August 2013Walking Worthy: August 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gifted

What is wrong with me?? Why can’t I think like that? I walked away asking myself these questions and feeling very frustrated. I have these two friends, who baffle and slightly annoy me. Anytime I go to them with a project I am working on they attack me with questions. Their questions are so good.  The way their brains can think is what leaves me baffled and annoyed. I wonder, why DID I NOT THINK OF THAT!!! I often leave angry at myself thinking I am no good at all.

So I have been turning to God and asking Him some questions. What is wrong with me?? Why can’t my brain work like theirs? Softly and gently He is whispering a response. He is saying “Because I did not make you that way.” “I did not gift you with their gifts.” All of a sudden everything clicks: OH, well that makes sense God! 
Personality and Spiritual Gifts
Often I think we think that our personality and our gifting is the same. On any personality test I rate the same (oh they might be called different things) but my rating it quite clear.  I am a perfectionist. I think analytically. I like things neat, clean, and perfect.  I strive for the best. This often leads people to believe I have the spiritual gift of administration. They would be wrong though. God has given me two Spiritual gifts in particular: teaching and prophesy. While my personality shapes the way my Spiritual gifts look, my personality does not direct what gifts I am given. 
Who I Am in Okay!
It’s important for all of us to recognize both our personality and our spiritual gifting. We must recognize them and then decide we are okay with the way God made us. We must not put priority on personality or spiritual gifting. We must recognize that both of these shape us into the person that we are. Who I am is okay. It’s okay that I do not share the same personality or gifting of my friends. It’s okay because that is how God made me. I must accept that. Accepting myself means I do not try to be who I am not. It means I cannot allow myself to be frustrated when I am not what God did not intend for me to be. 
We Need Each Other
I also need to acknowledge that I need my friends. We each bring something different to the table. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual gifts. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 12. He describes the gifts given to believers as a body with different parts. Within the body of Christ we need each other just like the hands and the feet or the nose and the mouth need each other. When we are missing a part of our body, everything is off.  Such is the body of Christ when we do not recognize and walk in our spiritual gifting. 
How do we do this? First we need to recognize our spiritual gifts! The Bible gives us four clear passages on spiritual gifts: 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. I encourage you to dive into these passages and learn about spiritual gifts. I would also encourage you as you read these passages to create a chart about what you learn. Ask these questions: Why are spiritual gifts given? Who gives the gifts? What are the gifts that are given? You will learn so much by doing this! Often the Lord will show you your gift as you study.

Next we need to find a place of service. This service should be within the body of Christ. So look around your church and seek out where God would have you to serve. Once God clearly shows you where, please dive in!

Finally we need to remember this service thing isn't about us. God tells us in His word that the purpose of Spiritual gifts for for the building up of the body of Christ, so the body would be complete. So please don't allow service to allow your head to get big. Ultimately you are serving God, not man. Continually check your heart and make sure you are serving for the right reasons.


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dallas Farmer's Market

When I posted My Summer Bucket List, I received a FB message from one of my college roommates. She told me she wanted to help me cross a specific item off my Summer Bucket List: Buying produce at a farmer’s market. It took us a couple of messages to decide on a date, but we finally settled on Aug 17th. So last Saturday I got in my car and drove over to Dallas to the Dallas Farmer’s Market.

Before my visit, I went to the Dallas Farmer’s Market Website. I scoured the website to find any info I needed to know before my visit. I found some vital information about parking and my need for cash-ola. I also learned there were three main sheds. Shed 1 was all local produce, only from the State of Texas. Shed 3 was  for refrigerated produce sellers. All of this produce came from out of state. Shed 4 was for wholesalers  buying in bulk(aka, not me). I saw something about Shed 2 hosting eateries & specialty foods. I was not super concerned about shed 2 or shed 3. I found out that each shed had free parking (I like the word free!!).

Before I arrived at the Farmer’s Market my friend called and told me she was parked at the corner of Pearl & Marilla. Somehow (by the grace of God I think) I ended up parking right next to her with only a car between us. It took us a few minutes to find one another and then we were off! Of course we stopped by the Farmer’s Market sign for a selfie.
Next we headed to Shed 1. Still not sure what to expect we rounded the corner to find a long open aired shed with a street running through it. On either side of the street were vendors. Each vendor had people who offered samples of the food. I was happy to try different things. I mean I didn’t want to buy something that didn’t taste good! So we walked up and down the sidewalk and took everything in. I was honestly surprised by the variety. We saw melon, peaches, tomatoes, peas, okra, honey & even meat. My first purchase of the day was peaches. YUM! I have been craving good peaches all summer.
We walked over to Shed 4 curious about what we would find. Shed 4 was full of people and more produce than I my eyes could take in. We saw some different things, but did not purchase anything in Shed 4.

We returned to Shed 1. We talked about what we would purchase. I knew I wanted some tomatoes and my friend wanted to purchase some peas. So we picked out our purchases. At the last minute I saw some pears that I knew the hubby would like. He started back to school this week and I knew it would be a nice treat for him.
My friend and I were not ready to let go of our time. We sat and visited for awhile and watched people line up at the door outside of Shed 2 (remember that was the specialty food shed). We wondered what they wanted. I had heard about a place in Shed 2 called Pecan Lodge that served something called the Hot Mess. We wondered if that is what people were waiting for. When the doors finally opened, people rushed in to get in line at Pecan Lodge. We had to admit, it smelled divine, but we were not willing to wait in the long line that wrapped around the small stand inside Shed 2.

Instead we decided to head to Central Market. You see Central Market was running their Annual Green Chile Festival and no good New Mexican can allow that festival to come through without attending. So off we went to Central Market. I love to stand and smell the chiles roasting at the door. A smell only a New Mexican can truly appreciate!
We wandered through each section trying different green chile flavored things. I picked up two of my favorite things and one new item I had been wanting to try. First was my non-negotiable: fresh roasted green chile by the pound. I bought 4 pounds. Which I promptly took home and put in the freezer. I also picked up some green chile and pineapple salsa that I fell in love with last year. My new item was green chile hummus. I fell in love with this hummus at first bite!

I had so much fun with my friend Ashley. Ashley, thanks for helping me check off another Summer Bucket List item! I enjoyed spending some one on one time with you!!! Let’s not wait so long next time okay?
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Women's Retreat


My overnight bag thrown over one arm, my purse on another we walked to the front desk to check in. After we were checked in, we went for some dinner. We returned to the hotel our bellies stuffed with taco goodness. We walked to the ballroom and looked for a table big enough to hold all of us. Here we were a group of girls from my college ministry with me as their leader for the weekend. We were attending our first Women’s Retreat held by our church. As we searched around I saw an open table. Of course, the only table that had enough seats would be at the front of the room. The weekend was full of fun, worship, time to share, and truth spoken by Godly women.

Last weekend I learned some vital wisdom for ministry:

The Importance of Fun
“Ashlee, Lighten Up.” Is a phrase I have heard more often than I would like to admit to you.  Fun has never been my specialty, in fact I often have relied on my husband to be the fun one. I was excited as I watched my girls go from nervous to bold as they walked up to women they never knew all because someone handed them a game to play. Then there was a craft led by the women from Shanty 2 Chic. My girls were so proud to show off the craft they made. At the retreat there was a late night PJ party with more fun! I could tell they were a little nervous at first, but after the first silly video, they were rolling with laughter. I learned that not only is there a time and place for fun, but it is essential at times to bring a group of people together.

 The Importance of Inter-generational Relationships
I knew at several points in the weekend my girls were afraid of the older women around them. You see, my girls are not around other generations of women very often. As students they were sectioned off from the rest of the church. In college ministry, we are working to reconnect them to the larger body of the church. After the first session I pulled my girls together and asked them what God was showing them. Several of them mentioned that they were shocked to hear that some of the older women struggled with similar things as them. It showed them that getting older does not fix sin issues and struggles. They realized the need for them to deal with their sin struggled now. I realized how vital it is for my girls to connect with other women in the church. It amused me that they were afraid of the older women, many of whom are my friends. I also realized I must strive to connect them with other women in the church. I hope to do this through mentoring relationships and participation in other women’s ministry events.

The Importance of Being Still
One of the lessons we heard during the retreat was on the importance of being still. God has talked to me about this recently. To be quite frank, I am weary and worn. The last few weeks I have struggled with sickness. I am exhausted. I cannot even get things done because we have been so busy. God has spoken, and I need to be still before Him. I need to clear out some of the busy-ness in my life. I am not sure how this will happen, but it must. I cannot continue on like this for much longer. The most important thing in all of this, is being still is something God has called me to. It is not negotiable. I have started to walk in obedience by finding ten minutes every morning to be still. I pray, read scripture, and enjoy the quietness that occurs each morning before my home becomes busy (and I do not even have children yet!!). 

My girls and I had a great time at the Women’s Retreat, so much fun we did not want to leave. I am grateful for the precious women who served at the retreat, so I could attend. It was such a treat to just be at an event and not be in charge of anything! It was a blessing to have undivided time with my girls and for us to enjoy time together. We cannot wait until next year!!
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fort Worth Food Truck Park


Well, remember that ambitious Summer Bucket List I had?? Well…..yeah I might have bitten off more than I could chew this summer. I had no idea how much our lives would change once our college students were out of school. I got so busy that I have really been struggling to blog. Sorry Friend

The first item on my Summer Bucket List was visiting the Ft. Worth Food Truck Park. I have heard several of my friends talking about this place and I was excited to try it out. I got to complete this task thanks to my SIL Brittany. Brittany wanted to go to the Food Truck Park for her birthday. So off we went as a family to the Food Truck Park. I was beyond excited!!! We rolled down this small regular looking street. I kept wondering when I would see the food park.  To my right, tucked off to the side was the Food Truck Park. At first glance I thought, is this it? The Ft. Worth Food Truck Park was not very big. They had five to six trucks parked around the edges of the park. In the middle was a gravel area with picnic tables.
Our first task was to find a table in the shade. After securing a table we walked around looking at each truck and tried to determine what to eat. Finally we decided to order from different trucks. I was craving tacos, so I ordered tacos from the What's Cook-N Chef truck. My hubby ordered fish and chips from the Three Lions Truck. We split two kinds of mac and cheese from the Sweetie V's truck. My hubby's fish and chips were SO good! I was actually a little jealous. My tacos were good, but not spectacular. Next time I would order something different. The mac and cheese was SO good. We tried regular & creole. I must say they were pretty greasy, but the taste was worth it.
Over all, we had a good time. The trucks at the Food Truck Park change every day, so the food is constantly changing. I would love to go back and try more food, next time I will be a little more ambitious about trying something different.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Lessons Learned in Tragedy

Last week I shared what I was learning from the book of Job while walking through the tragedy that struck my community. You never know when tragedy will strike.

Today I would like to share with you some of the ministry lessons I learned in the midst of tragedy. Please head over to the Transform Student Blog to read what God showed me.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Lessons from Job


What do we do when tragedy hits home? How do we respond? Last week, three young men died in my community. You might have seen the story on the news. I awoke on Tuesday and strangely felt prompted to check my Instagram. Weird right?  As it opened my feed was full of people mourning the death of these three young men. My heart sunk and immediately felt burdened. I did not personally know these young men, but the students my husband and I minster to did. I started asking God what do I do? God, what do I say?

My week was full of prayer vigils, memorial services, intentional conversations with mourning students, times of personal prayer, and heartache. Heaviness filled my heart. My heart was broken for the families who lost children. My heart was burdened for our church staff as they ministered to our community. My heart was torn for the young man that remained alive who drove the car and had lost brothers & a friend.

In the midst of this God brought me to Job chapter 1. Here was Job, in chapter 1 he lost everything. His servants, his livestock, and his children had all just died. In a short moment, so much was lost. I read this chapter and as I read the last three verses I stopped with awe. After all of this, how did Job respond?

"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." Job 1:20-22

I looked at these verses and could not believe Job's response. Job fell down and worshiped God. That was His first response. He recognized that God is the one who gives all good things and in His sovereignty He can take them away. Job blessed God.

So what can we learn from Job in the midst of tragedy? I must confess I felt ill prepared when tragedy struck our community. I have learned many lessons this week, but mostly that in the midst of tragedy I must seek God, I must walk in faith, and I must walk in an attitude of worship. When tragedy strikes we cannot seek to put the blame or be angry at God. We in turn must trust and worship Him.
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