Community

Last year, my husband and five month old baby packed up the car and headed south on a new adventure. Not only did we leave behind many things, we left behind many people. When you live in a place your whole life, your roots are both deep and wide. On August 5, I said goodbye to a lifetime of people: friends from high school, college, and places from childhood. I said goodbye to people we met in the churches we’ve attended, small groups we’ve joined, and groups we’ve served alongside. I said goodbye to a group of women who were as close to sisters as I had ever known. And it was hard.

After many weeks of goodbyes, we left for South Carolina and pulled into a new city where there was a distinct void. I had prepared myself for packing and unpacking, for the challenge of finding a new house, for the adjustment of now working from home. But I hadn’t prepared for the need in my heart for a new group of “like family” people, for community.

Our first few months in South Carolina, we were surrounded by sweet families and couples who welcomed us. They made us feel like we were wanted here and served us in so many ways. They brought us meals. They showered us with household goods. They watched our little girl so we could have time alone. But soon, I longed for the familiarity of a community of friends.

***

Ten months ago, my husband and I moved into our third home and were welcomed by two sweet neighbors with breakfast and introductions. Welcome to the south! Over the next few weeks, those neighbors continued to invite us into their lives. They welcomed us into their homes, they fed us meals, they got to know us. And over the course of this year, those two families turned into seven families — they turned into my community.

What these sweet friends have taught me is how much I have longed for this, for a group of people who do life with me daily. Friends who shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and parenting and life together. Friends who give you a cup of sugar and an egg when you’re coming up short. Friends who keep your baby at a moment’s notice and love them like their own. Friends who make time for you in their every day lives, who remember to text, remember to ask, remember to congratulate.

Saying goodbye to a lifetime of friends in Pennsylvania was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was heart wrenching and so, so sad, and I am positive those people will be a part of my life forever. But I am so thankful for the sweet community that God has brought alongside Jeremy and me here in South Carolina. I pray that you are able to find the same.

 

 

 

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10 Signs You Need to Break-up

Many ladies I know get sucked into crappy relationships because they don’t notice the huge, often-obvious-to-everyone-else, red flags. It happened to me multiple times. So here are some signs that you need to break-up with your boyfriend. Like, yesterday.

**This advice is based solely on my own experiences. Hopefully I can spare you from wasting another minute in a relationship that’s sucking the life out of you. 

10 Signs You Need to Break-Up

1. If he is telling you that he loves/likes you but acts like he doesn’t.
Guys are smarter than we think. They know what to say to get what they want. So if a guy is telling you all the right things, but acting like a jerk, he’s just using you. Really. A man who is serious about loving you is serious about showing you.

2. If he doesn’t respect you, your friends, or your family.
Any guy worth five minutes of your time better respect you and everyone who matters to you: friends, parents, siblings, coach, mentor, etc.

3. If his actions, words or lack of actions and words causes you to cry on a regular basis.
Some guys act like jerks and it causes us to cry. Sometimes what they don’t do causes us to cry. If your man is causing you to cry on a regular basis because you are angry, hurt, upset, frustrated, etc., it’s time to drop him.

4. If your best friends and family all think your guy is lame.
Your family and friends all care about you and probably know you better than anyone else. So if they see some red flags, be willing to hear them out; 98% of the time, they just want you to be happy. There’s probably a reason why they’re concerned.

5. If he lies to you about anything. Ever.
Lying is stupid and cowardly. The only reason why any guy would ever lie to you is because he’s too scared to tell you the truth. Don’t ever believe the “I lied because I didn’t want to hurt you” nonsense. A real man tells the truth even if it’s hard.

6. If he doesn’t respond to your messages.
Your boyfriend should want to talk to you. He should want to respond to your calls and texts. He should want to share things about his life with you. If he’s ignoring you, he’s lame.

7. If he says, “I don’t want to be official right now.”
If your guy likes/loves you like he claims, he will not want people to think you are single. You should never be acting like you are dating but saying “we’re not official right now.” That is crazy.

8. If you are constantly confused about your relationship and what’s going on.
Mature relationships require mature people. That means you tell each other what’s going on even if you risk a potentially awkward situation.

9. If he is always jealous. Or controlling. 
Jealously is not attractive. Any guy who tries to control your time or energy or friendships by pulling the jealousy guilt trip is not  mature enough to be dating you.

10. If there is any possibility that someone else could make you happier.
If you’re dating and you find yourself regularly wondering if that other guy you know would make you happier, it’s time to call it quits. A healthy relationship doesn’t require a back-up guy.

Good guys do exist. Don’t waste any more time missing out.

Not just a bracelet

WWJD? 

No really, what would he do? It’s not just a bracelet, even though it might have started that way. It’s a way of doing life.

Some dude just pulled out in front of you. What would Jesus do? Grace.

Your boss just called you out in front of your team. What would Jesus do? Mercy.

A lady from church just spread a rumor about you. What would Jesus do? Forgive.

What would Jesus do? Probably 100% the opposite of our natural, human reaction. This month I’m being reminded that when something doesn’t go my way, my immediate reaction is not to act like Jesus.

So maybe I need to stop having knee-jerk reactions and start thinking about Jesus and how he did life.

Ambiguous

For me, it’s really easy to share ambiguous prayer requests. You know them because they sound like this: “I’m going through something very difficult right now” or “I’ve been struggling.” It’s usually followed up with “It would help if you could pray for me.”

What does that even mean?!

Why do I do that? Why do I even bother sharing a prayer request that is so incredibly vague?

I realized this week that being honest in my prayer requests requires extreme intentionality and vulnerability. I am hindering growth in my relationships by giving the sort-of truth.

Because let’s face it, the reason why I’m not telling you what’sreally going on is probably because I either don’t trust you, or I’m afraid. I’m scared to death that if I voice, out loud, what it really is that I need honest and earnest prayer for, then I am allowing myself to be held accountable for doing something about it.

Join me in being less confusing and vague and ambiguous in your prayer requests. Let people really pray for you. Be honest.

Called out

A few weeks ago, a friend called me out about something I said in frustration; I used Facebook to make a broad generalization that had the potential to offend others.  My friend, in a very loving way, approached me about it and suggested that my comment was not wise.

I’ll admit that I was upset. I didn’t try to be offensive. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. I simply made a statement without thinking beyond the moment.

But I got upset because I knew that she was right. I knew that she was wiser than me, that she had experienced more of life and didn’t want to see me make foolish mistakes. She reminded me that there are people reading what I write on Facebook, many of which would never tell me if what I said offended them. Instead, they might tune me out, or worse, doubt my authenticity as a Christian. I could be ruining an opportunity to reach them with the good things I have to say.

So, I learned this: I can’t grow if I’m not open to criticism and if I don’t allow the sin and junk in my life to be challenged by someone I respect.  I’m so thankful for my friend who decided to call me out and tell me I was doing something dumb.

Who’s calling you out?