Children of the Day

Not sure if I’ve shared with you or not, but I am apart of our Staff Women’s Bible Study and we’re going through Beth Moore’s Children of the Day study. What an incredible blessing to be reading through 1&2 Thessalonians with a new perspective and gaining so much knowledge of this book. I highly recommend you to go through this study, you’ll love it!005600950

I wanted to share some little tidbits from the homework I completed a few days ago…

For you are all children of light, children of the day…” 1 Thessalonians 5:5

Honest moment here…I am very afraid of the dark. I know that seems like a child-like fear, but I get so fearful because it’s hard to see in the dark. I have no idea what’s out there and that worries me. Thankfully, God is patient in helping me deal with this. He is so good!

This verse encourages me so because I do not belong to that fear. That fear does not own me. It only has the amount of power over me that I allow it to have. Because I belong to Jesus, I am a daughter of the day.

I love that beautiful, but simple phrase: Erika, a child of the day.

Now you try it: {insert your name}, child of the day

That breathes so much life into my soul I can’t even describe to you. Even typing it out now refreshes me.

I want you to know that when you are walking with Jesus, there will be times that it seems like complete darkness surrounds us and there is no way out. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve walked the fear-driven path many times. It’s so dark and unknown, but yet, still so familiar that we keep going back to it.

To overcome that fear, there are many ways, but meditating on truth is one of the best paths! Take this verse with you today and I pray that it encourages you to overcome your fear/struggle. You have the power to overcome that darkness!

Child of the day, you are the light of the world. A city on a hill. Shine that light so brightly…

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The Valley of the Unknown

I am still in the transition of searching for another full-time job. The waiting is getting hard and my impatience is starting to creep in.

But I am comforted by the fact that I’m not alone in this journey. You’re waiting on something too, huh?

Let me share some encouragement that has helped me the past few weeks…

A couple weeks ago in our staff prayer time, Pastor Doug brought to our attention the following verse,

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

This has been highly encouraging for me as I walk through the valley of the unknown. My God is so good and faithful to provide my needs. He will provide all of my physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

I want you to know that this verse goes for you too! God loves you and cares about you so deeply. He wants to be there for you and meet all of your needs as well.

So this week, when the waiting gets hard and the burden becomes heavier, remember that our God is mighty to save and He will meet all of your needs. He loves you so…

Someday we’ll look back and be thankful for our time in this valley. There are many more valleys up ahead, but this one is an intricate thread that is weaving an epic story for God’s glory.

I’m praying for you. Thanks for walking through the valley with me.

Love, E

Going Places

We are all going places. Churches. Restaurants. Gas Stations. Department Stores. Colleges. Different cities. Different States. Different Countries. Have you ever thought that all of these places are threads that God is using to create your story. How neat that each unique experience is used to shape you more into God’s image!

I am reading an amazing, life-changing book called Restless by Jennie Allen. She is an incredible author that writes in a clear-cut, enjoyable and challenging style. I highly highly recommend her.

She writes, “Do we stay in our place, or do we need to go? Place is so important to our purpose; it determines the environment that nourishes us and the people we come into contact with.”

This really challenged me. Right now, God has called me to GO from the Church. At the beginning of this job transition, my heart was deeply saddened at the thought of leaving the Church, my home. But let me ask you…what is it about home that makes us not want to leave? Do you feel safe and comfortable at home? I know I do. I feel safe and comfortable at the Church. And now, God is calling me to go and right now I don’t know where that place is…but I know that it will bring challenges and nourishment from new people and new experiences that will benefit the Kingdom. I have hope and excitement for where God is leading me!

While reading and pondering the different places that have had the biggest impact on my life, three cities immediately came to mind. I’m sure some of you can guess what they are 🙂

Let me take you on a journey to some of the places that have shaped me into the woman I am today…

TOLEDO!

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Fall Getaway 2010

SEATTLE!

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All the girls!

LOS ANGELES!

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My Small Group!

I wish I had time to dive in deeper and describe how much these places and people mean to me. I love them with all of my heart. God has used these places and people to create in my 3 distinctive characteristics that I never knew about myself:

  1. Toledo – I have a heart for discipleship and walking with girls one-on-one as they learn about who God is; and my passion to go after social justice within the realm of fighting Sex-Trafficking.
  2. Seattle – I found a new love for those incarcerated. They are people loved by God just like me.
  3. Los Angeles – God grew my heart for missions and the desire to see ALL PEOPLES and ALL NATIONS reached for Christ!

My challenge to you is to open your eyes to the current place that you’re in. It may be hard. It may be the time of your life. It may be stressful. It may be enjoyable. Ask God to give you a new appreciation of the place you’re in and you might enjoy some fun adventures along the way 🙂

Jennie also wrote, “Life is too short to spend much time worrying about where on this planet you should be. As Jim Elliot, the great martyr missionary said, ‘Wherever you are, be all there.'”

I encourage you to value and appreciate the season and place you are in right now. Yes there are rough spots, but those rough spots are threads that will weave into a beautiful story that displays God’s love, not only for others to see, but for yourself as well.

Enjoy your place. I’m praying for you. I love you.

The Perfect Fall Day

Greetings on this rainy, windy day! I secretly love this weather 🙂 Don’t ask me why, I’ve just always admired the rainy, chilly days of fall…my favorite season.

Yesterday…my handsome man and I had our date day! We took a walk in the beautiful park, watched The Book of Life at the movie theater (which we highly recommend!) and then carved pumpkins!

This was Zach’s FIRST TIME carving a pumpkin! I was honored to be sharing this special moment with him 🙂

If you haven’t yet, go on a walk and bask in the beauty of the colors of leaves…grab a friend and carve pumpkins…whatever it is, go out and make memories that will bring you joy and make our Heavenly Father smile 🙂

Enjoy pictures from our day!

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Digging deep to clean out the gunk!

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Found the right pumpkin!

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Our completed pumpkins 🙂

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I love love love pathways

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Oh hey, it’s me 🙂

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Us 🙂

Be Joyful Always

I am in a really hard season right now. I am waiting. Waiting for God to provide a new job. Waiting to get married to my guy. Waiting to pay off my student debt. Waiting is the name of the game right now.

I have the absolute honor of mentoring a high school senior named Kate. She is an absolute doll and I love her to pieces. We are reading through a book titled, A Young Woman’s Walk with God by Elizabeth George. The chapter I read this morning talked about JOY.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”                      1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I was encouraged to read that even in Jesus’ darkest hour, before his death, his mind was set on joy. Don’t believe me? I know it seems crazy. Check out John 15:11.

This was a huge reminder to me that in my hard seasons of waiting that seem NEVER-ENDING, my God has called me to choose JOY, prayer and thanksgiving.

Are you going through a hard season like me? Do you feel like this journey is full of rough rocks underneath your feet rather than a smooth pathway? Sister, I’m right there with you.

Do you need to choose JOY today? Or does prayer and thanksgiving jump out at you?

Join me today on the rocky path of joy. Our journey on the rocky path will prepare us for the smooth dirt road right up ahead.

I love you. I’m praying for you.

To my sisters…

Good afternoon! I was sitting in a Beth Moore Bible Study session when the thought ran across my mind, “I should restart my blog…”.

So here I am, back to the keyboard.

I don’t know why I’m starting this up again, maybe God has something in mind that isn’t clear to me yet. Or maybe, it was just a random thought and I’m choosing to act on it. We’ll see.

But I will tell you, my desire is to share my heart with you. Whoever YOU may be…

May my heart-sharings be of value to you. May they reveal who God is. May they bring you encouragement.

To my sisters out there…you are LOVED and CHOSEN by God.

I’ll write soon…can’t wait to begin this journey again.

Happy Tuesday 🙂

Final Project Ramblings

As of right now, I am sitting in the Las Vegas airport just short of a few hours of being home in Ohio! But by the time you read this online, I’ll already be home. I want to fill you in on the last few days of project…

Our last week of project was titled “Mobi Week” which means mobilization! We spent Monday through Wednesday gaining tools, preparing testimonies and receiving resources on how to mobilize our campuses and those in our lives. It was somewhat overwhelming because we got a ton of information in the short time of three days. I’m really excited to go back to Toledo and share what I’ve learned! Also share with my family and coworkers at Regal. One of the most useful trainings for me was preparing our 3-5 minute testimony. A lot of ya’ll are going to ask me how my summer was and I just don’t want to say the basic, “Oh it was so amazing and awesome! I had a great time!” Yes those things are so true, but I want to give you a look into what God did inside my heart as well. So here’s a little sneak preview into my testimony:

*Person: Hey Erika! How was your summer?

*Me: Oh my gosh it was so amazing! God did a total 360 in my perspective of the world. I also fell in love with a country I always turned off to…

To hear the rest, you’ll have to ask me 🙂

Our last night of project was very memorable! We drove to Huntington Beach where we just enjoyed each other before we parted ways. This consisted of volleyball, Frisbee, walking on the beach and the girls taking a ton of pictures! We did a really neat activity as a way of encouraging every person. Everyone had a piece of paper with their name on it and we passed it around the circle and each person had to write a note of encouragement for the person on the paper. Make sense? It was so fun! What made it fun was that we made it anonymous. I still don’t know who wrote what on my paper and its semi-driving me crazy haha. Once it got dark, we made smores around the fire and did our own thing. I took a walk on the beach and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The ocean at night seems to be an even more powerful force than in the day time. And the stars were shining so brightly. It was such a perfect moment between my Creator and I.  I just stared out into the water thinking about my summer and how my life is going to change within the next few years. I’m scared, excited and nervous about God’s plans for my life. All I know is that He holds me in the palm of His hand and has everything under control.

After we got back from the beach, everyone finished up packing, hanging out and exchanging pictures and such. It was some fun last-minute bonding. I ended up going to sleep at 1:45 am! That’s the latest I went to bed all of project. But then I woke up at 3:30 to say bye to my roomie Sarah and the next hour to send my other roommate Lindsey off. By that time, it was 5:00 and I just decided to stay awake, hang out and see others off. So we’re going to get real for a little bit…I didn’t cry the whole time while saying bye to people, which is surprising because I cry a lot. Then when it was time for me to leave, the tears started flowing. As I was saying bye to the last group of people, I realized that it was the last time I was going to see all of these people in the same time and place. I don’t think its bad thing to cry because these were people I did life with the past 7 weeks. We grew bonds and attachments that nothing on this earth can break. I’m thankful for friendships where the Lord is over them because it gives me hope that they’ll last forever. I’m looking forward to eternity when our project will be reunited on the upper right-hand corner of Heaven! Until then, I’m praying fervently for them that their biggest dreams will complete the purpose set out before the foundations of the world were laid, that all nations on earth will know the one true God!

To my supporters, expect a newsletter on what happened in California in September!