Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Youth of Ages

If you had to figure out generational issues and the disconnect that happens between childhood and adulthood... where would you even begin? How do the little, innocent, children of the world turn into full grown, mature adults with so many issues and problems? For me, I believe that the influences around a person from a very early age are extremely important. However, more so than just childhood, one particular part of life is intregal to the overall happiness, success, and freedom of a child to live the adult life they so desire and deserve. This period of time is called adolescence or just plain being a teenager.

Over the years, I've begun to realize the great impact certain people have had over my life in the most important years to my spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional growth. As with many teens today, I struggled with everything from divorcing parents, abuse of a parent, depression, anorexia, the extreme desire to just run away from everything, and even suicide. What is it about being a teenager that causes one to struggle so much and how is one able to get out of the nasty cycle of self-deterioration? Hormones, changes in friendships, changes in family dynamics, just changes in general. During the teenage years it seems that everyone in one's life is taken and just thrown upside down and then things are supposed to somehow just go "back to normal". This makes absolutely no sense when someone's entire world is changing constantly. Insanity... I might add, to ever expect a teenager to be perfect and without fault or confusion at any time.

Anyways, all of this to say, it was the people within my life during my adolescence that changed my life and helped guide and shape me into the person I am today. People like my mother who would constantly have to tell me no, and then have to deal with me pouting, crying, yelling, or being plain rude - just because she was protecting me. Then there was the McNeely's who stepped in to teach me the things of life that my single mom could not - like the love and devotion of a husband and wife - or softball 101 by Daddy Dan. The Woodwards were another great part of my life because they allowed for me to have a safe haven to run to when my world was crumbling, and Mama Woodward would always have a listening ear for me to just ramble on and on for hours. I always knew that I would be prayed for and encouraged just by being there. My brother was also another great influence that was able to show me the importance of having fun and living life to the fullest - not being afraid to try new things and go on new adventures.

Then there were the teachers and leaders within my life that never allowed me to doubt my abilities and to strive for the absolute best in life. There was Miss Yeazell - my high school Math teacher who helped me achieve more out of math than just a grade - she saw the diamond in the rough, and polished it until it shined. Amazing! Then there was my softball Coach, Gregarious, who flat out knew I wasn't the best player on the team, but always made sure that I was a valueable member of my team. He challenged me to work harder, and push myself further. To this day, this is a man that I go to for advice and guidance with my own Cheer Team. Such a huge blessing! And Mrs. Bailey - who could forget her? This woman saw the talents in each and every one of her students and made sure she told each student how loved and appreciated they were.

Okay, so all of this to say that people influence each other and what kind of influence or legacy to I want to pass on to the next generation? I have the greatest opportunity in front of me with my Cheer Girls. These girls are in such a time of transition and I'm so extremely proud of each and every one of them. But what do I need to do within my life to help encourage, grow, and love on these girls that I've been blessed with? Do I lead by example, or do I lead by faith and words, or do I just live my life and hope that I do my best? No, I would say that my example and my actions are far more important than anything else. I need to encourage and support these girls, challenging them daily to take up their crosses and just loving them through the tough times in life.

I have always had a great passion for youth, and I'm amazed at the opportunities that are laid before me to love on them. I'm being constantly reminded of my ability to change lives just in my friendships right now. A couple of my friends are really involved with Young Life, and I'm seriously touched at the incredible things that happen through this organization. There are teenagers everywhere looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for acceptance in the pits of destruction, and struggling so hard just to survive each day. How can we help them? By walking with them through the darkness and bringing them into the light. My prayer is that my life, my home, and everything about me will be open to the youth of the generations - that I may be able to touch lives while here on earth. God is so good!! :-)

Sidenote - I am LOVING my Jesus loving music on my local Pandora these days. Such an encouragement to sing along to the songs of faith. So good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Stupid Mouth

There's this John Mayer song that just reigns so true in my life sometimes. He literally depicts how the things he says gets him in trouble all the time, and it's not until after something happens that the utter realization of what was said sinks in. Let's just say that's so Tenacious, it's not even funny. There are so many times on a daily basis where I just start rambling off into the sunset about any given subject, and then I just have this urge that I have somehow offended someone.

Why in the world am I like this? I guess, to a certain degree, I like drama or maybe it's more of an attention thing. I hate the fact that I'm admitting this to the general blogging community - but it's the truth :-( - forgive me please! I have never been one to like being a part of drama or causing drama, but for some reason I'm causing my own drama simply by opening my mouth and saying something stupid before thinking things through.

I get so frustrated because this is truly the sinful nature in me. I hate the sinful nature!!! I wish I could just be rid of it. The Lord knows how much easier my life would be without me talking too much or doing things that are against His good and pleasing will. Why is it that humans thrive off of such nastiness and why do we like watching and putting others through torture for our own enjoyment? What's the point? Are we not here to lift each other up and make way for the Kingdom of Christ? How then are we supposed to do these things with the sinful nature? I would suggest that the only way we do it is to admit that we are wrong and try our hardest to move past the area in which we struggle.

Non-Christians hate "Christians" simply because for some reason, we all think we're high and mighty. When in reality, we are all fallen creatures that lack the ability to ever be anything but imperfect. We will constantly disappoint. We will never be flawless - and we may as well be willing to admit our faults and move on with our lives - and not lead lives of hypocrisy. It's the Christians that are real with people, that love people no matter what, and that are big enough to admit they are wrong that are able to gain friends outside the Christian community. And the more people like this the merrier - simply because we will meet with success in helping others by being truly genuine ourselves. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles - and let's move on with our lives - leaving the past as the past and living today for all it's worth. WORD!

"When words are many, sin is not absent; but he who holds his tongue is wise." - Proverbs 10:19

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random Thoughts and Questions

So recently I've kind of been looking over my life and I've been asking myself a series of questions that I thought I'd share with everyone here... as they are true in most of our lives, and are good to give us direction and focus on our purpose in life. Here we go....

2 Corinthians 4:17

17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

* Look back at your life- what do you truly remember? The good times or the bad, and over the grand scheme of things - how do the memories shine out in your whole life? Do you still hold on too much the hurts and pains of your past, so much so that you cannot live for today and have the joy and the freedom you have needed for so long?

* What are you achieving in heaven during your time on earth? Are you working for eternal goals or worldly goals that will fade away? Wouldn't you rather have an eternity of blessings for a life on earth of trials, than an eternity of trials, pain, and tribulation and a short life on earth of blessings and everything you want? He with the most toys loses at the end of his life - because all the toys in the world cannot buy your salvation. . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blessing of Friendship

Recently I've been spending a lot of my time with friends from my past - mainly friends from High School and College, and it's amazing to me how so many years can go by, yet we are still able to just pick up where we left off. Throughout the past couple of months I have seen people that I haven't seen in 5 years or more, and it's been such a blessing to catch up on their lives and where they are at these days. I'm staying up late, going out every night, and just truly having the time of my life. I feel as though I'm back in my Senior year of High School again - just living life to the absolute fullest. It's such a relief to be able to live without the worry and the pressure of the everyday, and live life within a community of quality, Christian people. Just amazing!

In spending more time with my friends, I've found a deep admiration for those who have stood beside me over the years, and walked with me through some of the hardest steps in my life. One of these friends is Caitlin. This girl is seriously the one person that is able to get my out of my comfort zone and into some great adventure. She has challenged me through the years with her constant ability to try and do anything you can imagine. Hike and camp outside for days? No problem! Go skydiving? Why not? This is truly her mentality and it's so encouraging to me to have her as a part of my life. This last weekend her dedication to life's adventures came into light as a group of us were attempting to go on a hike. Let's just say the trail to get there was a little more hardcore than we originally anticipated. And here's Caitlin - smile on her face, just diving right into the face of the challenge and giving it 110%. I was SO incredibly proud of her and her courage to get through this borderline dangerous off roading adventure. She is truly my little adventurer that encourages me to get out of my bubble and she will always be one of my best friends. I love it! :-)

Jenny is another friend who is home for the summer from school in California. This is the girl I can seriously talk about anything with, and know I'm not going to be judged for it. She gives the absolute greatest advice ever and is always such a great listening ear. I don't know how I could ever repay her for all the time and energy she has poured out into my life over the years. I truly consider her to be my best friend and am so blessed by her friendship on a daily basis. We always have such fun together and just get each other better than anyone else. She is just amazing!

Then there is Schu - oh bless my Schu! What an absolutely amazing woman of the Lord this girl is. She is the one that keeps me grounded when I get a little out of control. She helps me see and realize the consequences to my actions and challenges me on a daily basis to be a better woman of the Lord. I love our talks and how we are able to support each other through some pretty awkward and difficult situations. And the best part is that our friendship has lasted through some pretty interesting issues... and yet we are still so close. Love this girl to pieces!

I could seriously go on for days about everyone in my life. There's Jenna who is just the most laid back, easy going girl around (yet seriously driven!) - which is such a great breath of fresh air! And Elise is just an absolute doll who cares and loves everyone around her so much. And Jane is my fiesty friend that gets me out of my comfort zone and into my romantic side. There are so many more that I wish I could just chat about, but that will be for another day. :-)

On a side note, I've also been realizing the importance of having patience. The Lord has definitely been challenging me in this area for awhile now, and I obviously still don't get it. Through the past months I've been faced with challenges work wise, relationally, spiritually, physically and I get so frustrated sometime with every area of it. I wish things could just go the way I expect them or want them to go all the time. However, this is where the Lord is telling me to calm down and surrender any and all issues I'm facing to Him and Him alone. Not to my friends, not to my family, but to Him. This is not an easy thing to do, but I know it's what I need to do. Just let it go... just let it go. That was the phrase of my life 8 months ago, and it's definitely becoming the phrase of my life for right now as well. Just let it go - release it to Jesus. I'm sure he knows better than I do what to do in each situation. Patience Tenacious... Patience. For the Lord has many blessings to show you... but it all comes in time. Good stuff!

Good night! :-)