More Beautiful You

It was just about this time last summer when I came across the song "More Beautiful You" by Jonny Diaz. I had just happened to see what the free mp3 downloads on amazon were for the day and this song was it. I downloaded it and thought I will listen to this later. The next day I received an e-mail from Tangle about a new music video for Moms and Daughters so I watched it and to my amazement it was the music video for "More Beautiful You." I sat at my desk in tears thinking about the truth in this song and how this generation of girls and women are being told lies about their image and a lack in their value.

From the beginning this song has been a reminder for me. Nearly 7 years ago the Lord called me into full-time ministry and specifically in girl's and women's ministry. For me, this song only reinforces the idea that girls and women in our country today need encouragement and truth spoken to them on a daily basis.

A few weeks ago, Jonny tweeted about the upcoming release of the book More Beautiful You. To my knowledge it is something that his mother wrote. I encourage each of you to one check out his song (or his whole CD for that matter) and to look into getting this book when it comes out.

A New Kind of Beautiful

Yesterday should have just been like any other Tuesday, but for some reason it was not. I had lunch with one of my dear friends Lindsey around noon and before I knew it we were locked in a conversation about life. We kept asking the question, "what are we doing?" I found myself asking that question in terms of my own life, the church, and our country as a whole.

I had just told Lindsey about some of the sermons I had listened to the day before from the Pastor's Conference which was part of the SBC Annual Meeting. One of the messages that continued to catch my attention was the last one of the night. David Platt spoke with such conviction and passion. One of his statements was in regards to giving. Most SBC members give 2.5% of their income and then the church gives roughly the same amount to foreign missions. If you do the math, it's not good. Roughly 6 cents of every $100 is sent to foreign missions. We continue to say that we are all about sharing the Gospel and furthering the Kingdom, but are our actions really backing that up? I'm the first one to admit that I am pointing the finger at myself in this problem. Once again, Lindsey and I asked "what are we doing?"

The rest of the afternoon these questions kept creeping in my head and I began to think about what I've done to further the Gospel. I thought about our churches and what we do. I thought about all of the programs we do and all of money we spend on those things. I thought about women's ministry, student ministry, children's ministry, etc. I found myself being really confused. I know without a doubt that the Lord has called me to full-time ministry. I believe at this point that I love working with women and girls. However, I do not want to be someone who is so consumed with what we do in ministry that I fail to live out the Gospel. Jesus taught a radical message and I think at some level we've missed it.

Today, I woke up with these questions and thoughts still on my mind. However, this morning the images were a little different. A few years ago, I went to Nicaragua and was able to be around some of the most precious children I've ever met. They were so eager to get to know us and spend time with us. If we were building something, they would ask for a hammer so they could help. This morning, the beauty of their lives struck me in a way I had forgotten. I hope and pray that we would be changed by the Gospel of Christ and that His message would impact the way we think and the way in which we live.

Unexpected Blessing

It was a little over a week after I graduated from OBU and I check my email and to my horror I saw an email saying that I was two hours short on my degree. It was pushing 9pm that night and my little OCD self was literally at a loss for words. There was absolutely nothing I could do about the situation at that moment. I thought how did this happen, I did at least three degree checks and my crazy list making and obsession with detail had somehow failed me. Ironically, that night was the American Idol season 9 finale and as I'm reading all of this, Lee Dewyze had just been named the winner and thus began to sing Beautiful Day. It seemed fitting for him, not so much for me.

The next day I went and enrolled in 2 hours so that I could get this degree accomplished. Luckily I did about 5 various internships during my time at OBU and was able to count those as my remaining two hours. I was told that I would have to do part of the coursework for the internship class, so thus I began my two assignments for the class. Dr. Pace asked me to read "Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome" and I'm sure you are all surprised that I was not really all that excited to read it. I mean, I wasn't really big on taking this class in June after I graduated in May. This book has actually been just what I need.

As I get ready to leave for Southeastern and to begin this next step in preparing myself for full-time ministry, I'm reminded by what it means to be successful. Unlike most jobs, it is not about a fancy house, fancy car, or even about the dollar amount in my bank account and it most definitely is not about numbers. I was so encouraged to hear about this couple and their struggles in ministry and how the Lord drastically began to change their view of success.

Two of the questions Kent and Barbara raise are what does it mean to be successful and what does it mean to be a failure. They seem like simple questions, but at their heart they are vital to fully understanding what it is that we are ultimately called to do.

All of that to say, right now I'm learning that success is about being faithful. Faithful to Christ, faithful to His word, and faithful to His calling on my life.

Wake Forest

Yesterday marked the two month mark. That's right I move to Wake Forest in two months and start my Master's work at Southeastern. During my time at OBU, I never thought that I would continue on in the education world. I thought a Bachelor's degree was enough and now here I am thinking about ordering books, picking classes, and working on my Master's degree. Over the past few weeks I've continued to think about what seminary will be like. I find myself getting really nervous and having this strong desire to go out and buy several books so that I will be prepared come August. If you know of any good theological books that I should read please let me know. One of the goals for Southeastern students is for them to begin to build their theological library. It is going to take some time and no I will never get close to the size of Dr. Akin's library.

In the meantime, I've worked on a list of pros for living in Wake Forest...
  1. Kimber and Adam will be there! So excited to get to spend time with them.
  2. I will be approximately two hours from the beach. (pic below of Carolina Beach)
  3. Nicholas Sparks lives in North Carolina. I would love to meet him and hear about how he thinks of his story-lines.
  4. North Carolina is beautiful! If you've never been, you will just have to believe me or come visit.
  5. Dawson's Creek was filmed in Wilmington and parts of Durham. I always loved that show. Please don't hold that against me.
  6. Last but certainly not is only a short distance to Durham to go watch Duke! (pic below)