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Emmanuel

Saturday, December 5, 2015

This season really is unlike any other time.
For some people, it's the most wonderful time of the year.
For others, it brings with it hurts, and the realization that some people who might have been with us last year or years prior, or even a few months ago, are no longer here. 
If you've read any of my posts you will know by now that I do believe strongly in the seasons physically and all that it represents in our lives as human beings. 
Winter can be really good, but also really hard.
I can't believe we are 7 days away from our one year anniversary.
I've spent some alone time today reflecting on my life a year ago and all I was doing to prepare for our upcoming wedding.
It's crazy how time flies.
It's also crazy what can happen in a year.
When I think back on this year, change describes it.
I didn't do all of it gracefully but what a year its been.
Marriage, moving, graduating, a new career. 
Wrapped up in all that life happened.
Andrew and I probably experienced a variety of things in this past year that we might have never expected. While I wish I could say all of it has been easy, that is far from the truth.
While I wouldn't choose to walk through some of the things we have had to experience this year with unexpected events, I also wouldn't change it for the world. 
I have learned an incredible amount about myself this past year but the Lord continues to show me more about himself.
So, in celebrating this season, and taking time to slow down (not something I do enough these days) I wanted to take the time to really figure out where I'm at. 
Emmanuel. God with us.
This is exactly who My God has been to me and to us this year.
He has continuously provided and met our every need.
He has opened doors we never dreamed would open.
In our hurts, our questioning, and our uncertainty in some of life's situations we have been faced with, He has walked with us each step of the way.
In my struggle with change, and the difficulty I have within myself to embrace it, He has reminded me in countless ways that He is with me. That I am not alone. That in my struggle at times to believe in myself, He is with me.
In being real, one of the biggest struggles I have faced this year, is how relationships in our lives change. He has reminded me of his constant presence and unwavering spirit even when relationships in our lives change. 
He has reminded me of his unfailing mercy, and lovingly convicted me of my need to show mercy to others in my life. 
He has been Emmanuel.
I write today from a place of thankfulness, fullness, and in some areas brokenness. But I am so thankful that I serve a God who loved me enough to send his son to this crazy earth, to be and experience all we would ever/could ever walk through. To get on our level. To leave His spirit with us so that we are never alone.
That he loved us enough to not be a far off God, but to truly be God with us.


Wrecked

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It's been a long time since I felt moved by something.
While I feel empathetic for people, and often find myself emotional about things that bother others, it's sadly been too long since my heart was really shaken.
This blog comes from a vulnerable place. Here's me being open, and wearing the shame I felt on my sleeve, confidently knowing that the truth sets us free.
I want to share what I saw in myself when I truly looked in the mirror this week.
I was in a leadership meeting at church this week when we were asked "who is it that is on your heart and mind that keeps you awake at night because the truth of knowing what will happen to them if they don't find Jesus stirs you to intercede for them?" We were then asked about names of "newer" people to our church....did we know them? If not, why?
Amen, or Ouch.
Never a comfortable subject.
It's not like this is the first time I've been in a meeting where this type of thing is discussed, but this time for me was different.
As I was sitting in the meeting, being reminded of the mission of our church and the true heart of who we want to be in reaching people, the Lord brought something to my mind clear as day.
A year ago for pastor appreciation Sunday, I received a card from a gentleman who was newer to our church at the time and the thoughtful message read:
"I know we have never talked in person, but thank you so much for all you do with your music each sunday, it has truly touched our family."
The real truth. A year has passed. Other than a passing hello, I'm not sure I ever exchanged any words with this gentleman. While he didn't come every week, he faithfully came more than not. I never cared enough to say anything more than hello.
As I sat in my chair, reminded of this thoughtful note I received a year ago, I felt completely wrecked.
I went home, and in having time to myself to process it all, I began to share with Andrew what was said at the meeting and I just began to cry when I shared about the letter the Lord reminded me of. 
I felt so disgusted with myself. I have been so incredibly guilty of just getting caught up in my own world, my routine, and I get so comfortable simply talking to the people I "know" that I have lost sight of what really matters.
People matter.
Lost people matter.
I asked the Lord that night to truly forgive me for being this way and for losing sight of what truly matters.
While I can't go back and undo certain things I regret, I have asked the Lord to continue to shake me, to wreck me, and to remind me of His heart for lost people.
While it might not be the natural thing for me to do in reaching out to others I don't know, even by simply introducing myself and saying hello, I want people to know they matter, they are seen, and they are loved by our Creator. 
I am no doubt a work in progress, as we all are, and my hope in sharing this confession tonight, is so that I will be reminded of the reality I experienced about where I have been. Instead of praying for other people to do the work, or to serve, I want to be used like never before.



The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:35-38



Monday, September 28, 2015

Most of you probably know a little about my family, but if you don't, my Dad is a Pastor and my Mom is an RN. My Dad has pastored here in Vero for the last 21 going on 22 years. I am blessed to have been able to grow up in one place as that is rare for PK's.
This past Sunday, my Dad shared a glimpse of his story and his "in the meantime" moment. We have been doing this series at church and the heart of this series is discussing the moments in life when there is nothing we can do about our circumstances and what we choose to do and believe during these times, understanding that there is a purpose for these difficult times, and a promise that His grace is always sufficient.
My Dad shared from his heart part of our story as a family that I'm not sure has ever been shared. Again, for those of you that don't know my Mom has an incredible story of God's healing, redeeming love, and promise that he brings wholeness into our brokenness.
When my mom was younger, she experienced abuse in her life and when she got married to my Dad she had not remembered that any of this had gone on until she was in her 30's and I was about 2-3 years old.
The journey that my parents experienced during this time of reliving, dealing with flashbacks, and working through all that this abuse had done to her was something that even to this day I know I will never fully understand or grasp all that it was. While they did everything to protect me from all that this entailed, there is no way I wouldn't be affected.
With all that being said, I cannot help but thank God for the work that He did in Mom's life and how much she has been able to help people because of the journey she had to take to find God's healing in her life.
What I wanted to focus on is that in the last 24 hours since my Dad has shared his/our "in the meantime" moment, is just how thankful I am for the work the Lord has done in my life, and for His faithfulness to me in all that this was for our family. While it wasn't till I was a senior in high school that I even became aware that any of this had gone on, I remembered things from my childhood that I had always wondered


It's that Time Again

Saturday, September 26, 2015

There's no denying that fall is my favorite season.
While I was not born in Florida, I basically consider myself a true Floridian as I've spent the majority of my life here. 
I think it's now that I miss Nashville the most as I got to experience the sweet change of seasons for the 4 years that I lived there.
There really is nothing else like it.
The cool crisp air brings with it a renewing and refreshing sense.
The beautiful color of the changing leaves brings with it an awareness that change is coming.
All the sweet things of fall are so inviting. This includes some of my most favorite candle scents all year, any and everything pumpkin is welcomed, and those jeans and boots you've been waiting to wear all summer are now acceptable attire.
Fall is unlike any other time.
But I don't think everything about Fall is easy. 
While the initial sense of change is sometimes invited and welcomed, with it also comes truth. Sometimes hard truth.
While I have never and will probably never be 'good' at change, I understand that change is one of the only constants in life. Kind of ironic.
With some change comes the realization that we need to get rid of things in our life, and other times its just coming to grips with the fact that things in life change, people change, friendships change, and some of these things are not easy to deal with and accept.
With the change of fall, the changing of the leaves, and the physical representation of the season, its preparation for what's next, and that's winter. During this time, its cold, long, and during this time things die, with a purpose, to bring new life when spring time finally arrives. 
All that being said, it's that time again. I am in the middle of adjusting to the one of the biggest changes and adjustments I have had in awhile beginning my career as a Family Nurse Practitioner. While I enjoy what I do, the reality of its demand on my life and all that it entails is something I slowly adjust to daily. With this being the main thing going on in my life right now, I am learning to adjust and juggle everything else that I do with my time. I have found myself feeling like I don't have much time for myself and it turn it affects other relationships in my life, but thats the beauty of this growing season. The Lord has really been refining my heart and my mind in these days. I have realized how weak I am, and in turn, I get to see just how strong He is. 
If I was being completely transparent I would also have to say there has been hurt in understanding and coming to grips with certain relationships in my life that have changed. I am so guilty of always wanting to "relive" something or saying "remember when." While it is fun and amazing to have some of the incredible memories that I do, I also understand we can't be stuck in wanting to relive something or waiting for the next time it is like that again...if it ever will be. I miss out on the here and now when I live in this mindset. Again, all of this happening at what feels like one time, I realize more and more my thankfulness that the Lord is consistent, constant, and faithful. I have had to let go control of things in my own life that I cannot change, I have had to accept that time is my best friend right now with my career. Experience comes with time and it cannot be rushed. I have had to accept that people and friendships change, and even when it hurts so deep that words don't do justice, I have to remember that the only thing I can control is myself and I pray for healing and God's restoration in these situations. 
It's that time again. Where I feel nostalgic. Where I am taken back in my mind to the blogs I've written about fall, about change, and about all the Lord's done in my life in the last 4-5 years. I am still amazed at where the Lord's brought me. I know I am so undeserving. It's what gives me more faith and hope that even in these moments where I question myself, my abilities, and I wrestle with all my insecurities that I am reminded of how big My God really is. For the hurts and the struggles deep in my heart that I have been wrestling with, I know that I serve a God who is about healing, restoration and bringing new life into things that area dead and broken. 
I am welcoming Fall with open arms. I don't want to be the same person that I am right now when this season comes to an end. It is my prayer that with each and every change I am experiencing, that I would cling to my constant and loving Savior. I want to experience the life that He brings in the midst of it all.



Embracing Change

Friday, July 31, 2015

If you've read any of my writings it is probably no surprise to you that I do not like change. At least in the beginning.
I feel like this is something I will always struggle with and even with "good" change I still drag my feet in the mud.
Maybe its the unknown. Maybe its fear of failure. Fear of not liking whatever the new "normal" might look like. Fear that I will wish it had never changed. 
But then again, if nothing ever changed, we would never grow. I know this.
Even some of the times in my life where I have felt the most resistant to change, I have come to love the other side of it so much more than I imagined.
In the last 8 months life has changed drastically and I am currently in a season of continuous change. 
I got married in December. I moved into a different house. I started a new semester. I graduated. I'm no longer a "student." I quit a job. I ended my career as an RN. I start my new job as an FNP Monday. And the list continues.
In the midst of my fear and anxiety in all that comes with change, there is one thing I am reminded of.
God never changes.
He is never caught off guard.
I think that truth resonates deep within my heart right now. For so many reasons. 
Somedays I wrestle with change that is so far beyond my control that when I can sit down and really be still, its truly been a waste of my energy and time. 
I can't change anyone else. I should get that by now and yet I try to force things that will never happen.
There's so much truth in the Bible when it says there is a time and a season for everything, and even in the hurt of what that can mean sometimes, it's truth. Its life.
Maybe too often I want things to "always be the way they were" and I miss out on the things God wants to be doing in my life in the moment. Relationships are constantly changing and that's just how it is. But even at times that reality stings. 
Yet again, God never changes. I am beyond grateful for this truth.
Regardless of the hurt that has come with some of the change in recent days and weeks, and my fear of what is ahead of me, the scripture found in Philippians 4:6-7 is what brings peace into my life. 
"Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 
I wanna live this verse. 
I wanna pray from my gut.
About everything. 
Everything that bothers me, worries me, keeps me up at night, scares me, makes me want to go back and relive somewhere else other than now.
People that are running so far from the truth my heart hurts and words don't do justice to the situations.
Relationships that are broken without answers.
Things that I'm truly thankful for. More than just a "thank you" but a gratitude.
For my marriage and my unborn children.
I want this verse to change me and the way that I view life and change.
I want this verse and my prayer life to change me. 
This is the kind of change I must embrace.



The End of Another Chapter

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It has been an extremely busy few months.
I can't believe it is already the beginning of July, although the reality of the heat here in Florida hits me each time I walk outside.
The beginning of May brought a day I have been counting down to. GRADUATION!!!!!!

What an incredible day, and somewhat of a feeling of relief but yet the reality of having to study for boards loomed.
May was a long month of studying and continued into June. I'm not sure I have ever had as hard of a time studying as I did for this but I managed to stay focused and really give it my best. 700 Review pages later, on June 23, I passed my boards and am blessed to say I am officially a Family Nurse Practitioner! 

I had so many people praying for me that day and I feel so blessed to be where I am. I never thought this day would come, and to be quite honest it still hasn't set in. I have been on a couple of interviews and I am sorting through my options and praying about what the best decision will be. It is exciting, it's scary, but its yet another thing in my life that I can look back and see God's hand in each chapter of this journey.

I am trying to soak in all that this time off means for me before I begin yet another really big chapter of my life. 

While I may be tired, and life has thrown some unexpected curve balls in this week, God has been so good and has continued to provide for everything we have needed in the past few months!

I am looking forward to some future blog posts that have been stirring in my heart. It's been awhile since I've been on here, and it feels good to be back!

The Big Picture

Thursday, February 26, 2015

So often all I see is the here and now.
I get side tracked.
I get stuck on tunnel vision.
I forget about life outside of myself.
I forget who's in charge.
I forget the Big Picture.

Life recently though has had some tough, harsh lessons.
The death of loved ones.
The inescapable reality of horrible diseases, cancers, and things like brain tumors.
The realization once again that I am not in control.

And yet in the valleys there is a sweet presence.
A reminder in subtle, but powerful ways that I am not alone.
A strength that has come in the midst of what seems to be a long, hard, winter season. 
Peace. A peace that passes all understanding.

I can honestly say the last month has been trying for so many reasons and has brought with it some really hard mountains to climb, and there are unknowns ahead that bring worry. I have been reminded in it all that I am not in control, and even when I am lost in myself, my anxiety, my worry, my fear, my hurt, that there is a God who sees the big picture. Who can see each and every step and who loves me enough to walk beside me in it all. 

When I think I know what's best, I have gently been reminded that He has a plan and that He has been putting all the pieces together, and that He knows best.

I have been reminded of my need for a Savior. My need for forgiveness and grace. My need for peace in the midst of unknowns. My need to completely trust Him. 

Searching for Hope

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Music is something I don't think I could ever live without.
It's amazing how lyrics can say things we can never put into our own words.
Lyrics and the melody of songs can take us back to sweet memories.
It is powerful.
This week, I have listened to this song relentlessly.
The words to this song ring so true in my heart right now.
It is encouraging.
It has brought hope this week.
It has brought peace and a reminder of the promise that we are never alone, even when we are walking through the valley.

I am thankful for this promise.
This hope.
This truth.

While we don't always understand why the Lord works the way He does, I have been reminded this week of His mighty yet gentle leading, and his faithfulness to us in each and every situation that we are in.

To my church family. For all of us that are hurting, praying, and walking through this journey together, it is my prayer that this song would speak life, truth, healing, and peace in the midst of these days. 
I am thankful that we don't have to walk this road alone and that we were called to do this crazy thing called 'life' together. 

"So be truly Glad, there is wonderful joy ahead. Even though you have to endure many trials for a little while." 
1 Peter 1:6



What Really Matters Anyways?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Busy schedules. Endless clinical hours. 

Change

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When life slows down from its normal fast pace, and when the everyday coming and going changes, "normal" doesn't really seem to exist. A break from school alone, can change the meaning of "normal" in my life. But so much more has changed in my life in the last month. 
From a fiancĂ© to a wife. A different house. A different car. A different computer. A different schedule. A different routine. 
A new normal.
For a girl who doesn't do change well, this has been a challenge. All positive changes and all great things, but still an adjustment.
I think I've understood the meaning of major adjustments in the past but this by far tops the list.
I guess the difference in my life this time, is what I choose to focus on.
While adjustments are never easy, even though they are all positive things,
I have a choice to make when I feel like nothing in my life feels normal, routine, or comfortable in that I know what to expect.
It's been such a learning time, and a growing process, and really it's only the beginning.
I'm one week away from beginning a new clinical rotation in a speciality I know nothing about.
I am nervous and excited to begin my last semester of graduate school, but in the back of my mind I realize just how close another change is approaching. 
Again its all positive.
But where is my focus?
My focus is on the one thing in my life that doesn't change.
My heavenly Father.
For the first time in my life, I'm doing everything I can to live in the moment instead of always being steps ahead of everyone else.
As much as I wish things away at times when they are not easy, this is a process and something I know I have to let take it's sweet time.
I pray it changes and molds me into a stronger, wiser, more understanding and patient person.
I pray it pushes me to draw closer to the One who created this heart that so longs for consistency and pushes against change.
I wish I knew how long this will take.
I wish I knew how I was going to feel each step of the way but that's the beauty of this process.
I hope to have many more journals and writings about this beautiful process into this new and exciting season of my life.
I have been given so much and I am so incredibly blessed.
Being pushed out of my comfort zone has made me appreciate things I haven't appreciated like I should in awhile and if anything, it has opened my eyes more so than ever to God's grace that is just enough for each day. 
There's beauty in the change. 
During the midst of what feels like a long winter season- life, beauty and newness is being born in it all, and I am thankful for this process. 
It's a season like I've never experienced before and in my humanness I struggle with control but I am grateful that at the end of the day, I do not have control.
In the midst of change, uncertainty, and newness, I'm experiencing peace.
That's what it's all about.
The process.
And being changed through it.

2014 It's Been Quite a Year

Thursday, January 1, 2015

It would be hard to sum up this past year in a few paragraphs, or pages. It has been a year of ups and downs, a whirlwind of change, and a lot of growing.

This past year, I have completed another year of graduate school and I am now just one semester away from being finished. It almost seems too good to be true, but this is the home stretch. I'm praying and have been praying that the Lord would put me in the right place and that He would go before me and begin to me prepare me for whatever and wherever my first job as a Nurse Practitioner is going to be.

This year included a trip to Nashville to watch our friend get married and lead right into a busy summer school semester and not many days for the sun and beach. August came quickly and included a shoulder surgery for me and then a family vacation to The Smokey Mountains. Unfortunately during our vacation our family received bad news that my Grandfather suddenly passed away. I have to say, this was one of the hardest things I have experienced this year, and there are still days where I can't believe this happened. 

The Fall semester flew by and included lots of meetings and planning for the wedding, and tons of time studying, going to clinical, and writing my Master's paper. What a relief it was to finish this semester with A's. 

December arrived quicker than I ever believed it would, and after finishing school on the 6th, I had one week to get ready for our Big Day. This included moving my stuff, organizing our house, getting last minute things done, and wondering what life would be like as a married woman. 

Our day was perfect. I can't wait to write a blog just about this day. I really felt like I got to take in every moment even though it felt like an out of body experience. It went by so quickly but I wouldn't have changed a thing. We were so overwhelmed by all the love and support we received that day and I can honestly say it was the happiest day of my life. 
(Insert wedding photos here. Can't wait to get the rest! ) 


It has truly been an incredible year and the Lord has done so much in my life. We have been so blessed and the Lord has been faithful to us. He has provided for us in ways where I know it is only because of Him that we have all that we do. While at times it felt like things weren't going to work out, just in time, He came through and as hard as this was to walk through in certain situations, it built that much more trust and faith in my walk with the Lord.

As we are entering a New Year I have spent time thinking about what I want to get out of this year. I can honestly say I do have some personal goals I would like to achieve but most importantly it is my prayer that Andrew and I would continue to grow as individuals and together as we hope to find all that God has for us this year. 

I realize I need certain things in my life and there are areas where I need to improve. A few thoughts for this new year. 

  1. I want to spend more time doing life with those I care about and engaging in real relationships instead of relying solely on social media and my phone (I am so guilty.)
  2. I want to read the Bible all the way through this year. 
  3. I want to trust more and worry less.
  4. I want to spend more time taking care for myself so that I can be a better person for those around me.
  5. I want to document more of what goes on this year through pictures and words so I won't ever forget what our first year of marriage was like.
  6. I want to laugh more and be more spontaneous. I love my planner but I realize at times my plans control me.
  7. I want to be brave enough to do and be all God asks me to do in this next year.
  8. I want to have people over at our house to enjoy being waited on. We finally have the opportunity to do this and after all the meals we have been fed in other people's homes, its exciting that it's our turn.
  9. I want to write more hand written cards to people in my life just to say I care.
  10. I want to spend more time living in the present moment instead of always being ahead of everyone else. 
  11. I want to spend more time praying for other people in my life, including people I struggle to love.
While I realize I have set some hard goals for this next year, I have always been driven my challenges and it is my prayer that I will grow in this next year in ways I never have. 

In the midst of tons of change right now, I am finding that even though nothing in my life feels "normal" right now, I am in the process of creating a new routine and a new normal and in all of it, I am more aware of the Lord's presence and His longing for my attention and reliance on Him. 

New beginnings are always exciting, refreshing, and full of unknowns. I cannot wait to see what this year holds. 






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