“The List”

Finally participating in 5 Minute Friday again. The rules are: write for 5 minutes. No over-thinking; no over-editing. This week’s prompt is:

Middle

Ready? GO

“Oh, he’s married, so he’s off the table”, I joked at a restaurant with some friends.

“Man, you just make it so hard to set you up”, a friend joked back.

“No, no. Single. Loves Jesus. That’s not hard, right?” I responded.

After thinking for a moment, we both said, “yeah, yeah it is”, and then laughed.

The truth is, maybe I’m looking for a little more than just “Single & Loves Jesus”, though that’s pretty much where to start.

But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a list.
But that list is somewhere in the middle of 2 & a million traits (closer to 2 than a million, you’ll be happy to know).

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that people have to be realistic about what they’re looking for.

Our desired traits have to be a middle ground between “Breathing” & “Prince Charming”; our relationship expectations a middle ground between “hell on earth” & “perfect fairy tale”.

So, what’s on my list? I’ll share the gist:

image

You know, the important things. Beyond this, I have complete faith my Abba knows what I need/the relationship I’ve been praying for.


Did you have a “list”? If so, did your significant other match or exceed (or not quite)? Any encouragement as I continue to be patient in the waiting? Can’t wait to hear from you.

Accessibility in Ministry

Hole-y jeans. An oversized flannel shirt. Hair clipped back. Not a speck of make-up on. 

The speakers rolled out late 90’s/early 2000’s Rock (not censored).

This was me a few weeks ago – what was happening in my car when i dropped my younger sister off at a movie. A movie that is…questionable…

This was after sleeping in too late to make it to church or to Sunday School that day.

It’s mornings like those that make me question my calling to be in ministry. I mean, think of that picture…Why would He use someone like that…?

This week’s Five Minute Friday theme was to “Choose Your Own Word”…The past few weeks, two words have been on my mind:

Accessibility & Ministry

You see, after thinking about the above scenario, I realize:
It’s my failures, my weakness that make me accessible.

And Accessibility makes for deeper ministry & relationship.

My constant, day in & day out relationship with Christ; my desire to know more of Him – is what makes up for it. This allows Him to be strong in my weakness.

And, it is this accessibility that makes me more connected to ministry leaders I work along side, work under, and learn from.

When ministers share somethings of where Christ has the opportunity to move within their life, I often walk away feeling that they are more accessible in ministry.

And, recently, I have been ministered to by  a blog from Liz von Ehrenkrook. She is bravely open about her journey in really homing in on her beliefs. It is in her bravery & her openness that I have been greatly ministered.

You see, these thoughts are on my mind because, I have always felt that, perhaps, I could be a minister’s wife – working along side of him in ministry.

Then, I have mornings like the one above.
And, I remember that, I usually envision perfectly put together women as pastor/minister wives. They sit on the front row. They are always perfectly dressed & made up. They always say the right thing & speak softly.

Do they ever get angry? Do they ever have bad days? Do they ever have doubts or questions?
I’m sure they must, I mean, they are humans, right?

My aunt is the only pastor’s wife/worship leader I know that I don’t see as perfect, but, I realize, that is because of our relationship. She is bravely real with the women’s ministry. She is beautifully open with family & friends. She is accessible. And, her ministry has blessed me more than most.

But, that’s the beauty of ministry. It comes in so many forms, and from so many places, if we are open to it.

And we can be used if we are simply accessible.

My great-grandpa left behind so many Bibles. We each (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) go one when he passed (there were enough for all, only those who wanted one, took one).

Miss Clara (fictional character from War Room, which has been recently released, and I highly recommend it) Anyway, Miss Clara has her War Room – her prayer closet. She prays so much, for everyone.

That’s a ministry right there. Both of them.
I still open my Bible up, seeing his scratched out, taped in notes. feeling the worn leather bend beneath my touch. Bathing family, friends, and home in prayer.

And, in my openness and relationship, I hope to always bring Glory to my Abba in my ministry. And, hope I can leave a legacy behind in doing so. A connection to others in ministry.

“I’m Not Nothing!”

“I’m not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need!”
-Emma Swan ‘Once Upon A Time’

Every Sunday, this sentence comes out of my mouth at least once: “It’s Once Upon A Time Time!”

And, in tonight’s episode, in response to a dark voice in her ear, in a show of amazing restraint and power, the main character shouts those lines:

“I’m not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need!”

Does that stir something in you?

It did in me.

You see, I started this day with those pesky little voices in my head reminding me of my “nothingness” – edging out my “enoughness” my “goodness” and my “just rightness”.

I get those pesky little lies in my head – sometimes at work “You can’t do this. You’re not ready. You’re going to fail.” Sometimes with friends/in social settings, “They don’t really want you around. Why would they want to be your friend?”

You’re nothing. You’re worthless. You don’t really have a place to belong. The lies go on and on – even at church.

Though I am glad to be back at my home church, the last couple of weeks, I have felt a little out of place – being Single & an older “young adult” in the MidWest, it’s hard to find the right place.

And, even though I know this is my church home, I keep wondering if something would be better elsewhere. Even though I know this is where God has planted me, I keep wondering if maybe I should try to find another place, greener pastures as it were (ironically, this is partially what we talked about in Sunday School while discussing Jonah).

When I go into the Sunday School class, where I am really enjoying the teaching, I do feel out of place when I first walk in – as the oldest one in the room. Even older than one of the teachers.

It makes me momentarily forget that I have a place in the Kingdom, and that I can still grow where I’m planted. That God’s power is in me & I can serve, if I only seek out ways to do so – exactly where I am.

Sometimes, it even causes momentary amnesia that I am a daughter of the Most High God – adopted into His family through His Son. (Ephesians 1:4-7). That I was created by God, and that the works of His hand are wonderful (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:14).

You know why this scene is so amazing to me?

As someone who has been a faithful viewer (and as a woman who feels the negative lies of the enemy almost daily), this scene is something beautifully empowering.

You see, Emma is central. She is the important key in this show – she has a power all her own & now, at a pivotal moment in her struggle, the darkness is against her – speaking to her as we often have voices in our head speaking to us. But:

She knows who she is, who she has always been – And, she claims it. She fights against the dark voices & stands in her own power.

I want that. When my “nothingness” threatens me, when the enemy tries to entice me with the things of this world. When he tries to convince me that I am nothing, that I am worthless, that I have no place, I want to remember that I stand in God’s power. I want that to be my reaction:

“I’m not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need.”


(P.S. – I think I have now watched this scene about 20 times since it aired. Thank you, DVR!)
*Emma Swan quote from: ‘Once Upon A Time’ – ‘Nimue’ on ABC. (Sundays at 8/7c.)

Who Am I…I am..

This week’s Tuesday @ 10 prompt is: Who am I? I am... and Five Minute Friday is Learn.

So, here we go…

Just over 9 years ago, I graduated high school, packed up my life, and left Oklahoma to return to the sunny shores of California.

Now, in a little less than a month, I am packing up and making the reverse trip. I don’t know how long I’ll be in Oklahoma, but that’s where my sails are leading right now.

In that nine years, I have learned some very important things about who I am.

And, Who am I?

I am:

Fearless.

Ok, not really. Usually, I am riddled with anxiety. Amazingly, though, I usually tend to do big, crazy things despite the intense anxiety around them.

Because, I am not truly fearless, but I have

Faith.

Faith in a faithful God, and as His word says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb 11:1).

So, I live a kind of “Leap and the net will appear” kind of life.

Valuable

It’s taken me 27 years to realize this. And, some days, I fail to remember.

But, honestly, I am valuable. My Abba said so. And, that’s beautiful.

Loved & Blessed

Beyond anything I could ever measure. Family & friends. Opportunities, adventures, experiences.

Once again, my Abba has provided more than I could ever ask or imagine (Eph 3:20).

A [Beautiful] Masterpiece (Ecc 3:11, Eph 2:10)

Completely in progress. His hands are not done shaping the me that I am.

And, who am I?

I am…

Fearless, standing on Faith, of great Value, Loved & Blessed beyond measure.

A beautiful masterpiece.


What truths has God shown you about yourself?

Another Letter to Me

I have been away again…though, I have a few posts written & ready, I have been hesitant to share them, and I am not completely sure why. So, I’m back for Tuesday @ 10The theme this week is: “If I Could Write a Letter to Past Me…”

Some of my readers know I did this a while back, but I realized, the me that wrote that letter could also use some words of encouragement.

Another Letter to ME:

Dear Miss Candice:

   It’s a good title to embrace, you’ll see.
   Recently, you wrote one of these… a letter to past you. It’s actually one of my favorites: so much wisdom from you to you, and now, I have some more.
Over the last three & a half years, you have really been learning what it’s like to live life FREE – free of the darkness (which tries to come back, from time to time), free of the loneliness, free of the pain.
But, a bigger battle is coming. Take heart. Remember who has overcome all – overcome the world. Also, remember, no matter how alone you feel, you aren’t. Reach out. Let others continue to love you.
Let God’s love soften your heart. Again and again. You’ll need it (I need it).
Don’t worry about the destination (I still don’t quite know what that is or how we are getting there…). Enjoy the journey – the ups, the downs, all of it. There is oh so much experience and adventure headed your way. Embrace it.
I’m still not married, but I’m learning each day how to be the kind of woman the RIGHT man will be drawn to. Try not to get too discouraged each time you hope someone might be your someone. He’s still not here yet, but I have great faith He’s coming. It’s just another one of those things we have to let God make beautiful at the right time.
And, I leave you with the final words you told our 18 year old self, because you really need to remember just as much:

“You are precious. Most days you don’t believe it because you don’t hear it… You are strong. Not on your own,
but because of the power within you from your Abba. You are a survivor and you thrive on.”

Love,
Candice Jenee’