I thought it would be beneficial to use this last blog day of August talking about this summer and how the Lord has blessed all that we've had the chance to be a part of! SO...we'll start at the beginning.
I really had a hard time summing up God's faithfulness into one post. A quote I really see fitting in well with re-capping this summer for you comes from a book I'm reading through called Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick. It is the quote that became his vision for what is now Elevation Church, based in Charlotte, NC. It says,
"I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf."
I really have no words for how faithful God has been in this season. Check out our newest update for you below!!
In June, we did an event with The Grove Baptist Church's youth ministry where I spoke about our story and encouraged their youth to pursue ministry in creative ways and we made hats/wrote letters collectively as a group. The Lord really blessed that night and SO many teenagers had the chance to be a part of something that would impact others in a tremendous way. (Pictures below!)
THEN, we were asked to be a part of a youth conference in Gatlinburg, TN, called Teen Revolution. It was incredible and the Lord really blessed our time there. We had a booth set up where we got to talk with students as well as chaperones from all over the Southeast! Students who came by our booth also had the opportunity to sign up for the blog as well as write a letter that will be donated with a hat in the future!
In August, I had the HUGE privilege of speaking to a women's ministry in Gray, TN, called 4G's (Gray Girls Grow Godly) about what we do, how we got started and speak about ministry from a woman's perspective and how to use the gifts and talents we're given to glorify God. It was so great having the opportunity to speak in my hometown and to meet so many awesome women who share a heart for our mission! Below is my message from that night as well as a link to pictures from that night!
The only 3 words that could possibly describe this summer is...God is faithful. Lately, every time I have a conversation with someone about 818 Ministries, typically they ask how it's going. And over the last several weeks my answer has been, "I've learned to stop setting limits for God. Because he shatters them every single time." I entered into the season of launching 818 so expectant that God would provide, sustain and grow what He had called me to. But I had no idea that in the first year we would have the opportunity to be a part of SO MUCH.
So many of our subscribers (that's you!) have been so supportive of me, my team and this ministry and I could not be more grateful!
However, we're not done yet! 2015 is FAR from over. Check out our upcoming events on our events page:
Thank you for being a part of what God is doing in and through 818 Ministries. Our prayer is that it only continues to grow as the Lord sees fit.
Rebecca Dotson, Founder & Chief Hat Maker (CHM). She is an upper east TN native and resides in Knoxville, TN - the home of the Tennessee Volunteers. She believes in full belly laughs. Hope in the midst of a storm. The power of prayer and the grace and unconditional love of her everlasting, all-knowing, ever-present Savior. And that maybe long distance running is the cure-all for everything. Her mother's breast cancer diagnosis on September 18, 2014, sparked a longing and a conviction in her heart to make a bold difference for the Kingdom. She is passionate about women's ministry and feels strongly that God prepared her for her "such a time as this" to share her family's story to encourage others in their walk with the Lord. Her three biggest priorities in life are faith, family and fitness - in this order. And her life mission statement and hope is to leave others better than when she found them. A quote by Charles Spurgeon explains her heart for 818 Ministries very well - "...if it shall come to pass that for Christ's sake and the gospel's you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this - that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus."
Joshua 1:9, Psalm 91:4
“Who will listen to me? Who can help?” I cried out in my car one day at lunch after receiving a very discouraging email. Yet another conflict to be resolved on top of several already piled up.
No one ever promised being an adult would be easy.
I struggle with conflicts and tend to play out the worst scenarios in my head. But now this was real and needed to be dealt with soon or I was going to turn into a resentful person who lost the purpose of my life. Lost in dealing with the small details and not backing up to see the whole picture. Not realizing that my problems are so small and so insignificant compared to love and grace of our Savior.
So that day, I quickly remembered that God was there and would listen and help. While answers to prayer aren’t sometimes what we would choose in our own selfish desire, the One who numbers the hairs on our head knows how to provide and sustain us the most fully.
Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge.”
I spent some time in prayer broken in my heart of how to deal with my problems. You see, I like everyone to be happy. Even at my age while, in my mind, I know this isn’t possible, it’s still in my heart. I also have trouble asking for help. On any level. Getting to a point where I cried out for God was the ultimate place for me where I realized I cannot accomplish much on my own strength without relying on his love and provision. And He was right there as promised!
Do you have problems asking for help? Do you wait until you are at the exploding point to talk about something troubling you? Do you feel alone? Know that God is right there with us ALL THE TIME. He wants to comfort us. He is ready to listen – we just have to ask and trust that He will provide what answers are best.
Joshua 1:9 “Be strong, banish fear and doubt. Remember the Lord is with you wherever you go.”
What a joy it is to know that I don’t have to go through this journey all alone but have the ultimate Friend beside me! His love surrounds me.
Bethel Music says it well in their song You Make Me Brave.
I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow.
As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Colossians 3:12-14, Habakkuk 2:3
Confession: this is the fourth time I’ve opened a new blank document with a blinking cursor to write my blog post.
Every time I begin I write about our incredible God and all the love he lavishes upon us each day. However, I’ve quickly realized that our incredible God sends us reminders of that all the time. It’s in the sunset, when you hit all green lights as you run late to work, and when that one song you love that you really need to hear after a bad day comes on the radio. Reminders surround us all day every day that God loves us…but that makes it easy to take for granted exactly how much.
In the short time that has passed since I have fully accepted Jesus into my life, I have quickly come to realize that the way I live my life is a testament to how much I love Jesus. It might be easy to overlook small details of life and how our Lord is working in every little way, but to Him, if we live our lives for his Glory then we are showing Him and the world we do love Jesus.
Wondering how you might be able to fully live so that God is glorified in His rightful place in your life? Let’s strive for these three things.
1. Pray and Rejoice!
Seems simple, right? I’m embarrassed to admit how often I forget to pray. I get so used to being wrapped in God’s love for me, that I forget to thank him and show love in return.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
This is a formula for how to go about your day. Rejoice in the Lord’s name with everything you do. Pray without ceasing; pray when you are fearful, passionate, confused, etc. Pray in all situations for our Lord wants us to give Him everything that weighs on our hearts. Give thanks no matter what situation, whether it be good or bad, arises.
2. Pour out grace.
We’re Christians so we’re always happy and smiling, right? If you are, then personally I would really love to meet you and take a few pages from your book. If you’re anything like me then you occasionally wake up on the wrong side of the bed and your day is a little out of sorts. Let me remind you that even in moments like this, we still need to clothe ourselves with compassionate hearts, kind spirits, and love. We are children of God. We are chosen by Him to live for His will and share the Gospel with the world. How are we to do that and be taken seriously if we don’t act kindly and walk in humility, meekness, and patience? How are we to do that if we don’t act with love for our God pouring out of our hearts?
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” –Colossians 3:12-14
3. Trust Him.
Nervous about a job interview? Praying each night about finding the perfect guy? Sometimes we forget that our God, the one who created the Heavens and the Earth, who moves mountains can do anything. We forget to trust in Him during times of stress or heartache, we forget that his timing is absolutely perfect.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 we are reminded to, “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 your straight your paths.”
This is always refreshing to read. If I stop relying on myself to make things happen, and put my faith in the Lord, my paths will be straight. I can have my questions answered and my worries be calmed if I take my mind off all things “earthly”.
If there’s one thing I hold onto each and every day, it’s that God’s timing is nothing short of perfect. He will not give me more than I can handle and every moment is a time to remember that, “the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3
If it’s meant for you, it will come. If it hasn’t come yet, God is holding out for something even better.