Thursday, March 31, 2011

Woman's Conference in Review

I know I am a little late getting this posted, but oh well, here I go. Last Saturday I was invited by Eileen (my mother in law) to go to the women's conference at her church. Since I am all about encouragement these days, I felt that it couldn't have fallen at a better time. I definitely wanted to go and have been so blessed that I did. I learned so much during those 6 hours. The speaker, Dr. Judih K TenElshof, was phenomenal, despite the fact that she is a professor at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. I mean, everything about her talk was SO great. The topic of the conference was By Design, with an emphasis on Psalm 86:11 "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an Undivided Heart, that I may fear your name." She spoke on 3 women of the Bible: Eve, Ruth, and Sampson's mother, going into explicit detail of their lives. She started off with the question, that was carried throughout the day, "How can we be women of God who impact the kingdom of God?" She first explained the life of Eve.

  1. The serpent, a beautiful creature, made her feel important. This made her forget that God and Adam were present. She longed for independence, which most women do. She was misconceived that she could do it on her own.

  2. She was lured by position, that they would look up to her if she ate of the apple.

  3. She was caught up in knowledge. If knowledge only goes to your head and not to your heart, what good does that do? There's a drive of eveil in us and God's spirit teaches us what's in our hearts.

  4. She was tempted by envy- to know what God wanted. Envy turns into bitterness, which runs deep in our heart, which eventually causes our heart to harden.

  5. She was tempted with permission, which says it's ok to practice sin.

  6. Ulimately, a lie is what deceived her. The lie grew into more lies, and we have followed that lie in our own lives. How does satin use a lite to destruct our own life: by saying that it is a lie to submit to our husband. However, Jesus is our husband 1st; He will give us the love we need. When we are close to God we can submit with love to our husband. God should be out source of love that never runs out. God is the only one that can fill the emptiness of love in our heart.

Secondly, she went over the life of Ruth (Chapters 1 & 2) in extensive detail. She explained that Ruth did not embrace her commitments without adversity. God made us in His image and it was completely relational. God made families, specifically parents, to awaken their child's relation to the world and God.

Lies that are in our heart, but also in the heart of Naomi (who felt alone because her husband died and left alone in a place she is unfamiliar with):

  1. God will not provide-there was no community support for Naomi

  2. Is God really good?- there is famine in the land

  3. Am I worthy of God's love?

The situation for Naomi left her lost in touch with the truth that God left with her. She became bitter, however, God can change the evil in our lives for the good. Ruth made a strong commitment to Naomi in Ruth 1:16-18, to stay with her and to not leave and go back to her home-land.

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

The secure relationship she had with Naomi bound them together. They interdepended on each other, and Ruth received much from Naomi, as much as Naomi received from Ruth. This shows how God uses people to fill the relationship voids we have. Ruth and Naomi were able to repair the difficulty in their relationship, through verse 18. Despite the fact that Ruth came from a different land, she humbled herself through her commitment to stay and live with Naomi. She humbled herself to work in the fields. She expected nothing, which really captures the humility she embraced. Through all of this, Ruth had the ability to trust; she trusted the environment from Naomi. She also portrayed courage, too, because she trusted. You find courage through the people that believe in you. Ruth's faithfulness to God came through Naomi.

She then preceded to go through 6 messages of truth to us from God (through Ruth's life):

  1. "I believe in you, because I created you" This should inspire us to get to know God as much as He knows us.

  2. "I trust in you" He trusts us with the earth and the environment. He trust His work on us. Are we letting Him do His work? If not, we aren't trusting His plan for us.

  3. "I know you can handle life's situations" Are we handling them on our own?

  4. "You are listened to" No matter what we bring to Him, He listens. He cares for us in the midst of it. He's big enough to hear our anger. He hears when we lie to ourself or tell the truth, so why are we afraid to talk to Him (Because telling it to God makes it real. We are only lying to ourselves by keeping it from Him. We are afraid to be what we are)?

  5. "We are cared for by Him" He will give us what we need" Sometimes what we need is absence from Him. He tells us we are ready to have faith. Faith is walking in darkness and believing He is still there.

  6. "You are important to me" He gave us gifts that He didn't give to anyone else; we are His workmanship.

I loved her analogy that faith is like a tandum bike ride: if Jesus is in the front seat, the ride is less predictable. We need to trust him, to just pedal and shut up. However, if we are in the front seat, we are leading. Although this is more predictable and safe, we are the one's leading and Jesus is not.

Lastly, she went over the faithful calling of Sampson's mother (my personal favorite!) from Judges 13 (I encourage you to read the chapter-great stuff!!). She began this section by saying that man needs woman. Why did the angel appear to a woman- because she would believe. Women tend to believe in their experiences beyond men. Men= thoughts connected to action. Women = thoughts connected to feelings. God created us different. We need to be excited for who God has created us to be. Woman is called to be mans help-mate, however, we both are made for the same purpose-- to reflect God's image. God loves us as much as he loves His son Jesus. Man and woman should be mutually dependent for each other and have a desire to know each other and be vulnerable to be known. We need each other and relationship. However, women need to be careful that they do not overcome men, but to come alongside them. Sampson's mom was firm in what she heard in her experience. She was unshaken in her commitment to the Angel of the Lord. She was faithful to be a help-mate--she did not give up on him.

I learned so much from her talk, not only for me as a woman, to be faithful and obedient to his calling on my life, but as a wife to Adam, and our life together, too. I am so glad that I am learning some solid material on how to be a better wife to Adam, while he is away, so that our marriage can be stronger when he returns. Glad that the conference came at the right time for me, spiritually, too.

I hope that you all enjoyed the notes I took from the lecture, because I thoroughly enjoyed it :D

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Loving our Neighbors

Encouragement. It's more than just a long word to spell. It's something that's so small, yet makes a huge difference. So many times I feel as if we (I'm definitely included) get caught up in focusing on ourselves and all the problems of our lives, forgetting that other people are struggling just like us, even our own family and friends. Our culture raises us up to be focused on ourselves, but that's not the point of our life. I know that I have discussed this previously, but we were created for such a different purpose: to love God first and others second. You cannot separate the love for God and others; they should be intwined, for they are the two greatest commandments. When we are loving God, it is portrayed to others, and vice versa. So many of us separate these into different categories and fail to see the needs and desires of our neighbors. God calls us to be so much more than just intrinsically focused, yet we still tend to dwell on our own issues. Since this has really been on my heart lately, I wanted to provide some scriptural support if anyone was curious. Here are just some bible verses that preach this, however, there are others:

  1. Leviticus 19:18

  2. Mathew 5:43-44

  3. Mathew 22:37-39

  4. Romans 12:10 & 13-21

  5. Romans 13:9-10

  6. Galatians 5:14

  7. James 2:8

I hope that you too find this to be encouraging. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crafty Encouragement

In light of me feeling the need to step outside of myself, I have been encouraged to send out thoughtful cards to some friends who I know are in need of encouragement. It's so easy to do, plus you are having fun in the process! Here is one of the cards I made:

Hope you feel inspired, too!

Friday, March 25, 2011

An Encouraging Update on Adam

This week has proven to be a very encouraging week for me, and it is not yet quite over. On Tuesday I was pretty tired as I had gotten sick to my disbelief. As I layed down to rest, my phone rang and to my surprise Adam was on the other line! So there is much to update you all about his well-being.

  1. He is doing very well!! So good to hear is loving voice!

  2. They are now responisble for keeping watch, and Adam does every 3rd day. Thus, he is tired most days.

  3. The food is not terrible other than having the same meal every day. They can only have 3 meals a day, thus Adam reports he is hungry all the time, nothing new :]

  4. There are some immature guys who don't follow directions, thus making their workouts longer than necessary.

  5. He is making some friends and gets along with his bunkmate pretty well.

  6. He passed his first study test and only has 1 or 2 more study tests, the rest are field tests.

  7. They got fitted for 3 other uniforms and will be wearing his blues for graduation.

  8. He needs to improve his marching skills, enough said.

  9. He will be an expert bed-maker and laundry folder when he returns, thankfully ;D

  10. Mail call is his favorite part of the day and is what gets him through each day, so join me in sending him mail every day for extra encouragement and support!

As time is flying by and the date of his graduation comes closer and closer, I see God working in our lives. At this point I feel as if Adam was meant to do this. God has been speaking to me in different ways, letting me know that He is seeing this all through. He has gone before us and knows what is to come. But not only that, He is with us as we are experiencing it NOW.

God has been providing for us in some pretty amazing ways. Just yesterday I went to get financially cleared for gradutation, thinking that I would have to owe the school for the times I have stayed on-campus, and to my surprise the school actually owes US!! How amazing is that? I know that I am blessed to have my mom work at my school, but how humbling is it to know that God takes care of his children?!? It really makes me step-back from my perspective and realize how blessed I really am. I mean, it may be hard for me now, but God is with me, and whom then shall I fear? If I truly say I am trusting God, then I should not doubt his plan for me, period.

I have been thoroughly enjoying my Theology of the Christian Life class. On Thursday we were discussing a chapter from a book by N.T. Wright. The chapter was putting the Christian faith into perspective for me. He says the point of Christianity is not living your life to get to Heaven. Yes, it will be nice to not suffer eternally in hell, but that is not the reason for our existing. He reveals ways of living between heaven and earth. We need to renounce and lose ourself and find God's spirit anew in our lives, and to rediscover our humanness in Him. So many of us focus on our future, heaven; however, the point of our lives is to be living in the now. To live our lives in such a manner that people see Christ through our DAILY actions. This is what I am trying to do, yet it becomes hard when the materialness of the world gets in the way. I wonder what the world when look like if we all lived our lives authentically for Christ?

Please continue to be keeping Adam and I in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Life is Now Complete

To all of you who truly know me, The Office is my favorite show of ALL time. On tonights episode, Michael Scott, the man no one thought would find true love, proposes to his perfect match, Holly. I love where the show is going and the proposal is so cute! I just had to share it with you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Got a Golden Letter!!

Today we have been married for 8 months and today I finally received a letter from Adam! It came at just the right time and is so encouraging to me.

To summarize the letter to give you an idea of how he is:

  1. He misses me! Going on 35 days until I see him graduate!
  2. He is properly suited for full duty, 8 shots later...
  3. He passed his swimming test on the first try, to all of our surprise!
  4. Boot camp is not as hard as he expected
  5. He hates making his bed

This is exactly what I have been waiting to hear, not exactly this, but that he is doing well. So glad he wrote me 2 1/2 pages!! Although it is hard being separated from each other, I know that we are growing deeper in love through the separation, and that we are learning to rely on God's strength, comfort, and promises. Only 4 more months until 1 year of marriage :D

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Thankful Sunday

God tells us to cast all our desires, cares, and concerns on Him, and He will renew our soul. I know that I need to keep track of all my blessings, instead of all my worries, fears and concerns, so here are some things that I am really thankful for at the moment:

  1. That I had a pleasant time with my in-laws at Doheny Beach, when I went up there for a day. Beautiful weather, beautiful company, and scary birds!
  2. Had a great time celebrating my Dad's birthday with my family and grandparents. Good food, great laughs, and yummy cheesecake!
  3. Getting to spend more quality, fun time with my brother while I am here at APU
  4. Hearing the testimony of Brian Welch, former lead guitarist of the band Korn, and how God transformed his life into a follower of Him. Only God could do this kind of transformation!
  5. Oh, and to top off the list, I made the Deans List at APU for my grade point average!!!! Go me!!! [or actually go God for putting my knowledge to the test!!]

At the moment, these are the things that God has blessed me with, to allow me to get through this weekend. So glad that I enjoyed this weekend. These things will help me get through this next week. Until then, I will hopefully find more ways that God is revealing himself to me, I just have to be receptive to Him. :]