Tea Time

How easy is it to settle into the comforts of tea time. I’m not talking about the traditional across the pond time of day to sip tea and nosh on tiny sandwiches…I’m talking about sharing gossip.

We feed off of what others are sharing about others. The gossip may even come in the form of a prayer request…”So and so is really struggling with [fill in the blank] we really need to pray for them!” Is such an easy, and seemingly innocent way to spread gossip.

If the information is not ours to share, we really shouldn’t be sharing it. We shouldn’t be getting enjoyment from sharing other peoples dirt, but we do. Spilling the tea is addicting and it’s toxic.

How do we stop? How do we stop what has become a societal norm? Pray. Be mindful of what you’re listening to and what you are sharing. Intentionally work towards keeping your mouth shut when it should be shut. And encourage those around you to do the same.

Our encouragement to not spill the tea could be as easy as not indulging in what others are gossiping about, or politely removing yourself from the conversation. It doesn’t need to be rude or condemning or start a holier than thou fight.

Be mindful that what you’re sharing is yours to share and will contribute to the conversation in a positive way.

Easier said than done? Absolutely. But with practice we can crush the desire to gossip!

Socially Distant Blessings

Serving in student ministry has looked a little different since COVID-19 caused schools to shut down and life to shift. The butterflies of prom and the nervousness of graduation were replaced with a stay-at-home order and senior year dreams crushed. They are completely devastated. They are aware there are worse things going on in the world right now but this is a major time in their lives that they have all been looking forward to for years.

I figured I needed to do something to help sweeten this bitter time! I want so badly to hug all of my girls but I can’t. So I settled for video chats, phone calls, texts, and brownie deliveries. Hopefully this will all blow over by the summer and we can gather as a group to praise the Lord for keeping us healthy and safe during this time.

Arizona 2019

This is the trip I look forward to. The 41 hour bus ride from Pennsylvania to Arizona…the 7 days working on the Navajo Reservation in Window Rock, and the 2 days camping in Ouray, Colorado. I love every minute of it.

I am so grateful for these past 11 days. It seems like we’ve been with these students trekking across the country for a year. The number of relationships that were established was so encouraging. Kids who had known each other for years yet never really took the time to get to know each other are now friends.

The students worked hard painting houses, tearing off and putting on a new roof, ripping out what seemed like a never-ending amount of weeds, and learning about Navajo life.

My boyfriend had the opportunity to baptize a student at Molas Pass in Colorado which is where I was saved last year. And another student came to Christ. It was such a God centered trip. God is so good. The come to Jesus moments were beautiful and I am so blessed I was able to be there with the students.

I can’t wait for next year.

You just have to laugh…

What a week it has been. On Sunday evening I had a heart episode while in the hot springs in Ouray, Colorado. Since then it has been an exhausting week of going to urgent care in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Monday, being advised not to fly, going on two flights traveling back to Pennsylvania on Tuesday, being met by EMT’s at the Philadelphia Airport, and going to the ER on Thursday.

It is now Friday and I’m beat and I still don’t have any answers. An MRI, neurologist visit, and psychologist visit are my next steps.

Josh has been incredibly supportive this past week. He has been by my side through the entire thing and has been constantly pointing me back to relying on the Lord by how he shows Christ’s love to me. He epitomizes what it means to be unconditional. And I’m so grateful God has him by my side.

With everything that has happened since November and everything we’ve gone through together, I know for a fact we’ve survived it because God is the center of our relationship. And we laugh….a lot. That definitely helps.

 

Dear Sister

My heart breaks for you. I am in utter agony as I witness you hurt yourself in the same ways I have these past 15 years. No one deserves to battle an eating disorder. No one deserves the unbearable agony and overwhelming shame that comes with an eating disorder. An ED will take over your entire being to the point of crippling pain.

Every single moment of your existence is saturated in the bitterness of an eating disorder. The control, the anger, the frustration, the shame, it is so overwhelming. It isn’t just eating. When someone tells you to just eat you can’t. It isn’t that simple. It’s not just a switch inside your head, it isn’t just telling yourself to eat.

It’s every single controlling thought swarming around that’s making you physically unable to eat. It’s a battle in your mind of trying to shut out the demons, trying to overpower them while they are overpowering you. It’s pain. It’s torment.

And it’s almost impossible for anyone not going through it to understand.

So dear sister…I am so sorry. I am so incredibly sorry you are going through this trial. I wish I could take it away in an instant. And I can’t and that’s killing me.

I pray that you hear God’s voice over the voices in your head telling you that you’re not good enough. I pray that His love is enough for you to get through this. I pray that we can all come together to help you get through this. Because you, my dear, you are good enough. You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough.

And you are in control… 

Youth Ministry

In July 2018 I began to burnout serving at church. At the time I was the preschool and nursery lead, junior and senior high girls youth leader, part time front desk helper, part time assistant to the communications director, and a menagerie of other things.

In April 2017 I went through a much needed breakup and returned home and returned to the church. In an attempt to justify my actions that happened while I was away from home being a reckless stupid moron…I threw myself into serving at church. I spent every waking second helping at church or thinking about church.

I never sat in the service. Instead I would serve all three services either at the desk, in the children’s ministry classrooms, or the sound booth being the assistant to the communications director. I didn’t fellowship. I didn’t worship. I was working. I was trying to balance the last 5 years of transgressions with burning myself out serving. My heart wasn’t in the right place. My intentions were to say yes to every need.

In July 2018 I was also saved. So I wanted to start sitting in the service. I wanted to start worshiping. I wanted to start pouring all I had into my students at youth group. I wanted to build relationships with fellow Christians. But I was being pulled in so many directions that I started to hate church. My idea that fixing my sins by serving was starting to ruin me. I met with the director of student ministries and told him what was going on. He had me seriously pray about each area I was serving in the church. He told me it wasn’t my responsibility to say yes to everything. That it was okay to say no. And it was not my responsibility how other people would react by me stepping down. And it hit me like a truck…my heart is in student ministry. My heart is with those teens.

So I stepped down from everything else. I still serve 2 times a month in children’s ministry but that’s because I have a heart for those preschoolers. Since then my relationship with God has flourished. My faith has grown stronger. I’m still at church at least 3 times a week, and I’m still meeting outside of church with students, but I’m doing what I love, I’m doing what God wants me to be doing.

My point to all this is you don’t have to say yes to filling a need just because it’s there. Pray about it. Talk to God asking Him where He wants you. It is so easy to burnout and want nothing to do with the church or God by over-serving. It totally is possible to over serve. Trust me.

If you’re burning out – take a look at where you’re serving and what you’re filling your time with. Are you serving just to fill a need? Here’s some daily Christianese for ya: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

I would sooner quit my job then leave youth ministry. That’s how serious I am about pouring into those kids.

John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

#GoalDigger

My ultimate life goal is to be a wife and mom and work in student ministry. BUT my ultimate career goal is to work in the medical field as an in-home pediatric nurse or be a culinary instructor and run a non-profit, teaching kids how to grow, raise, and cook their own food. This would include having a lot of land, maybe eventually taking over my grandparent’s farm, rebuilding the barn, building tons of raised garden beds, and turning the first floor into a massive teaching kitchen. That plan would take years to come to life, it would require grants and licenses and permits and a relationship with the surrounding school districts and maybe even food banks and halfway homes. It’s a plan that hasn’t left the safe space of my thoughts. It’s a plan that doesn’t have any legs to stand on…it’s not even a plan yet. It’s still an idea. But it’s my idea and I want it to come true someday. #LordWilling #HisPlansAreGreaterThanMyOwn

My backup survival plan? Apparently, it’s the Marketing Coordinator for a CPA firm. If you would have told me a year ago I would have a desk job I would have laughed in your face. This isn’t where I see myself. This isn’t where I find joy. This is where I am currently asking the Lord what He would like me to learn while I am here because it’s slowly stifling my creativity and killing me. The longer I’m here the more it feels like I’m standing in concrete that is quickly hardening and impeding my ability to escape.

Am I working towards my ultimate career goal? Yes. I just sent in my application to become a member of the city planning board for my town. Fingers crossed and four million prayers that they accept my application and call me in for an interview. Am I too young to be on the city planning board? Possibly. Am I underqualified? Maybe. But I have invested countless hours into my town and I love it enough to volunteer to improve it.

My goals and dreams are lofty but I’ve got Leslie Knope and the Lord on my side. Nothing is impossible.

#GoalDigger

Proverbs 16:9 Our heart plans our course, but the Lord determines our steps.