January 1, 2019.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Happy New Year!
Today is the first day of 2019 and I for one am so excited. I often dread the beginning of a new year, change is hard, but this year I am embracing it.
I definitely feel that I am being called to do some new things, and I am wondering how these things are going to play out.
I feel I am being called to stop and breathe.
Have you ever felt like you keep getting the feeling you need to slow down, or focus more on certain things, or just do important things you have been putting off? That’s where I am at right now, and I am choosing to embrace that.
So I am going to slow down, to check out, to plug into what I know I am supposed to, and to be true to myself and the one who made me.
No real resolutions for me this year, just to be me and to recognize that God constantly whispers in our ears what we need…we just need to listen. This year, finally, I think I am going to listen. 🙂
What is he whispering and calling you to do? & will this be the year you listen?
October 28, 2018.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” -Colossians 1:24
Since becoming a Jesus follower at the age of 22, I have explored and discovered many churches around my town and surrounding areas.
In the short span of 4 years, I have found, loved in, and left many churches.
If there ever was an actual definition of a rebellious Christian, they’d probably have a picture of me for it because I have struggles, and doubts, and I will leave when I can’t take it anymore. I don’t tough it out because I have been burned.
I usually find a church and I stick around for a while. I feel happy, am called to get involved, find myself spending all Sunday at church, find myself spending other nights running Bible studies, then other days being “a light” to others in need in the church.
Before I realize it, I am deep into church and no longer deep into a relationship with Christ. I begin to doubt what it really all means, and find myself doing things out of obligation or selfish means.
Then the gossip begins. Then the political hidden agendas start to begin. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
The one big church that I came to love and know so deeply, turned on me. I started getting the literal messages from people who knew me as acquaintances and let me know their disgust with the way I lived my life. The sermons that silently screamed that the way I lived my life was not one that a child of God’s would live. It broke me on top of everything else.
& I RAN.
I rebelled, I kicked, I screamed, I ran. & lately, I am not even giving church a chance. I don’t stay long because I can’t go through with it again.
The church hurt.
I still love God. Churches that are home or not home to me couldn’t change that. But I felt closer with him away from church than I did in His house.
I stayed away for a while. I started to think, it’s okay, I will just wait for a while until I can get my act together in the eyes of the church. Then I can go to one and feel okay and not feel shameful and can feel happy.
But Rachel Held Evans’ book about the church struggle rocked my world, and made me remember that church is not for perfect people. It’s for sinners like me. And sinners like you. And for pastors and church goers who struggle secretly like us and need church and Jesus just as much.
The thing is I don’t blame church for how I feel. I don’t blame people. I blame sin. It is a sickening piece of us that makes us hateful and judgmental of others, but it is something we can’t help. But its not easy to take the brunt of it.
I am sick of waiting. I am sick of the pain. I am sick of the exhaustion.
But I want Jesus. And for now, I find Him everywhere but the church.
I know that someday, that feeling will be felt in church for me, and I can’t wait to feel it again. But for now, I am where I am, and that is okay.
July 7, 2018.
“But He knows the way I take, and when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” -Job 23:10
I had the opportunity a few years ago to be in this amazing young-ish adult group for single people from ages 25-35. We had a discussion as a group and then broke off into smaller groups of three. I was very young and had snuck into the group at the age of 24. My group mates were on the older end of our group and, in my opinion, were the most wise out of everyone.
We took turns talking about our real life struggles. You know the ones that are deep and you don’t like to talk about to others. We were supposed to pray for each other and give Godly advice if need be.
We came to my struggles last. I was going through a particularly weird and kind of sad time of life. I was honest with them and said I felt lost and wasn’t really sure what I was doing in life and that trusting God through it was harder than I expected.
And they held my hands and they prayed for me to trust God through this season of life, and said God had a bigger plan for my life than I realized.
I did not really feel better after, but I just kind of accepted it and moved on with the rest of the group.
But I think my group mates felt it, because they came up to me after and the man specifically looked at me and said “sometimes you just are living the life of Job during certain seasons of life.”
I wasn’t really well verses on the book of Job. All I knew is that Job had a bunch of terrible things happen to Him and He loved God through it, but that’s all I really knew about it.
He went on to explain that just as in the story of Job, that I was going through hard times but that God was looking down upon me smiling and bragging to the wicked one that no matter what, I was His child and that I would love Him and stay faithful through it all.
They both reminded me to stay faithful, that I was incredibly loved, and that God would always be there for me if I struggled with understanding this was all happening. Their love and advice meant so much to me.
So I now carry this story with me close to my heart, because it changed the way I can choose to see things that happen.
When things are on the downhill and there is no sight of happiness in my journey, I have two choices. I can lose faith (which real life is what I often chose first because it’s hard out here y’all) and give up or I can remember that God is a proud father watching over me and loving my continued faith despite what I’m facing.
I’m a work in progress over here, but I’m trying to look up more when things happen instead of down, because my Father in Heaven doesn’t lie below me.
April 16, 2018.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” -John 10:10
It amazes me how much emotions can overtake us.
When extreme joy hits us, it can totally consume us.
When extreme grief hits us, it can also totally consume us.
I have found it hard to write the last few weeks, because both of these extremes have hit me so hard, and it has made it difficult to put into words what to say.
God has been faithful, and as of right now, my sicknesses are somewhat under control. I am getting to parts of my life I was promised. I am getting to watch some friends and family go through incredibly beautiful things.
& In other parts of life, I am wondering where God is. A storm has brewed up the worst, most cruel thing I could possibly imagine. It is not fair. It makes no sense. It chills me to my core, because I do not understand.
I would be lying if I said that God has not heard tears, prayers, and questions as to why things happen the way they do from me lately. Why does this great thing happen to this person, but another receives horrible news constantly?
Joy & grief would be my catchphrase right now for what I am feeling, because things are so good but I see and feel the pain around me.
Has anyone ever felt this?
To feel deeply is truly an amazing blessing, and a horrid curse.
I have been letting the grief win of the two, but I am really choosing to try to focus on the joy, because I am beginning to realize (through the strength and vulnerability of others) that joy can be found even in grievous times.
What is your joy or another’s that has been found in grief? How has it helped you to love/praise God even when all seems awry?
March 19, 2018.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the LORD’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,” -2 Timothy 2:23-25
A few months ago, a friend and I were driving home at night from a fun time out with friends. We took the highway and I got off at my usual exit, but unfortunately found out that the road had been closed temporarily due to construction. So we turned and went down a different, dark, back road that we hoped we lead us back to where we needed to be. We went down for a ways and realized it was not taking us where we needed to go so we turned back around and headed back for the highway.
It was very dark out there and it was only two lanes with no real shoulder on the road. We saw ahead of us what looked like one car passing another. The car that we assumed was passing was in my lane but they were a ways away so I assumed they’d get back in their lane before reaching us.
But they got closer. And closer. And they were still side by side with the other car.
Suddenly, I realized that they were not going to move.
So I quickly pulled off the side of the road-luckily not falling in the ditch below-as these two cars raced by at lightning speed.
They were racing. Playing chicken. With our lives and theirs.
I am very blessed and lucky to say that we did not lose our lives that day, but I think about it often.
Many of us do not like to try anything like that. Risking our lives and seeing who will give first-making it a matter of life or death.
But we do it often when it comes to arguing with others-especially those we love.
Who can be the meanest?
Who will play the victim?
Who will give in?
Who would rather ruin the friendship than lose the fight?
In 2 Timothy 2:23-25, it is discussed how it is a waste of time to fight over silly things. Instead we should focus on the good and come to agreements about things in a civil way. Not in a mean way, not with anger, not with malice. To make it a calm talk in which something is agreed upon together.
But that is easier said than done.
If we quit playing chicken, and offered to listen to another’s side before ours, what good could it do for our world?
February 19, 2018.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”-Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you…” is a verse that many people use at their graduations and when they move onto new things in life. It is well known, and honestly misused a lot.
Because for some reason, we tend to believe that OUR plans are the same as His. We create these scenarios in our heads, and make these goals/plans for our lives. When those plans fall through or those goals are turned into something else or flat out turned down, we have a hard time thinking about Jeremiah 29:11. How could my plans be different from God’s? Doesn’t He know that I know what’s best for my life?
When we talk about Jeremiah 29:11, we have to remember that they truly are HIS plans. We can plan and plan and plan, but those plans are not always going to be what He has planned out for our lives.
The truth is, you cannot prosper without hard work and even some pain.
You’ll never know what it means to hope if you always have everything you want and need.
You will not be able to have a future unless you’ve had a past in which you can learn from it.
This life we live isn’t an easy one, but it’s so worth it. We may not see the things that are being thrown into our life as good and empty of harm, but they just mean that God’s preparing us for something bigger and better.
Living with Jeremiah 29:11 in your head and heart is a reminder that God loves us through the good, and He loves us even more through what we perceive as the bad.
Not all things are as they seem!
November 5, 2017.
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”-Psalm 13:1
I drove 45 minutes, and literally climbed over two fences (and past a few “keep out” signs) to get here.
I did it not go for the view, but in an attempt to get an ex boyfriend I desperately wanted back in my life.
We were going fishing and though I was exhausted and worn, I put in every ounce of effort I had left to make it out there to be with him.
& it didn’t make a difference. I didn’t get that guy back. I left with an even sadder heart and this picture as the only positive part of that evening.
I gave it my all and nothing came of it.
That hurts more than anything doesn’t it?
When we give things our all and feel like nothing comes of it, even worse that God is absent from our struggles.
We cry out in frustration: WHERE ARE YOU? I DID MY BEST, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Often, we think the deafening silence we hear in return is a slap in the face.
& on that day specifically, I felt that way.
I knew that this God everyone spoke of must not exist, or must not have cared about me because how could he? Wasn’t he supposed to come save the day?
At the time, I didn’t understand that God is a God of love. That even though I couldn’t see it, He had to let me struggle through this time so I would not continue to go back to this unhealthy relationship that was not good for me.
I needed it even though it hurt! I didn’t realize it at that time and it took me a very long time to see it.
If you’re struggling today, I get it.
I get the pain and heartache and feeling that God is not there or that maybe He doesn’t even exist. But friends, He does. He’s there for you even when He doesn’t seem it. & He will love you through it all.
Take heart today y’all. He loves us big time.
September 3, 2017.
“For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”-Hebrews 4:2
I have it written on my Instagram bio and many people have asked me about it.
I think they ask because it’s weird to have someone who does not believe in anything to suddenly believe in God and live for Him like crazy. It’s even weirder because I have faked being a believer most of my life.
My parents baptized me a young age in the Christian faith. They taught me to pray before I ate and before I went to bed at night. I went to youth groups and sang worship songs to try and fit in.
But that was all a lie. I didn’t believe in any of it. Praying to God I didn’t believe existed…silly right?
I didn’t believe anything existed beyond this world. I knew that if there was anything out there who loved me like people said that God did then the world wouldn’t be this bad. I wouldn’t feel such huge pain.
I. Was. Wrong.
There is a God. A true, one, Living God of the universe who loves me more than words can say.
I was wrong, but I don’t feel annoyance toward those who haven’t seen what I have seen and still feel the way I did before.
I think atheists get a bad rap. That they’re mean people who have negative outlooks on life and live sad, empty lives. But that’s not true either.
Atheists (and Christians too) come in all shapes, sizes, and have different opinions.
More importantly, God loves atheists as much as He loves those who love Him back.
& if we are thinking any differently…we need to get some prayer time in.
Love God, love others. The end.
August 24, 2017.
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”-Psalm 18:30
My mom is obsessed with this old movie from the 40s called “Its A Wonderful Life.” She watches it a lot during the month of December and cries.
The main character falls on really hard times and gets to a point where he is ready to end his life.
Until his guardian angel steps in. The man says everyone would be better off without him. So his guardian angel takes him back through his life and shows him the huge negative impact there would have been if he had never been born.
In the end, he chooses life and realizes that even though we will have troubles, it is still truly a wonderful life.
Sometimes, it is hard to remember that life is beautiful.
We get tangled in a web of lies that tell us we are unworthy. That remind us of the problems we cause. That make us feel that life isn’t worth living.
But it is yall.
Life is beautiful and wild and crazy and worth it.
God put us here for an incredible reason even when it doesn’t feel like it.
When you feel like George Bailey, remind yourself of to whom you belong. God makes no mistakes!
July 25, 2017.
“It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.” -Proverbs 29:25
I have a nasty habit that I am trying to work on.
I desperately desire the approval of others.
What a truly disappointing and dangerous ^ situation to be in.
We will NEVER be able to make everyone happy. It is literally impossible. So why do I still want that to happen when I know it never will?
I held back so much for so long due to this. I watched where I stepped. I tried to watch what I said. I put off living in order to try and make others happy.
But the thing was, it was never enough. & it will never be enough.
I left the people who did not make me feel like the person God made me to be.
I left the situations I knew I would never grow from.
I left the fear of wondering what others would think of me.
I left behind the life I had been putting on hold to make others approve of me.
It’s been the craziest thing, y’all.
I have had people come straight out of the woodwork to tell me they read my blog posts and think I am a hypocrite.
I have had people cut me off because I do not live the life they believe I should live.
I have had someone tell me that they can’t believe I have the audacity to call myself a Christian.
& I have never felt so free. Or happy. Or incredible.
You see, it does not matter what they say.
He calls me…
LOVED BEYOND MEASURE.
I am His.
In my leaving, I found Him even more.
I remembered His goodness and His ever exquisite love for me no matter where life takes me or what others think of me.
The haters will come and go, but His love for me is here to stay.
July 24, 2017.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12
I am a fighter. With every inch of my being I am a fighter. I have fought for every single thing I ever thought I could lose. Every relationship, friendship, possession. I fight.
But as I grow older, I realize how not everything is worth fighting for.
How spending time, effort, and energy on something or someone that is no good for you can kill you slowly.
It is becoming the hardest/best decision I have made yet. & one that has involved the most growing pains. It isn’t easy to change yourself. To change everything you’ve ever stood for.
But God did not make me to be a weary soul. Worn out by fighting for things I have no business being involved with. He did not make me to be angry and hurt by trying to make things work that just weren’t meant to.
He made me to be a fighter. But for the things worth fighting for.
The things I can feel in my heart that are worth it. The people that I know need my love. That which brings me joy and/or makes myself or others better.
Sometimes we (or maybe just me) imprison ourselves with the belief that if we don’t fight, we are bad people. Good people fight for everything, especially others, right?
But that belief could not be further from the truth.
Fight for what you know is right. But don’t push yourself to do those things that you know are not. No matter what others say or think. Don’t waste your time on that which was not meant for you!
Focus on where God is leading you, and you will never be led astray.
P.S. I am still learning to do this myself. ❤ ^
June 4, 2017.
I read the actual book a while back and it was a reminder to me that our words and actions, no matter how meaningless to us, mean something to others. & how FINAL suicide is. You don’t get to come back. There is no sequel to our lives.
Unfortunately since reading the book, I forgot about that.
I hit some serious bumps in the road a few years later and frankly, I’m lucky to be alive today. I’m lucky I never went as far to cross the line you can’t come back from. *Thank you Jesus.*
At my lowest, I remember going to someone’s house that I was pet sitting for. I went in the middle of the day when I figured no one would be around. I sat in the middle of her kitchen floor and hyperventilated crying. I just wanted to be alone because I knew no one could ever understand the pain I was feeling. Her family members unexpectedly came over to get something and found me. They asked me what was wrong and the only thing I could say over my literal screaming tears was “I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
Like I couldn’t do life anymore. Like the pain was beyond what I could handle. Like I just wanted to cross that dangerous line.
If I had crossed that line I would have missed out on the BEST parts of my life. *Thank you Jesus for your intervention.*
I have 14 huge, amazing, wonderful Reasons Why I’m so happy to be alive today despite everything that I was up against. 14 Reasons I would have missed if I had chosen to leave this world:
1. I got to meet Jesus. In the most innocent and incredible of ways.
2. I have a relationship with my Dad again.
3. I found out who I am and am learning to accept it.
4. I finally met the guy who loves me for who I am.
5. I have my dream job that I worked so hard for.
6. I met people who make me happy to come to work.
7. I bought my dream house.
8. I reconnected with people I was estranged from.
9. I learned to stand up for myself and for others.
10. I became a fur mom.
11. I reached the goals I made for myself.
12. I found peace with my past.
13. I finally found a diet that works for me.
14. I’m getting to live the life I’ve always wanted to live.
Life is so good. Even when it doesn’t seem like it.
Choose to live. Speak out if you need help. Love yourself enough to ask.
& write down the 14 Reasons Why you don’t want to miss out on your future.
May 22, 2017.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”-Proverbs 17:22
I’ve finally moved into my home.
The girl who has felt kind of homeless since college (going back and forth between apartment life and living back at moms) has finally found a place that is her own and it is an amazing feeling.
I have got the best housewarming present ever coming to me in a week and a half…
A sweet 8 week old black Labrador Retriever!
I have been wanting my own dog for a long time, but I never felt like it was the right time until now.
I’ve got a huge backyard, I’ll be getting him in the summer so I will have time to train him and spend time with him, and I feel I’m finally mature enough to raise a puppy the right way!
Though, I can’t help but think of my pup, Beck.
I am even giving my puppy the name “Beck” for a middle name as a nod to my German Shepherd who passed away suddenly last year.
He was the dog I remember the most and felt the most connected with. He was weird and cool and one I could never forget.
I sometimes almost feel a little guilty getting another dog, because I don’t want to replace Beck. I don’t want to be the one to have him be forgotten about because there’s a new pup in the picture.
This whole experience has reminded me of how sometimes God is pushing us to move on from things that are no longer meant for us.
He does not want us to forget the memories created during that time or the individuals included during that time but He does not want us to live in the past.
Using the example above, if I was so focused on the guilt of “replacing” Beck, I could never truly enjoy my new puppy and make amazing memories with him, too.
God is calling us to live. He is calling us to live in the present. To only look to the past for fond memories and for what can help us to learn from bad experiences.
Are you living in the past?
What is holding your joy captive?
Are you ready to set your fears free and accept the joy God is giving us?
I know I sure am.
I will always love my Beck.
But I cannot wait to meet my sweet Maverick Beck, too.
April 24, 2017.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
I feel like most of my life I’ve had things planned out.
I would grow up and graduate high school. Go to college and get a fancy degree. Maybe find a nice guy while I was there (or possibly still be with my high school sweetheart) and marry him. Start working at a good paying job. My husband and I buy a house together in the suburbs by the time I was 23. Then we would start having kids and I would stay home and be a mom.
I’m 25 right now. Pretty much none of these ideas of how my life would be have worked out as I had “planned”.
I just graduated with a masters degree. I never married my high school sweetheart. My job is awesome and pays the bills but it doesn’t pay very well. I JUST bought my first home. By MYSELF. I’m not a mother and don’t want to be for a long time (or maybe ever). I don’t even think I would want to be a stay at home mom now either.
Seriously, nothing has worked out as planned.
The problem is that those plans were centered around what society and others had put upon me.
That I needed to be married by this time. That I needed to be ready to have children. That I needed to be more focused on “doing things the way I was supposed to” then the way that felt right for me.
God is amazing though. He loves me even when I let my own self down. He loves me even though my life is so different than others. He loves the things about me that others despise.
I’ve come to the realization that just because I don’t have the cookie cutter, you-will-accomplish-this-by-a-certain age, “If you ain’t got two kids by 21, You’re probably gonna die alone” mindset, does not mean that I have to feel like a loser.
& more than anything, that others opinions and judgments about me need to have no weight on how I feel about myself. My conversations with the big man upstairs are what should matter.
Here’s to being a 25 year old, unmarried, Christian, home owning, teaching, imperfect sinner of a woman who is thankful for a God to loves her no matter what.
April 18, 2017.
“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”-Matthew 8:26
I have come to the unfortunate realization that when I fear things in life, it comes from a root of faithlessness in God. & that is heartbreaking.
When I freak out about something that is beyond my control, I am in a way saying that I do not believe that God will take care of my needs.
Why don’t I trust Him?
Why do I panic so much when He has promised me that He will take care of my needs?
Why is it so dang hard sometimes to trust?
I have been going through a time where I need to lean on and trust God more than ever. For a while, I was saying (and truly meaning), “If it is meant to be God will make a way. No matter what happens, if it is meant to be, there is nothing that can separate me from this. If it is not meant to be, it would never work out anyway.”
But then, hurdles came. I found it harder to say that and almost found it easier to panic than to trust.
Being totally honest, I am a serious mess who has trouble with faith and trust sometimes.
I need some Jesus time (and Peace & Calming).
What do you do to work on your trust and faith in God during hard times?
April 8, 2017.
“He is not here, He has Risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'”-Luke 24:6-7
I get chills as I write this because it is unbelievable what Jesus did for us. He knew most of us would never never accept or love him, He knew we did not deserve this, but He loved us so much that He did it anyway.
Halfway across the world, two thousand years ago, Jesus was beaten, tortured, and bruised for us when He was of no fault. He was forced to carry His cross to Calvary and was nailed to it while donning a crown of thick thorns on His head. HE DID IT FOR US. FOR YOU. FOR ME. FOR ALL OF US. The criminals, the perfectionists, the liars, the hypocrites. All of us.
As we approach next Friday (Good Friday) and next Sunday (Easter), I cannot help but remember to think about the greatest love story ever written. The one where God gives His only Son to come down to earth and die a torturous death for our sins. The one where He is nailed to a cross between two thieves and tells the one “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43) and cries out to God about his persecutors saying “Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). Then LITERALLY rising from the dead three days later and ascending to Heaven. He is and was the real deal.
I am excited for the day when my weary hand is held by his perfect, nail scarred hand.
April 3, 2017.
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”-1 John 4:4
It is the realest of deals.
It is terrifying and crazy. I swear the moment I accepted Jesus, I was totally under attack. Panic attacks. Pain. Conflicts about things that did not matter. Serious heartbreak. Feeling torn away from God. ALL things I had never experienced before and I was pretty freaked out.
The weeks leading up to my baptism were like literal Hell on earth. Everything felt like it was tearing me apart and it was hard to hold on.
Ever been there? You get excited about moving onto this next stage with Jesus and its like all hell breaks loose?
I get it.
& I thought it would end, but truly, it never does.
The ONLY way to fight it off is to totally, completely, wholeheartedly focus on God. To meditate on His word daily. To not submit to the lies of the enemy. To lean on God and others who will lead us down the right path. To remind the wicked one every single day of WHO he is and WHAT his future is.
Are you ready for this battle?
Actually…are you ready for Him to FIGHT FOR YOU?
God will fight our battles. If we let Him into our hearts. The spiritual warfare may never end, but neither does His love for us.
If you are feeling downtrodden today and feeling like the wicked one is wrecking your life, remind yourself of whom you belong to. You need but be still, He’s got you.
March 28, 2017.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.-Ephesians 4:2
March 19, 2017.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”-Matthew 7:1-5
At one time, I went to a group that was exclusively for Christians, both male and female.
The group was a lot of fun and we did some cool things together, but mostly what we did was talk. We talked about pretty much everything you could ever think of, but there was once a conversation that I think about more often than anything else we discussed: our annoyance with other Christians.
Someone said that she had often heard her mother say the quote “I would much rather laugh with sinners than cry with saints.” I think a lot of us could relate to what she was saying, but then it hit me. I was a saint. All of us in that room were “saints” aka believers in Christ. We were annoyed with people who were just like us.
It was a hard pill to swallow once I let it really sink in.
I despise being friends with people who claim to be all about Jesus and make your own lifestyle sound like you will be headed straight to hell. The ones who cannot go a second without mentioning Christianity and have snide, quick remarks. They make me feel uncomfortable and annoyed.
“You took a bite to eat before praying over your food?”
“Why haven’t you been at church?”
“What do you mean you’ve had sex before marriage?”
“Well, I don’t listen to secular music because it does not honor God.”
“Um, I would never do something like that. It’s a total disgrace.”
For the longest time, I tried to just tell myself that these people were just trying to lead me down a road that would bring me closer to Christ. Ya know, tough love or something. But I have started to realize that tough love shouldn’t make you feel like you are unworthy of God’s love just because you sin differently.
More than anything, it bothered me to know that people who are non-Christians see and hear people saying these things. & then we ask them to believe in Jesus and say how He lives in our hearts yet we are downright mean and judgmental to others and claim it to be out of our love for Him…
We (myself definitely included) must change.
We must put our pride aside in order for His true love to shine through us.
Let’s change this world to want to hang out with those saints more. We can be fun and full of the Truth at the same time; without making others feel like God hates them because they sin differently.
February 25, 2017.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.-2 Corinthians 12:8-10
I prayed a prayer that was never answered…the way I wanted it to be answered.
I was a new believer and was in total belief that God would answer all my prayers.
I screamed and cried out to God. I begged for Him to help me in my conquest. I asked all those around me to pray for me.
I did a 24 hour fast (nothing but water and a little tea) in order to get focused on the Lord and my prayers. Which I had never ever done before. Talk about determined. I was convinced that my desire just HAD to be His will. If I prayed hard enough, it would happen. Why The thing I wanted seemed so good and pure and it just had to happen.
The only answer I got was “wait” so I waited and waited. And waited.
But, the waiting seemed to turn into “NO”. I could not understand why. Why had God denied me of something that was so great?!?! Why did God say no?
Like a child having a tantrum, I had a complete fit at God. I cried out WHY. Don’t you know this is what’s best for me?
If we’re being real here, it caused me to stumble. Big time.
I rebelled and did a lot of things I’m not proud of, out of just anger.
I missed out on a lot of GOOD things because I was so wrapped up in anger and heartbreak.
It took me a long time to realize that God isn’t a genie who grants wishes that I was calling “prayers”. He is not going to always give me what I want. He is going to give me what is best for me. & that is not always easy.
We’re going to go through the earthly version of hell sometimes. We’re going to feel lost.
We’re going to feel like God has abandoned us and that he is ignoring our cries.
But He hasn’t.
He not only hears us, He responds. He reminds us that no matter whether we like His answer or not that He loves us and is there for us. That even when we rebel against Him, He loves us and still wants the best for us.
I think that is one of the hardest things for us to understand about God. Why does He love us even when we rebel? Why does He want us even though we ask for selfish wishes and get angry with Him when He doesn’t “grant” them? How could anyone ever feel this way for us, it must just be impossible.
But y’all it’s true.
He truly gives us what we need, even when we don’t want it and can’t see why at the moment. He loves us, for real, even when we’re not the best.
What a beautiful thing it is to be loved by the God of the Universe (P.S. that’s all of us, even you!!!!)
February 15, 2017.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”-Mark 12:30-31
This is a hard one for me to write. To put into words. To express what I have felt for so long.
Most of my Christian walk has been spent alone.
By alone, I mean for the most part, it has just been me and Jesus in this whole thing.
I come from a family of (mostly) non-believers, and in the last three years since becoming a lover of Jesus, I have spent my time in the church alone.
I drive myself to church, alone, on Sundays. I tend to sit alone in the pews. Every holiday service, I am usually the only person who is by themselves in the church. & for a little while, it really really hurt.
Sure, I have been in life groups and have served and through that I have made some really awesome friends at my church. But either we would go to different services, or they would not be able to come that time, etc so I would often end up by myself.
The first Christmas service alone was the hardest. I remember the parking lot was filling up and we were having to wait in a long line so people were dropping their families off at the front of the building and I remember feeling a pain in my heart I had not felt for a while. One of loneliness and a reminder that I had no family to participate in this with me.
But I swallowed the pain, and went on inside by myself. I ended up having the most wonderful time and praised the Lord with those around me. Even though I was there alone on Christmas Eve, God reminded me that I was never truly alone.
After a while of going in it alone, I really started to find peace and confidence in this.
I found myself more focused on talking to people I had never met before and being focused on the Lord and His message. In my loneliness, I found so much more than I ever thought I would.
If you are feeling discouraged today, and lonely as you make the drive into the church parking lot along, I pray that you remember that with Christ we are never truly by ourselves.
I hope you find strength in your time with God.
I hope you see the joy God has when He sees you worshiping Him even when others do not choose to.
I hope you feel the love He has so freely given us, even in our hardest times.
February 2, 2017
My journey with Jesus Christ has been the absolute craziest, weirdest, most amazing thing ever. I often think a lot of people believe I make this stuff up, because it is just downright outrageous.
How could it be that this King of Kings, this Lord of Lords, this Lord God Almighty want to deal with me and my crazy emotions? It is pretty unbelievable stuff. But the best part is that this is no fairy tale, this is real. I know because I am living it.
I once came to a point where I no longer wanted to live. And if you have never been there, it is incredibly hard to describe how desolate and lonely that place is. You don’t want to talk about it. You don’t want to be judged. But at the same time, you just don’t care. You would rather leave this world than deal with the pain it has caused you. You become numb and you don’t know how to fix it.
Nothing makes you happy. There is no joy. Only pain.
I used to cry as soon as I would get in the car. And then I would scream into my pillow at night until I couldn’t anymore. I felt like the world’s biggest failure. I did not feel wanted nor loved. & my heart aches for you if you can relate.
Jesus Christ had been quietly pursuing me all of my life. I just had not wanted anything to do with Him for about 22 years. I wanted to be considered a Christian when it was convenient for me. When it made me seem like part of the group. But I didn’t know him.
Until one day He literally reached down from Heaven and said “I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE FOR YOU. AND I ALWAYS WILL BE.” Then it all made sense. The reason why I was still breathing. The reason why I had been given small whooshes of peace in the midst of my depression. The reason why things would never be the same.
He has saved me from the lies of the Devil.
He has saved me from being a total slave to the fear of my fate.
He has saved me from myself.
Whatever ails you today, I pray that you open your heart and mind up to the fact that there is a God who loves and cherishes the ugliest and most beautiful parts of you.
You just have to be willing to listen for His voice.
January 12, 2017
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
I have always struggled with relationships. If you don’t know about that part of my life, just read my old posts and you’ll understand why I say that. 😉
Though, I have never really struggled with friendship.
Friendship has something that has always been easy for me.
Until a few years ago.
I easily make friends with others, and typically I keep these friends for a long time even if we do not see each other often. It has been great and I feel blessed that I have been given the gift of typically easy friendships.
I have had some of my very best friends treat me like absolute crap. The kind of nastiness that makes you rethink your whole life and wonder what you could ever have done to have someone say something so cruel to you. To have someone treat you like you are dirt. Someone who you announce to others as one of your best friends.
I have spent a lot of time beating myself up over the few friends I have had that I have had to walk away from, and those who chose to walk away from me. & in 2017, I am choosing to no longer allow myself to dwell on this negativity.
Sometimes, people just grow apart. And that is okay.
Sometimes, people just are unhealthy for each other and you have to walk away to save both of you. And that’s okay.
Sometimes, you just have to love people from afar. And that’s okay.
No one deserves to feel beat down by people who call them a friend. Kindly walk away, love them from afar, and get some friends you enjoy being with!
Life is lived best beyond our comfort zone.
December 22, 2016
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”-1 Corinthians 15:10-30
50. Fifty. 25+25.
December 18, 2016
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”-Matthew 10:28-31
I am a survivor of spousal abuse.
It is something I do not usually openly speak to others about because it feels somewhat shameful and uncomfortable. It also feels weird because I have vowed not to slander his name anymore. The past is the past, and moving forward means forgiving and letting it go.
So I will not mention this person’s name, and I will not give any information out about him, because as bad as it was, no one deserves to have hatred from others. Especially from my words.
But, I will tell you this:
I have been emotionally beat down to the point where I truly believed that I could never do any better than this person.
I have been name-called, ridiculed, and put down by a person who claimed to love me.
I have been told that I am ugly, disgusting, and fat by a person I thought of so highly, that I developed a slight eating disorder from it that I still have to mentally fight it every day.
I have been taken advantage of physically by the person I loved, while tears filled my eyes.
I have had to ice my wrists from being held down to be screamed at relentlessly for things I had never done.
I went back to a cheater after he convinced me that it was MY fault why he had been unfaithful.
Then something happened. I woke up one day and realized that there had to be so much more to life than the miserable one I was living. One of control, degradation, and pain. So I walked away entirely from this person, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I still had troubles with the aftermath of the break up and had to go through a lot of drama to get through it,but I will never regret the hardest/easiest decision I have made.
I think if I could say one thing out there to one person who is going through anything even remotely similar to the situation I wrote above: find a way out. Ask a friend, confide in a family member. Consult a professional. Do what you have to do to leave.
There is life beyond the box these people place us in. Do not continue to life your life in constant fear, always walking on eggshells.
If you are not in a situation similar to this, I thank God for that. But please pray for those who are currently living it or still have the emotional/physical trauma from it.
God did not make us to be fearful and controlled. Break free as you were made to be!
P.S. This post is dedicated to my friend Nora, who married the man of her dreams today and is a fellow survivor who chose to not allow her past to control her future. ❤
December 4, 2016
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, that He hears us.” -1 John 5:14
I wish more than anything that someone would have taught me some practical ways to pray.
I remember the anxiety I would have when someone asked me to pray aloud, because I did not know the right words to say. I would google feverishly, try to mimic how the pastor prayed at church, and even practice what I would say at home.
I remember someone I dated making me feel terrible because I was not comfortable praying aloud yet. Not only was it embarrassing, but it was frustrating. I thought it was just talking to God…but it seemed like everyone had made it to be so much more. & I was not ready for that.
I am here today to tell you that there is no one right way to pray.
If someone has a problem with that then they can go take it to Jesus because I really do not care. God just wants us to talk to Him, He does not care how we do it. Do not allow anyone to tell you otherwise!
If you just want to bow your head, close your eyes and say “Hey Jesus. I am having a rough day. Please help me get through it. Amen.” it is just as perfect to Christ as if you said a whole long spiel.
Personally now, my prayers are always different but I tend to say them in the same simple format:
“Lord Jesus, thank you for all that you have done for me and everyone in my life. Thank you for all of the things you will do for us all in the future. I ask for the forgiveness of my sins (sometimes I will name the sin I know I have committed recently) and ask for the strength to forgive others, including myself. I pray for __________ (people) and ______ (something having to do with myself). I ask you to fill me with your love so I may show Your light to others through myself. I love you. Amen.”
Your version of prayer may be different than mine and that’s awesome!! However YOU talk to God is what is right. Do not be afraid to say it out loud…you never know who may be listening and may want to use how you speak to God for themselves. 🙂
Pray often y’all and love deeply.
November 30, 2016
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
I feel like many people are under the misconception that I have always been a Christian.
That is far, far, far from the truth.
My parents took me to church sometimes. They even had me baptized when I was a child. But I never fully believed in what I had been told.
I did not get God. I did not get why sometimes He granted these “wishes”of prayers, and often He did not answer at all. People still died horrible deaths, and suffered through tragedies and where was God? Other people exposed me to different religions, and going to a public college (which typically tend to be very liberal) got me to start thinking that maybe God just did not exist when all these other things did too. I just did not get it.
So when people tell me that they do not believe in Him, I truly get it. I have been there. I have had to wrestle with all the thoughts and beliefs that were thrown at me. & really, when you look at the world with a nonbeliever perspective, it is VERY easy to overlook God’s hand in everything.
It took me going through the absolute worst living hell on earth to see God’s face and to feel his love and Grace surround me. It took me screaming myself to sleep each night, reaching out for some kind of hope to even hear His voice call me. It was not easy to get to that point. But, it was so worth it. & if I had to go through it all over again to get to know Him like I do now, I would do it in a heartbeat.
He loves you, and He loves me.
Jesus was a perfect man who came to this earth to be beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross as a complete sacrifice to SAVE us.
& all He is asking is for us to look past the crap we see with nonbeliever eyes on, and put on a believer’s perspective for just a second to see how great He truly is and how DEEPLY He loves us.
If you are on the fence today about Jesus, I understand how you are feeling more than you know.
But I also know that your life can be changed in a second if you make the choice to just open your heart and mind for a little while.
If you are looking for peace, love, joy, and Grace, He’s got it y’all.
“I believe in Christ as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” -C.S. Lewis
Love a former non-believer,
November 21, 2016
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him.” Daniel 9:9.
There is a popular saying out there that talks about how forgiveness is not for the other person, that it is for you. That it is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That it is like letting that person living rent free in your head.
But I have struggled with this statement ever since I became a believer in Christ. Is it really all just about us?
Jesus Christ is all about forgiveness and love. But He did not do it so that He could feel better. He did it because He loved us, flaws and all, and looked beyond our faults. He forgave us of our sins by dying a gruesome death on a cross.
I know Jesus was and always will be the only person to live a perfect life, but I do not believe that it is
impossible to adopt the same mindset that He had: love the sinner, not the sin. Forgive even when it hurts so bad you cannot see straight, and do it for as unselfish reasons as possible.
There just has to be a healthy balance in forgiving, right? That we can forgive not just to release that pain from us, but that we can also do it with some selflessness. To let people know that we forgive because Jesus Christ now LIVES in our hearts, and because of this we show Grace and mercy onto others.
I am not a perfect forgiver. I often drag my feet when it comes to this, but I know that with Christ on my side it is totally possible to forgive as I know I should.
I want to love like Jesus does.
November 18, 2016
The first Beth Moore Bible study I went to was on the Book of Proverbs. It was an incredibly powerful study and I left every night feeling totally different than I did walking in. Her words really shook me to my core and it was awesome because they were linked with Scripture (if you have not done a study by her yet, DO IT, amazing stuff).
In the end of each session she would usually give us some kind of homework or a challenge to do. One week, she gave a challenge that really rocked my world. She asked us to pick five things that people had said to us that really hurt us and could be refuted by Scripture. So I went home that night and did it, and it brought back a flood of painful memories & HEALING.
My other four points I wrote were pretty important to, but the first one I did had the most effect on me.
When I was younger, I dated a young man for a long time. It was a up and down relationship and became emotionally abusive over time. He once said something to me that I was never able to forget. We went to the beach and I had my bathing suit on. I was laying down on a towel and he came up to me and whispered that I should cover up with my towel. Very taken aback and afraid maybe something was hanging out that should not have, I asked him why. His response was cruel and cold. He said “well, you just do not look very beautiful today.”
At 19, from a guy who claims to love you, this hurts like hell. We ended up breaking up later on that year and have been broken up for a very long time but I can still remember what it felt like to have him say that to me.
So I wrote that comment down. & I looked up in Scripture something to refute that comment. It did not take long.
“You are altogether beautiful my love, there is no flaw in you.” Song of Soloman 4:7.
Where human words fail, God’s Word brings life and healing. I read it over and over again for about 5 minutes and let it sink in. It did not matter what that boy said to me. It matters what God says to and about me.
Who has said something to you that has hung on your heart forever?
Steal Beth’s idea and find something in the Bible that refutes it.
& feel the healing that God so beautifully gives.
November 14, 2016
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” -Colossians 3:2
In March of 2016, I did something that took me more courage than I thought I would need:
I quit serving in the children’s ministry of my local church.
I felt so stuck and further from God than I ever had since becoming a follower of Christ. I started to see serving in the church as a job and that I was doing it to look like a better person in the church. I felt like it was an act. Like “hey, look at me. I wake up early on Sundays and go to service, then serve at the children’s ministry the following service, then go to my Young Adult’s group at night while still finishing my master’s degree online.”
Jesus was on the bottom of the totem pole of my life, and I was so disappointed in myself.
I felt like serving and being so involved in the church had become an idol for me and I was worshiping it, for real. But I was afraid to back away from it because I thought others would shame me and say I was being lazy for not wanting to be so involved. Because that is what it looks like right? We are told that if we love Jesus, we need to love his church by getting involved and serving. But what do you do when you realize your heart is becoming obsessed with the idea of looking like you are passionate for Jesus when truly it is far from it?
I started telling people, and most saw it as my way of getting out of responsibility. Getting told you are junk, really makes you feel like an actual piece of junk, ya know?
Though, a few very special people told me that they understood the struggle I was going through, and that they respected me for doing what was right, not what was easy. & that meant a lot.
Since I stopped serving so much in the church, I have noticed my relationship with Jesus strengthen. I have been feeling God more in serving random people in the world, serving friends, family, coworkers, and blogging to this online world than I ever did serving traditionally in the church (I served in another area too before children’s ministry), and I do not know why. I feel connected and that I am connecting with others like never before.
But it does not mean I feel good when I hear the pastor say, like he does every weekend, that we need to be serving in our church. He’s right. We are called to and I appreciate all of those who make the local church possible by serving.
But I have to believe that serving can be more than it just is in the traditional sense. It has to be more than just something that I constantly try make an idol of and run myself into the ground over.
Ever been there? Like you thought you were doing something for the right reasons, but you really blew it? I feel ya. I am there right now wrestling with it.
That’s what is so awesome about God’s Grace though. He just picked me back up from my mess up, and said “try again”. He knows my heart and that it tries, but often fails.
& He still thinks I am deserving of love besides how much I mess up.
Are you in need of some Grace today? The Lord loves your messed up heart just as much as He loves mine. If you are struggling today, reach out for that Grace. It is still there waiting for you just as it always has been.
Praying for your heart and hoping that you’ll pray for mine.
November 3, 2016
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”-Proverbs 27:17
All I can tell you is that I am a broken person and I will always need Jesus. I am thankful beyond words for what He has done in my life!
My written words could just not do just for this one.
October 27, 2016
You are altogether beautiful my love, there is no flaw in you. Song of Soloman 4:7
I am that girl who is notoriously known for having allowed men to treat her like crap.
It is not an easy thing to admit to, and it still stings to say but it is true.
I once dated a man, for a very long time, who emotionally abused me every single day. Some people out there say emotional abuse is not real, but it IS. It is painful and slowly kills your soul. The harsh words feel like knives in your back, and the snide remarks make you feel like you are worthless.
Unfortunately, he was only one in a long line of crappy boyfriends and flings who did not know how to treat ladies like ladies, and it really took a toll on me. It bothered me more than anything that I continued to allow men like this into my life who broke me down, cheated, and lied. I felt like junk.
But I got to know an amazing man named Jesus Christ in 2014. He came into my life like a gentleman, waiting patiently, and speaking to me with kindness. He loved me for everything that I was and everything I was not.
He took all those nasty things that had been etched onto my heart and tattooed over them “you are altogether beautiful my love, there is no flaw in you” and I finally grew to believe that HE was right about me. Those boys did not know a thing.
I know what it feels like to be beat down, humiliated, and abandoned.
But I also know what it is like to be cherished, loved beyond measure, and adored.
Where are you today? Are you feeling beat down and broken or loved beyond measure?
You have a choice today to choose what imperfect people say about you, or what a perfect God knows about you. What will you choose to believe?
October 24, 2016
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Three years ago I was on a path of absolute destruction.
I chose to allow pain to consume me, and I felt like I was literally drowning in sorrow.
It took me a little time, and a whole lotta Jesus to come out of the heavy depression I was in…but I came out of it alive. Which is not something I am able to say for some people who have gone through similar sorrows.
I think sometimes we get so caught up in the horrible things that have happened in our lives, that we forget about the great things that have happened too. I am guilty of this.
Shaking my fist at Heaven for what has hurt me, but rarely getting down on my knees and praising God for ALL the good He has done in my life, and all of the things He has protected me from that I know nothing about.
Sometimes it feels easier to be angry instead of grateful.
But the incredible thing about Jesus, is that He thinks I am awesome anyway. He thinks I am the best even when I forget to pray or lash out in anger instead of praise. He loves me for who I am even though he has seen me through every deep, nasty piece of my life.
He’s seen me through the deepest sorrow and the highest joy, and today, I just want to thank Him for it all. The deepest sorrows were painful lessons learned (that I may still never fully understand this side of Heaven) and the highest joys were a reminder of how amazing this crazy life is.
I am thankful for a new life which will never end.
October 19, 2016
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
Even just looking at the word makes most shudder.
Honestly, I have felt really apprehensive to write about this topic because its some deep stuff, but I know it is something that we all will face someday. It’s taboo and some think pretty morbid, but it is important to discuss.
As Christians, we KNOW that we will get to go Home to HEAVEN when we leave this earth. But it’s still kind of freaky to know that we will go through this transformation, and we never know when it will happen.
I once heard that there are SO many far worse things in life than our own physical death. Losing our loved ones, being physically assaulted, being paralyzed, being abused, seeing the constant hatred in this world, and the list goes on.
I have fears, but death is no longer one of them. I know where I am going and even though I am sure my body and instincts will be fighting it as I one day leave this world, but my soul will be totally at peace. It is the most beautiful and crazy thing I have ever found myself to believe, and it’s taken me some time to get to this point but I am thankful for it. I love life, and I pray that I do not die soon, but if it happens I want people to know that I am okay. I get to go be with Jesus, in the most beautiful place, ever created…how bad could that possibly be?
If you were to die tomorrow, are you confident in knowing where you are going? Do you feel peace or panic?
Jesus died on a cross for your sins and mine. God gave his Son as a sacrifice so that we may know Him, and know that there truly is no death when we put our faith in Him.
If you’re panicking, it is NEVER too late to turn to Him right now.
Find peace y’all. Jesus loves us more than our words can say and in Him there is no true death.
Thank you Jesus, you’ve set us free.
October 16, 2016
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20
This is a hard one to talk about, but I know it is necessary.
I have hated people. I have HATED them with absolute rage, anger, and disgust. There are many different reasons why I have hated them, and none of them were just. Though, I just could not let it go.
My Bible study group and I started reading Bob Goff’s “Love Does”, and it changed the way I thought of myself and others forever. It knocked loudly on the door of my hatred and I was surprised when I allowed it in. LOVE asked me to reach out to someone who I had HATED and ask for their forgiveness.
& I balked. I did not want to forgive. I did not want to interact with them. I did not want this.
Though, I soon realized love is stronger than hate when I found myself reaching out to that person. & to my complete surprise, they not only forgave me for hating them, but also asked for forgiveness for what they had done as well. It’s been a few months since this interaction, but believe it or not, I will be on my way soon to go visit her after swearing her off forever a while go. All because my heart gave into love instead of hate.
So, I did it again. With another person whom I had absolutely hated (and had made it known that I did). I did not expect the same luck I had before, and was assuming they’d blow me off or tell me where to go and how to get there…but again, the opposite happened. Forgiveness, sorry, healing.
I did this same thing, five more times with other people I did not have a very good ending with. & the reaction has been the same EVERY SINGLE TIME. I am floored and thankful, because I never would have guessed that this would have happened. BUT it did.
I am not saying that this is going to happen for everyone, all the time. Sometimes people just are not ready. Their hearts are broken, they are angry, they are sad, etc. But I think so often, people are ready to hear from us but we are afraid of what their reaction will be (I know I sure was) so we just stay quiet.
Even though I have seen these amazing results, I still struggle with this. I am sure I always will. But God is love and if He lives in our hearts, love will ALWAYS win over has.
Love has set us free.
September 25, 2016
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19-21
Today, I am ready to discuss something that has always been heavy on my heart. It is something that goes against everything I have been taught and practiced in my life. I can guarantee that it is going to bother some people but I am ready for that.
We are called to love others as God has loved us, but do we really ever do that?
I know I am guilty of this as well.
I live on the Treasure Coast of the state of Florida which has the highest number of “never churched” people in the entire United States. I find myself often surrounded by non-believers in every part of my life and instead of actually showing them Christ’s love, I back away and just say that I’ll pray for them. I even said this same thing in a post I wrote for another blog before. Why should I get myself involved with them? They’re non-believers, they will just drag me down into their traps of deception. Right?
Wrong. So wrong.
I have always heard how we cannot surround ourselves with people who are not like minded. “Just pray for them, but do not keep them as friends.” Seriously?! Why do we as a Christ loving society consider this okay? Jesus would surround himself with non-believers, and people who loved God too, and love ALL of them. He positively affected them, and turned many of them into lovers of God or even faithful servants of Him.
If we consider ourselves lovers of Christ, why don’t we love ALL? Why don’t we reach a hand out in love for ALL? Why don’t we befriend ALL? Why don’t we become the bigger person and show non-believers that they are so loved that the one true God sent His son down to the earth to suffer and die on a cross for their sins? Staying true to our faith even when those some of those same people try to tell us otherwise? Why are we taking the easy way out when we are called to be BOLD?
I have fallen short of this call to boldness & love. But I know that each day is the chance for a change, and I am ready to change my mindset on this issue. Are you?
September 21, 2016.
“Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me
You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed
Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me”
-MercyMe, “Dear Younger Me”
Where do I begin?
You are a teenage mess. You will never be a popular kid. You will never be the prom queen. You are clumsy (let’s be real here, you know it). You are selfish. You are a gossip. You choose to let others define your limitations. That boy will break your heart (over and over again) and you will let him. You will fail more than you succeed.
But you are so wonderful despite all of these negative attributes.
You care about people who don’t even care about themselves. You work hard every single day in and out of school. You can calm people with just your presence. You see the positive in all situations. You befriend those who have been deemed “hopeless causes”.
You will grow up to find that you didn’t marry that boy right out of college. You didn’t become a nurse. You didn’t start out a university right after high school like most everyone else. You didn’t start having a family by the age of 23. You aren’t wealthy.
Girl, you became something so much better that your dreams ever could imagine.
By the age of 24, you graduated with a Master of Education degree. You became a teacher of little people who think you’re the coolest person in the world when you wear a dress with polka dots. People tell you that your deep faith in Jesus Christ shows them how real He really is (WHOA). There’s so much more that I don’t even want to tell you about yet because I can’t wait for you to experience the awesomeness/craziness of this life for yourself.
I would like to tell you that I hope you do not have to endure trials and heartache, but honestly, I hope you do. Those mistakes and pains have made me the person I am today.
& for that I am grateful.
DELIGHT MY SOUL.
September 17, 2016
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19.
Why do we think its so great to be busy all the time? Running here, running there, planning for this and that…especially in the church.
Our lives become so cluttered with this stuff and its just STUFF.
I found myself earlier this year just loading myself with plans. Teaching Sunday school, my Singles Life Group, my Women’s Life Group, volunteering at the church, etc. I was going to church every Sunday and putting my all into serving as much as I could. I was immersed and feeling kind of lost at the same time.
But at that moment, I felt further away from Jesus than I ever had before.
It felt like I was doing these things for selfish reasons, for my own gain, and not for Jesus and His Kingdom.
I was still doing my devotionals and listening to my worship music but I felt so empty. My prayer game was weak. I was physically there doing all of these things, but my heart was so far away from the real reason we serve and involve ourselves in these things: Jesus.
I finally spoke up about it one night in my Singles Life Group and said that I was quitting pretty much everything except going to Life Group and church on Sunday because of this. I honestly expected them to give me crap and say that if anything, I should serve more.
But the unexpected happened, and most of them said that they agreed with me and they have been there before too. I was pretty shocked, but at the same time, thankful that this wasn’t just something I was experiencing.
I have de-cluttered my life of the “church junk” until I feel like I am ready to serve happily, for Jesus. I really do not know when that day will come, but I know it will come exactly when it is supposed to.
I’ve come to the realization that it is better to have a relationship with Christ than to just be a face in the church.
September 1, 2016
You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
All of my life I have been known as a “nice” girl. A girl who would do anything for others, and often let people walk all over her. It has really caused me a lot of heartache over the years because people often take advantage of it. I forgive quickly(and mean it), try to let it go, say I am sorry all the time, and love/pray for people who do not deserve it. I often give too many chances, and I have seen this as a huge flaw in myself and an act of weakness.
The Bible says that we should turn the other cheek when people hurt us and to humble ourselves. The world tells us to get revenge on them, and to never trust them again.
So what do you do? What do you choose? What path to you take?
I have recently realized that the world’s opinion has been affecting me more than ever. I have hardened my heart and have stopped giving the chances to people. I have turned myself from them and spewed nasty words.
The Devil snuck up on me in the sneakiest way…by hitting me where I thought I was flawed. He took what was love and turned it into something evil.
Just because I forgive and love people to the point that it hurts does not mean that I am weak. It means that I am stronger than I ever thought I was. God made me. He made me this way, and for that I am grateful.
Yeah, it stinks always being the nice person and the bigger person, but gosh it is just so wonderful, too. I know that God will continue to chisel my hardened heart and make me that person again.
How lucky are we to have a God who loves our messed up hearts?
August 24, 2016
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.
Christ died. For us. The sinners of the world. People He never even met face-to-face in His short time here on this planet.
How can we possibly understand the depth of this statement? How can I as a human being ever truly understand what it would be like to live an absolutely perfect life and then be whipped, beaten, flogged, smacked, punched, and then left to die nailed to a cross (adorning a sickening crown of thorns) for a world who does not deserve it?
Here’s the thing though. He did know us. He knew that we were beautiful, and extraordinary. Though He also knew that we were naturally (MAJOR) screw ups, who no matter how hard we tried, could not make it Home without Him. We were often ugly, mean, cruel, conceited, selfish, and so much more. We were murderers, liars, gossipers, adulterers, enviers, and downright evil sometimes. So He came, He loved, He sacrificed it all for us so that could be with Him forever.
I am a murderer. I have murdered people’s hearts with my words. I am a liar. I am a gossip. I have said things I can never take back. I have been cruel with purpose, and sometimes without. I have been so envious of what others have that I cannot sleep at night because I cannot stop thinking about it. I have disrespected myself and the body that God gave me more than I like to think about. I deserve death. I deserve to be separated from God and His perfection.
But God…He says I know what you have done, and yet you are still loved beyond measure. Christ DIED for you, by His blood you are saved. This is God’s Grace. We may never be able to understand the depth of His death for our life but I do know that it is the greatest act of love we will ever be given.
What greater love could there ever be?
No matter where you are, no matter where you have been, no matter who you are, GOD LOVES YOU. You never are too far away from His love and Grace. He is just patiently waiting for you to be ready for you to say yes to Him. Do it today, friends, you will not regret it.