To say we are the two goofiest dreamers the world has ever seen could very well be an accurate statement. Our homes are filled with hundreds of unfinished projects, half-baked DIY ideas and dressers full of crafting supplies that were supposed to make our lives more organized. The lists of new dreams that pop up are endless. However, the one thing they all have in common is that they started with a seed of inspiration and were cut short by a bigger and better dream. You should see me when I try to clean my house. It’s about 15% cleaning, 15% discovering old ideas, and about 65% devising a plan to talk my hubby into something new. (The last 5% is then spent on trying to convince my hubby we need a cleaning service because I clearly am not good at it.) Needless to say, it’s no shock that all these crazy schemes, unfinished projects, and DIY blunders have brought us to this moment.
I first met Nicole when I was in fifth grade and brand new to the city of Temecula. It was over the summer, and my parents were looking for a home church. However, we didn’t become friends until almost a year later. I’ll never forget the moment. It was after school and I was on my way to a school club called Student Venture. I walked into the classroom a little intimidated to have taken on this gamble alone, when, I saw this girl: sandy blonde hair, sitting by herself, reading her fluffy pink Bible. My first response was, “Oh man, this girl will NEVER like me! I don’t like pink fluffy things!” (Forgive me people I was 11 and clearly judged others on their accessory choices.) I decided to sit next to her anyways. I can’t even really describe what happened next, but we instantly became friends! She was the person I sought out at youth group. She was my cooler older friend (she is a grade ahead of me in school, and in middle school that’s like dog years apart) who picked me to be on her Ultimate P.E. team. I can still hear my friends, “How did you get on the 8th grade team??” I’d smile and be like, “Oh, I’m friends with one of them.” AKA: I’m cool like that! It seriously makes me giggle when I think of all our years together. I mean when you’re friends through the awkward phase that’s like signing a friendship pact in blood. Otherwise, those blackmail mall pictures you insisted on taking with your turquoise braces will find themselves exposed.
We spent our high school years growing in our friendship by going to camps, building homes in Mexico, having slumber parties, and taking less awkward selfies. When we graduated we both pursued college while living at home. I was a business major turned communications major by the time I graduated and Nicole was a communications major turned nursing after she went on her first medical missions trip to Haiti. Though our paths had taken us different routes in college, the one thing we always had in common was our desire to love Jesus, love people, and go on missions. We even had this tradition where every time Nicole got back from Haiti we’d meet up for coffee. She’d tell me these DISGUSTING medical stories that literally left me gagging and Nicole laughing at my pain. We’d discuss the needs of so many others that still weren’t being met and then we’d devise 20 ways we could help the world be a better place.
Thus, the birth of Furthermore…
After a trip to Ethiopia in 2015 I met a woman, Diane, who so inspired me. She did it ALL! She was a mom, a wife, a missionary, a world traveler, the list goes on and on. At the beginning of this trip I was really struggling. Our dearest friend had passed away the night I left, I had conversations of precautionary doubt running through my mind, and I was just feeling all together overwhelmed. In the midst of all this emotional turmoil Jesus used this woman’s story to set me free. She wasn’t forced to be any one thing; she simply did what she was called to, even if that meant she had to balance many roles at once and wasn’t always taking the most approved path.
When I got home I HAD to reach out and explain how this woman had changed my burdened mentality. Her response only poured more light into the troubled parts of my soul. She wrote,
“I think it’s like how Jesus lived: He was a healer, a shepherd, a teacher, a son of humans, the Son of God, a brother, a provider. He did it all and he didn’t separate his roles; he did them all at the same time. That has been my example. As a mom you feel a little guilty leaving the kids for 10 days. One day I was struggling a bit with leaving. As I sat praying the Lord said, ‘If someone knocked on your door right now and gave you two free tickets to Tahiti what would you do?’ I said, ‘I would get Mr. Beautiful, find a sitter, and be out of here like a shooting bullet!’ The Lord then said, ‘Serve me with that same passion.’ I think what happens is we are put into these strange categories of ‘mom’ or ‘wife’ or ‘missionary’ or whatever…. but there shouldn’t be an ‘or’ it should be an ‘and’. We’re all called to be little ‘ands’, then Jesus tells us or shows us what it really looks like.”
These words so echoed what was on my heart. I couldn’t wait to share the story with Nicole at our next coffee date!
At coffee, I gave Nicole a play by play of my trip, trying not to cry as I explained the pain of so many of the trafficked victims I met. I explained how I longed to go back and how I already feared the criticism of my choices and the burden of funding another trip. I then recited the words that were written to me only hours before. We sat in the afterglow of an empowering conversation and realized we wanted to be “and” people not “or” people. We wanted others to experience the truth we already knew and hear the echoes of Diane’s words. Our minds began to reel.
We aren’t any one thing! We are wives, daughters, friends, youth leaders, missionaries; FurtherMore, Nicole is a mom and a nurse. I am a self-proclaimed fashionista and a marketing geek. (Like I said she’s way cooler then me!)
But WE are MORE!
FurtherMore’s desire is to give back to the causes we hold dearly while empowering all people to never be oppressed by fear or confined by a label. You are no ONE thing! You are made for a purpose and have greater worth than you’ll ever understand! You are precious and you are someone with great importance. So let us live as free people! You are no one thing. You are more.
You are Furthermore!