Holy Boldness

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I am praying a powerful prayer in my life. I am asking for a holy boldness in my life. I am asking for a strength that is not my own. I want to be used beyond what I can do on my own. I want to do things that take me out of my comfort zone, that take me quiet literally out of my house. I want to be used by the Lord in ways that I never thought possible. I don’t want to settle or be mediocre in my life. I don’t want second best.

Quite honestly it’s a terrifying thing to ask. I like to be comfortable and not step away from what is familiar. Aren’t we all like that? We say that we want to travel the world and to take that step of faith but isn’t there usually a fear or what some consider a form of rationality that stops us from our dreams and taking that step of faith?

I know that I have written that I want more. But to start praying for it…y’all prayer is a powerful thing. When you believe and truly mean it and are expecting for something to happen. When you are completely surrendered, ready, and willing. Be ready. That’s all I got to say. His plans for you are bigger than you ever thought.

And how he can use such tiny things to get you ready for such huge things. It’s mind blowing and how he can use you for such bigger things than you thought. There is such freedom in this surrender.

Let me be honest though, this surrender is not easy. It hurts. It has meant sacrificing some things. Things that have been very important to me. People that are very important to me. But I’ve had to let go of because the Lord has called me for a very specific purpose and has brought me to a very specific point in my life, as he does with all of us. I know that he has called you, my friends, and my family to different things. These things are meant for you all, just as this is meant for me.

As I pray for this holy boldness to be in his will and follow his direction, I pray for the blood covering and protection over my life. This is because I know that the enemy is real and fights hard, especially if you are trying to follow the Lord. He has brought my depression and anxiety to the forefront of my struggles again. These are not things that I like to talk about or disclose to many people but they effect my everyday life. I know it has stopped me from things before. However, I know that the Lord has used these things before too.

I am thankful for the favor and the boldness that he has given me before and that he will continue to give me, as I take this step of faith. One step is me sharing this blog with the people that I know and I’m friends with. Those of you that have found this blog so far have stumbled upon it. And I am beyond grateful that you have. Now I have to get over my fear and let people that I know in.

My hope and prayer for each of us is that the Lord gives us the holy boldness that we need. The holy boldness in whatever area it is, whether it’s to love, forgive, step out in faith, speak up, slow down, surrender, or whatever other myriad of things you can think of. I pray that you have the holy boldness to do it, conquer it, overcome it, grown in it, share it, and be it.

May you all have a blessed night or morning! God is up to something…just you watch!

Shalom!

~Lynn

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My Backyard, Charlottesville

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There isn’t much between here and the city where UVA resides. I personally love the city of Charlottesville and have gone there quite frequently. I almost stopped through there today and then to see it all over the news again. The fact that there are still anti-Semitic and racist people in this country, quite honestly blows my mind. It blows my mind because I can’t fathom thinking that someone is less than me because of their race, religion, or background. And yet, there are still people who think like that.

No one is less than another based on their race, gender, background, religion, etc. We are all created in the Lord’s image and are descendants of Adam and Eve. Jesus loves all of us. Why can we not accept this?

I honestly watched several documentaries over the last few days about what happened with the Nazis and their targets during World War II. Then I quite honestly watched a documentary called the “The Last White Knight.” I had no idea that there was a rally planned this morning or that there was a march, designed to intimidate last night on UVA’s campus. My heart was breaking to watch these documentaries and then to see it playing out in real time, in my home’s backyard. Oy….my heart breaks for my community.

My heart is scared of what road this could lead to. We cannot be okay as a society and humanity as a whole, when this is going on. Maybe because it’s not happening close to you, you can disconnect from it. That’s a problem…quite honestly, that’s what happened with Hitler and the Nazis. People were too scared to say anything and stayed quiet, for too long. I don’t want the past to be repeated. I had more hope for humanity. This is not the legacy that I want to leave.

For too long, too many of us have been silent. We think it doesn’t impact us. But it does. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr. Whether it is our community or not, it impacts us.

The response by the man in the White House, quite literally makes my blood boil. He is so ignorant. And he chooses to be that way. This is what infuriates me more. Thankfully this helps to fuel me. Education is a powerful weapon and one that I intend to use moving forward.

Please remember Nelson Mandela’s quote:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Do something. Speak up. Use the platform that you have been given. Advocate for truth and justice.

Shalom!

~Lynn

Limbo

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I feel as though I am in limbo.

I don’t know what to do

Which way to go

Or who I can turn to.

What I once thought that I knew

Hast seemingly vanished in the wind.

The dreams and plans,

That I had once followed,

Have been tossed aside.

I am at a loss.

I do not know what is next.

Things that had once made sense,

Have been washed away

By the storms of life.

The rolling in of the tide,

Has pulled my dreams out to sea.

They are lost is the great big ocean.

Where do I go now?

Who is on my side?

Can I trust what is next?

Only time will tell.

But I really want out of this hell.

Don’t Despise the Ordinary

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While I don’t remember where I heard the phrase anymore, it has stuck with me.

Don’t despise the ordinary but seek the extraordinary.”

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I think I heard it on a sermon but again I’m not sure. It is written on a sticky note that I have posted on my computer at my desk. I literally look at this simple phrase every single day. I think it is a powerful phrase and one that challenges me every day.

I honestly have to remind myself of this every day. Even when the Lord points out something extraordinary to me in a very simple moment, whether its in my quiet time, or during a simple conversation with a friend.  He catches me off guard still when he uses someone to say a simple phrase or uses them to show me his love that day.

So often we get lost in the monotony of our day to day lives. Sometimes we go through the motions, not really connecting to who or what is around us. I know that I have been guilty of it. I miss out on the little things and the big things that are happening and then often lose sight of what the Lord is doing in my life. Or I get so caught up in the future and what the next major step is that I forget to be engaged in the life that I am currently living. Sometimes I can get super focused on praying and fasting for the future or for someone else that I lose focus of what Jesus is trying to do in my own life.

There are may layers to that simple statement. “Don’t despise the ordinary.” Just because you may not have a glamorous job or be where you want to be, do not despise it. Do not miss out on where you are and who you are with. You are there for a reason and a purpose. Maybe you are to learn something, maybe you are to cross paths with someone and pour into them or they into you. You don’t know why you are where you are. Don’t miss out on it.

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Do not despise the job that you have, even if it isn’t your career aspiration.  Do not doubt the church that you are at or the community that you are in. Be engaged and be involved. Do not ignore the people that you engage with every day or ignore the interactions that you have with them. Do not despise the simple home that you may live in or the car that you may drive. Appreciate the simple things of having the clothes, running water, food, a roof over your head, etc.

My challenge to you and to myself is that you spend time praying and asking him to meet you there in the ordinary events of your life. Ask him to use you and give you the words to speak during the day. It’s something I am working on asking Jesus to do every day in my own life. It’s a challenge because he will do crazy things if you are open to being used by him.

This brings us to the second part of the statement. “Seek the extraordinary.” In those ordinary moments, seek for Jesus to meet you there in that moment with that co-worker, friend, family member, or stranger.  Seek the extraordinary to happen in your life. Don’t settle. Look for the greatness and expect to see big things. Jesus will show up and blow your mind.  He will reveal things to you.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

He wants us to experience the extraordinary things. He may call us to write or speak to large groups of people, small groups of people, or minister to someone one on one. He may have us sit in cubicle or answer phones. But if you seek Jesus, he will reveal himself to you in mighty ways.

Do not be frustrated with where you are that you miss out on the opportunities that are right in front of you. Extraordinary things can happen there. And don’t settle for less than greatness. Go after your big dreams and trust that the Lord will be with you as you pursue those, even when it doesn’t always go according to your plans and expectations. Trust him. He has you. He’s gotten you this far and he will get you even further.

Don’t despise the ordinary but seek the extraordinary.

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He can do extraordinary things in ordinary moments in your life. Remember God is always up to something.

Shalom!

~Lynn

Almost But Not Quite Right

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As I said in my last post, I wanted to share my journey with why Teach For America, while a good opportunity and a wonderful organization, was not the best fit for me. It was not something great for me, rather just an almost but not quite right opportunity.

Dad mentioned to me the possibility of looking into this when I was home back in October. I had gone home for my cousin’s wedding and we were sitting around a fire talking. He mentioned that he had come across this organization and told me to look into it. It sounded right up my ally so I took a shot and started to apply. Not even two days later, someone reached out to me to answer any questions.

As I was talking to her I was overwhelmed with a sense of excitement and “THIS IS IT.” I loved what the organization stood for and wanted to get involved. Education is a passion of mine and it’s what I went to school for. I went to help every student to know their worth and provide the best education to each student regardless of what social class or town they are born in. I remember having tears coming to my eyes as she was talking to me about it.

I decided to continue the process. I was selected to have an interview. I completed the next steps and took a trip to Richmond to have an interview. I created a lesson plan and presented it to the group, met with the recruiter and had mixed feelings. As excited as I was, I felt like I was somewhat out of place. I was interviewing with a bunch of seniors in college, I finished undergrad in December 2009. The woman I spoke to reassured me and said that there are other people my age who have made a change in their career or decided to pursue teaching.

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I thought about it and was like alright this sounds good still. I already have my teaching license so this should be a great fit. I don’t need to worry about some of the things that these other people would if I was chosen. Low and behold, I was selected to join the Corps, as it’s called. I was ecstatic. I was like, this is a sign, this is it. I thought, this is the thing that is going to get me to Washington, D.C. They have placements there and that’s where I want to be.

More flags came up, making me question this. I had to put in my top choices. Obviously, I had put Washington, D.C. at the top of my list. While I was open to other possibilities, I really felt like the Lord was calling me to D.C. The woman I spoke to, shot my dreams down hard. She told me that’s the most requested place and it’s not possible. She told me it was a pipe dream. So I talked through some other options and second best places. Nothing else felt right. So I put down choices because I had to. I kept praying and believing that the Lord would work it out to have D.C. open if this was supposed to be it but pray that he would make it clear if I was supposed to somewhere else. I was trying to follow Jesus and where he was directing me. I didn’t want to be anywhere outside that.

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I waited for a few days for the notification of where I would be placed for the next two years. I was anxious for a few days. I got my results back and they were for Baltimore to teach English. I was heartbroken. I was honestly somewhat insulted. I had told them that I already had my license in social studies, had the missed that. I had to put a second choice down so I had put down English but that doesn’t make any sense. I honestly thought I had completely missed something, as I thought that everything had fallen into place.

The guy from Teach For America Baltimore called me. I expressed my hesitation to me. He tried to convince me. We can update your placement to social studies. You’re close to D.C and you can go visit it on the weekends. It’s cheaper to live here and less crowded. It’s almost where you wanted. It’s pretty close to it. And that struck me. It was almost but not quite. It was my second choice for location and subject. Yea it seemed ok, as I would be teaching and making a difference and close to home and where I was trying to get to but it wasn’t quite it.

It didn’t sit right with me. It felt off. This was all plan B and not my first choice or what I wanted. It wasn’t my goal. I wasn’t going to leave where I was with a good job and life for something that was almost but not quite. This was not the leap of faith that I was supposed to take. This was turning into me settling for something that would have been good but not great. It wasn’t where I was supposed to go next. I was going to have to go without pay for 2 months, live in a dorm, figure out what to do with my animals, figure out how to pay my bills, including insurance, figure out where to move, etc.

While I know that the Lord could and would provide, if it was something I was supposed to do. It wasn’t the right fit. Yet I told them yes. I kept it on the back burner. It was my plan B. I wasn’t trusting the Lord for a while because I wouldn’t let it go. I had a couple more conversations with the people from the organization. More flags came up. They hadn’t changed my subject preference, there was a budget crisis and I kept missing deadlines. After months of quite honestly being disobedient and holding on to something that was almost but not quite, I finally told them no. I finally let it go. I didn’t defer to the next year. I just told them, it wasn’t right for me.

If I knew that I wanted to be in a high needs area, and I already have my license and my master’s degree, why would I not look for job opportunities myself? Why would I not look in the area that I wanted to? I knew it was just a reminder from the Lord to trust him and to not settle for good when he has the best for me. While something may look good and be almost, it’s better to wait for the exact right thing that he has for you. And if you are seeking to be in his will, he will make it evident the direction you are to go.

He had blessed me so much in the months since I made the choice to turn down this opportunity. For me it was good but not great. For someone else, this is a great opportunity. I still love what the organization stands for and think it’s great for someone fresh out of college, or someone who isn’t already licensed and making a career change. They will help you to get your master’s and help you to get your license. So I definitely recommend it for someone like that but it wasn’t the right fit for me and that’s fine. God was up to something the whole time and he has not left me disappointed or feeling like I missed out on something.

God is always up to something, and this experience taught me a lot about myself and the direction that I want to be going.

Shalom my friends!

~Lynn

I’m Not Settling

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I realized this morning that I wanted to explain part of the reason why I posted the piece that I did last night. Over the past week, I have had multiple conversations with people, who do not know each other and have brought up the importance of not settling into mediocrity and less than what you deserve. I heard it from three different people. For me when something is presented three times, it’s definitely something I need to pay attention to.

It led me to write the piece that I posted last night. While it seems that it is directed toward past relationships, it’s also for those who have doubted me and my abilities.  This is in response to many people throughout my life. They make assumptions about what I can and cannot do. I am sure that we all have people like that in our lives.

For some, it breaks a person’s spirit, and it has done that to me, time and time again. For some it inspires them and motivates them to go harder. It gives us the gumption and mentality that I will prove them wrong. God is up to something in my life and I am fully invested in what that is.  I will not be completely crushed or destroyed any longer. I will not sit by idly. This may not look how you think it should, nor how I thought it should but Jesus’ hand is in it and he knew how it was going to be the whole time.

Through this process of finally coming to this realization, it has led to some very isolated moments and times where I have felt more alone than I ever thought possible. It has opened the doors though to some great conversations with people who feel the same way. There are many people who are going after “the more” that I wrote about a few weeks ago and feel just as lonely as I do. And in reality, we are not alone. And we can encourage each other not to settle for mediocrity and less than what we deserve.

I’m learning the importance of maintaining community and having heartfelt conversations with people about these things. The Lord has provided me the right people in each moment to keep me going. It surprises me every time and blesses me in such unexpected ways.

If you want something, go for it no matter how many times you may seem to have been beaten down. Rarely are things of worth easily handed to us. We have to invest and fight for it. Jesus will give you the tools to make it, even if it means isolation for a time.

Don’t settle my friends. You are worth so much more. Don’t let lack of support from people bring you down. Use it as fuel for the fire. Know that you are not alone.

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Stay tuned for my upcoming post about why joining Teach For America would have been settling for me, even though I want to teach.

Have a blessed Monday!

Shalom

~Lynn

Placeholder

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I refuse to be a placeholder

I will not be some kind of settlement

You cannot play me like a yo-yo

Picking me up and putting me down

Choosing when I fit into your life

Without any concern for me.

I am a catch

The one who is worth the wait

I’m the prize at the end of the race

The thing that you strive to attain

And work to keep

The one that you do anything to get.

I will not be rag doll

Whom you toss to the side

That you beat up

Or forget about.

I am worth so much more than that

It’s not my fault that you missed out

Don’t come cry to me

When you wake up

And change your mind

You had your chance

You made your choice

And I’ve moved on.

That’s what happens

When a woman learns

Who she is

Knows her worth

And goes after what she wants.

She won’t settle.

She won’t look back.

She won’t dwell on the past.

Instead I will move on.

I will look forward.

I will leave you all

To just be distant memories

And nothing more than lesson’s learned.

I will not be a placeholder

Nor will I be someone to settle on.

I know my worth

I know what I want

And I will settle for nothing less.

The More

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It would make sense for me to be happy right now, sitting in this beautiful apartment, that I pay for with a roommate, on this nice furniture that I have acquired on my own. There is a nice tv, we have cable, internet, roku, air conditioning, laptops, kindles, iphones, etc. And I can pay for this all on my own. I do have a roommate who helps with the rent but it’s not a bad place to live. I have been able to decorate it and we have electric and running water. I have a nice balcony and two fur babies.

It sounds great and it is great. It’s more than what I had when I finished college. I am blessed beyond belief with all these things. I remember I literally stole a blow up air mattress from my parent’s house to sleep on. I was so determined to make it on my own, without too much help from my parents. (They definitely helped me along the way.) I really can’t say that I have done all this on my own.

I had been living with my friend’s parents while I did my student teaching and wanted to go out on my own. I didn’t want to live with parents anymore. I was stubborn and didn’t want to go home but didn’t quite want to grow up either. So someone who had lived across the hall from me the one year told me that she had a house with another girl and said I could move in. I jumped at the chance. I went home for Christmas, not telling my parents that I had moved out of my friend’s house but just that I was going back to Lynchburg to try and make it work.

I moved into a house where we did not have heat for the first couple months. We had oil heat and it was expensive. The girls didn’t want to pay for it until we had two more people living in the house. So I got a space heater, again, I am pretty sure that I got that from my parent’s house too. I remember darting from my room to the bathroom to the other girls’ rooms, as we each had a space heater. It’s a wonder that our pipes didn’t burst. It was a miserable winter and it was literally like 52 in the house. I remember vividly seeing that on the thermostat and watching my breath on more than one occasion. There is a lot more that happened in that house but that’ll be for another time.

I moved several times since then and have been in this particular apartment for 4 years. It’s beautiful really, vaulted ceilings, a huge walk in closet, and garden tub. It blows my mind pretty much every day that I am blessed to live in this place with so much square footage and so many things.

And yet…

 

Something seems to be off. Something isn’t quite right. While I have this beautiful space, that has truly become home to me, as I can relax and unwind after a long day, something is missing. And it’s not just in this place. It’s something in my life. I am blessed beyond words with what I have, I really truly am and I know that even as I reflect back on the past few years and what the Lord has provided for me. Words can’t express how truly grateful I am and alas I am not completely happy.

There is a shift that has happened in the past bit, and I say bit because I cannot exactly pinpoint where this shift happened. And I honestly want more, not more stuff. I actually want to get rid of some of the things. I have a closet full of things that I don’t wear because I forget that I have them.

I want more to my life. I’m just not quite sure what the means or what that looks like. So I wait and see what that means and trust that the Lord does have more. He has to have more in store. And I want to honestly be open to whatever that more is…as terrifying as it may be.

Shalom!

~Lynn

Take that Step

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Why do we not take the time to be informed or look to social media for our information about the events that are occurring in the world around us? Why do we not take the time to look into the news and find out the truth for ourselves. We would rather it just be spoon fed to us and told how to think and what to believe because it’s easier that way. We don’t have to challenge our own thoughts and values. We can just feel and believe how someone else tells us to. It’s easier that way right? Why be an individual and challenge the status quo? Why make a ripple and cause dissension? Why stand up for what’s right and just? It’s easier to just sit on the sidelines and not worry about putting in any effort. No one is going to listen to us or notice us anyway, right? That’s how I have felt in the past. And every time that I feel like I have something that I should fight for and something that I should stand up about, there seem to be all sorts of things in the way to keep me from actually succeeding and making a change.

Let me give you my example of today and how I ended up writing this blog. I have been thinking about how I wanted to get involved with working with the youth and mentoring. Let me tell you, this has been on my mind for years. I have tried at multiple churches to get involved in their youth groups and I’ve been looked over or not been the right fit. I wanted to teach high school, and well I’m not yet.

A few months ago, at this point, I went to a meeting of women entrepreneurs and I felt so on fire to get involved again. One lady suggested getting connected at the YWCA because I shared my passion for wanting to connect with younger women and helping them in their journey. I put it off for works and then called. The lady who runs the program was out. I let a few more weeks go by and then called again. This time I was told that I was to come down and fill out a volunteer application in person. Great, I’ll do it by the end of the week. We are now at two weeks later. I’m ready early for the day so I decide to get my butt off my couch and go down. It feels right and like it’s the time. I put the address in my GPS, and it says that they are closed today.

Now, you could say it’s my own fault for delaying and putting this off. You can say, well maybe it’s not the right time. And give me all sorts of other reasons why I shouldn’t pursue this. I have been giving myself all sorts of reasons why not to pursue this as well. But I will not let this disappointment keep me from doing it this time. I have put it off for far to long and know that I have this passion and desire on my heart for a reason.

Now this may seem like I’ve diverted quite a bit from where my blog originally started but I assure you that it didn’t. My heart has been breaking as I keep looking at the state of where things are in our country. The state of the education system and the level of involvement that people have in their communities. I have finally decided to actively engage in my community and it’s like wall after wall is preventing me from getting involved. Because I am finally tired of not giving back and not investing. I want the kids that are growing up to know that they are of importance and that they have a voice and can make a difference, even when it seems like everything is against them. I’m a living testimony of that.

And maybe that’s why I am going through it. So I can relate to them. Yes we will face adversity and yes people won’t support you or believe in you but you have to believe in yourself. You are not alone in this. We all feel this way and we all have to overcome something to get to where we are trying to go. But we should not give up when it gets hard. Nothing that is worth it ever comes easy. It’s something that I have to remind myself of and I want to help remind others of.  It’s part of why I write and why I want to speak and invest in those around me.

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Honestly, I know that this is just the beginning and I need to keep pursuing. I hope that you all keep pursuing whatever passion and desire that has been laid on your heart. Share your story with someone. We all need a little inspiration and encouragement from time to time. It’s never too late to pursue your dreams and goals or to make a difference.

Shalom!

~Lynn

Rush to Get Home

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I am not in a rush

A rush to get home

To sit there alone

Wishing I was sharing this place.

Instead,

It’s only empty space.

There’s a dent in the cushion.

Where you once sat.

Did I dream that?

A cold spot on the bed.

Nowhere warm,

To lay my head.

Instead,

My thoughts flip over.

They torment the slow times.

Drag me to dark places

And deep spaces.

Where I fight

and I claw.

To catch my breath

To go to what’s next.

And pray

Pray that I can move on.

I pray for peace

And for happiness.

I pray this for me

But honestly

I mostly pray it for you

And for all that you do.

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Shalom

~Lynn