Whoa is it crazy to think we have been building 818 since around Thanksgiving last year. I just wanted to take a few minutes to update you on where we are at after 4 months of crocheting, sewing, writing and blogging.Since our social media launch on February 2nd, we have done 2 events (and the calendar is growing). The first was our launch event with The Grove Church in Kingston (pictures below).
We held this event at Gabby's Big Red Barn in Loudon, TN which was a beautiful venue. Rebecca's message from that night is below in 2 parts.
The second event we had a couple weeks ago was so encouraging! We made hats and wrote letters with a "sewing club" of sweet girls and their moms as well as sharing our story. If you did not catch the video on social media from this event - please check it out. I hope it encourages you. It was amazing to see such young girls invest their talent in such a big way to further God's Kingdom!
So far we've had around 45 hats made and donated to 818 as well as many more letters from both events that we've held.
2015 is not over yet and we have more events coming up!
God is so faithful and has also really blessed our devotional blog as well. We've written about faith, a word study on "so that", the "story of my life" series as well as the Ebenezer series that we wrapped up. Thank you for reading God's Word with us and getting plugged in!
Our presence on social media is growing! Over 250 people know who we are on Facebook and over 100 on Instagram. We also have around 70 subscribers to the blog. That is HUGE and could've only been accomplished by the Lord so we are so grateful.
A huge part of why our presence is growing is word of mouth. My encouragement to you is to share. Share our posts, like our pages and tell your friends about what we are doing!
One more thing.
Over the next month or so you should start seeing some new faces. On the website and the blog. We are going to have interns! Stay tuned but they will be contributing to the blog as well as helping with event planning, social media and marketing.
There's also Sarah Strong! She is a new writer to the 818 blog and we are so happy to have her insight. Rebecca and Sarah went to high school together and it is crazy to think that 6 years later they are doing ministry together here in Knoxville. Welcome aboard, Sarah!
So many good things to come. Thank you for praying for us and supporting us.
- The 818 Ministries Team
Proverbs 31:25, Hebrews 12:2
My senior year of high school (what seems to be a lifetime ago now) I adopted what most call their “life verse”. I always had a hard time with this concept because there are so many Scriptures that the Lord has used at different stages in my life as reminders, or Ebenezers, that He was, is and will always be present and in control.
During that year I did a study walking through Proverbs 31 and the Lord revealed a lot to me about who I was called to be as a woman of Christ. As a woman and future wife, I am to work hard (vs. 12-14), provide food for my family, to help those in need (vs. 20), to speak wisdom and be filled with faithful instruction (vs. 26).
For some reason verse 25 always stuck with me. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Yes. That is the woman I want to be. The one I want to become and pray to embody every day.
But as I study through each section of this verse, what seems to be simple language turns out to be tall orders if I am relying on anything apart from God’s strength.
The word strength means the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force or the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
The word dignity means a way of appearing or behaving that suggests seriousness and self-control.
And then I’m called to laugh. Laugh without fearing what is to come in the future. And reading that verse gets me pretty fired up about God’s calling over me. It gets me excited to use my spiritual gifts in the ways He has called me to ministry.
All those things sounded great my senior year of high school when the biggest worry or area of stress was who my prom date was going to be.
But what about when things get hard? Like that time I decided to train for my first half marathon? When Saturday morning long runs turned into 10, 11 or 12 miles there were days that didn’t feel so Proverbs 31-esque. I didn’t feel like resisting being moved or dealing with my problems in a determined way (my problem being finishing that run). And the reason I didn’t feel like it was because I was relying on my own strength and not leaning on the Lord with the athletic ability He gave me (no matter how small) to get through my first successful training cycle.
Or what about those moments in college where your convictions get tested? Sometimes appearing or behaving in a way that suggests seriousness and self-control isn’t so easy either.
The real test for me was a time where I really had to put the end of Proverbs 31:25 into practice. Last fall, I faced easily the hardest season of my (our) live(s) when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. How am I supposed to laugh without fear of the future when that is the card my family has been dealt?
One thing I’ve quickly learned is it’s impossible for me to approach life in any other way apart from relying on His strength and looking to and keeping my eyes on Jesus.
By His strength, I can resist being moved and can handle situations with determination.
By His power alone, I can behave in a way that suggests seriousness and self-control.
And by only His grace, I can laugh (or at least smile) without fear of the future.
The answer has always been and will always be Hebrews 12:2. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Usually, I feel a constant soft presence of God; the song on the radio that is exactly what I need to hear, the note left on my desk with the words I needed to be reminded of, or the random text that softens my heart in a moment of greatest need. But then we have those rare moments where it knocks us to our knees. That moment where everything else stops and you feel God’s holy presence in a hard way.
For me, this moment happened as I was in a season of life that took me from my composed self, to a hot mess express version of myself.
It was an in-between season of life where I wasn't feeling settled in any compartment of my life. And, if you know me, you know that being settled means a lot to my heart. I tend to lose grace, patience, love and mercy when my ducks aren't in a row. [I can breeze through having a couple ducks out of row, but not so much when every duck is floating in a different direction].
So on a very important morning in the midst of this crazy time, I was knocked to my knees by a text from my sister - and this was my Ebenezer moment.
In a season of begging God to remove expectations and calm my heart, I was struggling to feel Him moving at all in my life. Then, he used my sweet sister to permeate the deepest part of my heart. And as I read this, hot tears started flowing down my cheeks.
The message said….
“Good attitudes today!! Today is a new day. Just say you love him and try to feel for him the way God does. It helps me sometimes doing what love LOOKS like, even when I don't FEEL that much like loving.”
How true is that?
Loving when we don’t feel like loving.
Loving is choice.
And that is what we are called to do.
Just as we see in John 13:34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
In the midst of the craziness, my conditional love comes out. And that is not what God had in mind when he said to love one another.
So my Ebenezer reminder was a smack in the face to see people like God sees them.
I promise the way you see and love people will never be the same.