Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guest Blogger! "Backpacking"

I am excited to share with you an essay written by Anna McFarland, a sophomore at Cleveland High School and a leader in our Youth Ministry & Girls Ministry! I LOVED this essay and asked her to share it as our guest blogger! I hope you catch the sweetness of her words and how it unfolds to show the beauty of God's promises.

BACKPACKING

The base of the mountain, what a serene and majestic place to be. We arrive in the warmth of the late afternoon, right on the heels of the cool evening approaching. Direction and distance are revealed on the engraved slab of wood marking our path. The trees open up to a mysterious flattening of ground. The leaves are beaten down in misshapen patterns in the clearing. This is where we will reside for the time being.

Our gear sits on the tailgate of the pick-up, unaware of the adventurous trek about to take place. Slowly and heavily the pack is lifted to MY shoulders with many parts to be locked into place. The clock ticks away while we adjust, clip, buckle, and tug them into position. The straps are fitted comfortably against our FLESH, making the necessities of survival readily available to us.

Finally, we prepare to face the path that lies ahead. Our first steps into God’s sanctuary, the forest. The crunch of the leaves is evident to all the creatures hidden, surrounding us. They are watching, curious AND silent while we enter their home uninvited. I look to the sky, but I only discover a canopy of trees. They seem to be bent over towards the middle of the trail, bowing to the masterful sky.

Our strides become longer, MY HEART rate faster. The ground has been merely rolling hills up to this point. The inclines have been giving and taking as they MAY, until now. They become greedy and try to take away any means of success; in return they give us a way to FAIL. We reach the challenging part of the journey, the anything but simple path to take. Like ants, we feel the world as a small, scarce place, BUT only for a moment. I say a quick prayer to GOD for safety, for the way looks treacherous, but we must press on.

We say goodbye to the treaded trail that lies behind, and we greet the upcoming one with excitement and grit. The first step, second step, and before we know it, we are making progress. My calves begin a burning sensation as we climb ever higher. The mens’ success IS a small bit of jealously displayed clearly on my face. Being the only one to represent my gender, the bar has to be raised.

THE trudge continues as the flames grip my calves tightly. My faulty knee also begins to share the pain. Every ounce of STRENGTH I have left is being thrusted into another step. One more foot, one more yard, one more mile. I repeat to myself over and over the sum OF the miles left. Just as I think I can no longer carry my own weight, my spirit rises. We come to a clearing of trees. The sun slowly creeps lower as we step into the light. With every movement MY HEART pounds.

We have arrived, slowly but surely on my part. The unbuckling, untying, and altering releases a burden from my shoulders. The sun sinks quickly AND silently below the mountains surrounding. I stare in awe at their amazing silhouettes.

A feeling of accomplishment pours down from the starlit sky. My body is exhausted, but MY soul and mind are replenished. I realize the effort to climb a mountain is not only physical, but the mentality to keep going is also crucial. I feel as if I have given a PORTION of myself to gain something, and therefore that is what I have done. The intensity, the beauty of this nature is not something to be taken lightly, and it is disappointing, discovering that I can not experience this FOREVER. I inhale and taste the breeze of evening. The solid ground will be my resting place, and the starlit sky will be my eternal enjoyment. I am in love with it all, the nature, the climb, the One who made it all. This is backpacking.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73: 26

post signature

PS! Congrats to Morgan Delk and Amanda Rollins for winning the giveaway on the last blog post! I will facebook you about your prizes! yay! Thanks for entering!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ARE YOU REPRESENTIN' ??? (plus a giveaway!!!)

Girls for HIS Glory! Say it Loud, Say it Proud! Represent that your a Girl for HIS Glory with some awesome new Girls Ministry merchandise we just launched this winter!

We have car decals (which can also be applied to mirrors, notebooks, guitar cases, windows, lockers...you name it)!! These are a great way to promote our ministry and hopefully get to share what's going on here at FBC and in your own life as you minister the Gospel to others! I guarantee people will ask you what the g-G stands for...what a great opportunity to share! And, just so you know, we also have 1st Student Car Decals too!

Also, I am super excited about these uber cute fabric key chains that are made just for our Girls for HIS Glory ministry! Not only are they adorable (there are 13 fabric choices for you to choose from!), but 100% of the cost goes to the Kelley Family who is making these to raise money for a second baby adoption from Africa! This family is precious and I am excited to partner with them as they go to all the nations with the gospel of Christ! I love adoption! I love that we have been adopted by God and I LOVE that we can show that love by adopting as well! Don't you!?

So, get your orders in this week! I am hoping to place a key chain order next week, so don't delay! Key chains are $10 and car decals are $3. The order forms (which have the fabric options on it) and envelopes are at the First Student Info Table at Church....or you can always email me for more information. :)

** GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY!** Help spread the word about these cool new items. Change your facebook status to something like: "Hey! Check out the New FBC Girls Ministry Merchandise at www.girlsforhisglory.com!" (you can say it however you want, but be sure to include the website!) THEN Comment below that you DID make this your facebook status and you will be entered to win a FREE key chain or a FREE car decal! (I'll give away one of each!)

post signature

PS - Don't forget that this Sunday is the absolute deadline to sign up for the Girls Leadership Retreat in Nashville (Feb 25-26).


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

UNSUNG HEROES

In December we had an all-night, no sleep Girls Lock-in! It was such a blast with 130 girls desiring Christ-centered friendships and fun! The theme was a "L.Y.L.A.S. Sisterhood" night - L.Y.L.A.S. stands for Love Ya Like A Sister. The first half of the night each of the girls went through five stations, with each station representing one of the letter's in "L.Y.L.A.S." The stations were Love one another, You are unique, do Life together, Ask/Pray for one another, Serve others together. The girls went through each station together with their tribe group.

Today, I want to share with you about how our girls Served others together. At the lock-in the girls read Scripture and talked about loving others not only because Christ loved us, but because also in doing so you point others to Christ. For their service project, the girls were going to bless the FBC Kitchen staff, a group of amazing ladies that tirelessly serve our church family through the cooking, serving, and clean-up of many meals week after week.

They work behind the scenes to bless thousands. Sometimes, I fear that as a growing church we can forget these "unsung heroes" because you can easily almost expect these tasks to get done without always know how they got done. What an awesome opportunity we had to bless these sweet ladies! Each tribe of girls decorated an apron together, a picture frame, and wrote/decorated countless thank you cards for this special group of ladies.

Last week, we were finally able to get all the Kitchen Ladies together and gift them with these small tokens of appreciation. It was a sweet time and I'll tell ya, it has been real neat to see these ladies wearing their youth-decorated aprons as they serve dinner on Wednesday nights. It has reminded me of how even though our church is growing and growing fast, we are still a body that knows each other, loves each other, and serves each other...as Christ does the Church. :)

"Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify you Father which is in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

post signature

*There are TWO albums full of more Lock-in pictures on our Girls Ministry Facebook page. Click here to check them out! http://www.facebook.com/FBCGirlsMinistry