I can remember in high school being taught that all great writers open with something impacting, suspenseful, or mysterious to try and draw a reader in, so I’m going to give that a shot. I quit a perfect job that I loved going to every day, I walked away from an incredible position, and I’m taking a major career turn because I think God wants me to… care to keep reading?
Last November, I was offered a job. It was a job that could require a move out of state, completely shifting my career, leaving the path of social work and poverty advocate, and changing a community and sector that knows me very well. I politely listened to the offer, said I would pray about it, and walked away giggling. “Really God?” I prayed that night, “Why would you even offer that?”. I went home, told my husband, and really didn’t think about it.
In December, Caleb asked one simple question- “Have you been praying about this?” I got defensive and told him I was, to which he replied “Hannah, I don’t think you have.” How’s that for a husband that challenges me to draw closer to God? To be honest, I felt like I already knew the answer, so why even bother praying? God wanted me where I was now, it would make no sense to move, and I was doing what I was suppose to. With Caleb’s simple question, I humored him and said I would ask God.
The first 3 months of 2013 turned into some of the most challenging months of my life and our marriage. My prayer changed from “God, what I’m doing now is good, right?” to “Lord, show me what you want me do to and I will do it. I will move. I will change. I will stay. Just show me”. Those 3 months, God took my prayer seriously.
He brought a sermon series that talked about saying YES to God and NO to us, that talked about God’s call feeling sudden and out of normal, and asked if we were willing to GO where he asked. He took me to verses where Joseph was sent to do something bigger, where Abraham was told to GO and to go on faith, where Gideon was called to save but was not prepared but had great victory. God had mentors and even supervisors in my life start sharing verses in Hebrews where the God says it is impossible to please him without faith, and passages that challenged me to keep my eyes on Jesus and not other factors throughout making decisions. He had friends cry with me, wrestle with questions, and sit in their kitchen until 3am praying God would show us his Truth. He challenged me to follow Caleb’s leadership, he taught us to pray through this challenge together, and he showed me an entire new side to what marriage is. He brought me to my knees during worship, he put a craving in my heart to read the Bible, and he very clearly told both Caleb and I that I needed to take this job. My friends, God showed up.
And on April 9th, he told Caleb and I “Yes, take the job”. Not because we wanted to, not because it was easy, not because it was in our 5 year plan, or not because it sounded cool, but because we knew that is what God was putting before us and asking “Will you follow me?”. Guys, this was no easy task. I LOVE my job that I have. I LOVE the work that I do.
It sounds weird to say God is asking you to do something. You read that and think “What a weirdo. Who hears from God?” To be honest, I always kind of felt that way too. I never understood how individuals could so clearly see where God wanted them and personally interact with him THAT closely. I guess it took me feeling desperate, craving His direction like water in a dessert, and so urgently seeking his Truth to really understand this verse in Deuteronomy 4- But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Friends, this was definitely a whole heart and soul situation.
For Caleb and I, our only point on this earth is to make God look awesome. In order to do that we love people, we serve others, we try and become more like Jesus, and we take the steps God puts before us. God has forgiven me and given me a brand new life- why wouldn’t I use it for him? This job isn’t what we planned, but it’s what God planned, which is much more important. Whatever God has called you to, there is no higher calling on your life. Plumber, doctor, mom, waitress, social work, financial planner, or garbage truck driver- where he leads you is the best place you can be.
So what’s the job? That’s the cool part! It’s incredible. The position is with a women’s ministry called Authentic Intimacy, a non-profit organization designed to minister to women on all topics related to intimacy in marriage and intimacy with God. Here is a quick video showing my new position. I would love it if you liked them on Facebook so you can stay updated!
I am overwhelmed. I don’t know why God is putting me here. I don’t know why he chose me. I don’t know what this means one year from now or ten years from now…. but my prayer remains the same. “Lord, show me what you want me do to and I will do it. I will move. I will change. I will stay. Just show me”
To new journeys, new job titles, new office space, and an overwhelming God!
Yesterday I wrote this little note talking about celebrating. Celebrating with dear friends about a new baby, a new marriage, and the wonderful friendships we all are able to share.
Here is my beautiful friend Sara with her baby bump.
The shower was adorable. What a joy to watch my friend start a new journey as a mom!
Next up, the Schaible wedding!
Scott and Michelle have known each other since high school, and have grown over the years in their friendship and in Christ. At their wedding ceremony, their pastor shared the message of the gospel and challenged the friends and family who were there to give our hearts to Christ. Marriage is meant to reflected the love of God, and we were reminded of that stunning picture yesterday.
A lot of our Real Life Group was there to celebrate with Scott & Michelle. We clean up nice, don’t we?
We danced for 3-4 hours. Not good, smooth, and cool looking dancing. But the fun, swing your bodies all over, I hope no one is recording this kind of dancing. Our RLG danced, laughed and jumped around so much last night that my legs are actually sore today. It was a day I will cherish for a long time.
One of the greatest things about our real life group with church is honestly living life together. Scripture gives so many commands where it tells us to do this! Love one another, encourage one another, bear one another’s burdens, agree with one another, cherish one another, and serve one another. I think God was series about living with people and investing in friends.
This morning, I am leaving for a baby shower of a dear friends in our small group, and this evening we are headed to a wedding of a great man in our group. Today is a day to celebrate with one another.
As I play baby games at the shower, do the cha cha slide at the wedding, and gives hugs to all my friends who will be there with me, I will be celebrating not only their new step into parenting and marriage, but also their friendship in our life.
I mentioned before how I keep an ongoing journal of my time with God and sermons/messages I hear. This week, I filled up my old journal and was able to go into a store and pick out a brand new one. I love that feeling.
Usually when I fill up a journal, I look through and see where I was when I started, what messages this little book contains, and all the different colors of ink I wrote in. As I flipped back to the beginning of my book, it took me to a sermon on August 26, 2012 entitled “There is a plan” and centered on Joshua 5. The last entry was from June 8 2013 and was entitled “Breakthrough” from Joshua 6. Both of these sermons centered around the story when Joshua and his army knocked down the walls of Jerichho, and the incredible testament of God’s plan, his crazy ideas, and our need to follow them. The sermons were given 1,000 miles apart by 2 different men in different years, but the theme was the same- do you trust God to guide you? Will you follow through on his plan even if it sounds crazy? Will you walk to victory for for your own comfort but for God’s glory?
It’s pretty amazing that the Lord started and ended my journal with this same reminder, because that was definitely the theme of the 9 months of my prayers inside. During that 9 month period, God and I wrestled about the plan he had for me, I cried out in anger and frustration for where he was leading me, and I begged my father for wisdom to discern his voice. During those 9 months, God revealed his plan, and it almost sounded as crazy as marching around a city until the walls fell down.
As I crack open my new journal, I am praying God would lead my heart to the next journey, adventure, and lesson He has in store for me. I promised Him I would follow.
This weekend I was able to spend time with one of my biggest mentors- someone who loves the Lord whole heartedly. When I am around her, I try and glean from her wisdom and hear her heart. This time she sent me home with a few books to dive into. The first one I picked up was “Having a Mary Spirit”.
On my flight home, I dove into the first couple chapters and was very alarmed by what I read. The author (Joanna Weaver) spoke to the fact that while we are Christians and wholeheartedly believe the verse that states “the old has gone and the new has come”, we are still sinners. We accept Christ’s love and his death that brings us salvation, but we still make mistakes (that wasn’t the surprising part). The text says that often times we have good intentions or a pure heart, but our “flesh side” still comes out. As I was reading the book, I thought “my flesh side isn’t that bad”. Right as I began to think that, Joanna laid out 11 traits of the “fleshly woman” that aren’t very Christ-like. Five of them jumped of the page and I thought “Hannah, that’s you.”
A prideful spirit- Having a great feeling because of your position, success, natural gifts and abilities
A love of praise- A secret fondness to be noticed, where your ego swells when you speak/teach/pray with others
A fearful heart- Does fear of what others think cause you to shrink back from where you should stand?
A jealous mind- Do you hide a spirit of envy in your heart?
A dishonest disposition- Are you not always honest to make yourself look better?
Joanna stated that the fleshly woman inside of all of us is energetically opposed to the transformation God wants for us. Yikes. This reading came at a very interesting time. On my flight just a few days earlier, I spent time praying and confessing sin I have been seeing repetitively in my life. I think God is reminding me of how much I need him and being a “good person” earns me nothing.
I really don’t want to be ruled by that fleshly woman. I don’t want my prideful spirit, my jealous mind, or my fearful heart to effect the life and change Christ has planned out for me. So, if I know those traits are in me, what do I do? I don’t have an easy answer for this one, but I know it requires me to crave Jesus, to long for Christ changing me, and to continually aim for becoming more like the God who so generously forgives and loves me. How can I continually give myself to Him?
Growing up, going to school, planning meetings for work, studying for licensure tests, and giving lectures and workshops- so much of my life has been filled with trying to have the right words. I have to know how to say the right things, what the answer to the question is, and how to use my language the right way to describe what I wanted.
This morning, I was reading in 1 Corinthians 2 and was encouraged by what Paul said about having the right words and the answers when it comes to talking about Jesus. Check out verse 1 through 5.
You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.
I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.
I love this thought. When it comes to poverty, social work, or teaching you how to make my mom’s killer lasagna, I have to craft my words wisely. However, when it comes to talking about God, the Lord will provide me with the words to say and will prepare your ears for what you need to hear. I like how Paul said it at the end of that passage. God’s power did it (told you the message) which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to GOD’s power, not to Hannah’s fancy footwork or speaking ability.
I am just amazed by God.
As I planted flowers in my yard this week, I flashed back to the summers of planting flowers with my mom. My memory isn’t good enough to remember if I chose to help mom in the garden, or if dad made me get out of bed and help (probably that one). But as I put my shovel in the ground and started to think where each flower belonged, I just felt like Mom was right next to me.
Memories are so sweet. I cherish the lessons and tasks my parents taught me, even when I hated it at the time. I guess that officially makes me an adult.
Some girls are obsessed with Pinterest and some have never even opened the magical land of this site. I am somewhere in the middle. When I think about going on, I always seem to find something fun. However, I have NEVER actually tried anything from Pinterest. Nothing! Not a recipe, work out plan, picture pose, or craft. This past weekend, hanging out with Megan and Anna, we decided to tackle some Pinterest crafts we had pinned. Here was my inspiration.
And here is how I did it-
Buy some burlap! I bought 2.5 yards of it, hoping to make 8-10 place mats. The total cost was about $10.
Measure out the size of your place mat. In order to cut burlap, you must cut a small line and then find a thread you can pull out.
Pull that thread all the way out so a straight line is created.
Then come in with your scissors and cut right down the line!
Once you cut your place mats, grab some stencils and a sharpie and write out the words you would like to see on each mat. I decided to list the fruits of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.)
It took some time to make the words and the stencils looks sharp, but it was worth the effort.
There are 9 fruits of the spirit, but I only needed 8 place mats. I cut the word “self control”. I figured no one wants to see what while they are eating anyway.
We thought they looked so good, we wanted to show them off outside!
But, they look even better in my dining room.
This was a great craft! I may even end up doing these as gifts. The total cost was about $14 (burlap, sharpies, and stencils) and it made 8 mats.
The girls worked on some crafts too. Here is Anna’s W!
And Megan made an adorable wall decoration for her office with her initials. I love having creative friends.
Pinterest projects aren’t as intimidating as they seem. I (and my dining room table) are thankful.
I think I have lied a few times to different friends. I can remember being in 5th grade and sharing a necklace that said best friends forever. My first day at a new school in 7th grade, I quickly latched onto a girl and was sure we would be friends forever. I think in high school after a football game I put my arm around the other cheerleaders and said we would be BFFs. The bad news is, I don’t talk with any of those girls anymore.
However, there are a few girls that the “friends forever” promise has stayed true. Seven years ago, I met these two babes in college.
Through job changes, moves, growing up, and getting married, we are still BFFs. And to be honest, when we are together, we turn into 18 year old college kids all over again.
Three of us were social work majors, two of us have similar names, all of us love the Lord, and we all equally love a good limeaid from Sonic.
Spending a day with people I love on a boat.
Dear friends, a boat, and lots of sunshine.
Even the little one came with us!
What a good looking husband.
Did I mention he was the captain?
I walked away after this day thinking “I love my life”. Work has stress, life has trials, the house always takes forever to clean, but friends sure are fun. Something about community brings so much joy.
This post has the possibility of being boring. Just a warning.
I have been reading a little bit about eating healthy. If you know me, this is big news in itself. In reading I stumbled upon a few articles comparing regular dairy milk to soy and almond milk. (do you really want to keep reading?)
I really like milk. I drink a glass each morning with breakfast, and if I’m feeling crazy sometimes at night. It’s also usually my go-to option when I am having a low blood sugar. So switching it up seemed a little intimidating. However, in the spirit of being adventurous, I picked up a half gallon of organic soy milk. Sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it?
Friends, I have big news. It is delicious.
Like, I can’t stop drinking it. I had a glass this morning, and when I came home from workout tonight I thought “You know what I could go for? A glass of soy milk.”
If you can tell from the tone of this post, it really surprised me! I always assumed people were just pretending soy milk tasted good. Kinda like how people pretend olives taste good.
I like being adventurous and trying things I thought I would hate. What should be next?
I am similar to my dad in a lot of ways. We are both usually a little louder in a group, we both get overly excited while public speaking, we both love the Browns to no end, and when we see someone we want to talk to, we usually bend our knees and point forward. The classic move.
However, one big difference I have always seen between my dad and I- our love of cars. My dear dad has spent countless hours washing his car, vacuuming the carpeting, and making it look perfect every weekend. My car is lucky if I take out my pop cans and don’t leave McDonalds wrappers in the back seat. I can remember coming home from college for the weekend, and as I pulled out Sunday I realized my car didn’t smell like milk and there weren’t little rocks under my feet- Dad had cleaned!
While my car is very use to be neglected, this week was different. My little Elantra was very spoiled.
My car was washed
It was vacuumed twice
It was waxed by hand for over an hour (wax on, wax off)
It had gas put in before the E light came on
It now as the new Ohio license plate
It got a new leather wheel cover
It had the oil changed
Seriously, it’s so shiny I can see myself in it.
Thank you to my dear husband, who not only takes care of me, but also my neglected car.
If you remember THIS POST from last month, our Real Life Group started something called “Fun in the Hat”. I said this…
In January, each one of us took a note card and wrote something fun we would like to do as a group - like going roller skating or plan a picnic. We pull out one note card each month, and then all go with that person to the activity. This is a way to “live life” together, and love each other! For example, my card may say do an art project. Although Michelle may not want to do an art project, she will do it with us because she loves me. It’s a great way to get to know each other and have a blast.
Well, this month was Scott’s card! Believe it or not… he choice roller skating.
He celebrated by dressing up for the occasion.
Here is our group! We were only missing a few people.
I have to admit, I was skeptical about this event, but it was absolutely a blast.
When we walked in, it smelled just like junior high. Memories were flying in.
Don’t worry, they had limbo. My husband has the moves.
What a great group to spend a Thursday night with.
Our back porch.
Two days later…
Have I mentioned this is the best time of year?
One of my all time favorites drinks is fresh ice tea from our kitchen. If you see me in the morning, I typically have a tervis tumbler filled with this goodness. Here is how we make it!
Here is our Mr. Coffee ice tea maker that use to belong to our grandpa. Fill it with water, throw 5 tea bags in, and press go.
We have used plain Lipton tea bags, peach flavor, Tazo’s passion tea, and even green tea. Our favorite is the plain and simple Lipton.
After a few minutes, it’s all done!
I then walk out and grab some fresh mint.
A fresh summer glass of ice tea. Come on over and grab one!