Adam’s Parents Prayer as he Pursues His Dreams

Our Father,

We want to thank you for all the blessings that you bestow on us – not least of which is the gift of parenthood.  You blessed us with two amazing sons and we thank you!  At this time would like to lift Adam up to you as he pursues his dream of becoming a doctor.  We pray that your will be done and that You use his gifts and talents and give him calm and peace as he enters his medical school interviews.  Help him always remember that You have a plan for him and that Your plan is always perfect.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you: declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to five you a hope and a future.”

My Prayer for Adam as He Pursues His Dreams

Below is my deepest prayer for Adam as he steps in the direction that the Lord has called him to follow.

Dear God,

My deepest heart cry is for you to use Adam to be a leader that uses his gifts and talents to point people to Your amazing grace. God protect Adam’s heart, mind, soul, words and actions as he runs headfirst into this competitive field. May You give him the endurance and focus he needs to stay the course of this long journey ahead.  Please guide him with the confidence that only comes from you. On hard days may You send him reminders that You have called him for such a time as this.

Lord, may You keep his mind strong and of optimistic energy. May you keep his heart fixed on the patients he has helped and the countless patients that he will be able to be used as a part of their healing story. Build his hands to be strong, capable and always ready to reach out and show Your love through medicine! Please open the next door for which You have for Adam to walk through. May Your will be done in Adam’s life.

Amen!

Adam’s Medical School Journey Update! 

Where we left you off earlier in the year was that Adam had taken the MCAT and got a good enough score to apply to two medical schools! He did that while also figuring out how to apply for medical school, still taking online pre-requisite courses, working full time, being an athletic trainer and figuring out the married life he found time to submit applications to the Mercer University School of Medicine and Florida State University.

We were excited to have two applications submitted but he was very aware that he would have to bring up his MCAT score to be considered at those two schools and many more. Once the applications were submitted in the late fall of 2018 all that he could do was wait. In April of 2019 Adam got declined from Mercer and then a few months later got declined from Florida State’s Medical school program. (If you want to know more about the process of medical school check out this blog I wrote last year)

Once he received the two rejection letters, he used them as pure motivation to get accepted into those schools. This encouraged him to strive for A’s in his online science classes, study harder for the MCAT and to get the best recommendation letters possible. And that is exactly what happened! Adam used the excitement to apply for early admission at Mercer. He spent countless hours perfecting his essays, uploading recommendation letters and preparing his application. Just two short days after hitting the submit button good news came! I got a phone call from Adam on a Wednesday at 3:55pm which was weird because he never calls during work hours unless it is an emergency. As soon as he answered the phone he said, “Hey babe, I can’t talk long! I just wanted to let you know that I heard back from Mercer…. and they have asked me to come to an interview!”

We celebrated at our favorite local BBQ joint and knew this was the first step to a big journey. As Adam prepares for his interview with Mercer, we are asking people to cover him in prayers. If you are willing to commit to pray for Adam as he takes a big step into following his dreams please reach out to us and let us know! We are so excited for what his future holds, but we know that we need a community of prayer warriors to cover us in prayer each step of the way.

Thank you for following our journey,

Love, Your favorite millennial couple, The Howards!

We are Back on the Blog!

Happy hurricane season to all of our many Marriage and Medical School supporters. We have missed keeping you updated in our lives, but we have good reasons. If you haven’t talked to any young professionals in their 20’s you would not likely know the struggles that working millennials are going through. The pressure to come out of college, be married, work your way up in a career, buy a house, be well-traveled, start a family, and do all this while being debt free. Well, that is not ideal for Adam and I, and we are called to a different path! (If you have any young professionals in your life please go above and beyond in checking up on them!)

Shortly after we celebrated our first year of marriage, we dove deep into what our next year of marriage would look like. We did this by really focusing on figuring out what our calling is in life. I was confident that my calling is in leadership and to encourage and support other hard-working professionals. With that I dove in deep to my job and hit the best quarter of sales in my career. This followed a promotion of taking a role as a Coordinator in Training, but I did not even come close to hitting my quota in this new role. Man, it did not feel good knowing I am called to leadership while I had no one on my team to lead for three months.

This was all around the same time when Adam was working full time as a lead orthopedic tech and Athletic Trainer, taking an online science class, and studying for the MCAT “round two”. (Check out our MCAT blog post) He was busy, tired, stressed and questioning if his calling was to pursue medicine at all or at the doctoral level.

This season of discovery kept us quiet from sharing our journey while we looked within. The good news is that we have clearly identified what is important to us! We are excited to use the gifts and talents that God has gifted us to the fullest. Now all I can say is, get ready! We are excited to be back on track with keeping our followers and support system up to date with each step of our lives.

Keep your head up high and words filled with love!

Love your favorite millennial couple, The Howards

God Took My Favorite Lyrics as a Kid & Made Them Reality

When I was a pre-teen I was introduced to a singer/songwriter named Britt Nicole. She came to my church one weekend to sing her latest album. The only thing I knew about her was that her musician was the drummer I went to church with since I was a baby. Even though I knew basically nothing about her, what pre-teen is going to turn down a free concert? I started doing everything that most people do before going to a concert…you listen and learn all of the song that are going to be sung! I went straight to LimeWire, yes LimeWire was a free music download tool to get music, to listen to her music. Once I started listening to her work I began to fall in love with her gift of songwriting.

To this day I have still never heard an artist write songs that connect with me on such a deep level. I have been following Britt Nicole ever since that very first concert. I have pre-ordered every album she has released, and her music is my go-to when I am having a bad day. I could easily be one of her biggest fans! But what I like most about Britt Nicole is how God used one of her songs to be my anthem into adulthood before I even know what was happening.

Britt has a song called ‘Set the World on Fire’ that I would sing and cry out as a pre-teen and teenager for God to use me to make a difference for His Kingdom. I connected to the song because I wanted to see the world and make an impact that pointed people to Christ. My heart was so connected to this song that I would sing it every day, I would whisper prayers to God that asked Him to ‘use me to set the world on fire’, I would even us it to sign off in my daily journals. This was my song.

Little did I know how real this song would become in my life! No, I did not go straight to a third world country to share the message of Jesus or become a preacher. To me, it was even better. While I was praying for God to show me what my next step was after high school, He pretty much opened one door for me to go to Valdosta State University (VSU). This may sound normal to anyone transitioning from high school to college but let’s get this clear, I NEVER wanted to go to college. But here I was, God made it clear that this was my door, college at VSU was my path. When got my acceptance letter to VSU I had no idea of the school’s mascot or even the school colors.

It wasn’t until my third year in college that I noticed that me being on VSU’s campus, me doing the student leadership and involvement was exactly what I cried out for through Britt Nicole’s song. Valdosta State University’s mascot name is Blaze and he is just that, he is a flame. I had cried out so many times for God to use me to set the world on fire and here I was in this season of life at the only school in the state that had a fire flame as a mascot. God had put me in a season where I would be able to love on students and share the message of Jesus Christ through promoting school spirit, through promoting the ‘Blazer Spirit.’ God put me at VSU so that I would have the opportunity to serve at WinShape Camps and lead teams to travel to over 10 states sharing the love of God. He made every single cry out for me to ‘set the world on fire’ so real and so true.

What I have learned from this discovery is that God will bless you tenfold for what you cry out for. Write your prayers, sing your prayers, say them under your breath, cry them with your tears but let God know! He hears each one of them. God answers prayers and puts you exactly where you are supposed to be. Going to college at VSU even when I never imagined going to college set me up to learn so many amazing lessons, meet incredible people, start organization and create jobs for college students, travel the country, lead kids to Christ, and even meet the most amazing man I get to call my best friend and husband.

Let your prayers out to the Lord and one day after taking the right step at a time you will wake up and see that you are exactly where you asked to be. I am beyond thankful for the way Britt Nicole’s music has impacted my life! From jamming out to ‘Holiday’ with friends on vacation to dancing with hundreds of kids to ‘Gold’ even blasting ‘Read or Not’ to hype me up before a project or presentation to making ‘Set the World on Fire’ the song cry of my prayers for so many years. It never amazes me how God uses so many people’s talents to point others to God’s goodness. God takes the favorite things of your heart and will make them dreams come true!

Keep your head up high and your words filled with love!

Your friend, Colleen Howard

Check out the song now!

 

Patience

Recently I was working in Garden City outside right outside of Savannah, GA. As I was getting ready to head for lunch, I started asking for food recommendations. To my surprise, no one gave me a lunch recommendation, all anyone said was “any food choice I could want is just two miles down the road.” Sure, I put ‘food’ in my GPS and almost 100 food locations popped up for me to choose from that were just two minutes down the road. My game plan was simple, pick a place to eat, get food and head back to work.

Little did I know that traffic was HORRIBLE! After it took me TWO HOURS to go two miles, I decided to eat at Chick-fil-a (shocker) and get back two miles down the road. TWO HOURS! Everyone told me ‘just two miles’ not one person mentioned how bad traffic gets just two miles down the road. But after my frustration and being out of work for over an hour, I learned a good lesson.

This two-hour, two-mile commute, four total miles taught me that sometimes there are short steps to take in your next stage of life, but that step may take more time than expected. Your next step may be right in front of you. You may know exactly where you want to go and have your own time frame lined up and planned out, but that is not how life works. I am finding more and more that the next two miles in life may be a two month or even a two-year wait.

I see this so true in my life and so many of my friends’ lives. I have seen friends struggle with wanting to take a two-mile step into the direction of working full time but having to finish extra college first and that small next step take two plus years. I have heard of friends who have been married for a few years and so desperately want to buy a house and start a family but have to wait for the next step that has taken them longer than their friends. There are people who can see their next step in front of them to open their hearts and homes to fostering or adoption, but the next step is taking longer than it should.

We live in such a fast-paced world where we want the ‘to-do list’ lifestyle or the “one step at a time” to happen quickly, but God does not promise us that we will live on our own timeline. He gives us so many promises of prospering that I believe we find our biggest desire and need for God during the in-between. We find our greatest need for God while we are in the two miles of traffic that takes two hours of our life. God draws us in to remind us that we are created to be fully dependent on Him. That even though we see the next step in our life, we are not in control. That when we find that we are stuck from point A to point B that God has not forgotten us, He has not left us stuck in the same season without a purpose. He is with us every step of the way, at every traffic jam drawing us closer into His love, trust and faithfulness. You are not stuck! You are in your season for a reason.

As I was still frustrated about the two miles taking so much more time of my life than expected, I turned to the Bible and was reminded of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah so desperately wanted to have a baby. She saw her friends in the season that she also wanted to be in. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t have what she wanted but she could see it in others around her. I’m sure she questioned why it taking her so long, why was she the one feeling stuck? This is the same questions that I have asked myself and I have heard friends question from a deep part of their heart as well.

Just as Hannah had so much faith in God for His perfect timing in her life, we are called to have faith and to wait in faith. We are to build our faith to be strong and unwavering on the time it takes to get from step A to step B. Have faith that God’s presence is with us, He is not simply ignoring our prayers and heart desires. God has proven time and time again that He loves us too much to let life unfold on our timeline. Instead He answers prayers at the right time, every time.

Join me in building our faith in the wait! Worship with me as we sit through the traffic of life. Spread the joy that comes from God as we are being prepared for the next step in life. Help me in making a culture of supporting each other in our own seasons of life without adding pressure of what is next. Remind friends that God is a God of promises and answered prayers. Keep praying, keep pressing, keep trusting there is joy at the end of your traffic jam.

I Have Learned More About Sabbath From a Secular Podcast Than I Have From Church.

To be honest, I learned more about what a Sabbath looks like from an atheist on a podcast than I ever did in church. I always heard that we are to take a sabbath and how important it is but come on! What the heck does a sabbath look like? I get why it is important, but for 17 years of my life I had very little to no control of my schedule and then college is basically a few years of hard-core procrastinating balanced with getting everything done to graduating college. Then a transition into working a full-time job and very little other obligations.

Where are the concrete reasons of how to help someone experience a Sabbath? Oh, and especially as super type-A, to-do list, task-oriented human like myself.  Where is the importance of a Sabbath in the pre-marriage books that I read? Sure, biblical things were all over those books like not cheating, finances, serving togethering, picking a church together but NOTHING about the importance of taking a Sabbath.

One of the first podcasts I came across as I started discovering more than music on road trips, I came across Dax Shepherd’s “Arm Chair Expert” podcast. He had an episode with Ashton Kutscher where he talked about Kutscher’s Jewish faith. Kutscher went on to explain that no matter what is going on in his life he prioritizes time to rest each week. A few weeks later Mila Kunez (Kutscher’s wife) talked a little more in depth about their family ‘Sabbath’ practice. Even though she claims no religion, she values the importance of stopping, resting and refreshing with family. She went on to explain that one evening every week her family has nothing planned but time together. They don’t worry about anything besides enjoying being together. They share a meal and take time to reflect of the past week. Their family uses this time to apologize for anything that might have come up or gone wrong the past week. This prompts them to start a new week on a clean slate of love and gratitude. Kunez mentions that it was so important for her to not carry any negativity from past weeks into the present.

Once I heard both of their explanations of the importance of their weekly Sabbath in their families, I was so blown away at how I have gone my whole life and missed the teaching and commandment of the Sabbath. Adam and I took our first Sabbath about six months into our marriage. We had to look at our calendar and planned out a day where we would intentionally schedule nothing! It was a great day to just breathe and have no expectations. But that day came and went, and we did not make it a habit to take a Sabbath weekly.

Since that first Sabbath we have really dove deep into what a Sabbath should look like. I have learned so much good knowledge about making my Sabbath routine by listening to people like Annie F. Downs who takes a Sabbath every single Wednesday no matter what. As well as Lysa Turkerst who schedules a Sabbath on whatever day best works with her schedule. And Dr. Caroline Leaf who takes science of the brain to match what the bible says about the importance of a day of rest for our body, mind and soul. The more I research, read, learn about the importance of adding intentional rest in my life, the more I am driven to make it non-negotiable. If these super productive, important and famous people can take a day of rest why can’t I? Why is this not already the normal? Why do I feel such a need to be busy all the time? And why is this not covered in any of our pre-marriage advice?

Adam and I have started out planning a Sabbath at least once a month! To start we are not even planning a whole day to Sabbath but instead just a Friday evening. The few we have done have been planned out a month in advance but are so refreshing. We take this time to reflect on how the month is going, how we are doing individually and how we are doing as a couple. We get anything off our chest and fill the time with joy. It is important to me that we spend equal time in our sabbath apart as we do together. This gives us a chance to breathe as an independent human and to connect with God.

Our desires are to be more structured in planning our months to make sure that we get a full day of Sabbath at least once a month and then move into maybe half a day every week until we can make it a habit of a full day of rest every single week. We are still seeking advice and wisdom from people in our lives and quite frankly any resources possible to really try to understand what a true Sabbath can look like. We are tired of Sabbath seeming like such a secret and out of the normal thing to do. It is clear that our bodies and minds need deep spiritual rest and connection, but it shouldn’t feel like a burden to pause life and to recharge with a Sabbath. We don’t have it all figured out, but we do know that life is too short to not pause and rest in a Sabbath.

 

What does Sabbath look like for you?

Did you grow up learning about the importance and practicality of a Sabbath?

What is your favorite way to rest during your Sabbath?

 

Keep your head up high and your words filled with love!

Your friend Colleen Howard.