On my way to bible smuggling…

Day 28: Describe a moment when you made a big, bold move. In any area of life: Career, Love, etc.

It was in the month of July 2011 and I received a text message from a friend at Celebrate Recovery informing me about a Hong Kong interest meeting after Fusion. I told him I would go, just to appease him.

After service was over, I left the sanctuary and went to this meeting. The pale guy with pale blonde hair was speaking and I was listening to bits and pieces. And then I heard the words “we don’t like to call it ‘bible smuggling’…” My ears perked up. Home boy had my attention!  I skimmed through the brochure and saw all the different trips available…and the prices. $2,900 for two weeks. I didn’t have that kind of money and I definitely didn’t like having to ask for money. But I wanted to go SO bad. This same friend found me after the meeting and asked if I was going and I gave the typical answer “I’ll pray about it.”

I walked out the building and looked up at the night sky and said “I’m going aren’t I?”. I could have sworn I heard a chuckle in that empty parking lot. But the following Friday, on pay day might I add, I sent in my $100 deposit and began fundraising. It took all of me to not pull back and forget the whole thing. All my doubts decided to rush in for the next few months but God and my amazing team leaders kept pushing and stretching me out of my comfort zone.

One November 7th, I boarded the plane for my first mission trip ever. From the very begging to the end of the trip God beckoned me out of the mold that I formed for myself and Him. I found out that I didn’t doubt God so strongly and that I was able to do more that I could ever imagine for myself.

Now, all I want to do it go back to Hong Kong and serve the many brothers and sisters of the body and make an impact. Next year, God willing, I will be leading a new team to China to “smuggle” bibles and help spread the love of Christ to his people. This is a bold move as well because I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m taking this time NOW to grow in leadership and learn from other leaders and pastors so that I’m better prepared.

But I’m ready and I can’t wait!

 

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Wisdom.

Day 27: Talk about something that you really, really, really love about yourself.

Why Mandy Hale? WHYYYYYY????!

I don’t hate myself, but I don’t really think of things that I like or LOVE about myself. But I do have to admit that there is one teeny tiny thing that I know isn’t completely a fail about me.

Wisdom.

I have a lot of wisdom. I will say that I may lack it in some areas, but I have it. I love receiving it from God and pouring it out to others. I love it when I have those moments where God and I just click or fist bump over a situation and he gives me wisdom in how to handle it. Sometimes I find myself giving wise advice to my sister or my mom and think…”did I really just say that?” but not remember it days later, but that person did.

My mom taught me at a very young age to pray for wisdom and I did. I can say for a fact that I definitely have it. And I love it!

 

The Graduation Song

Day 26: Name a song that makes you cry every time you hear it and why

I’m pretty sure that every one can relate with this one. If you were alive, either in transition of schools or going into some new chapter in your life and you heard the “The Graduation Song (Friends Forever)” you probably dropped a tear or two with this song.

To help you better understand the connection with this song for me, let me set the picture for you. I was leaving the 5th grade when this song came out. I had four other friends that I had become very close with. They were literally my only friends at that school. I wasn’t expecting us to ever split but as fate had us, we all were going to different middle schools. I wasn’t prepared for that. I knew that things would different but not THAT different. I wanted us to go off to middle school and high school together and still have our silly inside jokes, and if we were lucky, have the same classes together. But that wasn’t the case. When it came down to the last week of being a 5th grader, my little group of friends and I were hugged up against a wall crying and promising to be best friends forever. Then the song came one, and we cried some more until it was time to go home.

When I graduated High School, this song was played. I hadn’t listened to this song in years. And I cried again. It felt like deja vu. I realized that day that things were going to be the same after that. I was leaving what I so accustomed to and I hadn’t prepared myself for the change. It.freaked.me.out.

I think back to both those days and still feel some type of sadness, but then I’m happy that it happened. A small part of me does still wish were those same girls back in Kennedy Elementary school, singing in music class and eating lunch together. And a small part me again wishes that I was back in high school, at the wall or chilling in the band room, singing with all my friends. But then I shake the longing for familiarity and realize that there would have been no change. I cry because of change and the tears are all from fears that I won’t make it after that day. I listened to the song maybe a year or two ago and I teared up a little, but not for the longing to go back, but the desire to move forward. I thought about the future, of my high school reunion (which should be coming up soon btw) and couldn’t wait to introduce the person that I am now to the people that I graduated with. I got excited and thanked God that I didn’t continue on being the person that I left behind in high school. This song just reminds me of where I was and where I am now.

Oh the power of music. Gotta love it.

 

The Shirt.

Day 25: Describe a moment when you “paid it forward.” What happened and how did it feel?

It’s funny how this is the topic and how I actually did this without knowing what today’s post was going to be. Since I’ve severely behind on this Single Woman Blog Challenge, I’ve doing my best to play catch up. (I have no WiFi in my new house).

I work in retail, specifically at Ross. I’m not a fan of my workplace, but I do however LOVE being in the stock room. I get to see the merchandise before it hits the sales floor (figuratively and literally), before it’s being picked over, tried on or ripped. Yesterday, I just so happen to being processing clothes (unpacking, hard tagging, sizing and putting on a hanger before placing it on a rack. All according to its department.) A lot of the things that we receive don’t usually catch my eye, until I saw a pack of gray shirts. On the front, I saw the familiar “Nightmare before Christmas” picture. Now, I’m somewhat of a Tim Burton fan, but I didn’t want this shirt for myself. Not in the least bit. But I knew that Robyn would.

Robyn is my Area Supervisor. At a first glance, she’s kind of intimidating. At least she was to me. She’s got the heavy black eyeliner, and the million piercings at least from the collar-bone up. She loves all things dark and creepy and the heavy metal music. I did not like her that much when she first started working at the store. She had a foul mouth (still sort of does) and she seemed to ALWAYS complain about something. But a few months ago, God arrested my heart when it came to Robyn and a few other associates. Although I do not like my job all that much, I knew that I was there for a reason. To be the salt and the light. So I saw that particular shirt and knew that I had to buy it for her. Over the past few months Robyn has worked her butt off for the position she is, and after hearing a ton of crap that she has gone through in my life, I knew I had to love on her just a little. I called on of my SPS guys over and shoved one of the shirts to him and told him that he needed to keep it away from her. Kudos to Kevin because he hid it well. When I got off the clock, I asked for the shirt, purchased it and called Robyn over. When I handed her the bag , she looked at me skeptically saying “What is it?”. The look on her face when she realized it brought me so much joy. We hugged, twice and she walked away.

How did it feel? It felt like Christmas in October. It felt better than receiving something. I don’t mind receiving things, but it wouldn’t be my love language. I think yesterday, I figured out that giving is something that I enjoy more. It just feels amazing.

 

 

Begin Again

Day 24: If you could relive ONE day of your life, what would it be? And would you change anything?

There is a particular day that I wish I could relive.

I was 15, at Ignite and ridiculously longing for someone to like me. And there was him. Attractive, blue eyed skateboarder who didn’t care a thing about God.

The rule at Ignite was that we were not allowed to pair off. We did it anyway. With two other people on a bridge that no one else was on. And then we fooled around and felt no remorse until I got home.

I felt dirty. I felt horrible. I felt shame. I had never done anything of that nature, especially on a retreat that was supposed to be for Jesus.

I would do anything to change that day. Sometimes I think about it and feel like I spat in God’s face and can’t repent enough. But then I know that it taught me something, what exactly? I don’t know.

If I could change, I would have changed my thoughts and focused on God or at least tried to understand who God was in the first place.

But that was several years ago and there is nothing I can possibly do to go back and re do it.

*eye twitch*

Day 23: Talk about a moment when you got annoyed with a married friend, a person in a relationship, or a person with kids

Oh where do I begin?!

-When I see the lovey dovey statuses on Facebook and find out that they are RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER. Really guys? Really?

-When I I can’t seem to to get a hold of a friend because she’s with her significant other…then gets upset because I haven’t contacted her to hang out…I do, you just kind push me aside.

-When they constantly post the same pictures of their kids, in the same position…repeatedly. Or for those that are expecting, they post up which trimester they are in and what size their child to be is in their stomach.

I could seriously go on. But I won’t. *eye twitches*

Remember and Be

Day 22: What fictional character in a movie, tv show, or book do you identify with and why?

Image

As you can see, I’m kind of a Disney freak. I grew up watching Disney movies with my dad as far back as I can remember. I know all of the words from the best of the best and I’m sure I can professionally (or obnoxiously) sing all of the songs. About a few years ago, I was watching The Lion King and for what ever reason I just started bawling like a baby…. and then I watched it again. Then I saw that Mulan was on Netflix (God’s greatest gift to mankind) and it was like Heaven dropped in my room.

Since I’m supposed to share which fictional character I identify with, I’d figure I’d cheat a little and give you a double whammie.

Simba

If there was one animal that I could ever relate to, movie wise, it’s this one. If you’ve never seen this (which is a sin if you haven’t. It’s in the bible.) Simba is the son of Mufasa, the king of the jungle. He’s got the the world pretty much in his paw. Until he feels shame and guilt and all sorts of condemnation. He does what most humans do: he runs. He hides. He changes. He forgets. He spends the rest of his life trying to rid himself of a mistake he made (or thinks he made) and becomes someone else. And then he is found and reminded.

“You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.”

I can’t tell you how many times that one line has brought forth tears to my eyes. Even as I’m typing this out in the Starbucks, I’m holding them back because I’m being reminded. Simba and I are so similar because we’ve done some pretty dumb stuff in our lives and then we’ve ran and hid. We think that we aren’t worthy of being more than what we’ve been called to do. So we try to change into the people (or lion) that we think we’re supposed to be: less of. Less qualified. Short of amazing. But when I need a pick me up and some reassurance of why I exist in the Circle of Life, I just watch Lion King and then go to scripture and cry out.. And then I breath and reach.

Mulan

From the moment this movie came out, I fell head over heels in love with Mulan. She’s the girl I would love to be when I grow up. Daring, sacrificial, loving and a true bad ass. Of course I can’t relate to her in being Chinese and fighting for my country. But I can say that me and her are still very similar. She a young woman, like myself, wanting to be someone that her family can be proud of. Bring them honor. Be the topic over tea or rice with the rest of town. I wanted that at one point in my life, and I still do sometimes. There was a time where I wanted to make my dad proud; make straight A’s, become valedictorian, have a flawless personality and all that jazz. But I didn’t. It was an image that I couldn’t measure up to. I had to come to grips with the fact that I was never going to be EXACTLY who my earthly dad wanted me to be. I only made A’s in gym and band and I don’t think I had a personality to speak of. But as I grew into the knowledge of Christ, I started figuring out little bits and pieces about me and what I like to do. I flowed in a different direction than what my dad wanted me to go and I found out that it was perfectly okay to do that. I wasn’t weird, I was [finally] me. And I think even though Mulan got her family’s honor in the end, her very presence in the end was all her family wanted. No need for jumping through hoops and barrels to earn it, she could have just been. We can all just be.