Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Leaving the Past & Looking Forward

August 20, 2012

In August of 2005 I knew exactly what I wanted to be; after my first few weeks of architecture courses I was hooked and completely in love with the idea of becoming an architect. My degree was very challenging in many ways and I had to work harder than I ever had for anything else before to earn it.

But over the years this shining goal that I was striving for became tarnished, bit by bit, by some hard facts:

– Becoming a licensed architect takes about 8 years, similar to becoming a doctor, and they don’t earn as much as they should.

– Architecture is a project-based career meaning lots of long hours to meet deadlines and constant stress.

When I think about fact #1, a couple thoughts come to mind…I consider myself to be an efficient person and I personally can’t justify spending so much time, money and effort working towards a career that isn’t going to pay me back. On the other hand if I truly love architecture, shouldn’t it be worth it regardless of compensation? Do I really love architecture as much as I thought I did in the beginning of undergrad? Am I just using this as a reason to quit because I’m lazy and I don’t want to put in the hard work required to become licensed? Or am I just afraid of failure?

Fact #2 is probably the most important one to me…not long after beginning my first semester of undergrad I met Mark and little did I know then but having him in my life would significantly alter what I deemed important. Jump ahead to the present and the top of my “Life Priority List” looks something like this: our future family, our marriage, family and friendships. This is my core. Everything else including money, careers, material things and social status fall below those top items and are in the peripheral. The last thing I want is a career that competes with the top of my list, penetrates my core, steals time from my family and causes me to be stressed.

I worked for a couple of years in a project-based environment and I would find myself thinking about the work I had yet to do when I was at home, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I didn’t wanted to spend time outside of work with my coworkers because they never talked about anything besides the ongoing projects. Their work literally consumed their entire lives and I never ever want to see that happen to me.

It’s not easy for me to come to terms with the fact that I don’t have a life-long career plan. It’s not easy for me to see my friends graduating with their masters degrees and going on to become architects. It’s not easy for me to explain to my parents why I’m not utilizing the degree that they paid for. It’s not easy for me to hold back the tears when I’m innocently asked if I’ve applied for any architecture jobs lately. It’s not easy for me to go to job interviews and explain why I’m pursuing something outside of my degree. It’s not easy for me to swallow my pride and work at an $8.25 an hour job, knowing that I’m capable of much more.

All of these thoughts have been stirring in my heart for a very long time now and it’s something that I’ve prayed about incessantly. In the end, there’s no short answer as to why I am no longer pursuing architecture. That’s why I have written this out; it’s the long answer. Getting all of this off my chest is therapy for me more than anything else; keeping it all bottled up inside for so long was beginning to tear me down.

Basically, I’ve decided to put this behind me and start looking forward. I may not know what my next job will be or where I want to be working in 5, 10, 20 years but I do know this…that I want to be the best wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, cousin and someday mother that I can be. As long as I am doing my best to be those things, I will be happy and I hope that I can continue to trust God and his timing with the rest.

– Afterthought –

Mark and I were talking the other day about how we each came to the decision to attend Texas A&M versus any other school. I realized that I chose A&M for it’s top 10 architecture program; I didn’t even apply anywhere else. Architecture brought me to A&M which led to Mark and I finding each other…if that was the sole purpose of architecture in my life, then I’m OK with that :)

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Verses for the Road Ahead

March 14, 2012

This last week in Austin before the big move has brought on a wave of conflicting emotions; I’m sad to leave my family, my friends and the life we have made here but even more so I’m excited and anxious about beginning again in a new state. There will be a lot of unknowns along the way and in times of uncertainty it can be easy to forget that God is right there by our sides. I know that I’m terribly guilty of this so I’m going to do my best to keep these verses in mind as we embark on this journey together…

Starting with my favorite, my confirmation verse:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going…For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:8 & 10

“…faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” – Psalm 37:23-24

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

New Favorite Verses

June 4, 2011

Over the course of Lent I attempted to crack open my bible for a few minutes every day and for the most part I accomplished that {with the exception of a few days here and there}. I would jot down verses that caught my eye throughout the day and then study them a little more in depth in the evening. I really enjoyed venturing further into the bible and finding tons of passages that resonated with me. Here are a few of my favorites that I discovered:

“Above all, love each other deeplly, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:8-10

I LOVE this verse. Right now I’m not exactly using my God-given talents in my job and that’s something I’ve been struggling with. I want to find a way to use my talents in service to others in a way that is pleasing to God.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4

So many times I find myself standing in my closet pouting because I feel like I have nothing acceptable to wear and I hate it; I hate how much importance is placed on appearances. Thank goodness I have a husband who constantly brings me back to reality and reminds me that I look beautiful whether or not I’m dressed up or even have makeup on.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

This is a tough one but a very good one also. We discovered this verse thanks to Dave Ramsey.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive a inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going…For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:8 & 10

I feel as if this is where I am in my life now…I’m at the beginning of a great journey, the destination of which is still unknown, and all I can do is trust that where I’m headed is a place built by God specifically for me. Thinking of God as the architect of my life is a cool concept that had never crossed my mind before.

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” – James 2:26

Note to self: merely believing is not enough; serve, serve and serve some more.

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven…But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1, 3 & 4

It’s easy to be proud of yourself for doing good and to want to share that experience with others but serving in secret is true service because there is absolutely nothing in it for you.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Pretty much sums it up.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24

This is a big one for me; it completely changes the dynamics of why I’m working in the first place…work as if I’m working for the Lord, not for men.

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-24

I had to break this one down to get the full meaning of it so I pulled out a thesaurus and got to work figuring out what each of these fruits meant to me…

Love: passionate affection, devotion, unconditional

Joy: great delight, elation, gladness

Peace: contentment, tranquility, freedom from distraction, anxiety and conflict

Patience: steady perseverance, even-tempered, diligence, fortitude, poise

Kindness: considerate, helpful, altruistic

Goodness: moral, virtuous, integrity

Faithfulness: true, loyal, constant, reliable, dutiful, devoted, obedient, trustworthy

Gentleness: pleasant, mellow, moderate

Self Control: will, balance, restraint, discipline

I find myself wanting to memorize these great verses so I can have them with me always but for now I’ll continue to write them in my little moleskine notebook. Hopefully someday it will be full of thoughts, verses, inspirations and ideas that I can read back through like a personalized book.

A Time to Retreat

March 8, 2011

” Lent is a time to retreat with Our Father. To confess to Him that we have wandered so far from home and that we have become far too comfortable in the pleasures of this life. To confess to Him how utterly dependent we have become on everything, but Him. And he will gladly receive us back with open arms: not because we demonstrate to Him our growing discipline and holiness, but for the sake of Christ and him alone.”

                                                          ~ Edie @ Life{in}Grace

Growing up, Lent always meant giving up certain indulgences be it candy, cookies or soda; but over time I began to understand what Lent was really all about: prayer, reflection and repentance. Edie’s post on the deeper meaning of Lent really struck a chord with me and has finally given words to the feelings I experience during this season leading up to the Easter celebration.

“Lent begins with this realization. That we are a people in exile. That we are wandering far from our true home.

And thus the beginning of repentance isn’t merely the terror that one finds in wandering in a strange land; the beginning of repentance is homesickness.

Lent teaches us to fess up to how often we settle down in the land of our exile as though it were our true home; attempting to still the yearning the Spirit has created by throwing it at physical or psychological pleasure, and how it never works.”

                                                       ~ Pastor Will Weedon

Year after year, I find myself yearning for a closeness with my Creator and failing miserably to invest the time needed to grow in that relationship. The Lenten season gives me a chance to step back from the world, reflect on my sins and practice Christian discipline. It’s the discipline part where I usually come up short; my intentions are good but eventually life {and the world} get in the way. It seems harmless, just one day without talking to God; but one day turns into two, two turn into a week and before I know it I feel completely disconnected. I’ve found that the more deeply connected I become with the ways of this world, the less connected I become with my faith.

On that note, tomorrow I will delete the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone, ban myself from watching television and begin my Lenten project. My goal is to crack open the bible and read one verse every day, just one. Now, if that one verse happens to lead to reading the entire chaper for context, I will gladly do so. I’ve been trying this out for a few days already and it’s amazing to see how these seemingly random verses pertain to my life. I’m so excited to see where I will find God and how he will lead me in the next 40 days!

Bring On the New

January 5, 2011

At the beginning of every new year, I {along with everyone else in the world} tend to evaluate my life, it’s direction and purpose to see if anything needs tweaking. I’ve never been much on New Years resolutions and I didn’t realize exactly why until I read this quote from my daily email devotional:

“But God knows that these promises and resolutions are often grounded not in His Word but in our flesh. We focus on the end result and not on the process.”

So many times I’ve set out to make a change in my life with only the end result in mind: find a new job, be a better wife, tone up that booty, read more, blog more, set aside time for God. Instead of tackling these goals head on, I need to step back, look within myself and find what is truly hindering my success. In order to find a new job I need to overcome my self confidence issues and fear of failure. In order to be a better wife I need to stop putting myself ahead of my husband and to love him unconditionally and enthusiastically. In order to tone up that booty I’ve got to stop using food as a crutch for my boredom and emotions. In order to read and blog more I need to re-prioritize how I spend my free time, stay off of Facebook and turn off the TV. In order to spend more time with God I need to place more importance on my relationship with Him.

These are all very big, very real issues for me and the bad habits run deep, but I’m going to try my best to make some serious life adjustments this year. With God and the most wonderful husband in the world at my side, I know it’s possible.

I pray that if you have New Years resolutions this year you will take a moment to search for the underlying challenge, the real key to your success.

Happy 2011!

Christmas Eve Prayer

December 24, 2010

Thank you Lord for the anticipation that Christmas Eve brings; the anticipation of Jesus’ birth and Christmas day soon to come.

Thank you for family drawing near to be together and share on this joyous day.

Thank you for the wonderful feeling that I get deep in my heart watching others open gifts, it’s even more meaningful than opening my own.

Thank you that I have family to cherish and gifts to share and please be with those who are not as fortunate this season.

Thank you for sending your Son to be born unto this world already knowing his purpose to die for our sins.

Merry Christmas!

Feminine Appeal

January 22, 2010

This week I began a new bible study with some women from my friend’s church; to be honest I’ve never really participated in a bible study unless you count Sunday school so this is something different for me. In this study we are reading Feminine Appeal, it’s based upon this passage from Titus 2:

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can teach the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Here we, as women, are given seven feminine virtues to live by: loving my husband, loving my children, self-control, purity, honor in working at home, kindness and submission. As we delve further into the book we will be learning how each of these virtues relate to our daily, modern lives.

I’m really looking forward to how God will reveal Himself to me through this study. Being a relatively young wife, I know that I still have a lot to learn; most of the women in the study group have been married for 8+ years and have kids so I’m hoping to learn as much as I can from them and their experiences.

Revelation

January 12, 2010

I have this bad tendency of worshiping God in waves…everything in life is going fine and I get caught up in my daily routine and forget about Him, slowly things begin to shift and my life seems to careen out of control until I end up running back to God, crying for help. It’s in those little moments of complete trust and dependence that I catch a glimpse of how small and insignificant I am and how wonderful our God is.

Over the past few months I’ve had a few struggles that continue, time and time again, to bring me to my knees asking for help and guidance. Through my prayers God revealed to me two very simple yet incredibly meaningful truths:

God loves each and every person just as you love Mark.

I love Mark. The love I feel for him is the strongest, most powerful emotion I have ever felt. It hurts me to be away from him for more than an hour. God has blessed me with this love so that I can finally understand how much He loves me. It hurts God when I forget to pray or when I think I can live without Him.

Love is all that is real…everything else is superficial.

This is so simple {which I why I love it}. Love is the only thing in this world that is REAL. Everything else that we place importance upon only appears to be true until examined more closely. Our jobs don’t matter. Our possessions don’t matter. Our status doesn’t matter. Our money doesn’t matter. If we don’t live to love others then we aren’t living at all, we are drifting along in our UNREAL lives.

In light of these mini-revelations and the beginning of a fresh, new year I’m going to strive to BE REAL and to LOVE MORE.

I think “real” is rapidly becoming one of my new favorite words, right up there with “simple.”

Lesson Learned

November 3, 2009

Lately I’ve been becoming more and more restless with my current job; I am not being challenged, my skills are under-appreciated {heck, unknown} and my four years of college education aren’t being utilized. It’s time for a change, a change for the better, a step up in life, a job that I love.

My problem is that despite my wonderful recommendations from former employers and classmates I’m not 100% confident in myself, nor am I overly proactive. I’ve been so blessed in my life to have so many wonderful opportunities seemingly fall at my feet that now, when the pickings are sparse, I am at a loss for knowing the next step.

Then my dad introduced to me this excerpt from Luke 18:

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.”

These verses have welled up in me a motivation to strive for what I deserve, for something out of my reach. God is teaching me a great lesson through this difficult situation; He is teaching me not to settle for anything less than what He has designed me to do. I thought that I could get away with working just for the money, but now I know what is missing: passion. I was made to create, to be a perfectionist and to work hard; nothing less than that will ever fill my life with satisfaction.

Time to learn to be like the persistent widow.

Lifehouse’s Everything Skit

April 17, 2009

I know this has been circulating around for a while but I just came across this video again a few days ago and it continues to amaze me. The song and the story that goes along with it are so moving, I find myself with tears in my eyes every time I watch this…just thought I would share…