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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Pumpkin- a story of my mistakes, and God's faithfulness

This is a story about my real life. It's slightly random, and weird, but in it, God has been teaching me real lessons. 

Here is my pumpkin story. (With pictures!) 

Last fall I bought pumpkins at the store. I decorated my front porch with them, and it was lovely. I just love fall. 
(Fall 2013-Front Porch)


(Fall 2013- Decorated for cheering friends on, running the half marathon in downtown CVC.) 

I really enjoyed having a pumpkin on my porch. 
(Fall 2013- Sipping tea, being barefoot, and watching traffic.) 

It was an amazing fall; full of laughter, apple cider, cozy scarves, magical nights, beautiful leaves, and apple pie. 

But it couldn't last forever. Winter came. 

(Fall 2013- The beginning of the end.) 

(Winter 2013- Snow, boots, and Christmas lights.) 

(Winter 2013- The magic of Christmas. Pumpkins and all things fall have been forgotten.) 

I had moved my pumpkin off of the front porch, and onto the corner of the sidewalk. I'm sure in my world, this made complete sense at the time. I probably had multiple bags of trash to take out, and carrying a decomposing pumpkin, along with everything else wasn't working. So I left it to sit, with full intention to toss it the next day. Well because I'm lazy, distracted, blonde at heart, and a thousand other excuses, the pumpkin contined to sit. And then winter reallllllly happened. 

(Winter 2014- I hate my life) 

(Winter 2014- Feels like -35 degrees. Complete opposite of awesome.) 

Winter lasted what felt like 4 decades around here. We had the coldest temptures and most snowfall in our history. 

It continued to snow, into mid April. 

(Spring 2014- Why do I live here?!)

Finally, the snow began to melt. And much to my horror and embarrassment, the pumpkin from 8 months before, sat in my front yard, right where I left it. I live in a very classy area, and this was a huge no-no. Leaving Christmas lights up past the proper date brought judgement. But this was much worse. Who forgets to take a pumpkin to the trash for 8 months?! Dear goodness, I was beyond embarrassed. Once I saw it, I picked it up to immediately throw it out. It seemed like a perfect plan, except the ground was still frozen solid, and Mother Earth refused to give me the bottom half of the pumpkin. So I waited a few more weeks, and finally got rid of that darn pumpkin. 

Spring came, and with it, a renewed sense of pride for my home and yard. So I bought flowers, and decided to plant them along the sidewalk. I dug up weeds, tilled the earth, and planted flowers. 

(Spring 2014- Planting time!) 

(Spring 2014- So thankful for greenery. Yay! My first garden!) 

Mid summer I noticed what I suspected to be pumpkin leaves growing, right where I planted my flowers. 

(Summer 2014- My best friend, home from Tokyo, just drawing with chalk.) 

I decided to see where this was going to go. I never watered it, I didn't treat it special, I just let it be. 

Soon it started to take over the sidewalk. 

(Summer 2014- Walk around please!) 

(Summer 2014- This thing is really growing!) 

(Summer 2014- It had high aspiratations of taking over the sidewalk, and the world. I had to replant my flowers 3x.) 

Out of my shame, embarrassment, laziness, forgetfulness, mess, and mistakes, something was coming forth from the ground. And it was beautiful. 

(Summer 2014- cutest lil thing ever) 

(Summer 2014- Officially bigger than my head!) 

(Summer 2014- I see orange!) 

(Summer 2014- Who else has a pumpkin growing in their front yard?!) 

(Summer 2014- Ripe and ready!) 

(Fall 2014- What a journey. What a story.) 

(Fall 2014- It sure is a big one!) 

I laugh as I write this. Seriously, who forgets to throw a pumpkin away?! 

But the more I sat on my front porch, and dug in those leaves, looking for fruit, the more God was teaching me lessons. And for that, I am so thankful. 

In the midst of my mess and mistakes of life, it was easy to believe nothing would be good again. I often found myself thinking that I messed up so much, that God could never use me. 

When winter was so brutally cold, and lasted so brutally long, I was in a season of desolation. Everything in my soul felt dead. Dreams and passions felt barren. I felt stuck in a never ending cycle of just trying to survive, nothing more. Survival was my sole intention. Dreams, desires, passions, hopes, and gifts had been laid aside, and work, sleep, repeat became my life. I was too tired to dream. Fear and doubt took the reigns, and I did nothing to stop them. Life felt bleak. 

Maybe to y'all, all that happened here was a dumb girl left a pumpkin out all winter, and it grew again in spring. That's it. 

But to this girl, God was speaking life to my tired and weary heart. He was showing me in my garden, and in my real life, that there is no mess too great that He cannot make beautiful. There is no season so desolate, that will not spring forth new life. He brings forth the fruit. It was nothing I did, it was just Him, and His grace. He makes all things new. 

So as this gorgeous, perfect pumpkin sits on my front porch, I will remember the unusual circumstances that brought it here. I will recall my life, the feelings, and mistakes that were apart of that season. I will rejoice in the journey, even though it was awkward, unconventional, and uncomfortable. I will be thankful for His grace and mercy that uses air headed girls like me for His glory. I will remember that He alone can take my mistakes and shame, and make something beautiful and new. He brings hope out of chaos and confusion. Ah! Isn't He so good, and so faithful!?!

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 
Revelation 21:5


One of my favorite songs beautifully describes all what I'm trying to say. 


Beautiful Things- Gungor 

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Such a long post about pumpkins. I know. My life is weird like that. 

(Fall 2014- Just a girl, and her beautiful reminder of God's faithfulness in using her and her mistakes.) 

Happy Saturday. Love, M. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The journey ahead.

Three days ago, I met K. We were both at a tea for some homeless women in Pontiac. She was there to speak, and I was there to listen. When she first began to speak, something stirred inside of me. I knew I needed to spend time talking with her. She mentioned her heart for victims of human trafficking, and she told of how she had lived in South America. There was power and authority as she spoke. She shared her journey with Jesus, citing often that it was not always safe, but it was good, because He is good. 

After the tea was over, I had one priority, to talk with this woman. My boldness came out as I told her that I believed we needed to talk over coffee, and I invited myself over for Tuesday morning. 

I arrived to her home after serving at the homeless shelter. (Praise God, 3 people accepted Jesus as Savior this morning!!) We began to unravel our stories. I instantly discovered that our tales are full of similarities, and that it was very easy to chat with her. 

As we talked, I became amazed of a few things. We know many of the same people. She was telling me of friends in Thailand, and I interjected that I have friends in Thailand, we then discovered it was the same family! I was telling a story about South Africa, and she shared that she knew people in South Africa, and we figured out we had more mutual friends. We know so many of the same people on 3 continents, many of the same people and ministries here at home, and our paths have crossed perhaps dozens of times at random events. But we had never met.  I am convinced that God hid us from each other for such a time as this. 

This time I am in is a weird one. Next year is currently a large question mark. My job will be ending within a year, and my apartment lease will be up about the same time. As much as I have been begging The Lord to send my husband, He has yet to reveal him to me. I am in a position that has the potential to be scary. Twenty-seven and no job, no home, no husband, and no prospects. It often terrifies me. But on days like today, it excites me. I will be in a position to do anything. I do not own a home, have a husband, children, a car payment, or much debt. If He calls, I can go. 

That's exciting, right? Except I have no idea what that looks like. Some friends live in the school of thought that it's still a year away, I have plenty of time to figure it out. There is another school of thought that is normally louder, shouting and yelling that I need to get my life plan together and settle down. I try to live somewhere in the middle. It's really hard to leave much room for God to show up, move, rearrange my plans and dreams, all in His timing. I often wish there was a more concrete plan, and that I could see it. I would love to know when and how I would meet my dear husband, where we would live, what job to work, and have all of the details of the future worked out now. But there must be faith that He is who He says He is, that He is good, and that He has gone before me. 

So I have been praying for the next step, even if it's little. I'm committed to be here for another year, but beyond that, I just don't know. 

So three days ago, I met K. 

We chatted for over five hours. We laughed, cried, and told stories. We made lunch together. She shared wisdom, encouragement, truth, resources, and potential next steps. She prayed over me, and with everything in me, I know that before the beginning of time, God ordained a hot Tuesday afternoon, in Pontiac, to be full of conversation between us. 

There is a fire in my heart to do something about human trafficking. I am not okay with it, and I refuse to sit on the sidelines and pretend that I am ignorant of the cries and horrors. The fire refuses to die, there is much passion being born out of the last few years, and there is a lil five foot tall girl who is ready to stand up to injustice and say, "No more." But what does that look like? Honestly, I'm still not certain. There are a few different options; educating and equipping to raise awareness, busting down doors and getting girls out of captivity, and loving girls to Jesus while bringing restoration to their lives. 

Out of our long chat, I now have a very long list of books to read, websites to research, people to email, conferences to attend, and specific things to pray about. I am ready to dedicate this waiting time to educating and equipping myself. I want to be ready and prepared to walk through the door when He opens it. 

I wish I could share more, because there is more that God is doing. But currently it is after two am, and even though I am so excited, I am tired. 

I don't know where any of this is going, but I know the journey with Jesus isn't always safe, but it is good, because He is good. 

So if you would like to pray, I would appreciate it more than you would know. 

Can't wait to see where this next adventure takes me. It could be a bumpy ride. 

M




Thursday, May 8, 2014

Winter is over.

Sometimes my most favorite things collide to create a completely magical moment. I am barefoot, in the park, near the water, on a quilt, sipping soda from a glass bottle, reading one of my favorite books, listening to the sweet serenade of a singing and a guitar, while children laugh, and the sun warms my face, making promises of freckles to come. #winterisover 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Nights.

Friday nights at 5:56 pm, my doorbell rings. Moments later, my house is full of laughter, and women. My small kitchen quickly becomes the hub for stories, cooking, laughter, and praising Jesus. There is so much commotion. I'm sure it is quite the sight. There isn't enough room for everyone, so girls quickly get shooed onto the couches while I finish fixing dinner, and then one of my favorite parts of my week unfolds. 

One girl will ask another about her week, and she will begin to share of how God showed up. Another girl will butt in and share how her prayers have been answered. The conversation grows and grows, and while they are sitting in the living room, I stall dinner, so I can just rest in listening of how faithful our God is. It isn't uncommon for tears to spill out, as my heart rejoices in their words.  

At the beginning of the year, I started dinner club. Six girls come over, every week, all with different parts to a meal, and we cook and dine together. My apartment is small, and I don't have a table, so we lounge on the floor and couches, and spend time together, eating. 

I wanted to be intentional with friendships. I wanted to spend time and energy cultivating real relationships. I wanted meaningful conversations over tea. I wanted people to do life together with. I wanted community. 

We spend generous amounts of time getting to know each other, and praying for each other. We spend time praying for our own, and each other's future husbands. We spend time in the Word. 

We believe there is power is prayer. There is power in the name of Jesus. And there is power in being on our knees together. 

Over the last few weeks, we have been witness to huge prayer requests being answered. 

One week all six of us had such big and clear answers to prayer, we couldn't even wait until Friday to share. I love it. 

There is something so beautiful about praying for each other, together, and throughout the week. We have become invested in each other's lives. And it's incredible.   

Tonight we are talking about trust. 

My favorite quote on trusting God right now is, "Going to God in prayer is trusting He will make a difference. Trust means not worrying about saying the right thing. Or not feeling you have to say it over and over for God to hear. Instead it's whispering to God your darkest secrets and greatest disappointments.". (Praying for You Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His -Gunn and Goyer) 

I look forward to tonight and hearing the stories, the struggles, and the sweetness that happened this week. I'm sure there will be laughter, good food (I'm currently obsessed with BLT pizza!!), God's Word will be opened, and certainly time will be spent on out knees in prayer. 

We trust that God hears our prayers, and He is working things out for our good because we love Him. We come to His throne, boldly and without shame, expecting and believing for big things, because we have a big God. We praise Him for hearing our cries, and being so faithful and so good. We delight in His goodness and we rejoice in His truth. 

It's time for Friday night, y'all. 

Love, M 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy New Year!

I know. It's mid January, and we already feel like we are in the swing of this year. Holidays are over, and life has gone back to normal. The newness and excitement has begun to wear off. 

For me, life is still feeling new and fresh. 

This year started off with a few big things. My roommate just moved out (so excited for what God has in store for her!), so I am a loner once again. I really enjoy living alone and already have rearranged the furniture to create a new apartment feel.
Also, I have decided to not find a new roommate, but instead have redone the second bedroom, and turned it into a reading/sewing/crafting room. I painted the walls with chalkboard paint, and have had a blast getting everything the way I want it. I have been spending many hours in that room realizing, already. 
In other news, I got bangs. For possibly the first time in almost 20 years. As with every big change, people's opinions are varied. But I am absolutely in love. I am still having so much fun being a blonde! 

Hello 2014! 

This year instead of making one big, unattainable resolution, I made many easy to accomplish goals in all the areas of my life. Some of them I have already put into practice before the new year began. I just believe writing specific goals down will make them more likely to achieve them, because you're making yourself accountable. So, now I'm making myself even more accountable, because I'm sharing with the entire internet. :) 

So here are mine. 

Health
-drink 8 cups of water/day 
-floss daily 
-go to bed when I'm tired 
-walk around the neighborhood 3x/week 
-only drink soda 1x/week

Beauty
-wash make up off my face every night before bed
-moisturize skin everyday
-wear sunscreen
-take off nail polish at first sign of chips
-smile more 

Home
-no tv (Netflix, DVDs, cable, hulu, etc) in the house for one year 
-do the dishes every night before bed, even if I'm tired 
-grocery shop with a plan, and make most dinners at home 

Money 
-pay off credit cards 
-stop buying "stuff", learn to remake and reuse what I already have
-save money 

Spiritual 
-trust God with the little things
-pray for my hubs constantly
-memorize a verse/week
-find a way to do what I'm passionate about (loving girls on the street) and commit to do it for a year 

Social 
-spend an entire week every month off of social media 
-have someone over for a home cooked meal every month 
-send snail mail every week 
-buy someone flowers once a month
-call my mom everyday
-get to know my neighbors better 
-be intentional about culvivating and continuing relationships with new and old friends 
-take less pictures, and just enjoy the moment 

Self 
-continue to learn to say "no". you can't be everything for everyone all of the time. 
-have a selfie date night once a week 
-sew, craft, paint more 
-read a new book a month 
-be on time 


What are your resolutions for 2014? 

I would love to hear about them!! 

Have a blessed week!! 

Michelle 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Make the choice to rejoice.

Monday, while driving at work, there was a small chunk of ice/snow/dirt in the middle of the road. There was a car next to me on the left, and on the right was slush that threatened to take my car hostage in the ditch if I came too close. So I continued on my path. I didn't think much of the "car booger". If anything I thought it would disintegrate into slush after driving over it. 

It didn't. Somehow it punctured my wheel, leaving me with a flat tire. I didn't realize what happened, and continued back to work, which was two more turns, and less than minute away. When I got out of the car, I saw my tire was completely flat. My heart started racing, and the number in my bank account came to mind, along with things in my schedule this would disrupt. 

I was beginning to stress. But a calming conversation with my bestie, cuddles with the kids, and some time spent praying changed my outlook. 


It was my choice to rejoice. Just because every circumstance was not going the way I would've hoped and planned does not give me an excuse or a reason to whine and complain. We are called to rejoice. 

So when my boss came home and changed my tire, which took an hour, in the bitter cold, I rejoiced that even though I don't have "my man", I do have a few good men in my corner, willing to take care of me. 

When he showed me the significant crack in the wheel, and how he couldn't find a hole in the tire, I was baffled. 

I took it to the tire store where 6 men gathered around it. One told me he had never seen anything like it. I told him that it's in my nature to be different and do something new and different. 

After dropping it off, I received a phone call telling me that the new wheel alone would cost $350. There was still a possibility that I would need a new tire as well. 

That certainly wasn't in the budget. My roommate is in the process of moving out. And Christmas is next week. Money was tight! 

I began to hear whispers in my heart. I knew the voice. It belongs to my Father. 

"I am Faithful. I am Provider. I am good. I've got this. I've got you. You are my girl. I am the One who supplies all of your needs. There is no need to fear or worry. I am going before you." 

I talked with my dad about options. I made a list of places to call in the morning, with hope of finding a used wheel for much less than $350. 

I made the choice to rejoice, no matter what my circumstances were. 

I think most days trusting God to provide isn't a complete struggle for me. I have watched Him for years take care of me, my family, provide for mission trips, send me coffee in a package on my front door when I wanted coffee, put a rainbow in the sky in the exact place I have always wanted one, or give me a kitchen aid mixer when it was only a desire in my heart never spoken before. He has provided jobs, places to live, new ministry opportunities, friends, and so much more. 

I even think trusting God to provide a man most days comes naturally. He is the God of heaven. If He can part the Red Sea, send fire from heaven, or make water into wine, certainly He can handle providing a good man to have as my husband. 

But for some reason, I don't believe God can handle my car. I realize that writing it out like this makes me sound crazy, but for some reason that is my area where I don't seem to trust Him. What is even more crazy is that He has provided and taken care of my car so many times, it should be easiest to trust Him in this area. But for some reason, anxiety fills me and I freak out. 

So the next morning, I went outside to start my car, and wipe off all of the freshly fallen snow. I hate driving with the spare tire. It was below freezing. It was before 6:00 am. But as loud as I could muster, I started singing, "Rejoice in The Lord always, and again I say rejoice..." As the words flowed out of my mouth, something began to change in my heart. I started to sing louder. My neighbors must already think I'm crazy, but I'm sure they were not rejoicing with me, so I quieted down a bit. 

We have not been told to rejoice only on days when bills are paid, everyone we love is healthy, and it is sunny and 75. 

Rejoice always. 

Even if your tire and wheel need to be replaced. Even if there isn't money. Even if it is cold beyond cold. Even if you're worried, stressed, fearful, etc. Even if you hate dealing with car problems. 

Rejoice. 

I received a text message later that afternoon that there was a new wheel waiting for me at the tire shop. I would just have to pick it up after work. What?!?? I didn't have to spend $350 on a new wheel. Tears started falling. 

After talking with the man at the tire shop, I learned that there was a small hole in my tire. It had been patched, and was holding air nicely. What?!?? I didn't have to buy a new tire. More tears fell. 

I was told I would only have to pay $18 for labor. The night before I was thinking I needed to find $500, and suddenly I was told I only needed to pay $18!! What?!?? I now was a steady stream of tears. 

So after work I went to the tire shop. I waited in the little waiting room, rejoicing. There were women sitting with me, complaining. I hate car problems more than most. And I know what a struggle it is to be a single girl. So I understood. But I continued to rejoice. My God goes before me. 



The man came into the room, handed me my keys, and told me that I was all set. I was so confused. I told him I had to pay still. He told me to have a blessed night, and that he wasn't going to charge me a penny. 

I may have shouted, "Wow! Isn't God sooooo good?!??" As I skipped (and tried not to fall on the slippery floor) out the door. Everyone in the store was staring at the leaping and shouting girl. Sometimes I just can't hold it in. He is sooo good!! 

I sat in my car for a bit just sobbing. At this point, I was amazed at how my new mascara hadn't budged. Praise The Lord for not having make up running down my face like a frightening holloween mask gone wrong. 

I thought I was going to have to pay $500. And I didn't pay a penny. 

There was a rejoicing party in that car. And it hasn't stopped. 

One of my best friends, and my roommate watched God clear a way, and show up ever so faithful. 

What a celebration. 

We serve an incredible God. He is faithful. He is provider. He loving. He goes before. He is my Dad. And I am His daughter. 

Have a wonderful Wesnesday. 

Don't stress because Christmas is next week. Enjoy the hustle and bustle, time with family, and remembering who He is, and what He has done. 

Make the choice to rejoice. 

❤️M 



 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Twenty-Six

Twenty-five was a rough year for me. Many people told me turning 25 was harder than turning 30. I'm not sure if that will be the case for me, but I do agree, 25 was not my favorite. I cried at my birthday dinner because I didn't want to have a birthday. I cried for months because life wasn't the way I thought it would be. If there is such a thing as a quarter life crisis, I was having one. 

As I pondered tonight why I struggled with turning 25 last year, I realized it had to do with expectations. 

In my mind, 25 was the age when everything was supposed to be story book perfect. It was all supposed to come together. I should have a husband, a house, a baby, with day dreams of another on the way. I should have a college degree, a great job, if I want to work, and be in love with every area of life, because it would all be so perfect. I would wear heels and pearls, and have a lovely dinner on the table when my handsome husband walked in the door after work. I would have life figured out. It would all be a dream come true. We would live happily ever after. 

As I reread that paragraph, I laughed out loud. Did I think at 25 I would turn into a Disney character and never deal with real life? I don't know. But it was not my reality. 

Because of my misguided expectations, I was often disappointed. It was also easy to accept other's expectations of me. I should be married with kids. Well, if not married, I should be dating seriously. And if not that, I just need to be putting myself out there more, in all attempts to find a man. I need to go back to school to obtain a degree, that I don't want in the slightest, to do something completely different, than God has called me to do. I need to run more. I need to serve more. I need to be more. 

In the end, I often felt like I wasn't enough. Because that's what everyone essentially was saying. You need more. You need to be more. That's what we expect. 

Over the last few months I have been learning a lot. I have been learning about my identity in Christ, His love for me, and how He alone has a perfect plan for my life, better than I could ever attempt to create on my own. 

So, I turned 26 this weekend. There were no tears. There was much laughter and love. There was a fantastic dress, lipstick, pearls, and 5" heels. I was surrounded by friends and family. I ate well. I was given the most thoughtful gifts. I FaceTimed with my best friend in Tokyo. I received text messages, voice mails, birthday cards, and Facebook posts. I know with everything in me that I am a very loved, and a very blessed girl. 

I recently read that most people at age 26 realize they are mortal, and struggle with the idea of death, and the fact that they are going to die one day. (I guess it's the realization that they are closer to 30 than 20.) 

Last night I plopped down in my backyard, on the cold grass, and marveled at the stars. I am convinced I saw stars I had never seen before. It was so clear and crisp. The temperature was 16 degrees, and with the windchill, it felt like 2. 

I realized this year, I don't want to be sensible. I was to be reckless. 

I want to lay out under the stars and be amazed at our Creator. I want to do what I love. I want to sew, and paint, and bake for no reason other than I love it. I want to read books for fun, without deadlines. I want to love people dearly and deeply, even when it is hard. I want to know Jesus in a way I have only read about. I want to have adventures. I want to pray and watch God answer prayers. I want to share the real love of Christ to a broken world in real, and practical ways. I want to be thankful of big things, and little ones too. I want to go where and when He calls. I want to dream so big that when I tell people, they just laugh. I want to have big faith. I want my life to be so full of love and joy that it just points back to Jesus. 

And yes, I will continue to wait on The Lord for a man. I'm praying he brings him to my front door. But if He does not, I will continue to trust that He is more than able to show Himself faithful in that area. My God is the one who created light by the words of His mouth, He split the Red Sea, He changed water into wine. He is more than capable. He has been faithful every day, why would He stop now? So I will continue to wait on The Lord. I will not obsess about it. I will live and enjoy my single years to the fullest. And I will continue to pray for my future husband. He's got this. There is nothing I could do that would be better than what He has for me. So, I will wait. 

I don't want to waste my life on vain and empty expectations. I know my own mortality, and it excites me. What a beautiful chance I have to fall in love with life, because I realize how precious every moment is. What an incredible gift. 

I am excited to think about what this year will bring. I am praying for adventures. 

Thanks for reading my rambles. 

Hello 26! You are looking pretty wonderful. 

Love, M