Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's time we get off our phones and look at the people around us...

I think that every person should be forced to work the food industry at least once in their lives. I have people come into Starbucks all the time on their phones. No big deal, right? Except for when you ask them what they want and they shoot you that glare like you're interrupting their phone conversation. To make matters worse, they whisper their order to you so as to not disturb their conversation which of course is always life or death.

I think we forget who is behind the counter. I know it is easy to think, 'They work here so they must be __________ uneducated, can't find anything better, without experience…' fill in the blank. But do you realize that in the time I've worked at Starbucks, I've met single mothers who are putting their two children through college, working two jobs and are going to school? I've met people who have degrees, have worked high paying jobs, managed big business… you name it.

Why am I telling you all of this? I want to tell you a story about my friend Patricia and how someone made the effort to know her. I met Patricia 3 years ago my first time around at Starbucks. She had just transferred from California and had very little. From day one, I knew we would be good friends. I soon found out that Patricia was a new believer and really desired to grow though it was hard in this new environment where she knew no one. I did what I could to get her involved and to minister to her before I left for Ecuador. Just yesterday, Patricia and I went out to lunch to catch up. I found out she was going to Bent Tree Bible Church and loving it. As I inquired as to how she started going there, she told me about one of her customers. The customer had taken the time to get to know Patricia as she came in every day. The week before Easter, she invited Patricia to go to Bent Tree with her. From the very first time she walked through those doors, she felt at home and so did her 5 year old daughter. Now it is her church home, she goes every Sunday, her daughters are involved in the children's ministry and Patricia helps out. Not only that, but she is meeting with a group of women who also work at Starbucks to have a weekly Bible study. I don't know who that customer was who began to minister to Patricia, but God used that to advance his kingdom.

We are all creatures of habit. We like to sit in the same seat at church on Sundays, go to the same check out at the grocery store, and the same Starbucks, so why not see each of those places as opportunities to love people to Jesus? Jesus calls us to go out into all the world, so how are you treating the world that is directly around you? Do they see Jesus in you or just someone holding a cell phone?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's still about Jesus...

What is the easiest comment to give any problem: Trust God. We throw this comment around like it is easy to say and to act upon, but in reality, this might be the single hardest thing we do every day.
I'm going to try right now and be real; not shiny, plastic, have-it-all-together Christian, but the real deal, I-struggle one who struggles to do what is right even when I want to!
Just the other day, I was telling my sister that we shouldn't freak out about wedding things, because they were so temporary. God even gave me an illustration: High School Graduation. As I was sitting at Baccalaureate I realized, I've been out of High School for 10 YEARS and it feels like forever ago. When I hear the kids say, "we finally made it" and "the next decisions of our lives are going to impact the rest of our lives," I just smile remembering the stress we all went through... the right grades, the right scholarships, the right school, the right graduation party... you name it, it all had to be RIGHT because THIS is the most important time of our lives!! But is it?
Fast forward 10 years and we are at a new stage of life: Getting married. And all the sudden I find myself worrying and stressing and planning. I need the right dress, the right place, the right food, the right people and all of the sudden we are back in high school again trying to keep up with our friends and make ourselves LOOK important.
This morning I heard Matt Chandler preach from Colossians 3:1-4. One of the things he said stuck out to me: We are so consumed with how God needs to fix our problems that we don't see the people around us and how simple our problems actually are (or something to that affect!) As we sang the next songs, I just reflected on how glorious our God is... that its not about me or my problems, but God STILL cares about them. Its like the Psalm that says, "He who forms the hearts of all, who considers EVERYTHING they do." He knows and understands us and the things we do far better than we know ourselves!
In all this goodness, you would think this "knowledge" that God had bestowed on me would work itself into my actions, right? God blessed me with something little and stupid, the dress that I loved for my wedding. Not only did he give it to me, he gave it to me on a silver platter... $200 off the original price! As I drove out to Mesquite to get it, I told God that if he wanted me to have the dress, it would be there. But if it wasn't than I knew he had something better. Oh, how spiritual I sounded in that moment... but just seconds later as I put on my perfect, "fits me like a glove" dress, my countenance changed as I realized my perfect dress was stretched out and not able to be ordered. Did I do what I had been learning all day? To trust God... NO. I freaked out and panicked and said, "WHY GOD!?" I am embarrassed even as I write it knowing that my life should be more important than a dress and my trust in God should last longer than it takes to try one on. At that moment, all I saw were my "big problems," not God's provision. For some reason I thought, 'THIS time God is going to screw me over. I knew his grace and provision for me was too good to be true.'
My sister brought me back to reality, prayed for me and off I went all the way across town to look at another store... in that 40 minute ride it took to get there, the Lord spoke to me, "This is part of your story... let me use even the dumbest and most trivial things to bring glory to myself. I consider everything you do." And I honestly believe that all this junk was to get me in the car for that long so that I could worship the Lord and sing, "So may the words I say and the the things I do make my lifesong sing bring a smile to you..."
And what did I find at the store? My dress waiting for me... why do I doubt? May he be given glory for even the smallest blessing. Though sometimes I loath the moments I fail, I am overjoyed that he calls me worthy to learn these truth, even if it is the hard way.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How it happened...

Due to the massive amounts of response, I’ve decided that it is time to tell the story… how did Steven propose?
Before I say anything else, I want to thank Jesus for bringing me the most amazing man I’ve ever met.
It all started exactly 8 years ago, when a much younger, inexperienced Jamie met a dark, handsome, Mexican-looking man at a college party. We immediately hit it off until he misunderstood my question, “What school DO you go to?” and thought I said, “What School DID you go to?” The answer was “The Colony High School” and my heart sank, being semi-grossed out that I thought a high school boy was cute. Much to my surprise, he was actually 21 and at Texas Tech.
That is when our friendship began… six and a half years later, we started dating. God is the only one who can take credit for the amazing story of how we got to this day: the day he asked me to marry him…
My birthday is in two weeks, which in Dallas means 120 degree weather, so Steven told me he wanted to do my birthday picnic a couple weeks early. We agreed that Sunday would be a good day and after church we headed off to the Nature Preserve, our favorite park. We had everything… good food and appetizers, sparkling cider (since I can’t drink because of the meds I’m on!), and chicken Caesar salad (chicken that he grilled at 2am the night before!). The day was beautiful and it was perfect. After that we walked around for a while looking for the perfect two trees to hang the 2-person hammock I bought him for valentine’s day. What I didn’t realize was that he had already scooped out the perfect spot. He proceeded to hang our hammock and we spent the next couple hours just hanging out.
At about 6pm, he said we should go up to this lookout and take pictures (our favorite thing to do), on the way over there he was telling stories and I was laughing. What I didn’t know is that he was talking really loud so that Allison, my roommate would know we were coming, so that she could hide in the bushes and take pictures of the whole event! When we got to the look-out, we started taking pictures and waiting for the sun to go down a bit. There was a girl on the bridge taking pictures by herself and she asked if we wanted her to take our picture. I politely declined… little did I know that this was actually Holly, the fiancĂ© of one of Steven’s friends. He eventually convinced me that a couple pictures from her would be a good idea.
He put his arm around my shoulder and I caught a glimpse of something sparkly out of the corner of my eye (see picture to the above). At the same time, I could feel his heart race. I was confused. She took the picture. Steven bent down like he was tying his shoe. As the words, “What are you doing?” come out of my mouth, he held up a beautiful ring, told me he wanted to spend his life with me and asked the four words I’d been dying to hear, “Will you marry me?”
A million times yes. There are so many clichĂ© things people say about the one their heart loves… but for me they are all true. He is the one who brings joy to my eyes and a smile to my lips. He is a man that I have trusted and respected from day one. He is the one who takes care of me, loves me when I’m unreasonable, but overall, loves Jesus the most. We have seen each other through good times and bad. We’ve been together through laughter and tears. I don’t know how I could ask for anyone better… than my best friend.

Dates have not been set, but we are tentatively looking at the weekend of December 18, 2010! We'll let you know asap...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Daddy’s Shoes…

No one has to teach a little boy to put his dad’s shoes on. No one has to tell a little girl to don her mom’s heels and fumble down the hall like a runway model. It all comes naturally. The desire to be like their parents is built in. How do we lose that as we grow?
Jesus has called us to be his disciple; to take up his “yoke” (teaching), leave behind everything and follow him. In word, these things sound so simple, but living it out is a different story completely. These are big shoes to put on… ones that don’t seem like they fit that well. But if we truly want to be like our Father, we must slide our little feet into his big shoes and follow after him. But as we take the first step, we get tripped up, “What if he asks me to TRULY give up EVERYTHING?” He is. “What if he asks me to step outside of the things that JUST effect me and step INTO someone else’s life… someone I can’t control?” He is. “What if I fall?” You will. But he will not leave you alone. As a parents finds joy in their small one following after them, so your Father delights in you.
Yesterday as I was getting ready to go to work, I read Psalm 30, “When I felt SECURE, I said, ‘I will not be shaken’… but when you HID your face, I was dismayed. Hear, O Lord and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks FOREVER.”
And the Lord showed me, once again, “You need not be SECURE, you need to TRUST me.” Begrudgingly, I started work at 9:30 in the morning. At about 10am, I prayed turn my wailing into dancing, and an overwhelming sense of joy flooded over me. For the next 7 hours, I have never felt so at peace and with so much energy! I kept telling my coworkers, “I am in SUCH a good mood!” The last hour, I began to feel very tired, but still a joy that I could not explain rushed through my veins. He continually reminds me that he desires to walk WITH me; that He smiles as he watching me put on these big shoes and tromp around. The thing I always forget is that HE wants to put on the shoes and CARRY me as only a Father can do.

Monday, May 3, 2010


"If only..." Two simple words that can cause you a world of hurt...
Your list could look something like this: If only I had a job. If only I DIDN'T have a job. If only I had money. If only I had MORE money. If only I had a house. If only I had a BIGGER house. If only I had a husband. If only I DIDN'T have a husband. If only I had kids. If only I DIDN'T have kids...

Not two weeks ago, I sat on this couch "If only I had a job..." and now I'm wondering how to juggle a job and all the random "events" I have that keep me from work. As I thought about the flights, the bridal showers, dresses and weddings, I found my breathing begin to shallow and my heart rate go up. Discontentment had begun to swallow me whole. The poisonous "What ifs" float to the front of my brain and anxiety wraps its slimy fingers around my neck. Before I know what is going on, BAM, I am in full fledged Worry Mode: mind reeling, chest hurting, breathing inhibited.

So what just happened? I forgot. "Do not be anxious about anything. But in EVERYTHING by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the God of peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Last night as my heart beat wildly out of control, I sat down wondering whether or not Jesus wanted to hear my stupid problems. How is it possible that the God of the Universe cares about a flight? Or a dress? Or a silly job? In that moment I heard his gentle whisper, "Jamie, what do you want? What have I NOT done for you?" I started rolling all of God's goodness over in my mind... he gave me a job without much effort whatsoever. He found me a box spring and a frame for $20. He turned a $20 donation into $200 back into my pocket. He gave me the opportunity to start a Bible study. He gave me all green lights on the way to work when I was running late. He pours out rain on the grass to make it green. So, what are you complaining about? The job he has given you? The wonderful friends he has put in your life? The ministry he gives you every day? I think the "with thanksgiving" is the KEY to the not being anxious part.

Maybe instead of saying, "If only..." I'll start saying, "Only if you go with me..." The God of peace promises to be with us.