Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things Really Worth Caring About In Your 20s.

When you’re 25-ish, you’re old enough to know what kind of music you love, regardless of what your last boyfriend or roommate always used to play. You know how to walk in heels, how to tie a necktie, how to give a good toast at a wedding and how to make something for dinner. You don’t have to think much about skin care, home ownership or your retirement plan. Your life can look a lot of different ways when you’re 25: single, dating, engaged, married. You are working in dream jobs, pay-the-bills jobs and downright horrible jobs. You are young enough to believe that anything is possible, and you are old enough to make that belief a reality.
Now is the time to figure out what kind of work you love to do. What are you good at? What makes you feel alive? What do you dream about? You can go back to school now, switch directions entirely. You can work for almost nothing, or live in another country, or volunteer long hours for something that moves you. There will be a time when finances and schedules make this a little trickier, so do it now. Try it, apply for it, get up and do it.

When I was 25, I was in my third job in as many years—all in the same area at a church, but the responsibilities were different each time. I was frustrated at the end of the third year because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do next. I didn’t feel like I’d found my place yet. I met with my boss, who was in his 50s. I told him how anxious I was about finding the one perfect job for me, and quick. He asked me how old I was, and when I told him I was 25, he told me that I couldn’t complain to him about finding the right job until I was 32. In his opinion, it takes about 10 years after college to find the right fit, and anyone who finds it earlier than that is just plain lucky. So use every bit of your 10 years: try things, take classes, start over.
Now is also the time to get serious about relationships. And “serious” might mean walking away from the ones that don’t give you everything you need. Some of the most life-shaping decisions you make in this season will be about walking away from good-enough, in search of can’t-live-without. One of the only truly devastating mistakes you can make in this season is staying with the wrong person even though you know he or she is the wrong person. It’s not fair to that person, and it’s not fair to you.
Twenty-five is also a great time to start counseling, if you haven’t already, and it might be a good round two of counseling if it’s been a while. You might have just enough space from your parents to start digging around your childhood a little bit. Unravel the knots that keep you from living a healthy whole life, and do it now, before any more time passes.
Twenty-five is the perfect time to get involved in a church you love, no matter how different it is from the one you were a part of growing up. Be patient and prayerful, and decide that you’re going to be a person who grows, who seeks your own faith, who lives with intention. Set your alarm on Sunday mornings, no matter how late you were out on Saturday night. It will be dreadful at first, and then after a few weeks, you’ll find that you like it, that the pattern of it fills up something inside you.
Don't get stuck
This is the thing: when you start to hit 28 or 30, everything starts to divide, and you can see very clearly two kinds of people: on one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find God and themselves and their deep dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. And then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. They mean to find a church, they mean to develop honest, intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in kind of an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than they were when they graduated college.

Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. Walk away, try something new. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Ask yourself some good questions like: “Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? What have I learned about God this year? What parts of my childhood faith am I leaving behind, and what parts am I choosing to keep with me for this leg of the journey? Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

Now is your time. Become, believe, try. Walk closely with people you love, and with other people who believe that God is very good and life is a grand adventure. Don’t spend time with people who make you feel like less than you are. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.

Taken from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist Copyright © 2010. Used by permission of Zondervan.

Relevant Magazine

Monday, April 25, 2011

No One Dances Alone!

"weeping may stay for the night,
   but rejoicing comes in the morning.
...You turned my wailing into dancing;
   you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
   LORD my God, I will praise you forever."
(from Psalm 30)

Sending prayers to sweet friend today!!  If LTTA taught us anything, it's that we're not alone in this...we dance through lifes ups and downs TOGETHER. You will never go it alone, we always have and always will dance together!!! So get ready because we've got some Whitney waiting for you!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's about the Cross

It's easy to get caught up in the commercialization of Christian holidays; Easter becomes about the candy and bunnies, crosses become a thing of decoration and popular jewelry.  But it's this time of year in which we need to be reminded of the importance of the cross.  It's the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus that gives us grace and redemption today.  The cross is what allows us to be sinners yet not eternally separated from our Lord.  On the cross He bore our sins so that we may be healed, it was the ultimate act of limitless and unfailing love.  Jesus lived the perfect life and then suffered and died on the cross for our sins. Christ was the sacrifice, the perfect Lamb slain on our behalf. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8

We are all called to live a life of purpose, a life which makes Him known.  God commands us to go and make disciples of ALL the nations, near and the ends of the earth.   So live a life with meaning, live in daily remembrance of the cross and the supreme sacrifice for our sins.

Its about the cross, its about our sin... 

He's the King of kings and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King. 

...The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King.

("That's My King" Dr. S. M.  Lockeridge)

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (Matt 16:21)

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. (Matt 27:28-31)

...And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews." Then two  robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,  "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.  He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.  (Matt 27:37-44)

...Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. (Matt 28:1-6)

Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.  (Acts 2:22-24)

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Countdown Begins!!

I am only a month and a few days away from my trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International! I'm planning on taking some supplies with me for the development centers throughout the country as well as take a special package for my sweet sponsor boy.  Let me know if you're wanting to donate any items...any little bit helps!!

It's humbling to think that in the region where my sponosor boy, Jose (9), lives that the average monthly income is $117.  $117 a month is hardly anything here,  some of us can spend that amount on shoes/clothes/food in one day.  My goal is to take as much stuff as I can to both Jose and his family as well as the multiple development centers.

Development Center Needs
(will divide these supplies between the five to six centers we'll visit):
  • arts and crafts

  • sports supplies

  • Gifts I can take to Jose:
  • backpack or tote bag

  • simple toys, such as jump rope, jacks, marbles, toy cars

  • doll, doll clothes

  • soccer ball, Frisbee

  • picture books, coloring books and crayons

  • T-shirts from your area

  • clothes — skirt, blouse, pants, shirt, socks

  • baseball cap

  • hair ribbons, barrettes

  • soap, shampoo

  • toothbrush, toothpaste

  • hard candy (nothing that melts)

  • liquid bubbles

  • calculator (simple)

  • bookmarks

  • mini album for photos and letters you send to your child

  • pens, pencils, small sharpener, markers, paper, stickers

  • Some information on Jose's Development Center:

    Name: Amor Viviente Student Center
    Program Type: Student Center
    Project Opening Date: 1/7/2003
    Month school year begins: September
    Information last updated: 11/26/2002

    Program Description:
    Your sponsored child lives on the plains of Batey Magdalena, home to approximately 2,500 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement and have block walls. The primary ethnic group is Haitian and the most commonly spoken language is Creole. The regional diet consists of maize, beans, chicken, fish, plantains, cassava and rice. Common health problems in this area include tuberculosis, fevers and malnutrition. Most adults in Batey Magdalena are unemployed but some work on plantations and earn the equivalent of $117 per month. This community needs potable water, medical centers, vocational courses and employment opportunities. Your sponsorship allows the staff of Amor Viviente Student Center to provide your sponsored child with Bible teaching, medical care, nutritious food, field trips, social events, vocational training, educational workshops, scholastic materials, uniforms and developmental activities. The center staff will also provide evangelism, vocational training and educational classes for the parents or guardians of your sponsored child.

    General Information Community Information:
    Population: 2,500
    Name Of Major City: Romana
    Distance from Major City: 25 km east of La Romana
    Information last updated: 11/26/2002
    Home floor typically made of: Brick/Block/Cement
    Home walls typically made of: Brick/Block/Cement
    Home roof typically made of: Brick/Block/Cement
    Warmest Month: August
    Avg. Temperature Of Warmest Month: 33C
    Coolest Month: January
    Avg. Temperature Of Coolest Month: 21C
    Climate: Dry
    Terrain: Plains/Flat land
    Planting Month(s): November
    Rainy Month(s): March, October
    Harvest Month(s): February, November
    Hunger Month(s): January, May
    Illness Month(s): May, December
    Average Family monthly income: $117
    Primary Occupation: Plantation Worker

    "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'" Matt 25:40


    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Greater Still

    Give me eyes to see more of who You are 
    May what I behold, still my anxious heart. 
    Take what I have known and break it all apart 
    For You my God, are greater still.

    No sky contains, no doubt restrains,
    All You are, the greatness of our God.
    I spend my life to know, and I'm far from close 
    To all You are, the greatness of our God.

    Give me grace to see beyond this moment here. 
    To believe that there is nothing left to fear.
    That You alone are high above it all.
    For You my God, are greater still.

    No sky contains, no doubt restrains,
    All You are, the greatness of our God.
    I spend my life to know, and I'm far from close 
    To all You are, the greatness of our God.

    And there is nothing that can ever separate us.
    There is nothing that can ever separate us from Your love.
    No life, no death, of this I am convinced.
    You my God, are greater still.

    And no words can say or song convey,
    all You are the greatness of our God.
    I spend my life to know and I'm far from close 
    to all You are, the greatness of our God.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Aid Sudan 5K!

    On Saturday, my sweet roommate talked me into running the Aid Sudan 5K with her and a few of her friends.  As most of you are aware, I'm not the biggest running fan in the world. However, since Soozi has moved into the house we've had some quality roomie bonding time over our 3 miles runs at Memorial Park. I actually find myself looking forward to our runs, as shocking as that may be.

    So Saturday, in all of Houston's humid glory, we ran our 5K...talking, joking, and dying the whole way.  Soozi and her friend Danielle did the the first two while I tried my best not to die. That darn competitive drive will get you every time!

     Before shot: Soozi, her friend, Danielle, myself
    After Shot: And no it wasn't raining, that's how humid it was.
    Soozi's two friends, Soozi, Myself, Danielle, another friend.

    The race ended up being a reunion of sorts, I ran into some sweet friends from First Baptist, Second Baptist and high school. It was definitely great Saturday fun, even finished the race in under 30 minutes.