CATERFLY-CAPTURES: AMBER WILSON

(Today’s CATERFLY-CAPTURES I am featuring a dear friend of mine, Amber Wilsonphoto-4. You may know her as the popular and highly accredited food blogger, “For The Love Of The South.” Since the day Amber and I met through a destined meeting in our church’s bathroom (I tell ya, women and bathrooms-ha!)…we’ve quickly become forever friends. She is one of the most beautiful of women both inside and out. Not to mention crazy creatively-gifted and wonderfully humble about it all, too! (You should definitely head over to her site to see—you’ll be so glad you did!) I wanted to share with you this snapshot of Amber’s story from her graduation over ten years ago. It’s so amazing to see her now—you would NEVER have imagined what she walked through! AMAZING!! I pray this also gives you hope in the area you need it most!)

“In Times of Graduation:

I can almost hear the applause, feel the square-shaped diploma holder in my hands, and feel the weight of the world being lifted off of my shoulders. Walking across that stage will not only be a victory for myself, but it’s a reminder of everything God has brought me through. The short jaunt across this platform represents a leap of faith.

This cap and gown are only for the ceremony. The smile and wave to the family are for the photos. My steps do not only reflect these past few years studying, but they reflect doing the impossible for God. Doctors told me that I would never be able to attend a normal university. But here I am, staring at a stage, with cap and gown in hand, thinking back to the miracle of God that brought me to where I am today.

My “impossible” situation began long ago, whenever my back was burdened with a bone tumor. I was 15 years old. I saw more of the hospital than I did of a football stadium or my school cafeteria. Originally, I was told my back was broken. I comforted my family by saying it could be more serious; it could have been a tumor or cancer. Then a day later, we got a call saying that it was a tumor. I said, “It could always be worse.” Who was I to complain about my situation? God used me through many lives along the way. One story stands out in particular.

There was a nurse that took great care of me. One day, we started talking about God. I told her that I didn’t know why I was going through this trial, but it was for a reason that was greater than me. She paused for a moment and then began to tell me about her life. She had a son that was the same age as me. He had a strong relationship with God, one that she never quite understood. Her son was diagnosed with leukemia and had passed away in the same room that I was laying in. She continued to say she never understood why God took away a person with such faith in Him. She told God she would never let go until she found a child with the same faith her son had. There in front of her, speaking out of the mouth of a child in the very room her son passed away in was God. His great peace allowed her to let go of the anger of her son’s passing. God brought me there for this nurse. For her and many others that felt that same peace and saw God in the eyes of a child.

There was a short time when we did not know if the tumor was benign or malignant. I knew if it were cancer, God would take care of me. Fortunately, this rare bone tumor was not cancerous, but there was a chance for it to grow back in my lungs. There have only been 2 other people with the same disease and one of them passed away. The odds were not in my favor but God was. The tumor never grew back, but what I was left with was permanent nerve damage that affected the use of my left leg.

I am constantly reminded of the pain. I bear scars like everyone else. They tell a story. They tell God’s story. I am at awe of God’s amazing grace and power. Through therapy, I was told that I would never be able to be like everyone else. There are better days than not. Through these past four years in school, I have been involved in yoga, kayaking, rock climbing, writing, photography and cooking. I have yet to miss more than 1 day in a semester in college. Everyday that I have been able to sit in a classroom is a testimony to God.

So this achievement today is more than just an achievement in my education. It represents doing the impossible for God. I would rather live in this daily pain and remember what God has done for me than to have never been in pain at all. I will carry this with me like a cross as I tread across the platform, receive my diploma and thank God for being my mountain mover in life. Here’s to the next step in life. Here is loving deeper, living whole and never complaining about my circumstance. Who am I to complain?”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY “CATERFLY”!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY “CATERFLY”!!!

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Making the Most of Being Single

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…Making the most of being single?

Well, let me first qualify the “single” in my current status, a status mind you that I’ve had for the last two decades.  Now when I say that I am single, I am talking about not having been on a date in seven years…single. And, not having been in a committed relationship in twenty years…single. And, you better sit down for this next one—not having kissed a guy in twenty years…single. Why do I feel like I just told you I have leprosy?

Needless to say, I have had more than enough opportunities to make the most of my singleness, which is the reason I am sharing my experiences with you, so you can learn to thrive while you hold the beloved (and not so, at times) single status. One of the key components for me in this waiting game has been found in one statement: “Push play on today.” I coined this somewhere along my journey of singleness as a result of the temptation I faced to want to push the pause button on my life until my “Mr.” came along and swept me away to my “happily ever after.” But what I realized was that I’m not promised tomorrow and I have no idea if God is going to gift me with my hunk of a man in this lifetime. What I DO know is that He has given me today.

Allow me to share with you three ways I’ve chosen to push play on today along my own journey of singleness that I hope will also help you in yours!

3 Ways to Push Play on Today:

  1. Push play on your dreams, creativity, & passions
  2. Push play on your friendships & fun
  3. Push play on God

Push play on your dreams, creativity, and passionsHonestly, there have been major bumps, bruises, heartaches, and heartbreaks along this road of being single and if it weren’t for one of these “push play” buttons of pursuing a dream, a passion, and having a creative outlet, the Lord only knows what would have happened! During these last twenty years of being single, I have lived and traveled around the world loving people to Jesus, signed a two-year modeling contract with one of NYC’s top agencies, helped open a children’s center for street kids in the poorest city of Lithuania, learned to sew, written a book, produced conferences, and more. Each of these played a significant role in my journey of waiting and has allowed me to be productive through the pain of the wait.  What about you?  What are some of the dreams stirring inside of you? What are you passionate about? What do love doing? Go and DO it. Pursue your passions.  Have fun and be creative.  Just…push play.

Push play of your friendships and fun.   Have fun, enjoy the life you are living today, and be thankful for the people God has put around you.  Do the things you enjoy doing, the things that you may have pushed pause on because you think, “I’ll do that when I have a boyfriend or am married.”  Why wait when you can do those things now?  Travel to Italy with friends.  See the Eiffel Tower.  Jump out of an airplane, if that’s what you fancy.  Whatever it may be, just…push play.

Push play on God.  We were created to be fully complete through the love that comes from the One who made us.  And it is when we are connecting to the heart of our heavenly Father that we will be most fulfilled and loved (even after marriage).  There is a love that is supernatural that God supplies us, but it takes faith and trust to receive it.  Just as I will someday choose to entrust my heart to a man, believing that he has my best interest in mind and loves me, I also have to do the same with my heart to God.  The most satisfying relationship I have is the one with the lover of my soul, who has captured every bit of my heart, soul, mind, and strength by His amazing love.  It is in this state of my heart that I hope my future husband finds me, as I hope to find him there as well.  If you have been distant with God, or have not fully trusted your heart over to Him, I would ask you to do so because there is no one who is going to love you more wonderfully than Him. He designed it that way because He wants our hearts to be fully His. Here are some ways I enjoy connecting with God: reading the Bible, journaling, reading books, listening to worship music, taking walks outside, going to the zoo, being around kids, watching horses, and so much more! This will always be the most important button to push play on each and every day, whether single or married.  So please… push play.

I pray that as you wait for your Adamthat you will find strength, hope, and encouragement by pursuing your dreams, creativity, and passions, by having fun with the friendships around you, and most importantly, by being captivated by the Lover of your soul, Jesus.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and push play on your today.