December 10, 2013

I'm kinda pissed but very blessed.

A few weeks ago a faculty member could walk on stage (during chapel at school ) without striking fear into my heart. But a few resignations later, I cringe when anyone is about to make an announcement.

I get attached to people.

The first resignation was by our school President. Sure he was following God's Will for his life, but he never asked me if it was okay. He was one of the major reasons I chose this school. Now look at him, just leaving like it ain't no thing. I was suppose to shake his hand at graduation.

I get attached to people.

There have been more changes and more ill-timed, unrelated resignations since then, and now I almost vomit when it's announcement time.

You need to know this. It's December, it's finals week, and my dearest friends are graduating ( I will not see them until May). I'm stressed, I'm sad, I'm homesick.

Today crossed the line for me.
Whistle blown.
Flag on the play.
Pass interference !

A professor of Youth and Family Ministry ( which is my major ) announced his resignation today.....on stage...during chapel. Leaving me to cry ball my eyes out , trapped in a gym full of people. Doesn't he realize that I just changed my major for the third time? Doesn't he realize that I already finalized my Spring Semester schedule with his classes? Doesn't he realize that I am not done learning from him yet?

I'm kinda pissed.

Back somewhere in 2005ish I was called to the Principal's office during my Biology class. My brother had come to the school and needed to meet with me urgently. We were able to sit outside and he told me that he would be moving from our town in Oklahoma to some Bible College in Missouri. I was almost a Junior, I was about to graduate. We were best friends, how could he do this?!

That night at youth group, God got a sense of humor. My youth pastor announced that he would be making the transition into mission work overseas. Him, his wife, and kids would be But, how in the world am I suppose to graduate High School with their guidance? Couldn't they wait until I was done?

 As the years went on, the bitterness slipped away and God gave me a beautiful outlook on this situation. These people were not trying to hurt me by leaving, but they were setting an example. An example of responding to the call that God has placed on our lives.

I don't know if people cried and stomped their feet when David and I up and left our cozy comfort in Oklahoma to be poor college kids in Missouri. Regardless of how people responded, we are responsible for obeying the call the God have us.

Today, sitting in the gym, with tears gushing out of my face, I was transported back through those memories. And as much as I want to lash out at those resignations, I have to respect the obedience that these men and women are exhibiting.

I need to remember that their God given abilities were not meant to serve me, but to Give Glory to God. I need to remember that they are giving me a gift: the gift of setting an example.

So, in this emotional trial of change, I have been blessed.
I'm still kinda pissed...but very very blessed.


October 7, 2013

Prayer. Is. Powerful.

The sickness is healed.
Relationships are mended.
The car sells.
The house becomes available.
The bills get paid.
There is food to eat.
The job calls and makes the offer.

God has done crazy amazing things in our marriage over these 5 years and if we had a central theme to summarize it, it would be Prayer is Powerful.

Sometimes the prayer is answered. Sometimes a lesson is learned. But God is always faithful to move in our lives.

The most recent area that God is moving in our lives:

We have finally found a church home! We have been in search for 2 years for a place that we know Jesus is Lord, that has sound doctrine, and is a place for us to grow in fellowship with the community of Christ.

Through lots of prayer, gentleness, patience, and faith, I was allowed to put my job on hold in order to focus on the next area of ministry that God has placed on our household. After looking at my class load, my responsibility at home, and what this new ministry adventure will require, quitting my job (temporarily) was the only solution.

 The ministry opportunity that required me to quit my job is that my husband is leading a mission trip next year. Through the dating and marriage years of our relationship, I have been praying that my husband would have an opportunity to go back to the people of his heart. There is a lot to do (the harvest is plenty). We are so excited to begin contacting prayer warriors and financial supports !

Lean in

There is a reason I wanted to share how God is moving in my life along with the topic of prayer.

These were not the answers I was seeking.
This was not what I had in mind when I prayed to God about finding a church and doing missions.


I feel like this what Matthew was talking about when he said:
"Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and these things will be added." -Matthew 6:33

Echoed from the psalmist in Psalm 34:7
"Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." 

I want you to be encouraged to seek God in prayer. Even when you are not sure what to say, or how God will even meet your requests. Just know that God is listening, and he knows exactly what you need. Do not restrict yourself to your ability to meet your needs.


August 29, 2013

A Quick Word

I had the opportunity to join a scripture sharing group via email with some friends. This verse was placed on my heart and thought you could be encouraged.

The scripture that first comes to mind is Philippians 1:6
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

This verse speaks so loud to me ( and hopefully to you too ) because I feel like my life is just always stuck in the middle. I am in the 3rd semester of my Sophomore year at Bible college and my 25th birthday is coming. I feel like my life is on hold as me and my husband work on our degree. Sometimes I feel like God has moved on to other talented people, moved on to other women to accomplish what I thought He was doing in me.

This verse reminds me that God completes His homework. It also reminds me that God has a project for me and that as I mature, read His scripture, and do His will, that he will perfect and finish that project in me.

May you know that you are a dear daughter/son of the living God. May you know that He started a good work in you the moment you accepted Him as your savior. And know that no matter how difficult the days, or how far away He feels, He is going to complete that good work in you. You are precious and not forgotten.

August 24, 2013

8 Weeks

Eight weeks ago we started the journey to a healthier lifestyle. I shared the first 4 weeks here.
Now it's been another 4 weeks ! We are still going strong and adding more to our busy schedule.

Here is a quick overview of the first 4 weeks.
  • Out with the pop and fast food, in with the water and fresh food.
  • Deep clean the house
  • Walking 3 miles a night.  

Week 4
This was our anniversary week ! 5 years of marriage was an amazing milestone. With the garage sale money we made, we were able to take a trip to Springfield, IL. We never had a "real" honeymoon, so this was the perfect getaway to somewhere new.
We also started the Couch to 5K program. This program takes you from your couch to running a 5K in 8 weeks ! You only run 3x a week.

Week 5
Week 2 of Couch to 5K.
This program is strengthening our marriage SO MUCH. David could run faster but instead, he stays behind to cheer me on. I think I'm going to join him for a 5K in September !

Week 6
I was battling some spiritual warfare. Started 21-day Made To Crave Bible Reading challenge by Lysa TerKeurst. If you have the Bible App on your phone it comes free !!! Perfect companion to focus your goal and remain in God's word.

Biggest physical obstacle: I ran for 3 whole minutes. I also learned a breathing technique to help with stamina and decrease the pain in my right hip. Inhale for 3 steps and exhale for 2 steps. Works perfect and no pain !

Week 7
At the start of this week we had completed Week 3 of Couch to 5K and have started Week 4. Just when I thought I had reached my peak, Week 4 of C25K contained running for 3 min, 5min, 3min, 5min.  I finished each set, not fast, but I finished.

Week 8
This week was crazy full !
We started school this week and started using the treadmills in the schools workout room. 
We finished up Week 4 and started Week 5 of C25K. I am so proud of myself ! Week 5 changes each day. I have been running for 8 minutes at a time !

It feels so good to look at the progress I have made.
Now that we are in school, we eat at the cafeteria for lunches. We find ourselves eating healthier by desire instead of by force.

Going back to school this week was so encouraging. I did not realize just how many people had been following our updates on Facebook and were eager for us to continue ! 

Week 9 starts Monday- Here we go !

Combined total weight loss = 23 

July 20, 2013

4 Weeks In

Four weeks ago my husband cleaned off our dry erase board that hangs on the kitchen wall.
Four weeks ago we sat down for a long talk about finances, eating habits, and our team work.

We have gone through these phases before. Something similar to a New Years Resolution Wake-up-call. We have tried to lose weight, save money, be better stewards, or plan for a trip. We have tried all this many times.

This time nothing was different. Same goals. Same reason.

But now, it's 4 weeks later.
We made it 4 weeks !

Week #1 
This week we went back to healthy basics. No more fast food. No more Dr.Pepper. 
Our favorite food secret weapon is eMeals ! ( Thank you Jon Acuff ) We have been using eMeals off & on for out 3 years now. This time, we jumped in with both feet and signed up for a full year of meal plans!

 Instead of a Taco Bell run, my husband would bring a picnic to work !
To get off the couch we started using our Xbox Kinect instead of paying of a gym fee. Workouts during the day and 1 mile walks every evenings. Every Monday we weigh in to see the results. 

Some positive fridge art !

One of the powerful things we learned that week about healthy food habits was this:
"Cant go wrong with fruits and veggies. And look at every meal, see if there is at least one item you could switch for a fresher version." 

Week #2
The regular exercising and fresher foods increased my energy. Late one night I decided our house needed a deep cleaning. This was about the time of my ( Mid 20's crisis). I started cleaning out closets,drawers, and boxes from the garage. All of a sudden we were ready for a garage sale !

We jumped to the hustle, got an ad in the paper, and signs on town corners for a Friday and Saturday sale.  This was at the end of Day 1.

On day #2 of the sale, we had a secret weapon for sales: 

The sale was a huge hit ! We made over $500, cleaned out our lives, and created the fresh start we were looking for. It felt amazing to have more room and less to worry about ! 

 We were exhausted but it was so worth it !

Week #3
We can really feel the extra energy and clutter free living space. I started week 3 with a Pinterest project I had put on the back burner. A great display for all of our ticket stubs !

We also increased our walking to 3 miles a night and my husband is considering a signing up for 5K in September ! This week we also introduced a cleaning routine to keep us on our feet and keep our house ready for any guests and any time.

Week #4 begins Now ! 
Going into week 4 feels awesome.
I crave water and better food. We had a fast food snack on a busy day and hated it !
We love our evenings walks and arrange our plans so we don't miss it.
I sleep better. I feel better.

Like I said. We have tried this before. I think it speaks volume that we are trying to better ourselves. We are trying and that is something.

Like I said, it's been 4 weeks.
That's pretty awesome progress !


July 19, 2013

Mid 20's Crisis

Do you have a 5 year plan ? A 10 year plan ?

In job interviews I rocked that question like none other.

I'm a have-a-plan kind of girl. I thrive on a to-do list and love to spend hours day dreaming about the future. At night, when I couldn't get to sleep, I would just think of the next 5 years; What I would look like, where we would live, and what sports would my children play ?

A few weeks ago I had a melt down. Mostly in my head and in the privacy of my own home, I just melted down. My 25th birthday is fast approaching. Me...turning 25.

(If you are older than 25, you're laughing at me. If you're not laughing.. then you feel my pain. )

I broke down because as my 25th birthday approaches, I was forced to reflect on the past 25 years. I was not happy with what I saw.

I have spent the last 25 years:
  • Stressing over what-if scenarios.
  • Worrying over family drama.
  • Crying over that stress and drama
  • Living in the middle but never really present. 

For the past 25 years I have been preparing to be someone else. Everything I wore, friends I picked, activities I joined, churches I attended, jobs I took. Everything was a choice I made because that is what Future Renda would do.

Now 25 years later, I'm not that woman. I pictured a minivan with at least 2 kids, a busy schedule, and sleepless nights. Maybe a mortgage or a second car. Women's bible studies, jokes over parenting, and signing up for little league.

Instead. My husband and I are about to start our Junior year in college in another state, away from our parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews. Just the 2 of us, up here, in the middle.

I had to have a pity party for a second and then I picked myself up. I can't stop my 25th birthday from coming, but I can change the next 25 years. So I gave myself a new outlook.

I am going to live in the present. The future is forever changing and the past is done. If my body is not going to listen to my dreams, then I will work to get in the best shape I can, so that I can live as long as I can, so I can leave the biggest legacy that I can. 

Some habits, some words, some relationships, and friendships wont make it into the next 25 years of my life. But that means that is room for new, lots of new. New habits, new friendships, and new healing.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" 
-Jeremiah 29:11-13

May 28, 2013

Ministry Daydream

Summer break is a great time to relax. I'm so thankful that I have no homework or assignments for 2 months ! But at heart I do love to plan, research, and prepare. So I can't help but think about and "preplan" what next semester will hold for me.

I will be heading into my first semester of my Junior year.
I'm also in a new major. New classes, new books, new opportunity to see God move in my life.

My new major is Youth and Family ministry.
I would have never picked this major on my own, and yet it seems perfect. I adore my youth pastor and his wife. My teenage years are not the same without them. I feel completely unqualified and scared to death that I will fail at this but I'm also extremely excited to see turn these ashes into beauty.

The longer it takes for us to become parents, the more I crave opportunities to be a "surrogate" to kids and teens through ministry. God has used ministry as a major healing power in my journey to become a mom. While it can be great practice, it is something that will always be a need. Every town, every community will have youth that need someone to listen. When you're a Christian, you don't have to look very far to find ministry. Your life is ministry.

So as I day dream this summer I like to in vision what I hope to do this fall with youth ministry:

  • Ladies Bible studies
  • Morning brunch with teen girls group
  • Pamper parties at the salon/spa
  • Using my house for devotions
  • Meeting with teens for lunch at school
  • Maybe be a sponsor on a youth trip
  • Write encouraging notes
  • Attend sports games or school events

What were some of your favorite youth activities ?
How did a youth minister or sponsor impact your life ?

May 7, 2013


I become unglued on a regular daily basis. So much in fact that my husband will call me by my mothers maiden name ( Peyton) when my feisty attitude comes to the surface.

I was drawn to Lysa's book Unglued because as I yearned to dive deeper into ministry, I was getting the feeling I couldn't take this silver tongue with me. It's not possible to build bridges when you're tearing down hearts.

When I look at my unglued moments most of them are geared toward defending my friends and family.

I am deeply protective of my friends and family. If you meet me I want to be your BFF. That also means that I am in your corner forever. I have your back even when you're wrong. My circle of friends call me "Mama Renda" because I want to take care of them and protect them from others harm. I will go down fighting for them even if it's for the wrong reason.

At work I become unglued when people to recognize the hidden team work that takes place to get things done. I want to be the best at what I do, I want to be liked by everyone. I want to be the favorite.

At school I become unglued people preach at me. As an adult student, these little kiddos have no idea what they are getting into. How do they have the right to tell me what to do ?

At home I become unglued when I come home from work and my husband has not cleaned the entire house, washed all the clothes, and cooked dinner.

You see, when I look at my unglued moments most of them are geared toward defending myself, being selfish, and not focusing on God.

I have found that starting my morning off with scripture makes a BIG IMPACT on how I will react or respond to the unglued moments throughout the day. School ends about 4pm this Thursday and this summer I am looking forward to refocusing my lifestyle. Finding an older woman mentor is a goal of mine this summer.

After revealing my unglued moments I do have hope from Lysa. She shares that there are areas where it is okay to become unglued. It's okay to become unglued when you see people hurt by sin. It's okay to become unglued when others are being hurt and you hurt for them. It's okay to become unglued in a way that leads to healing and building of the kingdom of God.


April 23, 2013


After dealing with my first loss, I learned that comfort comes in a variety of ways.

The first came when I was walking down the hall at school last Tuesday. I had just received the text about grandpa and I had 15 minutes to get to work. I was holding my tears in pretty well.
I kept thinking,
"As long as I don't run into my friend Sarah, I will be okay."
But what I really meant was:
"I really need Sarah."
About that time I came around the corner and there she was. She smiled and waved. Then she assessed my smile and wave. As she met me she simply embraced me and stepped to the side out of the way. I barred my head in her arms and sobbed. Snot and all, Sarah stroked my hair. Snot and all Sarah provided comfort.
Wednesday-Friday my friends surrounded me in just enough laughter and games to mask the reality of what was happening. Some would call this denial, but lets be real. There is nothing I could do  that would bring my grandfather back to life. I wasn't ready to lose him but I was also not ready to cry. I wanted to laugh and they provided that for me. They provided comfort.
By Saturday I was fading fast. I had to work before we hit the road for 6 hours of awkward somber silence. While folding towels (I work at a salon and spa ) an elderly massage therapist simply stepped beside me and noticed I was in deep thought. As she asked if I was okay I began to sob as quietly as possible. She picked up on the fact that I did not want attention on myself and simply blocked the way for others to see my face. She stayed with me until I could swallow with ease. She provided comfort.
At the funeral there were small moments that others would simply brush off, but they were deep impacts of this healing process:
Holding my Aunt Donna's hand as we walked to the cars.
My 6 foot 6 cousin Neal reaching down to give me a bear hug.
My grandma stroking my arm.
Seeing my Aunt Lila finally let a tear fall.
Giving my mom a pep talk in the bathroom.
My husband leaning over to tell me joke during the funeral.
People say "everyone grieves different." This is true.
You may say I am in denial, or that I'm too "Happy-go-lucky" but I don't want to focus on my grief process. It's not the grief I need, it's the comfort.
If you are hurting, or when you do, don't ignore what sooths your aching soul. Don't force yourself to stay in pity. Don't be afraid to laugh, and know it's okay to be comforted in a variety of ways by a variety of people.
~Renda says.

April 16, 2013

First Loss

I am so thankful that I lived almost 25 years before experiencing the harsh loss of a close family member. Sure I have lost loved ones before but this is the first of my immediate family. From now on I will have to speak of grandpa in the past tense. My children will role their eyes as I try to describe how handsome, strong, and tender this 1/2 Cherokee man was.

At Bible college they try to teach us how to be leaders in difficult situations. How to minister to those that are hurting. I have tried to aid those in their loss. Now I find myself trying to cling to my own advice and reminders. Bible college wasn't just preparing me to deal with others grief but how to handle my own.

Even though I am in a roller coaster of tears, homework, and daily stress, I do find peace in remembering that my grandpa did know Jesus as his personal savior. Grandpa accepted Jesus Christ and that means that he is in Heaven right now. I don't have to just say "he is in a better place" to make myself better, I can actually know that he IS in a better place.

Tonight my grandpa is young and energized.
Tonight he has received a new name.
His ragged tired clothes are traded in for a pure white robe.
He is not restricted by any ache of any kind.

I love you grandpa.
It's going to take me awhile to get used to this.
But I will see you again.

Love you grandpa.

April 12, 2013

FrUstratioN Friday

I don't want to be the Debbie downer of the blogs but this week what not on my radar.

This is a look at the questions that have kept up me at night this week.

  • Did I do the laundry ?
  • Should I be worried about North Korea ?
  • I hope there isn't a test in class this week.
  • Is there a test ?
  • What happens if I don't get my dream job ?
  • Should I create a living will ?
  • When is that hand bag that the orange strap ?
  • When will I finish my degree ?
  • Where will I work when we move back to Oklahoma ?
  • Will we move back to Oklahoma ?
  • When did my arms get flabby ?
  • What am I going to do for my 25th birthday ?
  • When should I start researching adoption agencies ?
  • Am I ready to attend a funeral ?
  • What color do people wear to funerals?
  • Did I wash enough clothes for the week ?
  • Will CNN update Twitter if we get bombed ?

It doesnt surprise me that the less I read my devo the more stressed I became. I would always find an excuse. The first day I overslept, then the next day I just had to check my email.. and then 5 days later it collected dust. I need to fight the urge to be selfish. I need to continue to run this race.

April 8, 2013

Meet Dillon: Part II

He went to Bible college, went home, and overdosed before he was rescued by Jesus.

Some Christians would take a disapproving look at Dillon.
Some would scoff at his tattoos and assume that he could not possibly understand the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.

But the truth is that not only has Dillon experienced the saving grace of Jesus but He deeply desires to share it with the rest of the world.

Dillon is helping people meet Jesus.
Here is a snippet of his experience after God saved his life:

"Me and a married couple flew over the 8th of January. He has preached and taught all over the world, and I have never learned so much in my life.

Haiti has no rules that I can think of, dogs, goats, pigs, horses, cows, trash, and naked children every place you look; much pollution, your nose is constantly filled with dirt.
All night you here dogs fighting, roosters, and the satanists drumming, and chanting in the streets. Many very crazy people there, I met two men that killed people; one was baptized.

Baptisms took place, God opened a lot of doors.

I preached at many churches with my time there; also did much street preaching to the homeless in various areas.
We prayed for a family that was practicing voodoo, we had church every morning every night no exceptions, I believe that's biblical.

[God] really opened my eyes. Really made me appreciate the states. I am definitely going to continue doing Mission work. God has been radically changing my life, and waking me up to this world.
[Now back in the USA] I do a prison ministry and inner city ministry.
Gods opened doors for me and been with me the whole time. God Bless"

Join me in prayer for Dillon, that God would continue to protect his heart and life so that he may continue to spread the Gospel. That when Dillon grows weary that the Holy Spirit would remind Dillon of the powerful work God has done in his life.

April 7, 2013

Late night post.

I am going to miss this.

I am sure 99% of the students are ready for summer. They are ready for their freedom, ready for adventure, but really just ready for no homework.

It would be nice when I don't have to write another theology paper or take a quiz but I am the 1% that is not completely looking forward to this summer. When summer comes, the students go back home. Except... when your an off-campus student. Then.. then you stay here. While everyone goes..

My husband and I love having our classmates over to our house.
It keeps us young.
It keeps us laughing.
It makes me clean the house.
But also.. it keeps my spirits up.

I like quiet... after it's been crazy.
If it's just quiet then I am alone with my thoughts and that is a very dangerous place to be.

Tonight we had a group of friends over. We laughed so hard. We laughed so hard that some people farted.
Now that is a good time !
Good food.
Good friends.
Good times.

I am going to miss this.

April 5, 2013

Fun Friday

70 degrees
Flip flops
Grilling out

This winter has been way too long ! I am just craving this sunshine ! I hope it is warm where you are from. I hope you can enjoy flip flops and pull out those sunglasses.

This week I learned that if you put enough carmel on a Carmel Frappe, I will forgive just about anything.

This week I also learned that my husband will be participating in a tournament of Settlers of Catan.

If you know this game, you will think my husband is awesome.
If you don't know this game you are probably judging me.
Either way, he has a chance to win a trip to Indianapolis !

Like I said,

70 degrees
Flip flops
Grilling out

What are your weekend plans ?

April 4, 2013

Meet Dillon: Part I

Sometimes God feels far away. Sometimes we think God is observing us on the outside of a snow globe, just turning our life upside down anytime he wants. I know this isn't true.
The best way to remember that God is an alive part of our life and desires for our faith to mature, is through hearing the testimony of others.
This new series is called "Meet." In this series you will meet believers in Christ & see how they are helping the lost to "Meet Jesus."

Meet Dillon

My life: through high school I partied a lot, abused alcohol, and marijuana.
I was a hypocritical Christian.

I was raised in a christian household but whatever my parents told me to do I would usually do the opposite. Bad company corrupts good character is where I was at when I was young.
Girls and the weekend were the main focus of my week.

I had attended college in Missouri for a year, and was away from my group of friends for that period of time. When I returned home everything spiraled down hill. It was the summer so we'd party through out the week and the weekends. My parents had no control of what was happening to me, and it was killing them inside.

My heart was hardened toward them and God, but I knew there was a battle for me.

We started to abuse hallucinogens 18-20 pills a night 2-3 days a week for about a month straight and I was addicted to the feeling. The high took me from my depression and from reality for a day, it was worth it to me at the time. I OD'd on the pills and was taken to the emergency. It didnt stop me from carrying on the next week.

Then there was a night my mom found out where I was at and I felt the strongest pull on me from Satan's attacks and God trying to get me out of the place I was. She brought me home and said to me crying:

 " Dillon what are we supposed to do anymore? Your going to die if you keep on the same path your going, I love you but you cant stay here if this is the lifestyle your going to keep."

 I told her:
 " Mom dont you think if God was real he'd take this addiction away, I cant stop. What am I supposed to do."

That was the first time it had broken my heart to see my mom in such distress, and I cant imagine God's. I had hit bottom I had no where to go. So I asked my mom and dad to pray over me and I prayed:
 " Lord if your real, please take this addiction away, make me new, forgive me."
Simple and sincere. And I felt peace for the first time in a long time. I woke up, I felt totally different, a feeling I had never experienced before.

Colors were so much brighter.
Music was more clear.
God Woke me up. And [now] I try to serve him in everything I do.

*Dillon went to Haiti in January. Read more in Meet Dillon Part 2 !

April 1, 2013

mess-day: Blessed-Day

What happens when you write about hope hunting ?
God calls you out on it !

This morning was Monday, no April Fools here.

Monday means back to work.
Monday means Spring Break is over.
Monday is where I am put to the test.

I wanted to stay in the cozy comfort of my own mess. I didn't want to deal with anyone else's mess.
And Monday's should just be called "Monday Mess-day."

My first phase of my mornings involve turning the lamp on in the bedroom, and giving myself 10 30 minutes of Facebook, Twitter, and Email time. But this morning my phone was dead and I was very convicted about spending my first moments with Godly wisdom instead of gaudy chaos.

I had a deep desire to dust off an old morning devo.

The passage read: "You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me [God] can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes and find Me in the midst of it all."

On the way to work, I took that advice. I lifted up in prayer my stresses and worries of the day. I told God about that co-worker that hates me, and that project I had been meaning to get to. I asked for energy and a positive attitude.

Now before bed I'm reflecting on today's events:
That positive attitude continued even through some "unglued" moments.
I may be yawning now, but I did have energy when needed most.
I surprisingly had everything I needed to complete a project !
And that hater was dealt with better than I ever anticipated.

Proverbs 3:6 says,
"In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight."
I didn't get me through today. God got me through today. God turned my Mess-Day, into a Blessed Day !  I think it's safe to say I have a new morning routine.
Start with God.... And go from there.

March 31, 2013

Resurrection Basket

This morning I got up, made a beautiful breakfast, put on that purple Easter dress and bonnet. Then just like a postcard from Heaven, my husband ( looking handsome ) and I dashed off to church. After service we enjoyed a beautiful Easter lunch, flew a kite, and then tonight I prepared a beautiful ham for dinner.

I want to tell you that.

Truth ?

I stayed under the covers until the light from outside overpowered the duvet. I awoke to a bedroom flooded in dirty clothes from open suitcases. The kitchen didn't contain a beautiful breakfast but the evidence of our late night Chinese dinner. Instead of primping in that purple dress, I had a melt down in the bathroom after trying to apply my makeup for the 3rd time. Stupid Freckles. ( Only people without them say they are cute !) Eventually we made our way to town for some retail therapy only to find every store closed for.......Easter.

Heart heavy and a 45 minute drive back home, I gazed up at the puffy clouds, the blue sky, and soft green coming over the fields. Easter sure looks a lot different than it did when I was a child. But God quickly spoke over my heart. He reminded me that while there are not baskets and bonnets, I do have a maturing faith. And in this faith, the realness, the fullness, and the delight in Jesus' Resurrection comes to life and that is sweeter than any tradition.

1 Peter 1:3 says:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.."

It is the resurrection that gives us hope, a LIVING HOPE.
Hope to wake up every morning.
Hope to deal with that co-worker.
Hope to heal your heart.

This hope is not just for March 31st. This hope is for every day. Every day is Resurrection Day.

I know.  Not every day feels like a Resurrection Day.
Some days feel like an "Evacuation, Over-reaction, Suffocation, or Medication" kind of  day.
It's not easy to spot Hope on those days.

That's when we have to go hunt Easter eggs.

Hebrews 4:16 says,
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Get your basket ready.
When we draw near to God, we will find mercy and grace; the best kind of Easter eggs.
Then on those days when you feel so hopeless, simply return to your basket ( or journal ) and take part in that living hope you have from the Resurrection. !

So may you be encouraged that no matter how you celebrated Easter, every day is Resurrection day.

March 30, 2013

Where I've Been

My husband, 5 college students, and myself have returned from our mission trip to serve the persecuted church.

There will be pictures,
There will be stories,

But first...

Shower and caffeine !

Thank you for those that have covered this team in prayer ! We are so excited to share what God is doing around the world, in the USA, and in our hearts.

Stay tuned...

March 22, 2013

Fun Friday: Favorite Pinterest Ideas

You made it to the weekend.
 If you have learned anything about this week it's that you need to laugh more.

This week on Kelly's Korner we are sharing our favorite Pinterest Ideas.
Now I love crafts as-all-get-out. But I ain't no Martha Stewart.

I know what you're gunna say, "But Renda, Pinterest has lots of ideas that are super easy!"
Really, really ?
I don't like a craft that require time, energy, glue, or a trip to Wal-Mart ! (amen)

But what I do like. I like to laugh. And these are some of  my favorite Pinterest ideas.



I don't drink coffee. But when I do....





Welp, there ya go.
I hope you peed your pants. ----I mean that in the nicest possible way :)

March 18, 2013

Wear the Crown

In elementary school, on your birthday, you were given a crown to wear on your little head. It was cut out of construction in your favorite color and your name would be written across the front.
Mine were always purple and covered in Lisa Frank stickers.

When you wore this crown, everyone told you "HAPPY BIRTHDAY."
When you wore this crown, you were birthday royalty.

I remember trying to wear my crown as long as possible. Finally my mom would pry it off my nest of hair while I slept. The crown that was once strong bright purple, now resembled a soggy brown cloth.
The crown would be tossed in the trash because it would be inappropriate to wear the next day. After all, you can only be birthday royalty once a year.

Over the weekend my brother and I had a jam session. I introduced him to a new song that had periced my heart. The song is called "At the Foot of the Cross" by Kathryn Scott.
A lyric of song says:

....Trade these ashes in for beauty,
And wear forgiveness like a crown,
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy,
I lay every burden down,
At the foot of the cross. 

I got choked up.
I was reminded that I am royalty. I have a crown.  

But more importantly this crown cannot be withered or rusted.
This crown is anew each day.

In the gospel of John is says:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

So today, tomorrow, and next week you may not feel like you are royalty.
You may have a soggy crown, but girl you are forgiven.
It's time to wear your forgiveness like a crown.

March 11, 2013

Big God

Back in Oklahoma I had a little Sunday School class of cute and sticky preschoolers. I think that is the perfect way to describe preschoolers. Cute but sticky....Moving on...

I dreaded Sunday mornings with my preschoolers because someone was going to poop their pants, scream bloody murder, or demand a better snack.

What turned my experience around was when I stopped trying to teach 4 year olds biblical lessons designed for 40 year olds. I replicated a theme I had seen on the ever-so-holy

God is my Superhero !

The kids LOVED this idea.
I LOVED this idea.

My husband still reads comics and is very up to date on all things superhero !

They made superheros, they dressed like superheros, no one pooped their pants, and they learned how BIG and awesome God is.

I learned how BIG God is.
On the transition from child to adult, God transformed from Superhero to Villian, Mad Man in the sky. But obviously God never changed. Instead, it was my attitude and how I perceived Him. I did not approach every day believing in a Superhero God. Instead of thinking of His love and His power, I created a count down to the worst case scenario of the day and hoped I could survive.
Last week while seeking advice from a professor, he met my negativity with:
 "Renda, how big is your God?"

As you may know, there is only one way to answer that one question and if your heart is correctly convicted as mine was, you need not respond at all.
My professor doesn't know how my life will unfold or if my prayers will get answered.
He doesn't need to know.
He only needs to know that God is a BIG God.
I only need to remember that my God is a BIG God.
Maybe you know that I'm talking about.
Maybe you need to stop jumping straight to the poopy pants scenario of your day and simply ask yourself  how Big is your God ?
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible."- Matthew 19:26

March 9, 2013


This week I dropped a class, changed my major agian, and molded a another dish in the sink.

This is not joy.

To make matters worse, I felt like my professor was going to revoke my Christian Card because I couldn't correctly articulate the different views of Theology on a study guide. I was not only a failure as a student and a wife but I felt like a failure as a Christian

This is not Joy.

Once I dropped the class and made a new outline for my future, the tension in my shoulders eased for a moment and a smile appeared on my face. I felt the pressure lift off.

But this is not joy either.

I was asked to join a worship team for chapel next week. As homework, I turned on Pandora to work on the harmony. At first I was just reciting words of How He Loves Us. But it did not take long for tears to steam down my face.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though youdo not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY,"- 1 Peter 1:8 

I had been preparing for a future with God without living in the present with HIM.

When I step aside and allow God to rush into my life, I am always shocked when He showers me with blessings. I have had more opportunity this week for ministry then ever before. God presented new horizons for me. And the grocery store had a sale on paper plates.

Things aren't perfect by a worldly standard but since when do I live by their standards ?

This is joy.