July 16, 2017.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”-Lamentations 3:21-23
I wrote a blog post a few months ago about how nervous I was about getting another dog since having my dog, Beck, pass away suddenly last year. I was afraid I would feel weird about getting another dog as if feeling like I was replacing him, and from the comments people wrote to me, many others have been in the same situation. It is hard to explain if you’re not an animal lover. Our pets are so much more than just pets!
But then, the puppy came home and it has changed my life forever.
Maverick Beck came home on June 2nd. He was a little black fuzz ball that ran around nibbled on my toes, and tried to eat everything in sight.
I called out his full name so many times, because you know how puppies are naughty, and every time I would have to say “Beck” and it was a reminder of my pup.
Beck may have left this world, but he never left my heart or memory.
I spent a lot of time wondering why Beck went home so early and in such a painful way. I don’t think I will ever understand why on this side of Heaven, but I accept that there must have been a reason and a good one at that.
But Beck was able to give me the most beautiful gift through all of this. I was able to see how deeply love can exist. It can survive any storm, any battle, even death.
I think I can deeply, deeply love Maverick now because I experienced such love with my Beck. I appreciate Maverick even when he bites my feet. I have patience with him even when he screams to go outside at 5 am because I am aware of how extraordinarily lucky I am to have him in my life. I remember not to take him for granted because our four legged friends are only here with us for so long.
Maverick brings me joy, happiness, and has taught me so much more about myself (already) than I thought possible. He’s my boy!
I am incredibly thankful that God has allowed me the chance to love and learn from my two sweet pups. Heaven is for real and I know one day I will see my Beck again, and I know He is looking over my Mav. ❤
June 9, 2017.
“The Christian life is characterized by sacrificial agape love.”-John 13:35
There is so much confusion in this world about who Jesus Christ is.
I feel as if a lot of people think he’s this weird person. This person who lived a long time ago, and if he is real, looks down on us in total shame for all of the things we have done. This guy who seems so unreal and smites us for not being good people. I think some people believe he either let’s everyone in to Heaven or sends us all to Hell when we die. Well, if he exists.
He’s so real I find it hard to use words that describe his true, utter, amazing realness.
God became flesh in order to save us all from our unfortunate destiny: spiritual eternal death. He literally took part of himself and formed himself into a human man named Jesus. Crazy, right?
You see the thing is, there HAD to be a sacrifice in order to save all of us. To give us a chance to get to go to Heaven and live out eternity with our Maker. Even though He knew people would hate him anyway, He chose to sacrifice himself.
He lived a perfect life until he was in his thirties. He was betrayed, beaten, flogged, tortured, and nailed to a cross to die for US. To die so that we may have a chance to live.
It’s insane. I know. But that’s what love is. Love in it’s truest form. Agape love.
He sacrificed himself so that we could get the chance to go to Heaven and be with him forever. All we have to do is believe in our hearts that He is real and accept Him as our Lord and savior. THAT’S IT. It’s as simple and complicated as that.
I want to make this so clear. YOU ARE LOVED.
It doesn’t matter…
-if you are a jealous person
-if you are envious
-if you commit sexual sin
-if you are the meanest person in the world
-if you are “perfect”
-if you have done what you consider to be the ultimate sin.
HE LOVES YOU.
HE LOVES YOU.
HE LOVES YOU.
Jesus is real. His love is real. & He cannot wait for you to discover this for yourself.
May 9, 2017.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”-Psalm 46:10
My world could be in shambles or I could be having the best time of my life, and yet God remains.
An ever present, invisible promise that He is there for me in the greatest peaks of my time here on Earth and in the lowest of valleys.
My deepest fears and moments of greatest anxiety are squashed with waves of peace and words of “Be still and know.”
Life may not be perfect, but it’s so chaotically beautiful with Him by my side.
March 31, 2017.
“And He is before all things and IN Him, all things consist.”-Colossians 1:17
I feel like I have said this a million times, but I am obsessed with “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music. When they belt out “you split the sea so I could walk right through it”, I feel the words so deeply in my soul.
You see, God has never taken trials out of my life. Just like when Moses and the Isrealites were trying to escape and the Egyptian army were chasing after them. They came to the Red Sea and were freaking out, for lack of better words.
God did not take away the sea. He did not take away the Egyptian army. He MADE a way. He parted the sea so they walked through it and closed it as soon as they got to the other side.
& He has done this in my life so many times. He did not take away my “sea” or “army of people coming to get me”. He made me a way through it. A way to survive, persevere, and come out stronger than I did going in.
The devil likes to make us believe that God has left us in our greatest times of need.
He starts to whisper in our ears that God is gone. Or was He even really ever there to begin with?
“How could He ever want to come help someone as screwed up as you? Why would he make a way for YOU?” the wicked one continues to whisper, trying to make us falter in our faith.
That is exactly the time when you need to stand up and literally say “I AM A CHILD OF GOD. HE LOVES ME AND WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE A WAY FOR ME NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW I FEEL. HE IS GOOD. HE IS LOVE. & YOU HAVE NO SAY IN ANY OF THIS.”
No matter what you are going through today, HE WILL MAKE A WAY.
No matter how lonely and desolate you feel, HE WILL MAKE A WAY.
No matter how lost and defeated you feel, HE WILL MAKE A WAY.
No matter what. No matter when. No matter how. He can and will make a way.
Head up, soldier. YOU are a child of the One and Only God.
February 20, 2017.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whoi have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
But He doesn’t speak to me in some audible voice. He never has and I don’t believe He ever will. In the instances I’ve had, it’s like He comes into my head and talks in my own personal voice. It’s crazy and hard to explain.
The first time this happened was when I was saved in 2014. After going through the deepest depression of my life, He came to me and said “I’ve always been here for you and I always will be.” AMAZING.
In 2015, I was bitter. I went to a new church just to try it out and during worship I felt Him come to me again. I was thinking about a guy who I’d been dating that was not good for me, and then all of the sudden I felt Him say “LET IT BE.”
I was slightly freaked out, but pushed it out of my mind for the moment.
Then I started thinking about my dad because there was a worship song about God being our Father. My earthly father and I had a serious blow out and I was still upset about it. But then wouldn’t ya know, He came to me again and it felt like the biggest command ever: “YOU HAVE TO FIX THE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FATHER.” #ohcrap
This wasn’t just my conscience y’all. This was some serious Jesus talk.
I can’t even begin to explain to you either why when I’m doing my devotional that I write things down sometimes that I know are not my words. Like “be brave” and “faith stands strong through every season.”
The only thing I do know though is that all of these words have one central message: I do all things for your good (Romans 8:28) even when it hurts for the moment.
What is God trying to tell YOU today and are you listening?
P.S. One was fixed, one was let be, and I became more brave than I ever thought possible. 🙂
January 23, 2017
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” -Colossians 3:12-14
Sending love & blessings as always,
January 8, 2017
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19
I sat in a bathtub and listened to “By Our Love” by For King & Country and uncontrollably sobbed.
Loving people as Christ has is literally the hardest thing I have ever tried to do and I have had to suffer the consequences of it. I feel like a failure. I have let people down. In my intentions of loving others, I have hurt others. & that is an extremely hard pill to swallow.
I am an imperfect person who struggles deeply with doing the right thing.
I am not impulsive. I will wait and pray on what is right. I pray to God to reveal to me what is the right thing to do. Honestly, 100% of time what I feel is right is against what most people believe is. It is like being thrown into a pit of fire, surrounded by lions, encircled by traps set by my worst enemy.
Nothing I say will ever suffice. No one believes a word I say. Everyone grows a deep anger for me that turns into hatred. There is really nothing I can do about it once I have chosen to take the path I believe I have been called to take.
There is no turning back. It is painful and difficult, and as my friend Rachel calls it, it is freaking BOLD.
I am struggling with remembering that I do not need the approval of everyone on this earth. I am struggling with doing the unpopular (and hardest) thing. I am struggling with accepting the consequences that come with these actions.
The thing is though that even though I feel like I am alone in this pit of fire, surrounded by lions, encircled by traps set by my worst enemy, I am not. For God has gone before me. The battle was never mine, but His. He will douse the fire. Feed the lions so they have no use for me. Disable the traps. So I can walk out freely.
So I will continue to love the unloved in the most imperfect of ways, even if they are not able to understand it or not see it the way I do. I will love even when it is not accepted. I will let go of the hatred that is thrown my way. I will keep silent the nasty rebuttals I have been holding onto for so long.
I choose to boldly love even though it hurts.
December 26, 2016
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”-1 Peter 4:8-10
There is a new commercial out from #Amazon, and it is by far one of the most powerful commercials I have ever seen. I have literally seen it ONE time on television, about three days ago and it has been on my mind ever since.
This is the commercial:
So pretty much a priest and Imam (which I found out from Google means a person who leads prayers in a mosque) meet for a cup of tea. It is noticeable that they are both older, and enjoy each other’s company. Then one leaves and you see them both order something for each other from Amazon. Later you see that they each ordered the other knee supports so that they could each pray in their own house of worship with less stress on their knees.
What an incredible, incredible, incredible example of what love is.
We do not have to be of the same faith to be friends with someone. Or be the same skin color. Or culture. Or anything.
We are to love. To care. To show what true friendship is. To be kind. To hold our tongues when necessary and give tough love when needed. We are to be human.
This commercial has given me hope that maybe one day a friendship like theirs will not be so uncommon. That we, myself included, will change to see the world as Jesus wishes it to be. One where we show love, even when it is not the popular choice. One where we care even when it is not easy.
The love and kindness that Jesus showed others while He was on this earth is alive and well today. We just have to realize that it is within us, and that we are capable of using it.
December 20, 2016
“A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.”-Ecclesiastes 7:1
I have this old glass perfume bottle in my room that is in the shape of a horse. The top part of it, the head of the horse, broke years ago. The bottom part of the horse is filled with this old perfume that I have never worn, and will never wear. I can never get rid of this though. Why, you ask?
It smells like my Great Aunt Golda. She passed away in 2005 and I have missed her deeply ever since.
When we lived in New York, I spent quality time with her (I was very, very young), and my few memories come from my times with her. She used to come over and see me. She would babysit me. She would spoil me.
We went up to visit her right before she died and I remember having the best time with her. She could not speak well because of complications due to smoking, but she always got her point across somehow.
I have no idea how I got a perfume bottle with her scent in it, but I cherish it because it is a small piece of her.
I believe that it is okay to grief and remember our loved ones even when it has been a while since they passed. What a beautiful ode to their memory it is to even just SMELL something and be reminded of the memories you had with them.
I know God does not want us to be sad, but of course he wants us to remember those people! We just have to choose to let the memories bring us great joy instead of great sorrow. Isn’t it so amazing that God gave us such special people in our lives that meant so much to us that we can never erase them from our memories & hearts?
If you are grieving the loss of someone today, I pray that you find comfort in the little things. I hope you smell their scent on something, or see their name somewhere, or feel their loving presence around you.
& that the memories flood you with happiness, and that you can smile. ❤
With much love,
December 2, 2016
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15
I have taught second grade for three years now and I have yet to meet any student as interesting and kind as “L”.
L is a seven year old with a heart of gold.
I enjoy going to work everyday just to see him. He is that amazing.
As soon as he sees anyone he knows, he runs up to them and hugs them. He tells them to have a good day and gives them the biggest smile.
He writes “I love you Miss Schrader” on all of his papers when I am absent.
He asks me every single day how my lunch was. & at dismissal he always hugs me and tells me he hopes I have a nice night.
We need more L’s in this world.
We need more people who genuinely care for each other and wish each other well.
We need more people who are willing to say “I love you” and mean it.
You do not have to be a child to love people like L does.
We all have the ability to love like him, I think sometimes we just forget about it. 🙂
Love like L today!!!
November 13, 2016
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”-Luke 6:35
I have been an animal lover all of my life. Except for a few years when we were moving to Florida, we have always had a dog and usually a cat (or a FEW cats). Most of my pictures growing up have German Shepherds included.
Since we have lived in Port Saint Lucie we have always taken our pets to the same veterinarian and they have always treated us with KINDNESS. They do not overcharge us for things, they are honest, and they truly care about the best interest of your pet.
We have had a dog and two cats put to sleep at our vet’s office, and all three times it was a result of what the vet’s best judgment was for our pets. Our dog was dying of cancer and surgery would be costly and probably not help. Our first cat was dying of old age/complications from some genetic diseases and would need to be hospitalized if she was not put down. Our last kitty Tebow was this year and was so hard. He was a stray we had taken in as our own. My sister rushed him to the vet that day because he had been attacked by another cat and was badly injured. The vet called me a few hours later and said he had contracted Feline AIDS and at age 5, would probably never recover even if they operated on him due to his underlying disease. I had to make the decision and it was awfully painful; you could even hear the vet choking up on the line as he told me I was making the right decision for Tebow.
Then, we lost our dog Beck this year. He was at an emergency veterinarian so he did not pass away at our usual vet. Though, when they found out what happened they were just as heartbroken as us. They loved him and remembered him with fond memories.
Then just as they did for us when Tebow passed, they sent us this beautiful card.
It is probably a customary thing to send sympathy cards when patients pass away, but this felt so much bigger than that. It felt like they really wanted us to know that our boy was loved, and that they loved us too. It felt special.
I feel this way, because I have seen their kindness on so many occasions. Bringing my pets in for check ups, and seeing others bring in their pets to be put to sleep. The veterinary and office staff are kind, and soft spoken with these sobbing and heartbroken owners. They hold their hands and pet the animals as they wait to have their suffering end. Words of comfort are spoken, and money is not talked about. Great memories are discussed instead of the sad circumstances they are currently in.
& I love this so much about them. They do not just love the animals, they love the people too. They deeply care about them and care for their needs. They go above and beyond what you would think people would do in their field of work. They make everyone feel important, loved, and special.
If only we all treated each other the same way in every day life.
What would the world be like if we held someone’s hand on a bad day? If we spoke words of kindness to all we met? If we sent a card to someone just to let them know we are thinking about them without expecting anything in return?
You do not have to be a Christian to love others. But as Christians, we should be the first to set the example.
October 10, 2016
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” -Psalm 46:10.
I have climbed two mountains in my life, and they have both been some of the hardest/best experiences of my life.
In 2012, my best friend Madison, her grandmother, and I climbed Mount Pisgah in Vermont (by the way, if that sounds familiar its probably because it’s the name of a mountain in the Bible too; cool right?!). It was my first time ever doing it and it was physically challenging and somehow emotionally freeing all at the same time. I had just had a bunch of life changes at the time and I felt like while I was literally climbing that mountain, I was finally figuratively climbing to the top of the mountain of craziness in my life. I got to the top and it was like everything I had gone through, and every tough time had been worth it because here I was, standing on top of the world. I did not know Jesus at the time, but I felt a strong presence of peace with me. I know He was there, enjoying the beauty with me back then and celebrating the hurdles I had overcome to get to that point.
In 2015, I was lucky enough to climb another mountain again with Madison, her grandmother, and another friend, Katie. This time we went to New Hampshire and climbed Mount Willard. It was GORGEOUS. Honestly, not only was the view even better but I felt more alive because I KNEW that God was there with me. I literally felt his presence constantly during the entire hike all the way up to the top and back.
As we were going up, something caught my eye. In a slight patch of sunlight, clear as day, was a perfect little cross made out of two pieces of wood (pictured below). It kind of blew my mind how perfect it was, and I immediately felt like this was a sign from God of a reminder that He was with me once again. How beautiful, and comforting, and amazing this was. It’s hard to really explain what it felt like, because it was so much more than my words can say.
We do not ONLY experience Christ in the church setting. We can experience Him ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. I am not saying do not go to church, but we should never believe that Jesus only belongs in the church. Christ was separated from God during His crucifixion so that we would never, ever, ever have to be separated from Him. Like ever.
He is with us always. Up on a mountain, or in a church pew, or in your car, or on the floor of your bathroom as you wipe away tears. He is with us. & man, what a beautiful thing that is.
September 29, 2016
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men.” Colossians 3:23.
So long story short, I went to see Tim Tebow play baseball today and it was the best day ever.
I have loved Tim Tebow since I was in high school. I always thought he was incredibly handsome and loved that he worked so hard to accomplish his goals.
Over the years, I have watched a few documentaries and such about him and found out a lot about him. He loves Jesus. He loves people. He loves sports. & so much more.
When I found out that he was no longer playing football, and was playing at an instructional league baseball camp for a few weeks in my town, I just knew I had to go see him. So I took off work today and went with my dad, boyfriend, and roommate to go see him play.
We went to his practices in the morning, and then an actual scrimmage against the Miami Marlins later that afternoon. In the morning, some pretty incredible things happened. A woman in a wheelchair came rolling in with her granddaughter and a sign that said “I am 92 and love Jesus and Tim Tebow.” She said she’d been trying to see him for years and it was almost a dying wish to her to get a photo with him.
Tebow saw her and waved during practice then after he went right to her, introduced himself, and took a photo with her. *Be still my beating heart.* Also during his practice, there was a big group of people who had disabilities and they came running toward the fence and the people at the field tried to stop them. The woman with the group said that they participated in his foundation’s “Night to Shine” and that they wanted to thank him for what he had done. Instead of letting the people keep them away, he stepped out of his practice and told them it was okay. He hugged EACH of them and took a picture with then.
I know 100% in my heart that these were not a publicity stunt. Or just a way to make more attention for himself. He just really loves people like Jesus calls us to.
He even stood there in the rain after the game and signed things for everyone there (myself included) even though his manager kept telling him he needed to go!!
The one thing I have learned today is that I want to love people like Tim Tebow does. I know he’s not perfect, but he loves like Jesus Christ, and what a beautiful thing that is.
P.S. Go Mets!
September 10, 2016
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.”-Romans 12:9
Fifteen years ago tonight, thousands of Americans went to sleep never expecting it to be the last time they would ever sleep in their beds. They woke up, brushed their teeth, combed their hair, ate breakfast and (hopefully) kissed and hugged their loved ones for what they did not realize would be the final time.
The following morning, these thousands of Americans would be murdered in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They were passengers of hijacked airplanes that were flown into buildings in New York City. Passengers flown into the the side of the Pentagon. Passengers who fought back with all their might and saved others while their hijacked plane was flown into the ground in a field in Pennsylvania. Workers who chose to jump to their deaths from 100 stories high rather than burn to death in the fiery hell that had become the World Trade Center. Police officers, firefighters, and civilians who lost their lives going into this burning building to save strangers.
These 2,996 people never got to see their loved ones again, and their loved ones still grieve their loss to this day. The pain will never fully disappear.
We must choose to love one another SINCERELY every single day.
We do not know when our last day will be. We may never know when we will see our loved ones for the final time. Often we assume that people know that we love them, but this is not always the case. Say it! Say it often to your loved ones with meaning. Show it! Show it in your actions everyday. Never let it go unknown what you feel for someone. Love, love, love hard!!!
Please pray tonight for our nation, those who love us, those who hate us, and all those affected by the tragedy that happened 15 years ago. Then go hug and kiss your loved ones. Be grateful for them. Or pick up the phone and call someone you have not talked to in a while, and let them know you love them. There are so many things in this world that we cannot control, but this is one that we can. Love without abandon and show it to the world.
I love you all.
What is true happiness? What makes each one of our hearts scream out in delight?
My happiness has been found in the most random & weirdest of places:
In the classroom when I child tells me that her face that had a huge scratch on it had somehow disappeared and she said it was because she prayed Jesus would heal her.
At a Tropical Smoothie Café table when my best friend hints that she is pregnant.
On top of a mountain looking out at the creation God has made.
On my porch listening to the birds chirp and sing.
Driving around at night with the windows down and music up.
Talking to my grandmother on the phone about the night my grandfather proposed to her (even though she’s told the story 100 times).
I feel like people think that BIG events have to happen in your life in order to feel happy, but I just don’t believe that anymore. I think happiness is found in life’s little moments. The little moments that we tend to overlook or take no interest in.
We often choose to talk about our troubles than our joys in our lives as well. Why does it feel so much better to vent to friends about our issues than the things which make us happy? I find myself falling prey to this mindset of thinking quite often. What if he made a definitive CHOICE to talk more about the joy in life than the trouble?!
This is my challenge for you: when talking to someone, try to bring up the happy things in your life (even if it is something extremely small and seemingly insignificant) instead of the painful/worrisome/awful things. You never know how much joy sharing a little, good, positive sprinkle of happiness can bring to someone’s life that day. Show God’s love for others by giving them the most joy you can!