

This week I had a young woman–who I’ve had a few lovely spiritual conversations with–say hi and hug me in passing. As she left she said, “If you have free-time, we should hang out this week.” I quickly agreed, then spent four days not thinking about my hastily said yes.

The spirit challenged me this week that when I say ‘yes’ I need to be a person of follow-through. There are so many in our lives who let us down with empty promises. May I be a person of my word–especially when dealing with people who may look to me as the example. I need to show what it means to mean what I say and stick to my words.

May we be people who “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t'” (Matthew 5:37- NLT) and stick to it.

Just a thought.

Life, Thoughts

Lies We Learn

This week I’ve spent a lot of time with 7 & 8 year old children learning about music and playing a simplified version of a brass instrument. During these hours, I’ve felt the frustration creeping over me as children rufuse to play, complain about being tired (at 10am), or complain that they don’t understand and don’t want to try anymore.

This time has made me consider some of the lies I realize I believed about myself becasue of things adults or teachers said to me in moments of frustration.

“You still don’t understand this?”

I’m stupid.

“You’re crying again?”

I’m overly emotional.

“You should do something else.”

I’m worthless.

I pray that God shows me how to be a force of encouragement and love in the life of a child, so that no matter what lies they learn about themselves from the adults and peers they encounter, they have one memory of someone who said they are worth everything in His eyes.

Just a thought.

Rachael-2

 

Spiritual Walk

Shopping for Community

On Facebook I follow the page for the Transforming Center, founded by Ruth Haley Barton. I was scrolling through my feed on a break in my day and came across this quote that was posted:

“We Protestant Christians…shop for community the way we shop for a new house or a new car, and ‘picking a community and staying with it’ goes completely against our consumer mindset.” – Ruth Haley Barton

There have been a few times in life when I thought:

It would be so much easier if I was just over there.

That church actually invests in their young adult couples.

I would be fed every Sunday if I went there.

Today I’m challenged not look at my church and see the things that are wrong. Today I’m challenged to ask myself”

What can I do to invest in my church and in my community? How can I be fed and satisfied where I am with the people I’ve been placed with?

A thought for today.

Rachael-2

 

 

 

Books/Entertainment, Life

The Tale of A Good Book

This past weekend, I got lost in a good book. And it was like coming home to a long-lost friend.

The past 4-5 months prior to this weekend, I hadn’t so much as touched anything but my Bible. Now, reading that is always a noble pursuit, but I used to love getting lost in a book. I can still remember the hours as a pre-teen and teen when I would lay in my bed and devour a whole series in as little time as a few days. I remember countless nights where I would stay up until 2 or 3am, hiding out in the bathroom or under the covers, trying to just finish one more chapter. I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes open for one more second, but I would push my way through just to find out what would happen next.

It was those nights, those stories, that inspired me to be a writer, get my degree in creative writing, and put the dream of writing my own book in my heart.

Continue reading “The Tale of A Good Book”

Books/Entertainment, Spiritual Walk

Book Review: Draw the Circle

For the past few months, I’ve been including Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson in my daily devotions. It is a must-read for anyone who has a dream, a request, or a concern that they want to bring before the Lord. It taught me some valuable insight and provided challenges that made me think, and prayer, differently than I had before.

I started in 2017 with a “read through the Bible” plan on Bible.com called the Solid Life “Whole Bible” Reading Plan. I start off my devotional time with reading and recording in my prayer journal any verses that stand out or speak to me. After that, I would read one of the prayer challenges, then journal on the topic and listen to what God had to say about it. It’s become a very big part of my prayer life to not only bring my concerns to God, but to literally ask God what He has to say to me. It’s at that time, when I’ve been fully concentrating on God, that I allow myself to just listen and write down anything I’m feeling. I’ll admit, He hasn’t answered every one of my questions, but I’ve received true insight during those times and I thank Him for the promises he has given me.

Draw the Circle made listening to God a daily task, and while I cannot say that I am confident that everything I write down in my prayer journal is truly from Him, I’ve been learning how to discern. Day 1, page one started off with a bang: “And when you pray to God regularly, irregular things happen on a regular basis.”

Continue reading “Book Review: Draw the Circle”