Happy Birthday, Dad!

 

Some call him Mr. Bob. His mom, usually scolding/teasing him, calls him Bobby Lee. The kids at camp (and his best friend :)) call him “Beautiful Bob”. During Christmastime he’s known around Hagerstown as “Santa Bob”. But to me, I’m the lucky one-because I get to call him Dad.

Through adoption, Dad rescued me from so much evil-an abusing earthly father, an abusing half-brother, and a world of neglect. Dad showed me so much attention and love and care. He punished me in love, for my betterment, he taught me how to cook and he taught me how to clean.  He took me on dates and was always my valentine (though Mom’s presents were always the biggest!). He found what I loved (music) and took me out coffee houses & record stores, he spent time with me at the grocery store or at counseling, or by taking me to practices, or accompanying me on my first missions trip. He was at every concert.

He makes me laugh and is SO proud of me. He makes me little gifts to encourage me-and he always believes in me. He always PROTECTS me, and reminds me constantly of the wondrousness of our God. He apologizes quickly anytime he is wrong, and I know he wants the absolute best for me.  He serves his church faithfully, and loves mom so steadfastly. He knows my weaknesses, and addresses my sins, but he constantly reminds me of how thankful he is to God for giving me to him as his daughter.

Now, just as a disclaimer-he is NOT perfect! He does get grouchy sometimes, and can exaggerate how long he’s been waiting in the car for you after practice sometimes too-but for the most part-he’s pretty close to perfect 😉 I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without him.

Having him as my dad is one of God’s greatest gifts in my life.

Happy Birthday, Dad 🙂

 

Two Spurgeon Quotes For Sufferers

I was surprised at the Passion Conference I attended earlier this week, with how much the speakers taught on suffering. They prayed we would thank God, and even one day cherish “the nightmare” he allows in our lives. Thinking about that [difficult] concept brought these two quotes to mind. I pray they bless you, and that God gives us eyes to see!

“I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days. And when God has seemed most cruel to me he has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things the richest tenderest love has been manifested to me. Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of his grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. Fear not the storm. It brings healing in its wings and when Jesus is with you in the vessel the tempest only hastens the ship to its desired haven.” ―C. H. Spurgeon

“No stars gleam as brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky. No water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand. And no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.”
― C.H. Spurgeon

 

 

Headed to Passion

[Every year one of my Resolutions is to blog more–so here’s my valiant effort beginning!]

In just a few minutes I am going to pile into a van with a group of young adults from my church to head to Georgia for the Passion Conference. Now, I don’t know too much about the conference-I just know that I love to learn and I love to worship, so when they mentioned getting a group together, I said count me in! Bonuses: I love to travel, and I love the young adults at my church. It was kind of a no brainer.

Before I go (and as I go) I want to keep myself centered. I want to remind my heart that the point of me sitting a van for hours upon end between now and Wednesday night is to attend the Passion Conference well. I could go-and not do it well. I could go and be more interested in meeting/seeing the speakers, or more pre-occupied with making memories with my friends (not bad things) and miss God’s primary purpose for me going.

My purpose for going to this conference is for my heart and soul to be enamored with, in awe of, and delighted by the beauty, majesty, and glory of God. I want thoughts of his wondrousness to be on my mind as I listen to speakers, and on my heart with every song I sing. I want to start the year with a HUGE view of who God is–and a heart to match. 

I’m looking forward to worshipping God in a special way these next few days. I’m sure I’ll have some take aways, and I look forward to sharing them with you 🙂

Blessings!
Betty

What Dating Taught Me in 2016

I spent the majority of 2016 getting to know and then dating a strapping young man, and we broke up in early October. So when I reflect on the year–that relationship is a major part of the things that shaped it. Though breakups suck, I am thankful for the experience of dating this year, and have complied a few “takeaways” from the relationship (I blogged about the takeaways from the break up here!).

In no particular order, and this list is certainly not exhaustive, but dating in 2016 taught me:

  1. That sometimes two awesome people, are not awesome together.
  2. That dating someone super disciplined in being in the Word and in prayer, makes it a whole lot easier to listen to their leadership.
  3. That becoming too physically affectionate stunts emotional & relational growth (it’s super easy to cuddle the night away, and it’s laborious to know one another–be willing to labor).
  4. That if their definition of best friend is very different from your picture of a best friend-you’re probably going to struggle to be best friends.
  5. That there is a beautiful, gospel centered way to respond to sin–and it brings freedom and a sense of safety.
  6. That purity is SOOOOO WORTH IT. OH MY WORD. ESPECIALLY POST BREAK UP–THE HEALING PROCESS IS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN THAT INTIMACY ISN’T BURDENING YOUR MEMORY BANKS OR WEDGING ITSELF BETWEEN YOU AND GOD.
  7. That I’m less trusting/more insecure than I thought I was.
  8. That I love big and I love quickly-I need to slow down my heart–and pray for discernment.
  9. That learning is a love language of mine.
  10. That “thy will be done” is a prayer always answered perfectly ❤

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by A.W. Tozer, and says, “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.” So when I think about getting to know, dating, and breaking up this year–I know it’s purpose in my life is to make me look more like Christ, and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Oh, and here’s a little diddy I wrote when processing post-break up thoughts!

Guess we’re a Square Peg in a Round Hole,
It’s not you or me,
It’s us.

Yes we’re a square peg in a round hole.
It’s not you or me,
It’s us.

I get blinded by my own heart,
Love too big that I can’t see.
I get blinded by my own joy.
I’m not for you, you’re not for me.

I know I tend to try, try, try, to be all I long to be.
I get in my mind,
convince myself it’s fine.
Love can be so blind.

Though there was so much that was so good,
we long for and offer different things.
Though there was so much that was so good,
It’s best to wait for what God brings.

Because we’re a square peg in a round hole.
It’s not you or me-
It’s us.

 

What My Job Taught in Me 2016

My first journal entry about the Factory Ministries was January 11, 2016. It simply says, “I’ve been emailing the executive director of The Factory Ministries about a part-time Women’s Youth Director position, and I am THRILLED”. A few days later, on the 16th, I penned, “A PHENOMENAL meeting with Chuck Holt—I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS POSSIBILITY.”  Believe it or not, my excitement for this opportunity has not waned in the past 12 months, and I am just as thrilled about the ministry God has called me to do here as I was at the beginning of the year.

Although my excitement for this youth ministry hasn’t changed, and my impactful meetings with my boss hasn’t changed, there are a few things that have changed.

I’ve changed.

I’m a lot less concerned with external behavior now. Vulgar language doesn’t offend me like it used to, and stories of brokenness don’t churn my stomach now-just weigh on my heart. I’m so much less concerned about “how to prove that LGBTQ is wrong according to the Biblical text” and so much more concerned about making sure people feel loved. I look past the immodesty and the teetering vulgarity and I look to the open wounds, to the scars. I look to the heart and what’s behind it-what caused it to race so quickly, beat so irregularly? I look past the crude responses and the blatant disrespect of authority and I see lonely, hurting, insecure kids. I see ministry less about programs and more about relationships. I see relationships not as “icing on the cake” of my job-but as the very bedrock and foundation of everything I do-for the spread of the Gospel. With the school, with my volunteers, with the students-my focus is no longer “What do I do to have them follow me” but instead, “how can I serve them and show them the love of Christ?”.

Leaving 2016, and heading into the New Year, I am confident of many things. I am confident that I will make mistakes, that I will drop balls, that I will continue to tweak my leadership and ministry style and decisions. I am confident that God has called me to be the Director of the Youth Center, and consequently, He has and will equip me for this work. He has given me everything I need for His glory to be made known in the Youth Center. I am most confident that He has plans for so many lives to be touched by this ministry. In my life, He has provided an amazing school district, a skilled and passionate boss, an energetic and committed team of volunteers, and all the teens He wants me to love and invest in. I am immeasurably confident that He will guide, provide, and bless His work here at the Youth Center.

teens