Processing the Last Year in Light of Psalms 23 & 24

A few weeks ago I heard a sermon on Psalms 23 and 24 and I can’t stop thinking about the implications of these two passages. Don’t you just love when that happens?

I’ve been planning to post a blog about Psalm 23 in particular, and when I went to write it I realized it was almost July 14th, so I decided to wait and combine my posts. Some of you may not realize the significance of this date, but exactly a year ago today three friends and I set out on our cross country adventure from SoCal to DC. I won’t go into the details of that trip here or about why I uprooted my life to move back across the country (after moving from Boston to SoCal six years earlier), but you can read about it in this post where I announce my big move news. And for fun, you can read about how I was feeling three weeks before the move and one week before the move.

But, back to the blog at hand :); we all know I ramble.

change-quotesAs I thought about the truths in Psalms 23 & 24 and realized it’s been a year since I left California, the two thoughts collided; the aftermath of which was beautifully enlightening and deeply comforting.

Psalm 23 describes the Lord as a Shepherd. This psalm is often a passage that’s read at funerals or used for comfort in troubling times, but my recent studies have reminded me of the rich truths and encouragement it offers for all seasons of life. As one of His sheep, the Lord leads me, never leaves me, always knows what I need and in what season I need it.

Psalm 24 declares the Lord as the King of Glory. Not only is He near to His children, but He is King over all and will be glorified no matter what. He is all powerful, mighty in battle, all knowing, and He is the one who established the earth and all of its inhabitants. Nothing in my life is out of His control and He is the author of my salvation.

When I think about the last year of my life, I am immensely comforted by these two Psalms. When I think about the events and realities of the last four months I find great hope and rest in these two passages. Not only have I experienced all four seasons that DC has to offer in the last year, but I’ve walked through several seasons of my life and relationship with the Lord in the last year.

I’m grateful to be on the other side of this past year, reflecting on all that’s happened and all I have learned.  

This last year has been full of amazing and heart breaking experiences, challenging, eye-opening and inspiring circumstances, uncertainties, confirmations and HOPE.

It’s been a year consisting of more changes and transitions than I could have ever anticipated or expected. It’s been a year full of developments that have challenged my trust in the Lord, my perspective of friendship, my ideals and desires to one day have a significant other, my thoughts on celebrating and suffering well with others and so many more of my ideals.

It’s been a year that has revealed my expectations for church life (both preferential and biblical), my desires toward ministry, toward service and how the Lord would use me within the body and His kingdom. It’s been a year that has stretched my comfort zones in more ways than I could explain here and a year that has solidified desires I have toward my career and personal life a like.

It’s been a year that has resulted in new and changed relationships from near and far. I’ve seen friendships grow in spite of distance and friendships strengthen regardless of proximity or circumstance. This past year has been one that’s resulted in glimpses of “what could have been” and “never would be,” to lessons in “what may still be,” “what is worth the wait,” “what’s worth the sacrifice and heartache,” and “what doesn’t really matter in the end.”

This has been my reality since last July.

But as I ponder the last twelve months, I find myself being most thankful for the fact that it’s also been a year that has expanded my understanding of the Lord and His word, my worth in Him, my purpose in Him and my desires to trust Him through every season still.

Psalm 23 reminds me that the Lord has my best interest in mind. He makes me rest when I need it, He leads me through dark seasons of life when I can’t see, He sits me by still waters when I am in need of refreshment, and He comforts me with His rod and staff by preventing me from making unwise decisions or drawing me back to the fold when I’ve wandered too far.  He’s been faithful this past year and all the years of my life, and will continue to be!

Psalm 24 reminds me that my God is in control and no matter what happens He is still the King and will be glorified. No “unexpected” changes in my life are outside of His power or knowledge and all things will work together for His glory and my good. He will win the battle, He has made a way in Christ and I am blessed in Him because I belong to Him.

In light of everything I can wholeheartedly say that it’s been a wonderful year; through the tears, the fears, the smiles and the laughs I can say “thank you, Lord!”

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing to Trust the Lord in the Midst of Changes

Well, here I am again. I know it’s been a while; in typical Jenn fashion, I’ve been a busy bee and a little unsure what to post about first. But, I finally got the motivation bug this evening and I just had to share about the goodness of the Lord during times of unexpected change in life lately.

You see, I did not anticipate some of the changes that have occurred in this season of life and I may have been a bit shocked by some of them, BUT in the midst of it all the Lord remains constant and has continuously reminded me of several things that have been carrying me through this season.

Some of those reminders include:

  • His will is always most important.
  • His ways are not my ways. His methods are not my methods.
  • This earth is not my home.
  • He knows all, and thus much more than I do about anything and everything.
  • He will lead me in the path of righteousness and it may not look like I think it should or expect it to look.
  • He has made promises to His children and He is faithful to fulfill those promises – even when my human perspective is discouraged by how things look to be adding up.
  • He is my only constant and will never change.
  • He is simultaneously working in the lives of others. Sometimes His guidance for myself and them will seem contradictory and at times His plan for changes in our lives will seem to collide – but I can’t see the whole picture and I may never need to.
  • He sees me. He knows me. He loves me. He continues to pursue me.
  • He is always intentional;  in fact He created intentionality and calls us to experience the wealth of His pursuit and provision through Christ.
  • He has a plan and will often use unlikely and undesired means to bring about His purposes – like suffering.

Even though this is a longer list, this is really just to name a few of the truths about the Lord that I’ve been attempting to rest in lately.Hebrews

To top it all off, it’s been such a sweet and timely season of studying the books of Hebrews and Acts with some friends. Studying and learning about Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood through Old Testament applications has been awesome. Being reminded that Christ was made perfect through suffering has been humbling. Seeing the many changes and experiences the early church went through in Acts has been encouraging. Walking through these changes with a solid community of believers (literally here in DC and in other states) has been an immeasurable blessing.

Sure, there are many things in my life that seem uncertain right now or that I might find myself “wishing” had turned out differently, but I can say in  the midst of it all that my God has not changed, He is worthy of my trust and will never forsake His promises of my inheritance in Him once this life fades away. In Him and by His Spirit, I can fight the many spiritual battles alongside the amazing Christ-like siblings He’s placed in my life and pray through the changes – as each comes my way.

I’ll leave you with a passage that I can’t get enough of right now, and a quote from John Piper that’s been a continuous reminder to persevere in the forward fight to choose trust in the Lord no matter what. Enjoy and be encouraged!

Paraphrase: “…exercise the organ of faith in pumping the blood of obedience.” – John Piper in a sermon about The Doctrine of Perseverance.

Hebrews 10: 19-25: “19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.”

Life Has Been Rather Busy… But I’m Back With the Longest Post Ever!

I cannot believe that it’s been almost two months since my last post!  Wow, what an uncommitted blogger I can be sometimes. I am still hoping to build up my blog and to gain more of a following; which I realize is going to take some serious dedication and effort. I’ve been trying to take pictures of recipes I’ve been trying and adventures I’ve been having so that I can post lots of fun material in the New Year – 2015 is going to be my blogging year!

But enough of the apology for not posting, I’ve got some updates for those of you wondering about what I’ve been so busy doing these last two months! In short, since my last post I’ve traveled to the other side of the country and made several visits to see my family in Maryland. I’ve also had some great explorations around DC, Georgetown and Virginia. 

At the end of October I went to California for almost two weeks. I had the privilege of visiting my friends and loved ones there, worked in the office with my SD loves and celebrated the marriage of two good friends. I was there for Halloween (I took advantage of my freshly cut bangs/hair style and dressed up like a well known cartoon character from the 90s, otherwise known as Daria). I got to visit my favorite place in SoCal: DISNEYLAND! I even got to participate in a yummy family tradition of dear friends of mine; we made homemade donuts and watched an old thriller on Halloween night. Needless to say, I spent some much needed time with my team at work and I got to spend time with so many of my good friends from the six years that I lived there and overall it was a fantastic trip. Here are some pictures from that visit:

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I got back to DC after the first week of November and had a lot to do for work, church stuff and familial commitments – I dove right back into the routine!

Our church plant has been meeting on Sunday mornings at a local Starbucks (this coffee addict likes that of course) and our core group has been meeting on Sunday nights. Our Sunday mornings have been reminiscent of my Youth Ministry days (both as a leader and as a student). It’s been such a unique and fantastic experience to return to this concept of working through our faith “like a child” with pictures and small groups and white boards. I’m excited that our Sunday mornings have actually broken the mold (for now) of what I’ve grown accustom to expect of a church gathering.

Our Sunday nights have been times of much discussion about vision and direction, as well as getting to know one another and encouraging each other in our walks. Everyone has a story and I absolutely LOVE learning about their stories in bits and pieces and even all at once over a coffee or dinner date. I continue to grow in love for this group of people and I am beyond blessed to call them my church family. At times it’s still surreal to me to think that I’m here, living in DC on mission with such an amazing group of people. The Lord truly has spoiled us with such a well-rounded  team and it’s all possible because of Him.

November was full of good times with friends. I had friends from Baltimore come down to Pentagon City for a day and I got to meet up with them for lunch at the mall there (and do a little Christmas shopping!). I also fit in several coffee dates and dinners with people from my church that I had been hoping to connect with before the holiday season.

In other November news, my roomie Mandi and I volunteered with the McLean Bible Church Turkey Outreach and owned the frozen turkey line for a good hour. Emilie and I hosted a Hunger Games movie day at our house a few weeks ago; a group of six women came over and we literally were here from lunch until 9 pm eating and talking. We watched both Hunger Games movies in preparation for the third one being released and then a group of us from our church went to see it the day it came out. It was a blast smuggling Mexican food into the theater (thanks, Derek) and getting lost in the twisted story that is the third Hunger Games movie.

November also brought the opportunity to explore Georgetown since moving to DC. I had a fabulous tour guide; my friend Melissa actually works at Georgetown University, so she knows the area really well. We went to lunch at this delicious french cafe and had delicious savory and dessert crepes. We experienced the water front of Georgetown and enjoyed a caffeinated beverage from Baked and Wired (such clever marketing!). Here are some pictures from my afternoon in G-town and from the outreach at McLean:

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November ended on the best note of course: Thanksgiving weekend!  It’s my favorite holiday for many reasons, but most importantly this year I got to spend it with my family for the first time in a while. Not only were my brother, his girlfriend and their two kids in town from WV, but my little sister and her boyfriend were in town from VA Beach and I loved seeing my older sister and her three kids. What made it more special was that all four of my mother’s children were present for this one. We had a great time and my good friend Emilie joined us for the day. I stayed with my grandma for four days, took my youngest niece out for a birthday shopping spree and dinner, and got to visit some dear friends of mine on my way back to DC. Here are some pictures to commemorate the occasion:

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Enter December  2014. I mean where did the time go?! December came so quickly and here we are eleven days into the month and it feels like the final two weeks have already been used up. I started the month off getting a Christmas tree with the roomies, starting the decorating process of our home and preparing for my trip to California for our final work week of the year. December also started with a much needed coffee date with a great friend from my church (she is a fellow two “n” Jenn) and making cake pops for my niece’s 9th birthday party.

I went back up to Baltimore for her mustache themed party and it was so much fun. I haven’t been able to make it to any of her birthday parties because I’ve always lived too far away; it was important for me to be there and to help make it a special day. I absolutely love this little lady and her siblings. My nieces and nephews are so dear to my heart! Here are some pics from the mustache shenanigans:

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This week I’ve been finalizing my prep for my work trip next week, all while working each day and decorating/baking stuff to prepare for our holiday open house and our church’s Christmas party this weekend. It’s all fun, but as you can see it’s been really busy and I am looking forward to exhaling on January 2, 2016. My trip to Cali should be a good time of productivity and connecting with loved ones and then I’ll be traveling to see family for a few days over the Christmas weekend.

Writing this post has made me stop in the business and reflect on the Lord’s many blessings and realize how I take them for granted all too often. My hope and prayer for this up coming year is that I would be more vocal about my appreciation and love for the people the Lord has allowed me to cross paths with and to walk this life with. I also pray that I would grow in gratitude toward Him for my salvation and His plan for my life and increase the times I allow myself to get lost in knowing Him and getting to know Him better.

Now that the longest post ever is finished, this blessed (and spoiled) woman is going to bed. Good night world!

Our Front Porch of Missional Opportunities

City life consists of busy streets, row homes and front porches! I knew I would enjoy moving to the city, mainly because I like so many things about the fast pace life of city living and all that comes with it; but I didn’t see myself enjoying having a front porch as much as I have. 

I mean, it’s fantastic. I know, I know: it’s just a porch. But it really isn’t just a porch.

IMG_4659Our front porch is this amazing window of opportunity every time we leave our house. When we see a neighbor sitting outside on their porch or walking by with their dog it can be (and has been) the chance to hear more of their story – more of who they are, who they want to be, where they came from and everything in between!

I was inspired to write this post because in less than 24 hours the Lord has provided opportunities for myself (and my roomies) to interact with at least 4-5 of the neighbors on our street. That’s at least 8 people who we didn’t know 7 weeks ago, but who we’ve been given the opportunity to get to know since moving in.

We are beyond blessed to have such a missional gateway. It’s so clear that we have been called to intentionally live life on this street, getting to know these specific souls. It’s really humbling and phenomenal and fun – and all at the same time.

We haven’t even been here for two months and I’ve learned about their jobs, their schooling, their likes and dislikes, their generosity, their curiosity about us moving here and our churches, their habits and more. BUT there is so much more to learn and much more investment to be made – literally it’s limitless.

When I left California the reality of my relational mission field changing so drastically was something I didn’t want to think too much about. Although I was confident making this move was the right decision, my heart was torn about the significant changes that could occur in the deep friendships I have built with co-workers and the relationships Emilie and I had been building with some of our neighbors. It’s still something that I have to come to terms with and balance properly, because physical distance is the reality. However, the Lord has not only been gracious to allow many of those relationships to continue and remain strong across the miles; but He’s also given me a mission field literally and immediately a step outside my front door.

IMG_3365It’s a porch that’s quickly being surrounded by the telling of stories. It’s a stoop that’s becoming common ground to share life experiences with people who were strangers less than two months ago. It’s a set of stairs that’s the setting for a witnessing opportunity. It’s our missional stepping stone and the door to our relational welcome mat (and our literal one).

I can’t wait for us to get a bench out there! 

 

 

 

7 Updates on Life & My Move to DC

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, but here we are at the tail end of it all.

If you’ve been following my journey to DC, you know that my friend Emilie and I will be moving to DC soon. In fact, we’re moving next week! We’ve packed up our stuff, filled two U-Boxes, shipped everything off and mapped out our cross country road trip. We start our drive on Monday. AHHHH!  I’m a little excited about it because I absolutely love road trips.

I can’t believe it’s already here, and yet I’ve had moments where it feels like the days are passing by so slow. But I know soon enough I’ll be on the open road pondering about how my last two weeks in California flew by with just the blink of an eye (I wasn’t planning on that rhyming, but I kind of like it). It’s been an exhausting and fun couple of weeks; between the many “final” hangouts and lunches, working and creating, preparing my car for the trip and looking for housing in DC.

Since it’s late,  so I’m going to try to type this as fast as I can. But I thought I shouldn’t go too much longer before posting some updates about the last two weeks and my move to DC. So here are seven updates for your reading pleasure. Why seven? Well, it’s my favorite number and why not?

Here they are:

  1. Packing & Shipping:  We had a bunch of friends show up to help us pack our house throughout the month of June, to pack our UBoxes and to move our beds. We couldn’t have done it without them and I’m so grateful for the people that came to help us pack it all up. We managed to have many laughs throughout the process, which made it an awesome memory. We also were given the opportunity to give away stuff we couldn’t take and to be a blessing to several people who needed those items. It felt great to part with our stuff in that way.
  2. DC Housing: We still need to finalize a place to live in DC; but we’ve got an awesome third roomie (Mandi) whose been doing the leg work in DC to find the perfect place for us to call home. Please pray that we find the place by the time that we arrive in DC on July 21st. We’re confident that the Lord will provide the place in His timing and we’re even applying for a few this week.
  3. Cross Country Drive: We’re leaving bright and early on Monday, July 14th. I’m not a morning person, so I’ll be getting the largest coffee I can order and hoping my car mate doesn’t mind a little silence the first hour of the drive. We also have places to stay with people in every city but two. We’ve booked a hotel for one of those cities and we have some friends checking on options for us in the second city. I was so happy to see how many people supported our cause by connecting us with people who were willing to host four women over night as we make our way through each state. We’re still trying to raise money to cover our moving costs; we’ve raised about $500 of it so far (I think).
  4. Farewells: I’ve been spending “bye” time with people and it’s been super fun. I feel so loved and it’s been great to catch up and spend one-on-one time with dear friends. We also get two last chances to see people at our going away parties this weekend. Not only are our friends throwing us a going away bash this Saturday night, but our church is hosting a BBQ after church on Sunday. I know it will be a bittersweet time, but I’m looking forward to the memories that will be made at both parties and all of the hugs that will be passed around.
  5. Career Stuff: I’m still loving my new position. It’s been so much fun to get to know my new team better; I’ll really miss them when I move. I’ve also enjoyed exploring new ways to make magic happen within our industry – I work with amazingly talented and inspiring individuals. We also just had a fantastic mid-year meeting and it’s amazing to see the new adventures we plan to go on as a company. I’m privileged to be able to still be a part of it all from my new home in DC.
  6. Fun Times at Disneyland: It’s not secret, Disneyland is my favorite place in SoCal. So not only did I get to celebrate a dear friends birthday there last weekend, but I got to spend an entire weekend at my favorite place over the 4th of July holiday. There is A LOT of win in that sentence, I mean A TON of win! I had a blast and got to spend one of my last weekends in Cali with women I’ve been in a Bible study with since 2008. These are friendships that will continue across the miles and I’m so glad we got to make more memories before I moved.
  7. East Coast Greetings: There are lots of people I CANNOT wait to see once I get to DC. Family, friends and new church family. I’ll be driving up to Baltimore as soon as I can to give my family and friends there the biggest hugs and kisses. I’m going to plan a few mini road trips to see my little sister and my dear friends the Stanley’s as soon asI can. Our core team has been making their way to DC from different parts of the country and surrounding states. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again, meeting the new members and discovering everyone’s story. I’m excited to begin meeting with our team regularly and building deeper relationships with our new community. Reunions in general are the best, so bring it on!

There you have it folks. Stay tuned for some fun updates from the road as our cross country adventure begins.

Thoughts on Giving & Meeting Needs

Yesterday my friend Corrine and I had the privilege of writing thank you notes to the people who donated to help her and her husband pay their medical bills (you can see more about that here). It was a great way to reflect on how the Lord provided for their needs through the donations and generosity of others. As Corrine, myself and my roomie were talking about the concept of giving and meeting the needs of others, we started discussing the series our pastors are doing at our church.

As I thought about the concepts we were discussing, this thought came to mind:

Giving shouldn’t be a matter of “should I,” “how much” or “when to,” but rather a matter of “what or who to give to.”

This thought doesn’t just apply to giving money, but to time, emotions and talents as well. The Bible calls believers to give sacrificially and to give when the need comes up, not when it’s convenient for us. Whenever an opportunity comes up to give the Lord often brings to mind Proverbs 3:27-28; “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.”

I have to admit there are times when opportunities are presented and I miss them; sadly sometimes due to my selfishness and unwillingness to do good when I have the means to do so. When I think about selfishness and self preservation I realize that, at their core, they truly reveal a serious lack of trust in the Lord. So it wasn’t surprising to realize that the same chapter where the verses above can be found are the often quoted Proverbs 3:5-6; “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

These verses are life verses for me and I can recall many times when they’ve been dear friends to me in great times of despair. They have also been reminders to continue to look to the Lord in times of great blessings. And of course they have been exhortations in times of learning and growth. I just love how the Lord reveals new layers and truths through His Word over time and in different seasons of our lives!

Which brings me back to our  current sermon series, “The Practice of Giving.” I must say that I am BEYOND grateful for how our pastors have approached this topic. The topic of money is always a tough one to cover, but the topic of how to be kingdom minded with our money is another battle entirely. I’m proud of my pastors for how they’ve discussed these issues in their sermons and I’ve been challenged in many ways.

I’ve been challenged to approach this concept of giving from all angles, not just from the perspective of money. I’m challenged to ask myself how I’m giving of my time in prayer for others, in service to others and in making myself available to meet needs that come up. I’m challenged to ask myself if I’m missing any opportunities to meet needs around me because I’m so consumed with myself, with materialism, with “my time” and/or my “to do list.” And of course many of the opportunities that come up will be to help meet financial needs, so I’m challenged to ask myself if I’m trusting the Lord to provide when He presents an opportunity for giving financially -it’s His money any way!

Lastly, the Lord continues to challenge me to trust Him to provide for my current needs with moving to DC. As the date gets closer He’s revealing that these needs aren’t just financial, though it would be easy to be consumed with that aspect of it. There are needs of prayer, needs of physical help with moving, needs of encouraging words and even needs of  farewell hugs.

So often we think that the word “giving” only refers to financial giving, especially when mentioned in a church setting, but that’s not always the case. Giving means acknowledging the Lord in all we do and trusting Him to make our paths straight. Giving means trusting the Lord in all areas of life; whether that’s seeking Him to answer the question of “where or who to” to give to or surrendering our own needs to Him and trusting Him to provide above all that we could ask or think of.

I know it will continue to be a long road of progressive sanctification, but my prayer for you and I is that the Lord would create in us hearts that desire to give and surrender to Him in every way that He calls us to.

Remembering a Brave & Godly Man

In 2009 I joined a Jr. High ministry team at Cornerstone SCV that was made up of people who would truly change my life. We helped start a new Jr. High ministry at our church and through that we became friends, confidants, and really a family. I am grateful to say that I am still close friends with several of those team members to this day and if the Lord wills we will remain good friends for years to come. Our time in ministry together was a special and cherished time and one of the most blessed times I’ve experienced serving in ministry thus far.

5029_100447011711_3604565_nToday I remember one of my dear brothers from that team. His name was Brandon Chandler. He was a kind, fun, and brave young man. But most importantly he was a godly man – he loved Jesus with all of his heart and he constantly challenged me to do the same. Today marks three years since he went home to be with the Lord and I’ll admit that selfishly there are moments when I wish he were still here.

ImageHis story is one of incredible faith, unbelievable challenges and deeply rooted JOY. The brief version is that he had three encounters with cancer throughout his 28 years on this earth and the Lord used Chandler to show what He can do with a man who would choose joy over any physical pain and emotional challenges that come with having a terminal disease – THREE TIMES! You can learn more about his story by watching the preview to a documentary called “Three to Six Months.”

Today I wanted to take time to reflect on the amazing person and wonderful friend that Chandler was. I still can’t believe how blessed I am to have been given the opportunity to serve in ministry with him, to spend Sunday afternoon lunches with him, to laugh for hours at games nights and to just call him friend. He was there to answer calls when I needed to talk about guy troubles, he was there to encourage me when I was down or anxious about things in life and he was there to cheer me on in the Lord when things were going well.

ImageI wish I could begin to express in words the kind of person he was, but my words and descriptions would never do him justice because he was such a beautiful and unique soul. But here is the kind of man he was in his own words; when Chandler received the news about his third cancer diagnosis he text a group of us and said “The doctor fouImagend tumors. Yes tumors in my lung. I’m not sure what happens next, other than God’s in control and He ALWAYS has a plan. Just keep praying. I love you all.” Even when I would ask him how he was during those last months of his life, he would encourage me to focus on the Lord and not his burdens and he would share verses for me to meditate on.

Though I only knew him for a little over two years my life will never be the same. I’ll always miss his laugh, his infectious smile and his generous spirit. Not a Sunday goes by that I don’t miss Brandon Chandler hugs, not a Wednesday goes by that I don’t miss playing crab soccer with Chandler and our Jr. Highers and not a week goes by that I don’t think “I miss Chan.”Image

I surely won’t forget the display of the Lord’s strength that he showed during the last months of his life. He truly believed and lived out the concept of “choosing joy” and I pray that I would follow Chan’s lead and trust God with a limitless bravery that doesn’t hold this life in such high esteem that I wouldn’t be willing to lose it to gain everything in Christ.