No Fear 

In honor of Halloween I am sharing a series my friend Madi from http://www.shelaughswithoutfear.com is doing about Fear.

 

This has been a month-long series in which she discusses her fears, fears others have, and how faith trumps all of these fears.

Be sure to give her series some love and check out her hard work!

Faith > Fear 

What are your fears?

Much love. Much grace.

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Music Love: Josh Garrels

Friends, I love music. I love singing in choirs, musicals, in my car…

I love it.

Music has always been a way for me to express my emotions to others, or even to myself. Which is why I am pretty excited to start this new type of post about sharing the music I love with “Music Love“. The music I will share on these types of posts will be new music I have discovered, music that has defined my life, or just fun songs that I feel are encouraging or have a positive energy.

To kick things off, I want to start with an artist that I have come to love over the past three years through Mr. Yell.

Josh Garrels.

Josh Garrels is not super well known, but is absolutely worth listening to because his lyrics are amazing and his arrangements are so peaceful. Garrels’ music makes me feel like an old friend has taken my thoughts and created beautiful music with them.

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photo by joshgarrels.com

His music is soothing, fun, and just a whole lot of love comes through his music. Mr. Yell and I actually had our first dance to his song “Heaven’s Knife”; which we actually were able to hear him play at his concert in Houston.

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While I admit, I was very apprehensive at first, since his music was different than the style I enjoyed at the time. But I have now come to call him one of my favorite artists. His songs are soft, sweet, and full of heart and emotions. I love his music because they have special meanings in different parts of life.

Be sure to check out his music on Noisetrade and see his latest music video!

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Mr. Yell, Josh Garrels, and I after the Houston, Texas concert (11/2015)

I hope you have a lovely weekend relaxing and recuperating.

Much love. Much grace.

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“Patiently” Waiting

Jordan is a sweet soul I met in college and have the pleasure of calling friend. Her spunky spirit and compassion for others are infectious and such a joy to be around. I am so excited to have Jordan be a part of Go Giver’s “Perspective Women”!

Note for the readers: This is for all the planners out there. Those of you who have a need to know where you’re going so that you can start working to get there. I hope this post encourages you to find real peace and inspires you to grab hold of today before it’s gone.  ­- Jordan

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make money. ” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13­-15

If you ask me, there’s nothing more refreshing than “getting your life together.” Now, for me, getting my life together might look something like this: Finally finding a major to stick to, getting acquainted with the taste of black coffee, graduating, finding a haircut that flatters the shape of my face after all these years, and even getting engaged and married ­ my number one life goal. For a little while, I had it all going, but moving can really mess things up. Don’t get me wrong. I welcome adventure! I love people, new cultures, new scenery and chances to begin again. Considering these, moving sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. And then God said “Arkansas.”

In my perfect ‘Jordan knows best’ world, we would’ve packed up and headed to Alaska, my favorite place on earth. I would’ve even settled for Washington, Oregon.. Anywhere with deep green forests and more rainy days than you can count. (Yes, I’m a pluviophile. Google it.) But He who knows better than I chose Little Rock to be the new home of the #newlywednortons. That was that. So, Josh and I found a cozy apartment by the river in Little Rock. It took us about 3 days to have it all settled leaving me with endless time to navigate the city,find my favorite coffee shop and job search.

After 2 months of dissecting Indeed.com, I finally was offered a full­time job, on the spot. I was going to be a Customer Service Representative for a great insurance company. It came with the title, an office, a salary and a pencil skirt. (Okay, I bought the skirt.) I was going to be a professional! Then I remembered .. I hate sitting in offices. And answering phones. And skirts. I lasted 3 days. I was a little discouraged and ashamed of being a quitter, but I was confident in God’s promise. He knew the plans He had set out for me. I just had to wait a little longer to find out what those were.

A New Perspective

In the meantime, I worked as a coffee barista at a swanky European Cafe. As a coffee lover, it had always been a dream of mine to learn the art of coffee­making. I loved making lattes and cappuccinos, but as it turns out, it doesn’t take long to master.

Not long into my caffeine career,a door was opened for me to be a College Intern for Josh’s and my new church home. Being offered a ministry job was truly a dream come true! So, I was newly married, employed with an amazing job and was beginning to make friends. It should’ve been another one of those “getting my life together” times. But something was off. I couldn’t sleep. When I had days off, I’d rest but still feel restless. I had bursts of uninvited tears and a heavy feeling of hopelessness. For weeks, I’d ask myself why I felt like I was falling apart even while my many blessings were evident. It took a little roadtrip to wake me up.

Last week, I drove back down to Ruston to see my college friends and the missionary family from Alaska who had come back to visit and recruit. I brought my stubborn heart with me not knowing that God was about to shatter it to pieces.

After seeing all my people, I went to stay with a close friend. We stayed up late sharing our hearts with each other. Somewhere in between my tired sentences, I realized that my exhaustion wasn’t only physical. It was mental, emotional and spiritual. My wrestling with God about where I was and where I wanted to be had slowly broken me down. I had given the the enemy permission to use a good thing to steal my joy and to replace my peace with anxiety.

My discontent was my own fault.

When I lived in East Texas, I wanted to leave and never go back. Once I did leave, I realized it wasn’t so bad. In North Louisiana, I was itching to get out. I loved my friends and the ministry teams I served on, but I was over the humidity and flat terrain. I wanted Alaska or just some place better than where I had been. My eyes and my heart were always on what might come next. But in a conversation with a friend, through my own words, I saw a piece of God’s heart. There was nothing else for me to do but surrender. I decided that it was time for me to stop wrestling with God about my future and be faithful in my present.

You don’t have to cash in your dreams to be faithful. You just have to be a little less selfish. Be willing to die to yourself so that you can really start living for Jesus. I may never be a Razorback fan, but I am choosing to open my heart to Little Rock ­ a beautiful city with great opportunities and even greater people that I can’t wait to meet.

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Jordan is a Louisiana Tech graduate with a degree in Speech Communication. She loves Jesus, coffee, and music. Jordan lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her new husband Josh and works as a college intern with Immanuel Baptist Church.

Be Encouraged.

When I started this blog, I intended to let it be an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. I wanted to encourage people; to let them know that there are people who struggle with life and the crazy things that happen. To balance the negativity and bring forth light and joy.

My life has not always been happy, joyful, or loving. And at times it is very hard to be that way. It is a hard job being encouraging in a world full of discouraging and judgmental people.

To all my fellow encouragers out there:

YOU CAN DO THIS.

Seriously. You can. I know how it feels, you are constantly encouraging others to embrace who they are, be confident, and to feel loved; and sometimes you don’t have enough encouragement left over for yourself. You can feel left out or forgotten at times, and that is normal. Because, like I said… being encouraging is hard. It takes work, discipline, and optimism that most people don’t have in our culture or in our world today.

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Friends, when I was a teen, life as an encourager was really hard for me. I loved writing as a child and up until my Sophomore year, I believed I was good enough to use writing as a talent to help others. I would write notes and letters, both signed and anonymous, to random people who needed a little extra loving. I would give them to teachers, peers, family… anyone who I felt like needed a happy note.

Then my Sophomore year of high school I took an English/Literature class at a new school. My teacher told me repeatedly that I was a horrible writer, that I had neither skill nor talent, and how I could only coast through her class with a C at best.

Talk about rough.

There I was, new kid in school with no friends, family, or connections and I was being put down by someone I believed could be on my side. Like I said, rough.

For two years I struggled with writing papers in every class. I stopped writing letters and I would stress so much over papers that I would have stomach aches.

Then my freshman year of college, I began writing again. I started to journal every week. Slowly working up to multiple times a week, gaining confidence and just enjoying writing my thoughts on paper.

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Guys, that has morphed into what I am doing today. No, this blog is not famous. The average views my posts get is around 30-60 each week. I don’t even own my domain name. But I am able to sit down, type out about a page and a half, and then post for the entire world to read. I share my emotions, thoughts, and struggles through this blog, and these sometimes intimate details are here to stay on the internet… Forever.

I guess what I am saying is this: just because someone tells you that you don’t have skills, talent, or any way of succeeding does not mean that person is right. Even if that person is a mentor, leader, expert, or well-liked.

You do what you have to in order to do what you love. Take a chance and don’t worry about how others view your talents (or lack-thereof).

You’ve got this.
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Needing Contentment

“I just want to see you content”

Seven words. Words that cut me to the core, and yet are loving at the same time. A phrase that says, “hey, I not only care about you, but I want to see you happy where you are and with what you have.”

But that word… Content… it is just so foreign.

I need more. More time. More money. More friends. More sucess. More adventures.

“Content” and “more” don’t go together. A person can’t live with both.

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I have been struggling with wanting to go to a new place to live for a while now. With marrying Mr. Yell and seeing most of our friends leave, it has been very hard to stay in our small town. I have been angry, jealous, and hurt; with myself for graduating late, and with God for not taking us to another place. He has been silent for almost a year now; and that has been the hardest thing to experience.

Then just this week my husband said something that woke me up. It made me rethink this past year’s emotions, complications, and stress.

“I just want to see you content.”

That’s it. That was the moment I realized that maybe, God wasn’t silent, at least not at first. Instead of listening to what He wanted me to do, I have been trying to push myself to do things that I feel I need to do. Things that will make me likable, smarter, or bring my life more meaning. I have been trying to make my life “better”, when instead I just  needed to learn how to be content.

Contentment is hard, guys. So hard. It is very hard to live in a world that is built on comparing ourselves to others and yet seek contentment. It is hard to see people in your same place in life who seem like they are doing it all, or that they are more likeable or needed or whatever. But can I just say that finding a way to be content is just so much better?

Even if you aren’t a believer in Christ, I challenge you just to take this week and find ways not to want more.  I want you to think about the things and people you have, and I want you to think everyday that you have enough. That you are fine where you are, and that the desire for more is not needed. For me, this is made infinitely easier when I remember that my relationship with God is all I need. I can lose everything and still know that He is good. He is enough.

This year has been rough, that is for sure. But this week has been the best week I have had in such a long time just on the basis of seeking contentment. I am learning, like I am sure much of you are, that I am pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough, loved enough, and happy enough.

I am doing my best to help those in need and make the part of the world I am in a brighter place to be. And that thought can only come from being content.

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Friends, are you content? If it means anything… I not only think you can be, but I want to see that happen for you.

Much love. Much grace.

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