Give A Little

A Note on Call-Out Culture
Here is a wonderful reply to the ever spreading behavior of calling out people in public or on social media. Somewhat wordy, but definitely worth the read about why we should “call-in” instead.

Dear Newlyweds, Protect Your First Year
Being a newlywed myself, you can see why this article caught my eye when it was shared on Facebook. This is such an encouraging article for those who are newlyweds or those who have been married for years.  Such great advice!

Freedom 13 Ministry
This is a new and upcoming ministry that I am so excited about! In light of all of the media publicity about Josh Duggar and the Ashley Madison scandals, this seems like as good of time as any to share about a ministry that is not only doing good for people who believe in God, but also those who do not.

He for She
Not only was National Dog Day this week, so was National Equal Rights Day. He for She is a great cause that is not just for rights of women, but every person regardless of race or disability. You can see Emma Watson’s inspiring speech on equality here.  Be sure to take a look at their website or their Instagram to see how the get involved!

HitREcord
Guys. This is such a cool site. Not only is it fun to look at, it is a community of artists who can create things together. I love how this site uses different talents from all over to create videos and other art forms. Take a look, buy some merch, and maybe even join the process!

I found each of these articles extremely inspiring or interesting this week; so many great causes out there! Have a cause or inpiration you would like to share? Be sure to send an email by going to the “Contact” section on the blog.

Much love. Much grace.

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Feelings and Choices

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Love.

A concept that is wrapped up with many definitions, stigmas, and stories. We can love hot dogs, people, or places. Love can be seen as a strength, or even as a weakness. We as people crave stories about enduring love as we read books, watch movies, and pressure friends into dating relationships.

What if I told you that love was not any of these things? Instead, love is a choice.

Weird concept, right? Some say, “You can’t choose who you love!”, but I believe you can. While falling in love may have a less controllable feeling, loving that person day to day is a choice. When that person is hard to love, we have to choose to stay with them, to forgive, and to love them even at their lowest. Even friends (and family) are hard to love at times.

Friends, I feel so humbled writing this. It is so hard for me to love others. I feel very blessed that the Lord gave me a best friend, and now my husband, who is full of love for me no matter what I seem to do, he is right there next to me. Forgiving me and showing me what real, true love is: a choice. He chooses to not just “deal” with me or ignore me, but listens, cares, and is so wise.

I wish I could say the same about myself. I am finding myself becoming more and more impatient with people around me. I struggle with jealousy, that turns to bitterness in a very bad way. I become angry quickly when I don’t get my way or if I feel overlooked by others.

I am not choosing to love.

In fact, that is so very much the opposite of what love is supposed to be.

Love is supposed to be kind, patient, and not self-seeking. It is to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, there is a whole paragraph about what love is, and what love is not. Even if reading the Bible isn’t your thing, we can all learn a thing or two from this passage. We can all learn how to love others from this.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is just a piece of what the choice of loving others looks like. Friends, family, and significant others; the choice always looks the same when choosing love.

I challenge you to try choosing this love. Choosing not a fleeting feeling, but the trust, hope, and forgiveness that everyone desires; and that everyone needs. Let’s go change the world by loving in a new way.

Much love. Much grace.

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Working In A Pregnancy Information Center

I was so excited that Jessica agreed to write for “Perspectives” this week! She is a dear friend of mine with a heart full of such compassion for others. We have been close friends for over four years, and she has kept up her love for others the entire time I have known her.  Jessica’s passion for people has taken her down a different road than she ever imagined.

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As I sit here trying to put words and thoughts onto paper, I am watching the cursor blink repeatedly. I am struggling to find the appropriate, most impactful words to describe what Chelsea has asked me write about: my job. You see, I have a unique job. It is controversial, rewarding, and challenging.

 I am the Executive Director at a pregnancy information center. The Back Porch is a pregnancy information center that is located directly across the street from an abortion clinic. I counsel women every day who are literally minutes away from getting an abortion.

 After my husband and I graduated from Louisiana Tech University, we moved to Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. Canada is a long way from my Louisiana roots, but we know that God has called us here to work in church planting. My husband and I are here to build relationships with people, share the Gospel, and start new churches. When we moved here last summer as missionaries, it was the biggest leap of faith we’ve ever taken.

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Leaving everything we’ve ever known. Leaving family and friends. Not knowing if I would get a job. Adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle.

But God was faithful. He provided me with a job at The Back Porch within the week we arrived in Edmonton. I have always had a passion to help women and this job fit the bill perfectly.

 In Canada, there are no legal restrictions on abortion which means that it’s an option to the mother for the entire 9-months of the pregnancy. Yes, let that sink in. Also, the Back Porch is one of only two centres in the entire country of its kind. Most abortion clinics have legal injunctions, or bubble zones, that strictly prohibit any pro-life activity inside that zone. If you violate that bubble zone, then you will have to answer to the law. Well, our bubble zone at The Back Porch happens to be very small which allows us to do our unique work in talking to clients in their 11th hour.

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I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not easy working where I do every day. There are times when I ask myself, “Can I keep doing this?” I watch hundreds of women each month walk across the street to have an abortion. I watch ambulances pick up clients when something has gone wrong. Some clients leave the clinic relieved and other clients leave the clinic doubled over in pain and sickness. There is no stereotype for a woman who seeks an abortion. I have seen and heard stories that make me cry tears of sadness and utter disbelief and tears of joy. It’s easy to get discouraged when there are more women who choose death over life for their unborn child.

But I know that God has placed me here for a season of growth.

He has taught me that I cannot do this on my own strength. I can only rely on Him to get me through the discouraging times. He has taught me how to be a better leader. He has strengthened abilities that I never knew I had inside me. Sometimes I do need to an occasional escape to the mountains to rejuvenate, but that’s okay because I have learned this past year that God commands us to rest. I can’t do this all on my own.

I could tell you countless stories, but there are those rare times where God gives me a glimpse of exactly why He placed me here. He gives me the pleasure to meet precious babies whose lives have been saved through this ministry! And when I meet them, hold their fragile bodies, smell that baby scent, and look into their beautiful eyes, I say to myself, “It’s worth it. This is what it’s all about.”

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Jessica Bennett is a wife and friend who is a Southern girl living in Canada. She enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. She and her husband, Justin, share a love for the outdoors, coffee, and their sweet cat, Millie. Her passion in life is to experience travel and adventure and be Christ’s Love to those along the way.

Book Love: Yoga Girl

I am a book nut. I love reading any genre of book… fantasy, adventure, autobiography, all kinds.

I waited over six months for Rachel Brathen’s first book Yoga Girl to come out in the United States, and it was so worth it.

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For those of you that don’t know, Rachel Brathen is a yogi who has taken social media by storm. She is on Instagram, has a blog, and a YouTube channel. She is inspirational to many, and lives by the mantra of love for all.

While her new book shares this life mission, it also has instructions for yoga poses, vegan/vegetarian recipes, as well as her life story.

Her book is in a different format, completely different than that of boring autobiographies we have seen before. She has colorful pictures of her home in Aruba and her travels across the globe, some even coming from her Instagram.

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(Photo Cred: rachelbrathen.com)

I think what I really loved about Rachel’s book wasn’t just what she said or her gorgeous pictures, but just how she took the time to write her story.

Honestly.

She took time aside to share her life struggles through all the avenues of information sharing available to her, and I just find that so refreshing and inspiring.

I have been coming across several women I have gone to school with, who work on my college campus, or that I am friends with, and they are all saying the same things. They all want to share what they have learned through personal experiences through writing. And guys, I am LOVING it.

Some people complain about my generation as being “too noisy”, “too vain”, and “wanting too many likes”, but I think that most of that comes from wanting to share stories. We all want to share about what we have learned and be loved in spite of our failures, and we do that the only way we know how. Writing. Social media. Pinterest. Message boards. Whatever.

Rachel’s book is such a great example of how being open with others can help, inspire, and encourage others. Even when we don’t agree on everything, we as people desire to tell stories and be loved. So if you have the time, read Yoga Girl’s story. And maybe write your own.

After all:

“If doing something new doesn’t scare you at least a little, it’s not worth doing.”
– Rachel Brathen, YogaGirl

Much love. Much grace.

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