The Perfect Fit

Earlier this year, I wrote about how Paul and I were trying to find our church home.  Well towards the end of May, it felt as though we had tried almost all the churches.  We decided to try one that a friend of mine from high school goes to.

So one Sunday morning, we headed in with no expectations.  During the worship, I kept thinking that I really liked the songs they were singing, and the congregation was so much more animated and less conservative than any other church I’ve attended.  For me that’s a good thing, but what worried me was Paul.  I was kind of thinking to myself, that it may be a turn off to him.

After worship, the sermon began, and the pastor was foreign.  This came as a surprise to me.  I’m not sure why I just wasn’t expecting it (we later found out he is Egyptian).  I LOVED the sermon.  I truly felt the Pastor captivated me, and he truly applies scripture to the world and your life.  He helps show how some of the older biblical verses that don’t seem very applicable anymore, most certainly still can be applied to our lives today.  He isn’t afraid to be blunt and honest about biblical beliefs, and how Christians need to be living and acting in today’s world.

That day, Paul and I left, and as we were walking back to the car I said, “So what did you think?” and Paul said he liked it, in a pretty non chalant way.  Didn’t seem too crazy about it.  So he asked me and I responded in the same way.  After I said I liked it,  Paul said, “Oh good! I really liked it and I was praying during the service that you would feel the same way!  I just feel like this is supposed to be our church!”.  I think we were both waiting to hear the other’s opinions before we came out with how we truly felt!

We continued to test the waters for the next couple of weeks, and each week we grew to love it even more.  The Pastor INSTANTLY introduced himself to us the second week we attended after we didn’t go flying out in a hurry.  We felt so incredibly welcomed by members of the congregation.  After we had only been attending for 3-4 weeks, we had Aubrey.  Without even knowing more than a few people’s name, they started a food train and brought Paul and I food and gifts, and it was just so incredibly sweet how they took the time to care for us when we were so new!

Their youth program is amazing, and you can just see the Holy Spirit at work throughout the younger generation.  It makes me so happy to have Aubrey grow up in that kind of environment.  Paul and I got involved and started the Foundations bible study which has been LIFE changing!  I honestly cannot recommend it enough, and you can find a part of the study in this book.  After our life settles down in the next couple of weeks, we will both begin volunteering in the children’s ministry, and we are both looking forward to it.

We’ve now been attending for 5 months, and I can honestly say I’ve never looked forward to church so much in my entire life.  The worship is so moving, and the sermons stick with you.  I don’t forget them when I walk out the doors on Sunday.  I remember them, and throughout the week I find myself correcting my behavior/thoughts because I remember something the Pastor said.  Paul and I have both grown spiritually.  I’ve never been good at consistently staying in the word, and it feels so important now.  My prayer life has improved, and I find myself relying more on God than I ever have before.  I am so happy to be a part of this church family, and I am so excited to continue to grow in Christ!

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” – Hebrews 10:24-25

Finding the Right Fit

Church is a commitment Paul and I have every Sunday.  It’s never a discussion.  We never wake up and say, “Are we going to church today?” It is a priority of ours, and without fail, we will be there every Sunday, and we will plan our day around church.  That being said, finding the church that is the right fit for you is difficult.

In Tallahassee, I really liked our church.  Which is funny, because the first few times I went with my sister and brother-in-law I didn’t care for it too much aside from the Pastor.  He was amazing.  I hopped around to a few churches, before finally I decided to give their church a chance, and when I did it grew on me so quickly.  I got involved in the nursery, and Paul and I did a couple small groups.  In all honesty, when we moved I was really upset to be leaving a church that I actually felt I was forming a connection with.

When we moved to Orlando, we started going to the church I grew up in.  I think this was just because we were getting settled into our new life, and we wanted to be sure we were still going to church.  At first Paul wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but it’s really grown on him and he likes it a lot.  I was actually the one who decided I don’t feel at home in this church.  The church here is great, and I’ve always absolutely LOVED it, because it was what I was used to.  After being exposed to a completely difference church experience in Tallahassee, it just isn’t what I picture as a church home anymore.  I am quite literally craving a different church environment.

I’ve tossed around the idea in my head for a while to try new churches, but Paul was getting comfortable where we were.  Each week that we go to church, I just feel this longing to have an environment similar to the way they were back in Tallahassee.  A close knit community, and relationships that we were building.  This past weekend, I had something come up that took longer than expected and we missed the early service at church.  So we decided to go to the later service, but instead I started browsing the internet for other options.  I asked Paul how he felt about trying a new church, and he was on board.  So we headed to a new church.  This church was great.  We talked to more people in the first 5 minutes at this church, then we had in the first 5 months at the church we’ve been attending.  During worship I actually was smiling to myself, because I felt like we were finally getting the atmosphere I now expect from a church.  The sermon was great!  Paul and I definitely enjoyed the experience, and we would go back, but we also found that we were probably the youngest couple there.  Quite possibly one of the only couples in our age range, and there was probably only a handful of kids.

We really want to find a church that has EVERYTHING we are looking for.  We want a church with powerful worship, an excellent Pastor that goes through scripture, younger families, and a feeling of community.  Now that we’re settled here in Orlando, I think we’ve officially decided to begin our hunt for the right fit for us.  I’ve already done more searching and found the church we will try next week.  I have high hopes for this church, and I just pray that eventually we will find our new church home.

Time for a Testimony

This entire year has been a testimony to our faith.  There have been so many stories and blessings this year, but I figured it was time to share one of my favorites.

If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, you may remember that I’ve previously talked about the struggles we have had financially in 2014.  Starting in January we got hit with huge unexpected expenses one right after the other, and they haven’t quite ended but God has continued to provide for us through everything.

After Paul’s visit to the ER in February, we were getting hit with all sorts of medical bills.  Unfortunately, we had to hit Paul’s deductible before his insurance kicked in.   Unfortunately, our income varies month to month.  We know what to expect for my job, but Paul’s job was purely commission based. It varied every month, and with all of these bills coming in it was a little overwhelming.  Paul and I got a little stressed out, but we continued to pray about it.

One day, Paul got a call from someone about a product he sells.  This gentleman was referred to Paul by a friend who had met Paul at a trade show the year before.  This person never actually worked with Paul or bought from Paul and he ended up leaving the industry, but over a year later he referred his friend to Paul.

So Paul answers the phone, and begins talking to him.  Soon they determine that the products Paul sells is exactly what this man is looking for.  I believe his exact words to Paul were, “You’re an answer to my prayers”.  A few days later, the order is placed.  Paul immediately tells me the sale and the commission he will receive, which is almost exactly the same amount as one of his medical bills.

The best part of the whole sale was that this gentleman’s company was Christian based, and included the acronym “TYL”, which just happened to stand for “Thank you Lord”.  If that was not God showing us to trust in Him, and to know that He will provide for us, I don’t know what is. This man told Paul he was an answer to his prayers, little did he know he was an answer to ours.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27

Good Reads

I’m a homebody.  I didn’t use to be, but at some point I became one and I am more than okay with it.  I may only be 25, but there is nothing about a night out at a bar that appeals to me… at all.  I absolutely love the idea of curling up in bed, on my couch, outside with a good book.  Well in the whirlwind that has been 2014 so far, I have not been reading.  You would think with all the traveling we have been doing I’d be doing a lot of reading, but it’s quite the opposite.  So after Paul and I got home from our anniversary weekend getaway last weekend, I told him, “Next weekend, I am doing nothing.  I am going to read, and lay in bed and not move”.  I did just that this weekend (along with some errands and hanging out with my sister’s adorable family),  and it was awesome!  In the last week, I had time to read 2 books and they were both awesome so I figured I would share, because if you’re like me you’re always looking for a good read!

It’s a God Thing

By Don Jacobson & KLOVE

So this book has been on my list to read for quite some time.  I keep hearing about it on KLOVE, and last weekend when Paul and I ate at Cheesecake Factory in Jacksonville for our anniversary, it was only appropriate to stop at Barnes & Noble next door to browse.  I ended up finding this book, and I’m so glad I did.  This book is a compilation of short stories from different people and the everyday miracles God performs.  I LOVED this book.  It was a quick and easy read since each story is only 2-3 pages.  They are interesting, and so many of them had me thinking “GOD IS GOOD!”.  Not just that though, it also had me thinking about the events that have happened in my life and it made me think that more of it is God than I may have even considered in the past!  I think it helped me realize what counts as a “miracle”.  Some of the miracles are so small, and yet so huge.  When we think miracles, we think turning water into wine or feeding the thousands!  But this book just goes to show that God still performs miracles every single day.  We just have to acknowledge them!  I also discovered there is now a volume 2 and that may be on my list of things to read shortly!

Making Faces

By Amy Harmon

This book was lent to me by my BFF via Nook and it was awesome.  I finished it in 2 days.  I laughed and cried during this book.  It’s a romance novel that takes place in a small town where 5 boys go off to fight in the Iraq, and only 1 comes back.  When the 1 boy comes back he is filled with heartache and self hate.  The story is about how he overcomes his struggles and falls in love with a girl who is beautiful inside and out.  During the story beautiful friendships are created, and they overcome so many obstacles for a small town and a close knit group of friends.  Not only is it a good read, but it also includes pieces of scripture and has a Christian base in the story.  It is an easy read that I couldn’t put down.

Hopefully I will be able to read more over the coming weeks, and I’ll share the good ones and even the not so good ones!

Happy Monday!

Wedding Memories

I cannot believe that this weekend is Paul and I’s first anniversary!! This year has flown by, and I cannot help but reminisce on our wedding day.

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I remember waking up to pouring rain, and unable to fall back asleep so I left the hotel to go buy breakfast for my amazing bridesmaids.  I remember thinking all morning that the rain wouldn’t stop in time, and trying to tell myself that it didn’t matter.  I remember being completely bummed when the florist brought pink bouquets for our purple and gray wedding.  I kept telling myself that regardless of what happened, I would be Mrs. Millard at the end of the day and that is all that really mattered.  I remember my family and friends going above and beyond to make my dream wedding come through.  Rain or shine they would make it perfect.

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I remember being so nervous to see Paul, and as soon as I saw him my nerves went away and the excitement came.  I remember thinking I was crazy for planning a wedding in July, in Florida… AKA rainy, humid, hot season.  I remember taking pictures all over the plantation, and being surrounded by little gnats.  Paul kept ruining pictures by swatting them away, and when I was trying to be sweet and let Paul know I would keep the bugs out of his face I made a comment along the lines of, “Stop babe, I’ll blow you”, it came off completely inappropriate sounding and Paul and I died laughing with our photographers which resulted in this picture that I love.

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I remember the clouds clearing just in time for pictures.  I remember getting overwhelmed with emotions when I saw my daddy through the window.  I remember the chaos of starting the ceremony about 15 minutes early to beat the huge storm rolling in, and briefly turning into a bridezilla hoping we would beat the rain! I remember walking down the aisle linked arm and arm to my daddy as he gave me away to the man of my dreams.

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I remember taking communion during our wedding, at which point my dad said, “Now would be a good time to put Paul’s ring on the right finger”, and I almost spit out my drink everywhere.  I remember being comforted by Pastor David marrying us.  I remember getting to kiss my husband for the very first time, and celebrating late into the night with family and friends.

Now Paul in just a moment, I’m going to invite you to kiss the bride. This is not an ordinary kiss, Paul. This is the first time that you’ll ever kiss your wife… Make it count. Paul you may kiss the bride.

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It was the most chaotic day, and so incredibly perfect at the same time.  I am so glad Paul and I decided to hire the videographers, because it is by far one of the best ways we have to remember our wedding!

That’s What I Love About Sundays

Growing up my parents always made sure we went to church.  It was a non-negotiable in our house, and it often drove me crazy.  I was NOT a morning person growing up (I’m still not, but the requirement to be at work by 8am Monday -Friday has really helped force me to adjust), and I would miss out on fun things my friends were doing.  Needless to say, my parents waking me up to be at church by 8:30 on a Sunday, one of the only days I got to sleep in, was not high on my list of things that made me happy.  Then add that I missed out on sleepovers, beach days, etc. with my friends, which to a teenage girl is pure torture not to be involved in activities all your friends are doing.

Eventually, our parents actually changed our church schedule to Saturday nights for a few reasons, and I was so excited!  It helped my whole sleeping in issue, and I got to have sleepovers and go to the movies, etc after church on Saturday night.  As time passed though, even that wasn’t a good enough compromise.  Once I had a car and my own freedom, my Saturday night plans really filled up quickly only to be reminded by my lovely mom that we had church.

Fast forward to college when I transferred to FSU.  Church became something I attended very sporadically for a year or so.  I guess after a while, a part of me realized I needed to be going so I started meeting my sister and her husband at church on Sundays.

Fast forward even further to the present.   I have grown more in my faith in the last two and a half years then I have my entire life.  My parents laid the foundation of my beliefs for me, but I never really grasped the importance of applying it to my daily life.  I don’t know what exactly made it click for me, but I know exactly when it started.

Now I look forward to church on Sundays.  Paul and I plan our day around attending church.  I feel refreshed after we go and I started volunteering in Sunday School to get more involved.  It’s the best place for me to go when I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious.  It is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my Husband, even though we aren’t talking with each other.  Nothing makes me feel closer to God then a great worship and spending time in His Word.

My outlook on Sundays have forever changed, and I have my parents to thank for providing a strong Christian household for us to grow up in.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6