Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Immeasurably MORE

Being single is HARD. 

My twin sister and I did everything together. Everything. From the time of conception, we shared a womb and a placenta. For 17 years we shared a room, every single day of our life, until college.

We had the same friends. We played duets together on the piano. We danced together. Both were in the Miss Blue Devil pageant. We cheered together. Swam together…we shared a hair brush, a dresser, a mirror. We shared every item of clothes, down to our panties. 

But once I met my love, my prince, my hot hubby...I was a goner. We were married. And my sister? My best friend? She was left. Alone. 

Single life is hard. 

At no point. EVER. During my teens or 20's, did anyone pull me aside and tell me what I needed to know about men or a husband.

Not even close. 

The night before I was to marry Brian, I laid down on my Mom's bed, head in my hand and we talked. Excited about what was to come, thrilled about the next evening marrying the man of my dreams. 

And so I asked my Mom, 'Is there anything I need to know about husbands? Or men? Or sex?'

She paused and thought. Her eyes drifted off across the room. She gave a long dramatic pause. I thought she was about to shower me, the almost newlywed with some precious, memorable, beautiful advice…

But that wasn't the case. 

Instead. She answered flatly, 'No.'

I think I may have laughed. It was funny then. But now, it's not so funny to me at all.

It is unthinkable. I was in my early 20's. I was a kid, marrying a kid. I knew nothing about anything. I was dumb-foundedly and madly in love. And that was it. 

I had no clue about men. About Brian. About making dinner or making love. I was left to figure it out. 

So I got married and my twin sister and I, for the first time in our LIVES, took different paths. I was so happily married. I spent so much time gazing at, loving, talking to, and traveling with Brian that I unintentionally kind of left her behind. 

She was single. She suffered. For years she struggled. She dated one FROG after another looking for her prince. 

And she worked, as a pharmaceutical rep as she prayed for her prince. So, while I didn't live through those treacherous single years, I watched her do it and heard from her that it can be a very very hard, sad and lonely time. 

But God knew that was best for me at the time. And maybe, just maybe, my Mom's single answer of 'No' to my single question has given me the fervor that I needed to fuel my desire to help young women one on one and from whatever stage I get. To teach them. Educate them. And give them all I've got from my life experiences. 

The His Proposal conference this past weekend was anointed. It was so special for me to pour my heart out to these girls. Outside of my family. Pour myself out for a bunch of high school and college girls that I don't even know. 

I shared my testimony. And I cried. I talked about the mess of a life I was living before I met Jesus. And how me...a dirty wretched sinner was saved, was redeemed by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   

'In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come, so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.' 1 Peter 1:5-6

I pretty much stopped all else to plan the 7th His Proposal weekend. It was the first ever in Florence. I schooled the girls and taught a few aerobics classes, but other than that, I was getting bags under my eyes, spending time preparing for the weekend. It was God asking me to do the impossible. I don't have extra time in my week. You may…? I don't know what other peoples 'normal' is. I really don't. I always joke with Brian, if we ever sit still…I say, 'Are we normal now Bri? Is this what other people do?' :)

If I happen across a few extra minutes in my day, it is spent cleaning up spills, doing another load of laundry and loving on these precious babies of mine. And if you are wondering then, how I have time to blog. It's 1:00am. :) And the snow is quietly falling outside as all are nestled warmly in their beds. 

I prayed for 100 girls to come, which seemed to be a LONGGG shot. 

119 girls were there this weekend.

God loves blowing me away. And I love when he does. 

'Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.' Eph 3:20

The conference is a beautiful platform to share with these girls that Jesus is the King. That HE and HE alone will fill them. That they are in need of the saving that only He can give. The filling only He can give. Not a boyfriend, not a job, not a husband, Jesus alone. 

So many women, friends of mine and friends of friends served these girls. There was an ARMY of helpers. Counselors, meal makers, table setters, chairs movers, worship leaders, sound people, drama, setup, registration, breakout speakers, someone setting up chairs in the breakout rooms, friends coming just to smile and support us. Even a team praying for the attendees by name. 

Brian was the only way I could do it. He encouraged me. He helped in the sound booth, he helped lift heavy stuff, he was time-guy and kept the whole weekend together. I couldn't do it without him. And I mean that. He watched the girls, coordinated all our schedules for the weekend to ensure he was there to be right by my side. Cheering me on from the balcony where he was listening and nodding as we pointed these girls to the cross. 

Want to spice up your marriage????? Serve the Lord!!!

Friday night, I was speaking and Brian was overcome with love, he said it was like he had just drunk LOVE POTION #9. He told me that watching me serve the Lord and pour my heart out to these girls, overwhelmed him with love. So when I sat down, I received text after text from him, from the balcony professing his love. Mini love letters, like when we first started dating. 

My friend Laurie Beth did a phenomenal job bringing together a group of people to decorate the sanctuary. It was sooo pretty. 

I call these two BFFs. They ADORE one another. Praise God for really, really, really good friends to love on your babies while you pull off the impossible. 

 Day 2 - Saturday

 Praying…or maybe a really long blink? :) 

The conference was awesome. Girls were set free. Many gave their lives to Jesus. Eternity was changed. So thankful….
Above: Current generation serving the Lord
Below: Future generation to serve the Lord
(And they happen to adore each other like their Mom's. I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried.)

I love these. 
Here are a few ideas I found recently about how we can  spend time with our children investing in eternity. 
1. Assess your quality time.
If you made a pie chart of how you use your time, how much of it is invested in the eternal souls of your children? Does the time spent in mindless activities grossly outweigh the time spent in pointing them to Jesus? Are you spending more time watching them from the sidelines than you are sitting beside them with the gospel on your lips? Do other adults have more impact on their hearts than you?
'These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.' Deut 6:6-7
2. Be intentional in teaching them the Bible.
Have planned, consistent devotional times with your children. Study God’s word with them. Pray with them. Memorize verses together. Check in on how they are doing spiritually. I think most of us would be surprised at how deeply our children can converse about their hearts.
'Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.' Deut 6:8-9
3. Use everyday life issues as teaching moments.
We can often be distracted by the details of life and miss the numerous opportunities to instruct our children in the gospel. Sibling squabbles, complaints about school, problems with friends, discontentment while at the toy store — these are all moments that can be used to pour gospel truth into our children. Pray that God would give you a ready awareness of those moments. Be willing to set aside other tasks to invest in your children’s hearts.
We can do it! Focus first on the Lord. In everything. Begin memorizing scripture. Today, on this snowy day. You have extra time. Start small. Pick one verse. Work on it over and over until you nail it. Then! Teach it to your kids. The buck stops with YOU. You have to know it before you can teach it. (That's the secret.) 
'Protect me God. For the only safety I know is found in the moments I seek you.' Psalm 16:1 
Seek him!!! If you haven't ever done it, start today! Open your bible. Flip to the book of John. And enjoy meeting the only one you need. 


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