5 Things God is Teaching Me Right Now

5 Things God is Teaching Me Right Now

  1. Pray without ceasing. I can come to Him in prayer, whenever, and be heard. Psalm 4:1 says, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” Our prayers are heard dear friends. God can handle them all- the minute, tiniest of prayers — to our biggest, loftiest prayers. If you don’t know what to pray about, ask your friends or family how you can pray for them. Let’s be on each other’s teams and lift one another up to Him.
  2. For a girl who loves to plan her life out to the very last detail, it is A-OKAY to be in a period of waiting (the in-between). Waiting = trusting. Am I trusting God with my life? Am I thinking He has His highest and best in store for me? In what ways must I lay down my life before Him and allow Him to work and move, behind the scenes? The book of Ruth exemplifies a gal who trusts God in the waiting and unknown.
  3. Love your people. Love your people. Love your people. Your people are not only your friends and family. They are your coworkers. They are the grocery store checkers, the coffee baristas, the fellow gym goer. Be kind; have patience. Smile. Say hello and thank you. Gratitude goes a LONG way. Kindness matters. Matthew 22:37-39 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  4. Seek wise counsel. Feeling a little lost? Debating on which path to take? Need help with refining your relationships? Proverbs 3:13 shares, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.” Do not fear asking for help. I am no longer a novice at navigating life, but I’m by no means an expert. I’m more than willing to cast aside my pride and learn from those who have trail-blazed ahead.
  5. Look for glimpses of hope. Hope is my #oneword365. My eyes are wide open and expectant for this word in 2018. I am asking God to show me why this word, as well as asking Him to give me more hope. Hope for family, hope for friends, hope for my own life. Hope propels us forward. “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more,” Psalm 71:4. Hope leads to praising God for all He’s done, all He’s doing, and all He’s yet to do. 

What is God teaching you right now? I’d love to hear!

Waiting at Christmastime

Confession: Christy Nockel’s Thrill of Hope Christmas album has been on repeat in my car since the beginning of November. The Advent Hymn, specifically, resonates with my heart in a time of waiting.

Christ whose glory fills the skies
Christ the everlasting light
The sum of righteousness arise
And triumph o’re these shades of night

Come thou long awaited one
In the fullness of your love
And loose this heart bound up by shame
And I will never be the same

So here I wait in hope of you
All my soul’s longing through and through
Dayspring from on high be near
Day Star in my heart appear

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Until your love in me is born
And joyless is the evening song
Until Emmanuel has come

So here I wait in hope of you
All my soul’s longing through and through
Dayspring from on high be near
Day Star in my heart appear

So here I wait in hope of you
All my soul’s longing through and through
Dayspring from on high be near
Day Star in my heart appear

I imagine the shepherds singing this type of song with baited breath night after night into the early morning hours aching for the Christ to be born. He would be King, the one they had waited for—their soul’s longing.

Advent is a time of waiting. It is the period prior to Christmas in which we anticipate Christ’s birth. We are given the opportunity to look at the works of God in the Old Testament and reflect upon the prophecies that heralded a coming Christ.

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30 Before 30 – The Final List

30 Before 30 (1)

Here I am, 50 or so minutes away from the end of my 20s. I don’t mean to sound all dramatic, but somehow the first sentence of this post does. I’ve accomplished quite a bit of this list. I still didn’t finish everything, and you know what? I AM OKAY WITH IT. More to look forward to in my 30s.

  1. Get a nursing job. Completely realistic, not to mention necessary!Started a school nurse job January 13th, 2014! My first real job, with benefits and everything. The kiddos are adorable, I love working with community resources, and my coworkers are wonderful. I still can’t believe how good God is to provide me with a job that perfectly suits me. **Recent update- I have now been working as a school nurse in Salem since the end of September. Let me tell you, those 2 hours back in my day I used to spend commuting are GLORIOUS.
  2. Run another 5K. Fun runs make exercise much more enjoyable. Color Run in Salem with some church friends. Covered head-to-toe in cornstarch-y color. Super fun. Looking forward to my next one!
  3. Start paying my student loans. This girl has some debt. I’d like to make it smaller.  I’ve thus far paid off 2 loans, and I am working toward paying off a big chunk in this next year or so. Thanks Mum & Dad for letting me live at home so I can tackle the monstrosity of school debt I have accrued.
  4. Think before I buy clothes, makeup, shoes. Time to wise-up on my spending habits. Work-in-progress. I gave up buying clothes for Lent. I’m not Catholic, but I love a good challenge. Let’s not talk about makeup. If I had been really daring, I would have given up buying makeup for Lent too, or lip products for that matter. I digress. It’s a problem. I’ll readily admit it.
  5. Travel somewhere new. Always on my list. Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware … East Coast travels this past summer.
  6. Make it over to NJ to visit my 30-year-old brother & my sis-in-law. Went in August with Mum & Pops. Had a great time exploring with Luke & Ash. Jersey isn’t so bad after all. Also, Luke is now 31. Brother, we are getting older!
  7. Regularly check the oil level on my car. I forget too easily. My poor car. I’ve kept an eye on my oil. She’s had some major hiccups lately though. Some of us don’t age so well.
  8. Read a really interesting biography. I read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. A 20-something woman has a bit of a rough upbringing, struggles with relationships, drugs, etc., and decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This book was fascinating. I admired her tenacity, as I’m pretty certain I would never hike the trail all by my lonesome. Reese Witherspoon is starring in the movie, so I shall be watching when it comes out on screen.
  9. Read an intriguing fiction novel. I read several. Naturally, I didn’t write the titles down. But they were mostly good. However, I stopped reading 2 books half way through- life is too short to read bad books.
  10. Write to my Grandma in England every month. I don’t write enough. — Work on this.
  11. Send out 5 handwritten notes to friends or family. — I sent out some thank you notes sometime during the year. Not sure if this counts. Try again.
  12. Go out on a fancy date- the kind where I get all gussied up. It just sounds fun. — If getting dressed up to go out with girlfriends counts, this can be crossed off. I never clarified, so it’s up to my discretion.
  13. Master the art of baking a cake from scratch. Made chocolate caramel cupcakes from scratch for my friend Karly in January. Homemade salted caramel too.
  14. Learn to cook something tasty and new. I made the Pioneer Woman’s Tequila Lime Chicken. Oh, wow. I’ll be making it again.
  15. Explore Salem more. Find somewhere new to enjoy in my hometown. Hmm, do my schools count that I have at my school nurse job?
  16. Figure out how to work my Nikon camera. — Nope. Work on this! 
  17. Try a snow sport, other than tubing. Snow shoeing, skiing, snowboarding. Never have! — Sadly no, but now I have proper snow boots, I think a snowshoeing trip is in order.  
  18. Get out and use my kayak at least 5 times. When the weather is decent, of course. I went 3 times. ‘Twas fun! 
  19. Perhaps follow through with my tattoo I’ve always been meaning to get. Will do eventually …
  20. Learn to crochet. And I have more projects I’ve completed. It’s my new favorite granny-esque activity! 
  21. Go out to eat at Portland City Grill during happy hour. I want to see those views. No. Still want to! 
  22. Discover a new band/artist to listen to. Yep, lots. Thank you, Pandora.
  23. Find a devotional and delve in. If you have suggestions, let me know. I read Beth Moore’s Believing God. It was free for Kindle, so I downloaded the Kindle app for iPad and read it. I loved it because it was free, but more importantly, Beth Moore has the ability to speak such wisdom and encouragement through her words, without feeling lecture-y (making up a word here).
  24. Serve at church regularly. Tithe regularly. I’ve been serving in two-year-old’s classroom at church and tithing every month. God calls those who love Him to obey Him, and this is one step of obedience I am making an effort toward. I’m hoping to continue this!
  25. Refinish my coffee table that is currently sitting in my parents’ attic. — I actually donated it to my friends Matt & Keri for their adoption garage sale fundraiser. It sold, so yay! 
  26. Go to a brewery I’ve never been to before. For my 29th birthday party, I gathered up some of my very dearest friends and family and went to the Lucky Lab Brewery in Portland. I still want to discover more breweries though.
  27. Go wine tasting again. It’s been a few years. Take some girlfriends, and go! I went with my parents, to Willamette Valley Vineyards. It’s practically in our backyard.
  28. Pick out and print some of my thousands of digital pictures. I forgot! Try again.
  29. Be motivated by faith, not fear. Be prepared to give an example of this somehow. I’d say accepting my job in Salem was motivated by faith. I received a phone call just prior to resuming my position in Eugene. I knew that if it were God’s plan, all the little details would work out. And boy, did they ever. God is faithful, that’s for certain.
  30. Write this blog with intention. Share what God has been sharing with me. In my few posts, I think I have. I love to write, and I know there are many more experiences and thoughts I’ll share in the near future.

So there we go. 20-21/30. Lists are fun, huh? Now I’ve got to start writing down what I want to accomplish before turning 40. 40! Cripes. Where does the time go …

Original blog post dated 12/25/14

Water Your Own Grass

Water Your Own Grass

A few weeks ago, I went out to dessert with one of my best friends in all the world. We used to be roommates but then she met the love of her life, got engaged, then married, and I moved back home with my parents. We were sitting in a delightful restaurant, savoring our tasty treats, sipping on coffee, and doing what ladies do best-chatting the night away. As we caught up on life, I had the opportunity to share with her what God had been teaching me lately: “Water your own grass.”

Before you write me off as a weirdo, hear me out. Perhaps I’ll start at the beginning …

In June of this year, I graduated from nursing school. My friends and family remember how I would agonize over applications, spent countless hours studying for my prerequisites, pursued a different degree in the meanwhile. However, I kept returning to this dream of mine. Over the span of 6 years, I applied to 15 programs in hopes of getting into one. In the spring of 2010, I was working at the Paper Zone, happened to check my email on the back computer, and saw a strange email from OHSU. I had gotten in!  It was the first of many moments I felt one step closer to attaining my goal of becoming a nurse. Most nursing programs are 2-2.5 years long; OHSU was 3. So I stepped out in faith, told God I knew His timing was good. I had waited 6 years to get into school, what was another 3? I soaked up every moment of nursing school and rejoiced over every milestone: I gave my first shot! I put in an IV! I relished in my opportunities, and for the first time in my life, I saw God’s plan start to unfold. Every class I had taken in nursing school resembled some sort of class I had taken in my previous degrees. I balanced school, work, church, friends, travel. I rarely felt stressed or burdened. It was exactly the type of program God knew I could flourish in. The years flew by, as they often do, and I wore my cap and gown proudly as I walked across the stage and accepted my diploma holder (the real deal was mailed a few weeks later). I made some wonderful friends, I saw myself turn 28, and felt no longer like I was a girl, but a young woman, with a sense of accomplishment. I was eager to begin my career.

It is now November. I am a Registered Nurse. I passed my NCLEX (national nursing boards) 3 weeks after I signed up for the test, in the least amount of questions possible. I thought surely God would reward my patience with a full-time nursing job. Boy, oh boy, was I mistaken. I worked for a few weeks giving immunizations to patients. That ended. I have applied to many, many jobs. I have been interviewed 7 times. Each time, I gain more confidence. I no longer fear rejection. In some ways, I expect it. I am becoming resilient. Soon enough, I will find employment. It’s coming, I know it is.

I provided this background with a purpose. In my waiting upon employment, God has been fiercely pursing my heart. He has affirmed my identity not in being a student, or even now a nurse. He has defined me as His. How crazy, wonderful, and beautiful! I have faced anxiety, fear, and rejection head-on, and instead of curling up in a ball, crying my eyes out, I fixate on the fact that God has been doing all of this with a greater plan in mind. I am sure of it. So sure, in fact, that I wanted to share how good God has been, and is being in my life, in my waiting upon Him.

I know He is telling me to water my own grass (because the grass is NOT always greener somewhere else- it’s green where it is watered and cultivated). He has provided me the opportunity to babysit on quite a few occasions now for friends on a budget. He knew my Mum would be having an extensive back surgery, and would require extra help at home during recovery. He knew my brother and sister-in-law needed a familiar face in New Jersey, where they are strangers in a new state, with few friends. He knew that I needed time with Him to dig into His word and bury it in my heart. Do you sense a pattern here? He KNEW.

It says in the Bible, Psalm 139:17 “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” God is thinking about me all the time. Even when I feel like His voice is quiet, and there seems to be no direction from the Holy Spirit, He is thinking about me.

So as I am watering my own grass, cultivating my thoughts, hopes, and dreams, I am encouraged to press on, seek God, and rest in the peace that there is Someone thinking about me, loving me even when I’m unworthy of that kind of love.

I hope you find this encouraging, especially if you happen to be in a time of waiting.  God loves you dearly, and wants you to use your time of uncertainty devoting yourself to Him, serving His people, and finding joy in the little things.

Original blog post dated 11/22/13