30 days in my Toms® : Day 10~ Road Trip

This past week, I travel across the spanse of two time zones to visit my little sister in Oregon and road trip with her to Colorado to bring her home for the summer. Our wild adventure took us through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, across a portion of Idaho, the vast expanse of Utah and through Wyoming. After a wonderful night spent visiting our oldest sister and little nephews, we set out on the ever familiar journey from Cheyenne to Colorado Springs- a stretch of highway we have traveled since the time we were babies. It’s been years since I have made that trip and the familiar landmarks and cities brought back a whole slew of memories. 

One of my favorite memories of that journey is the series of landmarks we would pass that would become our milemarkers for the 3 hour journey. They were landmarks our parents had selected to dodge the never ending questions, “are we there yet?” First was Castle Rock, a giant rock attop a hill that was the pride of the small city nestled below. The second was the Denver skyline, beautiful both in the middle of the day or in the dead of night. Third was the “buffalo.” A large metal buffalo silouhette atop a large hill that symbolized the entrance into the great state of Wyoming. And fourth was the “fire.” A large tower in the middle of a power plant that always burned- our beacon that we had entered Cheyenne. For years, this was a game. Who could spot the next landmark. 

Driving down this road years later, I was reminded how much I looked forward to spying this familiar sights. Not only did they help us visualize how far we had left to travel, but they became the physical proof of the progress we had made. And our parents were our cheerleaders. “We’re halfway there! You can do it!” “You’ve almost made it!” 

Our life journey is like that roadtrip. Although our strength comes from God, our ability to endure is dependent upon our focus. If we focus on the struggle, the fatigue and the distance, we are more inclined to give up. But if we learn to focus on the author of our strength, on the encouraging support from our cheerleaders and  on the landmarks that symbolize the progress we have made- the impossible becomes possible. 

My dear friend and the founder and director of LeadHer Ministry, Christie Love shared in a recent teaching video, “Discipline allows you to celebrate your progress.” 

The distance may seem immeasurable, but the progress made no matter how insignificant is worthy of celebration. So I encourage you to scout out the milemarkers on your journey and allow them to give you a reason to celebrate and a reason to endure.

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“So much in life seems inflexible and unchangeable, and part of the joy of running and especially racing is the realization that improvement and progress can be achieved.”
    -Nancy Anderson

30 days in my Toms® : Day 9 ~ My Knight in Shining Armor

     After one of my dear friends met my boyfriend, she sent me a Facebook message telling me how she was talking to her husband about me and my marital plans. (My boyfriend and I had decided to be married only after 2 months of dating). His response, “what is she thinking?” Of course, I have asked myself this same question countless times. 2 months prior, I would have told you that it was just me and Jesus, that I was never getting married, and that if God would bring a man into my life, it would have to be when I was at least 30.  I had made up my mind, and then God changed it dramatically. 

     When my boyfriend and I met, it was clearly a God thing. Neither of us were looking for a relationship. God had called me to change churches abruptly and out of nowhere, and I fell into this church, quickly became a youth leader and with every youth event, I began falling head over heels for the extremely handsome and charming youth pastor. Little did I know that he was falling for me too. It took a youth all nighter for me to put my guard down and flirt back a little which finally gave him the hint that I was interested. Still, only after a couple days of spending time together with friends did he ask me out. I said yes and the rest is history. We were official the next day after our first date and within a week, we both had voiced that we believed God intended for this relationship to end in marriage. 

     My sweet friend responded to her husbands realistic question by pointing out that she had been a mess when she met her husband and she never would have found complete healing without him, and that like her relationship, maybe my boyfriend was my knight in shining armor. When she told me this, I had to smile, our relationship was very much like that. He immediately took over the job of looking after me (because yes, even at 22, I needed a lot of looking after), protecting me, and loving me shamelessly and respectfully. He respected my boundaries and my body without me ever having to tell him to stop. He told me I was worth it and that I was beautiful. I struggled at first to accept his love. He was such a good guy and how could a guy like him really love me? I struggled with believing his words and I fought him at first, but I learned to trust him incredibly fast and instead of fighting him, I began to fight for him and for our relationship. And when we choose to fight together, God fights for us. When we choose to fight each other, it leaves a gap where either God or Satan can intercede depending on the condition of our hearts. 

     I chose to keep my heart pure and focus on serving my King. Before I ever met my boyfriend, I found myself in a season of love and being romanced by my Savior. It was the first time that I was made to feel like a Princess, but it wasn’t a knight that swept me off my feet but my Prince. I realized that I was royalty because my God was royalty. He was my father the king, my romancer the prince, and my ultimate royal defender. Who was there to stand against me? The one role left empty was the role of the knight. Not because God wasn’t noble to fill it but because God chose to provide for me an individual to come alongside me to be my counterpart. I was already complete in Jesus but he called for this princess to meet a knight. I realized the importance however of never mistaking my knight for a prince. Regardless of our relationship status, Christ should always be first. He is the only one who completes and makes us whole. I had been given complete confidence in my relationship with my boyfriend because I knew it was a relationship of God and I knew that both our hearts were 100% set on serving God first and foremost and then supporting and loving each other. 

     I believe that so many relationships struggle because the relationship becomes humanity centered. People place too much expectation on the other and replace their trust in God with their trust in man. No matter how good the condition of a person’s heart, sin will still disappoint and failure will cause distrust. Just because the relationship status changes does not mean God’s law changes. In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus lays out the law, reciting the first two commandments,

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him,“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV). 

     We are called to love the God completely before we are to love each other. If God has written a knight in shining armor into your love story, allow him to sweep you off your feet and live your fairy tale with your whole heart. But never forget  that your Prince died for you to give you eternal life. Your roots as royalty are not to be forgotten but to be the source of life which will direct your relationship, your work, and your purpose. God’s purpose for you as his princess is too good to miss out on. 

 

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