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What We Have In Common With a Butterfly

Every time I pass my coffee table I can't help but stop and smell the the fresh lavender filling the air. My Mom and I took a trip to a nearby lavender farm in Oregon this summer and it was that day where I made my first bouquet.

We arrived to a lush purple field and hundreds of bees that were busy pollinating (if you want to overcome your fear of bees I suggest going to a lavender field!!). After we picked up some scissors and a basket we were filled with determination to make the perfect bouquet. While we were busy working something caught the corner of our eyes, it was a yellow and black butterfly sitting delicately on the plant right next to us!

“Maddie quick take a picture!!”

I awkwardly chased this butterfly around for longer than I would like to admit until I captured a photo. My Mom and I continued to watch this beautiful creature drink the sweet nectar from the lavender until it had enough of our “oohing” and “ahhing” and decided to fly away.

Before a caterpillar turns into a butterfly it has to undergo some work and transformation. Different body parts morph and change, they grow wings and become the creature that I chased around that day! As we made our way back to the car I couldn’t help but truly think how this beautiful butterfly had gone through a change, a metamorphosis, like I had when I decided to live my life for Jesus.

There is something that happens when we respond to Jesus’s pull on our hearts. There is a change when we listen to the Holy Spirit compelling us to draw closer to Him.

I remember a specific moment last year where I had been crying over a situation thinking “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to handle this” when He tugged on my heart to draw closer to Him. I felt the Holy Spirit in my heart so strongly, as Christ's love compelled me to lay my burdens before Him, to give my stress and worry over to Him, to give my old ways over to Him and to dive into His Word! My own metamorphosis began and I have been excited to grow with Him ever since.

When we decide to live our lives for Jesus we are no longer living for ourselves and our worldly pleasures. We are born again! We have a new purpose! The Bible calls us God’s Ambassadors in where our purpose and goal is to shine God’s light onto a broken world and to draw people to God’s grace and goodness.

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” // 2 Corinthians 5:15

Sometimes it can be tempting to retreat to our old familiar ways of living, but we have to remind ourselves that God has chosen us for His purpose! He has transformed us, He set His seal of ownership on us, and put His spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come// 2 Corinthians 1:22 It is all SO worth it in the end!

A caterpillar doesn’t turn into a butterfly overnight, and we don’t either! The Lord is constantly transforming us through trials, triumphs, and different seasons! Let’s embrace this change and live expectantly with faith.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” // 2 Corinthians 5:17

Maddie //  @maddieowens23

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Why College Might Not Be For You...

This title has either intrigued you or made you question what I am about to say. You may be freshman upset that you’re not at your dream school. You may be a sophomore who just broke up with your boyfriend of four years. You may be a junior who is struggling to find community. You may be a senior feeling uncertain about what is to come. I want to you remind you that the Lord is intentional. He has you at the school you are supposed to attend. He already sees you placed in all of your classes. He knows who will be in your group projects. He knew which RA and/or roommates you would need. He is preparing community to come. He saw your next steps before you breathed your first breath. I want to remind you that the Lord is intentional.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship created in the image of Christ for good works which God had prepared beforehand so we would walk into them.” I find this verse encouraging because there is a work God created for us before our parents knew we would be. We simply walk into that which he has already prepared. I want to remind you that the Lord is intentional.

What if this school year was the year you shared Christ in a bold way? What if you stopped and prayed for the person you sense in your spirit to pray for in the middle of a crowded path? What if you stopped complaining about studying and started thanking the Lord for the opportunity to go to college? What if you came to campus earlier to take a prayer walk with some friends? I want to remind you that the Lord is intentional.

There are hurting people who need someone to take a moment to speak life into them. I’ve realized everything the Lord offers He is. If you know the Lord, you know everything someone needs. What if you told the person who is walking in insecurity that Security has a name and it’s the Lord? What if you told the person who is contemplating death that Abundant Life has a name and it’s the Lord? What if you told the person who is crippled with anxiety that Peace has a name and it’s the Lord?

The Lord’s intentionality was displayed so clearly through His sweet son Jesus. You see Jesus stopped crowds for one. He was observant to look up to speak to the man in the sycamore tree. He taught those that were around Him both in words and deeds. He called things He saw in people out for others to hear. His presence left a lasting influence on those who were in it.

When I say college isn’t for you, I say it in the most sincere way. If you’re in college, you have the opportunity to share the Lord’s intentionality to those you meet in classes, dining halls, club meetings, group project meetings, etc. I believe for a believer, college is an opportunity for the Lord to touch more through you. This touch may be during school or trickle into the years to come. I pray Ephesians 3:17-19 over you. “Christ dwell in your hearts —that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Please remember you walk in the fullness of God wherever you go. He’s on campus with you. Don’t be afraid to share him with those around you.

Kristin Witcher // @kristinmwitcher

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Day 1 Recap: 2017 Delight Leadership Conference

BEST WEEKEND EVER! There are no words to describe the things that God did in the hearts and lives of every single person that attended, volunteered, or led at the Delight Conference. It's a weekend that we will be talking about for years and years to come! Our time together was full of stories, fellowship, worship, great food, transformation, and so much more. I'm so excited to fill you in on all that happened at our 2017 Leadership Conference. 

In all honesty, the past few months of my life have been really tough personally, and I've been struggling with seeing the value and purpose behind what I do at Delight every day. I've had moments when I wanted to give up, throw in the towel, and run in the opposite direction. I decided a couple of weeks before the conference that I was going to have to take on the attitude of just trying to get through the craziness of the conference with my head down. I honestly couldn't wait for it to be over so that I could get to the other side and take a deep long breath for the first time in a long time. I had no clue what God has in store for myself and the rest of the Delight community.

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Day 1 started bright and early on Friday morning with all of our leaders coming in in waves. At one point I stopped to look around the room and was shocked at how many people we had crammed into one room. It was such a beautiful depiction of the joy and energy within the Delight community. Every leader received a goody bag full of treats and gifts from our amazing sponsors after checking in at the registration table. Our space was decked out in all things pink-- from pink triangles to pink balloons, lanterns, and more--it was honestly quite the sight to see. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that they had come to the right place! (You know we love our pink here at Delight!) All of our volunteers did such an amazing job bringing the vision I had for this space to life. It was a Delight wonderland! Thank you for every last balloon that you blew up and every time you had to tape them back up when they fell down. The volunteers were seriously my heroes! 

We started off the morning with donuts from our pink donut wall and lots of coffee! Our friend Kirsten, who has been a part of Delight since the very beginning, and her husband led us in an AMAZING time of worship. They set the tone for the whole weekend and ushered us into the presence of Jesus. After worship, Rebekah Lyons came to speak about the difference in living out of a daughter identity and an orphan identity. It was incredibly powerful and challenged everyone in the room to dig into the places of their hearts to look for where they were truly finding their value. Thank you Rebekah for speaking with such passion and authenticity. 

We spent the rest of the morning in workshops discussing ways to strengthen our leadership teams and ideas for how to deepen weekly meetings. So many great ideas were shared and we can't wait to watch our leaders implement them through out the next year. We rounded out the afternoon with a leadership panel with four of our veteran chapter leaders. They shared so much wisdom and it was definitely a huge highlight of the weekend for everyone. Thank you to our incredible four panelists! 

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We finished out day 2 with two of our absolute favorite things--mexican food and testimonies! It was such a special night. Everyone came back after a short break and ate lots of tacos from one of favorite Nashville spots, Baja Burrito. After dinner, one of our new regional directors, Brenna, got up to share her testimony. It was an incredible act of vulnerability and it created an atmosphere where everyone in the room felt comfortable to be vulnerable too. So many walls were broken down that night because of it. This is what Delight is all about! Everyone spent the rest of the evening with their breakout groups sharing their stories. It was so cool to realize that you weren't alone in your struggles and that women from all over the country were going to be thinking and praying for you in the months to come!

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Needless to say, Day 1 was incredible! God did so much in my heart that I know I will be reflecting on for many days to come. I'm so grateful for so many people in the Delight community for helping to make this weekend what it was. We could not of done it without you! Be sure to watch our recap video below to see more of what our day included. Also, check back later in the week for a recap of Day 2! I can't wait to share more! 

All my love,

Mac // @macleighwilson

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Life way Women, Catalyst Conference, Pure Barre, Rifle Paper Company, This Bar Saves Lives, Fave4 Hair, Horacio Printing

THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS

Megan Miller, Sean and Dianna Baker, Tad and Kelly Thormodsgaard, Karen and Chuck Wilson, Lynn Taylor

THANK YOU TO OUR STAFF + INTERNS
Melanie Riddick, Brenna Mckamey, Kailey Coiner, Bryson Satariano, Mackenzie Davis, Emily Jordan, Emma Eells, Emelie Harris, Whatley Hamilton, Haley Gilliand

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Why Saying Goodbye Is A Good Thing

The end of summer vacation brings the inevitable for most of us—goodbyes. Sometimes the goodbyes come quick and easy, and we’re out the door and find that we only looked back once, excited to walk into the new things ahead. However, sometimes they are the thing we dread most about heading back to school. Last summer I fell more into the first category. This summer is a completely different story. The dread and I have become well acquainted over the past few weeks. 

I have worked as an intern at my church this summer, and to say that I loved it is the biggest understatement in the world. The idea of not spending my time with these people, within the walls of my home church, makes my heart ache. I am already homesick for this place; I already miss the people, and I haven’t even left yet.  

Maybe you feel that way. Maybe there is a church or a job or some people you are getting ready to leave behind as you head back to school or head to the next thing in your life. It’s the worst, isn’t it?  I am so with you.

But as I prepare to leave, as I keep bringing my desperate-to-stay heart before the Lord, I’ve tried my best to end my long lamentations about leaving with two simple words—thank you.  

Because I do not want to leave in dread. Dread whispers into the heart there is nothing waiting for me as I head back to school, but thankfulness reminds me that the God who showed up this summer will remain just as faithful in all other places I find my feet. Dread asks me to forget and stop moving. Thankfulness calls me to remember and walk ahead. Dread causes my spirit to fear. Thankfulness brings a peace and joy that sustains.  

I am so thankful for a summer that is so hard to leave behind, for the people who have loved me and I have come to love. I am so thankful for all the ways this summer has challenged me, encouraged me, grown me, taught me, and brought me joy. 

But I am also thankful to be learning how to leave. Who knows what lies ahead? More places that will be hard to leave behind, more people to love and be loved by, more places that challenge, encourage, teach, grow, and bring joy? With God as the one guiding the movements of my heart and feet, I’d say the chances are good.  

I want to leave a trail of thank yous as I leave this place and enter another. I want to trust that God has me where I am for a reason, and that when I leave college again I’ll find myself with yet another trail of thank yous being left behind me as I go, either back home or to somewhere completely new.  

The tears are still going to flow (a lot) and the ache in my heart may not dull anytime soon, but with a thankful heart I will be able to look back once, twice, or fifty times, and move my feet on into the next thing God has in store for me and know it will be good—because He is always good.  

Remember that as you say your goodbyes this summer. Remember that He is the same no matter where you go, and His love and Spirit are carrying you always. 

Leave in thankfulness. Arrive in thankfulness too. 

 

Jaqueline //  @jacquelinewinstead

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When The Future Seems Overwhelming

We all know that the future can seem really overwhelming at times - there’s so much that is unknown and unexpected… especially when you’re in your twenties and things seem to be constantly changing and shifting.

I’ve realized that when I think about the future, I get most freaked out when I get ahead of myself. I start panicking because I don’t know where I want to intern next summer, what job I’ll want after law school, where I’m going to live in five years, how I’m going to make a difference in the world, if I’ll ever get married, etc... It seems dramatic, but you get the picture. 

I get 20 steps ahead and think about how much unknown there is which is pretty scary. But, what I’ve realized is that we aren’t meant to live 20 steps ahead. God promises to show us the next step, not what’s around the corner.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” If you’ve ever held a lantern or a flashlight at night, you know that it only shows you what’s directly ahead of you.

You can’t see where the path leads or what’s a mile ahead of you, but you can see right where you’re stepping and that’s really all you need to keep going.

I used to think that knowing the next step meant knowing the next big step, like my next job or move. And a lot of the times we do realize what those big leaps are, but most of the time it’s simply knowing what little steps to take on a day-to-day basis.

I recently read a quote in Ann Voskamp’s book “The Broken Way” that said “Life isn’t overwhelming when you simply understand how to serve in this minute.”

I thought this was a really freeing way to look at life, on a moment-by-moment basis that takes the focus and pressure off of future-us and instead asks, what can we do right now to glorify God?

It reminds me of the verse “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). It’s a good reminder that glorifying God doesn’t have to be full of grand gestures and huge adventures. It simply means living out each day, moment-by-moment, with a greater degree of intentionality that extends beyond just going through the motions. It’s a way of finding purpose in the now instead of looking ahead to the future for meaning.   

So when I find the wheels of my mind going 100 miles a minute worrying about what’s down the path, I reel it back in by asking myself, what can I do to serve a greater purpose today? Can I be a little kinder, send an encouraging message to a friend, look for things in my day to be thankful for, or offer to help someone? It helps bring my focus to what I can do with what’s right in front of me instead of worrying about what I can’t see.

While I think it’s great to plan and prepare for things that are ahead and work toward goals, the future can’t be the place you park your mind. And the good thing is that no matter what the future holds, God is already there and He tells us not to worry about it like Matthew 6:34 says.

 

Ashley // @ayyhawk

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