Thursday, October 27, 2011

Peace Comes from the Lord

I have a confession.

Did that get your attention?  Why is it that we love confessions of other people, yet it's hard to admit our own confessions?  I look up to those who confess regularly, because I have this thing called pride in my life.  It's sometimes hard for me to confess an inner secret because of the way certain people might react or how they will think of me.

Who cares?  Really.  Who cares what other people think of you?  To some extent, it's important to know what others think because as Christians, we're called to keep other Christians accountable.  If I'm on the wrong path, I need to know.  That's when I need to know what others are thinking.

But with this confession I'm about to make.  I don't care.  Honestly.  I'm a successful woman who has a husband who loves me, a job that's fulfilling its duties, and parents who love and support me.  Oh and I have a college degree.  That may sound conceited, but it's the truth.  I'm confident, and I know where my confidence comes from.  I thank the Lord every day that I have a job that I can work at and help keep my house running.  Many college graduates don't even know where they're going to get any source of income from.

In fact, this job is what triggered this whole confession thing.  You see, graduate school was once a dream of mine.  I had this awesome idea that I wanted to be a CPA.  Did I want to work in tax at that time?  Heck no.  I hate taxes.  Do I want to work in tax now?  Nope...not at all.  I have no desire what-so-ever.  In order to get a CPA license, I would have to have 150 credit hours to be able to sit for the exam.  So, I went to grad school.  That was my graduate, take the exam, and become a CPA.  I didn't have to work in that area, but knowing I had to license would be a safety blanket.

Well, plans don't always go as planned.  There's this thing called flexibility (and my family does it really well...just ask Tyler).  When I got a job at Summer Fresh Supermarkets, I had no idea what was in store for me.  I work with 9 other people, and I'm one of 4 that has a college degree.  I'm doing what I love...accounting for a company.  Thanks, Dad for showing me that I actually do love some part of farming. :]  This job has shown me that I don't necessarily need my masters or a CPA license to do what I love.

With that said, it's really difficult to be newly married, at a new job, and taking a whole set of new classes.  I don't have a lot of time...for anything.  So after a lot of prayer, calls to my parents, and talks with Tyler I've made a decision that leads to my confession.

I'm taking a sabbatical from school.

Yep, that's right.  After this December, I will lead a life that doesn't involve homework of any kind.  This sabbatical will help me get a better grasp on life and hopefully alleviate some stress.  I think grad school was a security blanket because I didn't know if I could get a real job in the real world.  I've never had one.  That's right.  I've never had a real job.  I've had better opportunities, I would say, with being able to work in a family business, and then later I worked in student orientation with the University.  

Now that I have a real job, I know that I don't necessarily need school anymore.  There may come a time after this next semester that I may want to go back, and all I ever needed was a break.  It could happen.  Not all people who leave school give up on it completely.  My cousin Molly is an example of this.  She took a 2 year break and look at her!  Chugging away on her master's degree!! :]  There IS proof that people do come back.  I will just have to see where God leads us.

So that's it.  My deep, dark secret.  It's out.  I've made this decision and I feel  at peace with it.  So think what you want.  I'm going to be free. :]

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Legacy of the Bunton's

Five years ago, I found a church in Springfield that I loved.  I went with my cousin during the school year and by myself during the summer.  I didn't care if I went by myself, because I loved it so much.  The people there just made me feel very welcome.  

Several months after Tyler and I started dating, we thought it would be a good idea to go to church together.  Tyler and Rachel (his sister) wanted to find a church in Springfield, because the one they had been going to was too far away.  So I went "church-shopping" with them.  We visited several Baptist churches, but didn't particularly like any of them.  So I thought I'd try to "convert" them over to the Christian church by inviting them to Northside. ;] Honestly, I thought they wouldn't like it since we do a few things differently.  Communion, for instance, was new for them since we take it every week, and it was what I had missed when we visited the other churches.  To my surprise, they both actually really liked it!  I was so excited!

The moral of this story is that I never would have imagined that we would be involved in such a wonderful church.  Fast-forward a couple years, and here we are.  Tyler has gotten involved with the Praise Team playing drums.  We joined a small group that has welcomed us in with open arms, and we've come to find out that we have some of the same hobbies in common.  Also, I joined a women's Bible study, which has been a total blessing in my life.  We're really blessed to serve in an amazing congregation.

Tuesday night, we met with our small group and talked about the battle for Holiness.  It was a convicting study, but so great to have accountability from these people.  Afterwards, we were on the way home when Tyler said something that got me thinking.  He said that I grew up in a family that won't stop talking about God.  I wasn't understanding why he said such a thing, but he went on to explain that some families don't talk much about God outside of church.  He said my family is ALWAYS talking about God, and is constantly bringing everyday activities back to Him.  I really took that as a compliment, and it made me proud to be a "Bunton."

The more I got to thinking about it, the more I realized that's what being a Christian is all about.  I am way beyond blessed to have a family that who would do anything in the world for just about anybody (maybe not KU or Cubs fans). ;]  That's what family is all about.

While I have been blessed with an amazing extended family, I have also been blessed with such great parents.  They are some of the most Christ-like people I know.  I don't just see this because I'm their daughter, but I see this in the people that ask to talk to them for advice.  I see this in the people that they invest their time and resources in.  I see this in the hospitality they have when they invite others into their home or to the lake.  I see this in the servant attitude they always have.  I see this in the junior high girls and high school boys that they're investing their time to teach.  I see this in their everyday life.

Wow.  What an amazing testimony.  Many of us can learn from them, myself included.  When Tyler and I start a family, I want to talk with our kids everyday about God.  I want them to know what their number one priority should be.  God is not a taboo subject.  He created you and me.  He is the reason we get up in the morning.  He is the reason we breathe.  We should give Him praise and thanksgiving every day, not just on Sunday.

Funny thing.  Growing up I thought my family was strange, and we've had out go-rounds.  Now that I'm an adult, I'm so thankful for them.  I'm thankful for my grandparents who taught my aunts, uncles, and Dad about Jesus.  They prayed for their kids to accept Christ as their Savior, and prayed that they might find Godly-spouses, and now my Granny prays for her grandkids (Grandpa passed away 5 years ago).  I'm so proud of my heritage.  The Bunton's have a legacy, and I proudly choose to be a part of that legacy.  

Thank you, Bunton Family, for giving me a visual of what family really is and what it really means to be Christ to others.  I'm blessed to be a part of a wonderful family.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Now is the Time

I haven't quit reading Crazy Love, but I have put it down for a few days.  There has just been so much stuff that God has been teaching me recently that I just really need to soak it all in.  I've been going to this women's Bible study at my church on Thursday nights.  While I've struggled to make any close connections with the women, I do know that this study is exactly what I've needed.

I've just wanted to share some things that God has just been teaching me and that I have been learning in the past few weeks.
  • God is faithful. Always.  Yes, I've known this my whole life, but it's been made real to me.  In the past few years when I wasn't faithful to Him, He was still faithful to me.  Wow.  Who wouldn't want to serve a God like that?
Psalm 36:5  
"Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, 
your faithfulness to the skies."
  • Merely desiring to do something for the Lord and actually doing something are two very different things.  I can want to do things for the Lord.  I can want to change my attitude.  I can want to lose weight.  As long as I want, it won't get done.  I actually have to do something about it.  Whatever God asks me to pursue, He will accompany me to complete.
Philippians 2:13
"For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."
  • Right now is the time for me to believe and experience the abundance, the greatness, the fullness that my God has come to give even in the face of frustration.  
    • True abundance is really seen when I'm sitting in a prison circumstance (like Paul was when he wrote Ephesians), when I'm eye to eye with an impossible situation, and right in the heart of my impossible, I experience the fullness of God.
    • This has really been on my heart, because when I feel like I'm in an impossible situation, I just feel stressed.  When I'm stressed, I have a bad attitude.  This is NOT how Paul reacted.  He praised God when he was sitting in PRISON!!! How can I not praise God in my circumstance?
2 Corinthians 12:9
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
  • I cannot out-ask, out-request, or out-pray the ability of God.  My wildest dream cannot out-dream His ability in my life.  PRAISE GOD!!!  This is probably the best news I've heard in a while!  All those prayers I prayed feeling selfish, now I know that I shouldn't feel that way!  God CARES about everything I care about.  He cares about the A that I made on my quiz.  He cares about the kindness I show to my neighbor.  He cares about how stressed I am with work, school, and home life.  He cares about me having enough time to clean my house.  He cares about all the prayer requests we have in small group.  He cares about each person in my small group.  Heck, He cares about EVERY, SINGLE person on this Earth.  When no one else seems to care, I can always count on God caring.  The God I serve is all-powerful, and He is all-powerful ALL the time.
  • The Holy Spirit lives in me, and that means that the ability and the power of God the Father is also in me.  The Holy Spirit is God Himself.  I received the Holy Spirit on June 13, 1999 when I was baptized into Christ.  He has been with me for 12 years, which also means the ability of power of God has been with me that long.  How have I not grasped this?  How have I not fully acknowledged that the power of Christ is in me?
Ephesians 1:13-14
"And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.  The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.  He did this so we would praise and glorify him."  (NLT)

  • People are more important that any amount of money.  This is something my parents have preached to me since I was little.  No amount of money is more important than any person.  I believe that they have done a fantastic job of making people feel welcome in their home by hosting many parties and gatherings and sharing with others.  They have also taken numerous people to lunch and have always paid for their guests.  They've stolen receipts off tables of people we know in the restaurant just to bless them that day with a gift of lunch.  People have asked my parents how much they owe them, the answer is always the same:  Nothing.  I see the blessings God has given them in their lives because they have blessed other people.  My parents never expect anything in return because they are gracious.  They have a willing spirit and really live by the lesson they teach.  I want to be like them.
Ecclesiastes 5:10
"Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless."

Luke 16:13
"No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money."

My heart is so full, and as you can see I have a lot to just soak in and meditate on.  God has been so good to me.  He has blessed me abundantly with a caring and loving husband, fantastic parents, and some pretty great brothers.  He's given me the opportunity to learn, and given me a new church home to serve in.  I will continue to praise Him all the days of my life.  Now is the time.