Relationships

30 Days of 30: Day 13 - Thumbprints

So clearly I took a mini-hiatus from writing for a few days...sorry about that friends - weekend work retreat calls. But admittedly, it was nice to take a few involuntary days away from connection to any technology.

However I have found a way to catch up for the lost 6 days, and also cover 6 (ok maybe 7) very important people I am thankful for...

Sue Bates

 

Misty Paige

 

Elizabeth Pehrson

 

Heather Pierpont

 

Patti Brussat (far left) 

 

Sharon Turner & Lisa Toomey

 

Who are these women?

They all, at some point in the past few years, have mentored me. They are women who have given of their time and their hearts to pour into my life, to offer wisdom and encouragement. They are women who are a little ahead of me on the path, but who are willing to show me what they've learned along the way. 

They've laughed with me

cried with me

listened to me

encouraged me

challenged me

guided me

prayed for me

inspired me

And most importantly, they loved me...right where I was at.

But they've also loved me enough to not let me stay there.

They've helped me understand more of the woman I am and the woman I want to be. They've held a mirror to my face and helped shine a light on my path, and for that I am forever grateful.

They have inspired me to do the same thing...to invest in the next generation. To pass along unique insights and lessons that the Lord is teaching me along the way...maybe even helping to keep some young girl from making some of the same silly mistakes I made. But inevitably, helping to encourage and raise up a generation of women who seek Jesus, who seek wisdom, and who seek to continue to pass it along to the generation that follows them.

These women are a monumental part of my story and have forever left their thumbprints all over my life.

So here's my challenge for you today:

On whose life are you making an impact?

"Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction."

     -John Crosby

Jamie

30 Days of 30: Day 6 - The Handbook to Understanding Women

Men, I have a secret tip for you...

Do you want to finally understand women?

Do you want to know how they're wired, how they think and most importantly, what they want?

 

Well fellas, fear no more...I am here today to tell you that there are only two "handbooks" that you need in your pursuit to understanding the hearts of women: The Taylor Swift music collection and the book,

Captivating

.

Now after you quit laughing, and before you give up on reading this post, hear me out. Do you know why just about every girl loves a good Taylor Swift song (whether she admits it or not)? Because inside, we're all really still just a 15 year old girl at heart. And because she's not singing anything we're not already thinking...she's just bold enough to say it out loud. But if you can't deal with the chick music, don't lose hope...you still have the other book, which is what I am really dedicating this post to. :)

I am a self-proclaimed book nerd, and writing is my outlet...so there are numerous books that have played a crucial role in my personal growth. One of those books, hands down, is

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge

. It's a book that eloquently encapsulates the desires that lie deep within every woman's heart...the desire "to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty."

 

Just as every man has certain desires that make him come alive, these three elements are the core desires that make a woman come alive. Most of us women already know that. However, the beauty of this book is the fact that it so perfectly depicts all of the things women are feeling...the hopes, but also the fears. The good, the bad and the ugly parts of who we are and how we are wired. A lot like Taylor, it puts words to countless thoughts and feelings that many women are afraid to say out loud.

It's confirmation that we're not alone. 

And to a woman, that's priceless. To me, it was not only affirmation, but a great reminder of how we're uniquely wired to reflect God within our femininity. And that, is true beauty.

Because whether we're willing to admit it or not every woman, at the core of her being, simply wants to know that she's needed. That' she's worthy. That when it comes to love, yes there are risks....but that she's worth the risk.

She's worth the fight.

She's Captivating.

"

Just like God, a woman is not a problem to be solved, but a vast wonder to be enjoyed...As she is sought after, she reveals more of her beauty. As she unveils her beauty, she draws us to know her more deeply. Every woman has a beauty to unveil. Every woman. Because she bears the image of God.

"

     -From Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge

Jamie

30 Days of 30: Day 4 - ForGIVEness


 “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that 
the prisoner was you.”
      -Lewis B. Smedes

Close your eyes with me for a moment and reflect. (ok, maybe wait until after you read this paragraph first, otherwise this exercise is going to be exceedingly difficult to do) I want you to think of someone who has hurt you. I'm not talking about the kid in middle school who called you (and everyone else) brace face, I'm talking about someone who has truly, in every sense of the word, wounded you.

Maybe they lied to you.
Maybe they betrayed you.
Maybe they left you.

But in some form or fashion their actions, in your mind, justified a need for remorse. They've committed an act against you that warrants rectification. There is something that at some point, you feel they have owed you. There is a debt that needs to be paid.

Is your blood boiling yet? Take a deep breath and bear with me.

The irony of this situation is that in this scenario, unless you are willing to fully forgive that person (with or without an apology) YOU are the one enslaved to the offender. YOU are the one that will lie awake at night rehashing the situation, thinking through what you really want to say, if you had the opportunity to set them straight. And guess what? Odds are that they aren't losing any sleep over it. Guess what else? If just thinking about this person and this scenario is causing your blood pressure to even slightly rise, you're nowhere near close to truly forgiving them, no matter how much you think you've let go of what happened.

You see, the easy part is forgiving someone who is genuinely sorry. Someone who acknowledges the error in their ways and begs you for forgiveness. The problematic situation is forgiving someone who is not. Someone who either isn't willing to accept responsibility for their actions, or thinks they weren't in the wrong to begin with. How do you go about forgiving them? Do you forgive them? Is that even possible?

Learning this principle was a major game changer for me...so don't miss this:

There is FREEDOM in unconditional FORGIVENESS.

Forgiveness that is not earned.
Forgiveness that is not solicited.
Forgiveness that is not, in some cases, seemingly necessary.

If you look at the context of "forgiveness" you will see a very crucial word hidden within the text: give. I don't think that's a coincidence. True, unconditional forgiveness is not a feeling. It's a choice we make. It's a gift we have the opportunity to give...on behalf of the One who gave His life for our ultimate forgiveness.

Hidden within the confines of unmerited forgiveness are the offerings of grace, love and truth.

Grace says I will bless you even though you don't necessarily deserve it.
     "...and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."   -Romans 3:24

Love says I accept you right where you are.
     "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself."  -Leviticus 19:18

Truth
says I will continue to point you back to Jesus in all I do.
     "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ."  -Ephesians 4:15


So how do you know when you've truly forgiven someone?

For me, it was when I was able to sit down to pray for that person who hurt me...to genuinely pray for God to bless them and to know that I really meant it. It didn't happen over night. It wasn't easy all the time. But it was a daily (sometimes hourly) choice to cancel the "debt" I felt was owed to me, and to believe that God has much bigger things in this world for me to carry for Him than a grudge.

Who do you need to truly forgive today
?


Jamie

Singleitis

Do you remember much about the last half of your senior year in high school?

Yeah, me either.

By then, we had all "checked out" and were so ready to move on to being a college student, that it was all we could think about. In fact, in our minds, we were pretty much already there.

Many call this phenomenon

Senioritis

.

I mean think about it, you're at the top of your game...you rule the school, you're basically coasting to the graduation line...but you're so anxious to get to the next level that none of it matters. All you know is that you're done, and you're ready.

So what do you do when you get this kind of feeling in the singles world?

I like to call it

Singleitis

.

You know the symptoms: you've reasonably established yourself and your career; you're feeling like you're finally comfortable in your own skin and have a solid sense of who you are; your social calendar is never lacking; you spend no less than 1/4 of your annual salary on wedding gifts, bridesmaids dresses and baby shower gifts; you have at least one relative ask you about your dating life at every family function...

Don't get me wrong, it's a fun and exciting season - one that I feel has blessed me and challenged me in more ways than I can even imagine. But lately, in various conversations with many of my single friends male and female alike, we've found ourselves anxious for what's next...

The problem is, that unlike high school, there is no definitive "graduation date" into the marriage world. So how do you navigate this season without "checking out?"

Whether we're willing to admit it or not, it's a tension that many of us have felt at one time or another.

(whew...there, I said it.)

So how do we navigate this tension?

I mean sure, you could sign up for every online dating/speed dating/blind dating opportunity you could find in your city as well as threaten to annihilate anyone who comes between you and the coveted prize during the bridal bouquet/garter toss at any of the 10 weddings you're attending just this year...

OR...

You can resolve to know that it's OK to live in that tension a little bit AND still know that God's in control and isn't going to leave you high and dry. You just have to make sure you don't let the anxiousness control you or cause you to completely abandon a perfectly good path the Lord may be laying out in front of you...one that might require you to remain single a little longer than you originally thought.

Just tonight, I was talking with a dear friend about this very topic.  I told her that I LOVE my life, I love where i'm at, and I also LOVE the possibility of having a husband and family one day.  Would I like that "one day" to be soon? Absolutely. 

But what if it's not? Will I be mad at God or resent Him for it?

Absolutely not.

I mean, if God were to tell me He wants me to be single another 10 years, i'm not going to lie...I would probably do a bit of pouting and stomping my feet along the way, but I would obey. I wouldn't settle just because my life doesn't look like what I had mapped out for myself. And I wouldn't take it out on God, because I have confidence that He sees way more of the big picture than I ever will.

And that's what it's all about anyways...the big picture.

His big picture, not mine.

I never want to lose sight of that.

Jamie