Friday, March 25, 2011

Cherished Outreach ~ March!

Well I'm just going to jump right into it. We had a really amazing visit to the club last night. My friend Stephanie came with me for the first time, and she did so great. The wonderful ladies at First Baptist put together some cute spring mugs filled with Reese's eggs for the girls and cookies for the guys that were a hit. A couple of ladies came and met with Steph and I at church before our visit to pray over us, over the visit, and the people we would meet, and we are definitely making that a regular thing. I know that there are lots of people praying for us as we go out, and we definitely pray before we go in, but there was something even sweeter about coming together with more women to intercede for this ministry.

We went in pretty much right after they opened, so for most of the time we were there they had no customers. We talked briefly with a waitress who was on her phone out front when we got there, and she seemed surprised and pleased that I remembered her name. The guys (security/bartender) were back to their usual polite-but-not-chatty selves, and we were really suprised to find 3 girls in the dressing room hanging out and getting ready. Lately they've stayed out of the dressing room, staying on the floor waiting for customers. One of the girls even mentioned as we were leaving that they needed to hurry up and get out there, because they aren't supposed to spend a lot of time in the dressing room.

As soon as we walked in the other waitress (as far as I know she's still not dancing) "A" lit up with a smile and hugged me when I asked if she remembered me. She has been gone for the last few months, and I found out that she has been recovering from a very serious surgery. Apparently she accidentally got in the middle of a bar fight a few months ago and ended up with several broken and fractured bones that required surgery. She said that it was her first night back, and we ended up talking for a long time. She's in the Reserves and found out that in 3 months she'll be shipping out for another year-long tour. She's not scared, and is excited about the chance to save the money she'll make while she's away, and even mentioned wanting to take one of Mom's history classes when she gets back (she met and talked with Mom for a long time in November). She's such a sweet girl and seems so out of place there. We talked almost the whole time Steph and I were there, and I ended up sharing my contact info with her because she hasn't really been able to make any friends in town and says she needs 'girl time'. I really hope she'll get in touch with me so we can spend more time together.

Stephanie did a great job, she went into the dressing room with me and ended up having this incredible conversation with the other 2 girls that were there. I was so glad she came, especially knowing that they probably wouldn't have connected with me the way they did with her, and was reminded how much God uses our story to reach out to others. In the course of their conversation, both girls opened up about their addictions and one told Steph her heartbreaking life story. Steph pointed out that compared to everything she's been through, dancing must not seem like a bad thing at all. This woman is trying to get clean, but please pray for her. The other girl shared that she was using anything she could and "didn't want to function". Every time we go in I'm reminded again that everyone there is walking around with more pain and open wounds than we could ever see.

Last month we passed out cards good for a free hair cut with Stephanie, and the DJ and his girlfriend both made appointments for today! Keep Stephanie in your prayers, and pray that their experience is a good one. When we talked to the DJ last night he said that if he and his girlfriend don't go home for the weekend, they'll be at church this Sunday. So there's a lot to pray about! Thank you to all of you who have been and continue to be so encouraging and supportive of this ministry, especially with your prayers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Well team, it's been a great weekend/start to the week. Saturday we had our first women's conference at the Vineyard, and it was so great. There were about 35 women there, and I really enjoyed the chance to hang out and get to know the faces I see every week, but don't know very well. Mom gave a great talk about the household of God, and I was really encouraged to have a Paul/Barnabas and a Timothy in my life. I've felt strongly about the importance of mentoring and discipleship ever since my involvement with Campus Outreach. I grew so much as a result of meeting regularly with a mentor and learning from her wisdom and example, and doing bible studies together. Mom explained to us that it's important to have a Paul/Barnabas (someone further along in their faith or life that you can meet with for encouragment and counsel - someone who is not a 'yes' man, but can get in your face when you're in the wrong) and a Timothy (someone that you encourage), citing Titus 2:3-5:

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers, or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God".

Then we heard testimonies from Stephanie Liby, myself, and Margaret Thornberry about life, love and legacy. It was really cool and I was inspired to have faith that moves and a legacy that pleases God.

This Sunday the whole experience at church: worship, sermon, and fellowship were all amazing. Hearing testimonies about a revival and awakening happening in Richmond was so awesome, and I love worshipping at the Vineyard so much more than should be allowed. I can't wait to see where we're headed next. Without going into too much detail, it's also been a great day today of wrestling with biblical principles. Not that I necessarily enjoy feeling like maybe God is asking me to do something differently than I've always thought was right. But I'm so thankful that when I come to God with a question about his will and seek him, he answers. I hate saying something that gets said all the time, but God is faithful. I guess if the angels can say Holy Holy Holy for all eternity, I can say God is faithful, even if people get tired of it. :-)

And finally, we found out today that everything is done and we can close on our house! We're still waiting until the end of April, but I'm so excited all the paperwork stuff and loan application are done! I got some flower seeds at the women's conference and I can't wait to start planting them in front of our little house. Happy summer ahead!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Houses and Panic Attacks

So obviously, it's been a long time since I've posted. There's been a lot going on, but I didn't want to talk about it and have things not work out. We've been looking for a house, and couple of weeks ago, we went back to the very first house we looked at. I had immediately loved this house, but TJ didn't like very much. Somehow, though, he kind of came around and now loves it just as much, if not more than I do! So we went to see it a second time, with Papa, and made sure we would be able to make the remodeling adjustments we'd like to, before we made an offer. Then we made an offer, and came to an agreement (after the typical haggling). :-)

Then came the real hassle. We went to get all the paperwork together to send in our mortgage application. Which would have been fine, but somehow a couple of my parents' loans with another bank showed up on my credit report. So the mortgage loan officer needed a letter from my parents' bank/credit bureau stating that my social security number was not affiliated in any way, shape or form - now or ever - to those account numbers. But you would have thought that these were the nuclear launch codes, it was so hard to get that stupid letter. I did get a letter stating that we had brought this error to their attention and that it was being disputed and fixed, but it had no specific information (i.e. account numbers or ss numbers). And I understand that they're trying to protect everyone's privacy and keep from getting sued, but it took almost a week to get this taken care of! First our friend at the bank tried to deal with the credit bureau people, and went back and forth with them, and then I finally got their number and after convincing two seperate people that I had, in fact, called the right department, we got down to writing the letter I needed. So after getting my permission to fax a letter with my social security number and my mother's account numbers (they didn't need her permission for some reason, go figure) to our mortgage loan officer, it's finally taken care of. But it was a little stressful. So now we're just waiting for them to process our application and for the house to be inspected/appraised! When we close, I'll feel good enough to post some pictures. But for now, I'm feeling kind of superstitious about showing pictures before the deal is 100% done. Our closing date will be April 29th, and we get to take possession right away. So we'll move in, and I'll have about a month before we have a baby. Talk about a busy couple of months.

Then in the middle of dealing with all of this stuff, I get a text message at 2:00 am one night from TJ saying that he almost went to the ER from work, because they thought he was having a heart attack. Talk about waking up quickly. TJ's always trying to do more than he should with church, on top of our house/mortgage stuff, and working 70-80 hours a week, and while he was at work he had gotten an email from one of the board members at church asking him to coordinate a remodeling job for the children's area. And apparently that just sent my poor husband over the edge, and he couldn't breathe, turned bright red, and freaked out his co-workers to the point they had him in the car before they realized he wasn't having a heart attack. So he's stepping back from some of the teams he helps out with at church, and the next night a couple of his co-workers brought him brown paper bags that had his name on them and said "Just Breathe". :-) Like I said, a lot going on.

Baby Ballet continues to get bigger and is still kicking me like crazy. This week though, one of my least favorite parts of pregnancy kicked in: acid reflux. I read somewhere that if you have a lot of acid reflux, it means your baby will have a lot of hair, and that was definitely true for Josiah. The doctor literally vacuumed out my uterus after Siah was born trying to clean up all the hair. It seems that Baby Ballet will also be born with a full head of hair. But I know I won't be complaining when we get to put the cute bows in her hair. I can't wait!