Your steady love

By the time I post this, it will be Valentine’s day (or Galentine’s, whatever applies to you best this season) so yay – that can be real or sarcastic, you decide. I found and re-shared this post I wrote exactly two years ago on college singleness just because I love visiting my old self and the thoughts and words I had back then on my perpetual [lack of a] relationship status. I would say a big part of me seems like not much has changed in my heart since then, but I’d probably be lying. When I posted it to my wall this week, I added this update:

Doing some blog inventory and came across this oldie but a goodie from my 2 years ago self. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up this week, I thought I’d re-share. **Update to the update** : I laugh at my all-the-women-independent vibes all throughout this. But I think I’m more convinced than ever that the waiting season will always be worth it. God KNOWS our hearts, friends, and I’m certain there is more of his good, good, Father heart to be found in these days of singleness than we’ll ever realize on this side of our story.CS lewis

It really is funny how things can change in a year, let alone two. (No family, I’m still not dating anyone right now…) I’m just saying God has a crazy and cool way of crafting friendships, crossing paths, and throwing some pretty sweet and unpredictable adventures our way every now and then. That was all very vague talk to say, “Yes I’m still single. But I’ve no doubt moved away from my walls-up/don’t want to date until I’m done with school/there is no guy I’m attracted to self.” LOL at life. Anyway.

This morning I made the trek across town (via SEPTA – don’t worry I didn’t walk) despite the extremely frigid temps to Old City to check out the CUTEST little coffee shop I had only seen on Instagram. Well, folks, I think I finally found my favorite. I was camped out there for the better part of Saturday afternoon chugging a perfect Columbian pourover, eavesdropping on a cute older British couple, watching the snow come in sideways, and desperately trying to cram origins, insertions, and innervations into my little weary brain. It was lovely, really.coffee

I don’t feel like hashing out all the details of these CRAY couple of weeks for my classmates and I in this post, but I’ll just say the ONLY things (besides coffee+Jesus as always) getting me through these next exams and application deadlines is knowing there’s only 2 weeks to sweet Waco and just 3 weeks to ample time with my best friend/spring break. I’m writing mainly because it had been a couple of dry weeks sans writing and that makes me sad.

Also because I love writing about love on a day about love. But really, I just like to throw a curveball amidst all the sappy and lovey dovey articles or bitter single posts being shared in the realm of social media this week. Honestly, this video of kids confessing their feelings about their crushes is the only thing you need to see.

It is possible, believe it or not, to be single or not have a hot date on Valentine’s Day and be content in waiting. This morning I reached the last page of my current journal, and that’s always a day I look forward to. It urges me to go back to read through and look for all the ways that God was his usual funny and full of surprises self, answering prayers in ways I never imagined. I think this journal holding the journey of these past few months might be up there for the most rambling entries and pages of heartfelt scribbles. [This is a plug to start journaling if you don’t. It is hands down my favorite way to have a tangible record of my dreams, thoughts, and fears, and the ways that God speaks into those]. There have been some BIG and scary prayers in there, my friends. I am nothing but thankful for how He has already begun to answer them so clearly, and I’m filled with hope for the ways I know he will continue to guide my heart throughout the process. No matter how distant I feel sometimes or how shaky and wavering my love for God is on any given day, He shows nothing but a steady and patient love towards undeserving me.

I’m content and grateful today because I know and receive a love daily that will surpass any extravagant romantic gesture on this earth. A love that knows my heart.

The Monday Mission Project, Part 5: Me

Now that we’ve reached the other side of this series I called The Monday Mission, I really do hope for anyone that has been reading that you gained something out of it like I did. Even though this project was focused on others’ perspectives on how they live out their walk with Jesus in the everyday workplace, I really found myself internally processing their responses. I realized how much I have in common with all these people in my life while having my own unique ideas on the topic as well. The body of Christ is like that, isn’t it? Perfectly synchronized as a whole, but as you look closely at each component they each have a specific role. I believe that is just what God has in mind as he gives us all our own perfectly tailored gifts and leads us down different career paths. If every single Christian worked directly in churches or the mission field, who would be the people out bringing Jesus to the worlds of business, medicine, the arts, or engineering? In my Christology class we often take a few minutes at the end of lectures discussing how do we apply what we learn about the person of Jesus in this academic and interpretative setting into our everyday pedestrian lives. How can we take what we read in the biblical text and really let the words and heart of Jesus be an overflow to others, specifically when talking about our profession?

In thinking back on the various featured posts in the series, here are a few things that really struck me from each of the interviewees:

Megan & Stanley: Simple prayer is powerful, embrace changing seasons of life, flexibility is invaluable, and don’t put God in a box. The Holy Spirit can work through any and all situations, so be bold when he’s leading you.

Chelsea: Dream big with God, and be moldable enough to realize when he has something different (and far better) in mind for you ever did for yourself. Being a disciple for Jesus often involves creativity and physically being his hands to serve the least of these.

Jason: As a doctor, my patients and my staff can equally be my ministry. When they are in a vulnerable and anxious state, I can extend the peace and love of Jesus to them. Getting the chance to partner with God in healing really gets me pumped.

Danny: The worlds of business and politics desperately need Christian leaders to step up and be bold. It is definitely possible to be an ambassador for Christ in the corporate workplace if you remain centered on the things of God and understand that businesses can be some of the most powerful agents for change. Embrace new and exciting opportunities for where God is leading next.

Anyone that knows me knows I’m a HUGE Jon Foreman fan. Not only has his music been so integral in my life, but he just has a way of speaking truth and articulating his thoughts so beautifully surrounding difficult topics. He was asked (more than once I’m sure) in an interview where would Switchfoot classify their music in terms of specific genre. Are they rock, pop, “Christian?” They often are seen as an outcast to these genres simply because a lot of the time they aren’t willing to stamp a label on their art. Jon responded with the following explanation of “why Switchfoot won’t sing ‘Christian’ songs” that I absolutely LOVE and think is very relevant to our conversation surrounding career path or vocation. To read the full response click here.

“Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds. The view that a pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is condescending and flawed. These different callings and purposes further demonstrate God’s sovereignty…So there is no hierarchy of life or songs or occupation only obedience. We have a call to take up our cross and follow. We can be sure that these roads will be different for all of us. Just as you have one body and every part has a different function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each of us belongs to all the others.” – Jon Foreman

When I think about how I will use my future career as a dentist or surgeon to serve God and the people I’ll meet every day, I love that I never have to feel like I’m being any less “spiritual” or “Christ-like” than my friends going through the discipleship school or moving across the world to bring the gospel to the nations. Who are we to limit how God can work or who he can work through?

IMG_3872I can’t wait to use my platform as a doctor to make an impact on the kingdom. I know each and every one of my patients will be someone I can show Jesus to through the way I genuinely care and provide the best treatment for them. If the Holy Spirit is calling me to approach my staff or other doctors I might be working with about their relationship with God or pray with them on a regular basis, I hope that I will respond boldly. I look forward to serving globally and providing dental care to those who have never seen a dentist and letting them know they are seen and they are known by the Creator of the universe. I pray that I will wake up on early Monday mornings and be filled with joy and purpose, knowing that I’m going to work that week to live out my mission.

The Monday Mission Project, Part 4: Danny

This will be the final feature in The Monday Mission Project before I wrap the series up tomorrow. Catch up on the first three posts back on my home page and read about why I’m doing this here. As I was thinking about this idea originally, I wanted to be sure and include a variety of perspectives from different types of professions to show just how creative our God is when he gives us each unique gifts and passions, so today I’ll be featuring my friend Danny for a business point of view. Danny is also a senior at Baylor and is headed to Boston (#EastCoastBestCoast) after graduation to work as a management consulting analyst for the company Accenture. I’m not kidding when I say he is a Business Fellows, Economics, and Finance triple major with minors in Math and Political Science. He is one of those people that just seems to do it all and do it all well. Even still, I’ve never heard him complain about his workload. His humility is a testament that he doesn’t do it for the glory, either. I’ve known him since freshman year, and I’ve always been extremely impressed by how he is able to balance everything on his plate. Danny is the definition of diligence and really does point others to Jesus through the way he works unto the Lord and how he leads and serves others so well. He is an encourager to the core, too. Any time you leave a conversation with him, you’ll always find a refreshed perspective and motivation. One last thing about him (and why I think we get each other so well) is that he is an unbelievable dreamer and full of ambition. I believe God has marked his life to be a vessel for the Spirit and to ignite change where there are desperate needs for it. Danny has (and will always have) such a place of influence in so many different areas of his life, and I’m beyond excited to watch how God uses him and continues to lead him.

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1. Describe the process of ultimately choosing to pursue business for your career. How did God lead you into this profession along the way and when did you know you were really walking in his calling on your life?

Ultimately, I chose to begin my career in management consulting (business) because I think my God-given talents apply very well to this area. I’m a problem-solver, and I love going into new situations and finding out how to make things better. The business world runs by “mutual benefit.” Companies are only successful if they produce useful products or services that customers want. For a time, I thought I really wanted to go into politics – perhaps because of this same desire to “solve problems” on a societal level. Over time, however, God showed me that beginning in the private sector would be a much better way to build an expertise and learn how to make sure organizations are able to reach their highest potential.

2. How do you hope to practically show the love of Jesus through your work and be a light to the people you interact with everyday? How do you see yourself serving God and others through your profession on a day-to-day basis?

My dad is always an optimist, and so that carries through in everything I do. I think a key to success is not complaining about the little things. The people around us, whether in business, graduate school, or whatever career you’re in, will make mistakes and have hard days too. It’s important to show the love of Jesus through your work by maintaining a positive outlook and encouraging those around you. Make their lives easier. Thank them for their dedication. As a result, you’ll be more productive and show how Christ has changed your outlook on life.

3. What opportunities, big or small, do you hope to have to partner with God and make an impact for his kingdom that you wouldn’t have otherwise if you weren’t doing what you are?

I think this position in management consulting will teach me many valuable skills that can translate to all aspects of life. Whether a business, non-profit, university, or political campaign, there are always problems that need to be solved. There are things that are going to go wrong, and the world will need people to take a fresh look at each situation and find ways to improve. I believe this job will prepare me to do that, and I hope to use those skills in whatever way I can to glorify God.

4. What are you looking forward to most about your career and the next season of life?

Honestly, I’m looking forward to a new adventure in Boston! I grew up in Chicago. When I came to Baylor, it was my first time in Texas and I didn’t know anybody. Then, I spent each summer in DC – where I didn’t know anybody. Now, after building those connections, it feels like I have “3 homes” – and I’m excited to jump into a new city and build a 4th.

5. How do you think you’ll stay enthusiastic/passionate and find the motivation to continue to work diligently for his glory?

I think the most important factor is to be grounded in the right habits. I plan to find another church where I can dive in and get involved, continue reading the Bible every day, and ultimately trusting God to show me the next steps. I have to constantly remind myself that everything I do on this Earth will pass away.

6. What would you say to others entering corporate business or politics about incorporating your faith in a career where it might be challenged more than in other fields?

Business and politics are often described as immoral. But that’s exactly why we need more Christians in those fields! After my time in DC, I met so many powerful people who were committed to their faith. It influenced their interactions with people so much so that people knew them as trustworthy, honest, and yet still incredibly influential. God works through all things. Most Americans spend the majority of their week in a workplace not directly related to Christianity, so it’s important to bring a Christ-like attitude to those places as well.

7. What advice would you give to college freshman on discovering and pursuing what God has for them in terms of their major, future career, etc?

Don’t worry. For almost all of my college experience, I was sure I was going to DC. But at the last minute, I really started to reconsider – and here I am, taking a different path, but one that I am more excited about. Don’t put God in a box, and recognize that our “plans” can change faster than you realize. Work hard, get involved in things outside of class, but also just have fun. Don’t spend your entire college life stressing about the things that you can’t control – you’ll simply be wasting your time.

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Thanks so much for your thoughts, Danny! Also, this guy has his own blog at Consider Again (and is a contributor for endless others and has had the chance to write for some pretty cool projects). To quote his description of his site, “Consider Again is a blog by Danny Huizinga devoted to encouraging critical thinking. It features an archive of all of my published articles, both profiles on successful entrepreneurs and small businesses and op-eds on current events. Rather than taking articles and opinions at face value, I challenge you to think a little deeper. Being able to know why you agree or disagree with an opinion is one of the most important life skills.” He writes about current issues in politics, business, and a variety of other topics. Check it out!

Oh and be on the lookout for him to run for president one day. And win.

The Monday Mission Project, Part 3: Dr. Jason Beck

So far I’ve really enjoyed this interview series and getting to hear additional insight from so many of the incredible people I know about how they serve God through their career, day in and day out. Today’s post in The Monday Mission Project (if you’re just joining us check out the intro here) is featuring Dr. Jason Beck, DDS, MD, and it is an especially relevant one to include since he’s my main professional mentor in the world of dentistry (and fellow doctor colleague in about four to ten years). What he does every day is basically what I want to do one day! First things first: four years of dental school. Then if I’m crazy enough (let’s face it, we all know I am) and do decide down the road to specialize I’m looking at another four to six years of postdoc training. I am going in with an open mind regarding specializing or not, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love surgery or couldn’t see myself doing this everyday. He is a practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeon here in Waco, and I first met him two summers ago when I was getting some more shadowing hours in with another general dentist in town. I had actually called his office asking the receptionist if I could come observe with no real guaranteed set up before I ran into him having lunch with the dentists I was originally shadowing. He told me to immediately call back and say that he personally had met me and would love for me to come observe at his office for a few days. Needless to say those few days turned into once or twice every week and then eventually the same thing for the entire next summer. I have written a couple times on my experiences working with him (click here or here to read about it), but long story short, he’s great and I have so much respect for him. I consider him, his wife, and his three adorable boys basically my Waco family. He’s not only an exceptional and compassionate doctor, Dr. Beck is a successful and humble business owner, a godly leader for his family and staff, and a sincere voice of wisdom in my life. I can ask him anything about dental school, residency, running a practice, etc, and know he’s going to give me a genuinely honest answer and not sugar coat anything. He also is constantly encouraging me to lean not on my own understanding but to trust in the Lord with his plan for my life. He understands my big dreams and affirms I really do have what it takes. Seeing how Dr. Beck has surrendered his career to God and how in turn God has been faithful to keep his promises, I can only become more excited to see how my career as a dentist will be used for God’s glory.

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1. Describe the process of ultimately choosing to pursue dentistry and oral surgery for your career. How did God lead you into this profession along the way and when did you know you were really walking in his calling on your life?

As a child, I have always felt like I would have a job that would be highly respected and financially lucrative as well. I didn’t know what that would be, however, this had propelled me to excel in everything along the way to eventually make this a reality. Into college, I had always enjoyed the sciences more than anything else. I think because there was always a tangible product that came from scientific work and it is the scientists who I always admired more so than the great thinkers and writers. Scientists were doers and they made things happen. Eventually, I explored the health sciences from physical therapy, to medicine, and ultimately dentistry. Dentistry was particularly appealing to me because it was very hands on work that works well for us ADD individuals. I also felt that the verse in 1 Thess 4:11 was speaking to me about my career choice. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to work with your hands as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anyone.” Dentistry appeared rewarding, fun, and to provide an independence that other careers could not offer. In dental school, I had an even stronger desire to attain all these things in the greatest amount and oral surgery seemed to be the next great challenge for me. I knew that it was where I was supposed to be, because logic would say that general dentistry can provide everything I could possibly want. Nevertheless, there was a thrill I found in doing surgery, that’s it. God speaks to me in many ways, but at this point he simply wanted me to “enjoy life, and have it abundantly.”

2. How do you practically show the love of Jesus through your work and be a light to the people you interact with everyday? How do you see yourself serving God and others through your profession on a day-to-day basis?

I have had people tell me, “I know you’re a believer because I see Jesus in you.” There is no better complement. Providing a calmness before surgery and reflecting the Love of Jesus to a phobic patient has a profound effect on a person in a vulnerable state. I have prayed with patients, quoted scripture to them, and simply cared and showed compassion for them because that is what Jesus taught us as his children. As a business owner, though, I could be that for my patients and viewed as a hypocrite to my staff if I am not consistent. I see my staff as my ministry as much as my patients. They don’t know it, but they are prayed for all the time and I hope that when non-believing employees see something admirable in me, it will point them to Him.

3. What opportunities, big or small, has your career given you to partner with God and make an impact for his kingdom that you wouldn’t have had otherwise if you weren’t doing what you are.

Similar as the previous question. Patients are in a vulnerable, fearful state when undergoing a surgery, so they are looking for someone to put their trust in and lead them through this stressful situation. When things go well for them and they try to show gratitude, I can point to Jesus. My kids pray for my patients every night, so I can tell them that, which makes an impact on their kingdom experience. Additionally, on more global scale, I have been able to provide care to those in third world countries whose only encounter with a physician in life is the one who came delivering the good news of Jesus while tending to their physical needs. This could impact their beliefs for not only their life but generations of isolated families after them.

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4.Describe how your specific gifts and talents God’s given you correlate with your profession.

I have always been a confident person who can make decisions quickly and actually become energized during periods of elevated stress. These have proven to be advantageous to me during an arduous training period and continued profession with “high stress” that comes from putting a patient’s health and well-being in your hands.

5. What do you love most about your job?

I love being able to heal, whether from an ailment, a pathology, or a phobia. To have a patient walk out of the office with exceeded expectations.

6. How do you stay enthusiastic/passionate and find the motivation to continue to work diligently for his glory?

I count my blessings everyday. When I do, I am reminded that all I have comes from him anyway and therefore, not squander my talents that my Master gave to me. (Matt 25:14)

7.What advice would you give to college students who are wondering how they can serve God and be the hands and feet of Jesus through their careers even if it’s not directly in ministry, missions, the church, etc.?

God doesn’t call you to do what you are “good” at or what you love. He calls you to simply obey whatever it is and wherever it is that he has planned for you at the time. I do believe that he gives you certain desires in your heart and truly wants you to have everything your heart desires. But if you seek him in the little decisions along the way, you will have a deeper trust in Him for your future and true contentment will follow.IMG_2788

Another big thanks to Jason, and the next post will be the fourth and final feature!

Shameless plug – Any friends in Waco that need your wisdom teeth out or dental implants? Look no further than this guy. Plus, I might even be there to hear what you have to say post-anesthesia 🙂

The Monday Mission Project, Part 1: Megan and Stanley

This post will serve as the kickoff to my series I’m doing as a creative project for my New Testament Christology class. The assignment is to come up with an engaging topic and work it into a unique presentation. This can be literally anything that relates to Christology or things we’ve discussed in lectures or readings throughout the semester (a.k.a. the study of all things Jesus, i.e. – basically anything that can be routed back to having to do with our own ideas of Christology).

The Monday Mission Project, as I’m calling it, will be a series of four or five posts featuring people in my life that don’t necessarily work in ministry or missions, but are still clearly using their career and what God has called them to as an avenue to show Jesus to those they encounter everyday. These weekday world-changers serve God in the big and small and are working to help advance the kingdom in the secular workplace on a regular basis. The name for the project represents how I hope to view my career in dentistry one day: that is, that even on the Monday-est of Mondays, I want to enthusiastically walk out in God’s plan for my life and realize the impact I can have through my profession and the specific gifts and passions God has given me. Your workplace might not be the jungles of third world countries or the pulpit of the local church, but it can still just as easily be your every day mission field. I hope that through this series we would all learn to look at our careers (current and, for my fellow college students, future) as just that: the Monday mission.

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The first people I’m featuring are none other than my own big sis and brother in law. Megan and Stanley have been married for six years, have an almost-two-year old named Elijah (my favorite ginger nephew), and have another little boy on the way. They live in Tyler, TX where Stanley works as an engineer at a heating and cooling company and Megan works part-time as a speech and language pathologist while still getting to spend the majority of her time at home with Elijah. They also have worked with their small local Vineyard church’s youth group as the primary youth ministers and Megan also serves on the worship team every Sunday. Read on to see how their lives are an incredible example of this kind of kingdom-minded living and how they are embracing God’s plan for their story each step of the way.ireland

1. Describe the process of ultimately choosing to pursue engineering and speech pathology for your careers. How did God lead you into these professions along the way and when did you know you were really walking in his calling on your life?

stanleyS: I know with me and engineering, it started in high school. It was really just a desire and an enjoyment of solving problems. It started with geometry – it was just fun. When I got to looking at career choices and college majors, engineering was the only thing that made sense to me. Mechanical engineering was the one I wanted because it’s a broad degree, and you can apply it a little more narrowly as you got into a career. I knew it was God’s calling over me because, again, it was just a natural fit. It was something that just worked. Something that I enjoyed, something that came easily at times, and something where I enjoyed the work of it which is, I think, a testament to God’s will in your life. If you can enjoy the work of it, I think that’s aligning very much with what God’s called you to.

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M: I initially went into my college career undecided. I had a few ideas, and I ended up doing some formal testing through Baylor’s career counseling department. I took all these tests that are supposed to give you a list of top match careers for you, and speech pathology was my number one. I had actually met a girl on my hall who was already majoring in that, and she invited me to come observe some of the therapy sessions at Baylor’s clinic one day with her to see what it really was all about. We watched a session with a boy who was about three years old, Autistic, and had a language delay. They were doing a lot of fun, engaging therapy getting him to communicate, and it just felt really exciting that I could do something to practically help someone have an improved quality of life. I learned more about the career and the incredible variety of settings from hospitals, schools, rehab clinics, etc., and the possibilities were endless for how I could specialize further down the road. I dove in head first my sophomore year, and the more I had some hands on opportunities –  specifically in grad school and my clinical practicum where I got to work more with adults – I felt like I was being called to go the medical route and work with adults who had lost some ability to function and communicate effectively. I decided to do a hospital externship which led me to where I am now, working with adults who have had neurogenic disorders. I’m able to help them restore critical functions such as swallowing, speech, language, or cognition. Working in a hospital every day really opened my eyes to how much we take for granted in our basic, every day living and I realized that what I do on a day to day basis really does impact people’s lives in simple but big ways.

2. How do you practically show the love of Jesus through your work and be a light to the people you interact with everyday? How do you see yourself serving God and others through your profession on a day-to-day basis?

S: One of the things that God has laid on my heart is to fund the mission field. I know God’s called me not to be a full time minister or missionary, but to use my career and degree to help fund those efforts for the people who are called to missions. He’s called me to be very generous with that which he’s given me through my career to do that, so that his work can be made whole on the earth. Another specific event at work recently was when a lady I sit next to at work was visibly upset, so I asked her what was going on. She said she really didn’t want to talk about it, but came back a few minutes later and told me her husband had recently told her he wanted a divorce. I knew she was a believer, so I knew it was a fair question to ask if we could pray or what can I do to help, so I prayed over her at the time. Then when I was driving home and continued to pray for her family, I felt like the Lord gave me a vision of three or four of us at work all sitting around a picnic table just praying together. The next day I basically told her here’s what I want to do and is that OK if we did that, and she said of course. It’s crucial to not put up boundaries at work to say,”Well, this probably isn’t appropriate.” When we have relationships where we know things will be received well we can walk into what God has in obedience. There are five or six of us that have already met to pray as a group and we’ll be meeting again this week simply to pray. It’s neat that God’s guided me into that and that it’s something as simple as coming together and centering ourselves around prayer.

M: Especially when I started out working in a hospital and was around very critically ill patients who might have bleak prognoses for their recovery, I really saw people at their worst. In their place of fear and the unknown, I can be a light and comfort to them. I can be very real and human with them, and sometimes maybe it’s okay to not be so professional or clinically minded. I can look at them as a person and reassure them that I get it. For example, “My grandfather went through this” or, “My friend just went through this.” I really just take a minute and consult them or comfort them without having to be overtly spiritual about it. It doesn’t have to be me asking to pray for every patient, although I’ve had several that have asked if I would pray for them. Some times the little things like that reassuring hand squeeze, a few extra encouraging words, or taking the time to counsel them through some terrible news from the doctor can really make a difference. I would just tell them that’s what Jesus would do – he’s going to meet the practical needs first and the spiritual needs second. Another instance is doing menial tasks that don’t feel like my job. I have a master’s degree, so naturally I don’t think that I should have to put their dentures in or clean them up after they go to the bathroom, but those basic tasks where I can be a servant to help someone else who might be having a bad or overworked day are huge opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a small way. Just having a kind demeanor in that very high stress environment where people are on edge and quick to snap, knowing that I could be that gentle encouraging person to make their day a little smoother is enough. We should never think we’re too good or that we’re above others we work with. I think it’s important to realize that nothing has to be too below us for us to be willing to step up and do it.

3. What opportunities, big or small, has your career given you to partner with God and make an impact for his kingdom that you wouldn’t have had otherwise if you weren’t doing what you are.

M: While I was at Baylor I had the opportunity to travel to Honduras with a group that was actually mostly deaf education students, but it was also open to speech pathology majors. Getting to experience another culture and interact with those people who had significant communication barriers was really eye-opening. I loved the chance to work with the kids and teach them about the bible and Jesus but also to give them something practical through teaching them a language and giving them a functional way to interact with their family friends. This was a really neat experience, and I wouldn’t have had that had I gone a different route with my major or career choice.

S: One of the biggest things is the ability to give to missionaries. We’ve done this a few times where we’ve been able to contribute to somebody’s long term missions or help them get a place in Brazil or Mexico for six months. To me that’s the biggest advantage of being able to work in the field I’m working is that it gives us the ability to help fund those who are walking in God’s calling and really just reach the poor and needy and those who are in desperate need of Christ.

4. What do you love most about your career or even your current season of life?

M: Right now specifically, I am loving the flexibility of my career and that it allows me to spend a lot of time at home with Elijah. I love that I get to be the primary person pouring into him spiritually and emotionally. I get to be his mom and his main teacher right now. I get to be the one reading books, doing nap time and meal time, or reading bible stories to him and hearing him say “Amen.” I don’t feel deprived of these early formative years which a lot of moms don’t get to be as directly involved in, and it is a luxury for a lot of women to get to stay home. It’s also a choice, and there’s nothing right or wrong and everyone does what they need to do for their family. I also get to be the one that disciplines him. I like being able to meet up with a girlfriend and get coffee or meet someone and their kid at the zoo in the middle of the week. There’s all this stuff I couldn’t wait to do while I was working that I get to do now. I love getting to experience the community of young and older moms, and that’s so important for your emotional health to talk about how hard it is but how grateful we all are at the same time. It’s a hard job, a lot of people will say it’s the hardest job, but I also think it’s the most rewarding.

S: Similar to what Megan was saying with the flexibility. We’re able to work with our youth group every Wednesday night, and I have been for the past eight years. I’m able to have weekends free for youth events at the house or ministering at the church on Sunday mornings. I love my set schedule of work, the stability, and knowing what to expect. It’s been huge to in order to do what God’s called us to with the youth ministry. As far as my day to day engineering job, I think it goes back to my original love for problem solving. Even now as I’m studying for my licensure exam, just sitting down and seeing the problems and finding a solution. That’s just a blast.

5. How do you stay enthusiastic/passionate and find the motivation to continue to work diligently for his glory?

M: It’s hard. Some mornings you don’t feel like it. There are seasons and months that you aren’t really sure if that’s what you should be doing, you don’t know where it’s going, you do have doubts, and don’t know if you chose the right thing. I’ve definitely had those feelings before. At the peak of what I’ll call two or three years of really hard season at my first job, I wasn’t really sure why I was doing it. You do have days when you don’t know why, because you don’t feel appreciated or valued, but you have to think about doing everything as unto the Lord. Even when you feel ignored by people, God sees what I’m doing and sees my heart. For me when I go to a conference or do some continuing education, I have this renewed sense of loving my field and realizing I need to stay current and engaged. When I got back out there working after a year at home, it really reignited my passion because it made me think on my toes and be creative about how I’m going to do a certain therapy.

S: Part of my personality is that I’m a very duty oriented person. I know that what I’m doing is providing for my home and my family. Yeah, sometimes I don’t feel like getting up at six and commuting an hour to work, and it is difficult some days. I just know it’s something God’s called me to as a husband and father. When I walk in that there’s joy in that. Sometimes it’s trudging through muck and mire, but there’s joy in doing what God has called me to do. I have to remind myself that this is the place that God has put me and my heart. My job is providing for my family in this God-given role, so I find a great deal of joy in fulfilling that role even though sometimes it can be mundane or frustrating. I’m ultimately excited to be fulfilling his plan for my life.

6. What advice would you give to college students who are wondering how they can serve God and be the hands and feet of Jesus through their careers even if it’s not directly in ministry, missions, the church, etc.?

S: The Holy Spirit has no bounds. We can’t box in God. It’s important to keep that in mind, especially in the workplace. Always respond to what the Holy Spirit’s prompting you to. There’s never going to be a situation when the Holy Spirit can’t come in and make room for God’s glory. Another thing I’ve learned is that relationships are key. I can’t necessarily minister to a youth just by preaching the truth of the gospel, I mean, absolutely that happens. When I’ve developed a one on one relationship with someone, and then I bring the gospel into that, the drastic difference in that is incredible. It’s really great to be able to say “We know each other, I love you, this is the gospel.” Never be afraid of developing those relationships in the workplace. Also, there’s no one thing you’re going to be called to do in life. God’s will is exactly where you are, and really that’s the important thing to understand. Don’t feel like you’re going to miss it.

M: I’m not literally witnessing to people every day and preaching the gospel to every patient I have, but I’m going to be real with them and a light in their darkness. I think that’s going to open a door for their heart to be softened. You can do that anywhere. And don’t live in the fear of getting in trouble of separation of work and faith or things like that. You don’t have to always worry about getting in trouble dealing with protocols, business, this isn’t done…I mean you do have to walk on eggshells in the real world workplace (S: Yeah, those are lies from the pit of hell), but just using discernment and know when it’s definitely OK to cross some of those “boundaries.”

A big thanks to Megan and Stanley, and be on the lookout for part two coming soon. IMG_3903

The gift of waiting

A fellow Waco blogger (that apparently goes to the same church as me) whose words are what so many young women my age and in this season need to read. Thank you for this difficult but beautiful reminder.

Six years ago I met a boy. I had zero romantic interest in him, but we became the best of friends. We loved all the same things… soccer, live music, pizza + beer… the list could go on but these ones carry most of my memories of friendship with him.

We spent more afternoons at my favorite coffee shop in Jonesboro, Arkansas than I can remember between 2008-2010, sometimes talking and sometimes just sharing a table while I studied and he planned worship sets. We took as many trips to Memphis as we could to see our favorite bands play together. We talked sports and there was never anything more than a high five going on between us every time we left hanging out.

Then 2011 rolled around. He had a girlfriend at the time, and I remember beginning to think that I missed my best friend. Somewhere over those…

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The Reality of College Singleness

***This post is from last year and here are just some updates: Yes, I’m still single. Yes, more and more of my friends at Baylor (seriously like a few more each week) are engaged. Yes, I’m still incredibly excited for their future marriages and they’ve all done it the right way I believe and are not necessarily rushing into it. Nowadays I have a flashing neon sign that says, “Better not even think about dating me now, I’m moving across the country in a few months.” But really…Yes, I’m nervous and excited for who knows what could happen in this next season in an entirely new place. To any future classmates that might be reading this – Don’t worry, I promise I’m not the stereotypical southern belle on a mad search for my husband. Let’s be real, I really don’t want to marry a fellow crazy-indebted doctor…***

With tomorrow being the inevitable and overly-sappy one day a year that people feel obligated to go out and buy an overpriced box of chocolate covered mysteries for their valentine while all the singles try to treat it like any other month’s 14th day, I thought I’d write a little on what it’s really like to live life as a joyful single but who still sometimes struggles with the waiting game.

First things first – a healthy dose of funny V-day quotes and memes for all my fellow single folks to appreciate.

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I promise I’m not going to go off on some bitter couple-hating rant (I’m seriously SO happy for all my friends in great relationships and my parents, my sis and bro-n-law, and others who are still in so much love!), but I just want to give my honest two cents on this whole concept of “singleness” as a twenty-one year old college student. Every day for the past three years I’ve been surrounded by thousands of people of the opposite sex that are my age, driven and intelligent (well, some), following wholeheartedly after God, easy on the eyes, and just overall cool folks. Granted, a portion are overly cocky frat daddies, lazy slackers relying on parents’ credit cards, unattractively-heavy drinkers and partiers, and of course just some that I’m not interested in at all. A significant amount, though, are great guys that thousands of girls would be lucky to call their other half one day.

***An entirely separate blog post needs to be devoted to how messed-up my generation (and maybe specifically my university) treats the foreign idea of “DATING.” It doesn’t exist anymore, and I really wish I lived in a different era of actually asking a girl out to get to know her instead of this extreme scale of casual and shallow texting/”talking” to the high-pressure atmosphere of everyone thinking every interaction is with the frame of marriage in mind from day one. I’m not kidding when I say an unmentioned guy friend’s family asked him if he realized he only had another year left to find a wife at Baylor. New flash, boys, we don’t all care about that ring by spring, and we might just want to go on a date or two because we’re in college and want to have a memorable social life with a fun and respectable guy every now and then (sure, the END goal will be looking for potential spouses but don’t be so scared of us..step up and be a man if you simply want to get to know a girl better). Can we please make this so much less weird and not treat it like the elephant in the room? (guess what – it’s only going to be harder once we’re out in the real world)***.

Also, have you ever actually looked around and seen all the single people at Baylor? The odds should be in our favor. I’d say it’s safe to say the majority of my friends (and obviously myself) are single and by no means “should” be. This is what society tells us: that if we’re attractive, intelligent, driven, confident, passionate, caring, fun, etc, then of course it would be absurd for us not to be dating. That is not what God tells us, though. His timing is perfect, and we can question and doubt it all we want, but the truth is He knows what’s best for us through every phase of our lives.

My entire life I have taken pride in being an independent woman who does not need to find identity solely in a man. My identity is in Christ, and I know I am a daughter of the King; I am not and will not be only defined as a girlfriend, a wife, a student, a dentist, a surgeon, a musician, a chef, a blogger. My heart breaks for the countless girls my age that place so much of their value and purpose in being someone’s significant other with no real focus on their own spiritual and emotional health, not to mention a riddance of any real dreams they might have had for their own individual lives. I never had the intention of going off to college for the purpose of finding my husband, getting married, and being a non-working mom relying on my husband’s income. My future career will be extremely rewarding both generally speaking as well as financially, while still granting me the flexibility to have a family one day if that is what God has for me. I should have no problem providing for myself and even being more of the bread-winner than my husband if that ends up being the case. We live in a different time than our parents and that is just that. I’m not on some hunt for a guy that will be able to support shopping sprees and luxury cars. Sadly, I don’t think I can say the same for all the girls here at my school, and we have a notorious phrase, “Ring by Spring” that is incredibly accurate.

I have never been in a relationship before, so I’m very good at this whole single thing. It’s all I’ve ever known. In high school, I can probably point it to the fact that I grew up in a very small town and went to a pretty small school (with very limited options), and while I’m not trying to be overly confident, I’m pretty sure I simply intimidated guys at my school with just being the way that I am. Through all these years of not being tied up in another person, I’ve had so much time to discover myself, my interests/hobbies/passions, and how God is leading me to become even more of the woman I’m made to be. Also, a lot of my academic success is probably due to the fact that I haven’t had someone stealing my attention from studying when I need to.

If I’m being honest with myself, right now (and in my future long path of professional schooling), it seems like I don’t have the actual time to invest in a relationship even if I wanted to. I barely have enough time as it is to eat, shower, and rest myself, let alone think about another person’s needs and desires. Having said that, I don’t at all mean that it’s not something I want. Sure, I’m perfectly content to remain single for the time being and have time for myself to do things I want (I am pretty selfish of my “me-time”) as well as stay focused on the rest of my education, but I’m not going to lie and say I don’t think about what it would be like to be in a relationship right now. How it would feel to have flowers waiting for me when I get home from class tomorrow, occasional handwritten letters in my mailbox just because, having someone in mind when I sing love songs by my favorite artists, or just someone to cook me a nice meal for once. Every girl wants that. Period.

But…that is not the season of life where I find myself currently. I am smack dab in singleness and spending time preparing my heart to be more like Christ’s every day, so I will know more how to love like Him whenever that guy does come along. My college pastor spoke last week on dating, and he said some really refreshing things that shed some light on the tricky topic of Godly dating in college. To loosely paraphrase some of his points…

When I was looking for a girl to date I would picture me running after God. I would look around at the people keeping up and say “Hey, how’s it going?” I would pick up speed and when I saw a girl going faster than me, I’d ask her out.

Ask yourself, “Am I the kind of person that the person I’m looking for is looking for?” and “Do they love Jesus more than me?”

I was being overly cautious and ridiculously careless and that just led to WEIRD.

He was looking for her and she didn’t even know it (in reference to the passage in Genesis 24). 

A lot of guys ask me when is it OK to kiss her, and my answer is always, “If you’re looking at porn, NEVER.” 

The 4 gauges of Commitment, Time, Communication, and Physical – When one goes up, they need to then all be at the same level. 

One of the funniest/most right-on things he said was, “Not that I’m advocating getting married young/while in college, but guys, if you graduate Baylor and leave this college ministry without your future wife, IT IS NOT MY FAULT! Take a look around at all these beautiful, Godly, servant-hearted, passionate women of God and ASK THEM OUT! Girls, since I’m telling them to put their necks out there, you will say YES.” 

Now that I’ve taken the time to just put my heart out there about how I feel on this day, I guess I will spend this holiday stereotypical-single-ladies style: maybe have my own chocolate-covered strawberries and red wine, curled up on the couch in my pjs and quite possibly studying. Not out of self pity or bitterness towards people in love today, but because this is simply where I find myself and that I’m accepting exactly where I am – full of love for my family and friends and the love which comes from the Father – a divine romance like none other on this earth.

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I’m waiting so I’m this excited one day

Dishonest and Void of Creativity: Michael Gungor on The Problem with the Christian Music Industry

“The point is that the industry that labels things as Christian and sells them to you has far more to do with marketing then Christianity.”

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My roommate recommended I read this, and because she knows me so well, I loved it and had to pass it along. This blog post written by Michael Gungor (of the band Gungor) has been severely criticized by many, shared on social media by the thousands, and I think really sheds some thought-provoking truth on the tricky topic of “Christian” music. It reminded me a lot of Jon Foreman’s comments about how Switchfoot doesn’t sing “Christian” songs.

Just take my word for it – it’s worth your time to check it out. I agree with a lot of what he says even if it might ruffle the feathers of some of the people in my very conservative small hometown and church because I believe in the powerful and worshipful art of real music and hold such a deep appreciation for artists like Gungor and others that don’t just follow the crowd of (in his words) “musical zombies.” It’s about so much more than being classified in a certain genre on iTunes.

Click here to read.