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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 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Brazil update

After much praying, planning, and preparing, I am pleased to announce my updated plans for Brazil.

I met with Ina for the first time last week. We had dinner in downtown Detroit, and shared our hearts, passions, and stories. It was amazing to hear of how God is writing out stories, and how they have intersected. She lives in Chicago, and was only in Detroit one night for business, and God cleared my schedule, so I was able to meet up with her. I am beyond thrilled to join Ina in Brazil as we share the story of Jesus, hope, purity, and how He restores.



Originally I was planning on going to Brazil Oct 25th- Nov 3rd. I am not hopping on a plane today to go to Brazil. And honestly, I am a bit thankful. I am not ready to go. I am so grateful for the extra months to continue to prepare, get a visa, and raise funds. 

We are planning to be in Brazil the end of March. One church, in São Paulo, already confirmed that they want us to speak at their service in March. We are praying that we have a place to speak and share every day and night we are in Brazil. 

We are planning on traveling every day, to multiple cities and states in Brazil. It is going to be a whirlwind of a trip. 

Ina recently wrote a book, Ana's Journey: A Brazilian Mother's Story of Kidnap, Forced Marriage and Her Botched Abortion.

She will be speaking about her bookand, and sharing her story. In another room, I will be speaking about abstinence, and sharing my story of purity with young people. I am excited, terrified, and everything in between. It just boggles my mind when I think of what God has prepared for me. It is certainly an adventure!

There is also a global human trafficking conference taking placea in Brazil the same week we will be there, and we have already been asked to be apart of it. I am thrilled. A few years ago, I was at a conference in Atlanta, and was first informed about human trafficking. I have never heard of something so terrible. I remember calling my mom, crying, and telling her that I wanted to bust down doors, and get girls out of there. I have been praying in the quietness in my heart about this for years. I am so excited that God is opening doors, to something big. 


 
Since I already had taken the time off of work, (and found great tickets!), I am going to Florida for the week. I am so excited to spend some quality time with my college best friend, and the ocean. I do not rest and relax well, so I am hoping running away for a little bit will leave me renewed and refreshed!

I am praying for BIG THINGS, and ask you to join me.

I know He has big plans for this girl. It's going to be a wild ride!

Have a wonderful week!

Michelle


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Currently: honestly discouraged.

Last night I received a phone call that left me discouraged, dismayed, and disappointed. 

If you have been keeping up with my shenanigans, you may remember that I have been planning on going to Brazil in October (next month!) to speak and share on abstinence and purity. 

Well, last night that door was shut. 

There have been little issues with scheduling dates, my visa, and finances. I have been a mess about it for the past week. I have been so full of doubt if all the pieces would come together in time. I reminded myself this was something He would have to do, I couldn't do it on my own. He knew the desire of my heart. I wanted to be in South America. So I dug up any bit of faith I could muster, and believed this would be a huge God story of incredible proportions. I waited expectantly. 

So last night when it was confirmed that I wasn't going to South America this fall (which isn't to say God couldn't open the door for me to go next year...), I felt multiple emotions. And none of them were the fluffy, fun ones. 

I felt like a failure. I had shared my plans with multiple people personally, and many more via my blogs. I felt like I let everyone down. That it was all my fault. I felt like a failure because I couldn't make it work. When the reality was that there was nothing I could've done differently or better. He alone is the one that shut this door. 

I felt discouraged. He knew what my passions are. He knew that with everything in me, I want to be in South America, serving Him, and loving people. So why am I still here!? 

I felt disappointed. For some crazy reason, adventure is programmed into my DNA. As much as I love home, routine, and the expected, adventure in the great wide somewhere calls my name. I wanted that adventure. I wanted to have a stamp in my fresh passport. I wanted to get out of here, and explore. 

I doubted that He had actually called me to go. Did I mishear Him? Did my love for adventure and the unknown drown out what He was saying? I doubted myself. There is no way that God would've called me, to speak on a topic that makes me blush and sweat, even just thinking about it. I didn't finish college. I am not a speaker. I'm not anything special. 

I felt like my dreams were dashed. I wanted to share my story. I want all these years of waiting, and waiting, and waiting for my husband to not be wasted in vain. I want to share how important purity is to me. I have dreamt of telling girls how wonderful they are, and that we have a Jesus that restores and heals. I have dreamt of sharing the importance of knowing your value comes from being a daughter of the King, not anything you can do, or have done. 

I felt dismayed. I don't understand why He would answer big prayers to get my passport here in record timing, only to allow my visa to cause problems. I don't understand why He would grant favor for me to have time off of work, only to have the days not work out. 

I was bummed because I was supposed to do training in Chicago next weekend, and now I'm not going. I love Chicago. So very much. I was looking forward to riding the Ferris wheel after training, eating a hot dog from a street vender, and hailing a taxi cab. Now Chicago is off of the calendar. 

I am tired of waiting. Even if this door is closed just temporarily, it means more waiting. I know waiting doesn't mean just sitting around, but the in between times are doing a number on me. I have been waiting for what some days feels like forever, for a husband and family, and now I am continuing to wait on what I am doing with my life, and ministry. I just want to hit the fast forward button. 


I have some wonderful people in my life. They have sat with me while I have cried, and listened to me hash this out a thousand times already. I am so blessed to have them. 

And as annoyed and frustrated as I am, I am so thankful for a God that has a plan. I do not run around willynilly. His timing is perfect. His plan is perfect. He loves me more deeply than I could ever realize. And He truly wants what is best for me. 

So as I grumpily eat a piece of dark chocolate, and continue to sort out my feelings, and my plans, I somewhere, somehow gather up a speck of faith, and attempt to believe that He has got this one. 

I am still struggling today. I don't want to wrap this up in a perfect little bow, and claim to have my junk together. I don't. Today is a day I am barely getting by, and so ever thankful for chocolate. 

So, pray for my heart. It's a little bruised right now. I hate having plans and dreams not come to fruition in my timing. 

Thanks for letting me be real and honest for a few minutes. It's not always my favorite thing to do, but I just wanted to let y'all know... 

Love, M