July 8, 2017.
“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”-Matthew 22:37-40
I’ve found my home finally and I’m so thankful!!
This house is great but I honestly think the best part about it is my neighborhood. It is quiet and peaceful here. People don’t make loud noises all night and I don’t wake up to the cops raiding someone’s house nearby. It’s been incredible!
My neighbors (the ones closest to the house) are all older and they’re the best people ever. They invite us over all the time just to hang out and let us (even the dog) use their pool whenever.
Seriously the nicest most welcoming people ever.
& I want to be like that.
I want to love people just because they exist. No reasons, no selfish motives, no anything. Just straight up treating my neighbors (aka everyone) with love and respect.
I want to love because I am so very loved myself by the Big Man Upstairs. I want to show His love through me.
I want to love those different from me. Those who disagree with my lifestyle. Those who have hurt me. Those who I have never taken time to know.
Let’s set the world on fire and love our neighbors (even the crazy ones) just because.
July 1, 2017.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.“-Isaiah 43:2
Comeback stories are very popular and are often picked up to be recreated into books or movies. We as a society love to watch these comebacks.
I think it serves as a reminder that no matter how far we stray from the path we always have thought we’d be on we can always find our way back, or even better find a much better path.
I am my own favorite comeback story.
When I tell others my testimony, I think many times they believe I must be exaggerating because the story is ridiculous. Unfortunately, yet fortunately, it is so true.
I do not come from a bad background. I cannot say I had a bad childhood. I honestly had a great one where I lived in a nice house and my dad worked and mother stayed home with my sister and I. My parents attended my school and after school functions and made me know I was loved.
That amazing lifestyle changed though when I was 21. My family was literally
ripped apart before my eyes. An affair happened that would change my life forever. At the same time, I was experiencing the toughest break up I have ever gone through. I was also driving long distances to go to my internship experiences and my final college classes and it was wearing me down. I literally had no idea what I was going to do for the time being and for my future. I came very close to quitting school entirely because I felt like I was drowning.
& no one knew.
I remember screaming every day. In the car, into my pillow, driving to the beach at midnight to just scream without anyone knowing.
I used to drive to the worst parts of town at night almost in a sick way hoping something would happen to me (it makes me cry to even think about this now).
I remember just wanting to die to end a deep pain I never knew could exist.
I could not handle accepting what others had done to me that I had no control over.
I did not understand how I could live with the serious mistakes I had made in life.
I hated myself for continuing to make decisions that I knew were destructive.
I had hit rock bottom and it was so deep I could not see any kind of light. Any kind of hope. Any kind of anything.
But Jesus, y’all.
The one I did not believe existed. The one who I thought was a fairy tale.
He saved me.
He came into my heart in an absolute literal way and told me that He loved me. That He has always been there for me. During every good and bad time, especially the tough time I had been through recently. The greatest peace I had ever felt came over me, and I finally saw light from the depths of the rocky bottom I was in.
People say we shouldn’t define ourselves by the past…but my past does define me.
It shows that even the worst of sinners, even the non-believing, angry, lost, hopeless ones, are so incredibly loved and cherished by God.
He gave me the comeback story of a lifetime. I wouldn’t be who I am without those terrible times. I wouldn’t be who I am if He had not chosen to intercede at JUST the right time.
He has strengthened me beyond my wildest dreams. He has made me bulletproof.’
I am the comeback story that proves that no matter how deep we fall, His love for us prevails every single time.
No matter what.
June 24, 2017.
“With joy, you will draw waters from the wells of salvation.”-Isaiah 12:3
One of my favorite quotes is “Not all those who wander are lost” by JRR Tolkien.
I believe it’s a quick reminder that just because we are not where everyone (ourselves included) expects us to be by a certain time in our lives.
I am a wanderer. I have not found myself entirely yet. All I know this that Jesus is my home no matter where I may be, but I cannot say I am fully where I felt like I would be.
Ever feel that way?
I do not fit to the standards I feel I am supposed to as a Christian women.
I am unmarried, currently church hopping, and finding more about God in the most nontraditional ways possible.
I am wandering. & I am learning to be okay with that.
God is good and loving even when we aren’t where we think we are supposed to be. I am grateful that He loves me deeply in the clean and messy times of life. I am thankful that He calls me His child no matter where I may be and who I am.
If you are wandering like this girl is, know that you are not alone…and you are definitely not lost. 🙂
June 14, 2017.
“He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'”-Acts 9:4
As you begin to read and study the Bible, even just by doing a page long devotional a day, you begin to deeply understand the people involved in it.
My blog’s name is based off of a verse from the the book of Job so I do have a deep connection to Job’s story and journey. I also have come to love so many others like Jacob, Jonah, and Timothy. Though, there is no one I relate more to than the Apostle Paul.
Cliff notes version:
-His original name was Saul
-Paul HATED Christians. He persecuted them and anyone who even thought about wanting to follow Jesus.
-Jesus literally stopped Him in the middle of the road one day and cried out “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
-He changed after this “meeting” with Jesus and went on to become one of the greatest leaders for Christ that there ever was. He is the writer of most of the New Testament.
Talk about a comeback right?! That guy who was incredibly against every single thing Jesus was for ended up becoming one of the top people to help save others in Jesus’ name.
I like Paul’s story because I feel a deep connection to my own.
From being a person that fiercely did not believe in God to now striving to make His name known for all.
A person who was majorly messed up and lost LITERALLY being stopped in the middle of a highway to hear Christ calling to them.
To feel like you’d been right all of those years, only to realize in a moment how incredibly wrong you had been.
To be taken from this place of darkness and brought into the light to forever dwell with the Lord.
I praise God every single day that He takes mess ups like Paul and I and turns them into something they never thought they’d be.
May 16, 2017.
“Even there, Your hand will lead me, And Your Right hand will lay hold of me.”-Psalm 139:10
I always convinced myself that I could never be a leader, especially a leader for Christ’s cause.
Where were my credentials? How would I know what to say and do? Why would anyone ever look up to me for advice about this?
When asked to lead a women’s Bible study for the first time I was really nervous.
What if I said something wrong?
What if I did something someone did not like?
What if I offended someone so much they never wanted to come back?
Those “what ifs” held me back from so much. They made me feel uncomfortable and like I could not ever be a successful leader.
I decided to jump in finally to the role of being a Bible study leader one semester, and it was absolutely life changing.
I am pretty new into this Jesus loving stuff, but He led me to that point to be a vessel for Him. In order to show others about His incredible, total love for all of us.
That He could love ME.
The Glutton. The Coveter. The Envier. The Fornicator. The Prideful one. The Idolater. The Liar.
God does not called the qualified. He qualifies the called.
He showed others, through using as a leader, that he does not see me as any of the things named above.
He calls me:
The Beloved. The Beautiful. The Forgiven. The Worthy. The Deeply Loved. The Wanted. His Child.
What can He use you for if you allow yourself to be a leader for Him? If you served others, or led a Bible study, or openly shared your faith, or just stepped out of your comfort zone for Him?
What could He show the world, through YOU?
April 30, 2017.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”-Joshua 24:15
On April 21st of this year I became a first time homeowner. This happened exactly 3 years to the date after I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart. I happen to know that this was not just a coincidence.
As a single, 25 year old, woman, teacher I knew the odds were against me. I chose not to tell anyone really during the process because I didn’t want the judgments. I also didn’t want anyone’s advice or opinions (my family members’ were stressful enough). I didn’t want to explain the heartbreak of falling in love with houses that didn’t work. I’m pretty sure I haven’t had a good nights sleep since I started looking in February!
When I began the process, I prayed a very risky prayer for me. I asked every day for the houses that were not meant for me (even when I loved them deeply) to slip away from me and for the one that was meant for me to come along and for everything to go through with it. It was difficult to pray because I knew heartbreak was going to be involved, but I also knew that He would provide the right place for me.
God had His fingerprints all over this.
Seriously, this was not of my doing.
There was no reason in the world why this house came back on the market in the wake of letting go another house that I was convinced would have worked (Praise God it didn’t).
I cannot explain how this was the only house I walked in that I could feel Jesus’s love in.
It’s crazy that one of my best friends knew the owners, had been to this house multiple times and confirmed how love lived here.
It blows my mind how the inspection, appraisal, and everything with the mortgage came back fine and we were able to close within less than 30 days.
Then on top of it all, my closing date was moved up a week to the three year anniversary of me and Jesus becoming one. Like for real?!
I needed a reminder more than ever that God loves me and will always provide. He sent me all the people I needed to make this happen. He sent me an awesome realtor, mortgage broker, and sellers who love Him as I do. He promised me He’d never leave me hanging.
He did as promised.
April 12, 2017.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything in His will, He hears us.”-1 John 5:14
Have you seen War Room yet?
Because if you haven’t, you’re seriously missing out. Go rent it now!
In the movie, we find out that this older woman created a prayer room and spent much of her life in there praying. Praying for other people, praying for herself, etc.
She called it her “war room” because all of her battles were fought kneeling and praying to God in that room. Incredible stuff right?
So I convinced myself afterward that I would make a prayer room for myself.
& guess what…I never did.
Until recently when I saw one of the main stars, Priscilla Shirer, in person for a conference and was reminded of the incredible power that comes from being alone in the presence of God and praying to Him.
So I came home and turned a corner of my closet into a war room. I put up the names of people who needed prayer. I put up things that I knew I wanted/needed. I pray over them every night and it has been miraculous what God has done since I got serious about my prayer life.
I see him working MIRACLES. Truly miracles. Things I cannot explain that seem to come out of thin air. What a beautiful thing it is.
When I am praying for God’s will over these things, I am not necessarily getting what I want. I am praying for what is needed and what God wants (because 100% of the time, whether I like to admit it or not, His plans are greater than the plans I have made). But He is making miracles out of nothing. & He is hearing my cries. *Just because we do not get what we want, does not mean He does not hear us.
It is getting to a point where my prayer post-its are having to be moved to a different wall because God has done His work with them. How crazy is that?!
I recently read something about how God is like a banker. When you go to a banker, they expect to do business with you. God is the same way. He expects to do business with us. To Him, our prayer time is not supposed to be full of empty words. He wants us to speak our minds and really talk to Him!
Do you need to make a war room?
In your closet. Or in the corner of your bedroom before the kids get up. Or in a room away from everyone else.
It doesn’t matter where it might be…as long as you do it. 🙂
Pray on y’all!
March 22, 2017.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”-Romans 12:15
Just like most of America, I am currently obsessed with NBC’s new show “This is Us”. I feel like it is just a show for everyone and is something everyone can relate to.
Recently, one of the side characters passed away. Then suddenly random people started contacting their family members and saying how this person had totally changed their life and the lives of others.
The person that struck me the most was the mailman who came over, not realizing the man had passed away, to ask how he was doing. Once he found out he was heartbroken and started to tear up.
He said that the man had stopped often just to talk to him, and people just don’t do that anymore. They had become good friends just because the guy stopped to talk to him on his morning walks.
All I could think about after this episode was what the mailman had said.
What are we doing in our seemingly ordinary lives that is extraordinary to someone else?
I believe wholeheartedly that we are placed into the paths of other people’s lives so that we may encourage, uplift, show faith to, and love. But it is up to us to decide if we will take the time to do these things.
A simple hello in passing, or a “really, how are you doing” or an “I am thinking about you” can make all the difference in someone’s seemingly ordinary day.
What a beautiful legacy to leave behind.
February 26, 2017.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” -Romans 5:1
I think it is very typical to not have many nice to things to say about our exes. Our ex boyfriends/girlfriends and even our ex friends. I am not saying that it is right, but it is pretty normalized in our society.
I know I am one of those people.
I do not believe I have really ever had anything nice to say about the people of the past. That’s why they are in the past, right?
But, I have been starting to think lately…what if there is more to these stories than just pain and anger?
No matter how badly they ended, all of these friendships/relationships were for the absolute best.
Every single one of them made me the person that I am. Every. Single. One.
I became a more well-rounded person because of the adventures I took with these people. They taught me patience. They showed me Jesus. They changed my thinking. They showed me what love is. They taught me what hate is. They showed me what forgiveness is. Then put me into situations where I had to learn to forgive for real. They taught me to be strong, because I was able to live without them. They showed me so much about life I never thought imaginable.
I am so thankful for every broken heart. For every moment of pain I have gone through. For everything.
Thank you Jesus for those who force us to change without even realizing it. God is good even when we cannot understand His plan for our lives.
February 12, 2017.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”-John 13:34-35
Valentine’s Day is less than two days away. Can you believe it?! I felt like just yesterday, we were celebrating the beginning of 2017, and now it is already mid-February.
Valentine’s Day can be so overrated sometimes, but it is also a great chance to share with others the love we feel for them. A few years ago, I received the best surprise Valentine’s Day gift ever. From someone I never expected to receive anything from. It will probably forever be one of my favorite Valentine’s Day stories:
I was in college and had just recently broken off from a very unhealthy relationship that I had been in for a long time. I started calling/texting with a family member’s friend who was about my age and actually lived on the total opposite side of the country. He knew that I was not interested in anything more than friendship at the time (and I mean, really, we lived in totally different parts of the country). But he just wanted to be my friend and that is really what I needed.
He showed me kindness. He cared about me. He supported me as I went through my first year away from home. He encouraged me to be the best person I could be.
As February came around, he asked me what my plans were for Valentine’s Day. I told him for the last year, I hadn’t received anything for that day from my significant other because he thought it was just another day. So I in turn had believed too, that it was just another day. He said he understood, but he hoped I could have a good day anyway!
February 14th came, and the day was a normal one, but also filled with people getting and giving presents at school and lots of red and pink everywhere. That night I was in the shower when there was a knock at our apartment door. My roommates came pounding on the bathroom door and said there was something for me. My first thought was “For ME? No way!”
I came out and found a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a vase, with a red ribbon tied around it. With an anonymous note that stated: “Kristin, I hope this makes your day a little more special than just another day.” I was shocked, but immediately realized who it was from and I was so floored by his incredible act of kindness. I even dried out the flowers and made this shadowbox (which unfortunately got ruined when I was in the process of moving).
When I called him, he laughed and said that he meant it: he wanted me to know that it does not just have to be “another day”. I can make it amazing or I can make it boring, it is all how I choose to see it.
I have never forgotten that incredible, selfless act of kindness toward me. & It has motivated me to try to do something nice for someone else each Valentine’s Day, because let’s be real this is a tough holiday for a lot of people.
Who is someone in your life that you can be a friend to right now? Who is someone who could really use some of God’s love in their life? Who is someone who really needs a random act of kindness?
I hope that you have the courage and motivation to be kind to someone this February 14th. Who knows how much it might mean to them!
Thank you, Marc, for being my friend when I needed it most.
February 8, 2017.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”-Luke 1:37
I am in my third year of teaching elementary school. It has been nothing short of absolute insanity. It has also challenged my faith, made me see the world differently, and caused me to see the beauty in everything. I have never cried so much over someone else’s child. Or spent as much time awake at night thinking of how to help them. I can never forget the way it feels to help someone learn a basic they will use for the rest of their lives.
But there came a point not too long ago when I really started to believe that teaching was not for me. I had a particularly difficult (understatement) class, and I left every day feeling drained physically and emotionally.
I could share so much more but ya know, privacy reasons, so we will just say it was really bad.
It was like everything I had worked so hard for meant nothing anymore. I had worked so hard to become a teacher, and yet here I was feeling like I had made the worst decision of my life.
Somewhere along the way, I lost the passion I had for what I was doing. I became exhausted from the actions of others, and discouraged by their unkind words. I had come to forget that I had asked for this. I may not have asked for the bad stuff, but I have come to realize there can be no good without also experiencing the bad.
My heart was strained and I was not sure what I was going to do.
Then, I sat down in the silence of my classroom one day after school and remembered all of the times I had spent in a college classroom dreaming of being in the same position I was in at the moment. I longed to be a teacher.
UCF was wonderful to me, and really prepared me to be an incredible teacher. They required us to do a ton of hours in real schools working with real teachers and students. I did observation and volunteering hours in over 6 schools in three different counties in Florida. I loved being with the students, but I also could not wait to no longer “volunteer” in other teachers classrooms and actually get paid to do this.
I could not wait to no longer be under the authority of a supervising teacher and get to do what I wanted to do with my own students.
& in 2014, I was granted that wish.
I was able to work with students of all walks of life, and being at a Title 1 school, I really was able to work with students who needed love more than just an education.
It has been hard and wonderful all at the same time. & when I was going through that difficult year with that specific class, it was extra difficult.
But I am a better, and stronger person and teacher today because of the tough times.
I believe God sometimes brings us through rough waters to show us how much power and strength He has given us to overcome anything.
If you are a tired, worn out, exhausted, defeated teacher today: know that you are not alone.
You are deeply loved.
You are needed.
You are God’s gift to the world.
No matter how many “I hate yous”, curse words, rude remarks, physical acts of violence, and threats have been thrown at you today; please remember that hurt people, hurt people. The people who hurt us the most are the hardest to love, but they need our love more than anyone.
I hope you find the strength to continue to use the beautiful gift of teaching that you have been given even in the hardest of times.
It is worth more than GOLD.
February 6, 2017.
“The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2
With all the hatred going on in the world, I remembered a story my
grandmother told me about that happened in the early 1970s. The
background information needed to understand this story is that my
grandparents (whom are white) had three children of their own and then
adopted a five year old little girl from South Korea. They lived in Vermont
and loved their family deeply.
I hope my remembrance of this story is able to give it justice:
My grandmother and her friend decided to take their children to a zoo
that was in Canada. In those days, you weren’t required to have a
passport and all you really needed was some kind of identification to
go back and forth between the US and Canada freely.
They came to the border and the man looks over their identification
and then he looks in the car. He sees two white women, a few white
children. And one little Asian girl.
He immediately asks my aunt Lisa (who is probably 7 at this time) if
she is an American citizen. She says yes. He asks her if she was born
in this country and she says no, she was born in Korea. He tells her
to get out the car and come with him.
He did not question any other person in that car. Just the one who “looked different.”
My grandmother starts to freak out and tells him that her daughter,
Lisa, was adopted and that she had forgotten to bring her papers. The
man starts to badger them with questions and begins to accuse my
grandmother of bringing this child to this country illegally. It got
pretty ugly and she said it was downright terrifying. She was afraid
they would detain her and not let her go home. Then luckily, my
grandmother was able to get in contact with someone who she and the
border control person had in common who could attest to the fact that her
daughter was brought to this country and adopted legally. And that she
certainly was an American citizen.
Long story short, they were then able to go through the border into
Canada, go to the zoo, and come back again. But my grandmother has
never forgotten that day and how it made her feel.
I asked her why she didn’t think to bring the papers and she said she
truly had forgotten because she didn’t not see my aunt as any
different from her other children. They were ALL her children, even
though one hadn’t been carried in her physical womb.
She said it killed her to think that people believed just because her
child did not look like her, meant that she was not her mother. She
said it broke her heart knowing that people thought terrible things
about HER child just because she was not the same race as her
& I wonder if God feels the same way about us as my grandmother did that day.
People will say that because a person is a sinner and has made a
lot of mistakes, it must mean they are not a child of God.
People will insinuate that because a person struggles with addiction
that they are unable to reach God’s Grace.
People will accuse others of never being able to be loved by Christ,
because they do not live up to society’s standard of what a Christian
But the thing is, that God does not see us the way that others do.
He fights for us, because He knows that we are His children.
He loves us no matter what we “look” like.
WE ARE HIS CHILDREN AND HE IS OUR FATHER.
No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you look
like…know today, right now that you are one thing over anything
else: a child of God.
& you do not need a passport or papers to get into Heaven. Only a
true belief in your heart that Jesus Christ died on a cross 2,000
years ago for you. So that you could receive the honor of being called
What a beautiful thing it is to be loved so deeply by a parent who
will never give up on us.
January 30, 2017.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”-Proverbs 17:17
One of my favorite things to do is share the good things I see in others.
Today, I want to share another blog with you that is run by one of my new friends, Andrea Engler.
Andrea is a lover of Jesus, wife, new mama, traveling addict, savvy saver, and a fellow fan of wine. 😉
Even though I am not a mother, I really enjoy the posts she has about life with her babe. Including the highs and lows. Isn’t transparency just the best thing ever?! It reminds us that we are all in this together and that we are never alone.
So if you are looking for…
-ways to save money (big time, I mean seriously check it out: she and her husband paid off like $20,000+ dollars of debt)
-real stories of surviving mommy life with your sanity
–travel tips and tricks
Then you have got to check Andrea Lately out!
I promise it is something you will not regret. 🙂
January 20, 2017
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13
One year Paleo. ^ 🙂
I have had so many people ask me about this crazy thing I do called the Paleo diet.
4 years ago I was living in Orlando, going to college at the University of Central Florida. I was living in a school affiliated apartment with three other girls, and I was really enjoying life. Though, I was having a lot of body issues.
I had suffered with eczema since I was 15 and it seemed to get worse the older I got. Then, it seemed like everything I ate made me sick. I would bloat up and either puke or have other digestive issues. I had constant headaches. Seasonal allergies were intense. It came to the point where I did not know if I would ever be able to live a normal life, because I was always having to rush to the bathroom. While hiding my hideous eczema, and trying to find a way to deal with the headaches.
So I started researching and tried a bunch of different fad diets for a few months. I kept a food journal. I bought expensive whole wheat bread. I tried to exercise more. I tried to drink more water. Nothing worked, and I was so discouraged.
I am not typically a person who goes to the doctor, but I had finally come to a point where I was ready to go. I told him I believed I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and told him it was absolutely ruining my life. I was afraid to go out. I was always looking for “emergency” bathrooms, and avoided eating entirely if I knew I was going to be in a place where there were no bathrooms. I also avoided going places where I had to wear a bathing suit because of my skin.
He suggested we do a blood test and the next week I came back and he read me the results: “You are a healthy 21 year old. There is nothing wrong with you.” And I cried. I did not understand why I could feel SO bad, and yet have nothing wrong with me. But then, he said something that finally gave me hope. He believed me. He believed that just because nothing showed on the blood test did not mean I was not sick.
He said he believed I had something called “Leaky Gut Syndrome” which is a mix of bunch of different things: food sensitivities, allergies, skin conditions, exhaustion, and headaches included. He suggested that I read this book called “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolff and take L-Glutamine every day. He said this would be a massive lifestyle change and I would never be able to go back to my old ways.
This suggestion changed my life forever. In the best way possible.
For the first three months, I stayed STRICTLY on the diet. No grains, sugars, alcohol, dairy. & I went through so serious body changes. I was angry all the time (seriously, it was withdrawals). I lost a ton of weight. The first month I actually was actually late for my period which had never happened before, and it was all due to this huge lifestyle/diet change.
BUT, I had never ever ever felt better in my life than I did after my body started accepting this healthy change. I know longer had the problems I did before and I was finally at peace. I was no longer afraid to go out anymore. I was no longer a captive to my own body.
I read tons of books about it, and it was so eye opening. All of the food products I had eaten most of my life, had slowly been killing me. The best book I read was “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolff, because I could relate to him and his story so much. He too, had gone through what I had and had tried everything to fix himself but nothing worked, until Paleo.
I write this kind of different post not to tell you that you need to try the Paleo lifestyle, but because I know there are many out there who wonder what it is. There are lots and lots of fads out there, but Paleo works y’all.
What is holding you captive right now? & how can you be set free?
January 16, 2017
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10
When we look back on the lives we’ve lived, I think we often remember the best days and worst days of them.
For me, the best so far have been graduating from UCF, days spent with my family, sleepovers/trips with friends, and finding the Lord.
But there have been two that will forever stick in my mind as the worst. The terrible day in December of 2013 that I watched my family fall apart. & The night of October 6, 2016.
On October 6th I found out that my beloved dog had died after a week of crying and praying that he would survive. Then Hurricane Matthew hit.
I do not know how to describe the absolute pain and anxiety I felt on that night, but if you’ve ever had a sleepless agonizing night like this one you’ll know what I mean.
I had a full blown panic attack.
The power shut off. The wind was whipping and the house felt like it was going to blow away. Memories of my dog as a baby flooded my mind.
& I lost it.
My friend Michele was kind enough to call me and talk me down, because I felt like I was to the point of not being able to breathe.
If Hell on earth is a real thing, I know I experienced it that night. The Devil knew I was vulnerable and attacked me with his lies. Telling me I would never be okay. Asking why a God who loved me so much would seem to just ignore my prayers. Implying that I wasn’t worth God’s time.
But sometimes you just have to remind the Devil of where he lives and what his future is.
God is great. When we’re having the best days or the worst days of our lives. He is great and loves us deeply.
He is with us always.
What a beautifully, incredibly magnificent thing that is.
December 29, 2016
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11.
As another year comes to an end, many people begin to reflect on what happened over the course of it. I think it is really easy to give into the negatives and remember all the bad things that happened to us, I know I can be really guilty of this. Though today, all I want to do is think of the good. On this day, five years ago this is what I wrote online:
“The amount of change I have gone through in just the past month has been mind-blowing yet absolutely amazing. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I do things no one would expect me to do, experience everything I can, and chase after dreams I once thought were impossible. I realize now that it was totally worth taking that gigantic leap of faith.”
December 29th has been a great day of reflection and joy for me. It is a day to remember the amazing things that have happened in my life. 2016 was a hard year, but yet it was so wonderful for many reasons:
- I survived the hardest year of teaching thus far.
- I graduated from graduate school with a 4.0 GPA.
- I became bolder with speaking about my faith and grew in my walk with Christ.
- I grew closer to my family.
- I moved into a beautiful new place.
- I graduated school with ZERO debt.
- I’m getting better with my battle of desiring the approval of others.
- I traveled to new and exciting places.
- After 5 months, I finally have full hearing back in my ear!
- I found out who my real friends were.
My plans for 2016 did not really work out like I was thinking they would (but when do they ever?????), but I am so glad it worked out this way. I guess God really knows what he’s talking about when He says He had plans for our lives, right?
What amazing things happened to you this year?
December 27, 2016
“For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”-2 Corinthians 5:13-15
I have never felt as crazy as I have the last two years that I have come to know Christ. Like have to sit around sometimes alone and question if what I am doing makes me slightly psychotic. Like call up my friends and ask them if they think I’m being ridiculous kind of stuff.
This once non-confrontational soul has been speaking out for what is right. My once very analytical way of thinking has been totally flipped upside down; I try to think about WWJD instead (corny but you get the point). I am more patient than I ever thought I could be. I am less anxious and more bold than I ever thought humanly possible. I’ve been able to say sorry and mean it. I’ve been able to forgive things that have happened to me personally that I know people would not blame me for not forgiving.
This is not by accident. This is not of my own works. This is from God.
I’m still a sinner. I still struggle. BUT I am finally beginning to feel some of that peace people talk about when they try to live the life God has called them to live.
I’m beginning to accept that I certainly am crazy, but in the best and most life changing way ever. People may not be able to understand this way of life, but aren’t we so lucky to have a loving God that always will?
December 15, 2016
“And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”-Romans 8:28
My best friend Madison got married in August of 2014. It was a beautiful ceremony at a golf course in Michigan and I was chosen as one of her maids of honor. I had the honor of standing by her side as she married the love of her life, Josh. Then, as a total shock, she asked me to be one of the witnesses on her marriage license. I was so excited when they passed me the pen that I almost cried! It was such an honor and so humbling.
There is something so beautiful and incredible about being chosen. To be picked above all else, to be deliberately decided on. It really is an amazing thing.
BUT, honestly, I felt a totally different feeling when I started to feel the tug at my heart strings of God asking me to step up and complete the plans He had for my life. I knew I was a chosen one, it says it in His Word. That all who love God are chosen to show His love to others and to be leaders in this world. But, seriously, me?
I was scared. I was nervous. I was freaked out.
& truly, most days I still am.
I am unqualified for pretty much everything. Socializing is not my favorite thing to do. Public speaking has never been something I am good at. Confrontation gives me anxiety. Yet, here I am, literally doing all of these things on a daily basis. Through God and for God.
I never, ever wanted to be a leader. But now, I constantly find myself in leadership positions, not even by my choosing. It is funny how God’s plans for our life rarely match our own and how His plans always win.
Just like when I was asked to be a maid of honor for Madison and to sign off as a witness on her marriage license, it felt like a huge responsibility. Though, it was incredibly humbling and a total honor. Isn’t it cool that God wants us to be a part of His plans?
What is God calling you to do today? That is a huge responsibility, but the greatest honor of all?
You are a leader in God’s world. You are a chosen one. God does not make any mistakes.
November 9, 2016
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”-Matthew 5:43-48
Dear Fellow Jesus Lovers,
I do not think I have ever seen as much hatred on the Internet as I have today, November 9, 2016.
People calling others horrible things based on THE PERSON THE VOTED FOR. Saying that they hope they die, and that they’ll see them in hell someday. Burning the flag and saying that they are not proud to be Americans. Like, is this for real?
Let’s pull it in for a second here. You may be rejoicing over the fact that Donald Trump is our future president. You may be feeling broken and fearful over it. But wherever you are remember this, it is not our job to: ridicule others, to gloat, to lash out, to be cruel.
It is our job to love others. When things are good and when they are bad, we are to love.
We cannot say we love all people and then turn around and hate people for who they believe is best fit to run our country. It does not make any sense.
Friends, it is a crazy time and we MUST come together. We cannot continue to divide ourselves and say cruel things to each other based on how we chose to use our freedom of speech. We cannot continue to say we are moving to Canada to get away from Trump and his “bigot, racist deplorables”. We cannot call ourselves Christian and say we hate anyone.
Love others who think the same as you. Love others who think differently than you.
We are called to love, so let’s head down that path together today.
We are not perfect and we are going to mess up (probably a lot) but we have got each other and Jesus to pick us back up again and remind us of where we are headed.
With Immense Love,
November 7, 2016
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in the evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8
My grandmother is my best friend.
She has always been there for me. She has loved me through the good and bad times. She wakes up for my 3 am desperate, can barely speak, phone calls. She loves me deeply.
But, we do not agree on many things. She thinks it is silly that I love Jesus while I think it is crazy that she does not. She thinks I make some bad choices, while I think they are what is right. She thinks country music is awful, while I cannot help but listen to it.
We are opposites that have truly attracted.
She used to drive five hours back and forth every other weekend (my grandfather and her would switch) to come to New York state to help my mom take care of me. My dad had to move to Florida for a job while my mom had to take care of me, the ailing dog, and sell the house at the same time. So the grands stepped up and helped out to the best of their ability. & that is where my grandmother and I really bonded.
We talk on the phone a few times a week now and she always brings up those times, and how much enjoyment she had out of watching me grow up during that time. & how much she missed me when we moved across the country to Florida.
I often see people do memorial posts about people they love after they have passed on. But my grandmother deserves more than that, she deserves to know now before that horrible day comes, that she was loved beyond measure by someone who was her perfect opposite.
Thank you for loving me Gram.
November 6, 2016
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-2
In a few days, we here in the United States of America will find out who is going to be our President for the next four years.
Terrifying, exciting, and nerve-racking.
As much as I do not like talking about politics, it is important to discuss.
The media has given out a ton of nasty misinformation about both of the candidates. They have also given out truths too. Both candidates have been dragged through the mud, but only one has been truly portrayed as evil by the media: Donald Trump.
The media has dug up the old skeletons in his closet and SLAUGHTERED his name. He is called an idiot because he is not a beautifully eloquent speaker. He is called a maniac because he will speak about the violence that can and will continue to occur in this country if we do not step up and do something about it. He is called a racist because he believes in a stronger immigration policy. He is called a misogynist because of things he has said about women in the past (which is extremely wrong of him, but he has apologized and cannot go back in time and unsay what was said).
I am not trying to compare anyone else to this (for example, HRC), but the Devil himself is an eloquent speaker who has been able to persuade others to believe his lies because of his words. Pretty, seemingly powerful words do not always mean what they come out as.
I am sick of watered down, eloquent speaking that tries to be politically correct. I am sick of Common Core. I am sick of the lies politicians get away with. I am sick of the media showing only events that support “their candidate”. I am sick of our country being trillions of dollars in debt. I am sick of being a sheep led to slaughter.
It is time for a radical change.
& I hope and pray that on Tuesday night it is found that the change will be to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.
October 22, 2016
Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. -Proverbs 27:5-6.
Jesus tells us that in this world, we WILL have troubles. It is a definite, and almost a warning to put on our seatbelts, because it is going to be one heck of a ride in our time here on earth.
& boy, was He right!
There are so many troubles in this world that either we go through ourselves or that we see others go through.
We never have to go through these alone though, with God, family, and FRIENDS by our side. I really cannot imagine getting through my own hard times without my friends.
Friends are the glue that holds our lives together. They are there for us when things are good, and when things are not so good. They love us for who we are.
When we have a disagreement or fight with them, it feels like our world is falling apart because who else can we talk to when we are upset??
We often choose to swallow our pride, and let go of our oppositions because it hurts too much to be at odds with them, especially when either one of you is going through a hard time.
I think God gave us friends to show us many things: how to love someone even when its hard, how to learn to enjoy giving rather than receiving, how to care for another over ourselves, how to learn to laugh at yourself, and mostly how to enjoy life to the fullest.
If you have a friend that has loved you through the highs and lows of life, reach out to them today and let them know how appreciated they are! It’s a beautiful day to make someone’s day. 🙂
October 1, 2016
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Who has impacted you so much that you do not know what your life would be like without them? There have been hundreds of thousands of people who have impacted me in one way or another, some of them are complete strangers who I do not even know the name of. Though, if I had to answer my own question, there are five people who have impacted me deeply, especially in my walk with Christ.
1. Lindsey Day
Lindsey is my most unexpected friend. I met her in the most unexpected way and even though things have been kind of crazy, she has never once questioned having a friendship with me. Don’t we all wish to have a friend like that? One who likes us for who we are despite the circumstances. I love her because of how much she loves others, me included. She is a true example of what Jesus calls us to do: love others NO MATTER WHAT.
2. Iliana Medina
Iliana came into my life about 3 years ago, and I am so thankful that God crossed our paths. This girl loves Jesus with all of her heart and proclaims His name above all in every situation in life. She never backs down and tries to right every wrong that she sees. She uses the gift of her beautiful voice, not for selfishness, but for serving. She reminds me everyday to live for the Lord and not for myself.
3. David Saxon
David and I went to high school together and since day one of knowing him, I have known that he truly lives his life for God entirely. He is an absolute inspiration to all those around him, and he was one of the first people ever to expose me to Jesus Christ. He stands up for what is right, and defends the weak. I am so proud to see all that he continues to accomplish in his life, and even more proud as he continues to say that it is all due to the Lord’s Grace and love.
4. Jessica Smith
My Jess! I am incredibly lucky to call this girl my best friend. She and I have always been about the same in our walk with Christ so we have been able to help each other grow and pick one another up when we fall. She has taught me more about myself and Jesus than I ever thought possible, just by being herself. She allows me to vent to her about hard things I am going through so I do not spread gossip or hatred, and after I am done, she reminds me of what the Bible has to say about my situation. It’s a really beautiful thing.
5. Rachel Sparks
I have one thing to say about Rachel that I do not feel I can say about anyone else I know, myself included. I have never ever heard anyone speak badly about this girl. Not a one. Rachel is the friend everyone wants to have. She hangs out with everyone, and makes sure that everyone is invited. She loves everyone, including the people no one else wants to be around. She has completely changed my perspective on who Jesus is, just by her actions. She goes above and beyond to love others. How many people to you know like that?
These are only five of many who have had large and small impacts on myself, and I am so grateful for all of these people. Sometimes, we have no idea the impact we have left on others. Would you reach out to someone today and let them know how you have been impacted by them?
September 18, 2016
“For it is by Grace you have been saved-through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God-not by works so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9
I was 12 when my grandmother (Dad’s mom) passed away suddenly of a heart attack. It was horrible. She had smoked all of her adult life and in the end, that is what took her life.
I spent quite a bit of time with her as a child, which I am grateful for, but I really never got to know her as much as I thought I did. She seemed to love this Jesus guy a lot because she had pictures of Him and Bible verses all over her house having to do with him. She even had this sign (its at my Dad’s house now) that says “I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ And Jesus said, ‘This much.’ Then He stretched out His arms and died.” What the heck did that even mean? I did not know much about this Jesus guy though other than what she and my parents mentioned about him sometimes. He seemed cool but I did not know who He really was.
It wasn’t until about ten year after my grandmother’s death, that I found out about Jesus for myself. He actually was pretty cool, but I found out He was so much more than that. He sacrificed himself to be tortured to death and hung on a cross to die for my sins. WHOA. That sign from my grandmother’s house started to make some sense to me now.
My father gave me a bunch of her stuff years after she passed. A giant, BEAUTIFUL painted portrait of Jesus, her rocking chair, and her old Bible. Within the Bible, it had Ephesians 2:8-9 handwritten on the inside cover. I read it for the first time and it struck me how much my grandmother truly loved Jesus and believed in Him with all of her heart. I know she is in Heaven right now with Him, and this has brought me such peace.
My grandmother has been gone for 12 years now, and she is still impacting me and my walk with Christ. Isn’t it crazy how much of an impact that (we don’t even realize yet) that we will have on future generations of believers AND non-believers?
My Gramma left her unwavering faith here to impact myself and others. What will we leave behind when we depart from this earth?