Monday, February 1, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Taylor West

Today, I welcome a sweet friend to the blog. Her name is Taylor, and though we have only been friends for a few short years, I am grateful for her friendship and the memories we have made together. Taylor and I met at Watkinsville First Baptist Church in their singles young adult Sunday school class. We laugh at the same things, and we both had a good run with getting each other through the work day with Snapchat posts. :) She and her sweet husband Jessie are great friends and kind hearted individuals. I am glad to count her as a friend of mine. 

Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
Hi Blog People, I'm Taylor. Athens is where I call home thanks to attending UGA and falling in love with a pretty great and cute guy. That cute guy is Jessie, my husband. We currently have no fur babies or real babies, although we hope to in the future :) We attend Watkinsville First Baptist, where we met and we love the community God has provided for us there. I work at UGA and Jessie currently works in Midtown Atlanta as a Landscape Architect.
How did you come to know the Lord?
Ever since I can remember, my family has been involved in church, but not just as a "we go on Sundays" kind of deal. My parents have always modeled what it looks like to practice what you preach, even though we're far from perfect. Growing up, we were always doing church things, learning catechism, involved with youth group, etc. But I would say that I didn't really become a Christian until my college years. At this time, I really had to own what I said that I believed. I think the great thing about college is that it really is a time where you can choose and decide who you want to be. For the first time, I was away from my parents' constant care and I had to choose what I believed in and who I was going to be. Because of the foundation of faith that was laid for me by generations before me, I did choose to follow Jesus and understood that it wasn't just a family heirloom that could be passed down; I had to own it. So, long story short, I came to know the Lord for real in college thanks to a great church, community, a family that prayed for me and modeled God's love, and the Lord working in my heart.
What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?
One thought that is so convicting to me is the thought of local missions. I think we as Christians can tend to think that missionaries are those overseas who do missions vocationally, when God calls us to love and serve others right where we are. I think a woman of influence would be a woman who knows who she is in the Lord and seeks to fulfill that mission any way that she can. I think it is hard for us to pin point what our mission is because oftentimes what we are best at comes naturally, so we don't see it as a gift. Does that make sense? So, a woman of influence would be a woman who does what she is good at the best that she can, in an effort to better serve those around her.

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your job?
To be honest, I struggle with finding purpose in my job. Honestly most days I feel void of purpose. Yes, I am helping people with questions, but I personally do not feel fulfilled. While I may not enjoy the tasks of my job, I do try to build relationships with those around me. When you're with your coworkers more than you are with your family, I think it's important to get to know them as actual people, not just the person that you have an office next to. We all want relationship, whether we realize it or not, so I try to ask people about their children, their families, anything that's going on in life to build a rapport that only helps the work relationship. I hope that through these interactions, I can be a source of encouragement to people and while I may not be able to mention the name of Jesus or talk about God openly, I hope that others can see that my interaction with them is genuine.
What is the best piece of marriage advice you have been given?
I don't know if this was mentioned to me directly or if I just read it somewhere, but I do believe that having the mindset of continually dating your spouse is extremely important. I mean, Jessie and I are just over six months in, but already I have found myself slipping into the mindset of him just being my roommate or the handy repairman. That shouldn't be so! So, I must choose to see him as someone that I want to pursue because I really do... sometimes life just gets in the way. So yeah... continually dating or pursuing your spouse stands out to me.
What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?
I've always loved Ephesians 2:1-10
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
My favorite part is the start of verse four: BUT GOD. If it weren't for that "but", we wouldn't have the hope of salvation! I'm so thankful for God choosing to offer us a way to Him and for seeing Christ in us instead of just us.
What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?
God offers hope.
So often I have found myself having a pity party (party of one) or becoming discouraged about events in the world, events in life... you name it, it has probably discouraged me at some point. But, when I broaden my perspective to consider God's plan in things, there is always hope. There is a song by a group called TRUTH (they're not around any more, sad day) and the chorus says, "There is a hope, no matter what happens; there is a hope that overcomes all. We can stand on the promise Jesus never fails, even if this world should fall. There is a hope through all of life's changes; there is a God Who's always the same. Hope does not depend on what is seen; hope is found believing in His Name." Yep... there is always Hope! His Hope.
And last but not least: coffee or tea?

Well, considering that my mom used to have to make me coffee as a kindergartner to wake me up, I'm going to have to go coffee. (It was like 90% milk, but still). I do enjoy coffee more than tea, although I'm not a tea hater!

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