Monday, November 18, 2013

Man Up

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess your initial thought is oh no, this girl is going to tell some sad story about an ex-boyfriend or rage about how men suck, they should treat girls better, blah, blah, blah.

BEEP! URNT! (That's my buzzer sounding) WRONG!

This has nothing to do with how a guy treated me. Or even how a guy treated a girl. It's about how guys around me treat other guys.

Now let me first apologize and recognize the fact that I do not claim to understand how guys interact with one another. The fist pounding, pumping, chest bumps elude my girly comprehension. How guys can sit in a room together for hours and not say or grunt more than a couple words to one another; mind blown.

What I will say though is this: Some things, need to change. And it needs to start with the men.

This past Saturday evening I was out with a group of my friends, about ten of us. We had taken two cars, designating two drivers. One driver had drank a couple beers before we left but said he wanted to drive and would be fine. The impression I was left with was he would be sober while we were out.


In the 1.5 hours we were out at a bar I saw him drink a couple liquor drinks (whiskey to be precise) and some beer.  This was on top of the alcohol he had already drank prior to us going out. As we were leaving, we were splitting back into cars when I turned to him and asked if he was driving. He insisted he was and I mentioned a couple things to the effect that perhaps he shouldn't be, all in a manner to not embarrass him. I even asked if he would let me drive bearing in mind I had only had one beer while out and was the most sober in the group except for the other driver.


Wouldn't hear an argument. Insisted he was fine. Knowing full well he was above the legal limit and he was having passengers.

Now why am I particularly angry about some stupid bullheaded guy that clearly does this on a regular basis based on his actions and other people's comments?

I said this in front of all our friends and NOT ONCE did someone jump in and help me. One guy did jump in but only to make the joke that he makes a great drunk driver. None of the other guys would make eye contact. NOT ONE of the other five guys said something.

That DISGUSTS me. I won't apologize for wanting to deck this guy. I won't apologize for calling the rest of the guys in my group cowards. Because that is exactly what I thought of them in that moment. It was more important for them to let this guy save face, to stay cool, or whatever guys think when they won't call another guy out on his behavior.

I recognize that not all guys are like that. There are some who would have simply taken his keys. I wasn't in that position nor did I have any of those such guys with me.

You want to hear some frightening statistics?
  • Over 1.2 million people were arrested in 2011 for drunk driving  (I wonder how many weren't caught.......)
  • In 2011, 226 CHILDREN were killed by Drunk Drivers
  • On average, 1/3 of people will be involved in a drunk driving accident
  • Drunk driving deaths actually INCREASED by 4.6% in 2012
Not convinced? Think I'm overacting?

Here is a personal story:
I was at my best friends house having dinner with his family one evening when we hear the loudest crash. We rush outside to see two cars mangled in the middle of the road. We rush to the passengers as chaos ensues, someone dialing 911, others of us trying to get to the passengers, some of us trying to waive other drivers down to slow so they won't hit the stranded cars blocking the entire small road.

Ambulances arrive, taking victims away and they have to cut the driver of one car out because the engine is sitting in his lap.

One driver was a young girl, early twenties. The other driver was a young dad, recently moved here from several states away with his family with one of his children in the backseat, a young girl about the age of five. The female driver had a broken ankle and some other non life threatening injuries. The male driver underwent surgey and physical therapy to learn to walk again.

The young child? On impact, her neck was snapped and she was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. 

An investigation was launched and brought to trial. The young female driver was convicted of vehicular manslaughter for driving under the influence. Her blood alcohol content was way above the legal limit because she had been drinking at a golf event she had just left from.

That entire family's life was changed because they lost their daughter. The driver was sentenced to prison and her life was altered drastically too.

I was apart of that scene that night. A year later I met the wife of the guy driving that other car. It was one of the most difficult things to look her in the eye and hear her story. I can't imagine being the reason that caused it or be the reason that could have prevented it.

I will carry that night with me for the rest of my life. I will never forget what it looked like to see that young girl lifeless, the man incoherent with pain, unable to realize his daughter isn't responding, the mashed up cars in the street and to know how life altering that simple decision to climb into the drivers seat was.

Man up, Men. Speak up. Tell your friend that No, He
  • "Isn't good to drive" 
  • "Doesn't drive more carefully intoxicated"
  • "Isn't a safer driver"
  • Not to take backstreets, to "avoid the police"
  • Or that, he does this all time and will be fine
Do you know what the average cab fare is? Probably about $10. Know the average cost for a DUI defense? About $5,000. Know how much a life costs or a lifetime of pain?
No one plans to get into an accident. No one climbs into that drivers seat thinking they might kill someone that night. A true man will do the right thing.

Man up, Men. Speak up.

Monday, July 1, 2013


            Recently, I had this discussion with both a friend and then my co-leader for small group.

What constitues modesty? What does society ask of us? What do our friends think? More importantly, what does God call us as women to be like? How can we balance this level of modesty with being "fashionable" but not dressing like a nun?

            ***Long post disclaimer***                             ***Lot's of links involved***

First Link

"Analysts at National Geographic concluded that bikinis really do inspire men to see women as objects, as something to be used rather than someone to connect with."
"[The woman in the song] was afraid to come out of the water because she has a natural sense of modesty that has been stripped away by today’s culture."
"We need to teach our girls that modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because they’re bad. Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves. It’s about revealing our dignity. We were made beautiful, in His image and likeness. So the question is, how will you use your beauty?"

 (Jessica Rey suits pictured above:
What defines modesty? I believe it is defined differently for each person. I think that each person’s environment is what sets the standard but I also think that people can choose to ignore what the environment has set out for them. I was not allowed to wear makeup until well after most girls were and my mother had to approve the length of my shorts until I left for college. There are mothers on the other end of the spectrum who appear to still shop in the junior’s section and model their daughters after themselves. 
(Culture has provided SUCH great role models for our young ladies)

I think many girls try to match fashionable with modesty but clothing companies don’t often give us that choice. As a female that has wide hips but a thin waist, I’ve often had to pick one over the other and sometimes I gave into what was “fashionable” which was tighter and “less” clothing. 

Clothing Companies like A&F who influence us like this: 
What do you say to a girl who has only heard kind words from the boys she sleeps with? Who didn’t have the right role models and relied on the media who constantly tell females exactly what that article states, “less is more.” A close friend of mine was a Director for a non-profit in Greenville, SC who on the weekends went into strip clubs to just love on the girls there because too often they hear Christians condemn them rather than love on them as we are called to do. The stories she shared from the girls when they broke down and described their self-worth or lack there of, is eye-opening to say the least. 

It’s hard to tell your friends let alone yourself, that while dressing in less modest clothing usually gets you more attention (not typically the kind a girl truly wants) but when attention is lacking, it’s just one more temptation girls will give into, whether they are 15, or 45 years old. 

Don't worry though, other companies like Victoria Secret are trying to teach girls culture values at a MUCH younger age

I find modesty and beauty different for each girl. Confidence and high self-esteem are the true beauty. When a girl understands her own value, she is more likely to dress in clothes that are modest to her but yet show a physical beauty without being a nun.

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 
 -1 Timothy 2:8-11

Here are some GREAT thoughts Kerri provided:  
·       How are teenage boys to maintain holy hands if every weekend they are using those hands to feel up the boobs & butts that teenage girls are putting on display?
·       Think of it in another way, statistically if you are dating someone in high school, you are most likely not going to spend the rest of your life with them.  Less than 2% of high school sweethearts end up getting married.  So you are dating someone else’s future husband.  Now if you care about that young man you are dating, you will view him in this light.  You will want him to be able to lift “holy hands” in praise on the day he marries his wife.
·       Think of the flip-side.  Some other teenage girl is dating your husband right now.  What kind of girl do you hope she is? How do you hope she is dressing for him? Is she building him up to be a Godly man, or is she tempting him to lust every time he lays eyes on her? How much more are you going to fall in love with him if he can lift holy hands to God, thanking Him for the gift of you on the day you marry him?
·       Date and dress now with your future husband in mind. Encourage your friends, hold each other accountable…they may be dating your husband now.
·       Believe me – you will have the discussion with your husband about your past, what kind of discussion will it be?  Will it be full of shame and tears for the mistakes you wish you hadn’t made?  Or will it be one of accomplishment, love and pride that you can tell him you dressed and lived in anticipation of him?

Maybe if girls spent as much time building each other up rather than tearing each other down through gossip and snide comments as we are great at doing, then we would stop listening to the media and find our own individual definitions of modesty. I guess through this rambling what I’m trying to say is that a bikini can be modest to some girls and others feel more comfortable in a beautiful one piece like the ones the Jessica Rey designed. Each girl through both her actions and her clothing choice can set the tone for what she expects from others. 

Kind of leading into the quote: "Analysts at National Geographic concluded that bikinis really do inspire men to see women as objects, as something to be used rather than someone to connect with.
This makes me think of how some people think that girls that are scantily dressed and then raped “asked for it.” Perhaps those girls should have considered other clothing options but never once, is a woman asking to be raped nor to be seen as objects. A lot of it falls to teaching guys and girls how to treat and view one another.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ripple Effects

It’s so funny how events and decisions from more than a year ago can affect my life so intensely today.

I was a marketing and management majors so when I took an internship in the finance area over the summer, it didn’t seem to have much overlap with what I was studying. I learned about endowments, trusts, wills, account changes, beneficiaries, how accounts pay out, more financial terms more of you don’t really care about….. lol

I’ve already said in the past how much it made me interested in the finance sector and really helped me get my current job. However, I had no idea I would take a full-time job in the finance sector after graduation.

Recently, I heard a service on When Grace is Silent. How even when you feel like God isn’t working in your life, he is working behind the scenes. In my top five best sermons ever heard in my life easy.

When we wonder why something is happening, God is looking at the big picture thinking, just wait, I’ve got it worked out!

It’s so funny how much easier this time around was when so much uncertainty existed but yet I trusted God.
I trusted him to:
-find me a living situation (I have a great house, with GREAT neighbors, in a neighborhood right by everything I need)

-To find me a roommate (a 3 month internship girl I moving in this weekend, I think we are going to get along very well!)
-To find me a permanent roommate-still waiting but it can’t all happen at once, jeez!
-Find me a great church I fit into-Elevation Church baby, it’s where it’s at!
-Help me make friends-Already happening
-Love my job and coworkers-Have I mentioned how awesome this company is and how fantastic everyone I’ve met has been??!!!
-Get to know the area-ummmm well traffic still is unbearable and I’m slowly learning the area but hey, I trust God each day to get me to and from home without a crazy Charlotte driver killing me, they are crazy here!

Needless to say, my journey has been so interesting so far. While I miss my friends, really miss my small group and awesome co-leader Kerri, and home church NewSpring, my path is changing and I’m changing with it.

I can only imagine what the big picture looks like. I bet it is a great plan if I know anything about my Big and powerful loving Father!!!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Think Before You Speak

I’ve been told in the past four years I won’t or can’t do a lot of things.

Last night I was sharing about my recent financing with Lowes so I could buy new appliances for my new house in Charlotte. I explained how I opened up a line of credit to finance it, 18 months same as cash. Then this guy commented

 “You won’t pay it off in 18 months.”

I turned to him and said “Yes I will”

“No you won’t”

Now wait a minute. You hardly know me. Yet you are going to sit there and tell me what I will and won’t do?! No sir, I don’t think so.

Shortly after my sophomore year I had to buy a new computer and wanted a Mac but couldn’t afford to just throw down $1,200. So I financed it through Best Buy for 18 months same as cash. I paid it off, every penny by myself, in 14 months.

I guess that’s the same as people telling me I couldn’t graduate high school in three years. I was 17 when I started college.

People told me that I couldn’t double major with a minor and graduate in four years. That I couldn’t handle 19+ credit hours each semester in order to make that timeline. That I couldn’t handle working (some semesters 30-45 hours/week), that heavy course load, and be a collegiate athlete.

I just graduated with latin honors three weeks ago with a degree in Management & Marketing, Psychology Minor and finished up my second year as Captain for the Rifle team.

I guess that person was right, I probably won’t be paying off those appliances in 18 months. 

(I want to note, I have some of the most supportive parents out there who have always encouraged me along with a God  who makes anything possible. So yes, I had some help along the way)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

That Special.....

“You have plenty of time for that.”

“Patience is a virtue, just try to have some.”

“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Really, I’d rather have your freedom”

“You’re young, enjoy it while it lasts”

These are all statements I’ve heard numerous times from different people over the course of the past year or two. In fact, it’s a speech I’ve heard so often I could probably repeat verbatim from memory. Much like those lectures I know I’m sure to receive from my parents when I do something stupid happens and I have to call to tell them. (Confession: Sometimes I practice these lectures to my roommate in my Dad’s voice to prepare. As she and I can both tell you, I’m getting pretty good at predicting exactly what will be said. I can even give the lecture to myself and have done so in front of my parents, much to their amusement.)

Despite knowing all these lectures by heart, hearing them hasn’t really gotten through to me. It frustrates me to hear them and instantly, I start blocking out what the individual is saying to me.

Maybe if I had tried listening and not gotten frustrated, I might actually have gotten somewhere.

See, most of you are probably scratching your heads trying to determine what topic I might be talking about.

Keep scratching, it should become obvious as you read further.

See, I’ve been asking God about this for the past year now. Where was I going wrong? How was I different than those around me? Should I compromise? Lower my standards?


That statement has gotten through loud and clear from God. I just wasn’t sure what the explanation was behind it. (Not that God owed me one because he doesn’t, I just wasn’t sure when he was going to reveal his plan to me. Repeat what should be stamped onto my forehead: All in good time, child, all in good time.)

It was about two months ago I started receiving clear messages. Ones that left a little bitter taste in my mouth until I washed it out with some humble pie.

Let me tell a story first. I’ve been listening to Pastor Perry at NewSpring for 4 years now. Even from the beginning of my freshmen year this lesson has been taught and interwoven into more sermons then I can recall or count. “The right Christian significant other for you is one that you have to grow closer to God in order to grow closer to them.”

I’ll be honest, this concept has baffled me for 3.5 years. It might seem simple but I just didn’t get it. How could a guy cause me to want to grow closer to God to get to him?

When you really like a guy who is really interested in say football, don’t you learn everything you can about the sport? (Unless you live in the South where apparently teaching the concepts of this game is as important as teaching the alphabet to your kids).

When a guy is really truly focused on God, don’t you want to have the same values as him? Want to demonstrate you are that focused on God as well? Doesn’t seeing their desire and passion for our Heavenly Father cause you to want to have that same passion?

I “met” a guy that caused this for me. A guy who’s passion and desire to seek the Lord in each situation and proclaim it to the world was more than I thought existed. A guy who was my age, outgoing, hardworking, and similar interests. It really astounded me. I’m sure this particular guy has no idea the effect he has had on me. Then I made the connection between what Perry had been preaching and I smiled. Perry does tend hit the nail on the head even if it takes me some time to understand.

So I’ve tried to start pursuing God with this desire. The desire to grow closer to God and along the way I might have learned a thing or two.

Here’s the thing though.

1 Timothy 2:11 “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness”

Proverbs 31:10 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”

1 Corinthians 7:4 “The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife”

Colossians 3:18-19 “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”

Do any of these describe me?

No. Not yet.

My career is really important to me. I worked hard to get where I am and want to continue working hard. Am I willing to consider a man in my life and put his needs first and submit or compromise? Not yet. Am I worth far more than rubies? I have way too much to learn on my own before I bring someone else in the mix so definitely not more than rubies. Am I taking care of myself health wise? I recently started dieting, getting back into running, and getting more sleep and rest because I realized I wasn’t.

I’ve watched friend after friend, get hurt over relationships that haven’t turned out well. If I already know I’m not ready based on the above, why was I getting frustrated? Sometimes it takes time to put it all together. So now, I’m putting it together and thanking God. Thanking him that I’m not getting heartbreak brought into my life. Thankful he has placed a wonderful lady in my life who has taught me what a Christian marriage is supposed to look like and how as a couple and as an individual, you grow closer to God.

I’ve still got a lot to learn but hopefully, I’m saved some trouble and heartbreak along the way. It’s funny, God really does have my best interests at heart but just like with my earthly father, I have to grow more mature to appreciate it. Sometimes, it takes that special...guy....situation...nudge..alignment of the planets. Huh, I guess wisdom does come with age.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The trajectory of our Lives

"I guess I've just never felt the need for God. I've never had someone close to me die or a traumatic experience. Nothing has ever made me feel like I need God." 

A friend of mine a few months back got into a discussion with me about "my" religion. I was really excited because opportunities like that rarely come along without being forced and this one wasn't. As we got into discussion he made the statement above. One that just blew my mind because while I had heard it before, that time it really resonated with me. What do you say to that? What do you say to someone that believes of you that the only reason you worship God is because something traumatic brought you to him and you use him like a crutch to get through life? 

I sat in silence for a couple minutes after he made that statement. I knew this was a precarious moment, one in which I would need to tread lightly and with great care or risk losing any progress made with my friend. Do I wish that something would happen to bring him to his knees and draw him closer to God? No, not for a moment do I wish such an event for him but unfortunately, such an event is typically what brings people to God. They come crying to him, begging for another chance, fists shaking at him for allowing such an event to occur.

I continued to think about it and realized I didn't have "magic words" or the "right picture to paint" to win him over. I simply ended the conversation with expressing my opinion that typically, it does take certain events to occur to bring one home to God. That I hoped that isn't what would happen with him but I would always be there to answer any questions he had and find him the answers if I didn't have them. 

If you were looking for that great story where God gripped the heart and brought another one of his children back to him, this wasn't it. The reason I share it is because I think many of us are still trying to figure out what to say or do in those situations. It made me realize my inadequacy in dealing with those situations and how much I needed the Holy Spirit to speak through me but I just didn't know how. 

It made me realize I needed to "Get Ready"

This Sunday at NewSpring, my church will start a series pinpointed to help followers share their story with others, prepare us to talk to our family, friends, and even strangers about our faith. I know I need it. Easter is coming and what a great service and time to bring others with us. It's a proven researched fact people are more willing to say yes to attending church for Easter and Christmas. One is already past and not for another nine months. Are you willing to wait nine more months to get that very unlikely individual to church with you? I know I'm not. I'm ready to listen, learn, and act to get those I love to a God I know who saves and still performs miracles. 

Don't believe God still performs miracles. Let me share three quick stories just in MY LIFE of how he has proven he is the same miraculous God today that he was 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked the earth:

1. For the first twelve years of my life, I lived in Ohio where black ice meant the roads were extremely icy but it was clear and looked black like the asphalt. My mom hit such a piece of black ice one day driving. She spun off the road and proceeded to flip her SUV not once, not twice, but THREE times into the surrounding field landing roof down on the ground. Windows were blown out, car was completely totaled. Now ask me how much the paramedics did to treat her. NOTHING! Absolutely nothing because my mom walked away WITHOUT A SCRATCH on her. If God wasn't holding her in the palm of his hand performing a miracle, then I don't know what else is.

2. When I was a senior in high school I worked at a bar and restaurant in downtown Columbia. One night after work I was walking to my car and was approached by a guy asking for a cigarette. Before I had completely gotten the words out about not smoking, he had a gun out and at my head. He demanded my money and credit cards. My parents had always preached to me about such a situation so I hadn't taken anything but my keys and license to work. I offered my car keys but that wasn't what he was after. The next approximately five minutes of my life were the scariest I have ever had. He yelled at me and jabbed the gun at me, screaming that I wasn't taking him seriously. It's the one and only time in my life I truly thought I wouldn't be walking away. I won't go in much more detail but the gunman calmed down and walked away. In the space of twenty seconds, he stopped screaming, bid me to have a good night and get out of there before some "bad guy" came along and walked off. If God wasn't involved in that situation, I don't know what was.

3. You would have to know my Dad to appreciate this last one but let's just say my Father was not very nice when I was growing up. He was quick to anger and slow to reason. Completely opposite of what the Bible calls for. He was an alocholic my entire life. I prayed for years something in him would change. In April, I will be celebrating his 4th year of sobriety with him. I couldn't be more proud of him. A man that was too proud to admit his problem, who was unpleasant at best to be around, is now a man I seek for advice and grow excited to go home to spend time with. 

God works in his time. Not yours. On his plan, not ours. Come learn how to be apart of it.

"The trajectory of our lives can change before we even know it’s happening. It doesn’t take much. A phone call. A conversation. Unexpected news. But what if we could have a part to play in the life trajectory of other people? What if someone’s story could be different because of you? Would you play your part? Take a step of faith? Are you ready?"