Tag Archives: church

share service 2018

Every year, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my church hosts what we call our Share Service. Instead of having a service at 9am & 11am, we all come together to worship at 10am and have the opportunity to get up in front of one another and share how God has moved in our lives, and how Refuge has been a part of that movement. It’s like the church version of Open Mic. ‘Cept the comedy comes from the kids that say the most honest, raw things and there’s no cover charge for getting in or 2 drink minimum. Although we do have coffee and drinking it is encouraged.

I digress. 

This year’s Share Service may have been my most favorite one yet. 

I’ve been attending my church for 8 years and – to my recollection – I have yet to sit through more vulnerability from so many different people. I witnessed people share laughter, tears, heartbreak, and praise – all pointing to the Faithful One who carries and sustains us all. 

After church, I went to lunch with some friends and said to them, “I feel like for so long, so many people have been longing for community in our church. They want it but haven’t been able to figure out where to start – or maybe not even sure if anyone else around the church wants it as much as they do. This morning, so many people shared that they not only want community, but have found it.”

My heart grew so many sizes as one person after another walked to the front – shaky voices, sweaty palms and all – sharing that they experienced God showing up for them through the lives of the people around them. I mean, could you ask for anything more?! 

Maybe my most favorite thing said, that brought me to tears in an instant, was one person’s heartfelt closing: “Thank you for letting us be known here.”

I mean. Come. On.

That is one of the many reasons why I love my church.

I didn’t have the brain space to get up and share in front of my church. Also because sometimes when I have a microphone I can get a little too…shall we say…expository…

But if I had gotten up to share, here’s what I would’ve said:
• I am grateful that God has chosen to name me His Beloved through His Son, Jesus.
• I am grateful that God has placed me in the church He has, to see His people bear His name and pursue Jesus in such a way that the darkness has no place among us.
• I am grateful for a church that listens to the voice of women, allows women to lead, has men that stand in front of women to protect them yet also stand behind women to push them toward who Jesus has made them to be. 
• I am grateful for friends – both in and out of my church – that call me to grace and mercy and are not willing to let me push Jesus away, but rather push me closer to Him.
• I am grateful that God has given me deep, rich, life-giving relationships that fill the desires of my heart in the most unique ways – ways I would have never imagined, yet are perfect for who I am and where I am in my life right now.
• I am grateful for a faithful God that never gives up on an often faithless Bride.
• I am also grateful for friends that don’t let me continue living life in the dark by giving me their favorite books to read and forcing me to watch their favorite movies. Most of which I am rightfully ashamed of myself for never having read/seen to begin with.

I could go on and on, but this feels like it hits the high notes. 

The whole point is – I have much to share and much to be grateful for. At the tail end of a predominately difficult year, it was so good for my heart to hear the stories of people I’m in a church family with, and in turn be reminded of my God who is, and has been, so kind and faithful to me. 


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how going to the gym & church are basically the same thing*

how going to the gym & church are basically the same thing*

*disclaimer: they are not the same thing exactly. Stick with me here. Don’t think I’m a heretic or idol worshipper just yet.

So, my friends and I were at the gym tonight and it hit me: going to church and going to the gym are basically the same thing. There are so many parallels between the 2 that I think I’m going to start wearing my workout clothes to church! (Don’t tell my Grandma…)

Hear me out:

→It’s hard to go by yourself.
Going to the gym is so much easier when you have people with you, not only to hold you accountable but to be your cheerleader, to push you when you want to stop, to help you along in the process.
Going to church is so much easier when you have people with you, not only to hold you accountable, but to be your cheerleader, to push you when you want to stop, to help you along in the process.

See what I did there?

THEY’RE THE SAME THING.

But seriously. 8 months ago I would’ve told you I never wanted to work out with someone. In fact, I did tell someone that. One of my best friends – someone who knows me well. Someone I shouldn’t be ashamed of working out with. But I was. Mainly because I didn’t want to be held accountable. I didn’t want someone to be responsible with in order to grow in my physical health. I wanted to muster up enough strength on my own to change.
The same went for my church life. When I began to take my relationship with Christ seriously, I wanted to go at it alone. I wanted to have control over the whole thing. I didn’t want someone else stepping in to speak into the process.
I didn’t think, in either scenario, another person would be encouraging. I just knew they would heap judgement upon me.

But you know what happened when I finally let people in? When I finally decided to do both with someone? Change. Growth. Encouragement. Deeper fellowship.

And let’s be honest – it’s way easier to walk in to a gym or a church with a person you know. If for nothing else than to have a witness for a good story – trust me…some of my gym stories HAVE to have a witness or else you’d think I was a liar.

(and if you’re reading this and don’t have a solid church to go to, PLEASE ask me for some help in finding one. I’d love nothing better than to help get you plugged in somewhere!)

→It’s a process.
I’ve written in the past about being done with the quick fix and I’m here to say it again (but after you’re done with this, go read that post). Losing weight, changing eating habits, getting in to shape – it’s all a process. But too often we want to skip the hard work and move straight to the results. We want the reward without the willingness to sacrifice something for it.

“Well, I’d really love to lose 10 pounds, but I’mma go eat this whole pizza by myself real quick…”

Sanctification is like that too. We desire closeness to the Lord, but aren’t willing to let Him discipline us and lead us into holiness. We want all of the fluffy feel-goods immediately, not willing to repent and turn from our sin that separates us from our Creator.

There is so much freedom in submitting to the process – both in getting in shape & growing closer to the Lord. To know that I don’t have to have a summer bod by Friday (which, let’s be honest, is totally unrealistic because it’s 8pm on Wednesday night…) is so freeing! Summer doesn’t end until like September or something, so I’ve got some time!

To know that I have a lifetime to allow the Lord to remove sin, draw me close to Him, continually renew my heart, and grow me in holiness is, again, so freeing! Knowing that I don’t have to have all the things figured out tonight gives me sweet relief.

→Jumping around is hard.
This one was maybe my favorite to dissect while on the stationary bike tonight.

Earlier in our workout, my little buddy decided to up the weights by 15 pounds at a time. When she got to the top weight, desiring to “see progress! See it go up!”, she hobbled off the machine and said, “Umm, I don’t think I should have done that.”

My level-headed, super wise response was, “You know, sometimes you need to stay where you’re at and build your muscle up before you move the weights…”

How does this apply to church? Don’t hop around (“like a bunny…because it’s Easter…”-Whitney). There’s no such thing as a perfect church, so don’t give up on it quite yet. Stay put and allow God to work in you. Allow Him to build up your muscle where you’re at. Get in community and stay put to see what He does for a bit.

So, there you have it. Church & getting swole. Same thing. Kinda.

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when you act like marriage is my savior

2012-02-19-reallysnl

I’m learning not to be legalistic. It’s Thursday. Deal with it. (Whitney told me to write this.)

I’ve been in the church my entire life. I often say that the only two things I’ve known my entire life are sports and Jesus. I’ve been around church people for a long, long time. And I’ve loved most of it. I’m grateful for having grown up in the environment I did. I glad I’m involved in a Gospel centered church with a community of believers that love and encourage me daily.

What I don’t always love is when people act like marriage is my savior.

Please hear (read) what I’m about to say in love:

Dear well-meaning people in my life, marriage cannot & will not save me. When you ask me if I’m dating someone, and I answer with a “no,” don’t feel sad for me. Don’t look at me with discomfort and say something like, “well, it’ll happen when God wants it to happen,” or, “I’m sure God is just making you in to the wife you need to be!”

Sure, I may struggle with God’s timing. I may be a tad bummed that I’m not in a relationship. I might desire marriage and a family.

But don’t act like that is better for me than Jesus. If I’m struggling with singleness, that doesn’t help me. In fact, it feeds the idolatry in my heart and pushes me away from the cross.

I appreciate people showing care and concern in my life. I don’t mind questions regarding my dating life.

But please, can we all agree to stop acting like dating is better than Jesus? Can we stop pretending that marriage is our savior?

“If Christ is not your fulfillment…marriage will never be.” – Trey Herweck (@therweck)

So let’s stop acting like it can.

*I chose this Weekend Update sketch because the way they say “Really?!” is often how I react in my head to what’s described above. Click here to watch!!

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“Mawwage is what bwings us togeder tooday…”

First off, if you get the movie reference in the title, we will be good friends.

Secondly, marriage isn’t exactly what brings us together today. Singleness is.

So, why write about singleness? Because that’s what I am. I’m a single person. And I want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about how hard it is being single. I don’t want to talk about how this is just a season for God to prepare me to be the wife I’m meant to be. I don’t want to talk about how I’m so young and God will bring the right man along that’ll be my knight in shining armor of God (Ephesians 6 anyone?!).

I want to talk about how we, as followers of Christ, can build our identity in Jesus as single people simply because we want Jesus.

Too often I hear people, especially young women, discuss this idea that once we get our lives right with Jesus, He’ll bring the right man along. Heck, I used to be (and sometimes still can be) that girl. And while there’s truth to that–that we need to be content in Christ–marriage/a relationship shouldn’t be the goal of that contentment. Going to Jesus shouldn’t be a method of meeting my husband. Going to Jesus should be for Jesus and Him only.

If you’re reading this and I’ve had a conversation with you about “falling in love with Jesus before I fall in love with a man,” please hear me out through this journey. My goal isn’t to judge or make others feel inferior because of their desires for a relationship or marriage. My goal is open up a discussion on what it really means to fall in love with Jesus. Period.

I’ve got some (hopefully) fun stories lined up about how I’ve tried to wade through being single and dating and all that comes with that. Whether you’re single like me, dating, engaged, or married, I hope you’ll join in the conversation. Disagree with me. Challenge me. Give me a virtual high-five if you feel like it.

Let’s have a not so regular (ie: irregular…like the blog tagline…get it?!) discussion on our marital status.

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