Archive for January, 2009
Khadijah Flowers (Pronounced: Ka-deesh-a)
Khadijah is one of my ninth grade girls. She started her freshman year at Putnam City North last semester. God has done an amazing work in Khadijah’s heart over the last few months. I’ve watched her grow and mature in Christ so quickly. She takes on so much of the mother role in her house since her family situation is rough. She has a heart for ministry and is always looking for a place to serve.
But the biggest lesson I’ve learned from Khadijah is her:
- Giving Heart.
This girl has the biggest heart you’ll ever experience. She really has nothing of her own, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to give big. Over the Christmas break she brought gifts to all our Bible study girls–just little gifts from her own room, to give away. This showed me such an amazing sacrificial heart, and made me take a look at my own generosity.
I hope to have as much of a giving heart as Kahdijah.
What about you? Do you know Kahdijah? Do you think you have a giving, generous heart?
Forrest Wright (Forrest, you look so “punk” in this pic!)
I first met Forrest on a Wednesday afternoon, before SWITCH. He came to the church to help me set up. Of course the reason he came to help set up is because he had to do community service for some trouble he had gotten into at school. I never would have thought that little, shy boy would grow up to be such an amazing, loving leader. A man of God in his own right.
Forrest has taught me so much. But probably the biggest thing I’ll take away from knowing Forrest is his amazing capacity for:
Forrest is probably one of the most loving students I’ve ever met. He has this amazing ability to love unconditionally and can often overlook others faults and shortcomings. It’s a gift God has given him. When he sees people, he usually doesn’t see them as they are, but he sees them as who they can become in Christ. It is because of this ability that he will lead, and does lead, many to faith in Christ.
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Forrest as he continually seeks God’s face!
Do you know Forrest? What do you think of him? Do you find yourself loving unconditionally, or does that come harder for you?
I’ve heard it said that if you keep a teachable heart you can learn from anyone. People older than you, people younger, people who you never thought could teach you anything. My desire is to always have a teachable heart and because of that I’ve learned some pretty amazing things.
For the next few posts I will share with you a few people I’ve learned from–people who most think should only be learning instead of teaching…
Haley Lynn Freeman
If you know Haley, you know an amazing, crazy girl of 14–going on 32. Haley started her freshman year at Putnam City Original last semester. Her passionate heart is inspiring. One of her top spiritual gifts is prayer, and you can be sure this girl prays! I’ve watched over the last year and seen almost every prayer she’s prayed be answered!
But the biggest thing I want you to know about Haley is her amazing ability to:
Haley is a natural influencer. She can lead just about anyone. Those older, those younger. It’s her confidence that brings her this natural ability to lead a team, a group of freinds, or her family toward a common goal. She is one of the most strongest leaders in SWITCH. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her as she continues to grow in HIM.
Do you know Haley? What do you think of her? Would you say you are an influencer (a leader) or do you tend to be more of a follower?
Vince is my co-worker, partner in crime, my fellow “Ass” (ASSociate youth pastor, at the N-dub!) Vince’s presence is truly influencing. He has that amazing ability that when he walks into a room he immediately draws the respect of everyone there. His 6 foot, 5 in stature isn’t the only thing that demands this respect, but it’s the way he lives his life.
I’ve only really known Vince for a couple months. But in those months he has taught me the invaluable lesson to always:
- Live with Integrity
Vince loves Jesus more than anything else in this world, and it shows by the way he lives his life. He’s not one person at church, and another person at home. He’s the same person no matter who is watching. He lives his life by the Word of God, diligently spends time with the Lord, with his wife and his daughter, showing that family is very important to him. He stays accountable to friends, and has even asked a couple, to mentor him and his wife.
I admire Vince for his integrity. I am so thankful to call him my friend and my brotha, from anotha motha!
What about you? Do you know Vince? Does his integrity inspire you? Do you feel you live with integrity, or is that an area you struggle in? Share your thoughts!
Lulu is one of my amazing SWITCH volunteers! Her incredible spirit inspires everyone around her. She has the most loving, giving heart and is always ready to minister to the girls at SWITCH.
But that is not the lesson LuLu has taught me. Through her crazy, unique personality LuLu has taught me the all important lesson to always:
- Be yourself
LuLu is probably one of the most unique individuals you’ll ever meet. Her personality falls into a catagory all its own! She’s passionate, loud (I say that in the most loving way!) She has the most incredible style I’ve ever witnessed! She is who she is, and she could care less what anyone else thinks about it. That alone is a huge trait to have.
I only hope to display the qualities of uniquness and individuality as well as LuLu, she has reminded me to just be me and because of that I’m blessed to call her my friend!
What about you? Do you find yourself caring about what people think too often? Would you say you’re comfortable in who you are? Do you know LuLu? What do you think of her?
My friend Jeremy… Wow, what do you say about someone like Jeremy? I can tell you one thing: in my search for pictures of him I couldn’t find ONE that didn’t have someone else in it. But that’s Jeremy… He’s probably one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. He’s always ready to help anyone who needs it, no matter the cost to himself.
But that’s not the lesson I’ve learned from Jeremy. Through Jeremy’s natural and amazing gift of connecting with others he’s taught me the important lesson to always:
- Focus on others
Jeremy’s people skills are truely amazing. One time I watched him walk into a room, and saw him say hello, and shake every person’s hand in the room, before he made it to his destination. Jeremy will always have time to talk to you, and when he does, his genuineness truly disarms any bariers people put up.
I only aspire to have the personal skills Jeremy displays everyday. His focus truly is on others, and because of that I am lucky to call him my friend, and my brother.
What about you? Do you find yourself focusing on others, or thinking more about yourself? Do you know Jeremy? What do you think about him?
I’m pretty lucky to have some amazing people in my life; people who are my friends, people who are unique in their own right. I have learned so much from these people and this week I will share just how they have affected my life.
I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten the chance to meet Mike Hodnett (if not, it is a true shame,) but he is probably the most positive person I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet.
When I first met Mike he was a volunteer at the Northwest campus. When he would enter a room you would know it. Not just for being vocally enthusiastic, but also for the energy he brings with him. I’m not sure how to explain it, but the saying is true about Mike: that he really does brighten a room when he enters it.
But that’s not the lesson Mike taught me. Through Mike’s joy, and his always-positive outlook, he has taught me the important lesson that:
- Attitude is everything
Mike, like many of us, hasn’t had the easiest of lives. He’s gone through his share of heartaches and setbacks. But the difference is his attitude. After meeting Christ, Mike’s faith has continued to guide him. In less than a year Mike’s positive outlook on life has led him to a job where he gets to use his gift to lead others toward faith in Christ.
So no matter what I’m facing in life, I’ve learned that with a positive outlook I can take anything that comes my way. Mike’s example has taught me the importance of that, and I am lucky to call him one of my close friends.
What about you? How has a positive outlook or negative outlook affected your life? Have you ever met Mike, or someone like him?
My good friend, co-worker and adopted brother @vincentparker asked me yesterday. “Anna, why did you start blogging?” He’s thinking about starting a blog of his own, but doesn’t know if he wants to for sure. I gave him a few reasons:
- I’ve always loved to write. This was just another outlet for my passion of word crafting. (Of course I didn’t say it as eloquently as that… I always seem to sound better when I’m writing than when I’m talking!)
- I also love sharing ideas, lessons and truth with others, so blogging just seemed like the thing to do.
Which got me thinking… I wonder why other people blog? What got you started? What keeps you going? Share some insight for Vince and maybe we’ll be blessed with another blog to read.
Working in full time ministry now for almost two years has taught me a lot! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that:
I can’t do it alone.
For the longest time I thought that asking for help was a sign weakness. Because of that I would kill myself to try and get everything done so that I wouldn’t need anyone’s help. I also thought that if I couldn’t do it all I was somehow failing my job and my volunteers. But thankfully my eyes have been opened.
Asking for help is vital because it:
- Helps you realize you’re not SuperMan and that it’s ok to rely on others for support
- Gives those around you a chance to be a part of something too
- Shows you that God’s people have a lot to offer if you’ll just allow them
- Gives you a chance to rest and actually enjoy some of the fruits of your labors
I’m beginning to see that NOT asking for help is the real sign of weakness, and not allowing people to pitch in is the quickest way for failure in my ministry relationships and even my personal relationships. Plain and simple: not asking for help is just kind of selfish.
Do you struggle with asking for help? What benefits have you seen in your life when you’ve allowed others to give you a hand?