Wednesday, August 29, 2012

upward not inward.

One obvious thing that goes hand-in-hand with moving to a new town is meeting a whole bunch of new people. If you've ever done that, you know that some of the typical questions you get off-hand are, "What brings you to _______?" and "Where are you from?" and "What do you guys do?"
In our case, because Harris is back in school, one of the common questions is, "What are you wanting to do with the aviation maintenance degree?".. so begins my story..

Being the people-pleasing, image-conscious, over-analytical person that I tend to be, when we reply that we are hoping to one day be on the mission field, I'm sure you can imagine what fears of mine pop up. [If not, good, because that means you're not as psycho-analytic as I am!]
I start to think, "Do they hear that and think that I would even make an okay missionary? Do they look at my life and wonder how in the heck 'THAT GIRL' is going to live among unsaved people and be able to share the Gospel with them? What qualities does she have? Why her? I think she even just had a bad attitude with her husband about 2 minutes ago.. SHE is going to be a missionary??"

I find myself checking my words, actions, and image (daggum image) and making sure that I "act like a missionary" so that people will believe it and will be for our story. What?! Come ON, Tay, seriously?

Then I took a moment to check myself - something I have to do very often:
When did I start to focus so inwardly? Why do I always make things about me? If I were to truly think more about who Harris and I were hoping to one day serve and love, then it really wouldn't matter what anybody else thinks about my part in it. If my sole purpose in going at all is to share Christ's love with people who have no access to the news at all, then my self-obsessed issues can move completely out of the way and the Holy Spirit will have room to move!

I know this to be true, that when I focus on who has me rather than what He has for me or how I measure up to what plans He has for me, then I'm much better off. I stop ruminating over thoughts of myself and start living joyfully spreading the fullness of life that Christ came to die for.
It's going to take a conscious effort, but my goal is to keep my eyes turned upward and focus on the gift I've been given and sharing that with others. Truth is, I'm not the perfect candidate for anything like this, but Christ is sufficient for my iniquities and if we're called, I'll go.

Friday, August 24, 2012

funny freak-outs.

So I'm most definitely a priss when it comes to scary noises, bugs, and other "yucky" things. Now, to give myself some credit, I also occasionally have moments of strength, courage, and all-around gusto when it comes to dealing with those things, but typically I have a mini freak-out. This week I think I've filled my quota:

1. BIG surprise in the kitchen

My new friend and I walk in the house after our typical evening walk through the neighborhood and come into the kitchen. The lights were off and the door was open because Harris had let our little kitty in for an evening snack. I walk around the kitchen table, flip on the light, and there, a good ways into the middle of our kitchen floor, was a huge, I mean HUGE, hairy, ugly, aggressive spider. [don't judge my description, he was really aggressive as he proceeded to 'chase' us around the table when the lights came on] I refuse to kill this kind of spider. Refuse. If I'm going to FEEL him die under my foot, then I cannot do it. As you've probably guessed by now, that's not because I feel bad for his loss of life...

Harris, being the life-long explorer/researcher/learner that he is, proceeds to get close enough to take a cell phone picture of this thing in order to research what kind of spider it is. Meanwhile, Taylor is FLIPPING out. Worried that mr. spider would find his way to a hiding spot where we would not be able to find him, I'm adding to the chaos by screaming, "KILL IT, KILL IT, NOW!" .. Probably the only reason this event 'sticks out' in my mind is because my friend was over and it highlighted the fact that my reaction was likely over-the-top. Oh well.. spiders are scary.

2. Noises downstairs

Harris and I had JUST rested our heads on the pillow when I heard a 'rustling' downstairs. "Did you hear that??" He had not heard a thing, but I was sure I did. So I listen even more intently. We then both heard the noise downstairs and I had my 'freak out'.. "Ahh! There it is again! Go see what it is! What is it? [how would he know?] Did you hear that? Hurry! What do we do?" Well, the level of my freak out was enough to make Harris overestimate what he heard and by the time I had rolled out of bed and turned around, he had a gun and was walking towards the door. "AHH! What are you doing?! Why do you have a gun?!" [thus, another freak out]

I then proceed to inform him that I'm pretty sure that it's just a bird or a bat rustling around downstairs and that a gun was unnecessary. [Harris is really fulfilling the protector-role.. I love it] Turns out, it was our little kitty friend catching and killing a bug against the back porch door.


Welcome to the life.. sometimes I freak out.
It is comforting to know that Harris will put up with and endure my 'moments'.. even when they are unnecessary and over the top. This is just one small (and funny) way of many ways that Harris shows me Christ's love. It is so nice knowing that someone loves you even if you're ridiculous.

Friday, August 17, 2012

the ugly.

Have you ever caught a glimpse of the untapped potential of your sin? Have you ever seen something, heard something, or been around something that awakens the ugly inside of you?..

I'll be the first to tell you that the Lord has done some great works in me and has molded and shaped me a great deal over the past number of years in my young life. I will also be the first to tell you (mostly because I don't know who else would talk to you about this, haha) that the Lord is not even CLOSE to being done with me. All of that being said, there are certain 'things', be it situations, conversations, etc., that I avoid because I know that they are likely to bring out the ugly that is hiding in my heart. I know that those things can be keys to unlocking old, ugly sin in my life and I don't even want to give them even a chance to be put into my hands.

You see, here's the analogy I think of. Sin is like a scary animal locked in a cage. When I don't have access to the key, it is much easier for me to keep sin locked away. When I'm holding the key, the temptation to let that sin out is so much stronger. It is knocking at the door, begging to be set free, and when I don't even hold the key, I can just look at it and say, "sorry, no can do.. I don't even have a key!" When I do hold the key (get around the things that I know cause me to sin), it's a little harder to resist keeping the harsh judgements, ugly remarks or thoughts locked in the cage.
[I'll admit.. third grade analogies help me in life and the situations I'm in.]


Anyways, as you can tell, I found a situation the other day that just popped up out of nowhere and caused the scary animal in my heart to come out. I'm working (and always will be) on turning straight to Jesus in those moments and asking Him to put the scary animal back in the cage for me when I don't have the strength. 

We cannot always avoid those situations. I don't think God designed it so that we'd be forever protected from things that tempt us to be ugly. I think that He wants us to learn how to follow closely with Him when they do come. Praise the Lord that we can ask Him to help us have eyes to see those situations coming so that we can prep our hearts for the battle ahead of time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

decisions.

As a couple, when faced with a big "life" decision, Harris and I have to remind ourselves to think like a family...

We recently came to an opportunity of sorts wherein either way we decided to go, we would be following (more than likely) the Lord's will for us. One way provides more financial security and involves patience, the other provides accomplishment and involves trust. Both are solid options. When my husband sought wise counsel, there was an exact 50/50 divide between the opinions of those he spoke with. Both options hold positive and negative factors and are just about equally matched. This made for a difficult decision.

I learn more and more everyday about my role as a wife; a lesson I believe the Lord knows will be life-long. In this case, I did a lot of waiting and praying. I assisted Harris in gathering information about the potential options. I prayed alongside him for the Lord to give him peace about the right choice. I knew, however, that the decision was ultimately Harris' as the leader of our relationship and I knew it would be tough. When we got together at the end of the day, I listened (difficult as it sometimes is to just sit and listen). I could tell that he had been wrestling with the decision. Once I heard him out, I told him the decision I felt a peace about, and we both agreed on what was right for us.

Sometimes I feel as though  I need to have the mindset of Harris and I as a family. When people make decisions, they weigh the options for their family, and that is exactly what we had to do. In my (crazy) mind, I feel like when I identify us as family, we have more weight than if I were to identify us as "Harris and I". Yeah, I don't know why, but that's how I think. We are not a big "family" like you'd think of the term, but we are one and we have to make decision that work for us.

I've come to the realization that whatever mindset you have to have (mine being thinking of us as a family) in order to do what is best for you and yours, is good! Protect what you have, make wise choices for that, and support each other through it. I'm proud of the leader Harris is, and I'm honored to be able to support him as well as to be a part of our little family.

"Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
 He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers."
                                           - Psalm 1:1-6
 

Friday, August 10, 2012

tonight.

What's your favorite word? Mine is TONIGHT.

No other word has such expectation, excitement, and/or energy wrapped up in it (in my opinion). I don't know why, but a long time ago I decided that this is my favorite word.

"Tomorrow" can hold a long to-do list, a difficult conversation, an early morning, or a number of other undesirable things.. not to be negative. It just seems a relatively long way away from the present moment, even if it's not. For whatever reason, I get excited when I think about "tonight". I'm a night-person, for one. I get an extra burst of energy/creativity/excitement and I love the night hours. I love the way night feels. Tonight is just close enough to get reasonably excited, yet not far enough that you cannot build up expectation, make plans, or prepare for whatever is coming. I'm weird; I just LOVE that word.

We have some sweet friends from Rome visiting us this weekend, and I'm not even really sure what we have planned for TONIGHT, but I cannot wait to get there and make some fun memories with our buddies!!





Thursday, August 9, 2012

grace a lot. expect a lot.

In the short time I've worked in my new place, I have learned one very valuable and life-impacting lesson: we can love others by expecting a lot and giving grace a lot. My boss exemplifies this Jesus-like quality SO well.
Everyone I see come through his office, which is PLENTY of people let me tell you, (thus, praise the Lord, Taylor has a job) leaves impacted. No, the issues are not always life-altering issues. They are mostly little snags in the plans that people make for their lives with regards to school or career. My boss is a problem-solver of sorts; with that authority many people would abuse it and stand high on the platform with chin and nose in the air. Let me take a minute and share with you the humility with which my boss holds his position.

I've noticed a pattern where people walk in the office stressed, frazzled, and hurried. They have an issue that needs immediate attention from someone who can do something about it. They walk out peaceful, smiling, and with a lighter demeanor in general. What happened in there? Did he give them what they wanted? Did he help them figure out their life? Did he offer the best advice? Probably a little bit of all of that happened..

My boss is one who believes the best in everyone who walks in the door. He looks at everyone with value, despite their "status" or what they can do for him. He listens. When they leave, he has done two things:

1. Given a lot of grace.

When someone has done something that causes them to have to even come in the office, it sometimes means that they have missed the mark in some way or another. To have to speak to a "head honcho" about your mistakes or shortcomings is never fun. When that head guy is full of grace and understanding.. it creates an entirely different experience. It's like they have been given a second chance or a do-over.

2. Expected a lot.

He also listens to that person's story and listens to who they are and what their goals are. He makes sure that they know that he expects great things from them.. even the people everybody else has given up on. He looks them in the eyes and says, "well, you'll do better and then we won't have to worry about this." I can tell you now, the person rises up. When you expect great things, you typically get great things out of a person.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."  - 1 Corinthians 15:10
A commentary in my Bible (because I wouldn't have been smart enough to really know this otherwise) said that Paul wrote (in this verse) of working harder than the other apostles but it was not arrogant boasting because he knew that his power came from God and that it really didn't matter who worked hardest.

Now, this might be a stretch, but when someone offers you grace and a "fresh" start, you're going to work hard to please them and to show them that you meant what you said when you said, "I'm sorry", or "I'll do better", or "I didn't mean to do that". I know there are differences, but I believe that my boss is showing the character and heart of Jesus when he is firm in his expectations yet full of life-giving grace in difficult situations. Believing the best in people and then offering those two gifts could just be yet ANOTHER way we could love people the way Christ loves us. I sure am learning a lot.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

only the best.

As I was finishing dinner for myself and Harris last night, I began to set the table. I have these adorable blue patterned napkins (one of our many awesome wedding presents) that I am running low on. I went to grab them and had the thought, "maybe I should save these last few for when we have guests". Then I quickly thought to myself that sometimes Harris should be treated like a special guest!

We all know that special guests should be welcomed in our home, given the best, treated with hospitality, and loved-on in special "I care about you" ways. Sometimes, when I get into the routine of mundane life, I default to treating dinner (or whatever the regular activity is) like nothing special. Forget candles, special napkins, or the sauce boat thingy for Monday night dinner.. "it's JUST us.."

Now, don't hear me wrong, Harris and I certainly have our paper plate, grab it with your hands on-the-go kind of dinners when things are busy. Certainly if it was always special, it wouldn't be special. I just forget sometimes to make a regular, Monday night dinner somewhat distinct with the little touches I'd usually reserve for guests. Our families deserve our best too, even for "no good reason". Using the pretty napkins for a regular ol' dinner might be one way we can serve our families with a little "you're special to me" message.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

the a-word.

Well, I started my brand new job this week and I just finished my first week. How is it? Great! The people I work with are great, the environment I work in is great, and I'm .. Well.. I'm not so great yet. This is a totally new department for me and a completely new area of work. Needless to say, the learning curve for my new job is bigger than any other I have had in my employment past. On the one hand, this is awesome! I'm in a new and challenging position that will push me to work hard and achieve more and I am grateful! On the other hand, I have definitely struggled with the "a-word" this week. The "a-word" is adequacy.

I like to feel needed. I like to feel like I'm making a difference. I like to be someone who rises up to challenges and even excels at anything thrown at her. I'd venture to say we all do.

In my new job I'm just a baby. Day 5 and I'm not indispensable, go figure. Something inside me is programmed to work hard until I am! Well, while I was telling a friend of mine how useless I felt while I'm in the learning/training stages of my job, she stopped me wisely and said, "you might not be capable of doing the job.."

What!!? How dare she interrupt my whine-fest and tell me I'm right! I am a hard worker and I can do this, I am not incapable or inadequate!
She then said, "but seriously, you are capable, but even if you aren't, God is! He gave you this job."

It is true. Even if I have a lot to learn, I know that the one who provided the job in the first place is the one who will equip me to do it well, even if that seems like a long road ahead from now. Our Pastor Bill told Harris once, "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the ones He calls."

I'm thankful that I know God will give me the tools to do my job well. He has me here for a reason and I will continue to work hard knowing I am adequate and called. Thank you, Lord!