Spirit Lead Me

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you may call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”       – Oceans by Hillsong United

The Lord has lit a FIRE under my rear-end these last few months and I’m LOVING it. He puts this extreme passion in my heart for certain things that just make me bubble over with enthusiasm and pure, sincere joy. This is one of those things.

I don’t know about you, but every time I see a homeless person my heart just breaks into a million pieces. There are so many people struggling in the DFW area and asking for help. Can you imagine being hungry and not knowing when or how you’re going to get food? Not having a place to call home? Feeling alone and so discouraged because thousands of people just drive right by you? I can’t fathom the emotional challenges that come with that and long desperately to encourage each person with a bit of hope.

My mom has been listening to Beth Moore studies and absolutely loves them so she passes them down to me when she’s done and I seriously can’t say enough good things about these lessons. I’m currently listening to the lesson over James (for the second time). After reading the book of James a few times, there were two verses that kept sticking out to me– James 2:5 and James 2:26.

“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”   -James 2:5

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” -James 2:26

OH MY! “Has not God chosen…” Not only does he love the people who are poor in the eyes of the world but CHOSEN them to be rich in faith. I read on to the part about faith without deeds is dead and felt that fire under my rear-end. Does James shake your world upside down or what? There’s something about his bluntness that awakens the soul.

This past Sunday when Alex and I were in church, I might have let my creativity take over my listening ability (sorry, Matt Chandler–I think you’re awesome) and just stared at the Bible in my hands. Most Sundays I bring my own Bible but I completely forgot to get it this Sunday so I was using the Bible that The Village so graciously places under the seat in front of you. Matt reminded us that these Bibles are a gift to us if we don’t own a Bible and that is when I started thinking about giving Bibles to homeless people I come across. I flipped over to the book of James and re-read the verses I just mentioned and was overcome by an idea that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since.

If there’s anything that exudes hope, it’s the Bible. I think people who are homeless could use a dose of hope. So why not keep Bibles in my car, with a gift card to McDonald’s or a place that’s similar and has a value menu (so $10 goes a long way)? Why not add an encouraging note to the mix, and maybe create a list of Bible verses with page numbers. And let’s call it “Feed the Faith” (thanks for the name, Dad). Oh man, am I pumped!

The last week has been filled with prayers over this idea and project. I’ve prayed that the Lord will give me the right words to write in the small note attached to each Bible. That He will prepare the hearts of the recipients, but to also prepare the hearts of the giver when the gift is accepted really well or when it’s thrown to the ground. I’ve prayed that the Lord will guide my steps throughout the whole process and that He’ll overwhelm me with peace in His perfect timing. That He’ll provide, if this is His will. I’ve prayed over each Bible while preparing the gifts and prayed that I will be reminded to pray for each recipient. And that these gifts will end up in the right hands and hearts will be changed.

Feed the Faith is a project to serve our neighbors that are living on the streets. Together, we can spread the love of God, the Word of God, and give hope to those who often need it most. Feed the Faith is a Bible, a list of verses with page numbers and a phone number for a local shelter, a hand-written encouraging note, and a $10 gift card to McDonald’s.

1970733_10203567221766494_2101957189_n

If you feel led to help in any way, please reach out to me. I ordered Bibles in bulk and have all the other supplies but not enough gift cards so that is the biggest need right now. If you’re unable to help financially, I’d love for you to join me in continuing to pray for the things I mentioned above.

20-Somethings…Let’s Talk.

Something has been weighing HEAVILY on my heart, something I think a lot of people need to hear (read). If you’re saved by grace, striving to live your life for the Lord and in your 20s, this is for you…

I’m certain you’ve seen the MANY articles and blog posts about what you’re supposed to do in your 20s. If you haven’t, just Google it. I’m also sure that if you’re not living your life the way these articles and posts suggest you should, someone has probably said something to you about it (I’ve had quite a few people say something to me) or maybe you’ve even felt some guilt for not having the same mindset. The common theme of all these posts is that your 20s is a time for you to be selfish and wild. I’ve thought and prayed LONG AND HARD on this. We’re all selfish by nature and all sin daily, but I’m here to tell you, as a daughter of the Father and sister in Christ, that we are NEVER called to be selfish and/or wild. Not once in the Bible does it say “And in your 20th year of life, until your 30th, go and be selfish,” or ever talk about how you should party and travel the world “while you can.” We are called over and over to live a life that glorifies the Lord and to be selfless, in all ages and stages of life.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…”  Philippians 2:3

For those of you who don’t know me well, let me give you a quick bio. I have two jobs and work A LOT. My biggest passion is helping people in any way that I can, whether it be planning their wedding or praying over them. My free time is generally spent loving on my family, my man, his family, and more specifically his niece who is two. Did I mention that I’m 23? My favorite thing to do is spend time with a two-year-old who isn’t even related to me. I would rather be playing “horsey” and singing nursery rhymes to her than going out and partying. You may think I’m absolutely out of my mind because according to these posts, I “should be” out with my friends instead of cleaning up after a two-year-old with food poisoning or traveling the world “while I can.” It’s ok with me if you don’t approve of this because I consider it an honor and joy that I get to love this little one, despite the fact that the world is telling me I’m crazy.

It’s my calling to pour into the people around me — at work, on an airplane, at the grocery store, my family and friends. Why? One time, when I was interning at Disney World in Florida, I was SO discouraged because I was serving popcorn and corn dogs (something I could have done much closer to the people I love). One of my dearest friends reminded me that the Lord didn’t place me there to serve food, but to be a light to the people around me. That was a HUGE wake-up call for me and has stuck with me ever since. The Lord has strategically placed each person in my life, has planned their footsteps to cross mine. Isn’t that awesome? The guy making your sandwich? The Lord handpicked to cross your path. The lady that checked you out at the grocery store? The Lord HANDPICKED to cross YOUR path. I believe these opportunities are just that; an opportunity, to let your light shine so that others may see your good deeds and give glory to the Father.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

I guarantee your circumstances are different from mine, meaning your way of loving those around you and living a life that glorifies the Lord is different from the way I choose to do so. You may be called to a life of travel, or to a life of serving in your community, or to teaching, accounting, or being a stay-at-home parent in your 20s. Regardless, what the Lord has planned for this decade of life is different than what He has planned for mine. The Lord has called me to selflessly love those around me, not be selfish because I’m in my 20s.

So here’s to the 20-somethings that are choosing and striving to live selflessly to be more like our Heavenly Father; to the 20-somethings that are using this time to act out their calling and not the calling of the world. God is worthy of your trust, love and life. My challenge for you is that you will re-evaluate the goal for these years of your life. Get in the word and get after the Lord. Be blessed and be a blessing to the people who know you.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:3-8

You are loved,

Manda Jane

Love

As I sit in my new bed and drink coffee, I’m amazed and overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness and love. It feels like just yesterday I was moving into the dorm at OU and ready to embark on a new journey. This weekend has been similar, except with A LOT less of daddy’s money, ha!

I’m literally at a loss for words when it comes to looking back at the last six months of my life and realizing how drastically it has changed and how blessed I am. Each day, I find myself just basking in the blessings I’m surrounded by. All I can say is, God is good. His love has been so evident to me throughout my life, but more specifically in the last couple of months.

This last week was rough. Everything with the move fell apart and I had to come up with a plan B which literally seemed impossible to me at the time. Being a planner, my mind was constantly racing trying to figure out how to make it work and how to do so in the most efficient way possible. Alex and I kind of got into an argument (which isn’t important) but in the end it led us to discuss what love means to us. This was his definition of love:

I think there are different types of love obviously. Love is demonstrated in the Bible many times and obviously our love is nothing compared to God’s love, which is amazing. But I think love is willing to do anything for another person, willing to fight through all the good and bad. Love is caring for someone else more than yourself. Love is when someone is the first thing on your mind when you wake up and the last thing before you go to bed. Love is putting a smile on your face when they’re not even around. Love is a deep emotional connection. Love is passionate. Love is looking past any imperfection. Love is when everything is better. Love is a commitment. Love makes you do things you never thought you would do. Love is when you want to be with someone all the time. Love is something you never want to let go of…

When I read these words, it made me teary-eyed because I can’t even express how blessed I feel to have him in my life. Not only am I completely undeserving of the love he shows me on a daily basis (^), but I’m overwhelmed by the Lord‘s goodness and provision of bringing me this sweet guy. Like I said, the Lord’s love has been especially evident the last few months, and I know a big part of that is Alex.

The first part of his description, “Love is demonstrated in the Bible many times and obviously our love is nothing compared to God’s love, which is amazing,” really put the Lord’s love for us in perspective for me. HOLY SMOKES! Can you imagine all of that on steroids?! THAT is a love worth living for!

Weddings….WHOA! Man, how awesome is it to find something that you absolutely love doing and to get paid to do it? It’s hard to understand how much work goes into making a wedding happen and how much physical stress it has on your body until you actually do it. Sometimes my feet hurt so bad I want to cry, but I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else…that’s how much I love it. Kristin works harder than anyone, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be working and growing with Events by Kristin. Also, I CANNOT WAIT to be in Callyn and Jase’s wedding! EE! She sent me this cute photo asking to be one of her bridesmaids :)

IMG_0590[1]

Toyota is also a lot of fun! I love hearing employees tell me that I’m doing a great job of making the dealership come together or get involved in the community…that’s the best part. :)

Hmmm…that’s pretty much it for now–just trying to balance it all. Hoping I get to spend as much time as possible with my Sisty before she and Brad move to Oklahoma, praying that this big girl transition will come fully supplied with peace, that the Lord will continue to remind me of his love and goodness, and that I will be as fun to love as Alex is.

Sorry for the mushy-gushy stuff…kind of :)

xoxo,

Manda Jane

Grace

God‘s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off. -Max Lucado

Where do I even begin?! I’ve been out of school for about 6 months now and have experienced the Lord’s grace and provision more than ever.

Let’s see…I still love my job. It seems like it has gotten a lot busier as I take on different tasks, roles, and challenges. Now, I’m in charge of everything that has to do with community outreach, more specifically, charitable functions. Each month we pick a different organization to support so I do everything from communicate with the organization, to coordinate times and people to volunteer, to blog about it. I’m still in charge of social media and even more so now than before because we downgraded our package with the company that we outsourced it to. I’ve coordinated a few small events and I’m responsible for keeping up with birthdays/birthday parties and what I like to call toyota-versaries. I also put together our internal newsletter and external newsletter. My office looks like a mix between a storage unit and a hoarder’s room.

As most people know, I’ve always loved planning things and LOVE weddings. I used to research how to get into the industry and it just seemed nearly impossible. One day, I was sitting at one of Alex’s softball games and was talking to a girl who is a full-time planner and casually told her that I would love to help her if she ever needed it. The following week, I got a message from her saying she needed some help that weekend and I quickly took hold of that opportunity. The night of that first wedding was raining and cold and I was terrified I’d screw something up. Knowing me, I figured I would have ridden my bike into the cake table (you won’t get this if you didn’t read my posts while I was at Disney), but nothing happened and it was SO fun. I guess I did alright because Kristin sent me a list of all the weddings she had for the rest of 2012 and I have worked all of them. Last weekend, I coordinated a corporate Christmas party without the boss lady there (she had a wedding in Dallas) and it was a success! Kristin is SO good at what she does and has been a HUGE blessing to me. She is an awesome friend and boss and an even better planner. We work really well together and I have loved getting to know her over the last few months. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for Events by Kristin in 2013! :)

I don’t want to get too mushy, but I’ve also been CRAZY blessed by a guy named Alex. I’m overwhelmed by his passion, joy, and encouraging words each day. He keeps my head on straight when I’m running in 18 different directions and is a constant reminder of perseverance and grace.

20121210-152755.jpg
Happy, content and full–joyful, thankful, full heart, full mind, just plain full.  The Lord’s grace has definitely turned my life upside-down, but I’m exactly where I want to be and couldn’t be more thankful for His plan and provision.

Above All Else

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

Where do I even begin? The last few months have been absolutely CRAZY–unpredictable, fast, new, exciting, devastating, and perfect. That’s the marvelous mystery of life and of the Lord’s plan…

It’s really hard to believe that I’m actually done with school, that I graduated, and that I’m a full-time employee. There were MANY nights that I really thought I would never make it across that stage, but I did and I did it in four years. Those four years were the best of my life–full of learning, fun, and new beginnings…I wouldn’t have changed a thing. You don’t realize (at least I didn’t) how much your parents sacrifice until you go to college out of state–I’m beyond thankful for them, their selflessness, and support. Thanks Rosie & Bald Man!!

Lindsey and Steven had their baby boy and he is absolutely perfect. I’m so thankful that I got to be there when he was born and spend some time with the new family. I can’t wait to hold baby Robert Henry again and watch him grow!

What’s next? Oh yeah…my sister got MARRIED!! It was a really stressful day for the MOH, but the most perfect night. Megan was stunning and everyone was sobbing as she walked down the aisle. Other than knocking the flower girl (my cousin) off the steps with my large butt and forgetting to let her walk down the aisle before the best man and me, everything went smoothly. EVERYONE danced the night away–literally, the dance floor was completely full until we were forced to leave. Oh yeah and I caught the bouquet!! Sisty and I get to see each other at least once a week which I love because that won’t last long since she’s now an Army wife.

The next couple of weekends after Meg‘s wedding were spent traveling. The first weekend we went to San Saba, TX to celebrate the marriage of a lifetime family friend. It was a fun night with the parents and seeing old friends. The following weekend I went to mom’s high school drill team reunion–it was fun but the actual reunion was SO long. There were a couple of mom’s friends that were fighting over me for their sons haha it was super entertaining!

The next week was trying. That’s the week Robert and I broke up and it was so unexpected so it crushed me…crushed. I’ve never been so angry and hurt at the same time, but I kept my head up and myself busy to avoid dealing with it. Luckily, Becky’s bachelorette party was that weekend which led me to a really great weekend of distractions. Let’s just say it was one of the best nights of my life!

The following week, I started my job. My what? Yeah, my job–crazy weird saying that. I had searched long and hard for a job and can’t even tell you how discouraged I was. I went to interview after interview, turned down job offers that didn’t seem like the perfect fit, got turned down by ones that did, and prayed for patience and hope. Emily’s boyfriend’s mom told me to look for a job on Craig’s List because her daughter got an awesome job from a posting on there…so I did. It was a success and word’s cannot express my gratitude for that piece of advice. I’m now in my fourth week as the Marketing Manager for Toyota of Irving and loving every second of it. The people are awesome and I love what I’m doing. My boss, Jereme, is awesome! He’s so knowledgeable about everything and does a great job of managing…literally everything. He’ll probably be famous one day with the kind of enthusiasm and creativity he has.

Since the breakup, some days have been harder than others, but I haven’t really stopped or slowed down to process it until now. Just recently, it has consumed my every thought and even my dreams at night. They’re too real to ignore and usually it wakes me up multiple times a night–that might explain my serious case of exhaustion and the emotional state I’m experiencing. It’s frustrating to me that I let myself get to this point again and even more frustrating that I can’t make it stop replaying in my head. I know that in the grand scheme of things this is just a minor bump in the road and that this is a learning experience, that the Lord is using this to prepare my heart for what lies ahead of me, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. This too shall pass…

Although I’ve had Proverbs 4:23 memorized for as long as I can remember, it came to life for me today and made me think of it in a whole different light. Praying for healing, overwhelming peace & hope, and joy that is contagious. Praising Him for His provision, His plan, strength, and mercy.

xoxo

<3 MJ

P.S. I have been LOVIN’ the time I get to spend with my favorite girls! Don’t know what I’d do without these two cuties!

Safe Haven

Do you ever just want to run and hide somewhere? Somewhere that’s a safe haven from reality, from people who turn that smile upside down, from school, from work, from life…

I’ve spent the last couple of days in one of my safe havens–relaxing with Robert in San Marcos which was much-needed. He took me to a couple unique places around his little town and we spent one evening in Gruene. I’m obsessed with that place! We had dinner at the Gristmill on the river (SO pretty) and then enjoyed a little (but packed) concert at Gruene Hall after that–it was perfect. That boy knows how to make me laugh! We could talk for hours on end about anything. He always has the perfect words to lift me up and keep me going when I want so badly to run and hide somewhere. He makes me feel safe and loved and encouraged. I look up to his perseverance and endurance in life and learn from him daily. Thank goodness the Lord blessed me with the sweetest best friend and some time to enjoy his company over break.

My friends from high school will forever be the best girlfriends of my life. They’re going to be the girls I take my kids to the park with, the girls I go on vacay with, and the girls I live next door to. We can turn anything ordinary into something extraordinary which will definitely keep us entertained in the years to come! I can’t believe Allie cat is leaving for Spain in a couple of days. I truly don’t even want to talk about it because I’m going to miss her so much but I’m beyond thankful for all the time we’ve gotten to spend together over break!

This break hasn’t been the best. Plans have been altered, tears have been shed and lives have been forever changed. Being back at home has been hard. I feel like I’m messing up my parents’ routine and I absolutely can’t stand being on a leash. Have you ever caught a stray animal? They go CRAZY when you try to put them in a cage. Yeah, I’m the stray animal in this situation. My heart wants so badly to be on my own so that I can make my own decisions…without getting punished for doing so. I want to live and at this point I feel like I’m more surviving. Bring on Wilson the volleyball to be my only friend! Only 4 more months til graduation–WOOHOO!

Over the last year I noticed that I’ve been placed in a couple of situations where people are forced to choose between one person and another. Some situations where I wasn’t directly involved and others where I am. One of the worst things I think anyone could ever make you do is choose between people, friends, loved ones, etc. If someone truly loves you and cares about you, then they will take the time to get to know the other people you care about and will absolutely not make you pick between them and someone else. There should be no choosing when it comes to people in your life. We’re called to love everyone, right? “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

I think this is an area that MANY people struggle with, but more specifically, Christians. The Lord has blessed me with a big, open, welcoming heart that doesn’t discriminate but appreciates the differences between people–small or large. This means that I see things pretty differently and have no problem befriending randos, as I like to call them. However, this isn’t the case for most people and I honestly believe that it’s one of the biggest turnoffs from Christianity. To the outside world, it looks like Christians are constantly judging the book by its cover and saying that they can only associate with people just like them–same walk in life, same experiences, same views on everything. Those few that have a different mindset are the ones that will change the world. Think about it! Which role are you playing in this?

In the rocky mountains of life right now, but continuing to learn. Thankful for friends, laughter, and love. Praying for a joyful heart that strives to make MY dreams a reality and won’t settle for anything else.

“In all things give thanks.” Ephesians 5:20

xoxo <3 Manda

Overwhelmed

If you know me, you know that I live my life in fast forward. Recently, I have been so overwhelmed, that I haven’t really just stopped and realized how blessed I am…

Of course I’ve been doing school non-stop and when I’m not getting schooled, (punny, huh?) I’m working. This semester I had to make 2 B’s and an A in my core marketing classes in order to graduate in May. The last few years, grades have NOT been my strong point so I was super nervous when my advisor told me that. Because of the help of friends, and a certain dedicated professor, I managed to pull this off AND still get A’s in my two other classes…overwhelmed with joy.

This past week was finals week and it was one of those weeks where everything goes wrong.  Obviously there are finals, but on top of that, I managed to get a virus on my computer, get a sinus infection, sleep 2 hours past my alarm, had to work, there was a sweet man who passed away at my church, and I started my intercession. While my computer was scanning for viruses, I ran to the doctor and to get meds and got back just in time to spend HOURS on the phone with bald man trying to figure out a solution to the computer issue–praise Jesus he is such a computer genius. It’s not 100% better, but usable until I go home.

I started my Biology intercession yesterday (the day after my last final). Let me tell ya, it has been absolute hell and its only the second day. I read through the syllabus after I got off work on Friday and searched everywhere for the books I need for the course. Turns out, the only place you can get them is in Dallas. I called my dad (yet again) bawling my eyes out this morning because I was so stressed out about it. How am I supposed to read 3 chapters, do 3 labs (like 6 parts each), and take two test by the 23rd (the day I go home) without the books?? AND science, much less biology, is NOT my cup of tea. I was the girl in high school that let their lab partner do everything…no way I was touching that frog.

Anyway, all of the instructions for the course are unbelievably confusing. There are passwords to enter quizzes and like three websites for the class and of course when I try to start on my first lab, it asks me for a password that wasn’t mentioned anywhere ever. I emailed my professor but haven’t gotten anything back yet–YIKES! This class is so overwhelming already, I’m not sure how I’m going to survive a month of it. So dad went and got the books this morning and waited up for my roommates sister to drive through Denton (on her way to Oklahoma City) tonight just so I could have the books tomorrow. Selflessness at its finest.

Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning in an ocean of chaos and there are no islands anywhere near and you’re surrounded by sharks…yeah that’s kinda how I’ve been feeling…

Today, I was so overwhelmed with how blessed I am to be surrounded by the people in my life, especially my daddy. This week definitely wasn’t the first time that he dropped everything to take care of me and solve my problems. I have been as successful as I have because of his help. He does everything in his power to help me in any and every way that he can and I appreciate that more than he will ever know. Thanks, bald man, for being such a great example of selflessness and joy to your youngest daughter :)

I will be in Norman until the 23rd because of work, but I’m actually not too upset about it. Even though I have gobs of homework to do and work, I’m excited for some Christmas fun with Lindsey (and baby Robert), Steven, and Bert who’s coming to visit! It will be an absolutely PERFECT way to start Christmas.

I can’t wait to see my family and help my sisty with wedding stuff over break AND visit Jessie girl in Boston!!

Thankful for the crazy times in life, my fun friends, my supportive family, and the privilege of receiving an education.

“In everything give thanks.” -1 Thes 5:18

xoxo Manda Jane

P.S. Merry Christmas, y’all!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 152 other followers