My Most Common Prayer

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe.  When you’ve been removed from a strong community and you are feeling like you are on your own in this whole walking with the Lord thing, I just feel like day after day I stand questioning everything.  I don’t think questions are bad, though.  I think you take the good with the bad.  But at the end of every day, I find myself laying in bed, and praying these lyrics over and over again.  This song sings the loudest cries of my heart right now.

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Day 24 [The Candy Shop]

I watched this video this morning & it was intense.  It’s a “fairytale” about human trafficking. If you have a spare half an hour, sit down & watch it.  It could be a step to start caring about the world more than our to-do-lists.

Day 23 [A Very Visual Update]

 On day 11 my sister and nephews ventured up to Michigan State for a visit!  I thought tucking the dress in as a shirt was more suitable for the adventure we were about to embark in.  Can we just acknowledge how adorable they are?!?!
Moving forward to days 18-20, the dress and I went on fall retreat.  I had a wonderful God-centered weekend.  But roughing it proved to be pretty difficult.  By the end of the weekend the dress was in desperate need of a washing.

Day 17!!!

 

So many people I have talked to wanted to know my mindset going into The One Dress Project.  When I first started thinking about doing the project, I immediately started praying about it.  Eventually, I felt like I was being given more and more of a desire to take action.  My next step was talking to those around me.  That came with mixed reactions.  Some of my loved ones were really excited about the idea of this.  & others had some concerns.  Some still have concerns.  Please take comfort in the fact that I wrestled with all of those same concerns:

People are going to think I am a weirdo.  When faced with this concern, it just came down to asking myself  “Am I really going to let what people might think of me hold me back from doing things I am passionate about for the rest of my life?  What would be the right way to raise my self-esteem?  By making lots of so-called friends that wouldn’t accept my quirky personality and support my crazy adventures?  Or doing something to fight a terrible injustice?”

 This is my senior year!  Is this really the way I want to be remembered by my classmates?  This is my senior year!  This is the perfect season in my life to do this!  I don’t have a job that I need to look “professional” for everyday.  As a matter of fact, I have a job that encourages stepping out and doing something to make some sort of difference.  I have my youth on my side.  If someone thinks I’m a weirdo, chances are I won’t see them after graduation anyway!  & what a way to finish off a college career that looks nothing like I thought it would when I started it 4 years ago.  By doing something that I never would have imagined doing. 

What man will want to date a girl who is wearing the same dress all the time?  I debated including this in my entry, but this was honestly one of the most common & most urgent concerns of quite a few people.  I am a quirky, weird person.  If a man wants to date me, he is going to have to get used to it.  & if a man cannot respect me for doing something that I think is truly fighting for justice for a people group that needs advocates to fight for them, then  I don’t think he’s the man for me anyway!  I want my man to have a heart for justice & a spine to act on it!

Won’t I get smelly? Let’s clear something up right now, my friends.  The dress gets washed.  The dress gets washed often.  Also, I DO NOT SLEEP OR WORK OUT IN THE DRESS!   I sleep in pajamas & I work out in work out clothes.  

Won’t the dress get beat up? Yes.  It will.  Lucky for me, I live with the Spartan Seamstress.  & when talking about this concern with one of my beautiful sisters in Christ [who took part in The One Dress Project last year,] she reminded me that some of these women and children in the trafficking industry probably only have 1 dress.  Their dress is probably tattered and torn too & mine will not even compare to the pain that their dress has been through.

What will I get out of this?   This is a very real question.  I definitely have a lot of personal goals & ways I hope to grow throughout the journey of The One Dress Project.  Of course, I have my personal financial goal that I would like to reach in donations the The Daughter Project. But in addition to that, I’m hoping that the Lord teaches me follow through and self discipline in the next 6 months.  Let’s face it, I’ve made a very public commitment, & there is no backing out now.  I also hope that the Lord reveals to me any places I may be dangerously be placing my worth.  Maybe I find my worth in what people think of me.  Maybe I find it in the world’s image of “beauty.”  Maybe I’m not even sure of my worth.  Do I know the true source of beauty? Who knows?  I sure don’t…..yet, but I’m sure I will get to a point of exposure at some point in this journey.

Let’s me real, people.  I am just about at awful as taking pictures of my outfits as I am at blogging on a regular basis.  These are a few of the outfits I’ve had along this journey so far! Also, today was the day that I took the step of faith & made a bulletin board for my floor formally informing my residents of The One Dress Project.  I’m not going to lie, I have anxiety over it.  But I know that Abba will comfort me in this time, & protect me from any harm.  He’s REAL good at that!

Day 2Day 3Day 4 [The Barn Bash]Day 10

An Acceptable Day 1 Entry

On account of my 8:30am class being cancelled, I now have time to blog a respectable entry about the start of this journey that I am beginning.

Tuesday, September 20 was Day 1 of my One Dress journey.  I will be wearing the same darling gray dress everyday until Easter Sunday.  Why would one do such a thing?  It’s funny that you ask because I asked the same question last December when I met a woman that was doing exactly this.  Amy Seiffert started a 6 month journey of wearing the same dress to both raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking and funds for an organization called The Daughter Project who labors to help girls who have been freed from this industry recover.  After hearing about her cause, I was intrigued to say the least.  I knew that trafficking was an issue but I don’t think it was ever real to me.  As I thought about her cause, I remembered the speaker at a retreat I attended in Fall 2010 & how he talked about the work he did freeing women and children from brothels in India.  & it wasn’t long after hearing Amy speaking that I heard about my home church’s partnership with Cambodia & what a problem human trafficking is there.  But I would say that the thing that made it the most real to me was living in the city this summer.  Every once in a while, I would observe something that would remind me that just because we live in America, does not mean that this crisis isn’t relevant to us.  When I came across this fact, it hit me pretty hard:

The FBI estimates that over 100,000 children and young women are trafficked in America today. They range in age from nine to 19, with the average being age 11. Many victims are not just runaways or abandoned, but are from “good” families who are coerced by clever traffickers.

[Fact taken from: 55 Little Known Facts about Human Trafficking]

I have started backing this cause long ago.  I have been praying for God’s children that are bound by this industry for a while now, but it wasn’t until recently that I felt asked to do more.  That is where the One Dress comes in.  Amy’s efforts raised so much awareness of this problem & I know that The Daughter Project saw funds come in from that, but I also know that from Amy’s efforts also resulted in so much passion and prayer.  If my journey can make 50 people aware of the human trafficking industry & it’s harm, I will find my journey worth while.  If 10 hearts could be broken enough to get on their knees and pray, it will be worth while.  If a spark of passion could be sparked in 1 person to take action, it will be worth while.  & if those quota’s are not met, I’m confident that this is absolutely still worth while.

I invite you to check out The Daughter Project‘s website.  I also invite you to pray and consider getting involved in this battle by donating to their cause.  If you would like to give me cash or check, I will collect it & be making donations to The Daughter Project along the way.  Or You can donate on TDP’s website!   I also ask that if you do donate to TDP, that you would let me know how much you donated so I can keep track & see how close I get to my own personal goal that I have set.

I’ll close by letting you see Day 1’s outfit.  I kept it pretty simple.

Chapter 9: Can the Sweeter Song Be a Solo?

When opening up to where I left off in When God Writes Your Love Story, I discovered that my next chapter was on singleness.  How fitting.  As I read, I realized, I didn’t think I really found my identity in my relationship when I was in it.  I think I was pretty good at putting the fact that I was a daughter of Christ first.  However, now that I am single, I am definitely letting that define myself.  Today, I found myself believing the lie that I can’t accomplish the big plans God has for me if I don’t have a spouse.  One of my biggest dreams in life, one I consider a God-sized dream, was the most heart breaking to think about.  I kept dwelling on the fact that fostering & adopting children is a huge task & is just not feasible for a single woman, even if I do have a steady job.  & that may be very true. Time, however, plays a huge role in this.  I won’t be able to pursue that dream until much later in life, & who knows, maybe by then I will have a spouse to join me on this amazing journey.  I don’t know what is going to happen.

Here is what I do know.  I am alive today.  I am a Daughter of the King.  I am only 20 years old.  I happen to be single. God willing, I have a lot of life left in me.  I have big dreams.  & I am capable.  I have nothing holding me back from serving the Lord with every fiber of my being.  & God is giving me a much more clear picture of what that might look like for me.

If God is preparing you to make an impact on this world for His kingdom, chances are He will take you through a season of solitude.  This is a season when you learn that you can’t lean upon anyone but him for your confidence & when you gain the strength to stand alone even when no one else stands with you.  [Leslie Ludy, When God Writes Your Love Story]

This passage in the book really impacted me.  It just got me really pumped up actually.  I have the power in me to do some big things.  & there is no need to put them off until I’m married.  Shoot, there is no need to put them off until I graduate.  I should get started now!  Forget this apathetic attitude. I’m over it!  Time to let go & let God.  & I am so excited to see what kind of crazy adventures He will be taking me on.

I Quit You, Facebook. [kinda]

I have taken a huge step this week.  I have gathered the strength to admit to myself that I have a problem, & am now working to conquer it.  Facebook is freaking addictive!!! I thought I was just networking & socializing with my friends, & then the next thing I knew, I was spending less time studying than I was on Facebook.  & was my time on Facebook fruitful, resulting maintaining relationships, keeping my residents informed, & building a network that will help me further my career?  Not a chance. My time on Facebook was spent being a professional creep.  I would look at people’s profiles that I had no intention of reconnecting with, some people I didn’t even know, even people that I don’t necessarily like.  What were my motives in looking at these people’s pictures, seeing who they are friends with, & becoming consumed with what their lives are like right now?  Sometimes I really enjoyed seeing what people are doing with their lives now, but if we are going to be really honest, don’t we spend most time on profiles when we think they are train wrecks? So we can laugh about it a little & feel a little bit better about ourselves?  I know it’s going to make me sound like a bad person, but thank Heavens for grace, because that’s exactly what my motives were sometimes.  That’s not the kind of person I want to be.  That’s not the way I want to love. That’s not where I want my time invested.

For where you treasure is, there your heart will also be. [Matthew 6:21]

Time is precious, especially in our American culture.  & if that is where I am putting my treasure of time, that is what I’m going to be all about.  & that’s a pretty whack way to be.

So what am I doing?  I quit Facebook, kind of.  Did I go as far as to delete my profile? No.  I do think that Facebook can be an awesome tool for my job as a Mentor & a nice way to stay connected with people who I don’t see too often.  However, I have taken some practical steps to give Facebook a lot smaller of a role in my life:

  • I no longer keep my computer logged into Facebook all the time.  It is amazing how the extra step of logging in can really act as a moment to evaluate if I should actually log in, or go be productive in some other way.
  • I have stopped all email notification from Facebook.  It really doesn’t matter if I see that someone wrote on my wall at the very second that they did it.  I will see it eventually.  & if they really need something, then they should call or text me.
  • I have also disabled the Facebook notifications on my phone.  & it is actually refreshing not to wake up to 10 notifications that I feel obligated to respond to first thing in the morning.
  • I have decided not to go onto Facebook everyday.  I am starting off by letting myself go onto Facebook every 2 days.  I hope to eventually go on even less than that.
  • When I do go onto Facebook, I have to be either relaying information to my residents, or loving on someone by sending them encouragement, or a quick post to catch up.  [Not looking at pictures for hours & visiting profiles of people I don’t even know!]

At the end of the day, I don’t just want to be able to say that I don’t waste as much time during my day.  My end goal is to be able to proudly say that I have one less thing that distracts me from walking with the Lord, moment by moment.  Not only do I want to get more studying done, but I want to have more time in the Word, & have more time to work out & respect this body that God has given me.  My end goal is to better Honor the Lord with every second of everyday.

Hopefully posting this for everyone to see will give me an extra sense of accountability.  Let’s see how this goes.

Spring Retreat 2011

Spring Retreat 2011. [Never the Same]

It was a good time.  Friday afternoon we piled into our cars & headed to Camp Faholo in Grass Lake, MI.  After we got settled in in our cabins & did a little adventuring, we went to our first session where we got to hear a really cool message about Never Being the Same because we have met Christ.  The speaker, Bryan, spoke about Luke 7:36-50 & broke it down into 3 keys to being “forgiven much”: 1. Meet the REAL Jesus. 2. His Holiness makes us realize our debt. 3. His love makes us run to Him.  I think the talk really made me think about if I look at the real Jesus in all of His Holiness daily, or if I make a version of Him that fits better into my life.

Saturday morning we had Women’s Time: Hot Messes Unite.  I LOVED THIS TIME!  Bryan’s wife, Lauren spoke about our identity in a way I had never heard before.  I am so used to being told that I am “a beautiful woman of the Lord.”  & after a while, I have really started to cling to one word in that phrase.  Beautiful.  God makes me beautiful.  & I take joy in that.  & there isn’t anything wrong in taking joy in your God-given beauty, however, something Lauren said really spoke to me when she stated “If you cling to the wrong identities, you will miss God’s big moment for you.” I am not just beautiful in the Lord, but I am strong, bold, powerful, intelligent, comical, creative, musical.  There is so much that God has made me.  But more importantly, I AM HIS DAUGHTER.  & that needs to come first.  That needs to drive me more than any other part of my identity.  I need to live life like Esther.  “If I perish, I perish.”  If someone doesn’t like me, they don’t like me.  If I am uncomfortable, I am uncomfortable.  If I don’t get that lake house, I don’t get a lake house. “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.” AHH!  YES!

In the afternoon we went to really awesome seminars.  I went to the ones on Natural Evangelism & Delighting in the Lord.  & then at the night session, Bryan spoke again about Dreaming Big.  I will be honest, I am still processing what he spoke to us from Ephesians 1:15-20.  He left us with two very convicting questions: Do I give God the chance to do the extraordinary in me?  & Do I dream God-sized dreams?

I am still thinking about & processing things from retreat.  & to be honest, today I got a little distracted.  I put school & insecurities first, & The Word & prayer on the back burner.  I guess if you’re reading this & you have any desire to pray for me, please pray that the Lord will continue to show me His sovereign, faithful, and sufficient character. Pray that I know that He is enough. & I am enough in Him.  & pray that I will be willing to step out of my comfort zone & make an effort to really connect with people this week even though I have a lot of schoolwork to do.

& If you need prayers, reply to this post, email me [dsmith1287@gmail.com], message me, call me.  I would love to join alongside you in your journey.

When did this happen to me?

Tonight at Bible Study we got on the topic of how as women we are driven & sometimes even controlled by our emotions.  It was so frustrating for me to think about.  I honestly thought, until a few months ago, that I was not one of those women.  Boy was I wrong.  It is so infuriating trying to win this battle against loneliness, sadness, anger, and resentment.  To not get caught up in temporary happiness. Or become overcome with guilt.  It’s all irrational.  & men will never understand what we go through.  But there is hope.  If we are truly walking in the Holy Spirit, we can let Him control us instead of our emotions.  I must say though, a lot easier than done.