Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The old is gone, the new has come

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17b-19

I have begun going to a new church in my new town, Waynesboro, and so far it has had an incredible impact on me! I have this great desire to go to church. I feel challenged and I honestly crave that challenge. I am tired of easy teaching; i am tired of being reminded and re-taught what I already know. Maybe that sounds arrogant, but I don't think so. I look at it differently: the more I am challenged and taught, the more I can retell what I'm hearing and re-teach what I am being taught. I have felt stale lately, and hearing the same old stuff, the stuff I am already capable of having a fluent conversation about or giving a coherent club talk or campaigner lesson on isn't going to freshen up my relationship with Jesus at all! But when I walk out of the doors of Tab on Sunday morning, I feel fresh!

On the front of the bulletin from this new church is a letter from the pastor (a very humble and wise man); part of it reads, "When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit gives us new life and a new nature. We were given "new roots" from which grows new fruit. the fruit of the Spirit..." When I hear that, it is easy and natural for me to automatically thing, "Oh, heard it before!"

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!'
-2 Corinthians 5:17

But this week I have a fresh perspective on the idea of being "new" and the fruit that comes from being "new." I was created to be "rooted and established" in His love. If I am rooted and established in myself, my fruit is going to be weak and tasteless and scarce. God's design is to produce an abundant harvest through me!
And the workers are few!

"Then he said to his disciples, 'the harvest is great,
but the workers are few.'"
-Matthew 9:37

So often I feel like I am simply one in a crowd- but that is not how Jesus saw me as he died on that cross! He saw the perfect (and specific) plans that he had formed for me to carry out; this full and abundant life he designed for me to live.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord,
'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
John 10:10

It is a beautiful thing that I have brothers and sisters beside me as I live my life out according to his purpose- but I am not a number! Instead, he has the very hairs on my head numbered!

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
Luke 12:7

How sweet!

I get such a cool opportunity; my life gets to become a foretaste of what is to come- I get the chance to be the evidence and proof of what the world is searching so hard for. I get to know God and therefore I get to know true love because God is love.

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him."
1 John 4:16

Our God is so big! I am His beloved and so are you!

Be loved!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

so... what exactly do you do?

It is a regular occurrence at work for me to be asked the question: "So... what exactly do you do?" Sometimes this question breaks a little piece of my heart and makes me wonder, "am I not doing a good job?" or "am I not pulling my weight?" But I think in reality, the question is asked out of pure curiosity- so I decided to share what an average day in my life at Chick-fil-A of Waynesboro might look like.

I get to work around 11 o'clock and routinely forget to clock in or get distracted from clocking in until about 20 minutes later.

Then I sit down at an empty booth to check my email. Fast wi-fi is honestly the best thing since sliced bread! Makes my life that much easier. Sometimes I have fun stuff to respond to and other times I just wish I did.

At about noon the lunch rush starts- so I vacate my booth and tip-toe through the kitchen (in the shoes I know better than to wear- but I wear anyways), trying not to fall with my arms full of my mac, purse, phone, keys, and Katherine's and my "notebook of life" (this little notebook holds all of our secrets and keeps us sane on a daily basis).

Once lunch gets rolling you can find me in one of a few places: most days I am in the dining room helping out cleaning tables, "refreshing" drinks, and clearing trays. One of my favorite tasks is to be outside in the drive-thru doing what Chick-fil-A calls "face-to-face;" this is where we take our drive-thru customers' orders ourselves to make their wait a little shorter and hopefully their experience a little more personal- a little more "Chick-fil-A." Lately I've enjoyed sneaking over to the drive-thru window inside the store to help out with drinks and making milkshakes. I adore the girls in drive-thru, and I get to say hello to and chit-chat with all of our customers as they come by the window.

Once lunch slows down and things get back under control (aka I become useless in the front of the store), I have a few other responsibilities to take care of. Since we are a new store, we tend to make a lot of mistakes- we add pickles to our "CFAs with no pickles," we forget orders of fries in the drive-thru, we even had one lovely gentleman complain that we added too much ice to his "medium lemonade with lite ice." So it is in my job description to apologize for those mistakes- big and small. I send out sweet little notes inviting those unhappy customers to "contact me personally if they have any other concerns" and (hopefully) pacifying them with coupons to "use at their convenience."

Katherine and I plan all of the events that we hold at the store- anything from Bingo (first Tuesday of every month) to Superhero Night (which was a huge hit) to Daddy-Daughter Date Night (to be held August 28th). We add these events to our handmade calendars, create flyers, and advertise on our facebook and website (www.waynesborocfa.com). Then when the big days roll around we are in charge of carrying them out the very best we can. We meet and greet and keep things running as smoothly as we know how in the chaos that can so easily erupt in restaurant life. Controlled chaos is the best we can hope for.

This week I had my first ever experience with sampling; this is another part of my job. We got to sample a tray of Chicken Salad Sandwiches that we made for an order that was later cancelled. People loved it! (And I especially loved sampling them out the drive-thru window.)

I get tons of emails requesting donations, so after checking with Jay and getting his input, I respond to those. People are super familiar with Chick-fil-A's generous reputation so sometimes their requests get a little far-fetched, but other times we get to build really sweet relationships in the community because we are able to fill a need.

I'm not going to lie- Katherine and I enjoy shopping. So together or separate, we make several trips to Target, Michael's, and Staples for all of the supplies and accessories we just can't live without (for the store and all of our events of course).

Sometime in here I take a break and eat lunch- I am known for taking ages to make a decision on my meal. (Usually I settle on a kid's meal of 4-6 nuggets, a small fry, a cookie parfait... and a brownie- yum!) I take that time to hang out with Katherine or some of our other girls if they are on break too. A lot of times our high schoolers will find me and share with me their thoughts (and yes, often complaints) in hopes that I can be a sort of advocate for them- it's sweet! Also during the day awkward things usually happen to me like one of our 16-year-olds telling me that he told his mom he knew I'd be cute from the first time I called him to set up his training date and that "its only a 6-year difference." Oh dear!

Then the dinner rush hits and it's lunch time all over again! (Right now our store is #13 in the nation for dinner! And when we first opened we were #3! Insane, I know!)

Around 7 o'clock I usually decide that I've done all I can do for one day, and (after of course forgetting to clock out) I head home.

So it may be a toss up for what I can be found doing at any given moment, but I know I am giving it my all, and in all honesty, I love my job. I love everything about it. I love the people I get the opportunity to work with, I love our customers- the regulars and those just passing through, I love what our company stands for (and it's way more than selling chicken! Our mission statement begins with "to glorify God...")
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31
I even love our building. It is a good place and it is exactly where I am called to be. The peace I have from that calling
"transcends all understanding." (Philippians 4:7)

God is so good!
In Him,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

so are my ways higher than your ways

You know how they say "hind sight is 20/20"?

I believe that statement with all of my heart.

God's plans and his thoughts and his ways are so much bigger than mine could ever be. But isn't it amazing how often and how easily I can forget that and pretend to know best!

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:8-9

Who would have ever thought that the small town of Waynesboro, VA would be where God called me and where I want to be more than anywhere else in the world at the ripe age of twenty-two? And yet it is! Who would have thought after 4 years of school to be an interior designer, that I would be working as the Marketing Director for a brand new Chick-fil-A store? Who would have thought that I would still be hanging out with high schoolers after I have graduated from college? And that it would bring me far more joy and peace and purpose than it ever did when I was a high schooler myself. Who would have thought? I am convinced that at the beginning of time God did. He planned it out perfectly and now he is carrying it out and will continue to do so as long as I invite him to.

"...being confident of this,

that he who began a good work in you

will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Philippians 1:6

Trust him... He knows what he's doing.



Monday, August 16, 2010

write them on your gates

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today
are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the door frames of your houses
and on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

(Proverbs 4:23)

(Psalm 37:4)

In both houses that I lived in during college, I made my walls constant reminders of God's word.
I miss those walls!

I have been out of college, and thus out of those houses, for a few months now, but I still feel called to have scripture in front of me at all times. In response to this, one of my closest friends and I committed to meditating on a single verse throughout the day every day- (it's not something that comes naturally, but having it memorized by the end of the day is always a beautiful outcome as well). When we first talked about the idea, I shared the Deuteronomy verse with her and she told me that she was not writing Bible verses on her forehead (: ...but in all seriousness, it has been pretty incredible to watch the ways that the Lord can move in me and bring about sweet conversations throughout the day simply by a reminder as small as a verse written on your wrist.

Today's verse was:

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

Have a beautiful night, friends!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

so much blessing

I have had it in the back of my mind for the past 6 months to start writing a blog of my own, but I refused to do so until I could do it well- with consistency and the attention it deserves. Well, I think the time has come to take the leap. It has been my heart for as long as I can remember, to live my life transparently, an open book if you will, and what better way to do that than to share it in this way?

My life feels like one big unknown these days, but I have never been more confident that I am exactly where God has called me.

A quick update: I graduated from James Madison University in May and after a glorious month living it up with my roommates, was incredibly blessed to start working for the new Chick-fil-A of Waynesboro in June doing Marketing and Events.

I am learning so much about what it means to be blessed-

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.

Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven

and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

Malachi 3:10

God doesn't promise to answer all of our prayers with a "yes," or in the way that we want (or think that we want), but he does say that he hears our prayers and that if we delight ourselves in him, he will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). I have been blown away time and time again to watch how he does this in his time and his ways- and gosh they're so much better than what I could have ever hoped for! He has started giving me the desires themselves so that when he fulfills them I can only give him the glory! He has blessed me with community, and relationships centered on Him, and a job that I am excited about, and JOY! Not every day, not in every moment, but he is a consistent God and he has consistently shown himself to me in this season.

Now I want to learn more what it means to be a blessing! So many days I feel like I need to take a step back and remember what it looks like to first "bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." What it looks like to give my whole self to the Lord and to his people, to give Him the "firstfruits" of my life, and then to watch the beautiful ways he takes it and multiplies it and then sometimes chooses to give it back to me.

"Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God..."

Exodus 34:26

I just signed a lease for a precious little apartment in Waynesboro and as I was praying about it, I prayed that my home would be a testament to my relationship with my God first and foremost. And who knows what this blog will look like, but that's my prayer in this endeavor too... that Jesus would be proclaimed through my words and my life.

Thanks for reading, my friends.