Finding Contentment in “The Search”

Blogs about Heather, testimony

A little over a year ago, I quit my ministry position on a “leap of faith” and moved to St. Louis to continue the next part of God’s journey for me, whatever that was.  I sought for a ministry position in STL, but that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. As I broadened and continued my search, I learned a lot… For one, my theology grew and expanded. For two, I had to begin figuring out what my relationship with God looks like “outside of ministry.” For three, I had to learn that ministry wasn’t just a “church thing,” but that it happens throughout life…being a Minister isn’t the only way to be a minister.

And fourth, I had to learn that God may call me to something, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen just that second. Take Noah, for example. God called Noah to build an ark, and it took many many years before the purpose of the ark took place. I can’t imagine being Noah; this last year drove me crazy, I can’t imagine decades more! I needed to learn to be content in the moment I have right now… and now I value it!  So while getting back into a church doing full-time ministry is my calling and my goal, I am finally in a point of contentment and rest doing life right now. I work towards my goal, but there are things that have to happen within me before I get there.. I think I’m finally ready to get back into churched ministry… and I see my goals getting closer to being accomplished. More on that later… :)

Ahhh… life lessons. Got to love them.

Here’s another one that’s important:


hahaha… I had to.


This is Love.

Blogs about Heather, love, testimony

I found this on Facebook the other day and was thinking… NAILED IT!

Just in case you can’t read that…

What is Love? By Emma K. Age 6.

Love is when you’re missing some of your teeth

but you’re not afraid to smile

because you know your friends will still love you even though some of you is missing. <3

I have thought about this quite a bit lately, actually.  I’ve been thinking about my own journey to the Lord, and how I consistently tried to prove to him how “unworthy” I was, especially for ministry.  No matter what sin I committed to make him “not love me” anymore, he showed me so much grace that I knew he would love me, flaws and all. Read Monday’s post if you want more on that ;)

I also thought about how blessed I am to have friends who mutually love each other, without conditions. It doesn’t matter the miles between us, the time that passes, or the sass that is bound to happen… we love each other, flaws and all. Even when parts of us are hurt (even by each other at times) we’ve learned to love regardless.

Gahhh. Fantastic.

And of course: I’m blown away she knows the difference between “you’re” and “your” at the age of 6. Take some lessons, friends. ;)

Feeling Boujie

Blogs about Heather, christ, faithfulness, fun video, identity, media, music, testimony

Holy cow, I can’t even describe how I’m feeling right now.  5 years ago, I was dirt poor both physically and emotionally.  I surrendered my life to ministry and went off to college, and my life drastically changed.  When I had my first hot shower in three years, I knew things were going to be different.  And while I’ve recently had some bits of financial blessing, it’s the love that I have discovered from my friends and Christ that make me feel boujie.

I’m sure all of my white friends are like, “What’s boujie?” Boujie is when a person acts as if they are rich (they may or may not be, in my particular culture it means they aren’t). So, usually this has a negative connotation. Yet I feel like I’m living life as if it has value, as if I have value. I feel like I have it all (even when my bank account says otherwise). I am boujie.

For fun, I included this video to describe the word “boujie”…and an insight to my life living in St. Louis ;) (excuse the one curse word)

I’m now the prettiest contributor for YouthMin.Org

Contributions, testimony, women, youth ministry,

Recently something very cool happened to me.  I was asked to write a guest post for YouthMin.Org on women in ministry–which I should know ALL about given my estrogen levels.  And what do you know? They asked me to become a contributor.

I’m pretty stoked about this.  What does this mean for this blog?  Well, I won’t post as much youth-y stuff on it.  One of the great things about YouthMin.Org is that we are seeking to build a one-blog, one-community place for youth ministry.  This is great for a girl like me, who has like 200 people who have been named “top youth ministry blogs” but are filling up my feed with the same old stuff.  I’m sick of the self-promotion.  Why can’t we promote a community?  That’s what this being a part of the Body of Christ is about.

Another thing I love is it’s all about “everyday youth pastors.”  I’m no super-star and no matter how I try, I will never be the female Josh Griffin or Doug Fields.  I’m a young minister who is learning from others and teaching what I learn.  And from what I can tell, these contributors are humble in the same way.

So I encourage you, dear friends, to check out YouthMin.Org for everything youth ministry.  As for this blog, I will continue talking about life lessons I am learning.  And yes, they will talk about ministry.  Ministry is my life.  It will just be different (although my last year of blogging has differed than the year before and so on and so forth ;) )


My Evil Twin

Blogs about Heather, college, testimony

I’ve posted that I will be moving back to St. Louis in 2 months. Yes, Two months and 3 days from today, I will graduate college. I’m thrilled to move on into the next stage of life!  I am frightened about moving back to St. Louis.

Moving back to St. Louis is almost worse than moving to a place where nobody knows me.  The person who everybody thinks they know is a close copy of me, but is a completely different person than who I am now.  They know the Heather who was in high school–who desired to follow Christ but didn’t know how.  Who went out and partied to fill the gaps that remained.  Who was rude and had an anger problem.  Who couldn’t orate why she believed the things she did.

Then there’s the Heather they may be Facebook friends with.  Have you ever known somebody better on Facebook or Twitter than you did in real life?  You might really like them online; like all their statuses, retweet their links, and even have conversations with them.  But then you meet them in person, and it’s kind of nerve-wracking.  What am I to expect from this person?  What will face-to-face interaction even be like?  It’s a very strange notion that we even have these type of relationships, but such is our culture.  I’m afraid that my old friends might have painted a picture of me, but might not understand the full me or even may be disappointed with who I really am.

As I mentioned the other day, I have some mending to do with friendships.  And how does that work, exactly? I know that the way I operate relationships has changed drastically.  The way I love people is completely different than the way I “loved” people in high school.  My desires are completely different.  I find no desire in things that I used to.

So basically…I’m starting from scratch, building new relationships with people (even if I previously knew them), yet there’s this evil twin of mine that they know that’s impairing their judgement of who I am. Snap crackle pop. I just can’t seem to win right now!

Although, the idea of starting from scratch is refreshing.  I know there’s much work to do.

A “No Pain, No Gain” Theology

Blogs about Heather, christianity, depression, faith, faithfulness, testimony

I read my sister’s journal.  I don’t even feel bad about it.  She spent part of Christmas break at my apartment, and she left her journal behind.  Now I know from experience that if you truly don’t want someone reading your journal, you protect it with your life.  Not only did the girl not have a lock on it, but she left it chilling on my dining room table.  The girl was calling out for me to read it.
My family has been going through some interesting things lately.  My parents have both separately failed to provide and it has left them individually homeless.  My mother is living at a hotel and my father at his mother’s house.  My sister is left hanging in between.  There is a lot to the story that I’m not mentioning, out of honor to my parents and for the desire to protect my sister.  Needless to say, I’m angry about the situation.  I talk to my sister about it, and she won’t tell me anything negative about how she feels.  She tells me these stories of junk that they do, but shows no emotion.  I pry, and get nothing.
So when she left her journal, I jumped at the chance to read it.  And what I read, I felt.
I called her and told her I read it, because I’m a good big sister ;).  I asked her why she hadn’t been telling me what she had been feeling—because her emotions were deep and hurting.  She stated, “Heather, I’m a Christian.  God gave me these things to go through, and I just have to do it.  I can’t be angry or physically do anything about it because it’s the Christian thing to just sit through it and take it.”
Since when did God command us to have no emotions?  Since when did God tell us to be content with the sin that takes place around us?
The sad thing is, my sister is not the only one who feels this way about her circumstances.  Countless Christians “just deal” with their situations because they feel that’s the “Christian” thing to do.  They say, “Well Job dealt with worse than me, and he remained faithful.”  Have you read Job?  Job remained faithful, but he also ripped his clothing and mourned over his circumstances.  Even Christ, when realizing that he would be sacrificing himself, asked God for another way.  Paul begged God three times to take the thorn in the flesh away.  These three men show us that there is no dichotomy to “being upset about a circumstance” and “trusting God.”  They can be synonymous.  It is healthy to feel emotions, even to be angry.  When you bottle that up and don’t express it, do you truly even trust God?  How can you trust God with your heart when you don’t even bear it to him?
I’m not saying you have to become “emo” and update your Facebook status every ten minutes telling everyone how crappy your life is.  What I’m saying is, mourn your circumstances.  Pray for the people hurting you.  If you have the power to change something that is hurting you, ask God for the strength to change it.  Trust that God will mold your desires to match his.  And rest in the promise that everything will work for the good of those who trust in the Lord according to His perfect will.

Being Thanks

Blogs about Heather, christianity, faithfulness, testimony

I’ve been through a lot lately.  There was an incident at the residence facility that I work at that, quite honestly, gave me “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”  My mother just lost her house.  I’ve already told you about my car hitting a horse and getting totaled. Things at church are a little dry.  School has been, eh (plus I graduate in 179 days and am freakin out).  I’ve been pretty discouraged in many things.

But I remain in having hope.  I know that the Lord is faithful; I’ve attested to that many times.  I wrote about in the spring how someone said that my faith in His provision was “irrational”.  I still see Him providing.  I still remain hopeful.

Is this what you look like when you give
thanks to God in the “bad things?

This week is Thanksgiving.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I feel like God has conditioned me, no matter the circumstance, to count myself blessed and to give thanks.  Thankfulness isn’t just about being thankful FOR things, but being thankful IN ALL things.  God gives, and he takes away; but his faithfulness endures throughout it all.  Can you honestly say that you are thankful IN ALL things?  And I’m not talking about the “My life is crappy. But God is still good!” and gritting your teeth with a fake smile.  Christians do that all the time, and sometimes I feel like I hear “God is so good” when people are going through the “bad things” more than when they are going through the “good things”.  I’m talking about LIVING OUT thanks. Having a thankful SPIRIT.  Living each moment knowing that you are blessed in ALL things.

God has conditioned me to live this way!  Life is so tough sometimes. Sometimes I want to be the old, depressed, self-centered Heather that centered her problems on herself.  But God has taught me that life is so much bigger than me, that He has a bigger purpose set for me.  So when I am faced with a situation, I rarely have the attitude, “Woe is me.”  I brush it off my shoulders and wait for God’s greater purpose.  I am LIVING thankfulness.

My college pastor told me that this is a lesson that most people learn when they are old.  He said that I was blessed to have learned this now.  How much heartache am I saving myself? (not that I haven’t experienced any to get to this point ;) )

My encouragement to those reading this not to GIVE thanks, but to BE it.

(wow, that was a lot of CAPS.)

Me, Calm? Pshhh

Blogs about Heather, identity, spiritual gifts, testimony

Over the past few months, I have seen myself involuntarily becoming more and more like Christ.  Not that I don’t want to become like Christ; that is my biggest desire while I’m here on earth.  It’s just I’ll look back at the “Old Heather” and go, “Wow, I sure don’t like the same things I used to; the things in life that brought me pleasure are not the same things that bring me pleasure now.”

For example, I used to shake my booty to all kinds of music…and now I can’t stand to listen to the Top 40 radio station. I don’t think music has gotten “worse”, because I’ll look back at the things I used to kick it to, and go, “Why did this ever bring me joy?”

Of course I’m writing about something greater than my booty-shaking.  If you know me, you know that (minimally) I have a loud personality.  I speak out of turn, I laugh L O U D, I say what’s on my mind, and I am not the definition of “calm”.  I’m emotional, and that drives all the things I listed.  So I think about a few things that have happened to me in the last month–totaling my car on a horse on the highway at midnight, losing an eighth grade girl who means the world to me, and one of the residents at the girls’ shelter trying to kick down my door to kill me.  The Old Heather would have freaked out in each of those situations.  She would have cried hysterically.  She might have harmed herself, emotionally or physically.  She would have blamed God; she would have failed to see His mercy in any of this; she wouldn’t have looked at the positive; she wouldn’t have been able to testify of God’s grace through these situations.  Who I am today is not the same person I was when God chose my heart.  He has conformed me to the likeness of His Son in ways that are inexplicable.  I am still loud; I am still driven by emotions.  But I understand God’s purposes a bit better, and have been blessed by the Spirit’s gifts of discernment, wisdom, patience.  Even in a time right now, where I’m having a dry patch with the Lord, does He call on me, choose me, and change my heart.  I don’t deserve any of it.  And this blind-sided me; that I would ever go through situations like these and BE CALM IN THE LORD.

“since I got that call, no more Saul, now I’m Paul.” –Kirk Franklin, “Lose My Soul” with Toby Mac.

Heather Hits a Horse

Blogs about Heather, testimony

My sister said that if my life were a Dr. Seuss book, that would be the title.

Why, you ask?

Two Saturdays ago (October 1) I was driving back from my job in a nearby city.  It takes me about 40 minutes.  It was about midnight, and I wasn’t too far out of the city, when I saw a horse in the left hand lane (my lane) of the highway.  I immediately gasped, braked, swerved.  Just that quick.  I totaled my car on the horse, and the horse died instantly.  You can read more about it in the following (hilarious and misspelled) article from Southwest Baptist University’s paper:

While this article catches the humor involved in this incident, it didn’t really talk about how good God was in this situation.  I had been thinking a lot about the Holy Spirit’s role in my life, and was listening to “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan.  I had been really into it, then the accident happened.  If you look close, you can see that there is no damage to where I was sitting, but all around me is totaled.

As the article says that I attribute my safety to “divine protection.”  I do.  I couldn’t have hit the horse more perfectly, for it to hit that side and then hit my back?  How nothing damaged me?  My windshield didn’t burst, my airbag didn’t bust me in the jaw, nothing?
I told my grandpa that the horse was bound to hit someone on the highway, and I’m glad that it was me.  I know the Lord, and I would have been able to see him; had that been someone else, who knows?  My Grandpa said to me, “The Lord obviously still has work for you to do.”
I already have a new car…everything happened so quickly.  Insurance companies don’t know what to say to me; I’m “the girl who hit the horse” to most people.  God has been extremely faithful to me, and I don’t deserve it. I’m happy to be alive, and I pray to GOD that I never see a horse near the highway again!

Where I’m at today…Broken.


I have had a hard few weeks. Hard, hard, hard few weeks.  I had four huge exams.  I had two exegeticals due (and with that comes the learning of new scriptures and realizing that I’m doing a lot of things wrong…learning sucks sometimes ;]).  We had a HUGE event at church that I have been planning for months, but still had a lot of work to do. We had missions week at SBU, and I made a big decision that I’ll talk about later when I get the confirmation about somewhere I may serve next January…God has proven triumphant through his presence and peace throughout all of this.

I have been pondering whether or not to share this next part…

Last week I found out that my dad’s house was being foreclosed on back in St. Louis.  This has been a long-time coming.  I don’t think people really understand how poor my family is.  I try not to “seem” poor, as silly as that sounds (you don’t understand unless you’ve been there).  My dad hasn’t had gas in his house for 4 years (and no utilities off and on).  Imagine getting ready for your senior prom and not being able to take a hot shower beforehand, imagine trying to sleep in subzero weather in a brick house that hasn’t had heat in it for a long time, imagine trying to wash dishes with microwaved water…this was how it was for me.  My dad just doesn’t take care of himself.  I prayed for God to get a grip on his hard heart, and I think it is beginning to happen.  It was a difficult prayer to pray that my dad would lose his life so that he could find it, but part one was answered.  God was triumphant in justice.  So I cancelled my classes on Wednesday and Thursday and drove four hours to help them pack and say goodbye to my childhood home.  This brought a lot of memories.  As much as this needed to happen, it still stinks.  I was reminded a lot about why I left home…and I was reminded how much I have “taken for granted” all the things I have now–hot showers, three meals a day, a warm bed, and clothes without holes.  God  is triumphant in his grace for those who draw near to him (and even those who don’t, because I definitely don’t sometimes).

While home, a tornado ripped through my area and destroyed a lot more of my memories–area churches that I had been involved with destroyed.  Little Caesars (my dad’s favorite food place) destroyed. KFC, the bank, 200 homes…all destroyed.  Worst storm in 40 years for St. Louis.  I drove around and saw the devastation.  My heart broke once more.  Yet God was triumphant and sovereign.

Today is Easter Sunday.  I’m reminded of why Christ died on the cross.  He died because my sins separated me from having a perfect relationship with my Creator–my Father who has never failed me, never abandoned me, never failed to provide for me.  My Father who has blessed me beyond what I have needed at times, who has humbled me to be able to see his people the way he does.  God is triumphant, and Jesus Christ dying on the cross is the ultimate picture of that.  With his sacrifice, every filthy sin that I have ever committed or ever will commit is gone.  My creator has consumed my heart and given me a new perspective on things.  I am broken on all that is going on in my little “Heather” world.  But it is a brokenness that brings peace.  God is triumphant in my brokenness, because now that I am broken off from the world and shattered into little pieces, he can mold me into something greater.

I hope these words don’t come off as empty to you…because they are far from it. I’m hurt, I’m in pain, but I can see that the shadow proves the sunshine.