Typical- 8 Goals for the New Year

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I’ve been trying to think of some goals I want to accomplish this year. New Year Resolutions, if you prefer. It’s a cliche. It’s possible I’ll forget I even made the goals by next December. It’s even more possible I won’t accomplish any of them. However, goal setting is something we are all constantly doing. We are always striving to be better in some way by setting standards for ourselves and then hoping to eventually meet that standard by completing a set of objectives. So here I am, setting goals for myself for the year of 2016. They are as specific as possible because research proves that the more specific a goal is, the easier it is to stick with.

1. Workout at least twice a week

I know it’s typical but look, I’m in my last year of undergrad. Possibly, my last year of college if I don’t get into grad school. Walking around on campus is the only reason I’m not obese because I eat a bunch of delicious crap. I haven’t touched the incredibly nice gym paid for by my ridiculously high tuition since my sophomore year. I need to workout not only to actually get in shape, but also, to get my money’s worth. I also kind of want to run a 5K.

2. Continue reading SheReadsTruth daily

Reading my Bible more is also a typical New Year Resolution. I finally found something that seems to work so my goal is to stick with it. I get the SheReadsTruth devotionals sent straight to  my email, and it forces me to read my Bible every day because I can’t stand to have that little red “1” next to my email on my phone. (Some people might be uneasy by this thinking that I’m only reading to mark it off my to-do list but it’s actually working really well).

3. Write more

I want to write more blogs instead of waiting for something to infuriate me before I’m inspired to do so. But in addition to that, I want to journal. I want to journal prayers, thoughts, emotions, concerns, daily activities. Writing is a good stress relief technique. It also helps my failing memory to remember good and bad times.

4. Start a memory box

To go along with writing, I also plan to start a memory box. I got a beautiful box for Christmas that would make the perfect place to house memories. I want to pack it full of pictures, notes, letters, journal entries, objects and more. Then next year, I can reminisce on 2016 and start all over with 2017.

5. Say no more often

I’m a busy person. I have a lot of responsibilities. I’ve committed to something every night of the week during the school year except Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I lead a Life Group which could fall on any day of the week. I hold two positions on a leadership team. I have responsibilities with school and my internship which takes up a lot of my time. I am a volunteer with a local non-profit that requires my weekly attendance (and more). I just do a LOT of stuff that I love to do. Yet I struggle to say no when someone asks me to commit to something else. I need to stop saying yes and start taking some responsibilities off my shoulders so that I can put 100% into everything I do. I am constantly choosing between two commitments instead of being able to do everything with all that I have.

6. Say yes to more adventures

In addition to saying no to more responsibilities that I don’t have time for, I want to say yes to more adventures. I’ve missed a lot of opportunities throughout the past few years. Realizing that I no longer have a “summer break” left hits hard. I need to start saying yes to more adventures while I have the chance to do so.

7. Learn to play an instrument

I’ve attempted and failed to keep the motivation to learn guitar and piano. I think it’s about time I actually learn to play at least ONE instrument. Literally, the tambourine would be okay with me. I don’t even want to be good. I just want to be able to say I can somewhat, kinda play an instrument (i.e. drums).

8. Live out Proverbs 31:8-9

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”

I already strive to do this, but I fail all the time. For my last goal of the New Year, I need to be kinder, gentler, more giving, louder, and more passionate to accomplish speaking up for those being crushed to ensure that they get justice. I want to live this verse out more in my life and also as I move into my career as a social worker. I want to be a better advocate this year. I want to draw closer to Christ so that these actions that have been commanded to me will come more naturally and easily.

Reality Check to Myself

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My satisfaction, joy, and hope are found in Christ alone. It’s not found in any person, place, or thing on this earth.

I get so discouraged, depressed, and my self-esteem goes to about a -500 when Ryan and I fight, when I get a bad grade, when something doesn’t go the way I expected, when I don’t get to do something I really wanted to do. When I get let down in any way at all.

But my satisfaction, joy, and hope don’t rely on those things. Ever. I’m not satisfied by Ryan or school or my friends or church or anything else. It’s only done through Christ and what He did on the cross. The things mentioned have the capabilities of making me happy and they do, but they still let me down a lot. It’s okay that they let me down, though, because they do not define my joy. They do not satisfy my soul.

I put so many expectations on other people and other things that I fail to accept God as the only one who can supply every need and provide everlasting hope. I can’t rely on people who mess up just as much as I do to provide the things that only  God can.

I’m so thankful for that.

I have someone who is always there for me regardless of what happens while I’m here. The bad days or silly disappointments don’t matter because God’s plan goes beyond that. God has a specific plan for my life that’s ultimate goal is to further His kingdom. In addition to Him holding my whole life in His hands, I’m guaranteed eternity with Him in Heaven. He offers so much more than anything of this world can. That’s why my satisfaction is found in God alone.

I’m thankful He provides others to bring laughter and happiness. But I’m even more thankful that He’s always there with infinitely more regardless of how often those people and things let me down.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

To the boyfriend who lost a parent too soon. 

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I’m sorry I don’t always know what to say when you’re upset.

I’m sorry I can’t understand the heart break you continuously go through.

I’m sorry the holidays are so hard for you and you can’t feel the joy and celebration you long for.

I’m sorry I came into your life too late to meet your dad.

I’m sorry he’s not here to see how hard of a worker you are and how much you’ve accomplished.

I’m sorry you feel alone and I can’t always make you feel otherwise.

I’m sorry that “I’m sorry” doesn’t heal the wounds.

I’m sorry for every life event that won’t be the same without him.

I’m sorry no one will ever be able to take his place.

I love you immensely. I know that life is hard. I know that it’s not fair. I hate that you’re heart broken. I hate it. I feel it too when you’re hurting. I know I’ll never feel it like you do but I promise that everything will be okay one day. Even if it’s not today or tomorrow. I promise that I’ll do everything I can to help you get through the hard times and I promise I’ll never leave you alone.

Your dad would be so proud of you. I know that because I’m so proud of you. I wish I could have known him and I hope you can tell me more about him when you’re able to. But for now, I want you to rest in all of the good times you had together. Celebrate when you know he would be celebrating. Laugh at the same jokes he would laugh at. And rest in knowing that you’ll see him again. That’s been promised to you and it’s something you can look forward to.  I can’t wait to meet him too.

Be strong and brave.

But it’s always okay to cry.

-mjm

What are you fighting for?

I know I should probably tone down the politics but I can’t help it. I have a lot of things to say.

The topic: Syrian refugees

I have seen so many posts by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are refusing to accept the idea of Syrian refugees coming into our country. I’ve seen the argument that it’s unsafe and they could be terrorists. I’ve seen the argument that it’s their business to handle and we should butt out. I’ve seen the argument that although Jesus commands us to take care of those in need, the commandment to love your neighbor comes before that. I’ve seen the argument that we can’t even take care of people here so there’s no reason to take on such a big job elsewhere.

These arguments are… absurd.

Is our safety important? Absolutely 100%, yes. But isn’t the safety of Syrian refugees also important? YES. Jesus didn’t walk the Earth and proclaim that only the Jews and those who were just like Him deserved protection. He went out of his way to heal, protect, and love those that were different than Him. The safety of Americans is SO important but it’s not more important than the safety of scared, fleeing refugees. It’s selfish of us to close our borders and refuse help to those on their knees begging for it. They shouldn’t have to be begging. We should’ve been five steps ahead with our arms opened to the wounded and hurting.

God is bigger than any problem we face. He is bigger than poverty, hunger, fear. He is even bigger than terrorists and political conflict. We can’t live our lives in fear of what might happen. We have to be able to follow Biblical commands without being afraid of what the world might do. If we are in His will, doing our calling, we will have His protection. His will is for us to be His hands and feet, NOT to live in selfish fear.

What would Jesus do in this situation? Honestly think about it. To me, the Bible is clear and the way Jesus lived while He was in our shoes is not the way Christians are acting currently. We lack trust in God and a whole lot of faith if we continue to fight for the wrong things.

Consider what you’re fighting for. Is it your safety? Your political party’s stance? Your opinions on Muslims? War? Money? Your favorite presidential candidate? Or are you fighting for peace, love, gentleness, kindness, compassion, and empathy?

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your moth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

Jesus loved us so much that He died for us. He sacrificed His LIFE. And we aren’t willing to sacrifice our comfort for the Syrian refugees. That’s not loving like He does.  We can’t demand a Christian nation if we aren’t even willing to make bold statements like Christ did.

-mjm

 

 

 

Health, happiness, and fortunes.

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Let’s chat.

What’s the first think you think of when you think about welfare? Be honest. What’s the first word that comes to mind? Is it “lazy”? If it is, not to be harsh, but you’re wrong.

Stereotypes are harmful. They hurt people. It blows my mind that people still categorize others in such a harmful way. If someone is receiving welfare, that doesn’t make them lazy. A lazy person might be receiving welfare but welfare does not equal laziness.

Did you get that?

It hurts me deeply when I see my fellow Christians post ridiculous, horrible things about people on welfare. How does someone who follows Christ’s example [you know, hanging with the poor people and what not] be against helping those in need? The definition of “welfare” is this… “the health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group”. So social welfare- the thing that everyone complains about- is the program that helps people achieve that. Jesus commands us to provide for those in need. So why are we against the social programs that do exactly that? Because a couple of people you know are too lazy to work and decide to manipulate the system and live off the government? Or a few people on welfare spend their food stamps on potato chips and/or a lobster tail [why is that even your business]?

The reality is, the majority of people on welfare are people like this: a single mother with a minimum wage job, trying to take an online class every now and then to get a degree, and can’t afford to feed her son. Or a social worker whose husband just lost his job and her salary can’t pay the bills. Or a family of four who is stuck in generational poverty and can’t get out. People who NEED help. They’d be starving, homeless, or dead without government aid. Everyone wants to be able to provide for themselves and their families, but it isn’t always an attainable option without help.

I know, I KNOW, trust me I know that the system is really screwed up. There are so many things wrong with the way the government helps people. But I’d rather have a screwed up system than no system at all. I’d rather some people get helped than none at all. It really doesn’t bother me that there are a few people who use the system. There will always be those people no matter what. That doesn’t make the system completely faulty.

Jesus was a living welfare system. He healed, he gave, he helped, he saved. The least we can do is support and advocate for a government system that genuinely helps people in need. I’m so tired of seeing Christians advocating against exactly what Jesus stood for. It’s sickening to see Christians making fun of people who have a lot less than they do. As Christians, we should be building them up, encouraging them towards success, and helping them meet their goals. I think we need to show more compassion and selflessness and do a heck of a lot less generalizing and dehumanizing to be like Jesus.

10 Qualities I Want My Husband to Have

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Here’s the thing. I see all these blogs that are 10 Things I Look for in a Husband and I’m intrigued… until I get to the second point. It usually goes like “he must have blue eyes” or “he must do all the working while I stay at home with our five kids”. I could write a whole different blog on how I don’t enjoy lists like that but regardless, it inspired me to make my own list. Spoiler: Everyone messes up, no one is perfect. No one can live up to these standards all the time and I don’t expect them to. This is simply a list of things I value in a relationship and a partner.

Note: I started trying to write this as if I was still looking for someone who has all of these qualities for the sake of the blog, but I just couldn’t. Aka this will probably turn into a “bragging about my boyfriend” blog but I TRIED, OKAY?

1. A solid relationship with Christ. I’ve learned that you have to be in a good relationship with Jesus before you can enter into a relationship with another person. If one person isn’t in good standing with God, all that person does is hinder the other person’s spiritual life. I need someone who pulls me closer to God instead of being a distraction that stands in between me and God. Basically, this is what I want… “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you– that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12) Some of my favorite moments with Ryan are when we are sharing sermon notes, worshiping together, or reading our Bibles together. Sometimes we slack, but having someone who encourages me to be closer to Jesus is exactly what I need.

2. A sense of humor. I’m funny. Seriously. I’m the funniest person I know. Laughing is easily my favorite thing in the world. I want to be able to laugh at, be laughed at, and laugh with my husband.

3. A willingness to do life together. Ryan has legitimately taken me to the dentist before. If that’s not a prime example of “doing life together”, I don’t know what is. I want to be able to just do daily activities together. We don’t have to go out on fancy dates every time we’re together. Besides, I actually have fun going grocery shopping with Ryan. You learn way more about a person by walking alongside them in their everyday life than you do by creating a whole different life with just the two of you.

4. A recognition of the importance of family and friends. Family and friends are really important to me. In some instances, I would choose them over Ryan. I’d expect for him to choose his family and friends over me sometimes too. It’s also important for me to know and be involved in the lives of his family and friends. And I want the same for mine, as well.

5. Respect. It’s typical (especially in the Christianity world) for a man to expect respect from the woman while the woman has no expectations about the man regarding respect. I’ve learned that respect is so so so so so important in a relationship. First, I want my opinions, thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc. to be heard and respected instead of dismissed. It doesn’t have to be mutually agreed upon, as long as what I say is valued and heard. Also, I want to be respected physically. Ryan has beyond impressed me in this area. He asks about EVERYTHING. I’m pretty sure he even asked before he ever hugged me. I didn’t know that simply asking before acting would make me feel so respected. Relationships are easier when there is a mutual respect for each other and each other’s bodies.

6. An ability to work well together. Being able to accomplish a task with another person efficiently without ending up hating each other is kind of rare. I want to be able to fix the kitchen sink alongside my husband without fighting. We’re on the same team which means we should make a good team while working.

7. Dreams and aspirations. I don’t really care about the specific goals he has in mind, I just want him to dream big. I want to know that he sees himself doing something that he loves in the future. I also want to see him working towards his goals. Ryan’s going to be a graphic designer and I’m going to be a social worker. In other words, we’re going to be poor. However, hearing him talk about all these things he wants to do and seeing him get excited when he accomplishes something makes me way more proud than a big paycheck could.

8. A servant heart. It’s simple. I like helping and serving others. A lot. I want my husband to serve alongside me and to enjoy doing it. I also want to be able to serve each other.

9. Similar to me. I know you’re thinking about that saying opposites attract. That’s so not the case for me. I want to have similar interests, beliefs, values, everything. I just get along better with people who have things in common with me.

10. Values communication. COMMUNICATION IS SO IMPORTANT IN RELATIONSHIPS. Oh my goodness. If we can’t talk for more than five minutes without running out of things to say, it won’t work. I want to be able to talk for hours. I also want to be able to sit in comfortable silence. Oh, and tell me all of your thoughts and feelings while you’re at it. Ryan and I love asking each other “why” after we express some kind of thought or feeling. That little word leads to some great conversation.

Well, there’s my list that turned a little bit into bragging. Forgive me. What’s on your list of qualities you look for in a mate?

-mjm

You’re not educated.

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Friends,

There’s this problem. It’s a big problem. It’s a problem that shouldn’t be a problem. But it is. You are lacking education. I am too. We’re all lacking an education that is needed to show Biblical compassion towards those who are disadvantaged. What do I mean by disadvantaged? I mean poor people, homeless people, black people, women. Just to name a few. I know it offends you that their lifestyle is different than yours. But why does it? It shouldn’t. Their life shouldn’t make you angry. Their life should make you want to show kindness towards them.

You know what makes me sad? The fact that when I see someone showing a lack of compassion towards those in need, they’re usually a Christian. The typical Facebook post that I see is somewhere in between being disgustingly racist towards Blacks and being disgustingly mean towards people in poverty.

Do you really, truly believe that taking away welfare which is IN PLACE TO HELP PEOPLE is hurting you so badly that it’s worth it to yank away from those in need? Before you tell me all about the people who take advantage of the system, let me be blunt. You’re lacking an education on this subject. Seeing one person take advantage of the welfare system doesn’t mean everyone is. Some people are bad. But the welfare system is an INCREDIBLE help to so many people.

My advice? Go. Get. Educated. Read stuff. Talk to people. LEARN ABOUT A LIFESTYLE THAT IS DIFFERENT THAN YOURS. Take a completely unbiased look at people who are in far worse shape than you and reevaluate the way you think about them.

I’m not just pulling this out of nowhere. I’m not saying this just because I’m a social work major. I’m saying this because the Bible says to show compassion. Jesus walked with people who were scandalous. Jesus healed the sick and blind. Jesus was the definition of helping people who were less fortunate.

Here’s a little bit of Biblical truth for you.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT

I don’t know when we became so closed-minded that we refuse to learn about and understand others. I don’t know when “being politically conservative” became more important than being Jesus. Or when the situation someone is in became their own fault.

We need to take a step back and listen, learn, help not judge, condemn, and hate.

Photography #3

I’m doing another photography post because I took my camera to the mountains yesterday. Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

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A sassy response to two stupid articles.

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So there are these two articles floating around. It would be in your best interest to give them a little skim through before continuing. Enjoy if you can.

http://nycpastor.com/2014/12/29/10-women-christian-men-should-not-marry/
http://nycpastor.com/2014/10/23/ten-men-christian-women-should-not-marry/

What’d you think? You’re about to hear what I think. :)

I think what makes me the most angry about these articles are the Biblical truths thrown in between a lot of crap. Oh my goodness, yes, it is totally and completely Biblical to NOT marry unbelievers. But oh my gosh, NO, age does not matter.

First, the Unbeliever. Okay, we’re off to a good start. He’s right. Christians are not supposed to marry unbelievers. Woo-hoo. Next…

And it all went downhill with the older woman/younger man. I’m honestly confused by his statements. I don’t understand his Biblical “proof”… “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:13-14). Because taken in context, Paul is talking about women’s roles in the church, not how old her husband is. And I am all about statistics, but his random “53% more likely to end in divorce” stat didn’t help me figure out his Biblical backup to his claim. His next man in “Ten Men Christian Women Should Not Marry” is the spiritually younger man. I completely agree with this statement. But why does age matter so much to this author? A man can be more spiritually mature than his lady without doing the math in his head and saying “Oh sorry, I’m one month and two days too young for you”.

Divorced men and women, that’s on both lists. Let’s just say a woman (statistically speaking, this a far more likely scenario than the flipped roles- see I told you I like stats!) is physically abused by her spouse. According to the author of these fine articles, she is to either stay in that situation or to get divorced and remain single the rest of her life. Now, I haven’t done a lot research on Biblical divorce but… really… divorce is a sin but it’s just as forgivable as lying.

Back to the list of women- the feminist. I’m not going to go into detail about this point solely because I could write an entire blog about how and why I think you can be a Christian and a feminist at the same time.

Now we get to some that I actually kinda agree with- goodness, he is inconsistent- yes, being angry, narcissistic, dishonest, idle, and addicted are all sinful. Should that stop a woman from marrying a man? I think it depends because these are all sins that anyone could struggle with. Now, if the man is all of the above, I’d say you can find someone who is worth more of your time.

And I don’t disagree with the list of women either. The Bible states to dress modestly, and to refrain from gossiping. Again, though, those are both sins that anyone can struggle with. Is anyone else noticing the stereotypes of the women being the only ones to gossip and the men being the only ones to get angry and lie? Interesting.

We are now on number seven of the list of women- careful, ladies, this one might offend you. A man is not to marry the “child-hater”. Yep. The child-hater. Meaning, if a woman does not desire to have children, she should remain single. I think children are great but I do not think it’s God’s plan for every married couple to have children. For one, the world would be way overpopulated. Also, a couple’s ministry may require them to be childless. If my husband and I can do better work for the Lord without children, then that’s what I’m going to do. The author of this article can’t take a few verses out of context to try to prove that God’s plan for everyone is the same because that’s incorrect.

Number eight. The wander-luster. Because it’s not okay for women to want to see the world that their Creator has made. And if I’m reading my Bible correctly, the verses he uses to try to back this up are talking about adultery not adventures.

The career woman… ha… ha… he actually makes some okay-ish points about this one. A woman shouldn’t put her career above her family but neither should a man. America basically requires both the husband and the wife to work full-time to be able to live (should I enlighten you on the wealth distribution in America?). A career can be and should be important to a woman if she wants it to be.

We’ll end on a higher note. The last one on each list is “The Devotion-less Woman” and “The Un-Evangelist”. Both are good qualities to have in your spouse. Everyone should be digging into the Word and everyone should be telling others about Jesus. Way to go, author man, you ended pretty well.

This was probably a whole lot of word vomit and sassiness but I hope you enjoyed regardless. I want to hear your opinions and I want you to tell me if I’m wrong- but back it up with relevant scripture, please. Thanks for reading!

-mjm

2014 —> 2015

Disclaimer- I’m sick while writing this and my brain isn’t working so if none of this makes sense…. sorry.

Yes, this is going to be a cheesy New Year blog.

2014 was pretty great. Here are some highlights.

I got on a plane for the first time.
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I went on easily the most rewarding mission trip I’ve ever been on to Texas.1505643_10151924231486751_107184717_n

My hair went from being this long…
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To being this short…
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I revisited one of my favorite places in the universe… Tybee Island.10338273_10203135175833720_2795872714664345646_n

I worked YOKE summer camp.
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I started my junior year of college.
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I began leading the most wonderful Life Group I ever could have asked for.
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I went on another mission trip to Atlanta.
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Annnnd this guy happened.
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Those are just some of the things that made this year so great. I’ve also learned quite a few things. I learned that God’s plans are infinitely greater than my plans. I learned that I can be reminded of God’s grace through people. I learned that God is Healer. I learned that I am so blessed with friendships that will last forever. I learned that love is so much different than I thought it was- in a good way. I learned that God needs people to stay where they are to share the Gospel. I learned that laughter can heal anything. I learned how to listen and be there for people. I learned that I can be content in knowing that God is trustworthy.

As for 2015…
I’m so excited to see what happens next. I’m sure it’ll be full of adventures and learning experiences. I’m especially excited to start my social work internship and go to Chicago. God continuously surprised me with amazing experiences and wonderful people in 2014 and I’m sure He will do the same in 2015.

Here’s to a new year…
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14