Our Engagement Story

On our one year anniversary, Adam and I shared a memorable day.  We had lunch with a great friend of ours, picked out pumpkins, enjoyed Japanese food, and went to dog sit for Abby.  We treasure doing “life” together.

We started carving our pumpkins around 10:00 p.m., and my suspicions that I was getting engaged that night were fading fast.  I had been waiting for it all day.  I knew that he had the ring, and I knew that he already had talked to my dad.  Wouldn’t it make sense (and be quite romantic) for us to get engaged on our one year anniversary?

We had plans to carve pumpkins on a picnic table under a street light.  Yet the rain began to fall so we carved the pumpkins outside his apartment under a covered walk way.  My suspicions grew when he would not let me see the message he was carving in the pumpkin. 

Finally, he had me close my eyes so he could light up his pumpkin, and I turned around to see “Will you marry” carved into a pumpkin in small block letters with the outline of my hand underneath.  He decided not to finish the question so he could ask me sooner.

He got down on one knee, and officially asked me to marry him.  Of course I said, “Yes!”  Well actually, the first comments out my mouth were actually about the shininess of the ring.

We videotaped the whole thing only to find out you can only see from our shoulders down.  At least we have good audio.  Also, right as Adam is about to put the ring on my finger his neighbor walks right in front of the camera.

We have a night that we will never forget.  A night that was not perfect, but a night that was perfectly orchestrated by God for us.

Our wedding date has been decided, and we will share as soon as we tell our families in person on Thanksgiving.  Hint: Wedding bells will be ringing at some point in 2013!

Thanks for your prayers for us as we plan for our wedding day and to spend our lives together!

Connect the Dots

From my childhood, I remember the connect the dots puzzles where you drew a line from number to number in sequential order.  Perhaps my life can be compared to a connect the dot puzzle.

First, location has contributed to my life.  Trace a line from Boiling Springs to Campbell, and then trace many lines back and forth between those two places for my first two years of college.  Next trace a line to Mundo Vista where I could devote a whole blog to the lessons that God taught me on that mountain.  Other lines spread out to Nicaragua, Mexico, Ecuador, and Spain where I experienced great short term mission experiences.  Another bold line that God brought into my life was my six month experience in China.

Another way to trace my life is to look at the four churches that I have been a part of: Calvary, Buies Creek First, Forest Hills, and now FBC in Kernersville.  All four of my faith families have challenged me and supported me.  I thankful to all four for ministering to me and allowing me the great joy of ministering to others.

The dots of our lives do not always come together to form anything recognizable.  I am thankful for folks who said to me, “God is creating something out of your life.  Just wait!”  Over the years, my friends, family, and mentors have heard me question the specifics of “how God would work all things together.”  Thankfully, God kept working in my life and now I am in a season where the design of my life is slightly more recognizable.

God does not give up on connecting the dots and uses every one of my life experiences.  Only God could create something beautiful from my pain, struggles, and doubts.

God, please continue to connect the dots in my life.  I look forward to watching as you continue to design my life.

Phone Calls

My favorite phone calls are ones with friends who live several hours away.  I love that I can walk thru life with these ladies.  We pray for one another and even pray together on the phone.  I can share both good and bad news with them.  Also, I honestly share with them how they can hold me accountable.  I am a stronger woman because of my phone-a-friends who are always just a call away.

Yet sometimes the person on the other end of the phone line delivers bad news.  Several moments in my life have been defined by phone calls.  I remember the phone calls to my house that let us know when each of my three grandparents died.  I was eleven, eighteen, and twenty-one when each of those phone calls were made, but still they stand out in my mind.

During the past month, my mom has called me and shared with me about the unexpected death of two people.  I knew something was wrong both times because my mom called me in the middle of a work day.  Phone calls where you learn some one has died leave you in a state of disarray for the rest of the day.  I end up in a fog where I struggle to make sense of life and death.

Perhaps you have received a phone call, or maybe even several phone calls, recently that were full of devastating news.  I pray that whatever news you receive that you have friends that can be called upon.  Friends that are willing to get phone calls in the middle of the night when you cannot sleep.  Friends are that are willing to stay on the phone with you in silence so that you know that another person is there for you.  Friends are that are willing to pray for you when you do not have the strength to even mutter prayers.

Thanks be to God for my family and friends that are always just a phone call away!

Heaven on Earth

I will remember the 2012 World Communion Sunday worship service at First Baptist Church in Kernersville.  The experience of worshiping alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ from Nuevo Vision reminded me of what heaven will be like.  And the wonderful thing about heaven is that people from tribe, nation, and tongue will be present.

At today’s worship service we sang and read scripture in two different heart languages, Spanish and English.  The two pastors beside me were filled with emotion because of the unity and joy that was experienced as we worshipped together.  Like I shared in the children’s message this morning, I am in awe of how God understands every language in the whole world.  And indeed God loves everyone!  Thanks be to God for allowing me to experience the combined worship service this morning.

Decades from now I may not remember that the Wolfpack came back and beat #3 ranked FSU, but I will definitely remember the sweet, sweet Spirit that captivated me on a rainy October Sunday at First Baptist Church.  And until I get to heaven, I will be grateful for heaven-like moments down here on earth where we sing and worship in our heart languages all together at the same time.

Also, today reminded me of the joyous moments of worshiping with internationals at Forest Hills Baptist.  I am so thankful for the opportunity that I had to worship alongside people from all over the world.  Though I was ministering to internationals, words cannot express how much the internationals ministered to me and challenged me to live more closely to Christ.  I miss the African church services and Iranian Fellowship lunches.  Yet, I know that down here on earth is just practice for heaven.  

I long for heaven where all believers will come together and commune with God!  I long for more days where we bring heaven down to earth when we worship God together and serve one another in love!

In what ways can each of us this week bring a little more heaven to earth?  I pray we are sensitive to God’s leading to unite with people from all over the world for certainly God has brought the nations to us.

Growth

Right now in the season of Fall, the leaves are changing colors and fading fast.  In the midst of so much transition, I am not as open this year to the chilliness in the air, shorter days, and fast approaching midterms.  Despite my preference, Autumn has arrived.

And now that I think back on the last few weeks of summer maybe I have grown more than I realize.

I am growing in my abilities as a minister.  Well at least, I think I am.  I served a child his first communion, became an active part of Kids’ Cafe, and strive to be an active listener to the concerns of others.  I thank God every day for the opportunity to serve as a minister, and I look forward to the doors that God will open for myself and others to serve our community.  And I learn each day how I can do certain tasks better next time.

I am growing in my organizational skills.  For the first time ever, my house is organized.  All of my clothes (and shoes) are organized by type and by color.  My bathroom closet is very meticulously organized as is my food pantry and even the space under my bed.  Each item has a “home,” and I can find things now.  I am proud of myself for organizing my new apartment in less than three weeks.   I look forward to inviting people over and enjoying my new space.

I am growing in my skills as a student, and I am having a great semester at divinity school.  Yes, I enjoy having nine hours rather than fifteen hours, but also, I enjoy the courses that I have this semester especially church history.  I am learning to savor the moments because in a year and a half I will graduate, and I will probably long for more days in Taylor Hall to mingle with students and faculty as we journey through life together.

I feel that I grow each time I am able to ask for someone for help or I can share with someone specifically how they can pray for me.  I am growing, though not in height, but I am growing into the person God made me to be.  I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin.  I am growing and realizing that I cannot change the past or other people.

And so as the leaves change color, I change and grow as well.