Fighter Verse / ONE

My joy was fading, my heart was unsteady and I was feeling apprehensive about the future. I had to go back to my source. I’m a creative and was looking to other things to draw on more creativity and I was finding myself depleted. I’m committing to a 45 week scripture memorization challenge. Each week until the end of the year I will memorize one scripture. I’m calling these my “Fighter Verses.” I’m praying on the other side of this journey I’m stronger. Would love for you to Join me.

Covered

When I quit holding my dad accountable for how my life was going to turn out, I broke free. I had more peace when I began to see my father for who he was and how he was trying his best in the only way he knew how. He was broken in so many ways, I needed to remove my expectation off of Him and on to God for my complete healing.

Grow Slow

“We believe that cultivating what matters isn’t magic: it takes hard work and intentional decisions. From tilling up the earth and planting seeds, to tending and pruning, to the harvest, growing good things takes muscle, heart, and leaps of faith.”
— Lara Casey, Founder of Goal Sheets and Cultivate What Matters
Ivy and I working on painting our flowers.

Ivy and I working on painting our flowers.


We are powerless to love people and ourselves the way that Jesus loves. We are broken and we are never going to get it perfect. However, Jesus does help us when we lean into HIM.

It is very easy to lean on our spouse, our children, our stuff or our finances to bring us peace. These are the variables in life that can’t always be trusted to bring us joy. They also make us toil, strive and they cause worry and stress.

 Here is the thing; I think I know why I lean on other things than Christ at times, because things and people I can try and control. If I’m not careful I will look to Instagram for divine inspiration instead of the creator of the universe. Let’s face it, it’s hard work to put our trust in Jesus. Even our spouse and our job are the constants in our lives, BUT what I’m realizing is they were not designed to hold me up, steady me or bring wisdom in my life. They are simply additions to what is the foundation, they are not strong enough to build a life on.

 

We have to find ourselves soaking, resting and waiting in God, just as the Lilies of the field do.

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My mother-in law sent us this picture of a lily the other day that poppy had gotten for her for valentines day. It was closed and not blooming. It even looked like it was dying, she almost cut it off then one morning she woke up and before her eyes it had bloomed. God spoke to her and told her heart reminding her that He is the one that causes us to bloom.

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Definition of “Toil”
Work extremely hard or incessantly.

God had spoken to her about how He brings the things in our lives to bloom. He is the one who created the Lily and causes the flower to flourish; all we have to do is keep it in good soil and watered. She reminded me to not “toil” but to wait in Him and allow Him to carry me. He knows are needs. She urged me to allow my faith to rise. She reminded me that HE is the one that does the mending and the making.

 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

(Luke 12:27 NLT)

I want to Trust Jesus to cause me to bloom. I want to hang my burdens, worries and heavy baggage on Him because He cares for me.

 “I tell you this: Do not worry about your life. Do not worry about what you are going to eat and drink. Do not worry about what you are going to wear. Is not life more important that food? Is not the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the sky. They do not plant seeds. They do not gather grain. They do not put grain into a building to keep. Yet your father in heaven feeds them! Are you not more important that the birds?”(Matthew 6:25-34 NLT)

 We are important to God. He sees us and we are valuable to Him, much more valuable than the flowers of the field. Wherever you are today wherever you feel unrest or no peace or even feel very broken, He cares and he wants to take you in His arms and tell you, “I love you, I’m here, and I will make you bloom.”

No Girl Left Behind

The self-help industry is estimated to be worth $11 billion in the U.S alone. There is no doubt this generation has a desire to make some interpersonal changes. However, we still need to be raising our voice and writing resources for young girls and women who struggle with self-worth, their identity, and knowing their value. The result of us going silent on this epidemic is causing a rise in human trafficking and abortion. I’m giving you TWO ways you can be a part of making a difference.

Quit Doubting Yourself

Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie and founder of Mattel set out to create a toy that would inspire young girls to Dream, create, and play with purpose. She succeeded. Barbie is an international icon and working to still close the gap and inspire young girls by saying they can, “Be Anything.” If their message is this powerful, why then is there still an epidemic of girls not believing in themselves and struggling with self-limiting beliefs? I believe there is another part at play. I’m sharing with you One Powerful Way to overcome your self-doubts and step more into your God-given purpose.

TRUE LOVE

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It was 23 years ago that I crossed the line of faith. I was 14 years old and it was Valentines Weekend. All my friends were going out and partying, but I decided to stay home. My mom worked 18 hour day’s at the salon so I was home alone. I felt such a heaviness. I had never noticed the lingering feeling of hopelessness before, because I think when things are broken in your life and it’s survival you don’t realize you need help until its overwhelmingly apparent that the way you have been living is just not working anymore.

My mom had started following Christ and she was praying for each of her kids. We didn’t grow up in church, nor did we have a bible, the way she was living was so very foreign to all of us. Nevertheless, the feeling of desperation were there. I wanted something more. I had made so many poor choices I just wasn’t sure how to get out of them.

All of the sudden I felt an overwhelming feeling to pray. I had never prayed. That valentines weekend I ask God into my heart and I have never looked back.

I was eager to know Jesus. I was hungry for this HOPE.

Since my decision to follow Christ I have only wanted to grow more. I have wanted more resources and more tools to navigate life.

One way I have navigated my way to freedom is by letting go of my past.

The only way to freedom is letting God into the most painful parts of our lives. When I decided to let him in to my abuse, to the ache of wanting a father and to the areas where I have felt most insecure, he has helped me. Prayer has been a gateway to my freedom.

When I have feet anxious or lost, I PRAY. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” 1 John 5:14

When I feel insecure, I PRAY. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of LIFE has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1

When I feel unqualified, I PRAY. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13

Prayer has been my GRID to FREEDOM in Christ and now it’s my opportunity to give FREEDOM away.

The freedom we experience in Christ is not just for us, it’s for others. The truth I found changed me and it keeps changing me. So, in a cool and cheesy way, I found my TRUE LOVE one VALENTINES. He has never disappointed me, and HIS love is unconditional. I’m grateful, I guess the Chocolates are a bonus!

COURAGE:HIT THE ROCK!

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 C.S. Lewis said it right when he said, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

In this || Video Episode || I share THREE powerful Truths I learned one summer from White Water Rafting Down a River with some awesome teenagers my freshman year in college. LOL ! Doesn’t that sound fun? It was fun, but it was also brutal. I had more than one thought to throw those kids overboard. 🤣JK

What I learned on the River that week with those teenagers would play such a vital role in how I navigated through difficulty and not around it.

1) Choose to do what’s difficult

AIM TO THE ROCK! We get more courageous when we navigate through the hard stuff, rather than around it.

The principles I learned helped see me through helping my dad navigate his addictions for YEARS and then finding the GUTS to release him to GOD. Releasing people is a stronger way to Trust God for their healing. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them. It just means you know you can’t change them. AIM FOR THE ROCK!

  The principles I learned on the RIVER gave me COURAGE to allow God to see me through Postpartum after Ivy was born. To reach out to someone, have a coffee and build a relationship even though I was scared.

2) Trust the Guide

FOR me this is GOD. He know’s better than me. Make sure you are listening to the people who have wisdom. Listen to people who are in the water with you. They know BEST.

3) Who is in your Boat Matters

I had spent so much time with those students. We walked together through painful moments. We laughed. We were family.We trusted each other and we were in it together!

God knew what was down the RIVER (LIFE) ahead of me. HE was there waiting to give me instructions to navigate, as soon as I was ready to LISTEN. 

PRAY!!!  “Courage is fear that said it’s Prayers.” Dorothy Bernard

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Don’t Run on Empty

Aaron and I have some Big Goals for 2019 and one of them is to grow in our Marriage. We have a good relationship, but let’s be honest we all get tired and we can lose sight of what makes each other run. One way we are going to be reigniting some areas in our relationship is by committing to Re:Engage at our church ever Monday night for 16 weeks. 

If you are going through some rough patches or are in a all out storm, or just want to grow stronger like us, join us and so many others at Re:Engage. You don’t have to register you just show up. Monday nights at 6:30pm, Hope Fellowship Church, Frisco West Campus.

In our latest video below we talk about “why” we are doing re:engage as well as some other fun things, Check it out! 

Would love for you to watch it and comment and tell us some of your favorite movies. (You will understand once you watch the video!) 

Don’t be afraid to get marriage resources or help. We are firm believers that you can’t or shouldn’t  build a storm shelter in the middle of the storm, we believe you should build a storm shelter before the storm! 

You ARE valuable, 

Regan

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BRUTAL Honesty=NOT HELPFUL

💯 Cultivating encouragement in our lives is vital to how we tell people the TRUTH.

✍🏼 DISCLAIMER: MY blog is my opinion. I encourage you to go to the word of God constantly to find ways to speak the truth and encourage.

“A generous person will prosper, those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 NIV

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Authentic encouragement doesn’t mean you are nice liar and that you are only out to tell people what they want to hear. It just means you ask yourself 2 questions before you hit people with brutal honesty.

 👉🏼 Do I pray for this person often?

👉🏼  Am I concerned or am I responsible for this person?

 Concern for someone is a bedrock

for prayer first.

If you are concerned for the person but have no relationship, you pray. If you are concerned and have a relationship with the person, you still pray. Our truth still only brings subtle change. But Prayer has has the power to transform and also leaves the credit in the right hands, GOD.

When we are RESPONSIBLE for someone Truth Telling is vital. 

We have a responsibility to our children to tell them the truth and to lead them to discover the truth. We have a responsibility for those in our business’ we are over, guiding and modeling healthy leadership. If you need to have a heart to heart and speak truth, do it in love. We have a responsibility to close family member’s that we have strong relationship with. These are our opportunities to be honest. People we have had trusted time with that we have “earned” the right to be honest with.

Authentic encouragement isn’t the safer option, I promise you that. Encouraging is for the resilient and the strong. Encouragement lays a bridge before people who might not otherwise know how to get over their sea discouragement.

Authentic encouragement is not natural for anyone either, it’s a character trait and it can be fostered. You can cultivate encouragement.

I VALUE YOU,

Regan

 

Lift the Ceiling off People

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Hi Amazing Peeps! It’s almost a new year! The COUNTDOWN is on!! Can you believe it! 🎊🎆

My husband Aaron and I have experienced some growth hurdles this past year separately and together. This past year I sat out to do Real Estate and found out very quickly that sales just wasn’t for me. I committed to completing the year but just knew I needed to let go and Trust God and stay FOCUSED on what I am most Passionate about and that is my Family, and the Local Church. This is my lane and even though I had the right heart to contribute financially to my home, I just wasn’t at peace with the Real estate biz. For those who know me know I love; people, the church, being creative and my family.

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 So, Aaron and I sat down and said how can we do something together that is a HOBBY and have FUN. Well, that’s how #thisissous was born. In ministry you need a FUN OUTLET!!

Over the course of our 18 year’s together we have had our high’s and low’s as well as super low’s. I’m sure like most of you have. These were moments that life hit us hard and it felt like we might not make it.

In those moments we solidified some absolutes that we have come to live by that helped us in the long run come out stronger and have more JOY!! These absolutes are what #thisissous is all about.

This is OUR WHY! ✍🏼💪🏼

 ✔️ 1) FLIP THE SCRIPT. Don’t allow your Negative thoughts to determine your day or even your moments.

✔️ 2) See the best in everyone and place VALUE. When see people for who they are and not for who we want them to be, we can live more peacefully. We have experienced what it feels like to have to perform to gain acceptance and we no longer want to walk that tight rope.

✔️ 3) TRUST GOD. When you transfer your worry to God in exchange for TRUST it lifts the ceiling off of you. We have struggled through the years to really TRUST God and let go of control. We know that when we operate in trust, we have the strength and passion to lift the ceiling off of others.

We can’t wait to gather more resources, grow and build more relationships with inspiring people and go on this journey with you.

Watch our FIRST VIDEO HERE. 🎬

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This is my THIRD YOUTUBE CHANNEL. 🤣 oh well, Learn as you go! 🤷🏼‍♀️ 

I love him. He has the softest feet. Don’t worry we will talk about that in #thisissous🤣

I love him. He has the softest feet. Don’t worry we will talk about that in #thisissous🤣

My Story Part TWO

Redemption

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” John 4:28 NIV

My mom is a real modern day woman at the well. The moment she said yes to Jesus, restoration began and the result of her redemption has changed so many lives. (Read about the Samaritan woman in John 4: 4-16)

Going home to my mom not drinking and reading her bible was a definitely my first sign of a miracle. I was so hesitant to trust the God she had found. I was a little confused about where God had been my whole life. My mom was radically changed and  she began to live her faith out in front of us. All of us kids were a little apprehensive of the change. It was drastic and real and raw. She had ups and downs and still would drink a beer every now and then. She was laying down years of hard liquor so this was more than progress, this was change. She was committed to her healing and search for hope.  Everyday she went to work and instead of pouring her wild turkey into her pink, little glass, she poured coffee. She used to make her clients specialty liquor drinks, and instead she started making fun coffee drinks.

She began to use her little shop after hours to do bible studies with her clients. One book that made a significant impact on my life right away was Joyce Meyer’s, ‘Battlefield of the Mind.’ Oh man, this book was medicine to my ill thinking, my rejection and father wounds. If anyone had broken down the process of renewing your mind, it was Joyce. I really and truly do not believe I would be where I am today without vital books like Battlefield of the Mind to go along with my everyday bible reading.

When you have lived so many years with brokenness, the only way out is through embracing the pain, seeing it for what it is and giving it to God. Joyce’s book illustrates that this is a war you can win, even though it may be a battle you constantly fight. I found hope in Joyce’s words, and understanding that what we were facing was a real enemy and that he was defeated, we just needed to OVERCOME him by rebuking him.

Joyce says in her book, “The devil will give up when he sees that you are not going to give in.”

Get your copy of Joyce Meyer's Book, Battlefield of the Mind right here!

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The enemy lost his battle and his control the moment my mother surrendered. Living almost 50 years in the slavery of sin, we all felt that this newfound faith in Jesus Christ was not going to be easy. We found opposition almost immediately. Things in our life did not change rapidly it was a process. We had so much to discover.

My Moment

My salvation came with a fight. I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. I had decided to stay home one Friday night and not go out with my friends. My mom was at work late and my sister Rachael was at her shop. My brother was at a friends, so the house was empty. I was sitting in my room on my bed and I began to feel a strong feeling of sadness.

The Lies

I immediately began to have thoughts like,

“You are never going to make it in life.”

“Who do you think you are?”

“What if people find out about your abuse?”

“People are going to make fun of you at school if you read your bible?”

“You can’t change who you are Regan, something is wrong with you?”

I remember my mom talking to me about spiritual warfare and the devil. After reading, Battlefield of the mind, I was convinced that this was the enemy. The oppression felt so strong on me. I was gripped with fear.

This was the first time I understood that the enemy was using my past against me to forge confusion in my mind, so I could not see a path to freedom.

I immediately began to think thoughts that where horrible about myself. The enemy spoke intently to my weaknesses. This is what he does.

I literally felt my body shake as I cried. I felt anxious, but above all else I felt condemned and accused. As if everything in my life was my fault.

I called my mom hysterically crying. My sister answered her phone at her shop. I told her to get mom on the phone,  I needed to talk with her. She asked me if I was okay, I said no.

My mom got on the phone and told me to calm down. I told my mom all the thoughts that I was thinking and how I felt so discouraged and sad. What my mom did next changed everything. The hope she offered me shifted the atmosphere and calmed my spirit.

She rebuked the enemy on the phone with me. She told me that she was interceding in prayer for my salvation. The enemy was pulling out all the stops he had and did not want to lose me. My mom came home and took me on a drive. I’ll never forget this drive, cruising in her white thunderbird with the sunroof down, listening to Point of Grace. I laugh now, but this was my moment.

My mom walked me through the salvation prayer and told me that there was nothing ever that I could do, as long as I trust Jesus that would cause Him not to love me. She told me that GOD never accuses, he never lies and He only thinks the best thoughts about us. She told me to be reminded that the enemy does not know our future. He doesn’t know how or what we will choose, but that he does know the end of the bible and, he looses. He does know his time is short and he wants to take as many people with him as he can.

She told me to never give up trusting in God. God was never going to give up on me.  He loved me and He was proud of me. This was the beginning of the rest of my life. This was my TRANSFORMATION MOMENT. 

I'm here to tell you, you can be restored and made new too. Don't give up! God isn't hiding from you and he isn't punishing you. He made you and loves you. Don't believe the enemies lies any longer. Run to Jesus right now and give him your pain, rejection and all your disappointments. 

I love how the woman at the well, left her jar that she would have drawn water from after talking with Jesus and RAN to her city to tell everyone to come and meet the messaiah, the son of God who restored her. "Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the tow and said to the people, "Come, see the man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the messiah?" John 4:28 NIV

He is a restoring God and the hope you have is not just for you, it's for others. Live in freedom and go and offer your freedom to those who are suffering. You can do it. You were made for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Story Part ONE

RESTORATION// The action of returning something to a former place, or condition.

I remember the day well, it was a defining moment in my life, but it did not DEFINE me. I was a freshman in High School and the youngest of four kids. We were raised by a single mom, who was on the heels of her 5th failed marriage. I have two older sisters from a different father and my  brother and me have the same dad.

            My mom owned a little nail salon where she was a manicurist in a small town outside of Ft. Worth called Haltom City. She had other employees that rented rooms from her; a massage therapist, esthetician, and tanning room. This is how she put food on the table and a roof over our head. Everyday I would get a ride to her shop in order to help her. I would clean the tanning bed for her and answer the phones for her if she needed to run to the store. This particular day instead of going to her shop I went home, as I walked through the door the phone rang.

I answered it and one of my mom’s clients was in a panic and asked me if I had seen my mom. I told her no, because I had come straight home instead of going to her shop. This client that I was talking to had known my mom for a couple years. She had been coming to my mom to get her nails done and often spent late nights drinking with her. Her concern for my mom had me convinced that I needed to head up to her shop.

This was not the first time we had to call 911 concerning someone in my family. We had the police at our house several times because of my mom’s boyfriends or other situations. 

I hung up the phone and immediately called my oldest sister to see if we could both go to the shop. When we arrived the doors were locked. My mom had owned her own business for years. The only way she made money was to keep her doors open because she took walk-ins. I knew in my heart something wasn’t right.

My mom started drinking at a very young age. She drank to wake up in the morning and drank to go to sleep. She kept a little pink glass of tequila right beside her on her desk all day long while she worked on her client’s nails. My mom drank to ease the pain. If we were to drill down into the reservoir of the ache my mom felt, we would find her need for true love. 

 In the front of my mom’s shop was a huge window and painted on it in bright colors was my mom’s prices for nails and the number for clients to call and make an appointment. I peaked through the glass and on the desk I could see a letter written on a piece of paper in black marker.

My mom always left us notes. We were at home a lot by ourselves because she worked long hours. She would write us notes in order to communicate to us.

The Note...

This note said, “I’m sorry I have disappointed you. I love each of you very much. ______ (husband's name) I’m sorry I couldn’t be everything you wanted me to be. Love mom”

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Reading that note felt like eternity, I was so scared. I began to hit the glass, and yell, “MOM, MOM, open the DOOR NOW!!”

After about 5 minutes of trying to get my mom’s attention, but no response my sister and I called the police.

 The guy in the letter, was my mom’s 5th husband. Let me tell you, out of all the men that came through our front door he had to have been the worse.  I think in some ways she had met her match. He used her, and was constantly making her sad or upset. Usually the tables were reversed. My mom was never okay with not being in control, but this was only because she was constantly choosing men who were insecure and immature. She did not understand her value or worth, so she was always choosing men who didn’t either. It was a vicious cycle of heartbreak after heartbreak.

The police arrived and moved my sister and I out of the way and got a crow bar and began to break open the door. I pushed my way through the police and began to run down the hall.

I ran down the hallway of her shop and around every corner I wasn’t sure what I was going to find. I rounded the last corner to find my mom sitting on the floor with an empty bottle of wild turkey and small pistol. My mom had drunk herself into a deep pit that day. She couldn’t hear or see us, though her eyes were open, she sat there in silence and unaware. I was so unbelievably sad that day, my mom had never tried to give up. She had been dealt a lot of hurt in her life as well as had a lot of blessing, but the pain of her decisions had brought her to her lowest moment. She had reached her pit and wanted to give up.

We called the ambulance and the paramedics assisted my mom on to a stretcher. She didn’t move a muscle. She was paralyzed with pain and confusion. The small glimmer of hope my mom had was gone from her in that moment. She had allowed the weight and pressures of life to sink her.

As the ambulance drove off, my heart sank. What little stability I had was rolled away and taken to the 7th floor of John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth.

After my mom was taken to the hospital, my sister and I stayed behind and closed up her shop. My mamaw came and picked me up and took me to the family lake house. I remember sitting on the deck with my feet in the water and feeling really depleted. I had really had enough of the chaos and was ready for something to change. I was contemplating not going back home and staying and living with my mamaw and papaw and finishing school with them. Honestly, I felt really scared about the future. I had already lost touch with my dad, but loosing my mom felt like a real blow to the gut. A couple days passed and my mom called the lake house and asked for me.

Restoration Begins...

My mom began to tell me that she had an amazing encounter with a doctor at the hospital and he asked if she had a bible or went to church. We didn’t own a bible to my knowledge growing up. I never saw my mom reading her bible. She began to tell me that God was helping her. She came home from the hospital and got in touch with a pastor who had a bible and she had been reading it. She had been praying and asking God to help her. I was very intrigued, but skeptical too. 

When I hung up the phone from having the conversation with my mom, I actually felt a little change already happening. I wanted my mom to get better and I wanted to see her do it. I began to believe her and decided to come home and find out more of what she was talking about. Even though I was reluctant to totally believe any of it would last, I was hopeful that something was going to change.

God does not want to leave us hopeless. He did not create us to live lives that are full of sadness and hate. Life brings sorrow, but God is not the author of the sorrow. If you are experiencing a parent that is struggling with hopelessness, I want you to know that God has not left you. Your parents broken marriage is not your fault. You are not the reason anyone left. Whatever your circumstance, God sees you. He wants to encourage you and fill you with life. After that phone call with my mom I walked out to the dock on the lake and sat down. My whole story was about to change and God was going to begin the process of bringing order and healing to my life. I believe God wants to do that for you too.  It was going to take a miracle from God to change our lives and my mom’s life, but God was working that out.  A miracle was in motion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In HER WAY on PURPOSE

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"There is no FORCE more POWERFUL than a young woman determined to RISE."

This quote embodies Makenzie Sprouse. I have had the honor of knowing Makenzie for more than a decade now. She was a funny, and full of life young girl. Her and her sister Morgan were awesome girls in our student ministry. Now all these years later she is a Young Adult running hard after God's will for her life and focused now more than ever on investing in others and serving at her local church.

 Makenzie hit more than a road block in 2015. She hit a complete life change. Makenzie found herself in a bad relationship with a boy her junior year in high school. She started experimenting with drugs, and going to parties. The Fall of her junior year she got the news that she was not ready to hear, she was pregnant.

Her family and her were shocked by the news. But it wasn't the end. It was actually the beginning to a new story. Makenzie sat down with me and shared how she has navigated depression, loneliness and shame and how she has allowed God to use her story to changed those she comes in contact with daily. This has been more than a hard road for Makenzie, but it's one she has leaned into because she knows that God never wastes our Pain. 

INTERVIEW:

Regan: What is your Passion?                                                                                                                Makenzie: Ministry. I feel called to Worship and I love encouraging young girls to find their purpose. 

Regan: How do you over-come self-doubt and discouraging thoughts?                                              Makenzie: My mom always told my sister and I growing up that we were "strong, confidant girls and we could do anything we put our minds to." Honestly, my mom has been my best friend in this season. When I found out I was pregnant, she was so sad. I was really sad that I had disappointed her yet again. I have just been determined with God to choose Him. He helps me so much when I get in the comparison trap. I tell myself, "Makenzie you are still young, just because you have a child doesn't mean your life is over." I do have to tell myself daily that God has my future and Everly's. That gives me peace in the moment.

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Regan: In your struggles before having Everly what made you not believe the statement your mom told you, "you are strong, confidant woman of God and you can do anything you put your mind to?"                                                                                                                                                Makenzie: I think it was always there under the surface, along with all my convictions but I just pushed them down. I really chose not to listen to them. My mom's words were always there and now what's really great is that the voice of encouragement is so loud. I feel like even if I think about doing something wrong or inappropriate, I'm almost sick to my stomach. I find myself at home with family and Everly, or at church serving, I just want to choose right and it's so important to me who I surround myself with.

Regan: You were recently accepted to Bethel's Worship U experience, how excited are you about that?                                                                                                                                                         Makenzie: Beyond excited. It's really a miracle. My pastor came to me and told me about it. He personally invested in me to go and I have worked and saved all my money for the other expenses. I'm open to what God wants to show me while I'm there. I thought my days of ever leading worship were over. I really thought my mistakes had taken me out, but God has a very amazing way of restoring the dreams and parts of us that we feel are lost or broken when we surrender them to to Him. 

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Regan: You were a Embrace Grace leader for a couple years, how did that program change your life?                                                                                                                                                 Makenzie: When I found out I was pregnant with Everly, a close friend reached out to me and gave me the Embrace Grace information. I went with a friend the first time and it wrecked me. The ladies leading the one I went to were so genuine and loved me the moment I came in the door. Their stories were similar to mine, but they were just farther down the road than me. They spoke so much life over me. I finished the program and knew that God was calling me to lead my own Embrace Grace group at my church. It was hard, and intimidating but I was so committed to the girls God brought to my group. I wanted to see their lives changed. One girl in particular who came through my group lost her baby at 10 months. She was already struggling and I knew I needed to stay in contact with her. She was so hurting, so I was just going to KEEP PUTTING MYSELF IN HER WAY. She is a hairdresser and I still go and get my hair done by her. 

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Regan: What do you want to be known for after you are gone?                                                           Makenzie: I want to make in impact on people. I want to share my story and encourage the next generation. I want to share with girls the difference between love and lust. I want them to know there value and to never settle. 

God has a beautiful way of taking our mistakes and hurts and working them for our good. I love seeing young people not give up. I have felt so burdened by the school shootings and young people taking there life. We now more than ever need to be the church to the hurting. We need to tell people they matter and get close enough to hurt again. We can make an impact, we just need to show up and be present. 

I'm so honored to know Makenzie and to watch how God is using her gifting's and talents and purpose for him. The future is bright with our Next Generation. Let's keep believing and investing in them. Isaiah 61:1-3

If you know a teen mom that is pregnant Embrace Grace is an amazing starting place for healing. Go to www.embracegrace.com to find a group near you.

Thank you for letting me share your YOU ARE VALUABLE story!

Give Your Heart Away

Let’s not put our love on reservation.  

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 “We Love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

 

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Loving others is messy. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be intentional.

 

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When you feel the most insecure in your relationship with others, press into them. The only way we overcome is being close up.

 

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We can accomplish great things when we love those who are hurting and broken. We bring healing in our love. Fight to keep giving your heart away.