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Late October 2017

Fall break is on!!

Such a much-needed break! 1 more class then Christmas/Winter break! Yay! Only 3 classes left until graduation! Just received my final grade in the last class, even though I was late on multiple assignments and stressed out, still earned a B, 6 points away from an A. I’ll take it!!

So, my master’s degree. Yeah, I don’t know. If my end goal or dream job is to be a missionary, do I really need to keep going to school… and increasing my student loan debt? Probably not. I do (did?) enjoy organized learning, but I think I’m burnt out. This happened at the end of high school too. I was supposed to go off to college on the East coast somewhere fancy, but got burnt out my senior year and ended up going to community college for a while and entering the work force. I do not regret that at all, mind you. I’ve changed my mind so many times on what I wanted to do when I grew up, that I would have had so much more debt if I’d kept going to school through the years. I am proud and humbled to earn my Bachelor degree, but I don’t think jumping into more schooling is going to be wise. I still have time to make a decision, so I’m not set either way right now. Prayers for wisdom and guidance are appreciated.

Thinking and praying about where I’m headed next in ministry. I’m pretty sure the new role I’m taking, just seeking out what that looks like. I’m excited about it though, so that’s good! Can’t give away too much yet, but it involves cameras and people 🙂

What has God been teaching you lately? I think I mentioned this a blog or two ago, but I’m learning to take it all one step at a time. While there’s wisdom in planning for the future, if those plans are not prayed through, they fail. I get excited easily about things and think, “this is it!” Only to find later that it wasn’t ‘it’. Know what I mean? Relationships, career paths, schooling pursuits, mission trip opportunities… the list goes on. Being flexible when learning God’s will is so vital, and so hard!

I mentioned in my last entry that my blood work wasn’t very good. After talking with my trainer and my doctor I’m not freaking out as much. This was just a wake up call. The exercising I’ve been doing over the past 16 months is great, I really appreciate what I’ve learned from my trainer and what I’ve accomplished. I just need to work on my eating. I stress eat so easily and need to get a handle on my stress. Easier said than done, right? Learning to say ‘no’ is important, and to not worry about what people think about me for saying ‘no’ is even more important.

Thought I had something else to say… oh well. I’ll write again soon!

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Mid-July 2017

Hi y’all! Hope you are all enjoying your summer. So far, my MS symptoms haven’t been a problem, even though it’s been pretty hot here in STL. I’ve even gone on walks outside and not had problems! Praise the Lord!

I have been sleeping a lot on weekends though. Not sure if it’s MS fatigue or if I’m just not sleeping well during the week and am trying to catch up. I’m trying to wear my CPAP every night, which really helps. No, I haven’t been wearing it faithfully for a while, but I’m changing that! Slept a lot this weekend, mostly due to (I think) allergies, which lead to sinus pain, which leads to toothaches. Ibuprofen is my friend!

Earned an A in my last class! Now my GPA is 3.22 🙂 Taking 2 classes right now, a bit overwhelming. But I’ll make it. One class I’m retaking because I earned a D in it the first time. Some of the work I’ve already done, so that helps, but they changed a lot of the format.  Which actually makes it a little easier this time around.

Saw my PCP and GYNO recently. All pretty good, just focusing on losing weight, as usual. Which has been happening, just slowly. I’ve lost inches, but the scale isn’t moving too much. But some of my clothes are getting too big, so that’s a good thing! Still working out with the trainer and loving it! Anyway, we’re also watching my BP, it might be getting too low. Could that be causing some of the sleepiness? Maybe, I guess. My PCP also mentioned getting an ablation, which I’m not sure I’m quite ready for. I don’t plan on having kids, but that seems a little invasive. We’ll see, if things in that area don’t improve, it might be an option, I’ll have to talk with my GYNO. Nothing too scary, but probably a little TMI for here already!!

So, dad’s OK. Mom’s OK. Hard to watch your parents age though. Mom had a little scare the other day, but she’s good. Dad’s at home at least.

Work’s OK. Some days are super busy and drain my brain power. Still love my job, just a lot going on – a lot of hiring, which that’s my main area.

Ever mess up something in your life and think you’ll never get back to where you were? I know, kinda vague, bear with me. I know God is like a GPS, He has a destination set for us, and even if we take a wrong turn, He can still get us there. I’ve probably shared that before, not an original thought, but a comforting one. I just think I went down a path that I shouldn’t have and feel like I lost a lot of ground. Ground in my friendships, leadership, walk with God, reputation, etc. I’m feeling condemned, which isn’t from God and I know that. I just, I don’t know, wish things were different. I know He’s forgiven me because I’ve repented and all, but there’s still the regret and remorse. Guess maybe I’m mourning the mistakes I’ve made?

But that’s all in the past and I need to look forward. He has amazing things in store for me, and I want to follow hard after Him. Whatever and wherever that may entail. I’m excited for my future and His plans for me. I know that last paragraph might sound otherwise, I was just lamenting. Things are getting back on track and I’ll be OK.

Thanks for sticking with me through my (sometimes mis-)adventures!

Beginning of June 2017

Does it simplify the Gospel for you if you hear, “You’re not going to hell because you do (fill in the blank), but you’re going to hell because you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” Well, that’s what it comes down to. We all sin, we all fall short of God’s standard. Yes, He loves all of His children, but if you don’t accept the gift of salvation through His Son alone, you have no one to take the punishment for your sin, and you go to hell. God is holy, and we on our own cannot exist before Him because we’re covered in rebellion against His standard. Jesus’ blood, as weird as it may sound, washes us clean of that sin. We are made holy through His blood, blood that He shed on the cross at Calvary. The Good News – He us loved so much that He came to Earth as a frail human to take the punishment for our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him. Him – a perfect Father, lover of our souls, not a mean tyrant or someone so different from us that He can’t be around us. We were made in His image, God’s image, originally designed for companionship with Him. Rebellion came into the picture, we fell away from Him, but He had a plan for our redemption. We just have to accept the gift. You don’t have to clean yourself up first, He takes us as we are. It’s His job to clean us and give us faith after that… we have to choose to obey Him though. But when you fall in love with the Designer and Lover of you soul, obedience should be easy.

But that obedience doesn’t always come easy though. I walked in disobedience for a long time recently. But things are so much better on this side of obedience. Yeah, the decision hurt, but the blessings of listening to Him and doing what He said are amazing.

On that, does He talk to us today? That’s a huge theological debate in Christianity. But I know this, yes, He does. He speaks to me through His Word, the Bible. He speaks to me through other people. And through His still small voice in my spirit, which never goes against anything in the Bible.

Anyway, that’s my preaching for the day 🙂

Beginning of May 2017

The sun is shining! It has been raining so much lately! I’m sure if you’re from the Midwest or know someone from here, you’re probably tired of the rain, and even tired of people taking about the rain! But its nice to have sunshine again. Kind of reminds me of the commonly used illustration where someone is in a plane and sees the sun shining above the clouds, reminding them that the sun is always there. Like life, it may seem stormy down here, but God’s still there even when it seems like we can’t see Him.

Seems like I’ve been going through revolving times of storms and sunshine in my life. My boat gets rocked around and overfilled with water, then the sun comes out. When the sun’s out, I repair the boat and let the sun dry up the water. A lot of times I can see the storm in the distance, other times it sneaks up on me. One thing I’ve been challenged with is to keep my anchor down, even in the still times. Jesus is my anchor in life, and I need to keep my foundation in Him and His Word. Even in still times a boat can drift off its place. I have a goal to increase my worship and devotion time. That kind of leads me to…

Made a hard decision recently. I don’t want to put all our business out there, but Mike and I are officially broken up. I truly feel like God’s calling me to singleness. I’ve been so comfortable with his companionship, that is what has made this a hard thing. But I feel like God has something even better in store for both of us. So yeah, there ya go.

I’m learning (always will, right?!?) who I am. Specifically who I am in Christ. I’m set free from sin, not just in eternity, but He gives me the power to live free NOW. Letting that settle in my heart and head, praying that I become more like Him all the time. I don’t want to be overly religious or legalistic, I just want to be like Jesus. Righteous and loving. Faithful and obeying. In the storm and in the sunshine.

Beginning March 2017 – 10 years!

10 years! 10 years since I went on my first mission trip. So, it would seem due that I reminisce a little. What have I learned over the last decade? What has God shown me?

First, go! Second, trust! Third, pray! Not in that specific order though J Oh, and why? People!

Going to Mexico the first 3 trips was a no brainer for me. I was visiting a good friend of mine, and I didn’t even know they were considered mission trips. On those trips I was first introduced to a foreign culture, but could see how God was still the same. It was on the way home from the 3rd trip that I realized that doing just that: visiting established missionaries around the world to support and encourage them, was exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Of course I had no idea how that would all play out and really still don’t.

Scotland was my first trip over an ocean, and I knew no one. When preparing for this trip, I was struggling with my faith, I prayed the God would show Himself to me, and He did. He provided for the trip through avenues I wouldn’t have guessed and showed Himself powerful during the trip. I remember praying with a lady who I could barely understand (super thick Scottish accent) and I just asked God to interpret her tongue for me. He did! I prayed what I heard the Spirit leading and she was blessed. I found a happy place there – a place I visit in my mind when I need peace. In the hills where it’s green and the sheep wander. I was sitting on the hillside admiring God’s creation and thinking about Psalm 23.

Costa Rica was my first trip leading someone and taking her with me. It was a stretch, but at least I wasn’t leading her alone (we were with a group from Denver and Hawaii). The heat and humidity there kind of unnerved me. I wasn’t sure how the MS would be but God was so faithful! I took care of myself and everything went well. On this trip I learned more about the sex trafficking epidemic and that still breaks my heart.

West Africa was probably my favorite so far. 3 countries in 10 days, wow! The people were beautiful, inside and out. We did leadership training there and I learned how people around the world see Americans. Namely they see our tele-evangelists and try to mimic them. Ugh, heartbreaking. The message we shared, on top of our assignment, was to encourage them to be themselves. To let the Gospel shine through their culture, not to be like those they saw on TV. I found another happy-God peace place there on the shore watching the run rise over the Pacific.

China was a possibility the following year, but I wasn’t settled in my heart about it. So that is still on my ‘bucket list’!

Japan was the most recent trip. I visited the friend I had visited 9 years prior. Now she’s married and has two little girls. Japan opened my eyes to people. Because, besides the concrete, Japan is full of people! So few know about Jesus and it’s (also) heartbreaking. There’s so much depression and pressure to succeed, with no hope of eternity.

I have more of an idea of what I’m doing with my life since I started this journey. I’m pursuing my BS is Religion-Christian Counseling and planning on my Masters in Social Work after that. That will help me find resources and be a help and support to those whom I visit.

What’s next? Currently waiting on my new passport and not able to travel this year (new job). However, in 2018, Lord willing, I’m visiting friends in Valencia, Spain and Linz, Austria.

So, why missions? To spread the love of Jesus to the world. Why me? Why not? He called, I listened. Here I am Lord, send me. If He wants you to go, He’ll make a way. And forever change your heart in the process.

Oh, and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 10 years ago too. Had a couple rough spots on trips, but God was ever faithful. Don’t let anything stand in the way of what you know God has called you to!!!

Parting note: “For ‘Everyone who calls on the name on the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’” Romans 10:13-15 NLT.

Beginning of November 2016

November, my favorite month! No, my birthday isn’t until January, so that’s not why! I just love the cooler temps, changing leaves, bonfires, Thanksgiving, and getting ready for Christmas!

Been a little difficult lately though. Things are changing so fast around me, especially over the past year or so. It kinda hit me the other day how much I miss my old job, I miss my cat, I miss my house, I miss my dad’s health, and to a certain degree, I miss being single. Just being honest. Can we go back about 2 years and pause things a little so I can enjoy them a little longer?

On top of all that, my grandma (and my last living grandparent) went into hospice last week. She’s 93 and suffering from dementia. And she’s tired. It’s OK, it’s time, but that doesn’t make it easy. In all honesty I basically said good-bye to her a couple of years ago before she got worse. I believe she’s a believer in Jesus Christ, so there’s comfort in that. I get(?) to do her memorial service when the time comes. I’m a licensed minister so I can do that kind of thing. It’ll be my first, assuming nothing else happens before that(!!). I’m a little nervous, but I’ve got good mentors to help me get ready.

Finished my most recent class with a B! Could have, should have, gotten an A, but I slacked off on the final paper. Not a strategy I recommend, but I did really well with the rest of the class and did just enough to get a B when I did the paper. Kids, do your best all the time, don’t do what I did! Into another class (they just keep coming!!) and I’m a little behind already. Having a hard time focusing (see previous 2 paragraphs!).

I’ve been a part of a Bible study recently that has opened my eyes to something. I think Christians live a life of defeat. The enemy has lied so long and so well to us that we don’t know Truth anymore. Did you know you can and should have victory over sin? That the fight we fight is against the evil forces, who are already defeated? That we can pray for people and they can be set free? Or all these truths just cliché to you now and you don’t really believe in the mighty power of the Cross? Of the empty Tomb? Of the all-powerful God on His throne?

This election and all the ramifications thereof, have not and will not take God off His throne. Regardless of who gets into the offices of power over America, God is still in charge. This isn’t taking Him by surprise, can I even go as bold as to say He had a hand in setting up the candidates? That He loves all of them (president, senators, etc.) as much as He loves you? He wants all to come to repentance and trust in His Son, Jesus for Salvation. Ugh, quit cursing those who you oppose! Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of the heavenly realm (see Ephesians 6).  This life on Earth is not all there is! The powers of darkness have set up the issues that divide us, don’t attack supporters of those beliefs, pray down the strongholds in the heavenly arena instead!

OK, I’d say I’m sorry for the rant, but I’m not. But thanks for sticking through. I wish I could say things are rainbows and unicorns, but they’re not. Christians need to step up their game and stop letting the enemy win. If you’re not a Christian and reading this, I beg you to ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you so that you’ll put your trust in Him for eternity.

Speaking of prayer, keep praying for favor for me to get the perfect-for-me job. Had a temp assignment in October, but that ended already.  

I’d best get back to that homework I was talking about…

Beginning Oct 2016

Yay! It’s Fall! Well, at least most days. Here in St Louis, it’s supposed to get a little warm again this week, but then drop again. I love this time of year, except the allergies!

Spent last week at my denomination’s district Fall conference. It was so good! We were in Keystone, CO, which was beautiful. The conference was for pastors in the Gateway District of Foursquare. I went to the national/international conference in Hawaii back in May. I love my 4sq family!

So, God spoke to my heart and showed me quite a few things last week. I had this amazing dream (will explain in the next paragraph). I asked Him to see His face and He showed me faces of people in foreign countries and said that was how I would see Him on Earth. A friend of mine received his ordination, and God gave me pictures and words of encouragement for him. God showed me some of the areas He’s moving me into in the near (?) future. Namely becoming a disaster relief chaplain, working more with visual media, and reaching the international people in my city. All such exciting stuff. Not sure how all that fits into my future job (yes, still unemployed!), but can’t wait to see how God works it all out.

The dream… basically everyone on Earth lost their faith. They forgot Who Jesus was and started doing depraved things or simply becoming vegetable-like and just existing. People would worship a god, but didn’t know Who He was. There were 3 of us who still knew Jesus was Lord. And we learned that by speaking the name of Jesus over people or telling them about Jesus, it was like they woke up. They stopped doing the sinful things they were doing, and remembered who Jesus is. Time went by and many were told about Jesus and revival broke out. Unfortunately, over time people started picking and choosing who they would tell and started thinking maybe we had reached enough people. Some still chose not to hear about Jesus because loved ones of theirs had died before hearing the Gospel and they didn’t want to end up in eternity without them.

Wow. Implications? Speak to people about Jesus and they become born again and stop sinning, basically. It’s odd, I’ve been having very evangelistic and spiritual warfare type dreams lately. Ones where I very boldly proclaim Jesus’ name and come against the forces of evil. Honestly, now, I can do those things when I have to, but it’s a little outside my personality/comfort level. But there’s coming a time, and may now be here, when speaking boldly about Jesus and against satan is necessary. Be bold! He is alive and real! The world needs to see His light through us believers, and we need to stop hiding it!

OK, done preaching 🙂 I’m just getting fired up!

In other news, my degree completion plan was slightly modified and now I have another semester to go through. I’ll still graduate in May of 2018 though, just have 2 extra classes to fit in, and 3 that were changed. Still contemplating my Masters, but not sure I want to go that much more into student loan debt. On the other hand, if I stay in school I don’t have to start paying the massive amount back until I’m finished.

Well, I gotta get ready to go to a new doctor. Nothing’s wrong, just that the PCP I had for years is moving out-of-state and I had to find a new one. She’s closer to home, which is nice. Not necessarily looking forward to having to go through my health history, but luckily she’s with the same health care network and should have access to most of my history already. Gotta love technology.

Have a great October, talk to you again soon!