The Adventure Continues…

I’ve never camped a day in my life.

When I was 11, I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and convinced myself I was the reincarnate of Tom Sawyer.  I ran through the woods around our house, bare-footed, building forts out of branches and trying to fashion a make-shift raft for our creek.  I sweat and I climbed and I crawled. But when I heard my dad’s voice echo from our front porch, I ran home to a hot shower and a cozy bed.

That’s the closest I’ve ever come to “roughing it”.

You can imagine my surprise when my cell phone buzzed in early December and after an hour long conversation I realized that I had just committed to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. More notably, I had just committed to 8 days without a shower. In the hot season. In Africa. Did I just say yes to that?

I’m a firm believer that God has a wonderful sense of humor. And I’m a firm believer that He is going to be cracking up at the end of this month as He sits back and watches me brave the wild wilderness. Heck, I’ll probably be laughing at myself most of the time, too. But I’m more than willing to swat mosquitoes, sleep on the ground, and trek the highest free-standing mountain in the world in order to make the Gospel known.

If you’re as confused as I suspect you are at this point, allow me to rewind a bit and share with you what God is doing in my life right now.  Are you ready for the run-down? I will try to keep it concise…

After I did not make the LSU football in August of 2012, I sold all that I owned, donated the money to my sweet friend Kate (Check out her website & support her here: http://kategoeler.theworldrace.org), packed up my pups and moved back to my hometown–Atlanta.  It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the college town that captivated my heart, but I knew that God was calling me back to Georgia. And I knew that I’d always have a home away from home in the beautiful bayou.

I moved into our new house in Vinings and found myself dizzied with joy as I finally had the opportunity to spend daily time with my magnificent mom and hilarious sister.  I had forgotten how much I loved their regular company.  Through every one of the adversities and hardships our family had endured through the past 4 years, I had always been 500 miles away.  Now I had the opportunity to hug my sister, kiss my sweet mom whenever I pleased, and relish in the small daily splendors of “family”.  My heart overflowed.

I took time to settle, rekindle old friendships, and build new relationships with so many wonderful people.  I found a new church home in Passion City Church and have loved learning and growing under Louie Giglio. There are few people in this world who I believe are truly anointed communicators. Not only is Louie one of those people, he is also a beautiful example of a humble, wise, and God-fearing leader who wants nothing more than to make Jesus known. It’s been an absolute joy seeing the church-body at Passion City move in response to God’s overwhelming presence at PCC. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt to praise and worship with Chris Tomlin’s band every week!)

I started my own business–BOLDLIFE,llc–and began navigating the many obstacles of building a solid professional platform, and associating with the right people.  BOLDLIFE is a managing and marketing entity that handles all of my professional endeavors.  The largest of which being professional speaking.  I have been blessed to have the opportunity to travel the country speaking and sharing my heart with businesses, churches, youth groups, athletic teams, young leaders, and more! I have bounced from Georgia to Alabama to Colorado to Florida to Louisiana–requests have poured in and God has been so faithful in seeing to it that I have steady work and a wide reach.  2013 is booking up quickly and I am in the process of building a full website, starting a non-profit organization, and continuing to be sensitive to God’s will and direction in how He wants to use me and how I can honor Him with my days.  It is my heart to inspire, empower, and encourage this generation to live BOLDLY for the Gospel.

I have also been working some with ESPN.  While we are in the brainstorming phase of what exactly my role may look like with the network–whether we may pursue a continuation of the “Meaux Vs.” series, or structure my involvement in a different way– it has been a fun adventure visiting their headquarters in Bristol, seeing how their systems operate, and getting an opportunity to shake hands and have conversation with some influential people in the sports media world.  I have had the privilege of appearing on ESPNU’s college-geared show, UNITE, several times in the past few months.  And while I have always been a guest in the past, I am thrilled to announce that they have hired me to co-host two episodes this coming week (Monday, Feb. 4th and Tuesday, Feb. 5th). I look forward to learning and growing through the experience. I hope you’ll tune in!

It has not been easy following God’s calling in my life.  There are so many times that I–a creature that craves organization and structure–have found myself drenched in tears, frustrated, tired, and desperately bargaining with God to just show me the 5-year plan. Sometimes I wish He would just lay out what my finances are going to look like, what course I’m going to take, and the detailed checklist of what He wants me to do.  It’s hard waking up each day and trusting that He is orchestrating a bigger picture.  Yet every time I doubt His presence and His provision in my life, He never fails to gently remind me that He has a perfect plan.

Case in point: the early December phone call.

As some of you may remember, last year I had the special opportunity of sharing my testimony as a part of Next Step Ministry’s video series.  (If you haven’t seen the video, you can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7ptcSmKIihA ) Next Step is an organization passionate about getting kids and teens involved in missions work.  They have several locations around the U.S. that they host mission trips to throughout the year.  Each week-long mission trip hosts nightly gatherings in which a video is shown as a part of the program.  My testimony happened to be one piece of the video puzzle last year, and I was thrilled to learn that thousands of kids were impacted by God’s brilliant message of hope through my messy, broken words.

I was also thrilled when Next Step reached out AGAIN and asked me to be a part of their 2013 video series.  My thrill turned to intrigue when they continued on to explain that this year’s video series was going to be slightly different and that I would be woven through each video in the series, rather than just one. And my intrigue turned to shock when they said it was because this year’s video was documentary-style. And that the documentary was going to be shot in Uganda. And Tanzania. And, oh yeah, on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro–19,341 feet above sea level.

(My inner Tom Sawyer was giddy!)

I’m proud to announce that I will be partnering with the Next Step Ministry team as a contributor to their 2013 video series. We will be leaving February 14th and traveling first to Uganda. While there, we will be highlighting the work done by several missionaries and ministries in the cities of Kampala and Jinja.  This includes Fields of Life (http://www.fieldsoflife.com) , Sole Hope (http://www.solehope.com) , Light Gives Heat (http://www.lightgivesheat.org) , Charity Water (http://www.charitywater.org) , and New York Times Best-Selling Author Katie Davis’ Amazima Ministry (http://amazima.org). I would love if you would take the time to click each of these links and learn a little bit more about the heart of these amazing ministries.  I am so excited to have the opportunity to spend time serving with these organizations and learning more about the nation, their needs, and how these missionaries are impacting people’s lives as the hands and feet of Christ.

After a week in Uganda we will hop a flight to Tanzania and prepare to climb Kili.  This will not only serve as a beautiful portion of the documentary–interwoven into each video within the series–it will also be a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual test of endurance and fortitude.  Preparation and training for the climb has already been taxing, and I have no doubt that the 8-day endeavor will be one of the most challenging and exhausting feats any of us have ever attempted. (I’m not quite sure weight-lifting with a bunch of football meatheads is anywhere near as overwhelming as facing Mother Nature’s grandeur and finding a way to navigate terrain, climate, energy, and will. But don’t tell the big strong boys I said that…ha!)

And so I find myself here. Two weeks away from embarking on a journey I’ve always dreamed of taking. I find myself in the grip of a King who reminds me, in tiny ways and in MASSIVE ways, that He is ordering the days of my life. I find myself recklessly following the footsteps of my Lord with an eager heart and an open mind.  I find myself challenged, sustained, anxious, and eased.  I have no idea what the Lord has in store for my heart during this time, but I cannot wait to find out.  And I cannot wait to share the journey with YOU.

Would you like to join me? Your support would mean more to me than I can express.  Above all else, I would appreciate your prayers.  I am seeking, whole-heartedly, God’s purpose for my life. I trust that He is guiding me and using me as He sees fit and that, through my ministry, lives are being touched by Him.  I am just a vessel, and I want to remain a vessel that is unobstructed, flexible, and pliable to His will. I would appreciate your prayers that He continue to shape He into the woman He has designed me to be–no matter what that calls from my life.

If you feel led to support my ministry in any other capacity–whether it be through written encouragement or financial contribution–I would be honored to connect with you.  I am working to raise funds to cover my expenses for the trip (medical expenses for specialized vaccines, appropriate clothing and required climbing gear), as well as funds to allocate to the various ministries we are connecting with. If this sounds like a way you may feel led to bless the work God is doing through my journey, I would love to hear from you.  Please don’t hesitate to email me at:

moisomspeak@yahoo.com

I hope that is a sufficient recap of the past 6 months for my wonderful family, faithful friends, and fantastic followers. Thank you for your constant love and your loyal readership. I am so grateful for YOU!

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In Response to “Mo-vember”

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” –James 4:10

It’s hard to believe that it is already mid-November.  Ten and a half months into my year-long intimacy fast, and I have

never felt so alive!

If you are in-touch with pop-culture, I’m sure you’re familiar with “No Shave November”–a month dedicated to raw masculine appeal. A month defined by spectacular, untouched facial hair. A month honoring the finest form of upper-lip artwork…the mustache. That curly-haired lip caterpillar is so spectacular, it redefines a month. Turning what used to be “November” into “Mo-vember”–a true honor for the studly ‘stache.

Though I’ve had a few friends joke, here and there, about the name of the month corresponding with my name, it wasn’t until recently that I paid much attention to the title–and for unique reason.

You see, this month has been marked by incredible emotion. Intense highs, stunning lows–ultimately, immeasurable blessings.  The three most notable events stand at the forefront of my mind. First, the conclusion of my 16 year soccer career–a loss in the NCAA tournament that closed one of the most extensive and defining chapters of my life, and ended my college career on the LSU Soccer team. Secondly, being voted by my peers and crowned the 2011 LSU Homecoming Queen–an overwhelming introduction to the newest chapter of my life, and a humbling honor that has countless layers of significance to my heart.  And lastly, winning the online fan vote for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award–an award with an overall winner still yet to be named, but with a message of support that floored me. Literally.

It wasn’t until just a few days ago, in the aftermath of so much intense emotion, that I was walking to class and passed a group of college co-eds. As we shuffled by on the sidewalk, I smiled and waved, and they hollered out in kind support. “Congrats Mo! What a crazy year! You deserve it all! Everybody, it’s ‘Mo-vember!'” Little do they know, the things they yelled have turned my world up-side-down these past few days, and have stirred my heart to a new place.

Now before you roll your eyes, click away from the page, and dismiss me as a self-promoting narcissist, I encourage you to read on. Because the reason this phrase turned my world up-side-down, is likely not the reason you would assume.

Don’t get me wrong, the group that shouted their support–as well as all of the fantastic individuals who have written on my facebook wall, tweeted me, texted me, emailed me, and extended their love–have done so with the purest of intentions. All of your overwhelming love and encouragement and affirmation has meant more to my heart than I will ever be able to express. You have given me such joy, you have humbled me, and you have filled me with a passion that is overflowing. To all of the LSU students who voted for Homecoming, to the countless individuals who voted for the Lowe’s Award–often over and over again–, to every person, coach, player, and fan who has ever supported me through my soccer career…”Thank You” just simply isn’t enough. I don’t even know how to put into words the appreciation I have for you. The respect I have for you. The love I have for you. I wish there was a phrase so much grander than “thank you”. I wish I could hug each of you, look you in the eye, and share the passion I have for you. But I suppose I will leave it at a resounding “THANK YOU SO MUCH!” until the day I can shake your hand.

However, all of the praise and attention that has come in the past few months, and this month in particular, has truly humbled me to a new place. A place unfamiliar.

The phrase that has repeatedly echoed with the most intensity is, “What a crazy year!” I’ve heard similar dialog from others in the form of, “Wow, what coincidence that so much is happening all at once!”, and “This has been a storybook year for you.” While these comments and congratulations certainly make my blood pump and excite me, the fact of the matter is that they violently humble me.  And the most humbling element of all is that I should not be surprised.

I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “Wow, this chick has got some real ego issues.” But I promise I am getting to the point. Hang with me.

Time and time again, the Bible assures us that if we make sacrifices for God, we will be rewarded. If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. If we humble ourselves before our King, He will lift us up.  If we place our faith in Him, He will carry us.  That we are in this world, not of it. And if we can make ourselves uncomfortable in our own lives and obey the Word, we will bear fruit.

That is what this year has been all about in my personal journey.  Humbling myself to the King as best as I know how. Stepping away from my physical wants and desires and turning completely to God.  It has been a hard year. It has challenged me, it has hurt at time, it has left me vulnerable, embarrassed, weak, sometimes lonely.  It has taken every conscious thought of every single day to remain focused and remind myself why I am traveling through such an awkward journey.  Ultimately, time and time again, it has led me to the foot of the cross–pleading for answers, and weak in my inadequacy.

And now, as the year of an indescribable journey is coming to a close, He has followed through on His Word. What? Wow! Why does that shock me? I am supposed to be a solid believer. I am supposed to know that He will do what He says He will do in His Word.  I am supposed to have undoubting faith. So why do I find myself stunned at the end of this year as He lifts my spirit with such fantastic blessings? I suppose, yet again, I’m reminded why I am so human. Aren’t we all?

There is nothing coincidental about this year. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that He is King, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Read that again. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He rewards our efforts to know Him more.  Trust me, I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I fail, daily. I sin, hourly. But when all is said and done, I find great humility in constantly seeking to know Him more. Constantly and diligently striving to give more of myself to Him, as best as I know how. At the end of the day, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God blesses those efforts. God smiles on those who love Him and those who use the platform He has blessed them with to glorify Him and His Kingdom.

That brings me to the next thing they hollered–the line that brings me to me knees at the foot of Christ. “You deserve it all!” What great intention so many have had in telling me that. I truly do appreciate your kind regards.  And I do understand what people mean when they express this form of congratulations.  But at the end of the day, I deserve nothing. We earn nothing. I’m sure you are thinking, “Where is this girl about to take this? That’s a kind compliment. Why does she always have to get so deep?” Haha. I know, I know. But there is a great lesson in great success.

Great athletes, great intellects, great entrepreneurs, great missionaries, great service men and women…all great individuals share commonalities. They work incredibly hard at what they do. They invest time, energy, effort, money, and passion into their talents.  They set themselves apart by their work ethic and determination, and often times they are rewarded in outstanding ways.  But at the end of the day, they earned nothing. We deserve nothing. We deserve death. We are sinners and we lie and we steal and we cheat and we lust. We are totally fallible and unworthy of God’s love.  BUT IN FAITH WE GAIN EVERYTHING.  Because Jesus Christ died on the cross, we gain salvation! We gain hope! Because God loves us so incredibly much, He sent His own Son to die for us. Because of THAT, alone, we gain life.

Wow! What a concept to wrap your mind around. In all we do, we deserve nothing. But God loves us so much, He yearns for us to love Him and to use His blessings to glorify Him! Every success I’ve ever had is due entirely to God. My health, my soccer career, my athletic achievements. All are due to the glory of God. I would be nothing without His grace. Every accomplishment, every blessing–from the smallest in scale to the grandest in size–are all due to God and His infinite glory. I deserve nothing. We deserve nothing. But we gain everything through God.

I am nothing. But Christ Jesus inside me is everything! We ALL share the ability to host the King of all Kings in our hearts. Every single one of us. No matter your past, no matter your present–you hold an unimaginable future! Let’s be diligent, let’s be faithful. Let’s seek Him FIRST.

 “For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.” –Psalms 149:4

I want to know God more. I want to love God more. And because of that deep, active desire in my heart, God has blessed me with this mind-blowing month of “Mo-vember”.  Such a silly phrase. I wish “God-vember” rhythmed better. This is NOT “Mo-vember”. This is a great month of active blessing.  I hope ALL who see the earthly successes in my life know that those successes are trivial to the spiritual success of knowing Christ Jesus.  I hope people will yearn to love God with the same intensity they yearn to succeed.  I hope people will praise our King like they praise our athletic figures, movie stars and musicians.  I hope people will see, through my journey, that GOD FOLLOWS THROUGH ON HIS WORD.

It is not important what you wear, how you look, where you live, what you drive.  It is not important how many championships you have won, how many trophies you have, or how popular you are.  It is not important that I have broken records, been crowned Homecoming Queen, and won popular fan voting for the Lowe’s Award.

It is important that we know God. It is important that we love God. And it is important that we diligently seek Him, and give Him praise in all we do. I promise you, with every fiber in my being, that if you put God first, you will know His blessings.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” –James 4:8

Lost In the “In-Between”

“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

Have you ever found yourself at a place in life where you are stuck in transition? Maybe you are there now. In between two phases of life: the time between college graduation and the start of a career–the time between two jobs after a layoff–the time between relationships–the time between two decisions. No matter the circumstance, it’s a state of “in-between”, an adjustment period, that we often find ourselves resting in.  A movement away from the familiar and the known–a movement into change and uncertainty.  While the lucky handful can move through these transitions quickly, we often find that this phase is the toughest, most confusing time.  Not only is there uncertainty moving forward, but there is also a lack of passion and drive.  When you’re not sure which direction the “light at the end of the tunnel” is coming from, how do you know which way to look?

Lately, this “phase” of in-between has been a recurring theme amongst so many of my friends, as well as amongst some of the individuals I disciple.  And while everyone’s individual scenarios are different and unique, the general theme of discontent has remained constant. In listening to each of them share their hearts, I began to realize a few key things: #1. We are all so human. No matter where we are in our walks as believers, we are all so deeply human–struggling with the same emotions, insecurities, conflicts, and self-serving mentalities. #2. As humans, it is so easy to get tripped up and tangled in these mentalities.  It is our nature to allow ourselves to become fixated–whether it be on positive triggers or negative triggers.  We are creatures of habit. #3. Thank goodness we serve a fantastic King that has immeasurable patience and loves us so passionately. Because… #4. So many of us get lost in the “in-between”. (Myself definitely included!)

As I prayed and prayed over the matter, I dug into the Word and was immediately humbled by such a familiar verse.  A verse that we often list off, but may not fully understand at times.  As we’ve discussed before, the Bible is the living, breathing Word of God.  In every circumstance, a passage can take on new light, new meaning.  It is up to us to drown ourselves in the dialog of our King and open our hearts to His truth and His will.  It is up to us to nourish ourselves with the Word so that, at a moments notice, we can pour His truth into others with conviction and love. Jeremiah 29:11 carries such beauty and truth.

When caught in an “in-between” in life, it’s easy to stand stagnant in our faith.  After all, with so much else to figure out and take in, it seems harmless to put our pursuit of Christ on the back-burner for a while. He understands, right? There is too much else going on.  Too much that needs to be organized, too much that needs to be sorted out, too many other decisions to be made.  Once we are comfortable again with life’s circumstances, we can pick back up where we left off in our faith…right?

If you were dating someone who you were really serious about and truly wanted to build a relationship with, that would consume a great deal of your time and attention, yes? Text messages, calls, dates, conversations, meals together, activities together–you would genuinely enjoy that person’s company and work to maintain a healthy relationship with them. Now let’s say you’ve been getting more and more serious with them and they have been reciprocating the affection and love. They have been doting over you, loyal to you, fun, communicating well…all signs point to this being a fantastic relationship. Then one day everything stops. They don’t call, they don’t text, they don’t come over.  They won’t return your messages, they won’t respond to you on facebook, they won’t even make eye contact when you see them.  When you go over to their house to try to talk, they don’t answer the door, they don’t let you in.  You are left completely in the dark.  When you finally do hear from them, all you get is an “I’m busy.” “I’ve got more important things to do.” “I’ve got too much going on.” 2 months pass–haven’t heard from them. 4 months pass–haven’t heard from them. 6 months pass and all of a sudden the phone rings. Your text message inbox fills up, your facebook status feed blows up, that person is back at your door with a smile on their face, prepared to pick right back up where you left off. Is that relationship going to be the same immediately?–No.  They haven’t invested an ounce of time or attention or interest in you for half a year. They haven’t loved you–they deserted you–too wrapped up in the stress and worry of their own lives to even care to acknowledge you.  And while we are BLESSED to serve a God that infinitely loves us, patiently waits for us, and instantly forgives us–the point of the matter is that if we ignore him when He’s inconvenient for us, we lose time to learn more about Him and grow in our love for Him.  He knows us inside and out, but we cheat ourselves of time to know Him better and love Him more. And if we are cheating while He is loyal, how is that a healthy relationship?

God never brings us to a place to “shelf us” for a while, until He needs us again. He never places us in storage or abandons us.  Every single circumstance and every single phase we find ourselves in, throughout our lives, is perfectly constructed by God to be used for His glory.  Our greatest growth often occurs through our greatest struggles. Imagine the growth we could achieve in our relationship with Christ if we remained faithful to Him during the most uncertain times. Are our relationships amongst one another not strengthened in the same way? Faithfulness, devotion, trust, support, attention, love.  These are all qualities that build solid relationships amongst people–so what is any different when it comes to building a solid, loving relationship with Christ? I think it is easy to get caught up in the “here and now” of daily life. Especially when we hit awkward seasons–phases of transition, phases of uncertainty, phases of confusion, phases of “in-between”.  But newsflash: in those times, who can offer you greater faithfulness, devotion, trust, support, attention, and love than the perfect, magnificent God that created every inch of you?!

I think it is normal to take loved ones for granted at times. I know I have. I have done it since I was young. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I really started noticing that my behavioral patterns with my family weren’t ideal. You see, when I am in public or around friends and acquaintances, I always strive to put my best foot forward. I strive to wear a smile and keep a positive energy and a positive attitude. To be totally honest, that can get a little draining. I’m not trying to insinuate that I’m “fake” when I’m out and about, I just genuinely enjoy bringing positivity with me and seeing people smile…nothing makes me happier than hearing laughter. I’ve never been a fan of drama, so I make an effort to let those around me experience the best of me–you never know whose life you may be touching. With all of that said, it’s hard to run on a full tank 24/7. So when do I shut down and recharge? Either in my alone time or when I’m with family. After all, they are the ones who know me best–they know my heart, they know how I tick, they know my intentions. The only problem with that is that when I shut down, I get grumpy. I get snide and a stubborn and bossy. I’m human too after all, and I admittedly can be quite  the handful sometimes.  I need to vent. I need to reboot, I need to let loose some pent-up tension.  So who bears the brunt of my darker side?–the people I love the most. Do they tolerate me with patience and grace–every time. Do they love me unconditionally–without a doubt. Do they always selflessly support me–without fail. But is that fair to them–absolutely not. Is that loving–not at all. Is that nourishing to our relationships–no way. So why then, did I always pick those times to reboot and to let out my frustration? BECAUSE I KNEW THEY WOULD LOVE ME NO MATTER WHAT.

Man, talk about a sad mentality.  I’m almost ashamed to admit that I fall victim to that mindset at times. But then again, don’t we all? And haven’t we ALL when it comes to our relationship with God?  It is easy to take for granted the things that we know are constant and unfailing in our lives.  “It’s no big deal, God will love me anyways.” “I know this is the wrong decision, but God will forgive me.” “God will understand if I focus on this issue for a while instead of focusing on Him first.” It’s so sad because it’s so true. We rationalize all the time. Especially when we are stuck in “in-between” phases in life. But those times are the times God longs for us the most.  Those times are the times that He wants to use us. Those times are the time He wants to teach us and to challenge us and to help us grow!

So step back and take a look at where you are right now. Are you lost in the “in-between”? Are you working to figure things out on your own the best you can and forgetting that God wants nothing more than to reveal to you all the answers? Stop. Put God First. Pursue God now. Run towards Him as fast as you can. Take a look at Jeremiah 29:11. He is promising you that He wants you to prosper and that He plans to give you hope and a future. It may not come in the exact package you ordered. It may look very different from what you expected.  But put your faith in Him, put your trust in Him.Don’t take God’s love for granted, don’t cheat Him. Love Him now like you love Him when everything is going well. Seek His face–seek His guidance. He longs to love you NOW.

There is no “in-between”. There is here and now. And there is God, always.