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April 2015

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A Proverbs 31 Woman

I know that not all of my readers are female but as a woman I wanted to read and interpret this famous passage for myself. Many interpret this passage in the roles of wife and mother, and though I want to eventually be both I recognized that these two roles are not the only ones I will hold throughout my life. I also recognized that these two roles are not the roles that every other woman in the world will possess. So I began to wonder and to read the passage in terms of what a modern day God fearing woman looks like–whether she is a wife/mother or striving to be one or not. This passage is a powerful look at what a God fearing woman is capable of.

I have a shirt that declares “I am a Proverbs 31 Woman: I am Strong” and on the back “Never Underestimate a Woman with a Plan and a Prayer.” Since I have a shirt that declares I am a Proverbs 31 woman I started to think I should take a look at this passage. This past semester I have been taking a Women in the Bible course and a week ago I was listening to presentations and a girl presented on the Proverbs 31 woman. So I got to thinking, how can this woman be interpreted in today’s world?

In my bible Proverbs 31:10-31 is titled “Ode to a Capable Wife,” however, I read a commentary on Proverbs 31 and they titled this woman “The Woman of Strength.” So lets call this woman a woman of strength not just a capable wife. This woman is so much more than simply a role. All women can learn from her, she is hard working, giving, compassionate, loving and above all else she fears God.

Proverbs 31: 10

“A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” This woman is special, she is precious and cannot be bought with any monetary amount. This woman has a heart for God, she lives her life to honor God. She loves and helps her neighbor and works hard.

Proverbs 31:25-26

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” She is strong, unafraid of the future, wise and kind.

Proverbs 31: 30

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

We are all capable of becoming Women of Strength. She represents an ideal, and by no means should we strive to be perfect. But what we should strive for, through our faith in God, are the qualities she embodies: courage, strength, compassion, hard work, love, kindness and wisdom. Through our dedication to God we can become these women.

A God fearing woman is a powerful woman, she cannot be stopped. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

Sisters in Christ, go forth and laugh at the future. Have no fear because God is with you and will go with you wherever you go. And no one should ever underestimate a woman with a plan and a prayer–she will always go far.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.


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Three Weeks Till Takeoff

I am officially at the three week mark till I graduate. I cannot believe it, a day I never thought would come is swiftly approaching. I have one week left of classes and three till graduation! Presbyterian College is a unique place, a special place and such a nurturing place. I didn’t think that I was going to make it to my senior year and I didn’t think that I was going to love this place this much.

PC has been four years of struggles, challenges, and opportunities for growth. These are four years that I would never change or trade for anything. These four years have shaped me into the woman I am today and have helped build the solid foundation upon which I have built my life. I would not be me without PC, the people I have met, the people I have loved and the people who have loved me. I am forever thankful for this special school and am truly delighted for all the future students who will be blessed with a degree from Presbyterian College.

If you had told me four years ago that I would be the woman I am today–a woman with confidence, courage and strength–I wouldn’t believe you. The girl I came to PC as was not confident, was not very out going and did not recognize her self worth. I am no longer that girl–through many challenging and hurtful situations I turned to God and we began to build a relationship. That relationship has saved me too many times to count and I know will continue to save me.

I am leaving PC with more than just a degree; I am leaving PC with a beautiful and strong relationship with God, an incredible powerhouse support group– full of great friends and mentors, an assurance of who I am and whose I am, and beautiful and powerful wings that are going to help me soar. PC has been, and continues to be, a spiritual and developmental journey for me. If I had never come to Clinton I might never have met Margaret, the woman God intended her to be. My journey is not over, God has many things planned for me–I have so much more to grow, learn and develop. But I can say that I am fully equipped for success–thanks to God.

My wings have been developing, I have been growing, strengthening, and shaping my wings. I have one week left in my little cocoon or nest (whichever analogy you prefer) but as a dear friend told me, I won’t have to be pushed–I am ready to fly. PC’s protective nest has been getting too small, my cocoon too tight. I can just feel it, I am ready to fly. I have been equipped with supportive and loving friends and family who have nurtured and loved me; I have received an incredible education; and I have developed an incredibly strong faith and dependence on God. All these things have equipped me for the next move. I am about to embark on a the adventure of a lifetime–I am going to Scotland for graduate school. If only I could go back to that young and scared Margaret at 18 and tell her it would all be alright; she was going to make it and not just make it she was going to soar higher than she ever imagined and roar louder than she ever thought possible. Oh the places I have been and oh the places I am going to go.

It truly took every bad, sad, heartbreaking, joyful, triumphant and wonderful experience for me to get here and have the faith and relationship I do with God. I do not always succeed in what I try for, but I refuse to give up. God has created us all to be special and unique–God wants us all to soar, we just have to decide we can do it.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint of grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Do not ignore the call of God–God is calling each and every one of us to be great. Recognize whose you are–you are royalty, you are a daughter or son of Royalty…meaning a princess or prince. Why choose to live as a peasant? God made you unique and has special plans for you. Don’t choose to be mediocre when you were made to be special.

God is with us every step of the way and though the journey can be tough, rough, and exhausting, at times, God is always there providing never-ending strength.

Spread your wings. And fly.

“I might only have one match but I can make an explosion” –Rachel Platten (Fight Song)

“So if you care to find me, look to the Western Sky! As someone told me lately: ‘Everyone deserves the chance to fly!’ And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free. To those who’d ground me, take a message back from me. Tell them how I am defying gravity, i’m flying high, defying gravity. And soon I’ll match them in renown! And nobody in all of OZ–No wizard that there is or was [nobody ever] is going to bring me down!” (Elphaba–Wicked).

God wants to transform you. God wants you to soar. So trust God, spread your wings and fly with God. No one will ever be able to bring you down.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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A Beautiful World

I am experiencing some writer’s block but I am going to attempt to write through it and see what comes out. I apologize if it is not good.

We all face trials and struggles everyday. The world we wake up and have to face is not always a nice world, at times it is downright cruel. And yet, we still must wake up and prepare ourselves to face the day. Sometimes, I bet a lot of times, we wonder what there is in this world to hope for. I know that I have asked myself this plenty of times. When it seems that evil and cruelty are taking over the world it is so hard for us to have hope. But deep down inside of us all there is something that still nurtures hope.

Friends, this world is not hopeless. Please remember this. I had to write a paper on hope just last week, when I was actually in what felt like a sea of hopelessness. And after writing that paper and struggling with what hope is and how important it is, I saw that distant glimmer and I felt that little tug deep inside–hope.

N. T. Wright, an incredible theologian, defines hope as “the settled, unwavering confidence that this God will not leave us or forsake us, but will always have more in store for us than we could ask or think.”

If this is the definition of hope than we can believe that this evil that is so present and so very real in our world today is not the final say. It will not have the last word and is not having the last world. We all hope for and believe in the day that God will come and make everything right in the world. There have even been times when I have hoped that day would come sooner than other days. But after writing this paper I realized there is still hope present in today’s world.

I have hope in people, I have hope in kindness, I have hope in love, I have hope that God is constantly at work and very present in this world–right now. You may wonder why or how can I have hope in these things. Last week I realized how I ought to live my life, how God wants me to live my life. If we, as Christians, look at Jesus as our example we have the secret to a successful and wonderful life. However, this path is not an easy one and the only person who was ever able and who will ever be able to make it a perfect reality is Jesus. But we should strive to at least try.

Jesus came into this world and he flipped everything upside down. Matthew 5:38-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not risk an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your coat as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to anyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of you Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This, my friends, is what Christ has called us all to do. This is not easy, and sometimes it may seem down right impossible. Trust me this is something I struggle with daily and most certainly fail for more times than I ever succeed–it is so hard to love those who are mean to us and who do us wrong. But I read a quote somewhere that said something along the lines of, don’t judge others because you don’t know what they are going through. We all have our own storms. Imagine what it would be like for those who we have been mean to were kind to us. Kindness goes a long way. Kindness can do so much for this world. I always remember my mother telling me to “kill them with kindness.” And as I have gotten older I realize how wise this really is. Show kindness and show love even when you think others don’t deserve it–remember we do not deserve God’s kindness, grace and love and yet it is still given to us. And maybe, just maybe, those enemies of yours need a little kindness and love thrown there way. No matter who they are and what they have done–they are still a Child of God, just as we are Children of God.

We are all just small specks on this world, but we are powerful. Imagine if we tried to be kind and loving to our enemies. Imagine if we tried to live our lives as Christ has called us to do. Think about the beauty that one tiny speck can add to the world. And think about those people who are already doing this. There is still beauty, love and kindness in the world. And sometimes it is hard to find–but it can begin with you.

As one of my wise professors told my class today: “When we open our hearts and arms to Divine love, that is when we begin to be capable of this type of love.” It will not be easy, and there will be times when we fail, and want to quit. But guess what God will forgive us and continue to work with us. We can help bring hope into this world. God wants us to be his hands and feet in this world–when we go we spread hope.

Be kind to one another, love one another–even when we don’t deserve it. Spread hope and when you feel hopeless look around you and you just might find someone else spreading hope. Just like love–I believe that hope is contagious. We can help make this a beautiful world.

1 John 4:7-21 (I will not type it all out here, but please please please go and look up this beautiful passage)

1 John 4:18-21

We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. (And from my pastor’s benediction: “May you see the face of Christ in everyone that you meet and may everyone that you meet see the face of Christ in you.”)

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Thank You

My dear friends it is with a joyful, thankful, appreciative, and humble heart that I write tonight. Thank you for reading this blog. I have been overwhelmed by the feedback that I have received. And truthfully I can tell you I have been incredibly humbled. Each one of your beautiful comments has touched my heart and resonated deep within it. Just as Mary “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19) I have done the same. I have been blown away by the feedback that I have received and am overjoyed to know that these words have touched many of your hearts. To be able to glorify God is the most humbling and beautiful task.

As a woman who, for too long, did not think she was of any value it is truly a gift from God that I have finally recognized my worth and to whom I belong. My prayer for each and everyone of you is that you will recognize whose you are and will recognize that you are so incredibly special to Royalty. God has chosen each and everyone one of you to be the King of King’s hands and feet in this world. We as humans are nothing without God–God has called each and everyone of us by name, we are all chosen.

This post is going to be short tonight. For I am at a loss for words except thank you. Thank you for following me on this journey. It is truly a blessing that God has allowed me to be a vessel in this world. I am humbled that you all read this. I mean this in the most genuine way possible–all the glory is for God. I would be incapable of writing these posts if it were not for God writing the words on my heart.

We are all special, we have all been called by name, we have all been granted unique gifts, and we are all chosen by God to be vessels in this world. Please please please remember and trust that you are so special to God. That you have a special purpose in this world.

Isaiah 43:1

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.”

Thank you friends for allowing me to be a part of your lives. I cannot express how much you have touched my heart.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.

I want to begin this post by saying that this topic has come from a lot of different places, personal experiences, the experiences of others, and from many different circumstances. I feel that we can all relate in some way to one another through brokenheartedness. I think that we all have had our hearts broken in some way at some time; whether it is by a significant other in relationship terms, good friends hurting you, death, betrayal or disappointment we all know what it feels like for our hearts to hurt.  Why do hearts break? And why am I going to challenge you to think of this as a beautiful thing?

All of our scars, scratches, cracks, and bruises are beautiful. These imperfections help shape us into the people we are today, they transform us into who we are meant to be. My heart is not unscathed and I am thankful for that. If it was then it would mean I had not experienced love, joy, and beauty;it would mean I had not lived. If my heart was unscathed that would mean that for the 21 years I have been on this earth I had shut myself away, put my heart in a glass case and kept myself protected out of fear. This is not a way to live! No one really wants to be shut away from others, God created us to be relational creatures. Part of being relational is the reality that we will love one another but that sometimes we do hurt one another.

I am a passionate person. I have too many emotions. I joke that God accidentally on purpose poured the whole bottle of the “Emotion Spice” into the soup of Margaret. I live in a level ten world. So when I love–I love hard and with all of my heart. Which also means that I feel hurt on a very heavy and deep level. I have often been afraid to allow myself to be vulnerable, but I have been working on putting my heart on the line and taking the risk. I have so much love that I want to give and the only way I can give that love it to become vulnerable. The only way I can give love, defend love, and receive love is if I take the chance–I might get hurt but I have to trust that it will be worth it.

Love is what we all want in this world. We want to give it and we want so badly to receive it. The only way we can do that is by accepting that pain can and will probably happen at some point. But pain will subside, and that fresh scar will help develop your heart. And it will develop your heart in a way that will allow for you to love more and to love deeper–if you are willing to see it as a beautiful strength versus a horrific weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11

“…but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”

Jesus set this world upside down, weaknesses are actually strengths. God uses our hardships and heartaches to bring about good. In our weakest moments God will transform us and give us the strength that we need.

I have had my heart broken many times and I am not just taking about in romantic relationships. My heart has been broken and hurt by different people, events, deaths, and disappointments. But those scrapes and scars have become beautiful evidence of all the love that I have given and received. These scars are a part of me, a part of my history, and something I am proud of. I have been hurt but I refuse to let pain harden my heart.

It is courageous to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Do not be afraid. The heart you carry–full of scars and cracks is a beautiful masterpiece. Someone thinks it is exquisite; God wants your heart in whatever condition you may bring it. If you are hurting the Healer wants to help facilitate your healing. God will patch up your heart and sew the pieces together and transform your broken heart into a masterpiece. I cannot and will not promise that this process will be easy or pain free but I can promise that it will worth it. And you just might get some really cool Jesus bandaids put on your heart.

Matthew 5:4

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Friends, whatever state your heart is in, know that God wants your whole heart, even if it is in pieces. Bring it to the Healer and trust that he will transform your broken heart into something truly magnificent.

Love my friends. Please just love.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

This is a post that most people would have expected yesterday, on Easter. But I found myself trying to rush to write this post rather than letting the words flow organically. I just couldn’t write what I felt like this joyous day deserved until I had thought about it. And even now I cannot promise that it will be great, but I am going to try.

Easter is an incredible day. Think about it–Jesus who had been brutally killed three days prior has risen, and is alive again! “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). As a child I never really grasped this concept, maybe even last year the impact of this event never really resonated. Rejoice, for he has risen. He has risen indeed.

As I worshiped yesterday in my home church, I listened as my pastor discussed hope and Christian hope. The points he made were valid, what does hope mean to us in a world that is dark, full of despair, and hatred? As I listened to the sermon and as I talked to my mother at lunch today I realized what I think. I think that because of Jesus we are free to hope–free to hope for a beautiful and loving future. And have faith that all the wrong in the world will be righted. Jesus died and rose again so that we are free to hope and know that love will conquer everything. So my brothers and sisters I think that this year for me Easter means that we can have confidence in our hope, confidence in love, and confidence in our Lord. That even though our journeys may at times be dark, full of pain, and even at times seem impossible–we should still have hope.

John 16:33

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

This got me to reflect. I have written about this before–this wonderful feeling that we describe as joy. Things are never going to be one hundred percent right in our lives and sometimes times are worse than others. It is hard for us to be happy. Happiness can, to me, be found with shallow things and can be fleeting. But joy is not a shallow feeling and it is not as fleeting as happiness. Joy is not as easy to achieve, you cannot just buy a new pair of shoes (or whatever material thing you can buy that would bring happiness) and expect it to bring joy. No, joy is something that is so much better and so much more real. Even in our darkest moments I believe we can find joy.

Joy happens when you recognize that despite our hardest trials and darkest despairs, God is present with us loving us, guiding us, protecting us, and blessing us. We are allowed to feel joy thanks to our wonderful God, who humbled himself to come to this earth and be as vulnerable as we all are. This beautiful and loving God sacrificed himself so that we may be free from sin. So that we may be free from fear. So that we may love. And so that we may hope. And so we may feel joy, even in our darkest moments.

Rejoice my sisters and brothers, rejoice! For the tomb is empty. Rejoice for Christ has risen–he has risen indeed.

My brothers and sisters I ask you to trust God. Because no matter the trials you are facing in your life–turn to God. My hope is that even in your darkest moments you may find the peace and joy that only God can provide.

Sisters and brothers, my charge for you is this: have hope despite all circumstances, have faith that beautiful things will and can happen, and love deeply and passionately.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and 13

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things….And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

That is what Jesus gave us–pure and perfect love. No matter were we run we will never escape this perfect love. But imagine how different your life could be if you accepted this perfect love and believed it completely. I have been working to accept this love and accept that nothing I do can make me worthy of this love and yet God still gives it to me. My life and heart are constantly being transformed because I am slowly trusting God more and trying to trust that I am allowed to accept this perfect love. So my dear friends I ask you to think about how accepting this perfect love can transform your lives. This Perfect Love will help bring joy.

Rejoice. Rejoice Rejoice. God loves us. God has conquered death. God has conquered the world. So friends take heart! Trust, have faith, have hope, and love.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!