Friday, October 11, 2013

Dear 25 year old-- Love, Dr. Theresa Hover

Dear 25 year old,

When I was 25, I believed I would change the world. As it turns out, very few people change the world at large. But we all have the ability to impact the people around us. Don’t be discouraged as you go through your years when you realize that your life isn’t turning into the dream life that you imagined it would be. It’s ok. God can change the world, but He cares more about your obedience in following Him in each little thing and each little step of the day.

Stop caring what people think about you. I barely remember my 25th year, but I remember it was a blur of stressful school exams, worrying about how I compared to my classmates, and stressing about my professor’s opinions of me. What a waste of time. If I could have let go of the fear that I would embarrass myself or that I would let someone down, I would have grown and learned much much more.

I wish I would have sat down and had a serious talk with myself BEFORE I was 25, before I started a graduate school program. I would have asked myself, “Is this really what you are passionate about? Are you passionate $100,000 in debt worth? Because that’s what it is going to cost you. Are you passionate enough to put off a family for this? Because that’s what it’s going to cost you.” Maybe I would have made a different decision… maybe not, but at least I would have been thinking a little more clearly. Education is good, but education isn’t the most important thing in life. And education doesn’t guarantee you will be happy, rich, successful or satisfied. Or even employed for that matter. Pursuing advanced education should be a very prayfully made decision.

Invest in relationships. Your relationship with God first (I am the worse at this one), Your spouse next (100% invest yourself in this relationship, in the same way Jesus 100% invested himself in YOU.) Your family is next. I have learned, that 25 years goes by very fast, and every year after that seems to go by faster. We are not guaranteed a certain amount of time here on earth, and neither are our family members, so make the most of this time, demonstrate your love for your family every chance you get like it will be your last chance to show them love on this earth.

Invest in the people around you, especially young Christ followers. God’s word can only be living and active when it is lived out and active in His people! And those actions speak louder to a new follower than any sermon or book. It is super scary and intimidating to share our knowledge of God and Hope in Him, because I feel like if they reject God’s word, they are also rejecting me. But God said that would happen sometimes, and it’s ok. Satan has put fear into us to STOP us from making disciples, BECAUSE he knows that mentorship is a POWERFUL relationship blessed by God.

Don’t live in FEAR!! I have spent the last 2 years of my life living in and out of fear, and I hate it!! God has not given us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of POWER, LOVE and SELF-DISCIPLINE.

STOP Comparing yourself. I have wasted WAY too much of my 20 something years comparing myself to my peers. Being jealous of friends in relationships, being jealous of single friends, being jealous of friends who were engaged. Comparing my engagement “story”, comparing my wedding, comparing my marriage “nest”. Being jealous of friends who have well paying jobs, being jealous of friends working in ministry, being jealous of friends who are stay at home moms. Being jealous of friends who are starting their families and having children… For where you have envy and selfish ambition, you have disorder and every evil practice. Actually, jealousy hurts you more than anyone else.

Let this be the year that you finally embrace who GOD has made you to be and the life he has given you today. Do not let a day go by where you fail to consider all the blessings in your life and Thank God for them. Celebrate for your friends! Praise God for their good blessings. And take time each day to open your eyes to unique blessings that he has hand-picked just for you.

Dr. Theresa Hover
Doctor Theresa Hover is also my beautiful big sister! She is married to Shaun's older brother Ryan. :) 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Calling All Skaters -- "Meet Your Father" Video

Some of my most studly brothers made a video. 
They are speaking primarily to guys, but as a girl I was still super encouraged. 
Be blessed by these Godly skaters.   

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Skinny makes a terrible lord.

lôrd noun
1. someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.

  1. I hate skinny. 
    Not skinny as in the latte. 
    I hate skinny, as in the lord. 

    Everyone I have ever observed in life has a "lord". By definition a "lord' is someone or something that has authority over you. It is something that is worshipped, something that is sought after, something that gives purpose for life, and something that determines how all decisions are made. The lord of somebody's life is their center of thinking. A lord determines how money is spent, how energy is expended, and how circumstances are viewed. 

    I recently decided that I HATE THE LORD OF SKINNY. I have both yelled it at Heaven in my prayers for friends and vented it at my poor husband Shaun just this past week. 

    I think you hate it too.
    You just might not know what it is that you hate. 

    When skinny is the lord of your life it can look like this:

    Your happiness is dependent on your size. You are not content until you are skinny. You don't think you are skinny. You may have never thought you were skinny, and yet you have desired to be skinny with everything in you for as long as you can remember. Even when you feel like your body is "an okay size" you still have anxiety about eating and exercise because you are fearful of getting bigger. You have read books and magazines on how to be thin. You obsess over what you eat. You even pay attention to what other people are eating- especially other girls. You study their bodies, comparing yourself, and you allow their size to tell you how secure you should feel around them. If you are bigger than them, you feel less beautiful. If you are smaller, it is likely you feel more secure. But you are not secure. You feel like you would be secure if you lost some weight... but you are not there yet. Your life revolves around your weight, but most people don't realize that because you do what you can to keep it a secret. Being skinny is your motivation for working out. You say you really value 'health", but in reality you sacrifice true health in your pursuit of being skinny. You think you are single because you are too big. Or you decide that only skinny girls get married. Or you conclude that only skinny girls are truly happy. If you eat too much on a certain day, you beat yourself up internally for the next few days, feeling like a failure until you get the opportunity to eat well and exercise again. Shopping makes you feel fat, especially when you try on clothes and they don't fit well. When you see a photo of yourself you first look at your size, and you usually think you look big, which usually leads you to hate the picture, even if you were actually having fun when it was taken. 

    There's more I can say but I'll stop there because I think you get the idea. 

    I want you to know something. I want EVERYONE to know it. 


    He is dangling an image of beauty in front of you that is neither real, nor attainable, and the more you devote yourself to obtaining it, the more empty and frustrated you will feel. The lord of skinny wants you to hate yourself. He wants you to forfeit the dreams God has put in you. He sees that you are a leader and he wants you to lead other girls into confusion about their identities. He wants to use you to create a culture that makes those around you feel insecure, hideous, and unworthy of everything God has for them. 

    As we wander after the illusion that being skinny will make us happy, we are becoming less patient and less loving to those around us. The lord of skinny has convinced us that beauty is found in being thin, but in actuality, our pursuit of being skinny has made us less beautiful. 
    We have become selfish. 
    We have become isolated. 
    We have become envious. 
    We have lost our joy. 

    So where is the hope?

    The hope is in the fact that skinny does NOT have to be lord. As Christians we are to make Jesus the Lord of our lives. When Jesus is Lord our lives things will look vastly different from those who are worshipping the lord of skinny. I would know. I used to be somebody that revolved my thoughts & energy around my desire to be thin, but I have now found freedom in surrendering my body into the hands of my loving Creator. 
    I have given Him permission to have His way in me and it has changed everything! 

    Unlike the lord of skinny, the Lord Jesus loves us. He wants us to find joy and hope in Him as we discover the unique beauty He has placed in us. The Lord Jesus wants us to love ourselves. He wants us to fulfill the dreams God has placed in us. He sees that we are leaders and He wants us to lead other girls into freedom in their identities. He wants to use us to create a culture that makes those around us feel secure, beautiful, and worthy of everything God has for them. 

    The Lord Jesus desires health for our hearts, health for our minds, and health for our bodies. As we pursue Him we will become like Him, and out of that will come a beauty that is undeniable. 

    "Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered in shame." 
    Psalm 34:5 

    Okay friends. I love you. Please hear my heart. It doesn't matter what movies, or people, or pinterest, or magazines or anybody else is telling you about your beauty... you do not have to live in submission to the lord of skinny. Trust your Creator. Surrender your body to Him. Allow Him to work in you, bringing forth life and health and beauty according to His design. You are exquisite. 

    I pray that you will experience the freedom that comes with surrendering your lives and your bodies to the Lord Jesus Christ-- the Prince of Peace and the Lover of your souls.

    You are a treasure.

    Thanks for listening to my rant. :)
    It would be a tragedy to think that beauty is limited to just one size, one shape, one color, or one standard.
    So much would be lost if we really believed that. Diversity is a gift from God.
    As women we should celebrate the uniqueness in ourselves & in others.
    Its a beautiful thing to be different.