Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Time to Start Stirring Things Up!

I am a very loyal and committed person. When I do things I do them whole-heartedly and with every bit of passion that I have inside me. When I love people, I love them with a strong, genuine affection that embroiders itself into my heart. This is why goodbyes are not my strong suits. I have a hard time letting go of past memories because at some point or another they have made a huge impact on my heart. So I cling to them and cherish them…. but I don’t like living off of memories. I like making memories.

This morning's church service reminded me that lately, that’s all I’ve been doing…living off of memories instead of making them. I’ve been clinging to what isn’t there anymore to avoid having to start anew. Starting over is hard. It’s hard to get out and make things happen. It takes work to get to know people, time, and energy. I’ve had some of the best friends ever and when we all had to move on it was so hard to let go. I told myself that I wasn’t going to let myself make friends like that again until I finally got settled and could stay put to where nobody would have to say goodbye. I tried my best to close myself off to others when I had short term stays in different towns, but that didn’t really work. It was hard to not love people. So…I made more friends and held onto them…and once again when it was time to move on…it hurt.

So here I am. I’ve been in Atlanta for 10 months now and have yet to get settled. I still have unpacked boxes in my apartment, I still haven’t committed to a church home, a bible study, or any type of small group. I still haven’t allowed myself to get close to people…. All because I’ve trained my heart to stay closed. NOW…I’m finally in the place that I feel I’m going to stay at for a while (because I’m praying for my job to prosper) and I just can’t bring myself to let go and finally settle. I’ve been moving and moving and moving for six years, so yeah… it’s understandable to be afraid to dive in and get involved because I’m scared I’m gonna have to pack up and leave again. But this time I don’t. I don’t have to go anywhere. I can finally commit again. I can make new friends and let them into my life. I can pursue fully what God has planned for me. I can start making things happen right here where I'm at, because this is where I've been called and by letting fear rule in my heart...I'm missing out on the best days of my life. It's time to stop being safe and making excuses.... it's time to stop going out of town to live my life as if it were someplace's time to start shakin' things up right here in Atlanta. Granted I had absolutely no intentions of ever living in Atlanta.... but God had different plans.... and He has put me here, so now I need to open my heart and embrace it and I'm sooooo ready to do that. Living a life that's based on what use to be... is stopping me from living a life based on what could be.

So here I am Lord, I'm ready to start living out life here in Fayette and Fulton county. I am ready to start getting involved again and meeting people an stirring things up. I'm ready to start taking better care of myself and embracing the fullness of life... and that includes the people that are only in it for a season. I declare that I will not be scared of being hurt, because happiness and sadness are apart of the bigger picture.

So here are my early New Year's Resolution (I guess, since it's so close to 2011)
*I am going to start working out in the mornings before work again.
*I am going to start attending the same church regularly (and stop church hopping)
*I am going to sign up for a Women's Bible Study that starts in January
*I am going to get involved in a co-ed small group and start meeting new people and opening up life for brand new adventures...and brand new friendships filled with true compassion.

Well there it is....I've shared way more information than I wanted....but it's true. I have to stop living as if this season of life and it's location is temporary. So what if it is? The fullness comes from soaking it up. I'm about to do that.... in more ways than one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Character Building Years

Ah yes…. The Character Building years


The years of early adulthood where you learn that the key to survival is simply to survive. It’s the years of sacrificing your wants for your needs…. or sometimes your needs for your wants. It’s the years of car payments, eating Indian style on the floor because you don’t have furniture while you watch the same movies over and over again because you don’t have cable. It’s the years of sitting in the parking lot of McDonalds to use their free Wi-Fi so that you can log onto the internet to pay a bill because you don’t have the money for the stamp to mail in your check or the gas to drive directly to the place. Then you pray that the site really is secure so you don’t have to deal with identity theft. Not that they would have much to steal anyway. It’s packing everything that you own into a small little car and going to the next adventure because God says so. It’s sleeping in your car on long trips, because you’re exhausted and can’t afford a hotel room. It's living on a dream and doing what it takes to make your dream a reality.

Along with that… it’s the years of learning who you are. There’s a lot of trial and error of who you want to be in life. It’s making up your mind and changing your mind. It’s dreaming of where you’ll be in five years when you’re (hopefully) out of the character building years. It’s a lot of living in the moments and absorbing the innocence of beginnings. Just the same…it’s living out of the moments and planning for the future. Daydreaming takes up a lot of your time. You have a vision of your future and you're doing everything you can to get there.

But the best thing about the character building years is what you learn. You learn that money really isn’t everything. You learn that being with people is one of the best medicines to a lonely heart. Friends come in and out your life. You lose touch with old friends and gain touch with new friends. You find yourself turning to God for everything, and you rely of Him for directing your next steps. You learn that humility is one of the best things to keep your heart genuine and getting everything that you want is over rated. You learn to love what you have and to cling to what you love. Pride goes out the window in the character building years. You have to swallow it down without any water. There are many things that you need help with, and you have no choice but to graciously accept an offer from someone who lends it….then immediately brainstorming of the way that you want to bless them back for helping you. It’s giving and taking. It's encouraging others when they're's listening to others when you're discouraged.

It’s the years of making mental notes of all the paying it forward that you’ll be doing once you’re finally able to stand on your own two feet. These years inspire you to want to be that person who helps other people, because of all the people who have helped you. It’s training for understanding how others feel, because you’ve been there. They’re years of embarrassing moments, lots of laughing at yourself, and just knowing that you’re living in the moments that you’ll one day tell your grandchildren about. It’s the years of being molded by the Refiner’s fire, and then being the vessel that sails in the wide open waters and reaches the destination. It's loving life and EVERYTHING that comes with it. I wouldn’t change these years for anything, they’re a part of my life and who I am and who I’m going to be. These are the years that truly build your character.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Open Wounds

A week ago I was in a chaotic type of accident. It is really complicated to try and explain, but it left my legs all bruised, scraped, and wounded. Too, I got this crazy gash on my finger that-oddly-never bled, but it hurt like crazy. My knees, however, that's a different story. The wounds on my knees were pretty deep, and I'm still in recovery with having to change my bandages twice a day.My legs have become such an eyesore to me. I get so upset when I change my bandages, because I fear that the open wounds are going to eventually close up into ugly scars.

The physical wounds on my legs aren't the only open wounds that I've received this year. My heart has been pierced so many times in the past few months, it is still recovering and will occasionally bleed through the bandage that covers it. There have been several moments where I felt as if I were smack dab in the middle of some crazy Lifetime movie just praying for the channel to change. Instead of the channel changing though, it seemed as if I only got brief commercials that would allow me to breathe for a moment, but then I'd be right back in the movie with another twist of events. much as it felt like a movie... it wasn't a movie. It was reality. The difference between reality and a movie, though, is the ending is still being written.

I could choose to sink down into the depression of my pain or I could choose a "bring-it-on" type of attitude. I am a true believer in stories...good stories. I know that every moment has the potential to be a good story. I know that God works everything for the good, and I happen to believe that the "good" is referring to the "good" story that will be told from crazy life events. The thing with a good story is it has the potential of being told, and if it's told right... it can inspire somebody else.

If I were to wallow in the blows of life, I'd be so full of misery I wouldn't know what to do with myself. But take the alternative and to swallow hard, to wipe the tears (but still carry a box of Kleenex) and to face the things that break our hearts head on is so much more beneficial. Pain is always going to be around. It's always going to come unexpectedly, and it's only goal is to make us fall completely apart. BUT...we don't have to fall apart. We can face the biggest tragedies of our life and still walk away in tact with only a few open wounds. Of course those wounds may still bleed through the bandages months later, but I'd much rather be healing from an open wound, with the possibility of a scar....rather than trying to mend the broken pieces that could shatter again in an instant. After all, a scar can be a beautiful thing if the story is told right. :)

Hmmm....come to think of it, my legs don't look all that bad after all. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good Things Happen to Good People :)

I just have to tell this story.... my heart is just so touched right now.

Today I went for dinner with one of my BFF's to Applebees. I took exactly enough cash that I knew would get me through the evening. I had it all budgeted out and everything.

Well, when we go to pay, I pay with the cash that I had and waited for the change to leave the tip. I credit myself as a good tipper. Meaning I will leave you a nice tip regardless of the service... but if I have a waiter or waitress that is awesome and wonderful... I will tip them above average. I don't know... even if I don't have a lot of money, I just have this overwhelming urge to leave good tips. I've never been a waitress, but I have worked in a restaurant, and I guess I just know what it means to them...being on their feet all day, serving, and having to work really hard for someone to come in and not leave them a dime. It's just not right.

Anyway...back to tonight... I had paid for my meal, and when the girl came back to give me my change... I realized that I only had a dollar returned. I totally mis-calculated. I was soooo upset, because this particular waitress was outstanding. In my opinion, she did such a great job...too, I felt like we could have been friends. So I asked my friend, Christina, if she had any cash... all she had was a dollar. I just didn't feel that two dollars was enough.

So I flagged the waitress over, and I told her what was going on.....I literally felt like a horrible person. I told her that she did such a FANTASTIC job, but I only had two dollars to give to her. She was so gracious and she assured me that it was "okay." However, I said... no it's not.... you deserve more of a tip...and I offered for her to take it off my debit card. However, she couldn't take anything off my debit card without a purchase. But truth be told... I didn't have it on my debit card to give to her... that's why I paid in cash. I then asked her how often she worked there, and she said she only came on the weekend...because she went to school during the week. That made me feel even worse, because I know how it feels to be in school and living completely on the edge with 10 cents to your name.

Anyway, she kept telling me it was alright, and I kept telling her that it wasn't... and told her that I almost wanted to ask her for her PO Box #. Haha! She probably thought I was psycho... but you just don't understand how bad I felt. Here I was about to leave a $2 tip for this girl who went over the call of duty to make our meal wonderful. I then did the desperate thing... I dumped out my change purse on the table... that maybe had 46cents altogether. Haha!

Anyway, I was leaving her a nice note (because that's just the kind of person I am...a note writer) and as I was leaving her a note... I see something flying at me in my peripheral vision... I look up and there is money flying at me. This random guy walked up to our table... pulled some money out of his wallet, and tossed it down on our table and walked away before I could even utter "thank you."

It was such a blessing, so I flagged the waitress back and I told her what happened. She was just laughing and completly blessed... and I told her that the guy had just come out of nowhere... and I told her that it was totally God blessing her. She quickly agreed and we had a huggy bonding moment. It was so sweet. My heart was so happy and blessed... I could have cried. It just meant that much to me.

So I finished writing my note and I concluded it with that verse in Luke 6.... "give and it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap."

It's the chain of love....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Things Could’ve Changed Just Like That…

I was so eager to get off on time today at work. For several days now I have been working over, merely because of the fact that I’m OCD and don’t like to leave until everything is finish. Well, sometimes it’s just not possible and I have to learn to let it go and leave it for the next day. So that’s exactly what I was bound and determined to do this afternoon. I was going to leave right at the time I was supposed to get off. I was a little upset though, because I had already went 30 minutes over the time that I told myself I was going to leave by because traffic gets really bad in particular time frames. Then I saw it was pouring, I mean POURING down rain. As I grabbed my stuff and headed to the door… I caught myself turning around and walking back to my desk. What’s the point? I might as well stay and work a little more because rain in Atlanta means the traffic is going to be worse than normal. All I could think about was how I would have to sit in the traffic, watch my car’s temperature gauge run hot, then having to turn my heat on full blast to take away from the temperature rising and not being able to roll down my windows to release the heat from my car. I’d have to just sit there and swelter into a puddle. However, I had made a promise to myself that I would not stay late that day, because it was starting to become a routine. So I needed to draw myself a line. So I just decided to leave and prayed that I wouldn’t get stuck in the rain and sweat with the heat on in my car to keep my car from overheating.

So here’s where the story really begins. As I was exiting off the exit ramp to merge onto the interstate (the six lane interstate, mind you) something super scary happened. I almost crashed! Here’s what happened…it was raining so hard, it was hard to see. I had my wipers on as fast as they would go and I wasn’t driving no more than 30 miles an hour. Well, there was a car in front of me, and I saw it hydroplane on the water. When it did that, the car’s tires slung a waterfall of water up on my windshield and I couldn’t see ANYTHING but water. It was so much water, it overpowered my windshield wipers. To make it worse, it the midst of not being able to see, my car then started to hydroplane. It was like everything then went in slow motion. The water on my windshield seemed to become still in a freeze-framed photograph and I looked at my hands on the steering wheel and thought to myself, “ So this is what it feels like before you get in a major crash.” I just felt it coming. Because I was on an exit ramp, merging onto the six lane interstate and my car was hydroplaning and swerving to the left… I just knew that I was about to have cars crashing into me. To make it even worse, I knew they were going to hit my driver door, because that’s just the way the car had swerved.

But for a moment… it’s just as if time had frozen. Everything went so very slow and I even had time to think, “don’t tense up… you’re not suppose to tense up when you prepare to brace yourself for a car accident.” Then I heard it…. it’s like the radio had been mute the whole time, but then I heard it… as my life was flashing before my eyes… I heard Chris Tomlin singing “Amazing Grace” so softly, so slowly on the radio. Then Psalm 91:11 came to my mind, “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Then I closed my eyes…(yes while driving… at this point I had submitted to the crash.) I was probably for a split second, but it seemed like eternity. Then all of a sudden, when I opened my eyes.. the water on my windshield had gone away and I could see the road and tried to regain control of the car again. I had swerved on the exit ramp, but although I should have already been on the interstate, I had stayed on the exit ramp and pulled myself back into my lane. It was a true miracle. It was the Lord. It totally was…

Then I did what any mature young adult would do after such an intense experience… I called my Mama. I was shaking so bad and crying, I thought I would have to stop the car. I would of had to stop the car, but traffic had already done that for me. I had never been so thankful in my life to be stuck in Atlanta traffic. To make it more cooler? I sat in traffic for a long time too, and not once did my car run hot nor did I have to turn the heat on. THAT was God. I felt so lucky and blessed and protected. Thank the Lord I was safe, because it could have been really bad. Things could’ve changed in an instant…just like that. BAM. But... thankfully I had Amazing Grace...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Family Matters

I don’t know if many people know this or not, but for the last six months I have been welcomed to live in the home of a wonderful family…the King family. It’s so cool, because last summer it was such a God-ordained thing. I had applied for two internships for last summer… “CMT” and “gmc.” I really never expected to get either of the two internships. The cool thing? CMT called to accept me into their internship program in Nashville, but they had made a mistake. Instead of accepting me for the summer of 2009, they accepted me for the spring. The cool part comes in later, because after I was accepted to intern with CMT for the Spring, gmc called and accepted me for the summer. So… had CMT not accepted me for the spring, I wouldn't have been able to do both internships. God is so cool like that!

Anyway, I am getting off track with my story. So back to my internship with gmc. I didn’t have a place to stay in Atlanta and I couldn’t afford an apartment by myself for 3 months on an internships salary (which is $0.00.) So I reached out to some friends of mine, and they reached out to their friends. One sweet and precious family prayed about it, and decided to welcome me… a total stranger…into their home. So I stayed here for six weeks last year. Then I just felt the Lord calling me back to gmc after graduation, so I came back for a continuation of my internship. I reached out to the family again and once more they welcomed me back into their home. I was only going to stay here for six more weeks, but then gmc invited me to take a part on their team! At the time, I also had another job opportunity, so I began to pray over the two and I knew in my heart that I was to stay here in Atlanta. Which is funny, because-at the time- there wasn’t anything in Atlanta that appealed to me. It’s so neat how the Lord changes our heart.

So, after praying about it and hearing from the Lord, clear as a bell, I accepted the job with gmc and was invited to stay with the King family as long as I needed to.

Now that you have the back-story… here is the absolutely wonderful part about this family. They have a 14-year-old daughter, Olivia. Olivia is sick. She has been for several years. She is in complete need of a liver transplant, and up until now Mr. King was searching for employment all while being a student working on his second college degree. Having said that, it just brings tears to my eyes and makes me completely misty too know that this self-less family decided to take this random college student into their home and put a shelter over her head. God is completely amazing, because I have fallen completely in love with this family and feel as if I really am apart of their family. I just can’t get over the love of Jesus that they have shown to me by just allowing me to live with them. I’m now preparing to move, and they have made it clear to me that they don’t want me to go. I can’t think of many people that would honestly feel that way after having a stranger live with them… you’d figure they’d be ready for me to leave. But no… wow. Makes me cry to feel so extremely loved.

Anyway, sweet Olivia turned 14 today, and I’m sitting here listening to the ice cream maker going, smelling the corn cobs roasting on the grill, and watching everyone run around the house with complete joy. Friendship. Love. Dinner is almost ready and we’ll all sit down together, as Family, to eat and celebrate another year of Olivia’s life. Liv is getting ready to transplant sometime this summer, and I know God has great things planned for her life after this. She truly is my mini me and I can tell that she looks up to me. I love that, because at 14, I can still name each person that had an affect on my life. I’m glad that I am able to be apart of hers and this great family. Just watching what this sweet girl has gone through in her life, and how she still has so much “life” in her spirit, it’s totally inspiring. It’s amazing how someone so young can teach someone who is ten-year-older than her so much. It’s so cool how God works too, Olivia has always wanted a sibling… and I’ve always wanted a younger sister. It’s a winning situation. But… you always win with God. Yeah. Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gotta Love Those Embarrassing Moments

Embarrassing moments. We all have them….some of us more frequently than others, but hey!..they come with life. Me? I definitely fall into the “some of us” category because no doubt I am the poster child for unintentionally looking like a doof. I’ve always been this way, but I have become more aware of it ever since I started my job. I think it’s because I’m more aware of how I need to appear in a professional environment that I’m getting paid to be apart of. None-the-less, I’ve had WAY too many moments where I’ve thought, “I can’t believe I just did that” than a person should be allowed to have. So I pray for grace from my boss and co-workers. Ha! Thank the Lord; I’ve received it… so far. It’s those moments that you don’t plan on happening, yet somehow they show up and your palm hits your forehead for the umpteenth time. Like for instance:

• Embarrassing Moment #1: A week after I started work I leaned over my computer monitor to look for an usb jack and got my earring stuck in the monitor. So there I am sitting on my desk with my ear stuck to my computer monitor. All I could think about was how ridiculous I must’ve looked and it didn’t even occur to me that all I had to do was take my earring off instead of trying to wiggle it loose, still attached to my ear.

• Embarrassing Moment #34: I walked out of the restroom with my skirt tucked in my undershorts. (Thankfully I felt the breeze before anyone else saw! I probably would have literally quit and my reason for leaving would have been: utter embarrassment.)

• Embarrassing Moment # 82: While talking to my boss, I nervously tried to balance the big box that I was carrying in the palm of my hand. (It was one of those moments where your hands are doing stuff that your mind has no clue about.) Of course I lost its balance on my palm and right before it took a tumble in the hallway the VP caught it. (Suddenly, I feel the red rising in my neck again.)

• Embarrassing Moment # 109: Oddly, I ran from a quacking goose in the middle of the parking lot.

• Embarrassing Moment # 178: While dropping off boxes, I somehow forgot to put my car in park. Excitedly I just took my foot off the brake and hopped out of the car. Thankfully I caught it before it hit anything. Wow. That one could have been dangerous. Eeesh.

• Embarrassing Moment #234: While walking with my boss I “push” on a “pull” door.

• Embarrassing Moment # 311: After casually mentioning that I had a headache in the left part of my forehead to my co-worker, I proceeded to bend down to pick up something and HIT the left part of my forehead on the corner of a shelf. You can’t deny that was uncomfortable in more ways than one.

I could go on and on with all the odd things that I do on a regular basis. I sometimes stop and think at how much of a “mess” I would let myself be if I’d let those awkward moments “get” to me. Instead, you can bet that in each and every one of those moments I “let it go” and just laughed at myself (and invite others to laugh with me)….because life happens and embarrassing moments are not exempt from life. Believe it or not those are the moments to live in, because they create the opportunities for laughter in your day and memories to transform into stories. I also believe that it builds character, adds to your sense of humor, and definitely humbles you.

By faith, I believe that the “Proverbs 31”woman was no stranger to embarrassing moments, either. I bet she owned them too, saying, “Oh yeah that’s right. I sure did just do that.” Ha! Yep…The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:25 that “she is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh about the days to come.” When I heard this verse repeated at Beth Moore’s “So Long, Insecurity” conference it got me to thinking. In this situation, I believe that before we let ourselves get overwhelmed with embarrassment and feel the urge to be insecure about the silly things that we do (that probably nobody pays attention to anyway)… we can pause and take a moment to clothe ourselves with the strength to laugh in the moment and the dignity to let it roll right off our shoulders, while embracing the fact that “it happens.”

I just know that God has a great sense of humor and takes delight in the goofy moments that His children create, just as any parent would. My mom has said, “Oh that’s just Miranda” more times than I can count, and my dad use to make the “whooshing” sound as he swiped his hand over his head as in to signal the “it went right over your head” sign.. So sometimes I can just picture Jesus, after one of my embarrassing moments, looking down and “whooshing” His holy hand over the top of His holy head and saying, “Yep…That’s my Miranda. Gotta love her.” And He does :)

(For a fun a visual: A few months ago, while visiting friends in Nashville, I thought it'd be funny to pretend I was a "box monster" and put my arms through the sides of this box. Yeah....well I kind of got stuck. After much laughter, the box had to be cut off because I just couldn't get out of it. And to answer your question, NO. I had not been drinking. Thank you. Ha!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here Am I, Send Me: Part Two

Leaving for Waxahachie
I had left Houston around 9:30pm to head for Waxahachie to speak at the Women's Prayer Breakfast at the Cowboy Church of Ellis County the next morning. My GPS told me that I would arrive in Waxahachie around 12:30am. I was so excited, because everything was going perfectly. I knew that going to bed around 1:00am would be just fine for me to get a goodnight’s rest before I was to awake at 6am and prepare for the prayer breakfast. Just as I was getting excited about how smoothly my plan was going… it happened. Houston had shut down part of the main interstate for night construction, and traffic had stopped almost completely. I began to pray and ask God what I was to do. “Lord, do I turn around and stay with one of the siestas for the night and get up early in the morning to leave?” I felt the Lord whisper to my heart, “no this is what you’re suppose to do…keep going, don’t turn around.” I almost cried as I sat there and watch the “arrival time” on my GPS slowly get pushed further and further back… 12:30 am, 12:45am, 1:00am, 1:15am, 1:30am, 1:45am, 2:00am. I almost felt sure that I had maybe missed God’s will at this point, and should have chosen one or the other to have gone to..either the SMT Celebration in Houston or the Prayer Breakfast in Waxahachie.

I sat in Houston traffic for nearly two hours before I finally got a break and was able to travel. I had been on the phone with Siesta Janice, for most of the wait time…, which was great, because she was helping to keep me awake. Then as I got moving and gained mileage towards Waxahachie, I began to pray. It then occurred to me that the traffic jam was the enemy’s plan to break me down and keep me from doing what God had called me to do. It was confirmed that something was trying to stop me from getting to Waxahachie when, about an hour from my hotel, I came upon some really bad smoke that almost looked like fog. There had been a wreck on the other side of the interstate. The moment the smoke had cleared, I saw it. It looked as if there was a gigantic log lying in the middle of my lane (no other debris around… just this single log in my lane.) I had no time to swerve….and it sounded like the bottom part of my car was ripped off as my car bounced over top of it, (but continued driving, to see if I could notice the damage.)

Simultaneously, my phone began to ring, and the jolt from hitting the log threw my phone into the floorboard… I managed to grab it and it was, Kathleen, one of my many “mothers” (I have collected several over the past two years) who had been praying for me over this trip. She was calling to check to see if I had made it to Waxahachie safely, which was so ironic, since I was kind of freaking out from hitting the Log. I was so scared that I had done some damage that might cause my car to blow up or something, but I was too scared to pull over on the side of the dark stretch of highway to look for things that I had no clue about. I assured Kathleen that everything would probably be fine (although I had no clue) and she assured me that I had better call her if it wasn’t and that she would continue praying for me. I totally felt the prayers, because I continued driving without any problems (and without the car blowing up.) I finally made it to Waxahachie at 2 o’clock in the morning, and prayed over my car that nothing was punctured underneath and that all the oil and other car juices would still be intact when I awoke a few hours later.

Women’s Prayer Breakfast
I checked into my hotel and immediately crashed, looking at the clock and counting up the hours that I had before I had to wake up…three hours. I prayed that the Lord would miraculously give me a full nights rest within the three hours that I had to sleep….and then I drifted off.

The next sound that I heard was the rooster crowing on my alarm clock. It was 6am. Time to get up, meet with the Lord, and prepare for the Women’s Prayer Breakfast at 8am. God is so amazing, because I was literally not tired when I awoke. Okay, I don’t mean for that to sound all blissful and perfect… I mean, I was tired, but I had this excitement, then renewed surge of energy. I was so excited too to walk into the lobby and see piping hot coffee with biscuits and gravy as a complimentary breakfast. I thanked Jesus for every single bite, because biscuits and gravy is my absolute favorite breakfast…period. And the gravy was SOOO very creamy. Yum.

God had been amazing the entire morning. I had gotten ready by jamming out to praise music and spending time repeating scriptures to myself. I was totally at peace. It might have been the fact that I didn’t really have time to be nervous, but I was so at peace with the message I was to deliver. Then I remembered..... was my car okay??? I immediately went outside to look to make sure nothing had fallen off or leaked. PRAISE THE LORD, there was not a spot on the ground from any leakage or anything. I always pray a bubble of Jesus around my car before trips, and thankfully His bubble had really been there when I hit that log!

Once I arrived at the prayer breakfast, I met up with Liz Prater, who had been the one in charge of the event.

I was able to have everything set up and ready to go as the women walked in. It was such a joy going around and introducing myself to several of the women there and meeting them. I had gotten up to deliver my message, and God showed up in such big ways. He ignited so much in my heart while I was speaking; I knew that if the women weren’t getting anything from it… I sure was.

However, that wasn’t the case at all. After it was all said and done, I had several women come up to me to tell me what the Lord had spoken to their heart from the words that I said. I’m constantly praying, that whenever I do something publicly for Christ, I pray that He would bring just one person to me to give me confirmation that He was using me. God outdid my prayer this day. I had women, one after the other, sharing their stories with me and blessing His name. One woman, was so precious…I mention in my message that I needed a translation of the Bible to meet me on my level of understanding when I’m reading to comprehend…well, this sweet lady came up to me almost in tears, as if a relief had come off her shoulders, with the concept that she didn’t have to read from the version that she had always known, but never understood. She asked me what kind of translation I used so she could go and buy it. Well, God didn’t stop there, my friend Amy, had already decided to bless me with one of the bibles that the church orders in bulk (which was the God’s Word translation-an easier to understand version) and she had brought down an extra one. Wouldn’t you know it? The Lord had already chosen that bible to go to that sweet woman. I can almost guess that she immediately went home to open it up and explore the bible in a way that she could understand. Bless God!

It is so incredibly amazing how God will break down walls for people. I have met many people who use to think that you could only “walk” with the Lord a certain way, could only read from a certain translation of the Bible, and could only sing certain songs. How cool is it though, that God can enter in… in all His glory….and reveal that He is everywhere…we can commune with Him in all kind of ways, and He meets us just where we are. Wow, We have such a wonderful Father! Just gets me all kinds of excited!

After the breakfast was over, it was time to hang out and fellowship with four of my dearest friends that I had met at a women’s conference the previous year. Andrea, Teena, Jessica, and Amy. Well, I had met Andrea, Teena, and Amy at the conference… and had gotten to know Jessica through Facebook. We were all so excited to be able to hang out and had planned to have a “girl’s day out” for the rest of the day.

We went shopping and browsing around all over the place, laughing and cutting up and just having such a good time by simply being together. While we were browsing around at Kirklands, Jessica decided to bless me with a travel journal. An empty-paged brown book with a cross on the front…such a beautiful book. Jessica made me promise that I was to use it to allow people that blessed me to sign it. That book has been such a blessing, as I had everyone that I encountered sign it on that trip, and God has blessed me so much through the things that they have written. I am so blessed to love and know these wonderful people who allowed me into their lives over the two-week span.

Later that night, God showed up in such a powerful way as Jessica, Teena, and I sat down and poured our hearts out to each other on behalf of what the Lord had done in our lives. In those moments, I was able to witness how God’s healing transformation can come in the simplest form…sharing and listening. It doesn’t take an altar call or splash of anointing oil to receive healing from the Lord. Sometimes it just takes a couple of friends with open ears and open hearts, ready to receive what the Lord has to offer. Boy, did we ever drink from the healing cup that night…. How precious is the Father to pour out His love for us through His Son. How precious…

His love-fest among these precious women and I didn’t end there, the next morning I went to breakfast with Andrea.

She and I have become so close through e-mails this past year and God has touched both of our hearts in such special ways. It was Andrea that had been praying over the prayer breakfast fervently a few weeks prior, and we had spoken about this trip many, many times. I was so thrilled when she invited me to breakfast to hang out one-on-one. It was one of the moments that I had prayed over, because before the trip I had prayed that the Lord would use me in every situation from the large groups that I would speak in front of, to the small groups of fellowship, and all the way down to the one-on-one times….which, at times, can be the most monumental in the way God moves. God opened both of our hearts and allowed me to peer inside this woman’s walk and love her more. She has such a radiant love for God and it is so inspiring.

After breakfast we went to church, and it was the first time I had ever been to a Cowboy Church. I was thoroughly blessed by the simplicity that God has wrapped among the believers there. Such a pure way of doing things and allows you to feel right at home.

I enjoyed spending the rest of the day with my friends in Waxahachie …complete with authentic Louisiana gumbo (courtesy of Jessica, ha!) It may have only been two days, but it’s memories that will last a lifetime.

But that is not it. This blog is still in the beginning stories of my wonderful road trip, after Waxahachie, I ventured to Dallas to spend time with one of my dear friends Ms. Janice, then another speaking engagement in Red Oak, OK, then had another lovely visit with a dear friend and her family in Antlers, a breakfast in Atoka, went back to Dallas for a surprise blessing, and then over to Shreveport to finish the two weeks before I headed back to GA.

There is so much to write about (and not enough time to proofread, I apologize!)… and I know I am not able to tell it all in a way that shows it’s true worthiness.

To be continued soon, in Here Am I, Send me: Part Three…

Here Am I, Send Me: Part One

Have you ever just sat in the quiet, and all of a sudden you feel this immense joy take over your entire thought process and you just take the most wonderful deep breath because you feel extremely blessed. That’s me. I feel so incredibly blessed. I love the journeys of life. I love where the Lord longs to take us if we just listen and have the courage to go with it. This past month the Lord has taken me to so many places. He has taken me to so many wonderful people and has touched my heart in so many ways, because He used me to touch their’s. It’s an incredible feeling to know that the Lord chooses you for specific things.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has chosen me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Luke 4:18-19

This is one of the 24 verses of scripture that I memorized last year as apart of Beth Moore’s blog community. All of us, Siestas, joined together to commit ourselves to memorizing two verses of God’s Word a month. Since I came to Christ a little over two years ago, it was the first time that I had actually made myself memorize scripture, and the great thing is… I had over 2,000 women to keep me accountable. A few months into the formation of our scripture memory team, Beth announced that we would have a celebration for staying glued to God’s Word at the beginning of 2010. I knew that I wanted to go to this SMT celebration, because last year was absolutely amazing for me. God did so many wonderful things in my life with all my internships, the Christian families that I lived with, the amazing people I met, and the incredible experiences that I had. I had walked through all of last year clinging to the Words that I had embedded in my heart, so I knew that there would be a great yearning for celebration with all the wonderful women I became connected with. We all had different years and different verses to represent our situations, so I prayed and prayed about joining them for a time of fellowshipping in a cloud of scripture.

Planning the Trip

Eventually registration time had been opened up, and I didn’t see any way possible for me to drive all the way out to Houston from Georgia by myself. I didn’t have enough money to my name to even pay for half of the gas that a trip like that would require. Then God did something really cool that led me to believe that the trip needed to be made. However, I hated to drive all that way for just one weekend, so I began to pray more about the trip. Then it occurred to me that I could e-mail all my friends out that way to let them know that I was planning a trip. Well, one thing led to another and God opened up speaking opportunities for me to boast in His glory! Totally amazing.

So this one-weekend trip grew into a two-week event of fellowship with many different people. I had planned to go to Houston and celebrate with Siestas for two days and then travel and speak. Well, one of the speaking engagements fell on the Saturday that I had planned to be in Houston. This opportunity for this church had been prayed about for over a year by one of the ladies there and myself. So it was a big lesson that God was teaching me. The entire purpose of the trip in the first place was to go to the SMT Celebration and everything else was just an addition to the plan, but when one of the additions for God’s glory affected my original plan, I had to make a decision. Do I turn down an opportunity to speak and bring glory to the Lord for an opportunity to hang out and fellowship with friends? Or do I die to my own wishes and run after His?

Hmmm….hold that thought.

Here is a cool thing? Before my trip I attended the Passion Conference in Atlanta, and Beth Moore happened to be one of the speakers. I remember Beth talking about getting on with what God has called us to do. She told us that it may be uncomfortable or out of the ordinary, but He will call us to it and fully equip us for it.

After reflecting back over those thoughts, I knew that I needed to give up my plans and follow through with the Lords.

Then came the ordeal, of whether or not it was worth it to even go to Houston. However I knew that it was because everything fell into place perfectly. I didn’t have a place to stay, but found out that my great aunt and uncle lived just outside of Houston. God opened many doors, and I was able to go and spend time with them…getting to know family that I had never met before. I was able to leave Georgia on Tuesday, January 19th and stay in Houston until the scripture memory party on Friday. It was absolutely wonderful. The Lord used those moments in a way that I could connect with my distant family and get to know and love them for who they are. I especially enjoyed connecting with my 2nd Cousin, Cheryl. It’s amazing to find out how much in common you have with someone….instant connection. I felt as if Cheryl and I were able to share anything with each other, to give each other uplifting encouragement. I’m so happy that our paths were able to be crossed…God is so great.

SMT Celebration
Friday afternoon came around and it was time to start- what I like to call- the joining together of several friendships. I was extremely excited to come face-to-face with these women that I had prayed for over the past year and vice-versa. There is just something special about when women who love Jesus come together. I’m convinced it’s something like that old cartoon of Captain Planet when all the heroes put their rings together of earth, wind, fire, etc., and they become one and join Captain Planet. Wow, now I’m convinced there is a really good message that can be formed through the analogy of that cartoon. However, before my A-D-D gets me sidetracked, let me pick back up with Friday afternoon.

I first met up with Yolanda and Beth H at the Holiday Inn Express in Houston. I’m such a nerd because when I knocked on their hotel room door, I all of a sudden got really really excited, so when Yolanda opened the door, I pretty much tackled her with the biggest hug and cheek kiss! It was so great meeting Yolanda, especially, because I feel like she has mentored in the Lord through her wonderful blog posts, e-mails, phone calls, texts, and FB posts. As exciting as life has been for me over the past year, there have been many weary times and Yolanda would always write something profound to bless my heart. Then I met Beth, Yolanda’s roommate for the event and it was like we had all known each other for years. Eager to eat something, we all hopped into my car to head over to Red Robin. Poor Beth had to slide into my backseat that was almost full to the brim with clothes, blankets, and other junk that was “necessary” for my road trip. After all, this was only the beginning.

While at Red Robin we met up with Siesta Janice (who is my age) and her Mom, Susan. Janice came from South Carolina and brought her Mama along for the trip in honor of her birthday. I had previously met Janice at the Passion conference in January, and we just had an instant connection. Of course though, we’re Siestas! We had such a fun time chatting and catching up over lunch.

After we ate we decided to head over to the Omni Hotel (where most of the Siestas were staying.) When we arrived , there was a SEA of pink boas wrapped around women of all shapes and sizes. It was such a beautiful sight, because the joy in the boas came with knowing that it was wrapped around the neck of a woman who dearly loves Jesus…. AND THAT JUST GAVE ME THE BIGGEST SURGE OF ENERGY! I immediately started walking up to women and introducing myself. It was so awesome. Then I ran into Ms. Lichelle from Austin who had made me this pink poster that read, “Miranda Brown’s Fan Club.”

I had about choked earlier when she texted me a picture of it. I couldn’t believe that she would take the time to make a sign for me that just showered me with love and encouragement. (Ms. Lichelle, you truly made my heart swell with joy.) Along with Ms. Lichelle, we saw Melana-from Wyoming, Tiffany-from Dallas, and Adrienne-from Tennessee, standing in the lobby. What a reunion we had there!!! Words can not express how much I LOVE these women. Then out-of-the blue I noticed that Amanda Jones was standing right there. Amanda is Beth Moore’s daughter, and she is the one who started the LPM Blog. The one who created the community of Siestaville. I had to introduce myself, and she already remembered who I was from my blog posts. I felt so special to be apart of our little community of fellowship.

After the reunion in the lobby, we went up to Janice’s room so I could get ready, and in the midst of jazzing up… we all decided to recite our verses. I was SOOO excited, because this is what the entire event was about… and I was so sad because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pair off and recite scripture since Friday night was to be my only night. So we all took turns reciting scripture and it was amazing how God filled up that little hotel room in Houston, TX.

I am trying to not be overly detailed oriented, especially considering that I’m still writing about the first stop of my road trip… I apologize y’all, I am incredibly long-winded… and I’ve probably made about a million grammatical errors so far. Oh well, it’s either proofread or finish the blog…so I’m choosing to finish and just pretend that it will error-free when it is all said and done.

When the SMT Celebration began, it was a complete movement for God. Over 500 women craving a touch from God united in one room full of fellowship. I met so many Siestas that I had longed to meet that evening including: Ms. Patty, Kari Ann, Georgia, Ms. Jan, Ms. Karen, Ms. Nesha, Ms. Valerie, and several more that I hate to leave out… but they were all so wonderful and to join together in fellowship, worship, and a study from Psalm 119… I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Then it was time to leave, and I was to hop back in my car and drive to Waxahachie for my speaking engagement the next morning. The Lord completely blessed me before I left, when I had the chance to briefly talk with our Siesta Mama, Beth Moore, and meet her. Then it was just icing on the cake when this anointed woman of God- who has mentored me so much in my Christian walk- pulled me close, wrapped her arms around me, and began to pray over me.

I left that evening with such a peace about walking in the will of the Lord, and I knew that I was leaving to go where He wanted me to be next…Waxahachie, TX,, where 11 hours later I would be given the opportunity to serve the women at a prayer breakfast and bring GLORY to the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To be continued in "Here Am I, Send Me: Part Two"