Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pinterest Projects

Well, the past several months have been touch and go with many craft projects....I am FINALLY getting around to finishing some of them! Of course, many are fully pinterst-inspired. Several weeks ago was "craft-fair" weekend here in NW Arkansas which also inspired several of these ideas. This is what I LOVE doing when procrastinating (which occurs WAY TOO much lately!). My room is finally just about well as my bathroom. Three months later, I guess I'm finally settled in! :) Here are some of the pictures I promised months ago....more to come of the bathroom and some other little projects. I love feeling like I accomplished I actually made something with my hands and creative juices...EXCITING!!

My room :)
Love how this turned out!

The whole verse hangs across my wall above my closet.

Before...after Ash and I picked it up off the side of the road!!


Loving candles lately!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Hunger Crisis In My Own Backyard

Tonight I got to attend a panel discussion of various professionals determined to see something done about the hunger crisis in Northwest Arkansas.

Honestly, I don’t even know how I ended up at this thing. I simply have to laugh at the greatness of our God.

I think my jaw nearly hit the floor beneath my seat when I heard that Arkansas was the number ONE STATE in the country in terms of starving children. Beyond that, it turns out that Washington County (the home of the U of A, where I live) is actually the number one county in the entire state for child hunger.

Let’s just get this straight—of anywhere in the United States that God could have sent me to get a degree in dietetics, he plops me down in the middle of the most starving state in the most starving county in the entire COUNTRY. Okay Lord. Now what?

After working with a ministry reaching out to underprivileged families and children in Fayetteville last year, I was aware of the need—to an extent. If truth be told, though, I had NO IDEA the extent of the need. Homelessness in Fayetteville? I mean, yes in a big city it makes sense—but here, in a predominantly “college town”—more starving children then in the heart of downtown St. Louis? As the extent of the need begins to course into the depths of my heart, I am drawn to compassion.

 I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. I believe God brought me here for so much more then a place to obtain a college degree. I believe He brought me here for this very purpose.  

The Lord’s timing seems to bring me to laughter often these days. Sometimes, we just have to laugh in the face of the enemy. The past two weeks God has been more clearly defining His will in the next year or so of my life. Closing doors and throwing others wide open, just waiting (oh so patiently) for me to put on my “big girl pants” and walk on through.

These two verses have somehow seeped their way into my core, that place where the spirit dwells—the place from which we as believers are drawn to compassion—to change—to a persistant yielding of our flesh and submission to the Spirit. You know what I am talking about. In fact, the latter of the two has mustered its way up onto the vast wall above my desk, those bold letters continually lingering above me—literally—a challenge…a calling…a Truth from God’s Word.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  James 1:27

Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

The funny thing is, that I have been convinced these verses sum up the deepest passions of my heart—the life to which God has called me. These verses describe without error the hope to which I have been called. They explain why I am getting a degree in dietetics. They explain why I plan to serve overseas this summer—and upon graduation. They explain my heart for underprivileged women. They explain my draw towards  those who have been enslaved and trafficked. They explain where I have come from. They explain the unconditional, undeserving love of Jesus Christ which has been so generously lavished upon each of us who call ourselves His children. They exemplify the life of Christ.

Putting aside marriage and childbearing, this is what I desire to commit my life to doing—after graduation of course. Wait what? Well, yeah. AFTER graduation. I mean, there is no way I can be a full time student…roommate…work…serve in the church body…and live a life of service the way these scriptures depict it…right?

Tonight the Truth really pierced through my “plan” for my life. The timing of it. The way it needs to happen. The method to which I will get there.—to that long-desired, ever dreamed of place where I finally get to DO THAT with my life.

Tonight I realized I get to do that every single day. I have the choice. I can in fact pursue a degree that will better equip me to do that while in fact DOING JUST THAT. I am so excited to see how the Lord connects me with one or more of these organizations and how I actually get to use my degree for the first time—not to work in a hospital or to do a mock interview on my roommate, but to actually SERVE an underprivileged woman in need of help—to actually meet a real need!!

Whether it is teaching women and families about nutrition...for themselves, for pregnancy, for children, for gluten-free or diabetic diets. Whether it is developing a book of recipes using only ingredients available at the food shelters in town so that these women can begin to learn how to cook--rather then feeding their families fast food each night. Whether it is in fact teaching them how to cook. Whether it is planning and mobilizing the formation of a garden from which fresh produce can be provided for these children who have never even seen an apple in real life. Whether it is just serving--delivering food, watching kids, filing papers in the office.

I don’t know what the Lord is up to, but the further into the world of dietetics that I get, the less I want to look like the “typical” dietetics student in pursuit of and internship and then the career of a dietician. The further into the field I get, the more I want to use the little bits of knowledge I am learning to just apply them—not three years from now when I have the title of RD—but to apply them NOW!

I beginning to see how what I am learning inside of the classroom can truly apply to and change the community I am living in—and potentially the world. What a motivation to really understand what I am learning. For the first time in my life, the big test of my education is no longer determined by a letter grade, but by the lives impacted by it.

What a burden lifted—and what a mission to carry out.

What a faithful and patient Father. What a good and glorious plan.

What a story of God's redemption in my life--that learning about food can actaully save a life rather then obsessing about it to the point where it nearly took one.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When the Spirit Speaks

This weekend I got to head home to participate in a special event for a cause near and dear to my heart.

Mercy Ministries is a biblically based treatment program for young women battling life-controlling issues such as addictions to drugs and alcohol, eating disorders, abuse, sexual sin, depression, self-harm, teenage pregnancy, suicidal thoughts, etc. Mercy takes in every girl free of charge so that the girls know that no one is trying to make money off of their issues. In addition, Mercy takes no government funding so that they are not limited by the state in their ability to share the transformational love of Jesus Christ. Lastly, Mercy gives back 10% of everything they receive to other ministries.

Almost three years ago, I walked in the doors of Mercy Ministries—hopeless, broken, and dying. During my six months at Mercy, I fell in love with Jesus Christ and the Lord used Mercy to teach me that I had a choice—I could choose death or I could choose life. Mercy taught me how to choose life. Two years out of Mercy, I am so far from perfect and I face struggles in my life daily—but Mercy gave me the tools I need to live a life unto Christ, even in a fallen world.
My roomies and my daughter :)  

This weekend I got to head home to St. Louis with my roommates and friends to participate in a 5K Run and Family Walk to benefit Mercy Ministries. This is actually my third year participating in this event, but this one was by far the sweetest for me. I got to share the story of God’s transforming power in my life. I have shared several times for Mercy events over the past several years, but this time—this time was different.

This time, it was the nearness to my utter depravity over the past several weeks that brought me to my knees—oh not my words, but His. It was the crowd cheering me on, the proclaiming of “Amens” to God’s faithful work in my life. It was looking out into the crowd and seeing so many faces that have remained close to my heart over the years. It was those brief moments of locking eyes with the ones I love—the ones who knew the darkness of my before as I stood, proclaiming the holy Light of my here and now.
My precious family all came to support Mercy!

It was seeing my family, all there together—celebrating their love that brought me from that darkness into His glorious Light. It was seeing the tears of a battle fought and won etched across their faces. It was seeing the chains being loosed as the Truth pierced deeply. It was my legs trembling as the words I had barely rehearsed began to flow from somewhere far outside of my fallen flesh—with precision and sureness. It was the boldness with which the Words poured forth, like a fountain unafraid to overflow.

This time, it was not me speaking, but His words pouring forth through my lips. Oh, not in my strength, but by solely by the power of the Spirit of Truth. Purely beautiful.

Totally ran a 5K in boots!!
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.                                                                                                                            -1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Here we go...

Gotta get the hair just right...

My beautiful sisters

Roomies and Best Friends

Good job brother!!!

What a beauitful mama.

precious Jakers...getting TOO big!!!!

Love my family