love

Love on Me a Little Longer

Journal entry: Today I needed Jesus to sing over me. He wanted something different from me this morning; not to read or pray. But to stay in this moment and allow Him to sit with me.

Because He's in love with me.

I woke up Friday feeling the pressure that lingered from the day before. The to-do list of all that's happening around me and needed my attention. I needed to focus on one project that demanded my focus so I cleared my schedule to do so. I planned my day so that I could be intentional and free of chaos running from here to there. But there was still a feeling of a deadline looming.

I knew I needed Jesus.

So I cuddled up in my favorite chair, popped in my headphones and grabbed my favorite devotional. I thought, "I'll do this for about 15 minutes so that I get some 'quiet time' in with Jesus and that will help me recalibrate. I started to go through the motions until a song came on that I had heard before but never really listened to the words. I paused for a reason I do not know and put down the book as the words grabbed my attention and stopped me right in my tracks.

As I listened, my hands went up and I began to do the ugly cry as the song penetrated my soul.

Then I hear You say

You don't have to do a thing

Simply be with me and

Let those things go

They can wait another minute

Wait this moment

Is too sweet

Please stay here with me

And love on Me a little longer

'Cause I'm in love with you.

(Bethel Music, "A Little Longer")

Then silence.

I hurried to find the song on iTunes so I could play it over and over again and just sit, wait. The moment was too sweet for it to be over after a four-minute song. I wanted to linger. I knew the words were just for me this morning.

Then, the ugly cry. Again.

I couldn't help but to feel Him singing those sweet words over me and telling me that I didn't need to do anything. There was no prayer, no song, no dance, no deadline I needed to bring to Him. All I needed to do was sit with Him as he sang over me.

It was tender. Sweet. Soft.

He's in love with me and wanted to love on me a little longer.

Hear the song here.

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

 

Gather Her || 11.17.16

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Fashion + Faith + Friends

..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Enjoy an evening with women just like you who want to explore their faith and love all things fashion
11.17.16
6:30 – 8:30 pm

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720 O’Connor Dr., Round Rock, TX 78689
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At Gather Her, you will:
~ Find refuge in a lovely environment.
~ Create authentic, pure relationships through girl talk time after each message.
~ Hear truth through our monthly guest speakers.
~ Meet women who are real, fun, and authentic who love to laugh during our mix & mingle time!
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Light Bites & Wine provided + Photo Booth + Real Girl Talk

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The Problem with Doubt

 

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:6 [NIV]

 

This past year, I embraced three new things that I felt the Lord was prompting me to do: focus on my health, homeschool my two girls, and write again. Of those three, writing has been the hardest thing to feel I’m good at. When I was invited to be apart of the Created Woman writing team this past summer, I quickly said yes. I was so naïve, and unprepared for the practice and patience this assignment would require.

You see, I just ended my career as a makeup artist, a job that spanned the majority of my adulthood. I not only enjoyed my experience as a makeup artist, I felt like I was really good at it. Now that I’m in new territory as a writer, my initial responses to things like writer’s block and long stares at my computer screen are frustration and doubt. I wonder, did I really hear from God to return to writing?

It’s common for Christians to have doubt. Doubt is part of our faith journey. It’s when we worry or focus too much energy on our doubt that it can become a problem.

Dr. Alister McGrath, a Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education at King’s College of London wrote,

“The more you worry about your doubts, the less you will look to God. Gradually, those vital links with the life-giving grace of God will wither –and your spiritual life will wither and shrivel. Doubt will become unbelief –because you allowed it.”

As mentioned earlier, doubt is not a bad thing to have. We just have to turn away from doubt and believe. This reminds me of the story of one of the last recorded encounters between Jesus and his disciple, Thomas. Thomas doubted the resurrection of Jesus even when the other disciples told him they saw the Lord. Soon after, Jesus visited his disciples again and showed Thomas proof of his resurrection. In addition, Jesus told Thomas to “stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27, NIV) Thomas no longer doubted that Jesus was alive after this special encounter with Him.

I love that Jesus did not rebuke Thomas or shame him for having doubt though Thomas was one of his own disciples. This story shows me that any follower of Christ can lack faith at times. However, when we recognize it happening to us, we must turn our attention away from doubt and seek God. It’s in His presence, that we can believe all things are possible. Though I can’t physically see, touch, or hear Christ talking to me as in the story of Thomas, I know Christ lives inside of me when I was saved because the Bible tells me so. Because of this truth, I don't have to travel far to find Him.

So how do we spend time with God?  There are several ways. One way is by spending time alone with Him in prayer and reflection whether at home or outside in nature. As a homeschool mom, I am rarely alone at home so my time with God is best enjoyed early in the day before anyone in my household wakes up, or when I go for my morning run. Those are the best ways I can have uninterrupted time to pray and listen (most important thing!) to the Lord when I choose to. Of course, we do not always have to be alone to be in God’s presence. God resides in the company of other believers, most commonly in His church. This God designed community was created to bring faith, love, and hope to His children.

I know now that this season is more about strengthening my faith muscles than it is about strengthening my body or being a good writer. So the next time I am stuck in writing, I must simply remind myself to stop and seek God for help. I’m pretty sure though that God’s advice will be to listen to what my editor always tells me to do, which is “just keep writing…keep writing.”

  1. Would I describe my current thought life as helpful or hurtful to my faith?  
  2. Do I seek God's presence every day?  If not, what practical action step can help me make time for Him?
  3. Is there anything that God has called me to do that I have not yet started or stopped moving forward with? If so, is the why bigger than God's calling?

Heavenly Father, thank you for desiring intimacy with us.  Help us to choose you first every day of our lives so that can grow closer to you and not slip into patterns of this world like unbelief.  We love you and praise you.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

"But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul." [Deuteronomy 4:29, NKJV]

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." [Matthew 21:21-22]

 

 

The Journey: Life of a single girl

The Journey of singleness is a gift, an adventure, turbulent and chaotic at times, heartbreaking and rewarding all wrapped in one big bow.   Exploring who you are as an individual is really only possible to its fullest while single.  How amazing that is!  Of course, there were times when I felt like I was on the single journey way too long.  But as I look back on my journey, there isn’t one thing I would change….the good, the bad and the ugly!

Every season of our lives has a reason, a story to tell, a lesson to be learned, an adventure to be had, a heart to mend and learn from.  It’s life, and life is a continuous voyage into the next season.  Today, single women are finally getting noticed for more than just being single.  We’ve figured out that, although we are not married, we are strong and intelligent, make mistakes just like everyone else, date the wrong guys, own our very own companies, serve, are wonderful friends; we are on the journey just like the rest of the world.

Life goes by too fast and is too short to live in the future always thinking, “When this happens, life will be amazing.”  The journey of life is every season and creates us into the woman we were created to be.  Embrace it, love it, live it!  I embrace my past, the lessons I learned, the friends I made and the escapades I experienced.  There all “things” that made me who I am today…. they’re all a part of my journey.  The Journey of singleness helped me identify who I was as a woman and who my husband fell in love with.  It’s the journey that taught be how to be strong, confident, soft, loving, alive and worth the wait.

Today, as I reflect on the years past, I’m thankful for all that God has given, brought and loved me through.  It’s all set me on the journey to becoming the woman I was created to be and embracing who I am today.   Single ladies, you are worth the wait!  So embrace your journey, love it, live it!

Now, While You Are Single.

[title subtitle="Now, while you are single: Walking out your purpose before you say 'I do'"][/title]

Now, While You Are Single is a practical guide to help women discover and embrace their true identity in Christ through a journey of healing, ultimately revealing God’s purpose and plan for their life while they are single. 

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Purchase for you or as a gift here

[title subtitle="Design Labs"][/title]

Single ladies! We will be hosting Design Labs in the Austin area this summer featuring Heather’s book. Follow us on Facebook for dates & times.

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So you wake up every morning and going to work has become more of a chore than ever.  You’re not excited about the job, the boss, the people on your team – what do you do?  Quit?  Stick around? If you’ve read my Facebook devotionals you’ll see I’m all about seeking God’s will.  Logically, in this economy quitting your job for any reason is a risky move.  Spiritually, if you’re not in the place God wants you, sticking around out of fear is a risky move.  To my friends who know they are where God has called them to be, I share a message of endurance.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Is all of your misery at work tied to one person?  Have you prayed consistently for them?  I’m not talking about a “Bless my butt head boss Phil” before bedtime, I mean really sitting down and praying for peace in their personal lives, wisdom when making decisions, and a softened heart towards other people.  You may be surprised how your heart softens towards them in the process.

Perhaps you’re miserable because you always feel like the oddball out.  People leave you behind when they go to lunch, leave the break room when you arrive, plan events outside of work without inviting you.  Think back over the last year, how have you impacted their lives?  Has your behavior reflected God’s love or his wrath?

Take into account that the situations you are in require a lesson to be learned.  What that lesson is, is between you and God.  Two things.  1 – If you fail, you can count on a retest.  2 – If you avoid it, you’ll find yourself being tested on something else.  Let me assure you that God is 100% committed your education, so rather than fight with him, SUMBIT ALREADY!

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for loving me enough to teach me your ways just as any earthly parent should.  Continue to guide me and open my eyes so that I am reflection of your love.

Still Hungry?  Abraham personifies endurance in Genesis 12 – 22.

 

Originally Published in 2011

The Shark Tank

“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”   - Warren Buffet Last week as I stood in line at Target I chatted with a woman who was shopping with a daughter the same age as mine.  After a few minutes she asked where I worked and without thinking I answered, “A Shark Tank.”  We laughed and continued our conversation about snacks, short shorts and the long lines that seem to plague all California retailers.

I’ve only been in my new job for 6 months and while I’m enjoying the change of scenery, the change of pace and the new challenges my job has presented; this office has already left a bad taste in my mouth.  One of my first observations when I got here was that everyone was smart and ambitious, just like me.  However, there is a trait missing amongst some of my colleagues – integrity.

Trust and integrity take years to build; projects completed on time, fair prices and billing, promotions for those that work for you.  All it takes is one lie, one bad choice to destroy it all.  Having an “end justifies the means” mentality may get you the result you need in the moment but it could also be beginning of the end.

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 (English Standard Version)

I see some of these people rewarded and I know who they have stepped on and over to get their results.  As much as I would love my share of the limelight I know that it’s a path I cannot choose.  When I first decided to take this job I’ll admit I was enticed by possibilities of promotions, new titles and more money.  I will always strive for more, to be better, to grow – it’s who I am, but it’s the path we choose that sets us apart.

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”  Proverbs 28:6 (English Standard Version)

It may take me longer to get where I want to be, but I have faith that things will happen as they should; and I can’t put a price tag on the example I set for my daughter.  At the young age of five, she sees, hears and absorbs everything.  When she is an adult I hope she can be proud of the decisions I’ve made and understand why I made them.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!”  Proverbs 20.7 (English Standard Version)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, Thank you for making me who I am and giving me direction and correction.  Help me to be a woman of integrity, a woman who lives her life in private the way she lives in public.

Love is Like a Box of Chocolates

February. Love month, one of my favorite months, all because of Valentine’s Day. This is the time of year the gals have an excuse to dust off their little black dress, and the gents stress over planning the perfect night out. The flowers. The candy. The romantic red and pink heart shaped card ready for you to open and read about how much he loves and adores you.

Today is February 27. The flowers have wilted. The candy has been eaten. And the card is buried amongst piles of homework or bills. The day came and went. Now, what?

Well, the day of love does not stop there. It doesn’t stop with your man. Love continues with the other 364 days of the year. It continues with your family, your friendships, your church, and yes, even your enemies. And let’s not forget the tattered man on the side of the road you pass every morning.

Eleanor Roosevelt had the perfect words to describe love.

“You like to respect and admire someone whom you love, but actually, you love even more the people who require understanding and who make mistakes and have to grow with their mistakes.”

Some people don’t want to deal with those who require additional understanding and consistently make mistakes. They want to get love instead of give love. They’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. Say the right things. Be there at the right time. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place where you give, and not a place you go to take. This is true love.

Many fixate on Valentine’s Day as the holiday of love, a day set apart for grand gestures, romance and celebratory levels of affection. But why does such attention and kindness have to be reserved for a day, or even for one person?

We discover those additional people at the dinner table, in your classroom, at your local grocery store or your workplace. We often stumble upon these relationships in random moments when we least expect them. And then there are times when we purposely create a bond. It’s all because you choose to love those outside your circle.

Love is like a box of chocolates. 

Each one has a different flavor, color, and texture. Each friend, family member, random person on the street…each person you show love will bring different challenges, observations, and adventures to your life. Don’t just take a bite of each chocolate and throw the less desirable ones aside because the flavor isn’t what you expected. Each piece is a little bit of heaven to your soul.

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. Walls are built because people feel judged. Assumptions are the termites of relationships. When you judge someone, you’re creating a wall, a wall that might rob you of some valuable lessons and potentially a great connection.

I believe behind every stranger there is a backstory that is the common denominator – for we all share in the human experience: pain, sadness, grief, lack of love, and then, with hope and help, step by step achievements. We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and rejection.

I will be honest and say I find myself judging others the first seven seconds of meeting them. Is this person worth my time and effort to get to know them? Why should I bother? How are they going to benefit me? Are they fun, positive, adventurous, etc.? This is a natural human response.

My new look on relationships is stop asking, “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and start asking, “Whose needs can I meet?” Think more about others than about yourself. You will be surprised by how many bonds you create and how many people you will bless and love. Give yourself permission to be uncomfortable and talk to people. They love. And they want to be loved. We don’t know what they are going through. We don’t know their challenges, their struggles, and their insecurities. You never know how your words, thoughts, or actions can affect them. Our relationship with them might change their lives forever.

When we show love and compassion in simple, practical ways, we are part of God’s ministry to His people. 

The next time you see someone sitting alone in the staff lunchroom, go over and talk to them. Or the next time you notice an acquaintance having a bad day, lend a listening ear. It may end up creating a bond, a different type of love that would change your life and theirs.

Choose to love each day. Just like you would on Valentine’s Day.

Loving Those Who Oppose You

When I was a teenager many years ago, teenagers all across America danced to the words of a song entitled Wonderful World by the late Sam Cooke.  It goes like this:

 

 

            I don’t know much about history,             I don’t know much about biology.             Don’t know much about a science book,             Don’t know much about the French I took.             But, I do know that I love you,             And I know that if you love me, too,             What a wonderful world this would be.

Obviously, this song is referring to a romantic love – the kind of love our mind first thinks of when we think of love.  While romantic love is one of the, shall we say, best inventions of all times, let’s stretch our mind and heart beyond the scope of a romantic relationship into the world around us.

Let’s take a stroll into our world, 2013, and see what we find.  It goes without saying that we live in a politically charged and morally declining climate.  Because of this, we are going to be faced daily with people who oppose our views. 

The question is, “how can we begin acting in love toward those who oppose us?”

I was brought to answering this question recently as I read an exert from a newly released book, entitled ReFocus by Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family.  Daley writes:

“Love starts with truly recognizing that those with different faiths, or opposing views are not our enemies.  They are fellow human begins, created in God’s image just like we are, and for that reason, they deserve respectful and dignified treatment.”

I totally agree with Daly.  His message lines up with James 3:9, which says:  “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.”  

I’m convinced we can’t do both:  praise God in one breath, and curse human beings in another breath.  But, I was still left with answering the question of “how can I begin acting in love toward those who oppose my views?”

For me personally, I came up with a couple of ways:

  1. Be a friend to someone with a different social status, faith, and background
  2. Treat all sin equally.  Don’t specialize in what we think is “the big one.”
  3. Start locally.  I know that my voice cannot reach into the four corners of this earth, but I can start on a local level.
  4. Trust God for the outcome; it is not up to me to change someone else.  But, it is up to me to act in love.

What about you?  Can you begin “Loving Those Who Oppose You?” 

As we each do our part, in the words from Sam Cooke’s song of the ‘50’s,

What a wonderful world this would be.

Live, Laugh, Love...

I woke up one morning in July of 2012 and decided I was no longer happy with my job.  While I loved the people that I was working with, the tasks I was completing each day filled me with no joy.  There was no excitement; my professional life was stagnant.  It was then I realized I was much too young to be having these feelings.  In my head I had 3 choices; stick it out and be miserable, find a new job in a new company, or relocate to our company headquarters in California.

Live

"So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.  That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation)

Laugh

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while."  1 Peter 1:6  (New Living Translation)

Love

"Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13  (New Living Translation)

After much prayer and discussion, my husband & I have decided to LIVE.  I was offered and accepted a job at my corporate office in California.  I've moved ahead of them which isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  A small price to pay; we'll all be together again soon and I can't wait.  Until then, I'm entertained nightly by my family via Facetime, they are a LAUGH a minute!  All of these things are made possible for me because I believe in a God who grants the desires of our hearts and because I have a husband who LOVES me enough to follow me to another new city, and be both Mother & Father to our daughter while I pursue new opportunities for my career.

STOPLIGHT PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, thank you giving me life and for guiding me through it.  Thank you for making your will for my life the desire of my heart and for guiding me through life.  Help me to listen for your voice amidst the static that tries to throw me off course.

My Family This is my beautiful family.  I love them for supporting me in everything I do and can't wait to start this new adventure with them.

Happily Ever After

How can marriage, on different days of the week, feel like the best thing in the world and then the worst? I found myself wondering this question recently during one of the worst fights my husband and I have had in quite some time. What started off as annoyance at a pile of laundry turned into a whole can of unopened issues and a 3-day long brawl: nights slept apart, us canceling plans together to avoid being with each other, long car rides of awkward silence, and the feeling in the air of all the emotions we wanted to unleash but were trying  to suffocate.

     After a little while, I wondered why I'd become so annoyed in the first place, and I realized I was a few days out from that wonderful, hormonal time of the month. But rather than feel better at finding the cause of all the trouble, it made me more angry. I thought to myself, "After 7 years of marriage, shouldn't we have the hang of this? Shouldn't he know me well enough by now to know what I need during these times?"

Finally, after 3 days and by an act of complete grace on his part, we were able to have a heart to heart without all the anger and work it out. But, I was still struck at the thoughts that ran through my head during the fight.

     "Shouldn't love be easier than this? Shouldn't we be able to understand each other more? After 7 years, shouldn't we have this dance figured out?"

Why do these questions go through my head? What makes me think that there's some place you get to in a marriage where it's all "figured out"? Why should it ever become easy?

So, if you're married and facing anything like this, here's what I had to remind myself in the midst of our bickering.

First, I was reminded that my marriage is a representation of God. The grace, the love, the compassion my husband and I can show each other is a mirror to the world of who God is. So we have to show it!

Second, I can't let my needs and expectations be what drive my love. Sometimes those ideas in my head of "what love is" are my worst enemies.

There's a reason I married the man I did. I love him and he's wonderful. It just may not be as simple as "Happily Ever After" makes it sound. But where's the fun in that?

 

Matthew 19:4-6, 1 Peter 3,