Friday, March 29, 2013

High 5 For Friday!

This week has been so wonderful! <3 

1. I accepted the job offer! In two weeks, I am going to be an HR Manager for a company that provides counseling and rehabilitative services to the community! I am not going to lie: I'm most excited about getting to paint my nails again, wearing cute work clothes, and having my own office.

2. I went for a run yesterday! I decided to start over on the C25K running program. Its what got me running three years ago, and since I've had to take such a long break, I decided to just start over and start slowly. That way my body can ease back into running. I had a little knee pain, but it wasn't too bad and it was so great to be out in the spring weather running again, even if it was more walking than running in the first workout.

3. Every Tuesday nights, a few girlfriends come over for bible study. We are going through the book Beautiful Battlefields, by Bo Stern (and I'm giving away a copy-please check out my giveaway here!) Sometimes we like to have theme nights, and Tuesday was Mexico night! We had Tacos, chips and guacamole, and a yummy mexican corn salad. Oh, and a few margaritas! Some nights are really deep, great conversations about the battles in our lives, the sin we're struggling with, and what God is teaching us. And other nights, like this Tuesday, we just end up having girl talk and laughing til we cried. It was just what we all needed.

4. Today is Good Friday which not only am I off for work, but it is the day that Jesus displayed his love for me, and for you, on a cross. It wasn't nails that kept him hanging on that cross, it was love. When he was denied by his friends and disciples, his words were "Father, forgive them." Tonight at church we are having a self-directed worship time, where we can reflect on what Jesus did for us and thank him. My hot boyfriend plays on our worship team, and will be playing tonight and also on Sunday morning.

5. Speaking of that guy, today he is turning 23! Its his birthday! I can't put into words how deeply thankful I am for him and the way he loves me. He is the most patient, loving, caring, selfless, funny, and charming man I know. His heart for people and his desire to serve and honor the Lord is so admirable. He is such a wonderful man, the man of my dreams, and he chose ME. So blessed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On marriage, from a single (ish) girl

If you've read my story, you would know that I am a "single girl." Single, as in not married.
But that word doesn't really describe me, because I am in a committted relationship with a man I love, respect, admire, and hope that I get to spend my entire life with.

Here he is on Christmas Eve 2012, isn't he cute?
We're dating, but we both believe that dating has one purpose: for marriage.
Dating for marriage has been our intent from day one.
If either of us ever got to the point we could not see ourselves marrying one another,
we both have agreed to end the relationship right then to protect our hearts as much as possible.

I stumbled across this artcile, "3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married"  in Relevant Magazine while pretending I was working the other day.
This article had three really simple, but sometimes, really hard to execute truths.

 "...contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow."

Isn't this a beautiful picture of marriage?
Someone that knows you, all of your flaws and quirks, and not only loves you for them,
but helps you grow into a better person? Who helps you overcome the things that hinder you most in life?
Someone who points you back to God?

Thats what I am hoping for in my marriage someday.
Until then, I pray that God is preparing my heart for a healthy, Christ-centered marriage.
I pray that I will be the kind of wife that I described above.
One who encourages, loves, builds up, respects, and honors my husband.
One who gently points him back to God and His word, and displays the gospel to him through my actions and words.

Please check out my Beautiful Battefield's Giveaway!
It really is a wonderful book that I know will change your life like it has changed mine!
I would SO love it if you guys could share it with your readers and followers as well,
that would mean so much to me!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Beautiful Battlefields +Giveaway

Right around the time I got sick with Rheumatoid Arthritis,
my dear friend told me about an author, Bo Stern and her husband's fight with ALS,
otherwise known as Lou Gherig's disease.

She pointed me to her blog, and one of the first quotes I read from her
spoke right to my heart, and gave me a glimpse of hope.

"We all suffer, but those who know Christ should suffer with hope so that a watching world can see that He is a very present help in times of trouble. We may wish for a God who will keep is out of all affliction, but isn't it wonderful to become acquainted with the One who goes with us into the heart of the fight, and uses it for something beautiful?" -Bo Stern

Bo's book, Beautiful Battlefields is quite literally changing my life.
It is renewing my heart, strengthening my trust in God,
and inspiring me to fight my own battle with grace and hope.

"On good days and on bad, in war and in peace, in sickness and in health, I know in the deepest part of my heart that He is the God who brings beauty from the battle." -Bo Stern
My friends and I got to meet Bo Stern on a trip to Bend, OR this winter

I wonder what your battle is?
Is it a job that drains you, exhausts you, challenges you, frustrates you?
Is it school that looks never ending? That class you aren't sure how you are going to pass?
Is it a relationship that you so desperately want to work, but it just seems so hopeless?
Maybe it is an illness, or maybe its an eating disorder, or maybe, you just hate what you see in the mirror every day.

I want you to know I have been there.
And whatever your battle is, God sees you. And He cares for you. He is for you.
If it wasn't for my own battle with illness, I wouldn't be able to mean it when I say
that God is going to bring something beautiful from your battle.
No matter what your battle is, big or small, God is for you.

I love this book so much, I want to give away a copy.
Please share this post because I know whoever ends up with this book,
God has intentionally placed it in your hands. I know it is going to speak to your heart,
and give you strength and courage for whatever season of life you are in.

Giveaway ends on Monday, 4/1, winner will be announced Tuesday!
Also, check out Bo Stern's blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Answered Prayers

So, I got a job!

Woo! I quite literally have been praying for a new job for almost as long as I've been at my current job.
I work in Human Resources at a potato processing plant and its a difficult job.
The plant runs 24/7, and our office is manned 24/7 as well.
I've worked a lot of nights, weekends, back shifts, swing shifts, 12s, etc.

Currently I have a pretty sweet schedule, and work Monday-Friday,
pretty much whatever hours I want, as long as I get  my 40 in!

Unfortunately though, as soon as someone in our office leaves,
I will go back to working shift work, which will include weekends again.

Also, our plant is scheduled to close at the end of 2013,
and although they are building a new plant, my job is not guaranteed.
Because the plant closure is looming, I think all of us are looking for new jobs.

SO with all of that being said, I received THREE calls for interviews last week.
All of the jobs have their perks, and also their downfalls.

I interviewed Friday after work for an HR Manager position,
 and heard from them 15 minutes after they left!
They offered me the position, and asked me how soon I could start.

So, here I am, on one hand, on cloud 9, thankful for this answered prayer!
On the other hand, I am feeling extremely anxious about leaving my current company.

I don't know if I have an unhealthy fear of change, or if God is trying to tell me
"Not yet, this isn't your job."

Some of my anxiety comes from my health condition.
Because I have a "pre-existing condition" I wonder if my new insurance
can deny me coverage?
I also worry about switching Rheumatologists, because I adore mine!

I have to do a little soul searching and praying for some wisdom and discernment.
Right now I don't know if this is good excitement and nervousness about a new start,
or if this anxiety has a valid reason behind it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Worth the Wait

I'm in a season of waiting, and I've learned something:
I'm not very good at waiting.
I am still working on that patience thing.

I have a lot of big things in my life as a whole I am waiting on,
But also, right now, in this moment, I literally am waiting for a phone call.
A phone call that has the potential to change my life.

I want my phone to ring, and I want good news.
I want to hear that my hard work has paid off,
and I have been selected for that next step.

The call is supposed to come today,
and in this case,  no news isn't good news,
so until it comes, I am just going to sit here,
sitting, waitng, wishing, praying, and try to do that patiently.

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him"-Psalm 37:7

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Try Again Tuesdays


Running is probably the thing I miss most.
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in December, and haven't been on a real run since October 26th.
I have had a few random runs since then when I was highly medicated on prednisone, but they weren't the same, long, hard, head clearing runs I crave.
The last two months I haven't felt well enough to even do a run/walk interval run, but I am waiting expectantly for that, I just know it will be soon.

Last Tuesday my sweet friend/co-worker Karissa and I decided to try and run, and see how I felt.
Unfortuantely, we didn't make it more than a minute or so before my knees were hurting too bad, so we walked for a mile or so, and turned around.

I decided that day that every Tuesday, I was going to try running again.
That it might be slow going, I might do more walking and running,
but eventually, one Tuesday, I was going to run, and it would feel great.

After work yesterday I laced up my shoes, hit the little trail behind my apartment complex,
and attempted running.
I made it a few minutes before I had to walk, walked a minute or so, and jogged a few more minutes.
My knees were aching, and I was running slowly, but I ran just a little more than last week.
And that is a win in my book.

Another win?
That the only joints on my body that are really bothering me are my knees,
and thats only when I am running.
Four weeks ago, every joint hurt.
Typing hurt, walking hurt, getting dressed hurt, cooking hurt.
Today, I am feeling great, and almost normal.
I'll be running again soon, maybe next Tuesday?

I'm going to celebrate that.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Cheerful Heart

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength." [Proverbs 17:22]

I read this verse a few days ago while doing my daily devotionals, and it convicted me a little bit. I stopped to think about it a little bit, and realized that not always would I use the word "cheerful" to describe the condition of my heart. I felt convicted when I started thinking about how "cheerful" I was at work when frustrated, how cheerful I act when I don't get my way, how cheerful I was when I feeling anxious, how cheerful I was while waiting for something I want, etc.

If I truly believe happiness is a choice, and I DO, then being cheerful must really be the choice. The choice to be cheerful must go before the choice to be happy. I don't think it's possible to be happy, while also being grumpy.

So as of today, Monday, I am going on a week long mission to have a cheerful heart. This week, I am going to fast from complaining, despite whatever circumstances I might find myself in.

"Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys"

I think having a cheerful heart is a combination of a few of things.

1. Stop complaining. Complaining is not productive, its not beneficial, and often it creates more discontent in my heart than it helps.

2. Count your blessings. This is probably the most annoying thing you can be told when you are feeling grumpy, but really, just today, I caught myself wanting to complain about having to work a different shift than usual at work until I stopped myself, and realized how nice it was to sleep in, have breakfast with my man, and get laundry and house work done all before coming to work. There is always, always a blessing to be found in any circumstance.

3. Stop wrong thinking.  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. " [Philipians 4:8] Negative thinking is destructive, and our thoughts control our attitudes, our words, and our actions. If I can recognize a negative, wrong thought, and stop it before it takes hold in my head and heart, I can replace it with what is true, what is good, what is lovely. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." [2 Corinthians 10:5]

Join me on my week long fast from complaining. I already know God is going to do some major work in my heart this week.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A New Normal

Writing is one of those things I crave, need, and desire in so many different life situations. When I am full of joy, I can't wait to write about my happiness and share it. I like to share it with friends, family, on facebook, and on my blog. I like to journal and praise God for his faithfulness and provision.

Sometimes, when I am in the midst of one of life's storms, I want to vent, to cry, to complain and just be heard. And then there's there's those moments, those days, those seasons, where to write about a trial would mean I would have to process that, I would have to dig deep, own up to my own sin and wrong thinking, and it would hurt.

About 5 months ago, I complained at youth group to my students that both of my elbows were hurting. They all laughed, thinking "That is a funny place to hurt." The following Friday, I noticed my hands seemed really swollen and were sore. I chalked it up to the bee sting I recieved Thursday evening (on my behind, may I add) and took some benadryl. By Monday, something clicked and I realized that it wasn't just my elbows and hands that were hurting, but my knees, elbows, ankles, etc. I was in severe joint pain that made walking, bending, typing, and every day activities difficult within a week.

After numerous doctor appointments, six medications, countless tests and a short medical leave of abscense from work and 5 long months, I am finally feeling okay enough to write about the season I have been in and am still in.  I was officially diagnosed with Rhumeatoid Arthritis in December, a autoimmune disease that attacks a persons joints, causing inflamation, swelling, and severe pain. It is a lifelong disease that is manageable with medication, but sometimes finding the right combination of medication is challenging.

The kind of pain I felt wasn't just soreness, but debilitating pain. There were mornings I woke up in tears because my hands hurt so bad, I couldn't wash my hair. There have been days that getting myself dressed has caused me to throw a temper tantrum because I couldn't grip my skinny jeans well enough to pull them up and lifting my arms above my head to take off a shirt was incredibly difficult.
Being sick so suddenly for a otherwise young, active, healthy woman has been one of the most difficult things I've gone through. One of the hardest things for me I think is giving up what I love to do, running.  I haven't really ran since October, there have been brief periods of time where I have been on enough prednisone to mask the pain, but October 26th was the last day I went on a normal run. I know, I would say that my life has been fairly easy if this is the worst thing I've been through, and God has blessed me beyond belief and I still believe, is blessing me through this storm.

I've had the pleasure of seeing family, friends, my boyfriend, and people from church come around me with prayer, meals, messages, and assistance doing things that didn't used to be so hard. I've seen Christ in those around me like never before. I've always known God answered my prayers by bringing a selfless man who loves Jesus into my life, but I've seen more patience, sacrifice, love, and understanding in the past month than I've seen in any man in my life. I've experienced God's hand at work in restoring friendships, in trusting in Him when it is just plain hard, and coming before him clinging to the cross when it literally feels like it is all I have left.

I've recently been to my rheumatologist, and he promised me that his goal, with this new medication I am on, was to get me running again. I have faith that by summer, I will be feeling great and running again. I am attempting to find joy in other things than just my daily circumstances. Things that an illness can't take away from me.