Be Multiplied

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve blogged!

This semester (and year), God has challenged me beyond what I thought possible. He has continued to show me His glory while molding me and stretching me all while pointing me to the cross.

If I had to sum up what He has been showing me currently into 2 words, it would be transparency and patience.

I have always hated my prideful tendencies and how that flaw in me surfaced most frequently around my like-minded friends. I was better than them because “I went to youth every Wednesday no matter how much homework I had”, or I love Jesus more because “I worship Him with my eyes closed”. I think pride first made itself known in my life when my parents split.

My life was perfect to everyone on the outside looking. When all that came crashing down, you better believe I tried my best to keep that perfect persona. I was too caught up in what people might think or what they were saying about my family behind my back to even admit that I was struggling and falling short of “perfection”. I was too proud to admit any issues I had been dealing with – even to my best friends. It was almost a year later before I came open to my friends or anyone in my church family about my feelings. In that time, my sin had such a hold on me that I wouldn’t even allow those that God had placed in my life to know any flaw in me. Pride is so ugly and dangerous.

My struggle with pride has of course continued down the road, but God has really showed me His intentions for me in living a transparent lifestyle. Letting down our guard can be an effective witnessing tool. It shows those who think that they will never be accepted by Christ because they believe that they have sinned too much, that there is hope for even the worst of us sinners. I consider myself a prime example.

No, not everyone knows everything about me. I don’t walk around with “I’ve drank alcohol underage” or “I’ve lusted over x amount of guys” on my forehead but if it means Jesus is glorified, I will humbly admit to my shortcomings and the many, many sins that make me the complete opposite of perfect and in need of a Savior every minute of every day. I need Him to show me how to swallow my pride so that His name is glorified. That, to me, is what living a transparent life means…that He gets the glory and perfect persona, not me.

“The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.” -Isaiah 2:11

Oh, patience. You are a tough one. Recently, during a retreat with my sorority sisters I expressed my deepest fear of being alone. I haven’t dated since I started college, I’m not the kind of girl to go out in search of a guy and pursue him, and I am just flat-out worried about my future.

After expressing my feelings, I had the opportunity to talk with one of my sisters about her similar worries and how “dating the Lord” helped her to find peace in His plan for her life. I am so thankful that He led her to share this with me because I am now spending more time with Jesus than I have in a long time. I believe that as I focus on Him, He will lead me.

“God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from GodIt’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.” -Lamentations 3:25-27 (The Message)

So with all that, I know that He will continue to teach me humility, transparency, and patience. Our contentment must be in Him, until then our souls will not be at rest. Thanks for reading!

For His glory alone!

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The 14 Differences Between The Boys You Date And The Men You Marry

Thought Catalog

1. The kind of man you marry says “I love you” and “I’m sorry” because he genuinely feels that way, and he never hesitates to be the one to say it first. The kind of boy you date says those things when an apology will get you off his case and an “I love you” will keep you around a little longer.

2. The man you marry asks you out. The boy you date asks you to hang out. The man you marry will be clear about his intentions. The boy you date will keep you questioning.

3. The kind of man you marry knows the art of treating someone to a night out, and he realizes that he should do so not because he’s a man and it’s his masculine responsibility, but because everyone deserves to be treated well and swept off their feet now and again. The kind of boy you…

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A Little Somethin’

This is a poem I wrote a few days ago for my media literacy class.  Some of you may be familiar with George Ella Lyon and his original poem, “Where I’m From”.  We were given a template/outline to help guide us in creating one of our own!  I am thankful for times like this that I am reminded of how fortunate I am to come from a truly special little town.  I really enjoyed writing this and reflecting on the vivid memories in my life thus far.  Assignments can be fun 🙂

“Where I’m from”

Abbey Parker

 

I am from “Small Town USA”

Where looks kill and genuine smiles soften the coldest hearts

 

I am from the old Country Club pool

From categories, gutter ball, and lunch at the club house

Golf cart rides to and from hole 4

 

I am from unconditional love

From brothers and sisters in Christ to blood kin

Where love will always remain

 

I am from First Presbyterian Preschool

From Bear Hunts, Mothers Morning Out,

Pecans on the playground and a bright yellow room

 

I am from Saturdays

From Sundrop slushies, a screened in porch

Pruned fingers, and suds in the bucket

Lynyrd Skynyrd blaring from a 1996 Jeep Cherokee

 

I am from “the big church on the hill”,

The safest place in the world

Where Sundays and Wednesdays never felt like a chore

 

From “cry night” at Caswell,

Inside jokes that better not be practical

Debriefing after a long, rewarding day

 

From endless rounds of “secret church” and “stealth”

3am in the blue room

Priceless memories

 

I am from South Aspen,

Lithia Inn,

South Poplar, and Quail Trail

 

I am from Christmas tradition

Robert Earl Keen, James Taylor, and Van Morrison

From monogrammed stockings

Familiar smells of candles and wine

 

I am from diversity

From traditional suburban homes and government housing

Races, ethnicities, republicans, democrats

From culture

 

I am from Von Ray Harris field

Friday night lights, a howling wolf,

And “the band with the bell”

 

From the familiar fight song, countless victories

“Hey! hey! Here we go” and cadence

Making faces to friends in the stands

 

From gold paw prints on asphalt

“Are you going to cookout?”

It’s a Lincolnton thing

 

I am from acceptance

From truth, accountability,

Lifelong friendships, and stability

 

A seed was planted,

A flower has blossomed

This is where I’m from

 

Aside

Hey y’all!  I’m not the best communicator when it comes to truly expressing myself verbally, but I have always found joy and satisfaction through writing.  I am so thankful that I was blessed with this gift.  It’s honestly a miracle that I have time to type this right now (actually I don’t.  It’s currently 2:04am so I made time, but don’t tell mom).  I just really felt led to share some things with anyone willing to read! This semester has been amazingly wonderful, stressful, inspiring, and annoying all at the same time.  Seriously.

About this time every week or so, I start digging up several photos from Facebook, Instagram, etc. in hopes of narrowing it down to the perfect, Instagram-worthy “Throwback Thursday” picture.  Silly, I know.

This one just happened to be the one I chose to post.

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Senior Homecoming.  September 23rd, 2011

As usual, I went through the motions: opened the Instagram app, pressed the camera button, found the picture in my photo album, tested every editing option to see which best highlighted my features (hefe of course), then arrived at the dreaded “write a caption…” screen.  Well, uhhhh…what now?

Holy flashback.  It honestly feels like this picture was taken a whole lifetime ago.  I couldn’t help but reflect on that day and other high school memories.

Last year at this time, I wanted to be back at LHS SO bad, I missed it all.  The Friday Night atmosphere, Kojack, the ringing of the famous “bell”, cheering so loud that I lost my voice, our amazing football team, the state championship game,  senior privileges, Sandy Sigmon, Ms. Clark, Mr. Cather, yearbook staff, Student Advisory Council, friendships, relationships, the NYC trip, and graduation.

I definitely cherish all of those memories, and am thankful for such a wonderful high school experience than not everyone has.  Looking back, now 2 years later, those four years were truly a blur.  Since then, I have learned and grown so much.  The ‘girl’ in this picture was in her own comfortable, and somewhat close-minded bubble.  She was selfish, prideful, and a huge people pleaser.  Now, I’m not implying that I regret the person I was throughout those years, but I definitely had some wrong intentions.

Making the transition to college wasn’t the slightest bit easy.  Coming from being a “big fish in a small pond” to an extremely small fish in an extremely large pond was a total slap in the face that I hadn’t exactly prepared for.  I was used to knowing every person I passed on the way to class but now, I didn’t know a soul.  I used to consider over half of my senior class as friends but now, I had about 4 friends (3 of which were from Lincolnton).

I wasn’t depressed, but nothing felt right.  My ‘perfect’ high school reputation certainly didn’t follow me as I had hoped.  I didn’t walk around with a smile on my face 24/7, my compassion for others was suddenly nonexistent, and I had completely lost my desire to learn and succeed academically.  I simply just wasn’t “Abbey” anymore.  Why?  I didn’t let Christ use me.  I can honestly count on one hand the number of times I utilized my spiritual gifts during the whole 8-9 months of my freshman year.  I refused to step out of the 15 by 12 dorm room I called my ‘comfort zone’.

However, this year has been a totally different story!  I feel my excitement building up as I type this.  First of all, I convinced my lovely parents to let me live in an apartment with my very first friends.  Although we get on each other’s nerves, I am thankful to live with 2 wonderful ladies.  There is never a dull moment when we’re together!  Also, (here comes the big part!) I decided to search for an organization that I could truly feel welcomed to, comfortable in, and receive accountability from. Through lots of prayer, I found just that and so much more.  The ladies of Sigma Alpha Omega Christian Sorority are absolutely incredible.  I can’t even tell you how continuously blessed I am by each and every one of them.  I have never came in contact with so many young women earnestly seeking after God’s heart.  I am beyond excited to officially become a sister THIS SUNDAY after almost 3 long months of the candidacy process!  I could not ask for a better support group to grow in faith and share these precious years with.

Along with SAO, I have had the privilege of being in wonderful classes led by professors who know their stuff.  I have never had so many projects and papers at once, but it has been worth every all-nighter.  The knowledge I have gained and the skills I’m developing will be tremendously helpful in my future classroom.

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2012 and 2013 have been extremely significant years in my early adulthood.  For me, college has allowed opportunities for spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth.  I still struggle with the same things I have my whole life, but my perspective has completely shifted.  Since the picture above, I have gained independence, confidence in my abilities, developed new passions, and have been able to make my faith my own.  Jesus Christ, the One true constant in my life, deserves all of the glory, honor and praise forever!

One thing remains!

Love,

Abbey