Monday, December 5, 2011


This season of my life is described well in one word: Waiting.

When people ask about updates on me/my life/my car situation, etc. I always sort of shrug, smile and say, "The same. Just waiting." Whether it's waiting on others, waiting to hear from the Lord, waiting until circumstances are a certain way before making a's felt endless. I have seemingly no "answers." Just a farther away finish line than when I started.

Have there been temper tantrums along the way as I wrestle and struggle with waiting? Um, YES. Has God given more grace than I ever could've imagined as He calls me to wait longer and longer? Um. YES.

As the Christmas Holiday is upon us, I have been overcome with MUCH REJOICING as I'm finally in a relationship as I look at Christmas lights or hear festive music or visit family. For years, this has been the most difficult time for me as a single desiring to be married. I think its the most romantic time of the year. It has built my faith to see, "YES! God does answer us in our waiting! I won't be waiting forever."

As I've sought to reflect on the things I've waited FOR over the years, and now have (ie: a godly boyfriend during the Holidays), it has prompted my heart to pray for others who are in that season that I'm so grateful to be out of. I am hoping that in drawing my attention to what I've been given, instead of what I still see as a need, I will be cultivating gratefulness to God, and sensitivity to others. I need to get my focus OFF of me, and stop dwelling on my waiting...while also very much living in it, and trusting God with it.

So, this Christmas, can we join together around the singles in our lives who would love nothing more than to be in a relationship, especially around Christmas...and can we pray for them? Let them know that we're waiting with them? Love on them? Encourage and affirm them? Let them know we're thinking about them?

It can be very very very challenging to enter the Holiday season alone. Especially if most (or all) of your close friends are married or in relationships. Let us take this time to gather around, minister to, and encourage those who might need an extra hug this time of year.

In Andrew Murray's book, "Waiting on God", I read this helpful quote this morning:

"Dear soul, in waiting on God you may often be ready to be weary, because you hardly know what you have to expect. I pray you, be of good courage- this ignorance is often one of the best signs. He is teaching you to leave all in His hands, and to wait on Him alone."

And if you fall into this category: Single and waiting to be married, I pray that the God of all Comfort would meet you today. Would you know His nearness. His peace. His intimate love for you. And would your faith be built as you Trust Him as Lord over all your days.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Full days, full of mercy

My days the last few weeks have been packed.

I'm down a car (which is a blessing, I must remember) so am often thinking ahead and looking at days-- planning when I can borrow which car from whom and what will be least inconvenient for all.

Because my boyfriend is the most sacrificial person ever (well, maybe besides my mom...I guess letting me live inside of her for 9 months and then giving birth to me, gives her some territory for "most...ever"), he has made himself joyfully and willingly inconvenienced in order to bless me.

I get up before the crack of dawn, drive him to work, and come home. Sleep for an hour or so. Wake up again, get ready and pack my things, and head out the door to clients. After about 3 clients, I go pick Josh up from work, drive him home, and continue on in doing hair until 9pm or later. (Leaving him car-less.) Long days. Lots of miles on his car. Gallons of gas.

My wonderfully amazing scheduling coordinator is on holiday this week (hope you're enjoying your hubby, Em!) I'm getting home after 9:30pm to emails to respond to, phone calls to make, contracts to compile, profiles to be updated, etc.

My days are full.

And OH, how the Lord is meeting me. He's used the verse that most encouraged me when I thought my car was worth nothing and un-sell-able to minister to me in so many ways.

"Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Heb 13.

God is providing for me even as I await His future provision.

I have cars to borrow. I have clients I'm still able to take to save money. He's not left me. He's not forsaken me. He's here. Amazing.

As I began praying for my "needs" the other day (because God loves when we come to Him and cast our cares at His feet) I felt prompted in that moment, to instead make a list of the needs I have that are provided FOR.

And as the list was written, it was almost as though my, "Lord please do _____" prayers shut up. I was even stirred with gratefulness for the toilets we have in America. I am so glad we have clean toilets to sit on-- not holes or outhouses. My comforts are ridiculous.

God delights to bless us, so I know I'm still to ask Him for things...He loves to show His faithfulness...but my perspective was so shifted, that I didn't even really remember the things I needed. He's provided SO MUCH, surely He'll meet those needs...whatever they are!

But it was a bit of a perspective adjustment as I considered that where Adam went wrong...was that he was focused on the thing he DIDN'T have...instead of EVERYTHING that he DID have.

And as these truths have been transforming me, my eyes are focusing more clearly on what's really important. It's not important how much money I have saved. Or what "timely manner" I'm able to find a reliable car in. What matters is that each and every single day, my clients are loved on, and have an opportunity to either hear the Gospel proclaimed, or in some way, see it demonstrated. That's it.

Because eventually, all the money I save, will be spent, and I'll be working on saving new money. Eventually, my new car (which I don't even have yet) will die, and I'll be car hunting again. Eventually, this season of life will be over...and I won't have an opportunity again to interact with those that I do now. And eventually me and my clients will die...and stand before a Holy Judge. And all that really matters will be revealed. And it will matter forever.

This is it: embrace this time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

He is Able.

Do you ever have things happen where you think, "Oh my gosh, this is the Lord blessing me in just the way I've asked!" or "Wow, God has so specifically answered that prayer request"... only have that circumstance "fall through"...and you're left wondering,

"God, what was that? That was were answering me...what happened?"

It's that "rug being pulled out from under you" feeling. (Though that is not the heart of God.)

I am sadly tempted to think subconsciously in those moments, that God is weak. Or that I somehow messed up. (ew. so NOT the Gospel.)

Sometimes its disappointing news back to back; other times the seeming rug-pull is so devastating it takes months to recover. Regardless, as these seasons and circumstances have come my way over the years, I have wondered what a God-centered and hope-filled response to "answered-prayer-request-followed-by-disappointment" would be or look like.

One perspective has helped and encouraged me: "He is reminding me that He is able."

A week ago I was told unexpectedly that my car needed almost $1,000 of repair. Disappointed, I decided to sell it. Only to be told I wouldn't get anything for it. UGH. I've been saving money for a while...but "new car fund" was certainly not the title of my savings.

Really? I mean. I have an on location business. I've been working so hard to save as much as I can. And this is pretty bad timing to be spending thousands of dollars I don't have. God, what are you doing?

...and in the midst of wrestling these thoughts, I continued to be comforted by the truths of Scripture.

"He who promised is faithful" would come to mind...and then I'd go read Matthew 6 to be reminded of the sparrows and lilies. My favourite verse this week became, "Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"

I kept being amazed at how much JOY I was experiencing through God's Word even when I had no idea what was happening with my car or where in the world money was going to come from. I was marveling at the peace God was giving me; convinced others were praying. Sweetly refreshed by my tangible need for Him to provide.

After talking about it...Josh and I decided...I'd try to honestly sell it on Craigslist warts and all and see what I could get for it.

I got a phone call yesterday a few hours after our post went up...ok, JOSH got a phone call (he's handled everything car-related for me. He is so wonderful.) We heard from someone who wanted it for what I was hoping to get for it, and my heart soared with worship. I texted a bunch of friends to pray it went through smoothly, and was just elated. Worshipping, praising God, thanking Him; so excited. Marveling at how quickly it was all working out.

Got home and found my title, cleaned out the car this morning, arrived early at the "meeting place" with Josh...and as I pulled into the parking lot (knowing nothing was a "done deal" yet) I prayed, "Lord, please let me not be the one who drives this car out of this parking lot."

...and the guy was a no-show.

UGH. "But God, wasn't this you answering my prayers?" "What was the point of that? He could have just said he didn't want it."

In my disappointment, I sought to talk to myself and not listen to myself. "Be encouraged: God is just reminding you and demonstrating that HE CAN DO WHATEVER He wants and WHENEVER He wants to. He is showing me His power and strength. He doesn't need lots of time. He CAN do something quickly and soon with my car...if its best for me. But unless it's best, He won't. Trust His wisdom."

Josh drove us to church and we prayed in the car. And as we drove, his phone rang...

...and at 1:00 this afternoon, my car was sold for more than the first buyer was willing to pay. I did not drive my car out of the parking lot.

Surely such a quick "turn around" isn't the norm when it comes to the Lord's ways being higher than ours. And quite frankly, sometimes his ways don't look higher until years and years later.
But. We can trust that they ARE.

Whether your disappointment has come after years of waiting and hoping, or its something you just prayed about for the first time 5 minutes ago, you can take heart: He is able. Let His power and strength encourage you and build your faith. He CAN. He has the power. He is not weak. He is all-wise. He wants to remind you He knows best...will you trust Him?

Would our hearts be steadfastly assured of His love for us...and would we trust His wisdom.

God is faithful; REJOICE!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lookin' good

It's amazing to me how un-creative the enemy is, how sneaky my sin is, and how surprised I am when new temptations arise.

If I begin something new, in a matter of weeks the Holy Spirit will be revealing to me how I've begun emphasizing the wrong thing in my initial "want to do good" endeavor. Welcome to Romans 7.

This time, it's vanity.

About a month ago I began working out consistently and just keeping an eye on what I'm eating and at what time. Though I've always technically weighed more than most of my friends because I'm tall and have left over muscle from years of childhood gymnastics, I wasn't looking for results on the scale. The goal was to have more energy during the day and feel better: just tone up a bit. No big deal.

Things were going great; I was seeing the results I was looking for and even sleeping better at night and waking up so refreshed in the morning. There have been far more bonuses than I'd even realized!

Then. Today happened. For some reason, I just felt like I went 4 weeks backwards...felt no different than when I started. Technically gained weight (I think- I hope! due to muscle) and became discouraged. Fed up, actually. To the point of anger: "This is stupid. I don't care anyways. Nevermind."

Thankfully, the Lord does not leave me in my sin. He began prompting and probing my heart. I then started having thoughts like this:

"So, when I was getting what I wanted...the results I wanted...this was all fine and dandy and wonderful. But when I stopped getting what I wanted...this ceased to ever be about wanting to honour the Lord with good stewardship of my body...and became about ME. How I look. How I feel. How I feel about how I look..."

...and I was convicted of my vanity. I became central. I'd made this an idol.

I think being in the hair and make-up industry, the pull towards vanity can be even stronger. My profession is beauty. Making things more beautiful to the eye. Being critical to then "fix" something. I've been praying that I would believe Scripture, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." I've been asking God to grow my fear of Him...and to make me more concerned about my fear of Him than what I look/feel like. I want to prioritize my soul over my body.

And as I've been confessing this today and getting my (wonderful) boyfriend to pray with me and for me, the depth of it has really begun to increase in my eyes. I've noticed that subtly and in fleeting thoughts, I've made someone else's body an idol. "I want to look like THAT."

Now. Is there anything inherently wrong with that thought? I don't think necessarily. Having goals can be wonderful and motivate us-- and being healthy and in shape can be a great thing! But I've been asking myself...what emphasis am I putting on it? Is it in it's right place? Am I COVETING something I don't have? Or am I seeking to honour the Lord with my body; as a temple of His Holy Spirit and trusting that He's being honoured in my journey as I seek to accomplish my goal?

There are many "good" reasons to lose weight and get in shape. A teenager could exercise faithfully to make the team-- seeking to glorify God with her athleticism. A wife could want to tone up to bless her husband. Or a mom might be fighting for energy to play with the kids and (oddly enough) working out seems to be the way to go. Whatever the reason, desiring to be more in shape is not always discontentment.

It's not the "what" we're doing. It's the "why." And its constantly examining our hearts and inviting the Lord into our thoughts as we go that will help us grow in godliness. We can grow nearer to Him, enjoy and treasure the Gospel more, and glorify Him in new ways in our lives by inviting Him in...even to the mundane. Into our work outs. :)

Anyways, I know enough ladies battle vanity that there might be at least one reader that this might hopefully encourage: you're not alone.

May our hearts be fully His as our gaze is on His glory and not our own.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Entrusting to the Lord.

Circumstantially...this is kind of a random post. But I just happened to notice this today:

As I've gotten older and learn more about life (often through my clients), and I hear about parenting and motherhood...marriage and friendship...grace. and trust-- I'm often left utterly amazed at what an amazing job my parents did... entrusting us to the Lord.

Scripture is full of commands to trust God. To entrust our hearts to Him. To cast our cares on Him. To believe He's at work in others. To entrust others to Him.

I imagine this is most difficult with children.

In teaching me to make my own decisions at an early parent's trust in me, and their support of my decisions (even when I knew they didn't agree-- because they told me :)...over the years this has fueled in me a love for counsel and a hunger for wisdom.

I don't feel a need to "prove myself" to my parents. I have their approval. I have their support. Instead, they have LET me learn to hear the voice of God for myself-- without just making decisions for me. They have let me see the faithfulness of God with my own eyes. They have allowed my faith to be challenged and tested by my circumstances and relationships...without trying to shield me from the consequences of my sin or the pain that life brings each of us in different forms.

Instead. They have made themselves a tangible refuge. A shelter I know I will hear truth from. A hug that I know is for me. A praying heart that longs mostly for me to love God more.

And I have watched them trust God. I love watching them trust God.

Their countless prayers for me to know God and love Him more in, through, and amidst life's challenges are invaluable and precious treasure to me.

I so long to emulate them in this way...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This is what I mean...

I just read a very sad blog post.

Immediately it reminded me of my "Praying in a Relationship" post.

If ever faced with similar circumstances, I hope to trust God like this woman of faith:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Babysitting for Eternity

I had a conversation today with a friend about the importance of babysitting. Releasing couples to go out, be alone, strengthen their marriages, and grow in communication. Giving them time to evaluate their lives (Eph. 5:15), their relationships, their parenting, etc.

We talked about how it's a joy and privilege to be able to, as a Single in the local church, directly build into the future church: the next generation. It is all of our responsibility to pass the Gospel onto them- whether they're our kids or not; to be an example and a light. The most direct way I can think of, is this. (Surely there are others.) But when we support marriages, we strengthen the core of the family. The parents can take a breath, gain composure, set their face to what's important: pursuing the Lord and keeping their spouse as their #1 ministry. When that is in line, parenting is far more effective. The Gospel is communicated and demonstrated more clearly. Discipline is more consistent and grace-filled. And hopefully, the result is softer hearts and better soil for the seeds to take root.

The beauty is that we are family: so we can make ourselves at home in other people's houses. Pick up toys, make meals, do dishes, bathe kids, fold laundry, unload the dishwasher, etc. Because we "live life together" its no big deal to lend a helping hand-- just as you would at home.

We talked about how much parents need date nights. How much their kids need them to have date nights. How helpful it is when we volunteer to babysit without being asked.

...and we also talked about the importance of "taking an interest" in your babysitter. It is very easy to accidentally put a single in the "babysitter" category...forgetting they have a soul, and needs, and desire relationships too. At times, there may only be a small difference in your just happen to be seasons apart. But even then: Married couples, please invite your single friends to events even if only married couples are going. Certainly there are times you're not able...but singles still want to hang out with you. Better to be a 3rd, 5th, 7th, or 9th wheel than not be invited to something just because the title "not married yet" is held. It's best to let the one being invited say, "No thanks" instead. (Well. In my opinion.)

And, I told my friend I'd blog about our conversation.
Here ya go, Meghann. Love you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Praying in a Relationship

I began thinking the other day about how I haven't blogged in a while.

"I don't really know what to blog about..." was my first thought. Usually my blog posts have some direct correlation to my life, and while I certainly CAN talk about Josh forever, I'm pretty sure you don't want to read about it.

Then I began to think of all you teen ladies at Christchurch in Newport. About how I want to share in this season with you-- clue you in on things I'm learning or nuggets I've picked up along the way for when you're in perhaps a similar season: This blog post is for you.

Pretend we're sitting in Bob McCan's office with pizza and cans at a typical LIFE meeting. (oh how I miss those!) Pull out your sheet of paper; let's talk.

You know how we hear about how people in relationships are "praying for God's will" all the time. Well...what exactly is that? What does that mean? How do you do that in a relationship? How do you know if a guy is "the one" you're supposed to marry?

You ask yourself: Is his character good enough? Are you attracted to him enough? Will he be faithful to you? Will he be a good provider? Will he love you well? Will he be a good dad?

The "evaluation" questions are endless.

And they are good questions- certainly practicals to consider and get other's observations and counsel on, no doubt.

But I wonder if in only praying through the character of the MAN, we miss hearing from God.

I have attempted to make it common practice at times in my relationships to "set aside" the evaluation part of the relationship in prayer, and instead SEEK THE LORD about His will. Here's what I mean:

I'm a hairstylist. I've heard TONS of stories. Men who've been unfaithful in their marriages. Men who are strong godly leaders and then 10 years into their marriage decide they're not a Christian and leave. Men who die unexpectedly at a young age. I would be a fool to think that "those things couldn't happen to me" no matter how wonderful a man's character might be. I can't know what God has in store.'s possible. My future husband could be unfaithful. We could get to our honeymoon, and he could tell me he's been lying to me about some huge secret that I never could've guessed that affects me dramatically. He could tragically die much sooner than old age. He could have a disease he doesn't know about that we accidentally give to all of our children...and then he could pass away...leaving me with very ill children to provide and care for. Maybe 20 years into our marriage he decides that there's a major part of the Gospel he doesn't see the same as he once did and I'm confused about how to follow him. Maybe just 2 years into it he tells me one night, "I'm not sure what I believe anymore..."

The thing I'm seeking to do in this season of prayer, is hear from the Lord...that EVEN IF one or all of those things took place...could I with confidence, look back and know that I heard from the Lord that I was to marry that man. That it pleased God for me to commit my life to be faithful and serve this soul. When the romantic feelings wax and wane later in life (I hear they do), will I, before the Lord, have peace that I didn't rush into a decision emotionally, but I sought His face...and His will even above my own. Is my love for this man based on GOD'S love for me and not his love for me-- do I believe God is calling me to love this man no matter what he does, who he becomes, what he believes in the future, or what trials we face?

If the answer is "no"...that shouldn't scare us. It's not necessarily a reflection of us...or our willingness to work hard at relationships. The Lord just might simply not be leading us to marry that man.

...because, here's the thing: there's only one man the Lord does lead us to marry. Just one.

This is about me and God. Me trusting my future with HIM. Is HE leading me to this man?

What happens in the future is out of my control. But I know and trust the One who is in control and who has marked all of my days. I just want to do my part to seek HIM in this decision and commitment.

These considerations have helped me pursue what can be a very wonderfully "cloudy" time. I have found great comfort in the faithfulness of God, the power of His promises, the gift of infallible Scripture, and the joy of knowing that "A man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

I pray something in here is of some use to some time.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Filadelphia to Phlorida.

Well. It was all in the works on my last post, but now it's official.

Josh will be a resident of Florida on Wednesday of this week!

Since he just graduated when we started dating- he was job searching in PA while maintaining his part-time job he'd had in school. After a little over a month of dating, he asked me about beginning to include Orlando as another location to search for jobs.

Then. A BUNCH of crazy and random (things are never random) situations and circumstances happened in just the way that increased his need for a job here immediately, OR that would commit him to PA through the summer. Out of no where, God miraculously provided him a job and a moving-time that...literally, couldn't be more perfect. (If I were to write details, this post would literally be categorized into "chapters" and would be pages and pages long.)

God made the situation look impossible. I knew it was because He wanted to build my confidence that 1. either HE was going to do something when I could do nothing else, and I would see it is HIS will, or 2. He was going to show us, "This is not my will- this is not my timing." Both would've been an answer to we were praying God would reveal His will.

Time with the Lord has been so sweet. He is faithful to grow our love and affection for Him when He reveals our need to be fully dependent on Him for prayer, direction, and wisdom. The Gospel is beautiful.

Josh and I are going from 1,006 miles apart to 4.7 :)


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's about time you hear the story...

I have a "random friend." (A few actually.) The one I'm referring to is named Danielle. I call her one of my "soul" friends. She's actually how I found out about the GAP Team and the opportunity to live in Wales.

We met at a conference 5 years ago and swapped email addresses. Many emails, prayer phone calls, and a few visits later, she invited me to her very small destination wedding in Highlands, NC the Monday before this last Christmas.

Through a series of dumbfounding providential events, I was able to go...when, by the looks of all circumstances...shouldn't have been the case.

I went to the wedding several days early to spend time with her and help with the "getting ready." When I asked how I could help, she informed me that the best man needed to be picked up from the airport. The groom's brother was supposed to be his ride, but had his appendix removed the week before and wasn't allowed to drive.

The nearest airport was a 3 hour drive away.

I called the best man on my way so he'd have my number in case his flight got delayed or something. He'd graduated earlier that DAY with a double bachelors in Biblical Studies and Business Administration from PBU. (Philadelphia Biblical University)

"Welcome to the wedding weekend!" was my pre-meditated greeting at baggage claim with no hand shake and no hug- also pre-meditated. I hate awkwardness. I wanted to be prepared.

Well, given his studies and my love for doctrine, and business experience...added to our shared love for other countries/cultures and travel overseas...conversation was easy. Very easy. The 3 hours flew. I'm a hairstylist-- I talk to strangers for a living. And he was a really seriously cute stranger. :) My mom told me the next day, "How was picking up the best man from the airport? Is he cute? I prayed he was cute..." Only my mother.

There was much hype over the weekend (ignored by both of us) with everyone and their mother trying to set us up; some were subtle, others blatantly obvious. We pretended it didn't exist. We were even independently reminding the bride and groom that it was THEIR weekend!

The cake pull and guarder toss were even rigged so we'd have a picture together.

World, meet Joshua Morrison.

I hoped he'd call.

He didn't.

For weeks.



He did. :)

I wish you could've heard my scream and witnessed my jumping up and down. "EM! EM! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Guess who's calling?!" I couldn't answer the phone-- I was too excited. Emily was in the hallway hitting me telling me to get it-- I ran into the living room, cleared my throat and calmly and softly answered, "Hello?"

...and I'd missed his call.

Rang back right away and we set up a time to talk later because I was headed out the door...and he was asking if I had time to "talk."

Loved that. Loved his intentionality when we did talk later that night. His clear communication- his boldness, his intent.

He asked if he could start calling me regularly and we agreed to start getting to know each other over the phone.

...and then I drilled him with questions about his doctrine. And was surprisingly...very impressed. Both with his submission to Scripture and humility in how he communicates his perspective. His humility was (and is :) a noted strength. His love for Scripture obvious. And His affection for God contagious.

A week and a half of that turned into dating.

Which turned into him vising Orlando over my Birthday weekend. And me heading to Philly for a long weekend. And then me heading back to Philly again a few weeks later (my last wedding-free weekend until June!) for a road trip together to VA and then NC so he could meet my siblings, and I could meet the rest of his. (He has nine. Yes. NINE.) And I returned to Orlando this Monday.
That is a very self-controlled, detail-free (can you believe it?) version of my side of the story.

Long distance is not-so-much-fun but skype has been a great help. Things are going well! I'm pretty crazy about him.

Here are a few more pics for your enjoyment :)

Oh. And this is my excuse for not blogging in so long.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Lord, give me favour."

I pray this often for my business. Before I arrive to an appointment. While I'm cutting or coloring. Probably my most frequent business prayer. (Immediately followed by, "Give me opportunities to minister to people" and "Please save _____"...)

...and God has deemed it wise to answer that request (and the others) in a way that I can clearly see and understand in this season.

I love my job. Absolutely LOVE it.

Business is going so well. This week alone I have SIX brand new clients. Six. NEW clients. First time appointments. Between Tuesday and Friday. That's insane.

At the beginning of January, I hired a dear friend for two hours a week to do some emails/admin stuff for me. It was just too much for me to handle it all. We had a six week trial...and after the six weeks, I asked her to work everyday. She has made SUCH a difference. I have no idea how I lived before her. in the world did I attempt to do ALL of THAT?! She is efficient, takes initiative, is friendly AND professional, oober clients love her. She takes all of my appointments for me (which frees me up on Sunday morning when clients at church ask for an appointment-- I just tell them I don't keep my schedule anymore, they'll have to talk to her! :) She records all of our interactions with brides through David's Bridal (which has been picking up like crazy...I'm practically booked every weekend until June!) and she just...makes my much easier.

I am now free from constantly writing things on my hand (ok, not TOTALLY free ;) or a nearby napkin, etc. My iPad has also made a huge difference in having organized thoughts and cutting down on tasks that took hours out of each week. I praise God for the gift of my "Scheduling Coordinator" and my iPad very very often. My life looks so different than it did 3 months ago.

This is a gift of God. It is His choosing. And I know that at any moment...He can take it away and it can all fizzle. And if that happens, it's ok. Because its all for Him anyways.

I don't have big career dreams. If I'm able to hire more staff (which I've been looking to do) and eventually get the business running to where it doesn't need me as a stylist/make-up artist anymore...then sure. That's wonderful :) But if it just collapses on itself out of no where...or God prompts me to lay it down...I'm perfectly fine with that. It's just for a season--

I regularly am fighting the temptations of the culture-- to always be "bigger" and "better." The two purposes of beginning this business were to 1. Provide for myself financially, and 2. Create an opportunity to witness/minister to people.

Both of those objectives are happening. And at an increasing rate! There's no pressure or stress to be the biggest hair and make-up vendor for weddings, or the most successful Deva curl stylist in Orlando (though, I'm the only, I guess technically hold the title...) I will pursue hiring more staff as the appointments demand it, and I will certainly continue talking to girls about how their curls can be what they've always dreamed...but I want my focus to stay the same. This isn't about hair or business. This is about the glory of God. (Remind me of that if I seem overwhelmed the next time we talk.)

If you'd like to witness the favour I'm talking about...check this out. These are (to my knowledge) all unbelievers that God has just given me favour with. Please pray that curly hair is just a means to talking about the Gospel! And marvel with me at the kindness of God displayed here...

...all you're answer to prayer.

Praise His Name.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A parent's influence on faith...

Not too long ago, I received a request to post about my parent's influence on my faith.

Wow. How long do you have?

Many things come to mind. Examples of things I believe my parents did exceptionally well (that I have every intention of implementing into my own parenting should the Lord bring that season to me), and even examples they'd readily confess as mistakes. God uses it all for good.

Asking for a testimony and input are different. But. I'm going to do both-- my input is free and is void of experience. So, take it with a grain of salt. (I don't really know where that expression came from...but...maybe take it with LOTS of salt.)

Two things come to mind that scream stronger than even the examples I could give of my parent's influence on me. I'm not a parent. But this is my counsel:

1. Pray and trust God.
2. Be faithful.

Only God can save souls. We must believe and live this-- there is freedom in it. My personal perspective is that children should be taught at a young age that they are unbelievers and need to be changed by Jesus. We can't care about a Saviour we don't know our need for! I see how discipline can function as the "law" in that it reveals sin. We need to see our sin in order to be able to repent for it, receive forgiveness, and be changed.

I see and hear often in the American culture an "including" of kids as Believers in a parent's speech-- "Us as Christians" or "Because we're a Christian family." Oh it pains my heart to wonder how many "Christians" in America have false assurance influenced by their parents. May God give us wisdom as to how to communicate with children not-yet saved about His love for them, and their need for Him.

My parents trusted God. Even in my rebellious years in High School. They sought the Lord diligently as to how to deal with me...even in my rebellion, I knew this. I knew they were praying.

One night I will never forget- I was somewhere I shouldn't've been, with people I shouldn't've been with, doing things they shouldn't've been doing and my mom called. Asked where I was. Wasn't comfortable with my answer and asked me to please come home. I put up a fight. She insisted, but offered to stay up as late as I wanted and said I could invite my best friend and boyfriend at the time over to be at our house.

I took full advantage of that opportunity and kept her up until 3am. She sat in our living room. Reading her Bible and praying the entire time. I will never forget that.

At the time, I didn't care. I thought her time was worthless-- oh, it grieves me to say that. But I actually did. I don't even think I thanked her. And it is so humbling to consider the depth of forgiveness and mercy she has extended to me over the years. I am a Christian because Jesus saved me, yes. I am also a Christian, because God chose to use the prayers of my faithful mother to soften my heart and draw me to Himself. My soul soars with gratitude.

Pray for your children. Entrust them to God.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it" Proverbs promises us. There is training involved. Yes.

My parents excelled in this. From taking advantage of opportunities to shelter us from worldly influences, to other opportunities to TEACH us discernment-- engaging with us in the culture and drawing our attention to how to interact with sin or unbelievers while keeping our hearts away from temptation. Showing us how to be in the world...but not of it.

My dad viewed our childhood as preparation for adulthood. I hated it. I always had to do hard things none of my friends ever had to do. I bought my own clothes. Got a job at 15. We didn't get allowance-- my dad always said, "People give their kids allowance to teach them how to manage money. You can't manage money if you don't know how to make it." :) I'm not dogging allowance. We did get it one time (and laugh/mock my parents about it now!) But in hindsight, I so appreciate the perspective.

At almost 25 (gulp! I feel old!) I attribute much of my life experience and I guess you could say, worldly "accomplishments" to the faithful training of my parents. When strangers marvel that I've lived overseas and have my own business so young, I immediately talk about my parents. Don't give me credit for this. They're the ones who've taught me. This is grace on my life. They've taught me how to take initiative, be make my faith my own. Challenging me, encouraging me, asking me hard questions...all the while lavishing me with love even when I KNOW they disagreed with my decisions.

I know what it looks like to trust God because I've watched my mom. She faithfully has risen early to read and pray. She prays like no other soul I've ever encountered. She prays for people she's never met, but only heard about...and at times is properly burdened for them. Losing sleep because she is up at night- praying because she feels prompted to. Unbelievable.

My dad gets excited about what God is doing. He is a man of faith. This "excitement" has totally rubbed off on me. I don't know if its part of our personality (I'm a lot like my dad) or if I've been trained by his example, but my dad is always buzzing about a new book he's read or some new truth he's discovered.

As we've gotten older, our parents have transitioned from "authority" to being our friends. I talk to my mom almost every day. She knows my life like no one else on this earth. She has taken the time to learn and "study" my relationships-- she knows people all over the world by name, and has never seen their faces...just from listening to me and my life. (These are some of the people she prays for!) My parents are my biggest supporters. They think the world of me (as all parents do of their children) and tell each of us time and again how proud they are of us. Not just of our accomplishments (though my dad genuinely thinks I could own a salon in sweet) but they tell us how proud of US they are. WHO we are. What we've become.

They will be the first to tell you: IT IS ALL OF GRACE. I will echo their song.

Grace covers sin. Even sin in parenting. We will fail. Grace is bigger than sin. Let us rejoice!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Creator God

It is with absolute joy that I share with you the following thoughts from one of my most recent favourite authors, Josh Morrison.

I love how in this description of this marveling, worshiping, adoring and praising that the author is doing, he invites us, the readers to join him in extolling and honoring the majesty of the Almighty in our hearts. We hear of his affection for God and are beckoned to come join him.

As I sang, "How Great Thou Art" this morning, this recent article came to mind-- I had to share it with you. Too good to keep to myself; let me know what you think.

Read slowly and savor the words...


"From where do creative conceptualizations arrive? All that is, exists out of the infinite mind of One that is neither contained nor constrained. Creative power is only truly present within one; within this One all that could be is contained in such a way that boundaries are boundless. As created in the likeness of God Almighty, mankind has creative ability that flows not independent of God but from Him from whom all proceeds. Mankind’s furthest grasp on the unreachable only leaves an infinite chasm of creative potential that resides forever in the nature of the only true creative being, Creator God. It is the tendency of man to quickly congratulate the imagination and mastery of creative endeavors seen within one’s fellow man. Yet is this not a misplaced recognition from where creative aptitude finds its origin? Consider the depths of the oceans and the heights of mountain peaks, yet taken for granted is the very ability to conventionalize such ranges in majesty. It was the design of God and projections of the creative mind of God that allows the human mind to dream past that which is flat. Unfathomable galaxies that reach into the vast unknown stretch the mind of man in a way that limits never could. With limits there exists confinement and fullest potential to be achieved. But because man is the image of the limitless One, there is no reason to place a limit on that which is possible. It is not man that creates but God that created. Creation was from the beginning a reflection of the One that determined its beginning. The creative potential is there within man and demands praise and admiration to the One from whom all creative potential derives. This is He who’s vast limits exist not, who’s unsearchable mind is confined not, who’s infinite power is grasped not, and who neither has end of days nor beginning; this is the Lord God Most High."

Sunday, January 23, 2011


A wise Biblical Scholar requested I blog about prayer. For many reasons, I had to agree.

He asked I answer the following question:

"What affect does our prayer have on God’s mind?"

It's a great question. And as I've considered how to answer, I am grievously convicted. For that which I know, is not my practice or experience. I sadly am struggling to live this. So it's ironic that I'm blogging about this- especially today.

Recently, God has been revealing my distorted view of Him, and His gifts. How He gives good things to His children-- He is not spiteful. Nor does He give only to take away. Sometimes He gives and sustains. Often, I forget that's true. I'm always sort of "ready" for him to take. Sometimes even bracing myself...knowing He'll be faithful and carry me; He'll see me through whatever trial He's brought; but strapping my seatbelt on and getting ready for pain. Oh, how it must sadden His wrongly I view Him and His grace...

There's no reason to "hold on tight." He is the One holding me. And He is the Healer of my heart. His love towards me is not restricted or constrained in any way. It is a powerful, boisterous love that has no limits or boundaries. Tears come to my eyes even as I type. Father, let me believe this- help me in my unbelief!

So, I apologize-- in the midst of this answer, because I cannot separate the two, this post will be seasoned with my personal wrestlings of that which I know is true...because I believe its the heart of the answer.

This morning I felt impressed to pray something I once read in The Valley of Vision- a book of Puritan prayers.

"Burn into my experience the things that I know." May this be true of all of us. Would we learn to not just be convinced of truth with a fervent head knowledge...but would our hearts embrace the grace available to us to put our faith IN the God who tells us He can always be trusted. Our prayer life, I believe, is a reflection of our trust in God and His promises.

...all of that was free.


Why pray? That's foundational in understanding even the question itself. If God is sovereign, all wise, all loving, and cannot do amiss...why even bother asking or petitioning? He's going to do what He's going to do anyways. And if He doesn't do something, it's better than what we asked. Let's just let Him do His thing.

But as I stare at the question, all I see here in answering: is the heart of the Gospel. The only thing ringing through my ears is, "Abba."

He loves us. He loves to communicate with us. His heart towards us is one of grace, steadfast love, welcoming, and a desire for nearness. He longs to bless us. To pour out His goodness on us- to teach of more of Himself, thereby satisfying the very core of who we are as beings. Fulfilling our ultimate goal: to know the Uncreated. To be in relationship with Him. Communing with Him. Adoring and worshiping Him. Enjoying life to the fullest.

These things are only possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As enemies of God, we have no need or reason to pray-- except to beg for mercy. As believers, fellow heirs with Christ, and children of God, we have every reason and need to pray.

I think of the question, "Why pray?" and my mind floods with Scripture. "Pray without ceasing." "You do not have because you do not ask." "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you." I am reminded of the parable of the persistent widow who was shown mercy even by an unjust judge due to her perseverance.

I think of Jesus' example to us-- of constant and continual "retreating" for prayer. GOD was praying. The Son to the Father.

We pray because we are commanded to...and if we love God, we obey His commands. We pray because we want to be like Jesus...and that's what He did.

Also. We pray because we need to...for our own edification and building up in faith. Prayer is one means of grace used to draw our attention to the faithfulness of God. If we neglect to pray, we miss out on all that He's answering and working...because we're not looking for it.

A very wise man once told me (I'm paraphrasing), "What we're looking for, we find." I found that profound. In this particular case, if I'm praying and asking God to work...I'm looking for it and expectant. And because God is faithful and always working...I am guaranteed to find His hand moving. Which will then only build my faith to pray and ask more.

But "Why pray" isn't the same question. The question above understands that prayer is commanded and essential. It is not questioning the importance of a prayer life. However, I didn't feel like I could answer what effect our prayers have on the mind of God without explaining a bit of WHY Scripture instructs us to pray.

The answer, I believe, is simple and brief (even though this post is not!)

I believe our prayers stir the heart of God because of His great love for us. His power and love are most gloriously displayed on the cross- where we are justified and adopted as His children.

An earthly father, when His child asks for a fish...does not give Him a stone. How much more does our Heavenly Father know how to give good gifts to His children!

It makes me wonder too...if when we are praying fervently and passionately for something consistently and constantly...if in fact, WE change. And as a result of that change-- knowing God more, trusting Him more, casting our cares on Him, being satisfied with His will and praying for that above our own, etc...

...if then the trial or circumstance we were in was there merely to be a means of change for us. It's not about the answered requests. It's about our hearts.

God is after our hearts.

I don't know how it all works. Scripture indicates a few times that God changed His mind. I don't get that-- its a mystery to me. But this is what I do know: God loves us to pray, because He loves to minister to us and do more than we could ever ask or imagine.

WE are the ones who miss out when we neglect to be faithful in our prayer life. We're forfeiting blessings, gifts, joy, and the beauty of knowing God more.

So, go pray for something! Whatever's on your heart right now...


If you could request a blog post topic- what would you choose?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hope fully. Grace will be brought to you.

As I enjoy a small coffee and blueberry muffin and sit at a coffee bar in an airport, I eagerly anticipate the next few moments as I review with you how God has just met me in the pages of Scripture...

Funny, isn't it, how hungry our hearts can get when not in the regular "routine" of "typical" time with the Lord. At least, that's the case for me. Two and a half weeks ago my holiday began and right now...I couldn't be more excited about being home with the Morgans, weather that doesn't require doubled socks in my boots and winter coats, and not living out of a suitcase. It has been an absolutely wonderful trip. So relaxing, lots of rejoicing and celebrating...and yet...times of "quiet" have been few.

Before just moments ago, I hadn't journaled since the 13th of December. That's a long time for me.

After arriving at my gate to wait a few hours before boarding, I opened my journal and began to write. Reviewing the highs and lows of 2010. Recording earthly "expectations" and wonderings for 2011. Thrilled for how God will work. Excited to see specific demonstrations of His faithfulness. Anticipating Him drawing my heart. Awaiting comfort. Leading. Discipline. Ministry.

I flipped back over the last few months of journal entrys--- skimming to better reflect on how God's been meeting me. And then I saw it. On the top left corner....

...a verse that would captivate my attention for the better part of an hour: 1 Peter 1:13

"...preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you..."

These are the notes in my journal that were soon written:

Oh, glory.

It finishes " the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Grace will be brought TO YOU. You don't have to search for it. It is brought. It's brought when Christ is revealed.

Christ's revelation = Grace brought

Not just, "put some hope in" like "this'd be a good investment..." but SET your hope FULLY on grace....that will...

...this is FUTURE grace. (will.) Future promised grace. Set your hope FULLY ON IT!

For who hopes for what he sees?

Lord, let me hope. With patience.

This "setting" of hope on future PROMISED grace is done when my mind is PREPARED. FOR. ACTION.

This will be a fight. There will be fighting against this hoping. Against setting hope on future grace.

And. A sober mind is required.
Be prepared. FOR ACTION.
Be sober minded.
on grace.
Grace that will be BROUGHT.
Brought TO YOU.
Brought to you as Christ is revealed.

I cannot hope without a sober mind.

I cannot hope without being prepared for action.

God is saying in effect,
"Through revealing my Son...I will BRING TO YOU: GRACE. Now I want you to put ALL of your hope on it."

As I read and wrote I was struck by the perfect timing of this verse for me today. What better time to be refreshed in hoping than in a New Year?

Sure. We need fresh hope each and every day. Each and every moment of each and every day. But there is something unique about the date changing. A page turning. A new beginning.

Father, as we enter this year, would you help us to set our hope fully on grace. The grace that you will bring. Thank you for your promises, thank you for your faithfulness, thank you for your Word. Meet us this year. May we know you more. May our love for you be set ablaze. Revive our hearts. Ignite new passion. Captivate our minds. Would we worship you with true abandon and seek to honour you by giving ourselves fully to Your will and Your work. Make us like Jesus, we pray. Give us new hope.