Total Pageviews

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 


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Autumn To Do List

Can you believe summertime is already over? It just flew by!! A few months ago, I made a "Summer Bucket List". I didn't want my summer to go by, and be too busy, to do what the things I wanted. So, I decided to live intentional. I made a list, and for the most part, completed everything. 

"My Summer -I Did List!" 
-drive in movie
-Ferris wheel 
-fireworks 
-see a rainbow 
-zoo
-sleep in til noon 
-bake a pie
-mackinaw island 
-road trip 
-Campfire 
-smores
-weddings 
-meet new fiends 
-beach 
-layout and look at stars 
-parade
-picnic
-sweet tea on the porch 
-go on a boat 
-nap outside 
-concert 

"My Summer -I Didn't List" 
-canning 
-float down a river 
-go fishing 

I just finished making my list for fall. I am so excited to start checking things off. 

"My Autumn -To Do List" 
-buy a friend flowers 
-jump in a pile of leaves 
-wander in a field of sunflowers 
-get pumpkins for the front porch 
-visit a cider mill
-wade in a body of cold water 
-carve a pumpkin
-Chicago!
-eat doughnuts and cider 
-hot cider 
-pumpkin spice latte
-salted caramel mocha 
-picnic in a park 
-apple picking 
-bake an apple pie 
-hay ride 
-corn maze 
-go to a football game 
-toss a football around 
-plant bulbs in the garden
-relearn how to knit/crochet 
-bonfire 
-Brazil! 
-start Christmas shopping 
-go antiquing all day
-find a cozy sweater and wear it all the time 
-write thank you cards to 25 people just because
-invest in a good pair of boots 
-Ferris wheel 
-wear a scarf every day for a week
-spend time in my downtown 
-make caramels 
-mail a care package to japan
-read (and finish!!) a book for fun 
-wear leg warmers
-drive around aimlessly just looking at the changing leaves 
-dance outside barefoot 
-sit on the front porch and just enjoy traffic
-lay out on a quilt and look at the stars one night 
-fall in love with South America all over again

(Maybe I went a little bit overboard on the fall list... Can you tell what my favorite season is!?) 

What is on your "must do list" for fall? What should I add to mine? 

Love, M :) 



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Prayer: notecards, green beans, and a rainbow.

The past few weeks God has been teaching me about prayer. The biggest thing I have been learning, is that He really does hear our prayers, and He does answers them. 

My dresser in my room is placed near my bed. So when I first moved in, I taped multiple notecards to the side, and created a "prayer board". I love it because it is only visible from being in bed, and I am the only one ever there, so it has created a special, private place for Jesus and I to talk. There are different categories on the notecards. "Family", "married friends", "babes I love", "people overseas", "health", "future husbands"(for me,sisters, and friends. Not multiple future husbands for me!) "salvations", "healings", "different ministries", and "randoms". I have written prayer requests on each of the cards. Last week, I was praying while getting ready, and realized I needed to add new requests to my board. I was overwhelmed when I realized I had to grab a Sharpie to cross off multiple requests, because God had heard my prayers, and answered so many requests. It was insane. He answered my prayers! Not always in the way I wanted, but He did. I anxiously scribbled a few more petitions on some more notecards, waiting and expecting God to show up in huge ways. 

Later last week, I had gone to the store to quickly grab some produce to make my favorite Filipino dishes for lunch. I ended up at a store I haven't been to in months. I couldn't find the green beans and so I asked for assistance. Little did I know I was going to be blessed with more than green beans. The woman who helped me with my produce started talking to me about the weather, which somehow God turned into a conversation about prayer. It's always weird when talking to a produce lady, in the middle of Kroger, about the power of the name of Jesus, over green beans, when you have no idea if she even knows your Jesus, but you just can't seem to shut up. God just kept filling my mouth with His words, so I kept sharing. She then told me that she does know Jesus, and I was able to share with her what God has been teaching me, and encourage her in her prayer life. I shared about Bolivia, and Brazil, and how I know that I know, that God is faithful. It was the coolest thing!! We have committed to pray for each other for specific things. I am looking forward to running into her again soon, and hearing about how God is moving in her life. (Also, my lunch was amazing!!! I love Filipino food!!) 

Last week, (apparently last week was a big week for me!) I met two friends for dinner. As we talked over pulled pork and Mac n cheese, the topic of rainbows came up. If you know me, you may know, I am obsessed. I told my friends that I just really wanted a rainbow to show up right over Main St. My friend laughed and said I would end up on the ground seizing in delight, if God combined two of my most favorite things. The next day I came home from work, and fell asleep in an unplanned nap. I woke up after two and a half hours, suddenly, with the random, unexplainable, 

and urgent need to go outside. I walked onto my front porch, and there was the most gorgeous rainbow, right over Main St. He had heard the whispers of my heart, and gave me the most beautiful rainbow, in the exact location I had wanted. He delights in me. I am His girl. :) 

So current prayer requests: 
-a couple of dear women fighting cancer 
-my health (cough/runny nose/headaches/tiredness) 
-starting to teach new women's Bible study this week 
-money to get to Chicago/place to stay while there for abstinence training for Brazil 
-Ina's book to finish final stages of publishing in Brazil ASAP. 
-final travel details to be solidified for Brazil
-continued financial support for Brazil 
-God to fill my mouth so I can share His story, wherever I am. 
-new fall ministry schedule 
-making time to rest 

How can I be praying for you this week? 

How have you seen God answer your prayers lately? 

What is your favorite verse about prayer? 

I hope you have a wonderful week! 

Love, M 

1 John 5:14-15

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Unexpected Adventure.


                                       
The other afternoon, I was driving across town to get some errands done. As I came up to the first traffic light, I realized there was a little grasshopper sitting on the windshield of my car, holding on for dear life. He probably had not planned to be on an unexpected adventure. He probably thought he was just going to sit there, and enjoy his day. He was probably pretty content with that. Suddenly, he had no idea where he was going, or what would happen when he would get there. He was just along for the ride, on an unexpected adventure.
 
I am that grasshopper.
 
Let me back up a few months. At the very beginning of summer, I was at a wedding. I was talking to a friend, waiting for the bride and groom to make their grand entrance, when she said words I had never heard before. She told me she had been praying for me, and really felt like God was going to call me to speak. No one had ever looked at me and thought, "She is a speaker, I can just tell." So that was weird.
 
Days after that conversation, I was with a new friend at the park. I had only known her for maybe 30 minutes total. We had met the week before, sitting on the beach, bonding over modesty, Target, and our girls playing so well together. So when we met up for a play date, I had only expected light conversation to occur. While we were pushing the kids on the swing set, she looked at me, and told me I need to surrender to the Holy Spirit, because He is calling me to speak, and He is going to use me to minister to women, and do big things. That was really weird.
 
Later on that week, I received a phone call from an old roommate. She encouraged me about a blog I had written, and went on to say that she knew God was going to use me to be a voice for single girls, everywhere. By this point I was completely confused, and weirded out.
 
Throughout the summer, I was sent emails from people I had never met, text messages from friends I had not seen in months, and conversations began to take place with those closest with me. Everything was pointing to being a voice for women. I was freaking out.
 
I tucked this all in my heart, and waited to see what He would do about it. Because frankly, I wasn't going to seek anything out on my own. I was terrified.
 
I am not a speaker. I do not have a college degree. I only took one speech class in the course of my entire education. I was once such a shy and timid girl, I couldn't read aloud in class. I have always been a bit more on the meek and gentle side. Speaking was never in my plans.
 
In June, I blogged a simple sentence that has become my new motto. I don't want my life to make sense, I just want people to take note that I have spent time with Jesus.
 
So, when asked to teach a women's Bible study, I thought I had landed right on what the next step was. It was made mention of possibly speaking at a women's event, but nothing was really confirmed. I then thought this really had to be it. Speaking, and teaching women. It made sense to me.
 
But I didn't know if I really wanted my life to be safe, and just make sense.
 
By this point of the summer, I was beginning to really pray for big things. My heart was really aching to be in South America again. I woke up broken, sobbing, and longing not to be here, multiple nights a week. But I knew I had promised 2 years left at my job before I could pack up and go. So I began to pray for God to just open doors.
 
So when I got a phone call just a few short weeks ago that made no sense at all, and created a huge stirring in my heart, I was excited.
 
I was asked to come to Brazil, travel, and speak on abstinence, my story of purity, and how Jesus brings hope and how He alone can restore.
 
A lady I served with in Bolivia 18 months ago, met up with her Brazilian friend Ina, in Chicago at a missions conference. Ina asked Danee to be praying for God to bring a girl who was pure, single, young and loved Jesus to Brazil to speak to some girls.
 
Danee later told me that God instantly put my name on her heart.
 
What I love most about this opportunity is that it really doesn't make sense. Someone who has never met me, wants me to come serve in their ministry, in another country, on another continent, all because I spent some time with Jesus. This is insane. I don't speak Portuguese, I have never spoken to a group before, I have never been to Brazil, I can't even say the word 'sex' without turning bright red, and freaking out, so this has got to be all Jesus.
 
So, I said yes.
 
This fall I was planning on being married. But because God had other plans, I will be going to Brazil to share my singleness, my purity, and my Jesus the week I had planned on honeymooning.  Isn't He incredible with His timing?
 
My waiting for a man, waiting on God's timing, and choosing to wait to have sex until I am a married woman is not being wasted. In fact, it is actually pointing back to Jesus, and giving Him the glory. I am baffled.
 
The plan is to be gone a little over a week at the end of October. And hopefully many more trips as the years go by. I am thrilled that God continues to open doors to use me in very unexpected ways.
 
I will need to come up with money to pay for my flight, my visa, and food. While traveling, we will be staying in homes of believers around the country. I know He will provide, because He is so faithful. I have already been granted the time off of work. And when I couldn't find my passport, He put it on a friend's heart to pay for my next one. I will not be sending out letters, asking for support. And for this time, while preparing to go, I have taken myself off of facebook. So I have no idea how He will provide. I have been saving, and pinching pennies. I know that if He called me, He will make a way.
 
I don't want my life to make sense. I just want it all to point back to Jesus.
 
So, please be praying for finances this fall, final details to fall in place, His words to fill my mouth, and my heart to be prepared.
 
I am thrilled to finally be able to share all this goodness with y'all.
 
I promise to keep on sharing, and keeping everyone informed.
 
Love, M
 
-If you have any questions, you can always email me at michelletobolivia@gmail.com
 
-Also, you can always subscribe by email to my blog to stay in the loop, and be the first in the know.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Date, His Plan.

As a little girl, I often would daydream about my wedding.

I wanted to wear a yellow wedding dress, carry yellow flowers, and have my bridesmaids all wearing yellow. I was obsessed.

I wanted every girl in the bridal party to wear a different shade of yellow. Goldenrod, saffron, ochre, sunflower, sunburst, buttercream, lemon, straw, daffodil, etc. If  you were to name it, I am sure I loved it. Looking back now, I'm sure my sisters and close friends are glad I have changed my mind on that. I can just imagine their eye rolls on the idea of looking like paint sample swatches in front of a church.

I really try hard not to mentally plan my own wedding. But some times, it can be difficult not to. I have been a bridesmaid in ten weddings, helped plan a dozen more, and attended countless others. It has become second nature to form opinions on  ideas I like or dislike at weddings.

I want it to all be new and exciting when I plan it. I am waiting for a man, so I should probably wait on planning our wedding.

The one thing I have mentally thought out and planned was the date.

I know. This makes me sound like a crazy, deranged woman. I am well aware. Maybe I have lost my mind.

When I was a young, teenage girl, I fell in love with a day. It was the most perfect fall afternoon. The air was crisp, the sun was warm, the trees were bright and beautiful, showing off their colors. It felt like anything was possible. The day was full of possibility. I was convinced it was magical.

So I looked at a calendar years in advance and saw that it landed on a Saturday, the autumn I would be 25, weeks before my 26th birthday.

October 12, 2013.

I figured it had to be my wedding day. It was meant to be.

There was plenty of time to go to college, graduate, meet a man, date for a while, be engaged for a bit, plan our wedding and lives together, all before that magical date.

So for years, I would eat a cupcake on that day and think of how one day, I would be eating wedding cake with my husband.

Just to be clear, I never booked a church, bought a dress, or did anything to actually plan a wedding. This was all just plans I had made up, and kept floating around in my head. Only a very small handful of people knew how much I loved that day.

I just reminded God every year what was going to happen that day.

Last year on that date, a terrible tragedy occurred. Suddenly that date and all its specialness became an awful reminder of pain. I was furious at God for allowing a beautiful life to be taken from us so unexpectedly.  And then I became bitter that He had allowed it to happen on my day.

Between time, God's faithfulness, and constant pursuit, my heart is beginning to heal.

But that date is quickly approaching. I never finished college. I still haven't found a man. And in all honesty, it would be a miracle from heaven if a man asked me out for coffee. I am certainly not getting married in less than two months. I am as single as one could be. This isn't what I had planned at all.

And I think for the first time in forever, I am okay with that.

For years, I planned my life down to the last detail. I said I trusted God and His timing, but the closer the fall of 2013 came, the less there was any proof of that. I wanted to be in control. Honestly, I thought I was.

I became angry and bitter at God when things didn't progress the way I thought they should  for my idea of a perfect life.

But in all of my frustration and brokenness, He was teaching me.

One of my favorite verses has become "A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

He has been teaching me so much about how He is in control, not me.

One of my favorite things my dad has said recently was, "Michelle, God has a plan, and you're in it. So stop worrying."

He has not forgotten about me. He isn't unaware of my desire to be somebody's Mrs. He knows my desire to be a mommy. He knows more than anyone how badly I want to be in South America, serving. He knows what is best for me, better than I could ever know myself.

The last few years have been amazing. I would not trade them for anything. They have been hard, but God has proved Himself faithful time after time. I have had adventures I never could have imagined or dreamed about. I have grown and been stretched in ways I would have avoided, if I knew what was in store. But I am so thankful for not always getting my way. His way is better. It is best.

I know life is full of disappointments, frustrations, and hurt. We make plans, dream dreams, and have high expectations. It is easy when things don't work out the way we planned, to think that He forgot us, He wasn't aware, or just didn't care. But that is not our God.

So remember, He is working it out for me, and for you. He is faithful, and He is good. He has not forgotten about us. His plans for us are better than even my crazy brain could conjure up. He has this. He knows our dreams and deepest desires. There is no reason to fret and fear. He has this all under control.

Have a wonderful weekend resting in that!

Love, M

Have you ever planned on something happening, and then it didn't? What did you do? Do you wish you would've done things differently? What verses do you rely on to remind you that He is in control?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Trades.

I can't have it all. I can't do it all. There just isn't enough time in a week. There just isn't enough energy in my body. I have limits. I am human.

But as I sit here, in the park, the night is quickly approaching, and so I just let my mind wander.

I think of how hard it is to let go sometimes. And how terrifying it is to grab on to something new.

Summer is coming to a close. Autumn is knocking at the door, trying to be patient, but quietly preparing to rush in.

I am thrilled to be doing women's ministry this fall. I have been studying the book I will be teaching, and have been growing more excited every time I open the study and the Word. My heart leaps inside of me as I think of the lives that God will entrust to us to love and care for. My eyes well up with tears, as I think about how the Word renews, restores, and refreshes, and how there are women that will need that.

But.

My heart is sad thinking of what I am giving up. I love my youth group girls. But in this season, I must be obedient, and let go.

I have been honored to serve at a little church plant as their children's director for the last year. I love their excitement as they shout my name, recite all of their memory verses, and laugh with me as they tell stories. I will miss teaching them. I have one more Sunday morning left in Auburn Hills.

But.

I think there is something new for me. Something very different. Something so huge, that it is something only God Himself could orchestrate it. If I tried, my head would blow up. So I will trust in His timing. I beg for His peace, clarity, and that He directs my steps. And I am excited. There are still things to be made official, before any real celebrating and freaking out can occur. :-) But I really believe He knows my heart, He has heard my tears, and He is preparing an adventure just for me.

So, pray I can find my passport. :-)

Love, M

Sunday, August 11, 2013

You are chosen

I often think, and over think, about if God has called me to do something, what it could be, and how under qualified I am to do whatever it is.

I don't think I am alone.

We often feel like we aren't qualified for life. We believe we're not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough, or just enough. We let people's opinions resonate in our heads of how we could never do anything amazing. We allow excuses, self doubt, and past failures to keep us shriveled up, and ineffective. So we just live our lives, as though we are not incredible people, with a special, individual plan for each of us, created by the Creator Himself.

I wandered across one of my favorite books (Undaunted by Christine Caine) recently, and I just wanted to share a excerpt on being chosen. (I highly recommend this book! It is so good!)

"The amazing thing is that throughout Scripture and history, it seems that God has chosen the most unlikely and unqualified people to fulfill his plan and purpose on the earth. ... If we allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we will limit what God wants to do with us. We may never get to those who need our help. ... that's how God works. He chooses each of us to do something for him despite our past failures, limitations, and inadequacies."

He doesn't care if you are not qualified, He already is. He cares if you are willing.

She then gives an incredible list of people from the Bible that were not perfect (none of us are!) and still, God used them!

"-Abraham was old (Genesis 17:1, 24:1)

-Sarah was impatient (Genesis 16)

-Noah got drunk (Genesis 9:20-27)

-Miriam was a gossiper (Numbers 12:1-2)

-Jacob was a cheater (Genesis 25-27)

-Jonah ran away (Jonah 1:3)

-David had an affair (2 Samuel 11-12)

-Elijiah was moody (1 Kings 18-19)

-Peter had a temper (John 18:10)

-Paul was a persecutor (Acts 8:3, 9:1-2)

-Martha was a worrier (Luke 10:40-41)

-Thomas doubted (John 11:14-44)"

"...God had a purpose for each of these people. He chose them. He qualified them. He called them, just as he is calling you and me - to go and do in his name. ... Moses and Gideon and Jeremiah would have missed out on their moments in history if they'd been allowed to get by with those excuses. We wouldn't even know their names today. We know who they were because God refused to accept their excuses and insisted they accept his assignment - and then provided them with everything they needed to succeed in it."

A couple weeks ago, I did a video blog that fits in with today's. Check it out here!

So what is God calling you to do, and how can you make a step today towards accomplishing it?

Have a great week!

love, m

Monday, July 29, 2013


Life has been a bit on the busy side lately. Summertime can do that to you. I have recently started planning my fall. (I am nowhere near being ready to give up summer yet, but I am a planner by nature.)


Mid summer every year, I begin to consider what ministries I will serve in when September rolls around. I often say "yes" to everything, because I struggle with saying "no" to anything.


I have spent a lot of time in prayer over this, and have come to some really strange conclusions. Life is about to get uncomfortable.


I am giving up serving in youth group. This may not seem too monumental to most, but it has been my life since 1999. I have either attended, had a leadership role, or served in youth group for 14 years. So, taking a year off is getting out of my comfort zone. I will miss my girls, the lame games, and the routine of youth group.


For almost two weeks, I didn't know why God had told me to give youth group up. I had nothing really in the works. Just a still small voice telling me to wait and watch.
About the same time, one of my best friends wrote a blog about her frustration about women's ministry in the church. Read it here!


It was then read by a woman, very involved in women's ministry, that had been praying for years for a solution to young, single women being apart of women's ministry.


So, after much prayer, chats, meetings, and consideration, it is official.


I am co-leading a women's Bible study with one of my best friends this fall.


I am terrified. Give me babies, toddlers, children, or even teenagers, and I am okay. But women!? I don't know a thing about women's ministry. What do I have in common with married women, with children? How could God call me to teach women twenty years older than I am?


For years I have had a very bitter taste in my mouth, left by women from the church. Feelings of not being "enough" (good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, womanly enough etc.) because I can't find a husband, have followed me for years. The lies that something must be wrong with me, have been living in the corners of my mind for far too long. Because I do not have have a man at my side, or a baby on my hip, I have often felt like I don't know what I'm talking about, and have no place in serving in ministry. God is showing me these are just lies from the enemy.


I know that God gave me something to share. I will not let this season of life go to waste. I will do what He has called me to do, even if it is uncomfortable and awkward.


So, instead of growing bitter, and allowing what I think other women's views of me to change who I am, I am stepping up, and stepping out.


It's time to be a bridge, and ask God for healing within women of His church.


So, as uncomfortable as it is, "Hello Women's Ministry!"
It's going to be a crazy ride.


If anyone is interested in joining me in this journey, we will be teaching No Other Gods : confronting our modern day idols by Kelly Minter. Class begins September 16th at The River Church in Holly, MI.


Love, Michelle 

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Bird, A whisper, & Love.

I must begin this story with a little disclaimer.

I do not know what has happened to me, but I now love animals.

I was the girl last year that had a heart of stone, didn't shed a tear over sad animal commercials, and I certainly didn't care about them. I was quoted as often saying that I hated animals. That was me.

I am not sure what to blame this new lifestyle change on. Maybe it is my new blonde hair, or living with my animal loving roommate, or even nannying for a little girl with the most tender heart. Whatever it is, my heart has grown 3 sizes, and I suddenly love animals.

...
 
 
Tonight, I was driving home from babysitting. It was dusk, and darkness was quickly taking over. I was not even out of the neighborhood when suddenly I pulled my car over to the size of the road, threw my hazards on, and jumped out of the car, leaving the door wide open.
 
Seven seconds before, I had realized there was a family of birds walking across the road. I saw the momma bird cross, but it took my brain a few seconds to realize that right behind her was a line of baby birds following her. They each seemed as small as a golf ball. They were so tiny.
 
And right through their perfect little road crossing line, I had drove.
 
I was terrified that I had hurt them. So I began to search for them, looking and listening. It appeared all of the babies were safe and sound. But the momma's wing seemed injured. She was calling in desperation to her mate.
 
So, now at this point, I am sobbing, walking through random people's front yards, getting down in the wet grass, trying to coax this crying bird to come closer to me.
 
Around then, I realized I looked ridiculous, and was acting irrational. If people would've looked out their windows, it could have gotten a lot more interesting. I just needed to save this bird.
 
As I stood there, feeling helpless, I remembered a verse. It was like Jesus Himself just whispered it to my crazy heart.
 
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31
 
As soon as that verse came to mind, the bird got up, and flew away. She was fine.
 
It got me thinking.
 
Number One. Jesus cares for birds. He is capable for caring for all things at once, and is actually pretty good at it. He's got this little bird.
 
Number Two. He cares for me. There are so many things rushing my mind lately. I am nervous about the outcome of much. But, He's got me.
 
Number Three. He loves me more than a little bird. All of my problems, doubts, worries, and baggage, He cares about. He's got this.
 
Number Four. He is provider. He cares for the birds and provides for their needs, and He cares for me, and provides for my needs. He's got all of that too.
 
What a good God.
 
So, if you are struggling with finding your joy again, falling apart financially, being exhausted, fighting with self image issues, dealing with doubt, waiting on the Lord, or any other thing, let me tell you... He cares for you, and He's got this.
 
Tonight, I am resting in that. He's got me, and He loves me more than I could ever comprehend.
 
Love, M
 
 
 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

A child's faith. Bedtime prayers. Prince charming.

I currently have the sweetest little girl in my bed. She is four years old, and my very best friend. We are having our very first slumber party at my house.

I think she has been slightly baffled that I am alone in my apartment. She looked for my prince charming in the closets. I am convinced that she thinks I have been hiding a man and babies from her for years. :-)

Before bed, we brushed teeth, put pjs on, read stories, and said our prayers.

She thanked Jesus for her family, me, the beach, and my cool bathroom. It made my heart smile.

A few minutes later, right before she fell asleep, she asked if she could pray again.
She then prayed with such boldness, it made my heart melt.

"Dear Jesus, my Mechelle is all alone at night, all the time, with no one to snuggle. Please send her prince charming to her house. But not my house, because I don't need one, and I don't even live here. I know you know where he is. Tell him to show up now. Well, not right now, because were having a slumber party, and going to sleep. But please make him. And make him have a heart. Amen."

I am thankful that a sweet babe has such incredible faith that Jesus does know where he is, and who he is. What a good reminder.

Also, Jesus, please make him have a heart. I don't want to marry a robot.

Good night.

Love, M

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Washing Dishes

I have a love/hate relationship with washing dishes.

We do not have a dishwasher in our tiny apartment. It drives me batty most days. I just want them to wash themselves.

In theory, doing the dishes is not the worst thing ever.

I just hate it. I hate the dried on food that is almost impossible to get off. I hate that my hands are wet, and I can't continue a texting conversation. I hate that even when I think I washed them all, there are always more. I hate that there isn't much room to let them dry, so a large percentage of counter top is quickly taken. I hate that my feet hurt from standing so long. I hate that I think about dirty dishes sitting in the sink when I am gone.

And now I hate that I sound like a whiny baby.

To be honest, yes I dislike the dishes, and yes, I may be a bit dramatic when it comes to housework, but for some crazy reason, it is one of the sweetest times I spend with Jesus.

He always seems to whisper into my heart when my hands are elbow deep in sudsy water.

I'm not sure why.

Maybe it is because I can't be on my phone or computer, and I have to be still. Maybe it is because He often convicts me of my ridiculous attitude, and reminds me what it means to serve. Maybe it is because He brings to remembrance what love is, and this is one way I can love my roommate. Maybe it is because He puts people on my heart, and I have the sweetest time praying for them. Maybe it is that He gently reminds me what a blessed life I lead, and how I should be thankful.

I don't know what it is, but I do know that there are still dishes that need to be washed, and I need to get over myself, and go wash them.

Have a good night.

Love, M




Saturday, June 15, 2013

Confession: I am a mess.

Let's be honest.

I don't really enjoy the thought of airing my dirty laundry, for potentially thousands of people I may not even know, to read on here. I also do not think said people excitedly wake up, sit down with their coffee, open my blog and want to hear that I am a mess. So, I continue to write about God's faithfulness, His provision, and attempting to be content. These are all good things.

But.

I wonder if I am not giving the whole story. I wonder if only sharing the good days has made me look better than I really am. I wonder if Jesus isn't getting all of the glory because people aren't seeing the dark days.

I had a few friends recently tell me they wish they could love people like I do, or follow Jesus so diligently as me, or even just have it all together like Michelle.

I laughed. Out loud.

I am a mess. A hot mess.

There is no goodness inside of me apart from Jesus.

My nature is not to love people, and say kind words of encouragement. My nature is to judge people, think nasty, horrific thoughts toward them, and then justify it.

My nature is not to love Jesus. I fight daily to read my Bible, spend time in prayer, and sometimes just not forget about Him. I often fight with Him, disagree with what He is doing, and sometimes just ignore His voice because I don't want to change what I am doing.

I am selfish to the core. I am a gossip. I can hold a grudge. I watch tv shows I shouldn't. I fake it too often with a smile. My house is almost never really clean. I can be a beast to live with. Love does not come easily to me. I am just a mess of a girl. I am no where near perfect.

But.

Jesus is transforming me. He alone can change my evil heart, and teach it to love. He convicts my soul, and it is His kindness that brings me to repentance. He is renewing my mind, and changing my thoughts. It is His love that can cause real joy to flow from my heart.

So please do not think of me as the girl who has it all together. I am not.

I just have a real Jesus.

I am not perfect, but He is. I am inconsistent, He is always constant. I am a sinner, in need of a Savior, and He is that Savior. I am always in need, He is always faithful and provider. I have dreams of big things, and He is the one who put them in my heart, and is working out the details.

I will try to be more transparent, even when it is difficult. I will share the struggles, along with the victories. I just want to point to Jesus, even on the bad days.

Have a good weekend.

Love, M

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rethinking why I choose to wait on the Lord

I recently stumbled across a blog that frustrated me.

Without being rude or arguing for the sake of arguing, I want to share why it upset me so much.

The title of this woman's blog was "Re-Thinking Waiting On The Lord For Husbands For Our Daughters".

She begins her post by saying, "We told our girls who have heart’s desire to marry that they should, “Wait on the LORD to bring you a husband. It needs to be the right man, and the right time, God’s time.” And while I agree with that teaching in some ways, in other ways it is creating older daughters who are still unmarried at 32." ... "And I know, sometimes even in our best efforts our daughters may still not marry at an early age."

I believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting on the Lord, and believing in His perfect timing. I also believe there is nothing wrong with being unmarried at 25, 27, 32, or even 37.

She then states, "We can’t fight the enemy at the gates if our kids don’t have a family, and families start with marriage."

In 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Paul talks about single women, and how they can serve more and be more focused on pleasing the Lord, without distractions. Married women have the wonderful gift of serving and taking care of their husbands. One is not better than the other, they are just different.

Because I am single, I am able to travel and love on people in other countries for months at a time, not missing my family. I can share the name of Jesus in downtown Detroit, and not worry that I won't be home in time to fix dinner. I can pour into lives on a weekly basis for hours, loving them, mentoring them, and encouraging them, without a man wanting me home to love and encourage him.

Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love to have a husband. I dream about my arms being full of curly haired babies. I want to have dinner on the table every night for my family when my man walks in the door. But that isn't my current reality. I am a single girl, sometimes struggling to be content, and in the mean time, serving Jesus and others.

I have seen friends confess Jesus, babies healed, lives transformed, broken families reunited, and people living free, all because of the power of the name of Jesus. That is what will allow us to fight the enemy, and that alone. The battle against the enemy will not be won because people had a lot of babies. Lives will be transformed and the enemy will be defeated because of Jesus.

She goes on to say, "Biologically speaking, this is alarming (age of marriage rising) as we are all well aware that the older a woman gets, the fewer children she will have, and if she waits until she’s 40+ to marry, the chances of her having any children are rare indeed."

Do not be quick to forget who our God is. He is the Great I Am. He is the one who caused a woman in her 90's (Sarah- Genesis 17:17) to give birth to Isaac, the son of promise. He is the one who gave a baby boy to a woman who for years was barren. (Hannah- 1Samuel 1) He is also the Almighty who placed a baby in the womb of a virgin! (Mary- Matthew 1:18)

I have been told I need to 'hurry up" for a couple of years now. I know that my biological clock is beginning to tick, but even more, I know the One who causes it to tick. He alone is the one that opens and closes wombs. If one day He chooses to give me eight babes, or an empty house, He will still be good, and He will still be God. My ultimate goal in life is not to have a home full of children. It is to honor Jesus.

She then finishes up with, "Prayer is essential, yes, but we can’t leave it at that. (We) can’t just sit back and wait for the LORD to supernaturally bring a wonderful young man into the lives of our daughters..."

In her blog she recommends parents trying new churches with their daughters to look for a husband, having people over for cookouts, and encourages parents to find their son-in-law.

I have often wondered what kind of man my parents would pick for me. I'm sure he would be wonderful, and handsome. But as much as my parents love me, they don't know what I truly need. The man they pick could just be a good actor. He may appear to be a man that loves Jesus, or he could just know what to say, and not say. I want the man that God chooses for me. Our God knows the heart, thoughts, and intentions of man. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”"

Prayer is so important. James 5:16 says, "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." I believe God hears our prayers, and honors them, in His timing. His Word says that He works all things together for good for those that love Him, and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) I believe that He is working this out. The Bible also reminds us in a few places not to worry. So I will choose not to worry, and believe that God knows what is best for me.

Our God's very nature is that He is supernatural. Everything He does screams that. Creation is just the beginning of His handiwork. The entire Bible tells of Him making the blind see, calming the storms with His voice, calling down fire from heaven, freeing an entire nation from captivity, and changing water to wine, just to name a few. John 21:25 says, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." It is natural to His being to perform miracles, do things that only He can, and bring glory to His name.

I am learning that waiting is not a passive thing. Sitting at home and knitting is not necessarily the best way to meet your husband. But, it is not outside the realm of possibilities for God to send him to your front door. Do the things you love. Be involved in the areas you are passionate about. Go on adventures. Serve the least of these. Don't put your life on hold waiting on him to show up. Don't be waiting for him to ring the doorbell, meet him on the front porch.

I will continue to serve whether or not I have a husband by my side, or a baby on my hip. I will strive to honor Jesus, even when it is difficult. And I will seek to find contentment in whatever state I am in, because of Jesus.

I hope you know my heart was not to be hurtful, but to really just share where I was coming from.

Love, M

You can read her full blog post here

Loving an orphaned girl in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The best awkward conversation I've ever had.

I am a weird girl. I have been known to say off the wall, unexpected things. I often make situations embarrassing and awkward. That's just me. That's how I am.

One of my favorite times I stuck my foot in my mouth was five years ago.

I knew I was going to be working at the church's kids day camp that summer. The pastor's son had recently moved back to the area, and would be running it. His lovely wife was standing in the lobby after church.

I had never met her before, but I kinda knew who she was. She had never seen me before, and didn't have a clue who I was.

So naturally, when I walked up to her and said something awkward, she didn't know what to do with me.

"Hello. You don't know me. I'm Michelle. Were going to be working together this summer. And I know we are going to become the best of friends."

Well, that was five years ago, and she hasn't gotten rid of me yet. She also still doesn't really know what to do with me. :)

She has been one of my biggest fans, my voice of reason, my fellow gilmore girl enthusiast, my thrift store partner in crime, my encourager, my painting partner, and one of the best listeners I have ever met.

Her life points to Jesus, in a real and honest way. She is such a wonderful and godly wife and mother. And she gave me the best fake nephew and niece this fake Auntie has ever wished for.

So happy 5 years of fab friendship dearest Si. I am so thankful for all of our chats, laughs, and most of all, you.

I am so glad I was so awkward five years ago. :)

Love, M.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tune into His Voice

Tonight I was blessed to be able to video chat with one of my dear friends in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She is a missionary there, working with families in a rough area, helping out in an after school program, and planting a church.

She also is my friend that keeps me informed on baby Nestor. (Look for an update on him later this week!)

I was telling her how lately, my heart is often conflicted with where I am, and where I want to be.

She then said the most profound thing to me.

"It is all about being so in tune to His voice. So when you're waiting, you don't rush Him, and when He calls, you don't drag your feet."

When I got off the call with her, I thought of the song that says, "Where you go, I'll go, Where you stay, I'll stay..."

I want to be wherever He has me. I want to be content in whatever state I am in. I want to follow, even when I am uncertain. And, I just want to know His voice.

What are some ways you have learned to tune into His voice?

Have a good night.

Love, M




Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Plans.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us.

For many, this means the start of all things summertime.

Warmer weather, hopefully. (It was 88 three days ago, and 36 last night. I currently have weather whiplash.) Yard work and house work are at the top of many to do lists. Church softball leagues are beginning. Plans are being made for weekends away at the cabin on the lake. Kids are finishing the school year. Floral dresses, swim suits, and sandals are being worked into every day wardrobes. Days of sunshine and beaches are in the near future.

This summer I am focusing on a couple dreams. I am believing that He is working things out for my good, in His timing. I am excited about some newly developed desires He has placed on my heart. I am trusting He will bring them to completion, even though I am scared and nervous.

This summer may get a little topsy turvy as I trust Him in new and unknown situations. I may learn a lot, and they may be hard lessons. I am anticipating growth this summer as I believe Him to be faithful in things that don't make any sense.

So, I ask earnestly for your prayers. Please join me in prayer for productivity, to be filled with God's Word, to be obedient even when it is difficult, and above all, to shine Jesus in everything I say and do.

I know I am being vague. Please trust me that when the timing is right, I will share big things.

Trust and believe with me that He greater things are yet to come.

Have a sweet weekend.

Don't forget to remember the brave men and women we celebrate and thank for our freedom this weekend.

Love, M.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Beauty for Ashes.

This is a repost from another blog I write for. This subject was very much on my heart this morning, so I thought it would be fitting to share it on here today.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 61:1-3a

As Christians, we have been given a specific 'to do' list in Isaiah 61. We are told to proclaim the good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release prisoners from darkness, proclaim God's favor, comfort those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve.

When I first read these verses, honestly, I was overwhelmed. How can I do this? I don't know what this looks like. Is this even possible?

And then, I remembered, Jesus did all of this for me. He gave me the ultimate good news, the Gospel. He bound up heartaches buried so deep no else even knew they were there. He set me free from sin, death, my flesh, the grave, and Hell. He released me from the darkness of this world. He has poured out so much favor on me, it doesn't even make sense. He has comforted me in times when life fell apart. He was always there. He gave me grace and mercy when I didn't deserve it, and could never have earned it.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The only way to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task is to remember what Jesus did for us, and realize we have everything we need to pour it back out unto others. He has given us the perfect example, and the power to complete this 'to do' list.

So, what does this look like practically? I don't believe we have all been called to move to a third world country and start an orphanage, to walk the streets of Detroit and feed the homeless, or even to be a shoulder to cry on for every broken heart. God has placed you and me in this exact time and place for a purpose. There are broken people in every corner of this world, in offices, schools, homes, streets, hospitals, funeral homes, and even in churches. We are commanded to love them as Jesus loves them, care for them, and share the good news.

How can we do this?

-Preach the good news to the poor. How can you share Jesus with someone who doesn't know Him? Where may it be uncomfortable to share the Good News? Who are the poor, oppressed, and afflicted in your life, and in the world?

-Bind up the brokenhearted. How can you use your past heartaches and pain to help heal another? Will this help you realize your brokenness has value?

-Proclaim freedom for the captives. How can you be a voice for those who are enslaved, captive, and carried away? What can you do to raise awareness for the captives in our world?

-Release prisoners from darkness. How can you bring light to addicts of all sorts: body image, alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, pornography, gambling, etc.? How can you help someone break free from the darkness of depression, anxiety, bitterness, cynicism, insecurity, worry, self hate, and the lies from Satan?

-Proclaim God's favor. How does your life show that you have God's favor? Do you recognize it yourself? Do you share what He has done for you with others?

-Comfort all who mourn. How can you be available to listen when someone's life falls apart? In what ways can you be a comfort to someone?

-Provide for those who grieve. What can you do to be a help to someone who is grieving? How can you make their life easier in a time of pain? How can you cultivate joy, beauty, and praise in their lives?

What does this look like today for you?

Have a great day. Love, Michelle

Saturday, May 18, 2013

His arm is not too short.

A few years ago, I met K. We worked together, and quickly became friends. We both moved onto different jobs around the same time, and within a few months, we randomly started Friday night dinners.

Almost every Friday night for the last 21 months, K and I have done something together. We have had picnics, gone to movies, sat on my couch while reading magazines, gone out to dinner, or ordered from Hungry Howies. It just became assumed that Friday nights was time together. It was never the plan to do it every week, but I am so glad it happened that way. Somewhere in there, we became best friends.

When K and I first became friends, she had never been inside of a church, not even for a wedding. That was just the way she was raised. It was such a contrast to the way I was raised. I have a hard time remembering a week of my life that I wasn't in church.

I never wanted to force Jesus, church, or my beliefs on her. So, I tried to live my life in a way that pointed to Jesus and His love, I answered any question she had, but most of all, I began to pray fervently.

I prayed almost every day for 21 months. I memorized Isaiah 59:1 "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear."

I begged God to soften her heart, and give her the desire to know Him. I rejoiced every time she had a question about Jesus, church, religion, or the Bible. I prayed even more. I sobbed when I drove home one particular night, knowing she was beginning to understand. I asked God to make clear opportunities in conversations to share Him.

She started to attend church with her boss pretty regularly around the beginning of the year. My heart leaped inside of me.

One day a few weeks ago, she told me she had been thinking about my future husband, and so she stopped everything and prayed for him. There are not enough words to express how much that blessed my heart. I had no idea she was beginning to pray, let alone, pray for my husband.

Last week she asked me if I would be at church when she gets baptized. I agreed, but told her, only after we had a serious conversation about some things beforehand.

So tonight, we went to dinner, we caught up after a busy week, and then we sat down on the couch. Bible in lap, I began to go over the plan of salvation. I wanted to know that she understood the Gospel, and wasn't just getting baptized just to get baptized. I wanted to make sure she knew baptism does not wash away sins, or get us into heaven. It is just a step of obedience in following Jesus. I wanted her to know that the Bible is truth, and that we can go to it for everything. Religions and denominations may not have the answers, but Jesus and His Word always will. She stopped me a couple times to clarify as I read and explained things, but at the end of our conversation, I asked her if she had accepted Jesus, confessed her sins, and believed in her heart yet.

She looked at me with big, tearful eyes, and told me she had. She couldn't remember the exact day this winter, but she had accepted Jesus as her Savior.

Between tears, I told her of how I had prayed for her for months and months to know Jesus in a real way, and how faithful He was. I told her that Jesus is the most important thing in my life. He brings hope, peace, everlasting life, love, joy, and so much more. There is nothing more I could ever want for my friends, then to know my real Jesus.

So, rejoice with me today. My heart is full.

God is so faithful. His timing is perfect.

His arm is not too short to save. His ear is not too hard of hearing.

He saves. He hears.

Thank you for all of your prayers the last couple of years. You may not know my friends, or even me, but I know people are praying.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b.

Please continue to pray for K as she is a baby believer, and is beginning to sort out her faith.

I cannot wait to share more stories in the future, of things I am trusting and believing He is working out. What a faithful God we serve.

Have a nice weekend.

Love, M