Loving Myself More: February’s Goals

In 2014, my goal is to incorporate three new habits each month.  So, how did I do with my January goals?  Each week I managed to cook dinner at least one night a week.  Also, Adam took his lunch to school at least one day a week, except for this week.  The clothes, at least a several loads, have been washed and dried, but unfortunately, the clothes are still in piles, unfolded.  In all fairness though, my goal did not include folding the clothes.

Anyways, now in February, along with my January goals, I want to incorporate three goals that will help me love myself more.   I will have more love for others if I show myself love first.

During this past week of “snow” days, I have been at home nursing some jaw pain.  Advil, the heating pad, and warm showers have helped to relieve the tension and pain in my jaw.  Thankfully, today I feel more like myself, and I am thankful for my mini-vacation from work and my everyday routine.  A slower pace has allowed me the time to journal and reflect, and I feel recharged.  Continuing to take time to recharge will help me serve God and others fully and avoid burn out.

My February goals to love myself more are as follows:

1- Spend time with God each day before I spend time on Facebook.  Prioritizing my relationship with God allows me to keep my focus on what really matters.  I know I will not regret my time journaling, doing a Bible study, and praying.

2-Blog each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I have a dream to be a published writer and a public speaker/preacher, and blogging allows me to minister to others and pursue my passion to write.

3-Read out of a novel, just for fun, at least twice a week.  In my last semester of divinity school, I am swamped with lots of reading and writing, and yet I know that reading fiction will help me to recharge.

 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27

What goal do you have for yourself in February?  What hinders you from achieving your goals?  (I will answer this question in a blog next week!)  I look forward to your comments!

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Meet Ryder!

Meet Ryder!

Since I have met Adam, he has talked a lot about his love for animals and how he would like a dog. So just in case the right one came along for us, Adam has been checking out Craiglist. This week he found a great dog for us.
Our fur child is Ryder, and we’re so excited to take care of him. Already, Ryder, an English Bulldog, is playful, responsive to basic commands, and an awesome dog to have around.
We look forward to you meeting Ryder in person!
In the comments post about your pet, and your favorite thing about your pet! 🙂

Resting

A spiritual retreat is the optimal way to rest in God’s presence.  Yet, how many of us have the opportunity for this type of experience often?  Finances, commitments, responsibilities, and the list continues of what hindrances keep us from extended periods of spiritual rest.

Yet, capturing moments of rest are vital.  I find rest, in the midst of my busy schedule, by listening to music.  The lyrics and melodies surround me, and for a while, I focus on those thoughts and emotions rather than the ones storming inside my mind and heart.

Taking a nap is one of my favorite ways to recharge.  Adam is a night owl so napping allows me to stay up later with him, rather than turning into a grump at 9:30 p.m.

Also, I am recharged when I spend time visioning and thinking outside of the box.  Blogging is one of my favorite things to do because I am not graded and can share my heart with others.

Carve out time in today’s schedule for some moments for yourself.   Despite the cold weather, go for a run.  Find at least five minutes to call an old friend and catch up on each other’s lives.  Rediscover your knitting needles and yarn to make a scarf for someone else, or even yourself.  Rest in your creative giftedness and in the unique person God created you to be.

During today, I am going to rest in God knowing that my identity is based on who I am in Christ rather than what I do.  How freeing!

Leave a comment about how plan on resting today!

Hopefully, I’ll blog later again this weekend about our new four legged friend.  We’re still working out the details.

 

Cruise

Adam and I got married, and then almost immediately we rushed back into our ordinary lives.  After an over-night trip to the mountains, Adam started working on school work on Sunday.  I was back at work on Monday and back at school on Tuesday.

What do you do when you want the same date to be for your wedding, engagement, and the day you started dating?  You are willing to take your honeymoon later.

Our honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas was a lot of fun.  We were in the middle of nowhere, and we were not responsible for any school assignments of work responsibilities.  The food was great, and we took advantage of room service.  I slept…a lot, and we still had time to enjoy the comedy shows, trivia contests, and live musicians.  One night we even toured the kitchen and ate a delicious six course meal with the chef.  We were spoiled the whole time, and our wait staff for the evening meal was excellent.

The water in the Bahamas was so clear, and even though it rained, I enjoyed our time on the beach.  We (Adam especially) wanted to go deep sea fishing, but due to the wind, our excursion was canceled.  I guess we should take another cruise so that we can enjoy that experience together. 🙂

Most of my blog entries center around more “spiritual” matters, but I realizing more and more that God is present in the everyday stuff.  I realize that I want to write more rather than just blogging when I feel like I have something amazing to write.  

I am thankful that God blessed us with some time away on our cruise “to be still and know that He is God.” 

My challenge to you this week is do not wait until your next vacation “to be still and know that He is God.”  In the comments, please leave an idea of how you (and the rest of us) can find ways to rest in the midst of our daily stress and struggles.  I’ll ponder this topic more, and I’ll post my insights concerning incorporating rest in our daily lives later this week.

 

Being a Woman…in Ministry: Part 2

Jamee Miller asked me about being a woman in ministry.  Recently I wrote a blog post about my biggest challenge.  Today I answer the second part of her question:  What is the biggest blessing of being a woman in ministry?  My biggest blessing, as a woman in ministry, is all the encouragement that I receive.  

Organizations such as Baptist Women in Ministry of North Carolina and Baptist Women in Ministry help women to follow God’s call to preach and to offer pastoral care.  These organizations allow women to network together and support one another.  Also, Campbell Divinity School is an encouraging place for me.  I have taken two preaching courses.  Just a few years a go, I was so opposed to women preaching, and now women preaching seems normal. 

Calvary Baptist, my home church, taught me the importance of missions, studying scripture, holding one another accountable, and serving others.  The encouragement of this congregation was especially vital to me, and my family, while I was in Asia for seven months.  To this day, I am so thankful for their prayers.

While in college I attended Buies Creek First Baptist Church.  This church gave me the opportunity to teach children and grow so much in my faith.  This congregation ordained me into the gospel ministry in the summer of 2011.  I vividly remember this worship service. I left this experience feeling both humbled and empowered.

Forest Hills Baptist, First Baptist in Kernersville, and now Saint Andrews United Methodist have allowed me the opportunity to serve them and their surrounding communities.  Thank you for being congregations that affirm women and their giftedness. 

My family and friends are amazing!  Some, at times, have wrestled with the issue of women in ministry.  Nonetheless, they honestly shared their concerns with me, and we have been able to dialogue about this in a way that made us even closer to one another.  My dad prayed the invocation at my ordination, and my family and several friends drove hours to hear my first official sermon.  My family and friends encourage me by praying, listening, celebrating with me, and at times, even crying me.

Since I do not want to leave anyone out, I will not mention names.  However, I will mention one person: Adam!  I am so blessed to have a very supportive husband.  He set up tables, ran last minute errands before events, helped international students move because I asked, and listened to me vent, and this was all before we even started dating.  On the day I served my first communion, Adam drove 1 1/2 to surprise me at church.  He has given me constructive criticism on sermons, and he has listened for hours while I have ranted and raved about ministry.  He prays for me and with me, and he believes in me.  I am thankful that together the two of us walk the journey of life, love, and ministry.

Indeed the greatest blessing as a woman in ministry is that I receive encouragement.  I am not alone, and for that I give thanks!  Tonight my prayer is for all the women who feel God’s call to ministry and still have not received significant encouragement.  

God, thank you for giving each one of us gifts to serve You by serving others.  I pray for the women who feel called to teach, to preach, and to show pastoral care, and yet they still have not been encouraged and affirmed.  Lord, send these women encouragers to surround them.  God, please place peace within their hearts, calmness within their minds, courage within their spirits, boldness within their words, and discernment within their actions.  And remind each one of us that we are called to minister to one another in love.  In Your name we pray Jesus, Amen.

Being a Woman….in Ministry: Part 1

When I asked my Facebook friends to ask me questions to address in a blog post, I had no idea that only one person would respond.  (Feel free to check out Jamee’s blog.)  Also, once I saw her question, I knew that I would need lots of courage to respond.  From time to time, I have been vulnerable on my blog.  Yet on my blog, for the most part, I have stayed away from the controversial topic of being a woman in ministry.

The first part of her question is as follows: What is the biggest challenge of being a woman in ministry?  

Honestly, a big challenge has been my journey to ordination and the responses of those toward women in ministry.  Thankfully, thus far, I have served in churches where the majority of people are open and accepting of women preaching and offering pastoral care.  However, many churches still prefer, and even insist on, male pastoral leadership.

My heart breaks when I recognize that some pulpits may never, at least not in my lifetime, have a woman stand behind it and proclaim truth.  God has called me, and yet some do not accept my calling or the calling of other women in ministry.

The biggest challenge though is not the people around me.  The biggest challenge is myself.  Originally, I second guessed myself, was God calling me, a woman, to be a pastor?  Was God ok with me being ordained?  Would a church even hire me?  I am the first person to criticize myself when I do something wrong.  I worry that my mistakes cast a bad light on women in ministry, and I feel unworthy of showing myself grace.  I always strive to prove myself as “good enough” to be a woman in ministry.

God and I are quite the journey together.  He guides me, and I strive to be obedient.  God shares his love with me so that I can share that same love with others, especially children and their families.  God’s Spirit comforts me on days where I feel criticized for following God’s call into ministry, especially as a woman.  God is there for me when I feel like a failure, and I am thankful.

I am not even sure that God and I would have as deep of a relationship if I had decided to be a teacher, a journalist for a missions organization, or even gone straight to the mission field.  For one can only be fulfilled by following God’s call on one’s life.  I would be dissatisfied if I was doing anything else.

Whatever God is calling you to do and be, and whoever you are, FOLLOW!  And please let me know if I can encourage you in any way as you take your journey.

 

 

Forget the Resolutions

Well, I have decided to toss out New Year’s resolutions in lieu of making three goals for each month.  My goals for January are as follows: make Adam’s lunch at least one day a week, cook dinner at least one night a week, and wash & dry at least one load of clothes each week.  And so far, so good with these three goals.  As February approaches, I’ll choose three additional goals to add to these goals.  In December, if I stay the course, I will have incorporated thirty-six goals into habits.  I look forward to seeing monthly gradual changes lead to a more organized life, ministry, and home.

Also, my word of the year (another trend that rebels against New Year’s resolutions) is NEW.  In the midst of a new marriage, a new season of ministry, and the new (and final-praise God!) semester, I am focused on how God can give me a NEW vision, a NEW perspective, and a NEW attitude.  

Image So what about you: Have you made a goal or resolution for the New Year?  Have you chosen a word for 2014?  If so, please share in the comments!