what do i do after i share the gospel?


Of all the hard things God has been teaching me, this topic was less of a hard lesson to learn and more of reminder to be thankful for such a blessing:

Currently, my main ministry is high school kids.

I started youth ministry with a handful of 7th graders. Most of them stared at me while I talked their ears off and pretended to communicate. We had an unspoken exchange of favors: I got them out of their house, or helped them avoid taking the bus home by picking them up from school, and they pretended to listen to me. Sometimes, I think they actually did listen to me, and that sweetened the deal for me a little bit.

Youth Ministry has been a really great ministry for me to be in for several reasons, but one in particular being that I am more well-suited to people coming to me to hear about God. (I’m just being honest, here-and I’m always going to have something wrong with me, so judge me and move on, ok? 🙂

Anyway, after almost four years, I’m now leading mostly sophomores (I’ve known some of my girls since 7th grade) and I feel like I’m a decent small group leader. I really like it at least. I really love hanging out with all of my girls. I love getting to know their worlds, their friends, their point of views. It’s amazing.

Due to my involvement with high schoolers, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the answer to the title of the this post: discipleship. If I don’t have any talent at all in evangelism as I implied above, I do think God has given me a heart to disciple.

Mostly, I love discipling students because I myself am learning so much about how to live with Jesus as my Lord and these kinds of lessons naturally want to overflow from my talkative mouth. Another aspect I love is that there are very few ways to mess it up. All you have to do is live life with them, challenge them (and be challenged by them), and love them.

The rewards are wonderful, amazing even, to watch a kid blossom each day, week, month, year.

Watching the light bulb above someone’s head flick on is so fun. But in discipleship, I get to see that so often, all while my own light bulbs are flicking on.

Thanks, God, for blessing me with such an amazing group of girls to love: Anna, Katey, Sirena, Hana, Ellen, Kayla & Shelby. *oh crap, here come the tears* I’m REALLY going to miss all of them when we move to Iowa City. But I’m very thankful we have eachother now.

Click here for all the other links to my thoughts on what God has been teaching me.

What’s your review?


I just read this review about The Anthem Band. Anthem originated at our home church, Cornerstone Church of Ames and Bryan plays a mean bass guitar in the band. For the last few years, they’ve been writing original songs and last May recorded a live album. They were recently featured in Relevant Magazine (check out the ad on page 6). And NOW they’re popular enough to have a review on a Christian Blog.

The only bummer is, it wasn’t exactly a great review (Click here to read it).

When it comes to music, I’m not much of a reviewer. I don’t know anything about the musical technicalities or the tone of the instruments, or the correct ebb and flow of a good album. All I know about music is:

When I like it, I like it.

I may not know anything about anything when it comes to music, but I know that I can hear music and clearly define whether I like it or not.

And I will say this:

I like this album.

grilled paninis


This is a fun little meal I kind-of made up when I didn’t want to cook a full out dinner after a big grocery shopping trip. Unlike most of my culinary creations, this one actually got rave reviews from my husband! YUM!

(dinner for 2)

  • 2 thin Chicken Breasts (or one sliced in half the long way)
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing
  • 4 slices Pumpernickel Rye Bread (or a yummy bread of your choice)
  • Butter
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Red Onion
  • Romaine Lettuce Leaves


  1. Marinade chicken in dressing for 30-45 minutes
  2. Place chicken and remaining dressing in pan, cook completely
  3. While chicken is still in hot pan, place cheese and onion on top
  4. Butter one side of each piece of bread
  5. Put chicken on UNbuttered side of bread, top with lettuce and another slice of bread, buttered side up.
  6. Place sandwich on a hot griddle, in a hot pan (preferable not the one with chicken juice in it), or if you’re really fancy you could put it in an actual panini press (a george foreman grill works fine as well)
  7. Cook both sides for about a minute or two, remove and enjoy!

The sandwiches are pretty filling, but they go great with a salad or chips and dip if you’re extra hungry!

this life is hard, suck it up and get to work!


Have you ever felt at war with yourself? Maybe something like this:

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? ” –Romans 7:21-24

Let me just say it:

It’s not easy to be a Christian.

There. It’s out there. Why isn’t easy?

It’s easy to lie; it’s easy to steal; it’s easy to take pride; it’s easy to focus all of your attention on yourself; it’s easy to _______________. It’s NOT easy to NOT do these things.

My life as a Christian has been the hardest it’s ever been. I’ve been more sinful than ever before; the war is waging and it’s at one of it peeks.

Some things that are “hard” about this life (for me):

Selfishness. At some point in the last year, I decided that I was just going to do what is best for me. When something was proposed for me to make a choice in, I asked, “What is best for ME?” and did that. Ew. Gross. That sounds and looks so unattractive when compared to Christ.

Moodiness. Somewhat related to selfishness is being controlled by my emotions. This has been happening A LOT lately, my poor husband. I’ve been incredibly negative, having a bad attitude about the littlest things. Here’s the kicker, almost every moment, I can feel the Holy Spirit fighting my flesh on this. I know what the right response is, but I snap anyway. It’s a definite battle.

Overbearing Behavior. This is probably my absolute WORST attribute as a Christ-follower. G.R.O.S.S. I don’t trust anyone to do anything as well as I’d do it yet I get bitter because no one wants to help me.

These are the hard things in my life. But as the title infers, I’m going to suck it up and get to work!

Click here for all the other links to my thoughts on what God has been teaching me.

2/3 of a year, that’s what eight months is.


I just want to clear the air and say that I am totally guilty of back-dating this post (among others) to match the correct anniversary date. Whatevs.

I’m deeming this past month as the month in which God has faithfully answered ALL of our prayers. Seriously, every single one. So that’s the kind-of update you’re getting today.

Prayer #1
Please please please, God, help Bryan get into Stat 226.
started 11/13/2009
answered 1/12/2010

Basically it’s a pre-requisite for EVERY business class and he couldn’t really take much (at U of I) until he had this class under his belt. However, as a transfer student, he had a late registration date, and all classes were full by the time he got things straightened out with the Admissions office. So we checked and checked and checked but no one dropped the class prematurely. So Bryan ended up just going to class on the first day and asking the Professor if he could join. By the end of the week, he was in! Yay!

Prayer #2
God, I need a job in Iowa City that will provide for us while Bryan is in school. But I want to have a ministry with women my own age. I don’t really want to work with 100% males (as I do now) or with Old ladies in a Clerical Position. Show me what you want for me.
started 11/30/2009
answered 1/15/2010

See this post for more details!

Prayer #3
God, we know we’re going to take a pay cut by moving to Iowa City, but we still want to try to stay completely out of debt through college. Show us what you will do.
started 11/30/2009
partially answered sometime after that, partially answered 1/18/2010

God has really softened my heart towards Student Loans. They’re not evil and I need to be thankful that we are out of debt now, and not be upset if we don’t get through college with no loans. After all, we’ll have very little debt even if we do have to take out a few loans. Well, not only has God provided a job for me in Iowa City, but He provide a pretty sizable tax return as well! After we receive our refund, we’ll be putting about 1/2 of this Fall’s Semester Tuition in the bank! Hooray!

Prayer #4
God, we want to say, “yes” to whatever you have for us, give us opportunities here in Ames to say “yes” to.
started 1/1/2010
answered all the time

We’ve had so many more opportunities to hang out with friends and new people and people that don’t know Christ than we’ve ever had before in our marriage! We’re busier and more actively seeking out relationships and connections so that we can invest in the people in the here and now. This is something we really hope to apply easily in Iowa City as well!

the Holy Spirit actually works!


This book is on my list.

Ok, so way back in November, when I wrote that I was going to write about the Holy Spirit, He was doing a whirlwind of stuff. I saw Him working in many of my high schooler’s lives when they went on the retreat.

Consistently, I would hear the Spirit and do what He asked. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t write much of it down, so I’ve got nothing for you.

BUT, I’m really excited to read this book by Francis Chan and learn all the more.

Click here for all the other links to my thoughts on what God has been teaching me.

…and the job hunt ends.


Last Wednesday, I started looking for jobs in Iowa City. Yesterday, an amazing job fell into my lap. That’s the way I roll!

Last Friday, January 15th, my bosses and I were discussing possible candidates to take over my position, when Darrell said, “What if you just worked from Iowa City?”

Todd and I thought he wasn’t serious, so we moved on, but he persisted. We started talking about it, confirmed some of the details yesterday and I’m not really sure how it all happened, but I have a job!

Not only that, but I have the same job, with a few less duties, for 30 hours a week, from home.

Is this a dream come true?

No, just an answered prayer.

God is so stinking good!

what does the Sabbath look like for me?


When I was a kid, my brothers told me that I couldn’t take more than 10 steps on Sundays because it was against the Sabbath rules. I remember thinking that everyone I knew was blatantly disobeying God’s commands but nobody cared.

At one point I assumed that the Sabbath was only about church, and if you didn’t go to church on Sunday, that was bad.

Saturday night service was always anti-sabbath to me, until my thoughts were challenged in high school by a friend who belonged to a church/sect that is completely dedicated to the belief that the actual Sabbath should be from sundown on Friday evening to sundown on Saturday evening. That encounter really made me wonder if I was totally disrespecting God with my actions of going out of my house on Friday nights and doing homework on Saturdays.

So, I’ve already misinterpreted the Sabbath many times in my life, and now I’m trying to interpret it correctly. So here’s what God has been teaching me:

This cartoon is actually a really good picture of what the Sabbath feels like to me. In one word, it feels selfish. Just like this kid shows, the Sabbath kind-of sounds like an excuse to not do what you should do.

I’m reading a book right now called Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life. The author references her idea of “Sabbath Simplicity” a lot in it, which explains why I’m reading it. I like the book; it’s as good as any other Christian how-to book. But every suggestion she makes reads as selfishness. I can’t seem to shake my opinion and learn with an open mind.

Let me re-phrase: To me, the very idea of taking a whole day to rest seems lazy. I instantly consider the question, “but what would I do?”

There are two reasons I think this a natural reaction for me:

One: If there have been busy-bodies in every generation, my generation has reached new heights. We’ve developed any and every way to simply keep busy. And not just my generation, but my nation is the hardest working nation, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Breaks are for losers in America! So if I’m going to rest, I’d like to accomplish something while I’m at it!

Two: The amount of stuff to do that has no impact on the real working world is astounding. It’s disgusting actually. I can “do” so much and accomplish so little these days. So if I’m going to rest, I’d rather not kill brain cells by watching TV all day or the like.

So, because I was raised to work hard, rest seems like laziness or like I’m shirking my responsibilities. And because I was raised with pile of technology that accomplishes nothing as you use it, laziness reaches new levels.

I want to actively follow all of God’s commands to us, including this one, but I just don’t want to be lazy!

Ok, I need to start bullet-pointing. Enough about how I feel about the Sabbath, here’s what I’m applying to my life:

  • I just can’t be convinced that the Sabbath has to be on a particular day of the week. Sunday, Saturday, the debate will go one but if that Sabbath is about having a day of rest and not work, do Pastors ever get a Sabbath? Exactly. So for me, it made sense to make the Sabbath the most free day for me anyway: Sunday. Although it could have been Thursday or Monday for all I think it matters.
  • Anything that drains me is work in my opinion. So I’m trying not to do anything that drains me on Sundays. What drains me? Still working on that list.
  • I’m trying NOT to do things that are simply time-wasters. Being on facebook all day, or sleeping all day, or watching tv allll day are not my idea of a Sabbath. These things usually make me more tired and lazy, rather than bringing rest.
  • I think I’m going to make Sunday’s about doing things that I like doing in contrast to what drains me. Spending time with Bryan, creating things, hanging out with my easiest friends, enjoying the Lord.
  • I do want to prepare my soul and life for the week to come. I feel rested when I feel prepared, so I’m also going to spend some time on Sunday figuring out my goals for the week and preparing.
  • Last, but certainly not least, I definitely don’t want the Sabbath to focus around me and my rest, but around the Lord, and accessing His restful peace in a sort-of fresh way.

I’m sorry if you were expecting more from me, especially after waiting so long to read this (yes, I have resorted to back-dating my posts…). But this area is still a little foggy for me and I have the feeling it will take more than a few months to learn.

Click here for all the other links to my thoughts on what God has been teaching me.

and the job hunt begins…


My goal was to have my resume complete by the end of January, and begin searching for jobs in Iowa City after that.

But after perusing Craigslist and getting excited about the many job opportunities there are in my field, I jumped on it.

I polished my first ever resumé today and sent it off to a few companies.

I was surprised to see that many of the position offer similar or higher pay at the start! It would be an incredible blessing to make a similar income to mine now, but maybe even higher than that? Wow. That would be cool.

I’m asking God to show me His plans for me.

for those that are staying…

“Pray for us, that word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
-II Thessalonians 3:1-3 (ESV)