Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Tell Stories

    The other day I was sitting with my almost 4 year old niece and nephew. I was trying to comfort one of them after they got hurt and so I began to tell them stories. I began to recall memories of when their dad (my brother) and I were little. I told them of the time he accidentally closed a door on my foot and about the games we used to play. It comforted them and it made them laugh. As I think about this sweet encounter with two of my favorite little ones, I am almost brought to tears. Good tears, happy tears; because this is what I love about stories. This is why I desire to capture what memories I can through photos and journals. This is why I want to help others record their stories.
     Someday I will get to sit with my kids and tell them about falling in love with their father. I love the idea of getting to share what the Lord has done in my life for generations to come. I want His love to flow through everything I do and I want to be a reminder of the faithfulness of the Lord. This is what memory-keeping does. This is story-telling. There is so much power in our stories.
    We have a responsibility to generations to come. We have a responsibility to ourselves. If we don't find ways to share our stories, we leave pages out of the greater story that God desires to tell. The Lord desires for us to pass down stories of His faithfulness. We are to tell others about who He is and I believe that the greatest way of doing this is by recording what He has done. I want to leave my story for my children and my grandchildren to read.
     I cherish the moments I get to sit with my niece and nephew and tell them of the greatness of the Lord. This is my desire; this is my passion.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sharing my passion for our stories

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10

      The beautiful thing about life is that there is always a story to tell. In every person, in every movement, in every day; there is a story. And it is a beautiful one. It is a masterpiece. For it is written with the thoughtful hands of a Creator worthy of all our praise. Every line of every story is woven through the Potter's hands, knitted together with careful attention. Your life is a story – and it is chosen for you. My passion is story-telling. My passion is going deep into the story and bringing Glory to the Writer. I want to discover my story. I want to unlock the hidden pages of an epic masterpiece. I want to partner with you to discover your story. Because God chose you to be apart of a story only you can tell. And He is inviting you and I to join Him in showing the world His love and desire for redemption and relationship.

     Our stories are beautiful but that does not mean they would be easy to read. Your story may even be too painful for you to go back and even think about trying to tell. There are some things we would all rather just forget. Believe me, I understand that. But the Lord wants to bring even the darkest parts of our life into the light. He wants to take our brokenness and restore it – to restore us – into something beautiful. It is in our brokenness, in our weakness, that He wants to use us. It is there that we get to live and move in His strength.

     My encouragement for you is to spend time in prayer. Spend time in relationship with your Creator and ask Him to reveal your story. He is the true Author. Remember, you were made in the image of the Creator. You are His masterpiece. He invites you along; to create, to inspire, to reveal His love. Life is story. In every person, in every memory, in every trial, in every day; there is a story. And my dear friend, it is beautiful. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The promise of purpose

Lately I have been reading a lot of other blogs.  I search for encouragement and recipes, Christmas ideas and inspiration.  I sit there wishing that some day my blog could look like that.  A place where women come for all the reasons I listed and more.  I find myself doubting.  Doubting that I would ever have anything people would want to read.  Doubting that my ideas are good or that I could inspire anyone.  I sit there and I compare myself to these women who sound so eloquent or hilarious.  I dream of the day my book would be open on the kitchen table to encourage the woman reading it.  I pray for when it's my turn.

But that's it.  That's where it ends.  I search, I wish, I doubt, I compare, I dream.  I'm too scared to do.  There is no action.  You see, I don't have to put myself out there to read. I do have to put myself out there to write.  In the midst of comparing myself to these other women, I lost sight of the things that God wants to do through me.  I forget to be present where I'm at.  I forget that I have my own things to offer.  I have my heart to offer and no one else can do that the way that I can.  I desire to live in the purpose that God has for me.  Even if most days I may not know what that looks like.  I just know that it is obeying Him in every activity that I do.  It is inviting Him into my moments.  It is listening to His voice instead of the lies of the enemy.  It doesn't matter if I inspire one person or one hundred.  What matters is that I am living in purpose.  I trust God to use me wherever He desires.  I trust God to do whatever He has planned with this blog, but mostly with my life.  It's time for me to start doing.

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever - do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138:8

May you live in the promise He has a purpose to fulfill in your life and that he will never abandon His work. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A New Adventure!

In my last post I shared with you the story of a possible move to California.  Through that whole experience we learned so much and I believe we were tested in our obedience to God.  Were we really willing to go anywhere the Lord was asking us?  Even if it meant taking us out of our comfort zones and away from our family, would we go if God called?  We really got a chance to ask ourselves that and put into practice our faith in God's plan.  In the end, God made it our choice whether we would stay or go and we know now He was only preparing us to obey Him to a call I believe He planned long ago.

And so a new adventure begins! My husband is now the Youth Director at Corvallis Evangelical and we could not be more excited! I have known, before Jared and I even started dating, that he has a huge heart for students.  He is so passionate about teaching and sharing about the Lord and so when the opportunity came open, I knew it was something we would have to pursue.  After praying about it and going through the hiring process with the church, we are so excited to begin this next chapter.  There is a great group of students and we are so excited to get to know them more. 

I truly believe that the Lord has a perfect plan and promise for every one of His children.  He has been faithful to us beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine.  We ask for your prayer as we start this adventure and we know that with the support we have already been shown, God is going to do some amazing things! We are blessed to be along for the ride! 

I wanted to share this song because it is our response to God asking us to obey Him.  We want to do what the Lord calls us to do, wherever that may take us.  When you ask God to work in your life, He will.  When you ask Him to be in control, He will.  As scary as it may be when you choose to step out of the boat, God never abandons us.  I pray that you may be encouraged.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A crazy month of growing faith

I know that it has been awhile since my last blog but it really feels like there has been a lot going on.  God has been doing so much in my life and Jared's and honestly, I'm just trying to keep up with processing it all, that I haven't even been able to think of how to coherently capture everything to share with you.  We serve such a faithful God!  I am amazed, more every day, about how deep His love goes and the beautiful life He has created.  He has really been changing and transforming my heart lately.  It has been beautiful but at times paralyzing.  There will be another blog to come talking about how painful change can be but for this one I want to share something that God has been doing in our lives and our marriage.

I can't go into all of the details because this blog would probably turn into a novel.  In the beginning of March, Jared received an offer to consider a teaching position in California.  We had no idea the crazy few weeks we were embarking on.  This had been brought up to him before and we had both declined it, not thinking it was for us.  We love where we are.  Well, this time was different.  After initially saying no, after not even discussing it what-so-ever, we shared over coffee the next day how neither one of us could stop thinking about this possible adventure.  After a lot of prayer, Jared submitted his application.  We were then offered the opportunity to go down for an interview.  We were headed down to Disneyland with his family for spring break so the two of us ended up leaving a few days early to stop and visit the school.  Jared and I were excited and scared.  We spent so much time in the those few short weeks talking and talking and talking about what God was doing in our lives, where He was calling us, what we wanted our marriage to look like and stand for.  It really was one of the greatest months of our marriage thus far because God was so evident in our lives.  We were being changed and molded, our faith and trust kept growing, and we were falling even more in love with each other.  Our trip down to Monterey was truly an adventure - car troubles and all.  I'm trying to keep this short, I promise.

It's hard to really sum up an incredible month but ultimately we decided we would not accept the position.  Both of us lost that excitement about the move and with lots of prayer, decided it wasn't the right place for us.  We want to put roots down and know that God has us in Corvallis for a reason.  This is where we want to invest ourselves and where God is laying His foundation for us.   I am thankful that since we made the decision, neither one of us have had any doubts or second guessed ourselves what-so-ever. 

Jared and I are learning what it means to trust God even when we don't see His plans.  The worry-wort in me would like things to be a little bit more stable and with a lot less uncertainty.  But God has always been faithful and has always provided for us.  I am so thankful for that.  I am challenging myself to write a lot more frequently now and hopefully I can continue to share some of the incredible things the Lord is doing.

I pray that you may see the faithfulness of God in a new way today.  Whether it is in the sunrise, in the face of your child, in the extra money He gave you to make it the rest of the month, or in the quiet promise that He has every tear you cry in the palm of His hands. 

"The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." Psalm 145:13

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Miss Avery Anne

My newest niece, Avery is one month old today! She is such a precious joy in our lives! And she takes after my own heart and is right on time! She was actually born on her due date! :) It was a Sunday, so Jared and I were blessed to be in Sandy when she came.  I would not have missed it for the world. I am so proud of Kealy.  She is one of the strongest women that I know and to see her grow her family is such a beautiful thing.  She is a wonderful mother and I could not be more proud of her! And it is a joy to watch my older brother Ryan in one of the greatest roles of his life.  He is a fantastic father and husband!

Annabelle and Levi are the cutest big siblings in the world! They love Avery and desire to help mommy and daddy however they can. Yes, it is a little bit of a transition but they are doing great! I had the blessing of getting to spend a few days in Sandy a few weeks ago, helping out Ryan and Kealy as Ryan went back to work.  I was in awe of life at it's fullest!  I melted every time Avery would fall asleep in my arms and I was filled with joy every time I heard the laughter of Levi and Annabelle.  I got to spend some quality time with my sister in law, my best friend.  My husband was wonderful in letting me go away for the week because he knew how much it meant to me to be able to help out in this special time.

Avery, you are such a blessing.  We have been praying for you for so long.  You are a complete joy in our lives. God has created you so beautifully and intricately.  We love you so much, my precious niece :)

Life is beautiful. There is nothing like holding a sleeping newborn to be reminded of how precious life is and how much God loves us.  He is so good and so faithful.  I love being an aunt because I get to be reminded of the sweet innocence of children.  It is in those moments that I am reminded of what an abundant life looks like. 

                                                     Here is beautiful miss Avery :)

                                                       Such a cute, happy family of five!

                                  One of my favorite pictures, daddy and his precious little girls.

                                                                   I just love her :)

                                                          He loves being an uncle too :)

                        Happy one month Avery! We love you! ~Uncle Jared and Aunt Michelle

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fresh Start

Well, 2011 sure was a wonderful, crazy year! I got to marry my best friend and begin our lives together!   It was a year of endings, beginnings, mountain peaks and valleys low.  The Lord has been so good to me.  He has remained faithful, even when I have not.  He has provided for Jared and I in ways that have strengthened, and continue to strengthen, my faith.  I have learned that He likes surprises, and yet, nothing is a surprise because everything is possible with Him.  He has assured me of His plans and reminded me of His goodness.  I have seen Him work in the lives of my family in powerful ways.  He has shown me that trials are there to develop perseverance and to deepen my trust and reliance upon Him.  Although that isn't the easiest thing to learn. It will continue to take work in considering it joy when there are tough things happening.  Yes, the Lord has been good to me indeed.

I'm not sure why, but this year, more than any other year, the new year has refreshed me.  It really does feel like a fresh start.  Not that I needed one, considering last year was definitely one of the bests.  But I have spent more time considering what I want to focus on this year, changes I want to make, new adventures, and discovering more and more where the Lord wants to use me.  I'll be honest, things are quite uncertain for me about this coming year.  It surprises me that I am excited about what's to come because I have no idea what exactly that is.  But God has given me a sense of peace.  I know that He is in control and is faithful and it is because of this that I can live an abundant life, even when things are not so clear. 

So here's to a fresh start.  I'm learning to live this life how God intended.  I'm excited for a year of new adventures with my Husband! I'm excited to meet my niece, who will grace us with her presence in a few weeks!  I'm excited to start some new projects (more on that to follow later this week).  I'm excited to grow closer to God as He challenges me more every day.  And I am humbled, that He makes everything new in His time.  I am blessed beyond words can explain.