11.18.2012

End of a Journey, Beginning of a New One: Part 2

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We went home to hang out with my family this weekend and it was a short visit, but we had a great time. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them over Thanksgiving. 


So last week, I ended my post talking about how I decided to take my maternity leave and really focus on my relationship with the Lord, my family & myself. One of the things I really felt like God was asking me to do to begin this process was something I didn't want to do, but really felt necessary. I stepped down from my "quad." I love these ladies very much and I love meeting with them, but I really felt like God telling me to take some time to really work on me, to step down from something that was in my comfort zone. It doesn't make a lot of sense, because I love being with those ladies, but I really felt like God was telling me to take a break. So...I did and like I said...it was hard, but now I sort of know why. I haven't had to depend on those ladies to keep me accountable in my walk with the Lord. 

I was once a self feeder, meaning no one had to tell me to spend time with the Lord daily, I just did it...because as Christians, that's how we grow in our walk with Chris. But...when I began my teaching career my time with the Lord became less consistent and I didn't open God's word on a daily basis. Because of that, I flew by the seat of my pants...meaning, I would lean on God when days were hard at school and that was it. It got me through, but that's not how it's supposed to be. This is why I feel like many areas of my life I once excelled at went down hill...the belief in myself diminished, my leadership skills went to crap, and my walk with Jesus...in my words, "was a HOT mess!" (That's for you Patience :) ) My life was "a HOT mess." 

I can honestly say now, that taking my maternity leave and starting this process to allow the Lord to "work on me" has been the best time in my life. I kind of consider the past 8 week as a "boot camp" for me. Sounds kinda crazy, but I have allowed the Lord to work on many areas of my life during this time. I'm by no means "all better" and living a perfect life...but goodness gracious, I feel like myself again. Like the Magan I know God is calling me to be, I haven't felt like this in probably 4 years. It's like I began depleting as a person, the person God has called me to be & this past summer was the peak of the awfulness...now, I feel like I'm climbing the mountain again.

I feel like I need to list out the things God has changed in me over the past 8 weeks...can you bare with me? I won't be able to do it all in this post...but I'll give it a start.

I don't know that I 
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1. I've finally started depending on him daily...for the 1st time in about 4 years. You know...I've walked the walk for most of my life. Surrendering it all back in 2007 when I learned what it was like to live in a daily relationship...but somewhere in the past 4 years, I forgot how important this is. I seriously do not let my feet hit the ground in the mornings without thanking God for another day and surrendering my day to him. The bible says we need to take up our cross daily, and we cannot live the life we are called to live as Christians without doing so.

2. I'm still working on this and it'll be a change come next week when I go back to work...but I'm finally really digging into God's word and studying it daily. Not just having a little quite time and being done...but being a student of God's word. When I left my "quad" back in September, I had full intentions of just not doing anything in terms of a study group. I really just thought I was leaving to spend some time with Jesus on my own and I have...I've learned to depend on myself all over again, without friends asking me if I'd done my study.  I've been sitting down to journal & read God's word. Asking him to show me what he has for me daily. But, after Benjamin was born felt like God was telling me to join a ladies bible study at Journey on Tuesday nights. The group was already 5 weeks into studying Joshua & Ephesians (which is what I'd just spent the past 7 months studying with my girls), but I really felt like I was supposed to go. So, I went and I've been going for 8 weeks now. I'm studying God's word in a different sense though. I'm not using this study as my quiet time. I'm having my personal time with God everyday, but I'm learning to balance this study...like school work, except I want to do it. It's not really deep, it's pretty surface level but that's why I like it. When we finish, I will have finished tearing apart 2 books of the bible. 

This group has been good for me as well, in the sense that I'm not leading and there's no pressure to share. I've been allowing God to transform me, get me back on track. I love my quad ladies and I miss my time with them, but God has allowed this time for me to get back to relying on myself to have time with him. I know that sounds weird...but remember, I said I wasn't happy with who I was, so I haven't had to wear a mask. No "Magan the Journey staff girl" or "Magan, our friend" or "Magan, the working mama." I've just been me and have gone some weeks just listening to what others share about what the Lord has taught them. I've also met a lot of ladies, which is another stretch for me. I'm not always one to step out and carry on a conversation with just anyone...I used to be, but over the past few years I've become more of an introvert. I don't like being an introvert, but not being happy with yourself will do that to a person. 

I mentioned leadership earlier in my post...I love to lead and I've been asking God for quite sometime to reveal to me what he has for me in this sense. I feel like a lot of my leadership skills have been damaged as a result of the past 4 years. I would really love to lead some kind of young women's group at Journey, but I'm not sure exactly what that looks like. Taking this time to focus on who God is calling me to be is helping me to learn to just wait on God and just be obidient one step at a time. 

I know that transitioning back into work is going to be a challenge for all 4 of us in my family. But I know one thing...I must learn to juggle these lessons that I've learned over the past 2 months. My relationship with the Lord must be first and foremost or I won't be a good wife, mom, friend or assistant to Paul and Lisa. 

I think that's it for tonight friends...I know it's a lot to read. Thanks for bearing with me...more to come tomorrow or Tuesday.  :) 

Love ya'll!    




11.15.2012

End of a Journey, Beginning of a New One...Part 1: History Behind My Maternity Leave Book Camp

I promised I'd be back soon with Part 1 of my series of how God has changed my life this year.  I feel like I need to fill you all in a little secret. I've got a lot of strongholds that I've failed to give to God and because of that, I've become quite the miserable person over the past 4 years. I haven't really shared that with many people...except for Matt & a few close friends. I've done a good job at putting on a mask, so I didn't have to really open up to anyone and hear someone else tell me to give it to God. I knew that I needed too, I just wasn't allowing God to work...always making excuses.

You see coming out of my teaching career to be a stay at home mom over a year ago was out of my comfort zone. I loved teaching and I thought I'd be a career teacher...you know, 30 years and then retire. Having a baby was out of my comfort zone, even though we thought we were ready to start a family. When I got pregnant with Laney, I felt called to quit my teaching job to stay home with her. However...this wasn't God's plan. He had something else for me...a job at Journey Church. Starting a new job as an administrative assistant to a team of people team who helps people follow Jesus was out of my comfort zone. However, God did place a desire in me 6 years ago at Caswell to work full time ministry as an assistant...I thought I would be in youth ministry. Maybe it will happen one day, but not for now and that's why it's a little out of my comfort zone..because I never thought I'd be assisting people who help adults follow Jesus...and I was completely blindsided by this job being opened to me after having Laney. Having another baby was out of my comfort zone, we were certainly not planning to have another child so quickly.  All these things have a theme...they weren't MY plan. That's where we have a problem...

My teaching career made me become a person who didn't really know who she was anymore. My life was teaching & coaching with a little Jesus & Matt sprinkled in. I was a selfish person, very selfish...I was a bitter person, I was a negative person, I didn't like to be around people and I wasn't happy with me. I didn't appear that way on the outside though...like I said that earlier, I did a great job of putting on a face for people. None of those things were me before my teaching days though...I was a very bubbly person (just like the face I put on a lot of times), I loved being around people, I would have considered myself a pretty selfless person and I was content with me. My walk with Jesus was pretty solid too. My priorities really got messed up when I was teaching & so did my perspective on life. Matt & I did spend a lot of time together doing what we wanted to do, when we wanted to it...which is good because it was just he & I and I wouldn't change that part of our time without children.

I make my 4 years as a teacher sound so dreary, but I really drained myself of who God had called me to be during that time. Not all of that time was a waste, God taught me a lot about depending on him during that time and there's no way I would have gotten through it without him because I dealt with some pretty crazy situations during that time. But, I feel like masked myself so much and didn't deal with issues that a lot of things built up and in the past year...exploded because I didn't let them out.

So fast forward to today...well, the past 9 months. Once I got over the shock of being pregnant again and was excited about having Benjamin, God began to show me that I was missing out on a lot of things in my life because I had become such a bitter person, that wasn't happy with myself or a lot of things in my life. He began showing me back in August that there was a lot in me that I needed to let him redevelop & refine...like the leader I was during my high school and college days, the happy person I was 4 years ago, the person who believed in myself because I knew God had something special for me. So back in the spring... I began praying that he would open my eyes to these things that made me so miserable, so that I could give them over to him. I was sick of trying to do things on my own and I knew that I was not really giving these things over to God like I should.

I truly believe that the 1st part of this change for me began before I was aware. God blessed me with a job at Journey a year ago, this week actually...I get to assist 2 really awesome people, who help people follow Jesus and in reality...I'm helping people follow Jesus by assisting them. This is what I love to do, I did it at Caswell and it's a passion God developed in me. I have a lot of potential to grow in this job, but I have to allow the Lord to work in and through me. I'm finally in my element...using the gifts God gave me and I get to do it as a job. For the 1st time since my summers in college, I enjoy getting up and going to work. Sometimes I think about how blessed I am to be able to get paid to help people follow Jesus. (Little disclaimer here...I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom...I tried it for 4 months and it's not me, I truly believe I felt called to quit teaching because God was preparing me for what he had for me at Journey. I love my kids, but I thrive and am a better mom because I am out of the house.) 

God began stirring something within me back in August...I had no clue what, but I knew I needed to make some changes in my life and like I said let go of some things that were holding me back. With all of that being said, the people I work with encouraged me to really take my maternity leave for myself...to do whatever I wanted and to enjoy being a mom of 2, after all this is the only time ever that this would happen. So, I took that advice to heart. I committed the past 8 weeks to rest, read, snuggle with Benjamin and do whatever I wanted to do, I'm so thankful I did. I wrote a little about this back in October when I had Benjamin...

This post is getting a lot longer than I had planned, I guess I'm a girl of many words today ;) Literally! More to come...promise!

End of a Journey, Beginning of a New One

My blogging during maternity leave has been a little more sporadic than I wanted it to be & my Friday Flashbacks didn't happen as I wanted them to, but nevertheless today seems like a good blogging day. I feel like I have a lot to write about this morning, my quiet time turned into some reflecting time. I'm not good at sharing my thoughts aloud, but I can sure write about it...maybe a bad trait to have, but I'm working on it.

Today is what seems like the end of a journey for me. You see, 11 months ago I found out I was pregnant and honestly, I wasn't thrilled at first. I was kind of confused as to why God would give me another life to care for so soon after having Laney & going back to work (after thinking I was just going to be a stay at home mom).  I didn't think Matt & I would be able to handle it. Today I can honestly say I don't know what I would do without our little blessing, Benjamin. My pregnancy with him and the time I have had at home with him has completely rocked my world...Jesus, once again has rocked my world. I'm not a crier...I'm not, but I'm in tears as I write this post. God is good and knows whats best for me and I'm so thankful for that. I'm glad I'm not in control. He's changed my perspective on so many things that I don't think I could possibly write about all of them in 1 blog post. I am grateful and I'm feeling so overwhelmingly blessed this morning.

I go back to work next week and Ben goes to "school," as we call it around here. It's been an amazing journey, these past 11 months. But it's really just the beginning of what God has in store for me, as I feel like a new person. Well, like myself again for the 1st time in 4 years.  This year has been a pivotal time in my life.  I've been letting him really work on me, especially for the past 8 weeks. I've decided to turned this 1 time blog post into a series of posts that I'll share over the next several days to celebrate me going back to work, the next part of my journey. Maybe someone will be able to relate and maybe God will use my story to change someone else's life. If not, that's okay too...he's changed my life and I'm grateful that I can get it on paper (or on my blog) as a way to remember.

I'll be back soon with a little history of why I needed to allow God do a little "boot camp" in my life during my maternity leave. For now, Ben's crying...time for some snuggles! 


11.07.2012

God of this City...Nation...and World

I am a HUGE fan of history...especially American history (hence the reason I taught NC & American History for 4 years) and I like politics...to an extent.  I'm not going to get all political on you...don't worry...but I think a lot of people, including myself sometimes, forget what really matters in life.

I was at bible study last night & we sang a song called "God of this City," it's an older song...written by Chris Tomlin. As we were singing, the words could not have been truer for the day. Election day...ultimately, no matter who became president for the next 4 years or governor of NC. HE is in control and whatever happens, will happen to bring him glory. This morning the song is stuck in my head and as I began doing my quiet time, I continued to sing them.

Here's the lyrics to the song:

You're the God of this City
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are

You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here

Christian brothers and sisters, we have work to do. We are not called to sit on our butts and rant and rave on Facebook about why our favorite candidate did or didn't win. We are called to make Jesus famous in our CITY, NATION, and WORLD. There is still work to be done. The bible is very clear about our responsibilities. Matthew 28:19, says to go & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. There are greater things to be done, Christ has not come back yet and it is our responsibility to make him known until he returns!

11.01.2012

Unleashed

I've been meaning to write about the devotions I've been working through this week. Our church is currently doing a series called "Unleashed." Our pastor is preaching on our calling as a church, to individually do our part in making Jesus famous. He challenged us with the question "What is God  calling you to?" In his sermon this week, Pastor Jimmy said that he believes that we are all church planters..not that we are all called to actually plant a church,  but to help in the mission of making Him famous. Along with Jimmy's messages, like I said...our church put out a devotional to work through over the next 30 days or so.  I've committed myself to work through these and really focus on what God has called me to.

I'm asking myself 2 questions..."Who has God called me to be" and "How can I be that person & pursue my calling?" I think I already know what he has called me to...Matt & I work at Journey and so we have a HUGE task on our hands, but am I doing it as efficiently as I should? Am I juggling my calling as a wife, mom, and assistant as efficiently as I should?  I'm really trying to focus and zone in on these questions. Maybe there is something else that I'm ignoring, but I'm pretty sure this is it. I've got to learn to balance my responsibilities at Journey with my new family of 4, plus all the other things in life.

This week I've been challenged with my time, am I using my time efficiently? There's dishes to be done, shopping for our family, kids to take care of and laundry to be done (of course there's more...this is just the short list and when I go back to work in 3 weeks, there will be more) If I'm not spending time with the Lord before all of these things, I'm trying to do it on my own. I know this...I've known this since surrendering my life to Christ. But I must surrender daily. I've already learned that I can't do these things on my own...not to the best of my ability...and I'm certainly not glorifying the Lord with these tasks of life if I'm not giving the day to him. Someone will make me mad or something will irritate me and I will lose it... If I'm a heir to the throne, I must act like it...(Ephesians 1 & 2) This means my life must glorify the one who gave His life for ME. So, this week I'm working on my priorities. In Philippians 3:8, Paul writes that "everything else should be considered garbage when compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ." Ouch! I certainly don't prioritize my life like this...if only I had the faith that Paul had. He goes on to say in verses 12-16 that he knows he isn't perfect, but that he strives to be like Christ until he finishes the race." I have so much to learn and a long ways to go in order to be like Christ, but I'm thankful for the calling that I have and that is to get to know him more so that I can be like Christ.

I've rambled enough, if you get a chance, follow along with our sermon here and the devotions here...I promise you, your life will be changed!