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.

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, 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”

Life, Spiritual Walk

The Start of 2018

It’s a simple question: why am I writing about 2018 when it’s not even January anymore, but February? Why have I taken two full months off from writing this blog?

Honestly, these past two months have been a struggle, and I’ve felt like I didn’t have any sort of calling or purpose to work towards.

Every day I go to work and struggle with purpose. Yes, I can see the good that my job does, but is this where I’ve landed? Is this what I’m meant to do?

When I get home, I’m exhausted. I don’t have the mental energy to do anything, to write, to read, to pray. My relationship with God in November was on track and flourishing, and then I didn’t have the capacity to pick up my Bible and focus on His word.

What happened?

Continue reading “The Start of 2018”

Life, Spiritual Walk

How to Find a Mentor

It was October 2016 and I was preparing for a conference that my department was hosting that month. My coworker and I were talking about last-minute details, specifically an area I was in charge of in the main hall with programs and resources for the delegates provided from our department and the main speakers of the event.

“One of the speakers wants to share a few resources. Could you print them and make sure they are available to everyone?”

Of course I said yes, so I proceeded to print out 400 copies each. And when I saw what the first resource said, I was irritated.

The speaker was discussing mentorship, and I still didn’t know what to do about a spiritual mentor in my own life.

Continue reading “How to Find a Mentor”

Health, Life, Spiritual Walk

Why I Gave Up Television

(But only for a week!)

Earlier this year, I was preparing for the Lenten season and I had an clear conviction of what I was supposed to give up for 40 days: television. Now, I’m not talking about just live TV–I’m talking network television, Hulu, Netflix, Optimum online, AMC.

I was beginning to notice a trend in myself: get home from work at 4:15PM, turn on Channel 2 and watch Judge Judy until 5. Keep the news on and listen/peek at the TV while I made dinner. Watch TV through dinner, then depending on whether or not my husband was home would determine which shows were next. We watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on weeknights, so the news stays on until they start at 7. If he isn’t home, at 6:30 or so I usually lay down on the couch, with my big fluffy blanket, and watch Hulu.

Rarely would I concentrate on my writing, blogging, or just read a book. Even rarer would I want to get up to clean the kitchen, or go to the gym to work out, nevermind try to workout at home. Once I was on the couch, comfy and happy, I only had the energy for that, and maybe some Facebook or Pinterest while I watched.

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Life, Spiritual Walk, Writing

Stuck in the Circle

It’s taken me two months to write this post, and I’ll tell you why: I have been stuck in the lies and circle of self-doubt and comparison. If you’re being honest with yourself, you may know exactly what I’m talking about.

I started this blog with a clear message from God–words like “safe space,” counseling, young women, and love all came at a moment of complete clarity where I knew this was a project He wanted me to invest in. It’s been almost one year since I heard that message while chatting with one of the special guests at a media conference I attended for work. The conference was supposed to be a learning experience for my social media position, but ended up speaking specifically to me about my place as a writer.

But once I started, fear set in. Who am I to say I am a writer when everything I’ve submitted this past year has been rejected? Who am I to say I’m a writer when I let so much time pass between blog posts? Who am I to say I’m a writer when the only steady gig I’ve had has been the Young Salvationist magazine, which still has connotations of being a “lame” teen magazine that The Salvation Army is “required” to publish.

Continue reading “Stuck in the Circle”

Life, Spiritual Walk

A Time of Preparation

The summer can be a time of relaxation: kid’s are out of school, days are longer, the weather is nicer. On the Sundays my husband and I have been able to go to our home church, the pews have been mostly empty (which I attribute to summer camps and vacation, not a general godlessness with the warm weather). I was watching a Jim Gaffigan comedy special and he summed it up perfectly: we spend all fall, winter, and spring in our hometowns, only to leave them and travel elsewhere when we finally have weather at home to enjoy.

Well, for my husband and I, this summer has been anything but relaxing. We’ve had a constant stream of what are we preparing for next? First, it was our jobs, and the large event that is commissioning in The Salvation Army. Once that weekend was over, it was getting ready to be guests at a music camp in New Jersey. We’ve now been back from that for a little over a week, and next Thursday we leave for Camp Meetings in Old Orchard Beach, ME. As soon as we return, we go our separate ways, with my husband working and teaching at another music camp and myself going to visit my parents and then going to a prayer ministry training in PA.

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Life, Marriage, Spiritual Walk, Weddings

Two Years Later: Our Story

The night before my wedding, I was waiting for my sister/Maid of Honor, future SIL, and best friend/bridesmaid to get back from Target to take me to The Cheesecake Factory for my Bachelorette party. I wasn’t interested in doing anything elaborate, but they insisted on running out before we left. I had previously written my vows, but I felt like I needed to rework them before the next day, so I sat down with my computer and read through them. In the end, I told the story of how I had a crush on a certain young man for most of my life, and how I followed trusted God with every step along the way.

At 7 years old, I developed a crush on a boy at my church in Batavia, NY. His parent’s had been assigned as the pastors a few years previously, and though my first crush was not him, it quickly became him when I realized how cute he was. Who can remember why a crush is developed at a young age, but I can remember going to church and being excited to see him. During a musical when I was 8 or 9, my mother was the director, and had that young man and myself dance together during one of the songs: “Cast the nets, cast the nets, casts the nets in the seaaaaaaa.” (You may recognize that song if you did any children’s musicals at your church in the 90’s or early 00’s: I did Fish Tales 2 or 3 times at least.)

Continue reading “Two Years Later: Our Story”