Things I like about “him”…

For the hopeless romantics out there and those that I don’t see often enough, here’s a little “inventory” of why I’m blessed by a certain boy named Blake M. Roberts. He’s not perfect, imagine that!! And we certainly have much much much to learn about each other. This isn’t a list saying all is perfect and he or I have no flaws. At times we bicker, we disagree, we get confused, we question. But, God is using him in some cool ways in his own life and in mine. It’s the little things…

  • Silly personality (fun-loving, easy-going, loves to tell jokes but almost always tells them wrong the first time and has to say “Wait, it’s actually like this…” makes me laugh)
  • Cute as I don’t know what…but I feel lucky every time I look at him
  • Clear faith (sometimes grabs my attention by the simplest comment, that I, after a B.A. in Christian Studies (as if that really means anything or as if it means I know what I’m talking about when it comes to following Christ), am still surprised by…like when I felt like an awful person, had let my temper get the best of me and treated someone awful and it was time to sit down to dinner, he asked if I wanted to pray, I hesitantly looked at him and just said, “If God will listen to me”…he reminded me “Of course He will, that’s the beauty of it!” and then he prayed for me)
  • Caring (always willing to help someone out, even it it means taking up his time or energy or resources)
  • Growing (I see him maturing, becoming stronger as a man, and learning more about God often…nothing is more comforting, exciting or attractive to see in someone you care about)
  • Movie buff (what would I do without someone to watch a good flick with?)
  • Active (he keeps me moving and I really enjoy it after being in an office all day…he helped me (really really helped me) run my first 5K here in Birmingham a few months ago)
  • Knows how/and does not let anger well up inside of him (he has often reminded me to “let things go” and not let them get the best of me…which I need reminding of, since I’m a roller-coaster-up-and-down kind of girl)
  • Stable and consistent (there for me when I have needed him for an important task…listens each week at our church as I (good or bad) lead the small congregation in worship)
  • Surprises me (flowers, a candy bar, ice cream, a sign on his kitchen counter that says “Neisha!!!!” or a visit at my office)
  • Clingy (meant in the best way possible, we just love to be around each other, and it’s nice to know that)
  • Supportive (thinks I do good work and am amazing…boy is he so wrong…)
  • Compassionate (gives of himself and wants to give more to those in need…man at a gas station was asking for money and his car was broken down, he didn’t have any cash to give this man so went to the ATM, pulled out $20 and handed it over. the man in need said, “Seriously!?”)
  • Servant heart (when we eat dinner together at home, he does the clean up…without me saying a word…eat your heart out every girl on the planet)
  • Tells me I’m beautiful, daily
  • Tells me he loves me, daily…and even when I’m being ugly or we are not agreeing on something

Prayers are going up constantly about this boy and if you feel so led, pray for us too! It takes a village to make a good relationship. And most importantly, a strong foundation in Christ.

What do you cherish about your special someone?

7 times 70 times…

Forgiveness. Oh, we say it so flippantly.

It’s a concept I’ve seen in ginormous-ly new ways lately. I know of a God who forgives. We, as sinners, take every chance to be prideful, spiteful, hateful, greedy, jealous, unloving, gluttonous, stupid and liars…and yet…He forgives. He takes our ugly. Transforms. Renews. Molds. Teaches (sometimes painful).

I, myself, pray that He will graciously continue to do so. I, myself, am broken. Yes, can you imagine? Me!? Of all people! (Please hear my sarcasm here…)

I can only hope that as I repent and move forward, He’ll continue to ever so gently guide me. And I pray that you, yes, you…will feel His call and guiding hands. That you’ll repent of whatever “sin” is binding you and you’ll move forward…remembering His forgiveness and grace.

I was extended such a beautiful example of this recently. I betrayed someone close to me. I lied, I hid, I cheated in some ways. I even did what I was worried about this person doing. Not only did I do all this against this person, I ultimately dishonored God in the process.

But…forgiveness…it was given so freely, without hesitancy, without doubt, without even anger or bitterness from this person. It was just given. Simple.

Such a reminder of God’s very gift in that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and forgave. Took our ugly and made it pure…and continues to do so.

Just because you’re a Christian, just because you read your Bible, you go to church, you use religious words, you’ve been on missions trips, you tell others about Jesus…yep, all that…just because (and even BECAUSE of that) you will still sin. It’s a hard realization, and even debilitating at times.

But that’s Satan’s way of saying, “You’re not good enough to go on missions trips. Who are you to tell others about God’s forgiveness? Look at you!! You liar! You hypocrite!”

Don’t listen to his lies. Don’t let the evil one take over your mind and heart. I’m telling myself this as I write. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.

Recognize your sin (that’s the Holy Spirit speaking to you). Ask for forgiveness from the Father. Rest in that forgiveness. Be transformed by His Word, His love, and His Spirit.

“For His mercies are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:23

(guest photographer Mr. Roberts)

So, the next time you or I sin…and oh, it’s gonna happen…let’s repent. Be honest. Rest in His forgiveness and move forward in His gift of grace.

And always forgive. That’s what God did for you. Represent Him well by doing the same to others…even when it’s hard. I pray that I can forgive in situations in the future, just as He forgave me and showed me by example through my friend.

Saltwater, Sunburns and a Sublime Time…

I got so lucky this Memorial Day weekend. Not only did I get a 3-day weekend, I also got to go to the beach twice, eat lots of yummy food (the all famous “awesome burger” by Noel Roberts which includes two kinds of cheese, special sauce, and a HUGE piece of meat), lounge around in my pajamas for almost an entire day, watch lots of Top Gear episodes (haha…strange “joy” I know…but my dad and I used to watch those together, so I have fond memories of them), get to know some new friends and spend lots of time with a certain Blake Roberts. Such a good good weekend.

Fairhope, Alabama, on the bay east of Mobile, is a really cute/quaint little place. I feel like people ride their bikes and walk everywhere there. Almost like Pleasantville or a sweet little old town where there is no “worry.” Ice cream shops, pizza parlors, bookstores, cute local grocery shops, boutiques and candle shops line the 2 or 3 street downtown. I like.

And at the beach…

Despite the sunburn and the sand in places it shouldn’t be…I couldn’t have asked for anything more. We even got to see dolphins (lots and lots of them), sting rays, tropical fish that loved swimming between our legs (we named Sally Mae and George), and a few crab. I wasn’t so fond of the one that was discovered in my “hole” where I was going to be buried. Thankfully the 5 or so minutes I was “under” the sand, I didn’t meet any new crabs. Whew.

Got to see the sunset in Fairhope. That was really pretty out on the pier. Burin came with, he was a good little traveling buddy. He didn’t even destroy or make a mess of anything at our host/hostess’ house. Thankful for that!

I’m just so thankful for a great weekend. Hope to see many more of those in the future. I could stand to suffer through another sunburn if it means I get all those great memories to go with it. Yup.

 

I’m blessed…and silly

Do you ever have those times when life really is just so good…and yet you feel out of place, in a rush, disorganized, in need, worrisome, selfish, insecure and just plain…stupid? Well, I do.

For one reason or another, circumstances, comments from others, or just lies of the Devil…we get off course.

I’m a victim of roller-coaster emotions. Yup, that’s me who is on a high one second and miserable and crying the next day. What’s up with that? Stability would be nice.

So how does a person attain that? All I can say, and figure, is that it’s a trust issue. You would think after “living” in Christ for more than 20 years and passionately living for Him for almost 10, a girl would be able to “trust.” Through life’s adventures, through car accident’s, through broken hearts, through a tornado, through living in different countries, through countless “close calls”…and yet…there’s a trust issue? I mean…really?

But yes…because we are imperfect. Because we are lost, helpless without His guidance. Because we NEED Him. We face all these things.

I’m encouraged by friends who know the Word and shared with me that God STILL knows what’s best. He is STILL on the throne. Even when I’m doubting…everything.

A few words of wisdom from the Good Book…

“The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” ~Exodus 14:14

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” ~Matthew 6:26

That’s all. And that’s more than enough.

Go, Tell It On the Mountain…

Over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

It’s been running through my head this morning. A good reminder for us all this season to…”Go.” “Tell it.” “Over the hills, and EVERYWHERE.”

Oh that I may be used this Christmas season to share the Love and the Story of Christ…that they might know Him and fall in Love with Him as He so desires. Yep…that’s my wish this Christmas.

Going to meet with a couple this weekend that are moving to NYC to reach the peoples of over 800 languages…wow. I’m excited to discuss their plans while there and how I may be of some use to them here. Maybe through prayer, maybe through short term trips, maybe something else. But…I’m excited.

Merry Christmas, early. Go tell it on the mountain…

Goals…Ideas…and other

Well, I’m not sure why but I’ve been inspired to try to be more consistent with this thing called blogging. Now granted, I don’t have much time. I’m not very disciplined with anything. And I may be changing this “blog” into a real professional website soon. But regardless…a girl can hope can’t she?

Speaking of hope, the pastor at South Roebuck Baptist tonight (the mother church of the church plant I attend on Sunday mornings) taught on hope. He said of hard situations, in life, work, love, etc…”accept and trust.” I thought, “Man…I don’t want to accept. I’ll trust Him every moment, but I don’t want to accept.” That’s a bit of an oxymoron isn’t it?

Christmas season is coming. I’m excited but…melancholy too. It would be so nice to have family around during this season. It’s hard to be “away.” I am super thankful for the friends here though…Sarah, Melynda, Nush, Holly and others. If it weren’t for them…I’d be pretty miserable. Oh, Burin’s my buddy too. He’s been a sick pup recently though…many illness issues and LOTS of money at the vet. Makes me wonder…am I THAT bad of a mommy? I’m kinda worried! Hope this doesn’t happen if I ever have a real child. 🙂

That’s all for now. Maybe I’ll get myself organized more soon and have a theme. A purpose. A reason for writing. For today….this is all there is.

Hopeful.

‘Being in love…’

“Being in love,” C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “is a good thing, but it is not the best thing…You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still just a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all…In fact, the state of being in love usually does not last…But of course ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love.

“Love…is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God…They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep their promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”

Good….

Thought pondering’s of a single girl…

So…here’s the deal. My brain, it’s sometimes crazy. A little loopy. Superbly imaginative. And never sleeps. Well sometimes, but while I’m awake, it’s running non-stop. Usually on one thing at a time, focused and repetitive until I “find an answer.” And if I don’t find an answer, well….

Love. That’s the topic today. Most days I guess, as a single girl who longs for a husband and family…some day.

I’ll be blunt and open. I’ve had two boyfriends. A few “interests” along the way, but only two “real” ones. And, they were both mistakes. Now I’m not saying God hasn’t taught me loads from those mistakes…but I’m also not saying they were easy or pain free.

I was thinking this week, “How do I know that a relationship is from the Lord?” My previous mishaps were clearly not from Him. I entered into them because I wanted to be with someone. I liked the guy, he liked me and bing-bang-boom there you go.

After those relationships started I started praying. Praying I would do “right” in the relationship and that God would lead and bless the relationship, even though it was rather clear from the beginning that it wasn’t right. The first boy (from high school) wasn’t even a believer when we started dating. Mistake #1. Should not have gone any further. Obviously.

So, today I’m wondering. How does any Christian girl know that it’s not her heart and emotions driving the entering into a relationship and how is she clearly guided by the Lord opening the door? Won’t it always involve emotions, attraction, heart?

I guess since I’m not at that point yet, not married, not even dating…maybe that’s why it’s all a bit confusing at this point.

I know one day it will be clear.

Learning (or trying to learn) patience along the way.

One thing I am sure of…my Father loves me more than any man could. My Father fills the void that no man could ever fill. My Father satisfies far beyond a man could ever satisfy me. My Father knows whats best, and His timing is clearly best. I will wait and rest in that. And if some day the Lord brings along “the one,” I’m sure He’ll make it painfully obvious that it’s right.

So, I guess I’m answering my own question.

Silly brain.

365 days or a thousand tears, 125 new experiences, 736 times I forgot an English word…

It’s been one year since I’ve returned to the US of A. Even now sitting here, thinking of how to “capture” this moment, I’m a bit dumbfounded. It honestly doesn’t feel as though it’s been a full year, but rather 3 or 4 months.

SO much has happened, changed, transferred, stopped and started in this past year. It’s hard to remember it all…my life has changed, that’s for sure, more than just my “home” changing.

The most important lessons learned? Forgiveness. Trust in the Father. Accepting and understanding His protection. Strength in today. Loving the people where God has me. Holding on to memories but not dwelling in the past. Fighting to remember a language. Seeking His will in each moment. Retracing steps to keep on the right path.

It’s been a full 365 days.

I’ve readjusted to American food, so I no longer have to eat rice everyday (eventhough I’d be ok with that). I’ve relearned English (still learning it). I’ve gotten/kept an American job for over 6 months. I’ve moved homes and have lived in my own American apartment (by myself but thank heavens with Burin, my pup). I’ve tried to find a new church. I’ve met Thai people and tried to consistently form relationships with them and show them the love of Christ. I’ve wept for Thailand. I’ve longed to return overseas. I’ve learned that God has a place and timing for me here. I’ve learned the importance of good/close friendships. I’ve prayed a lot.

And all this not by “my” doing but only by God’s grace, patience and help. And all this, not completed yet. It’s a “process.”

Now is the phase of waiting, praying, trusting. I’m not sure what the Lord has planned for me in the future. Not sure what His purposes are for me this minute. Not sure if I’ll be overseas ever again or maybe in Birmingham the rest of my life. But the beauty in that (eventhough it’s also a bit difficult) is that in the end, God will be magnificently glorified. In the end, when I look back and see all the intricate details of His plan, all the protection, all the creativity…it will be so clear that it was God and not me that was in control.

Thankful today for all that the Lord has provided for me and His encompassing protection.

Ready for the next year…and I’m confident God’s got amazing things ahead.

~You cannot lose My love…