September 28, 2018.
“Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins.” -1 Peter 4:8
My Lord is just the best.
I find it hard to use words to describe the incredible love story that He and I have.
He has saved me from myself. He has saved me from the evil thoughts that the Wicked One puts in my head. He has saved me from the belief that I was not worth the fight, the ridiculous notion that I was not worth this life I have been given.
I have been surrounded lately by questions about my faith.
I have been asked why bad things happen. Why horrific, sad, earth shattering things exist in this world that we live in. Why, oh, why?
I have said it before, and I will say it again…
The Wicked One rules this world right now. He will continue to have horrible things happen in order to try to tear us away from God. But God has an incredible response to these horrible and sad things that happen:
He sends us people.
He sends us people we did not even realize we needed.
People who will be strong for us when we are not able to be. People who will hold our hand when we feel like depression is going to swallow us whole. People who will be the light to us in a sea of what seems like never-ending blackness.
So if you’re feeling a little lost today, I ask that you send up a prayer to God. Tell him you are in need of some love and help.
I can guarantee, someone will come along to be just that right when you least expect it.
Have faith, pray, and never give up hope that God is listening always!
September 15, 2018.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?“-Romans 8:31
It is so easy to praise God and love on Him when things are good. It is easy to the point where we do not even always think to praise Him because life is just going so well.
Not so easy when things are not so good, right?
That does tend to be the reminder of God then though. Like where the heck are you? I am going through Hell. Aren’t you supposed to be here?
I want to share something with you that became the most important and influential piece of knowledge I have ever come to realize.
God is for us, not against us. It is the Devil who does the wickedness and evil that happens to us in this world.
He is the one who puts death, sickness, injury, anger, frustration, and heartache into our lives.
Not God ever.
Because those are evil things, and God has no evil in Him.
Once this piece of knowledge came into my heart and I accepted it for what it really was, my life changed.
Bad things still happened, and let’s be real…bad things will continue to happen.
But when they do, I realize where they come from and who they come from.
And that God is for me.
You see, God and I become a team now especially during those times.
He sends me the people I need to overcome my obstacles. He sends me His strength. He breathes His love into me. We get through it together.
I no longer jump to complete anger with God anymore when bad things happen.
I jump to having the pleading heart of a child asking for Her father, and He comes running every time.
I praise the God who is for me, not against me, in all times, and in all ways.
February 11, 2018.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” -Isaiah 40:29
At the age of 21, I went to the doctor feeling sick and hopeless. I could not stop having painful stomach episodes and as a soon-to-be-teacher, I feared that if I couldn’t get it under control that I would never be able to have this career.
After blood tests and examinations, the doctor diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome-an underlying condition of my overarching issue called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Both names sound pretty awful and they are. But, the doctor gave me some natural suggestions to try first. He suggested the Paleo Diet (which he warned me would be brutal at first and it definitely was) as well as taking a supplement every day and exercising. I did this regimen and for 5 years it worked for the most part. That is until December of 2017.
In December, I became incredibly sick and was convinced I had a bad stomach bug. I was out of work for a week and by that weekend, I was headed to the emergency room extremely dehydrated and weaker than I thought possible.
As I laid in the hospital bed with an IV in my arm, I looked up to the ceiling and felt helpless. I remember closing my eyes and praying that God would save me from this pain.
They ran tests at the hospital and when the tests came back, they said there was nothing wrong with me. This had most likely been a serious flare of my syndrome. I explained to the ER doctor all I had done for 5 years and he said I’d gone above and beyond what I could do, but I needed to contact a specialist because I needed medical intervention now.
I remember coming home, staying up late, and feeling devastated. I’d been a crazy health nut for so long, but I was still sick. I had been fighting taking medication for so long because I believed that only the “natural” way would heal me. But I now have to do the natural way and take a medication each day to allow me to be able to function. An expensive medication my current insurance does not cover. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.
That led me to seeing my primary doctor who wanted me to do blood work to rule out any other issues. & they did find an abnormality. They found something that was serious and needed to be treated, though luckily it was not life threatening. But it would mean another medication and even more strict lifestyle changes.
I am sick. & It is caused by genetics. I could not prevent it.
But it bothers me all the same.
I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t angry. Most of my anger has been directed at God.
I’ve begged and asked to be healed of the things which ail me, but they haven’t subsided yet. Honestly, I’m not sure if they ever will.
I’ve had to listen to “Even If” every single day to remind myself that God loves and cares for me even when it feels like He doesn’t. No matter what I do, no matter what others say, I still often immediately feel anger when I think about these things. I have to make a conscience effort to remind myself of His unwavering love for me even on the bad days.
But yesterday I was sitting outside, and I started to think about it all. I felt the anger and some sadness rise up in me. Then suddenly a huge blast of wind came out of nowhere and shook me to my core. I felt that amazing, only God, kind of whoosh that reminded me that He loves me and that He walks with me through every hard moment and that this time is no exception.
He loves me in sickness, in anger, and in sadness. He will hold me through these times when I don’t feel strong enough to stand. He will comfort me as I navigate this new world I’ve been thrust into.
& Even when I don’t understand and I begin to feel all those feelings, I will cry out that it is well with my soul. I know with everything in me that My God has not forsaken me, and He never will.
January 22, 2018.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”-Matthew 28:11
I do not have a photographic memory. Yet for some reason I have the worst moments I have experienced seared into my brain. I remember exactly what that nasty text message or email looked like. I can see what that person looked like as they gave me horrible news. I can see the look on the other person’s face as they found I had let them down.
I know exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing when these things happened.
I remember all the feelings: devastation, anger, disappointment, confusion, frustration, futility, and injustice.
Sometimes I visit these memories, and they make me feel all those emotions again.
It not only physically, but emotionally exhausts me.
& I have come to the realization that I do not want to be that person anymore.
I want to change my way of thinking and processing. I want to focus on the good. I want my memory to change from remembering the bad so deeply to remembering the good times so intensely.
My mindset must change.
I have to CHOOSE to focus on the good. I have to CHOOSE to be in those moments when they happen and be grateful for all the amazing things I have chosen to look over in the past.
I want to choose peace. I want to choose goodness. I want to choose God’s mercy and grace.
What do you choose today?
December 28, 2017.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”-Psalm 51:10
Why is letting go so difficult?
Sometimes it seems so much easier to hold onto something than to let it go.
I have been in multiple toxic relationships that I somehow thought were better to keep than to just let go of. It never ends well, and it usually ends worse than it should have because I just could not let go.
Recently, I have been dealing with toxic friendships.
Friendships that I should have let go of a LONG time ago, that I instead chose to continue with. As with the relationships, they are ending more painfully and way worse than if I had let them when the time came a while ago.
But I chose to ignore that knowledge.
Psychology Today describes a toxic friendship as an “unenviable position of being mistreated by (someone they consider to be) a friend” (Betchen, 2013). You know you are being treated unfairly, but you choose to stay. Even worse, you may even know that you are the one who is treating someone unfairly and you choose to continue to mistreat them. Ever been there? On one side or the other or dare I say…you have at one point or another been on both sides?
The more we try to hold on, the more painful it becomes. It’s like holding onto a pot as the water in it slowly comes to a boil. It starts off okay, but then slowly it becomes hotter and hotter and more painful. If we let go as soon as we feel that the heat is becoming too much to bear, and we know that it is not going to get any cooler, we may have some burns but we are not too scarred.
But, if we wait.
We end up with so much pain and horrific scars that never go away. They will eventually heal up, but they will form a scar that we will have to live with for the rest of our lives.
God did not make us to be weak people who allow “friends” to walk all over us. He also did not make us to be bullies who walk all over people and still have the audacity to call them our friend. If you find yourself in either boat, it is time to reevaluate.
If you know both parties are not willing and/or able to fix it or you have tried and it did not work: let go.
I feel like people think you are only strong if you suffer through things that you do not need to and basically kill yourself trying to save something not worth saving. But true strength is found in recognizing that it is time for endings and new beginnings.
Let it be. & be free.
Betchen, S. J. (2013, January 09). Toxic Friendships. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/magnetic-partners/201301/toxic-friendships.
December 18, 2017.
“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”-Philippians 4:13
We’ve been MIA, but we’re back. ❤️
September 9, 2017.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”-1 Peter 5:6-7
Forth As Gold is based in south Florida.
As one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic heads straight for our state, I cannot help but think back to 2004 when two other major hurricanes hit us dead on. Hurricane Frances rocked our world and then as we were still trying to recover, Hurricane Jeanne did a loopty-loop out in the ocean and came straight for us again.
I remember so much about that time. I remember coming home (we stayed at a friend’s house in town during the first storm) and seeing our house look like a tornado had hit it. I remember my mother groaning as she walked into the house and we could smell and feel the water that had flooded in. I remember how hot and sticky it was because we were out of power for two weeks (which I am pretty sure is a small inkling of how hell would be). I remember having to shower with the hose and when we got a generator finally and almost cried tears of joy. I remember eating MRE’s and being on a city curfew. I remember being out of school for almost a month and just feeling like I had lost a part of who I was. I remember living on concrete floors until Christmas Eve that year and feeling having blue tarps on our roof until I don’t even remember when. I remember my parents saying how lucky we were that we were alive and still had a shell of a home to live in.
I remember, more than anything, the sound a hurricane makes when it comes through. The best way to describe it is a train going at full speed right in front of your face and it does not slow down for a very long time.
So, when I think about yet another hurricane coming, especially this one , I would be lying if I said I was not afraid. Thinking back to 2004 gives me chills. This current storm is 2 times stronger and bigger than those and at this point it has been moving so much between the west and east coasts of Florida that they still cannot truly nail down a landfall point yet and that is scary. Even if it does not hit where we are, someone else will and it will be catastrophic. Even those who do not get the straight on him will feel it immensely and that is scary too.
So where is God in all of this.
Where was he is 2004? Where was he in Houston this year? Where is he now?
There is sin in this world. The wicked one is constantly trying to make us believe that God does not love us and does not care for us, but that is about as far from the truth as one could imagine. He loves us and He is here even when it seems like He isn’t.
When I feel overwhelmed (like right now), I watch this video on repeat and it encourages me and reminds me that God is sovereign even on the worst days.
I pray that wherever you are, if you are in Florida or the Caribbean or Texas or Mexico or anywhere in the world that you will never forget that ever-present, never-changing love that God has for you even in the most horrific of circumstances.
The mighty hand of God and His love for us is stronger than anything else in the universe.
August 4, 2017.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”-Isaiah 40:31
But that would be a lie.
I have chosen to put myself in some horrific situations. Situations I would never wish anyone to be in. I did this all because I desperately sought out love (and I still do).
I remember laying in a bed at 2 am with a person laying beside me who I had come to despise.
& all I could think is how could this be it? How has my life become this? Why have I chosen to let this relationship ruin my life?
So the next morning I ended it. I was free. It hurt and felt amazing all at the same time.
I’d also like to tell you that it was the last time I put myself in a bad situation…
But that’d be a lie.
Most of my life has been that way. Broken relationship after broken relationship. Relationships that I chose.
I did not find the man of my dreams in high school. I did not find him in college. I didn’t find him right out college. I didn’t find him at church. I didn’t find him organically.
I have not settled down and gotten married and had kids yet.
I chose a different (dare I say, more crazy) route.
& THAT IS OKAY.
He loves me despite my horrible choices. He picks me up and dusts me off every time I falter. He reminds me that the only relationship that will ever define me is the one I have with Him.
For someone who once laid awake in that bed at 2 am, this statement changes everything.
The past has no control over me, because I am too busy thinking about my future.
The Healer of all has chosen to have a relationship with me. One that will never leave me heartbroken.
Thank you God for loving this incredible mess of a person I am and giving me more chances than I deserve.
July 8, 2017.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”-Ephesians 2:8-10
We all have skeletons hiding in our closets.
Affairs. Addictions. Cruelty. Pain. Lies. Jealousy.
You name it, we all have some (maybe even all) of those things stuffed in our closets. All we can do is hope that no one will open the closet doors.
It reminds me of when Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree from the Garden of Eden and tried to hide from God when He came looking for them (Genesis 3).
We hide, like them, because we know it is not right. We hide because we are ashamed and embarrassed. We hide because we believe it is easier to shove those things that bother us in a closet than to just let them out.
But it is not easier.
In fact, it only seems to make life harder.
It makes us anxious and always having to make sure that closet door is shut.
But truly with God…we don’t need to keep checking to make sure our skeletons aren’t showing. Just as with Adam and Eve, He KNOWS every single thing we have done. All the good and all the bad.
Here’s the thing. HE LOVES US ANYWAY.
His Grace exceeds all that we do.
So whether your skeleton is something that you can change, or something you cannot: take heart and rest in knowing that you are loved and accepted despite the skeletons you try to hide.
May 24, 2017.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”-John 13:34-35
When teenage suicide gets brought up you always pop into my head.
Because at the young age of 13 you chose to take your life in order to escape the incredible pain you had carried with you for so many years.
But the thing is, I do not only think about you when this devastating topic comes up.
I think of you at every graduation that you will never be able to be a part of.
I think of you at every wedding I attend that you will never get to have.
I think of you at every life milestone that you will never get to experience for yourself.
I think of you every time I see a giddy teen getting their braces off.
I think of you every single time I see teen girls laughing and smiling with their friends.
I think about the person you would have been today.
I wish you were here. I wish you did not have to go to Heaven so early. I wish you could have seen the light at the end of the dark tunnel. I wish I had known.
After 25 years on this earth, I have experienced that same edge of the world feeling. That end of the rope feeling.
I have been at the line you crossed.
& I thank God that I never crossed it, because I would have also missed out on all the pain, beauty, and joys that life has to offer.
Sarah, my beautiful friend, you are so missed.
You are so loved, and I am sorry we all did not tell you that before you decided to go.
I pray that your memory serves as a reminder to others that life is worth it even in our deepest, darkest moments.
I will forever fight for life in honor of you.
May 6, 2017.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”-Luke 6:36
May 2, 2017.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”-John 13:34
I was the child who lived, breathed, and ate soccer. My parents started me out at a young age and I played competitively all the way up through high school. It was my life entirely.
I wonder if that is why I tend to be so “score oriented” now about the silliest of things even into my twenties.
I think my biggest flaw is that I keep score of the people in my life and what they do to me.
I mentally tick off the things that happen in my head until one day I decide I don’t want those people in my life anymore. You never realize how cruel you can be sometimes until you really think about it, right?
A friend blew off our lunch date. Check.
A coworker sent me a passive aggressive email. Check.
A family member didn’t pay me back. Check.
I check these things off a list in my head and its pretty much three strikes you are out. I pull away and begin to distance myself entirely. Often without asking questions or showing empathy toward them, I’d just cut them off.
I don’t reach out to ask about how the friend is doing enough to realize that she blew me off because she just found out her mom has cancer.
I don’t let my coworker know that I am sorry for his loss because his dog just died because I am too upset with his behavior to talk to him.
I don’t let my family member know that I love them even though they don’t make the best financial decisions and they start to think no one loves them at all.
Why do I do this? Because it’s freaking hard for us as human beings to admit to ourselves that we are not the center of the universe and that people have lives we cannot imagine ever having to go through.
What if going at each of these situations with empathy instead of anger could flip our relationships upside down in the best way possible? Instead of anger and frustration, we come at them with love. Ya know, like Jesus would. 😉
My goal for the month of May is to learn to show Grace instead of anger even when it is the hardest thing to do.
If you could make just ONE goal for yourself this month, what would it be? What could change the way you live and how you treat others?
January 27, 2017
“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
It has been a trying time for me lately. It has been one of those times when new circumstances are triggering old memories that bring me great pain.
It has been hard to fight those negative feelings off, and really hard to keep reminding myself that those memories are just that: memories.
They no longer are apart of my current life, yet they will always be ingrained in my head. Sometimes, it is hard to remember that you can still have memories, but they do not have to hold you captive.
I often think to myself that this is not what I asked for out of life.
I did not ask for pain caused by the hands and choices of others.
I did not ask for nightmares that were real.
I did not ask for my family to be torn apart.
I did not ask this.
But here I am. I went through all of the things I did not ask for. & I am surviving and thriving.
Thank you Jesus, because I am a walking miracle.
I think sometimes we need to be reminded of these painful times in order to remember how desperately we need God and His Grace.
That maybe we need the reminder as a reminder to be kind to others who are going through similar circumstances.
That possibly, God is bringing us through a storm of painful memories in order to show us how deep His love for us really is.
So, as a wrestle with these memories, I am going to try to remember myself that negative memories do not always have to bring pain.
January 4, 2017
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”-Matthew 7:15
If you are a church going person or ever have been, you have heard in sermons about how we need to be close with people who are on fire for the Lord. That we need to surround ourselves with those who will lift us up, be real with us, and show us God’s love.
We have to be careful. There are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing who try to infiltrate our lives, and will act like this, but their intentions are not good. You often find out months or even years later who they really are.
We are all imperfect and will struggle to be good, Jesus loving friends sometimes (I know I sure do). Though, if our intentions and efforts show that we are trying that is really all that matters.
I am talking about people who flat out are NOT the kind of people who have good intentions.
I have met so many people from all different parts of my life, who swore to be totally for the Lord. Recognized as a great lovers of Christ, I believed these were good people to be around. Although unfortunately, I found out later with all of these individuals that it was all an act. You cannot keep up the act forever. The nastiness came out. The judgment came out. They start to question you for your beliefs. They are just not at all the person they once portrayed themselves as. The intentions had never been good, they had been for selfish gain.
I was fooled. I gave in too quickly in each situation, and it has left scars on my heart. I should have been more careful because it rocked me in the end.
We all should be more careful.
Even more important than that, we have to make sure that we are not becoming the wolves. It is easy to give in and use God as a way to get things from others. Like really easy. The Devil wants us doing his dirty work. Let’s not give in y’all.
Let’s love people for real. Let’s lift them up because it’s what we’re called to. Let’s show God’s love because we want to. Let’s be the light in a dark world.
I am tired of being tricked by the wolves, and having to fight becoming one myself. But aren’t we all?
I choose to trust in the Shepherd to guide my heart in the right direction.
January 2, 2017
“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments.”-Luke 23:34
“Losing” by Tenth Avenue North
I always have liked the famous quote that talks about how we should be kind to everyone because we do not know the battles they are currently facing. It is a good reminder that we all need to have patience with each other.
Easier said than done though right?
I find myself often dealing with the pain of people not having patience with me because they do not understand what I’m going through. They do not understand the decisions I’ve made, because they cannot see my prospective of the situation. They become angry with me, because I don’t match their ideal way of living. They push me away because it is easier than to wait for me to catch up to them. They forget that I am not perfect, and that I make mistakes.
And it hurts.
In life, people have made me feel abandoned, slandered, crushed, humiliated, angered, saddened, frustrated, bombarded, rushed, judged,and overall just misunderstood.
My first thought is often “How could they do this?” and then the pain and anger consume my mind. Until I stop and think…
When was the last time I showed someone kindness and patience when they did something I didn’t agree with? When was the last time I showed someone God’s Grace when they didn’t deserve it? How can I expect others to have patience with me when I do not even show it to others myself?
I do not typically like New Year’s resolutions, but I think I have finally found one I want to try. I want to have more patience with others, even when they struggle to have patience with me.
Lord, give me the strength to forgive others. Please Lord, give others the strength to forgive me.
Who is needing your kindness, patience, and forgiveness today?
December 10, 2016
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”-Matthew 11:29-30
It is way past this teacher’s bedtime, but I just cannot sleep.
I am bothered and uncomfortable.
I cannot understand why God has placed ME in these situations and circumstances.
He knows confrontation is hard because I do not like biting my tongue. He knows my heart struggles to forgive. He knows that I am a people pleaser and do not like going against the grain.
Yet, here I am. Again. In sticky situations that I have tried most of my life to stay out of.
I am bothered. But more than anything, I am feeling the pain.
The pain of being at odds with others is hard.
Do you know what it is like to love someone so deeply yet not be able to be at peace with them because of moral reasons? They are upset because you do not see things the way they do. They do not believe you love them because of this.
I struggle with something so much, and I wish I could tell you what it is, but it is not my story to tell. I am just stuck in the horrible middle of it. But I have prayed and prayed and prayed…and God put on my heart that it is not my job to judge. Or to pick sides. It is my job to love all.
Not to swear and call people names. Not to ignore them. Not to hate them. Not to gossip.
But, wow. More easily said than done right?
I believe God knows what He’s doing. & that I have somehow wound up in the middle of situations I never thought I would be in (seemingly becoming a recurring thing) for a reason. But I do not believe I will ever understand that reason this side of Heaven, and that is torturous.
Today, at this moment, I choose to lay down the pain I have in my heart over all that has happened this year and the anger I have felt toward so many situations.
For I realize, it has never been my burden to carry.
December 10, 2016
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10
Comparison is the thief of joy, right?
But we choose over and over again to have that joy stolen but comparing our lives to the lives of others.
I will admit, I am pretty addicted to comparison (if that is even a real thing).
I have to stop myself in my tracks all the time because I am comparing myself to others. These comparisons are leaving me miserable, feeling inadequate, and pretty much feeling like a loser.
For example, most of my friends are getting married and having babies. It is beautiful and amazing, and something I hope to experience someday but I KNOW that it is not my time for this.
But yet, I still compare.
I get anxiety when people ask me when I am going to follow suite like my friends. I feel inadequate going on with enjoying my twenties while everyone else is having their own family. I feel weird constantly being the third wheel. Honestly, I feel like a loser most of the time having everyone talk about their pregnancies and marriages while I am just over here cuddling my dog. It was almost like guilt that I was not doing these things that others were doing.
I HAVE LET COMPARISON STEAL MY JOY.
It took some prayer a few months ago and talking to my parents to remind myself that it just was not my time for those things in my life and that it was okay. My parents even said that they never wanted that life for me. They wanted me to get my education, have an amazing career, be a happy, independent, twenty or thirty something for a while, and then meet the right guy at the right time (when it was meant to happen) and have that part of my life. They did not have that themselves but they wanted it for me. It is not that there was anything wrong with that lifestyle, it just was not the time for me at 24.
& God had to remind me that He gave me those people as parents for a reason and that even though they’re a little crazy sometimes, they know what is best for me.
What was best for me was to realize that I did not have to be like others to have an amazing life full of joy.
So whether you are a guy or gal who got married young and started having a family right away or you are still out there waiting for that life. Whether you went to college/trade school or are envious of those who did. Whether you live in a mansion or a little place on the side of the road.
Believe and know that the grass is just as beautiful on your side as it may seem on the other. God made us all unique for a reason, and I know He does not make any mistakes. ❤
December 7, 2016
“I once heard somebody say that God had closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.” -Bob Goff
I was always under the impression that if something did not go right for me, that maybe that was just not my path. If I did not get the job I applied for, it just was not meant for me. If I did not get the response letter I wanted from a college, it must not have been for me. Right?
My life group and I read Bob Goff’s “Love Does” this semester and it really changed the way I view life. Bob is a lawyer. But did you know that he could not get into law school so he sat in front of the dean’s office every single day asking them to let him in that they finally gave in and told him to go buy his books for his classes because he was in? What if he had just given up on that dream? Where would he be today?
I really believe God puts us in these frustrating situations sometimes so we can learn more about ourselves and about His love for us. He wants us to pray and ask for His help. He wants us to show how much we care and how patient we are for the thing we are waiting for.
If I had not fought for it, I would not be a teacher today. I would not have a Master’s degree. I would not live in this beautiful apartment. I would not have the life I have now. The struggle made me grateful. I thank God that He taught me (and continues to teach me) patience and perseverance this way, even when its incredibly frustrating.
What is God placing in front of you today to pray, fight, and wait for???
P.S. SO proud of my friends Rachel & Lindsey for fighting for their dreams. Congratulations on your graduation!!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 28, 2016.
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.”-Psalm 37:8
I do not think I have ever been invited to as many fights as I have this year. Fights meaning verbal assaults and nastiness toward another person.
The Devil has been knocking on my door and telling me to come play.
I have chosen not to attend every fight I have been invited to. & that has probably been the hardest part.
I wish I could lie and tell you I have had the amazing year that social media makes me look like, but it’s been freaking hard y’all.
Work is hard. Family life is hard. New changes. Broken relationships. Broken friendships. Frustrations. Struggles with my faith.
It’s been tough.
I want to fight. I want to curse and scream and tell you to that I think you are a piece of crap who does not deserve anything good in life. & so much more. I want to gossip. I want to lose it.
But I was never meant to be that person.
I am meant to be the bigger person. I am meant to bring the peace. I am meant to pray for someone instead of tear them down. & it is so damn hard.
You ever feel like that? You know you are called to love the sinner not the sin but you just don’t want to?
Lord, help this natural fighter of a heart who has been having to fight the urge to fight back all of her life.
A Very Exhausted, Tired of Fighting,
November 22, 2016
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
The holidays are upon us!
I am headed out of town soon so I wanted to post just one more time because I think it is important.
The holidays are exciting for many of us, but for a lot of people out there they are dreaded. They may be alone for the holidays or are experiencing a low time in life that is not allowing them to celebrate as they usually do. The holidays may bring back memories that bring tears and pain.
I’ve been there, and I know many of us have been.
If you are there right now remember this: YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.
You are loved and cherished and treasured by a God who died a gruesome death just to know you.
If you are struggling with that notion today, I suggest you check out some of the links below. They help me when I am having a hard time, and I hope they can help you as well.
You are loved.
P.S. I was saved while listening to “Never Alone” by BarlowGirl. 🙂 God is good!
November 3, 2016
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:23
Today has been a rough day.
From disrespectful students (say what?) to snappy adults, it has definitely been a long one, and one of those days when I have to remember when I was happy as I was to be a teacher as in this picture ^.
I do not feel much like a lady of Christ today. I started off the morning late and missed my devotional. I did not show Grace to those who needed it today. I felt like I spoke more words of negativity than anything else. It has just been one of those days.
I have not felt like the person I want to be; the person who shows Jesus’ love in their actions and cares about others deeply. I fell of the wagon today.
But the cool thing is, I know that tomorrow is a new day. & that I can hop right back on the wagon and head back in the direction I am meant to be in.
We are human, and sinners, and most of the time a complete hot mess. But that’s the thing about Grace. It says that everything is forgiven entirely, and that it is time to move on from the situation and do what we can to live our lives for the Lord’s glory.
In this world, we (including myself) are going to have struggles and will lose ourselves from time to time. But every sunrise we wake up to on this earth is a reminder that we are here for a reason, and that we have been given another chance to make it a better day and a better life for those around us.
Here’s to the tomorrows we have to look forward to.
October 30, 2016
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11.
For the unmarried, patiently waiting ladies out there, this one is for you:
I know what it is like to feel like you are the outcast, the only one with the naked ring finger, the one who always has to third wheel it, the only person at work who is not a “Mrs.”, the one who sits out during the slow songs at weddings.
You are the one who stands by as you watch all of your friends find the love of their lives. You attend all of the engagement parties, you help arrange all of the bridal showers and bachelorette parties, you help with the details of the weddings, and then you walk down the aisle and stand by your friends’ sides as they commit to their Prince Charming for the rest of their lives.
Then soon after you find out that your friends are having a baby! You scream with excitement and hug them so tight because you cannot wait to see your best friend become a mom. You support them with love (and tell them how absolutely gorgeous they look even with swollen feet) and help plan their beautiful baby showers. Then support them with homemade meals, hugs, encouragement, and promises to come over and listen to the baby monitor so new mama can finally take the shower and two minutes of rest she desperately needs. You put on your brightest smile then go back home,
People have a hard time understanding how you can be SO incredibly happy for them, and still struggle with the fact that it is not your time for that season in life.
Let’s be real here, dating in 2016 SUCKS. “Ghosting” is a real thing (I know from experience), and most guys just want one thing. I still cringe when people say they sometimes wish they could still date, because of how fun it is. When you meet the right person, it is fun to date! But when you meet frog after frog, it is incredibly discouraging. Going home to a husband who loved you enough to marry you (even when it does not seem like it) sounds a lot more fun than going out on a date with someone and having them tell belittle and beat you down because of your faith or because they think you “eat a lot for a first date”.
It’s rough out there, y’all!
But I KNOW that good things come to those who wait. & that sometimes God wants us to do other things with our lives before committing to our soulmate forever and becoming moms. He loves ALL of his girls: the single, the married, the divorced, the separated, and the widowed. I know in my heart that he does not hold anything back from those who love him, and that when it is the right time, he will give us the desires of our hearts.
We may have to kiss a lot of frogs, make a lot of mistakes, be a “Maid of Honor” instead of “Matron of Honor” for a few more times, and sleep soundly throughout the night for a few more years, but our times will come to be wives & mamas.
So let us enjoy the seasons of life God has placed us in. We have to remember that it is ALL for a beautiful reason. ❤
With love from a “Miss”,
October 29, 2016
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ.”-Philippians 3:14
I feel like we often place limitations on ourselves based on our fears and what others think of us.
We do not believe we have the strength, wisdom, or talent to do what we want or know in our hearts that we should be doing. I find that I have a harder time NOT doubting myself than just doubting.
In 2010, I was determined to go to the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Like seriously, determined. So I went there with my mom and we met with an advisor about transferring over by the fall of 2011. The woman told me that there was really no chance that I would get into UCF. She suggested that I try to get into Valencia Community College down the road, and then showed me the door.
Honestly, I was devastated. I cried the entire way home in the car and felt like crap for a few days. I felt like I was watching my dream be squashed and it really hurt.
So I waited and thought about it. I decided that I did not care what she said, I would work hard in my last two semesters at my local community college and get amazing grades so that I could graduate with my AA and apply to UCF.
So, I did. I studied constantly and worked my butt off. Then I held my breath and sent my application out to UCF. Then I got the letter back..
I WAS IN.
The feeling of elation was incredible and I soon set off to Orlando for two years to earn my bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Of which I earned straight A’s the entire time.
After graduating in 2014, I went straight to work at a school full time and during my first year I began a graduate degree program in education. I was once again told that it would never go anywhere, and that I probably would not finish.
I graduated in June of 2016 with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Yesterday, I received a letter from a local college stating they had hired me as an adjunct professor (one of my other dreams come true).
I do not write this post to brag about myself and my accomplishments, but to remind you that we can never, ever, ever give up on our dreams. Where would I be if I had allowed that woman to affect me so deeply that I chose to give up?
I know God wants us to be fighters when it comes to this stuff. He wants us to push beyond our comfort zones and go into places that shake us up and stretch us.
What is he calling you to fight for today? & Will you answer the call????
October 9, 2016
I was asked yesterday how I can still believe in God even though he did not answer my fervent prayers lately.
& it STUNG.
Can I be an honest Christian here and say it tore me apart that my cries to the Lord seemed to be unanswered? I didn’t say “thy will be done”. I didn’t say “I understand Lord.” I screamed out “WHY”. There have been so many times when my prayers seem to be #unanswered and it’s excruciating.
It’s difficult beyond words to pray so hard for something and feel like either God says “no” or that He is not listening at all. It is heartbreaking and almost feels surreal. Then the questions start to pop up: Where are you God? If you love me, why would you do this to myself and my family? Why are you breaking my heart?
I’d like to tell you that I have never said any of those questions….but I have, MANY times. I have screamed at God and shook my fist in absolute anger. I have spent nights on my floor crying those words out with tears streaming down my face.
It’s the worst to feel like God is not there, or is not listening.
BUT HE IS.
All I do know is that I serve the one, true God of the universe who gives and takes away for my benefit (even when it hurts). He has done more good for me than I could have ever imagined, even when I’m in the deepest, darkest valleys of life. Yes, I struggle, and sometimes I scream and cuss, and lose my mind because I do not understand why things are happening they way they are for myself and those around me. But I will always believe in Him and that he hears my cries even when it does not seem like it. Every time I think back on those difficult times, years later often, I see that the horrible (in my mind) things that happened were for the actually for the best.
I am not God, and I do not know why things happen the way they do. But I trust in Him to lead my life in the right direction better than I ever could. & I will continue to fervently pray because I know He answers all prayers in His own way, even if it is not what I asked for.
October 7, 2016
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4
As I updated in my last post, my dog did not make it. He passed away of kidney failure on October 6th after emergency surgery for bloat that Monday and a blood transfusion the following day. He had an incredibly rough week to say the least, and I’m so happy that he is no longer in pain.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt for myself though. Excruciatingly bad. I don’t know how to go back to a life where my dog doesn’t exist.
Almost ten years ago, we lost our dog Shadow. He started slowing down and acting strange. My mom took him to the vet and found out that he had Stage 4 stomach cancer and would die within 48 hours. She made the right decision in putting him to sleep so that he would go peacefully.
My sister and I wanted another dog almost right away. We missed having a dog around so our parents gave in and started researching. We’d always had German Shepherds so we kind of wanted another. My mom found a breeder about 20 minutes away who had one male puppy left. She said he was “on clearance” because he was unable to breed (but we didn’t care because we never planned to have him mate!)
I still remember driving to the puppy farm in excitement and I still remember this wobbly German Shepherd puppy come running out of the gate toward us with the same excitement I felt. He jumped, played, and bit me. He was too cute and too fun. We piled into the car and he took turns standing on my lap and my sister’s.
From the time we brought him home this boy was nothing but trouble. He would stick both of his front paws and his whole face in the water bowl to drink. He slobbered his food everywhere when he ate, and got into EVERYTHING. We had to completely puppy proof our house because otherwise he would destroy everything. He loved to play with the soccer ball so we named him “Beckenbauer” after the German soccer player Franz Beckenbauer. We called him Beck, for short.
As he grew older, he never really outgrew his puppy ways. He still slobbered everywhere and got into things if we weren’t careful (we still have a gate up in the hallway connected to my old room). He misbehaved all the time and rebelled. He hated getting his toe nails clipped and being groomed. Most of all, he HATED thunderstorms and would lose his mind every time we had one.
But he loved a lot of things. He loved car rides. He loved walks. He loved people. He loved treats. He loved popcorn. He loved chasing the dogs next door through the fence. He loved playing with his toys. He loved to play catch and roll around on his back in the yard.
He has grown up with me. From age 14 to 24. All of my passwords growing up were his name and birthday. My mother became his number 1 and would play catch with her every single night and sleep by her bed. He was the center of our whole lives.
I have had trouble sleeping this week ever since finding out how sick he was. I prayed hard constantly, and asked others (even strangers) to pray for him. I cried out to God and begged him not to take Beck. I told him that I knew in my heart it was not his time. He still loved to play and run around. How could a dog that was still so full of life be on his death bed right now?
We visited him and he was definitely sick, but seemed to perk up that we had come to visit him. Then yesterday morning, the vet called my mom and said that he had not made it through the night as expected. Honestly, my first thought was anger. I wanted to beat my fist at God and scream and say that I had prayed so hard, why had he taken him away? My anger then turned into sadness, and I have been stuck in grey cloud of sadness ever since.
I am afraid that he died in pain. That he was alone in a cage, thinking we had forgotten about him, and that we didn’t love him. That he died and no one was there to comfort him as he went. The sadness and guilt has been so much to bear. I was hunkered down at my mom’s over the time that Hurricane Matthew just came through last night, and I cannot begin to tell you how painful it was to turn around every corner expecting to see him and him not being there. His toys are still laid out, his fur is still everywhere, and his bowls are on the floor waiting for him to come back. I am trying to cope with the fact that God said it was his time, and that He does all for the good, even when it hurts.
I never thought that losing my pet could be so painful, but I have come to realize he was so much more than that. He was a protector, a goofball, a baby, an eater, a runner, a lover of cuddles, and toys. He was naughty and hilarious. He is missed already and always will be.
Dogs have an innate ability to remind us of who we really are, and who we ought to be. I am thankful that God brought Beck into my life to remind me and show me who I really am, even when he is no longer here.
October 6, 2016
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
It’s been a hell of a week, and its not over yet.
I have spent much time crying, stressing, and losing sleep. I have spent so much time on my knees in deep, extreme prayer, and struggling with pain. I have been broken, and honestly, I feel ashamed. I talk of how to trust in the Lord, but I have not been trusting him lately.
My dog is incredibly sick. My mom rushed him to the emergency vet at 1 am on Monday morning. If she had not, he would have died. He had something called “Bloat” (the same thing the dog had in Marley & Me) and had to have emergency surgery. PRAISE GOD that he survived the surgery. He is definitely not out of the woods though. He had to have a blood tranfusion Tuesday morning, and my family and I went to the vet on Tuesday prepared to put him to sleep. The vet urged us to give him some time, because he had slightly improved. Words cannot express how heartbreaking it was to see him there, so sick and weak, in a cage with a bunch of tubes coming out of him. We went back to see him Wednesday and he seemed slightly better, but he is still too weak to get up. I am struggling to sleep thinking about him being there instead of home, but I know that he is safer there. I beg you to please pray for him.
On top of that, there is a massive, Category 4 hurricane right off of our coast. Hurricane Matthew is about to barrel down on us and cause catastrophic conditions for where I live in south Florida. I decided to leave my apartment because I was afraid of flooding in the parking lot, and we do not have shutters put up. I live on the third floor, and our windows are supposedly “hurricane proof”, but I did not want to have to deal with being able to look out at this horrifying storm. I even packed most everything I have in my closet/bathroom just in case.
Meanwhile, I am currently at my mom’s house across town with the windows boarded up. We’re praying for safety and for our home to hold up in this storm. Luckily, we just got a lot of the bad spots of our roof fixed a few months ago so we are feeling a little better about that.
It gives me flashbacks to 2004, when we were hit by TWO major hurricanes in a row. Our roof was torn apart, our house flooded, we lost power for 12 days, we took showers outside with the hose, it was freaking awful. Hurricanes are serious business, and should not be taken lightly; but I wish I was trusting in the Lord about it more than I am.
I know he is always good, but why do I want so badly to be in control? We can prepare and do everything to keep safe, but ultimately, HE is in control always. No matter what happens, God is in control.
I ask you to pray for many things today. Please pray for my dog, Beck, to make a full recovery in the animal hospital. Please pray for everyone affected by this storm, and their homes/property. Please pray for me to start trusting in the Lord more, because I am exhausted from worry.
UPDATE: Unfortunately Beck passed away at the vet as I was writing this post. Pray for my family please.
September 26, 2016
“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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Ever been responsible for your own misery by trying to fill a God-sized hole with things that will never satisfy you?
September 21, 2016
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35
The video tells it all. 🙂
God bless, y’all!
August 21, 2016
Psalm 147:3-5 He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and names each one. Our Lord is great and very powerful. There is no limit to what he knows.
There was a country song on the radio by Dierks Bentley called “Different for Girls”. It is catchy and kind of sad. It basically talks about how men and women tend to react differently when a break up occurs. It implies that men tend to go out more and try to forget/drown out any feelings that they are having while women tend to be more open with their brokenness and take longer to heal. One of the lyrics about women is “they don’t scroll through their phone just looking for a Band-Aid”. This one line has been stuck on my mind for days now and it finally hit me last night, and left me sobbing for about ten minutes.
I scroll through my phone looking for that Band-Aid every time my heart is broken.
I was not always this way. When things went south, I would often retreat for a while and be sad. Send regretful text messages, cry, and just be downright bummed for a while. Then after a few days or weeks, I would get over it. I would be single or end up meeting someone else and the cycle would begin all over again.
Now, somehow between what the Internet, my friends, my family, and strangers have said, I have come to this place of mind where I think I need to move on RIGHT AWAY. I mean like the next day, I am on to something else. Usually online dating or just going out to a bar or something, I mean anything to stop myself from feeling the pain.
I feel the need to write this very personal thing, because I see so many women out there doing the same thing as me right now. Continuing to put a fresh Band-Aid over a very broken heart without ever letting it breathe and feel the pain will do nothing but cause you more sorrow later on down the line. I tell you this, because this is what I am currently living with. For years, I have continued this Band-Aid cycle and it has never allowed me to heal.
I have become so numb to dating that I do not even get nervous for first dates anymore. We agree to meet up, we go usually have a drink and some dinner (with me eating wings or some kind of drippy meat in which I usually get it all over myself and do not even care) and then it ends and I go home EMPTY. There have only been a select few men who I ever really actually felt something for after these dates, and that is heartbreaking.
I have been searching for something to fill that hole in my heart that’s been covered up by Band-Aids for now. It’s taken me a long time to realize and admit that the only thing that can ever fill that hole, and bind up that gaping wound forever, is Jesus. I’ve been searching in the world for something that I could never find when all along Jesus has been sitting there waiting for me to realize that on my own.
I don’t want temporary healing anymore.
I don’t want numbness.
I don’t want frustration and short-lived happiness.
I would rather deal with the pain upfront and deal with the short-lived sadness then to push it aside and hope that it goes away on its own. We must allow our wounds to be open to the air and breathe a little for them to heal. Then Jesus can come in and bandage it properly, as only He can, in the right time.
I want true healing.
I want Jesus.
I refuse to settle for anything less.
August 21, 2016
When you are in school to become a teacher, you are required to spend an internship in classroom for a school year. Usually the first semester you are in one classroom and then you switch to another the last semester. Meanwhile, you also take some actual college classes on the side. My first semester I was in a fifth grade classroom in Vero Beach, Florida and it was something that would change my life forever.
Before I started in that classroom in August of 2013, I had one heck of a summer (and not in a good way). The guy I thought I was going to marry had dumped me, I had just finished an awful summer camp job where I went in and left crying every single day, and my dad started not going to work anymore and gave no reason why. Emotionally, I was wreck and alone. I took the picture above on my day of my deepest depression, trying to make myself believe that I was actually okay.
Then the semester started, and things got even crazier. I was driving to Vero Beach three times a week (a 45 minute drive from my home) and then Cocoa Beach for those actual college classes twice a week (an hour and a half drive). I was exhausted, and emotional, and so lost. I cried in the car every day, and screamed myself to sleep in my muffled pillow every night. Ever been there? The loneliness and pain is too real to describe. I was depressed, and quite frankly, I just wanted things to end. I did scary things to myself during that time that should have left me for dead, but somehow I am still alive today and I do not know how.
I woke up one Monday morning with red eyes and messy hair and fumbled around to get ready for another day in the fifth grade classroom. The students were awesome, but they had TOUGH lives. Many were homeless, hungry, and hurting, but they came to school every day just like me. They acted out sometimes, and yelled from frustration. Some carried around big Harry Potter books from the library everywhere with them to make an illusion that they were great readers even though most could not even read a first grade level book.
Jacob (name changed for privacy reasons) was one of these kids. He had been held back before and could not read well. The kids would call him “Little Jacob” as a joke almost because he was not little by any means, he was actually much larger than myself. He thought it was funny and took the name with pride. He was pretty funny and liked to be the class clown. On that same Monday, he said something to me that would change me forever.
I was passing out papers morning and he whispered to me, “Hey Miss S, are you okay?” I was shocked and asked him why he was asking me if I was okay. He then replied “You just look different lately, ya know? You look defeated.” I was even more in shock that he said such a big word and that he was actually recognizing that something was going on with me. Without me even saying another word he said, “I am sorry for whoever did that to you. I hope you feel better.”
It was the biggest reality check I have ever had. After this, I went to the bathroom and pulled myself together. I vowed to choose happiness at school when I was with them, even when it hurt to do this, because they deserved my best. Did I get over my depression after this encounter? No. I still felt pretty awful, and I did for quite a few months after this. But did I feel better knowing that someone (even a 12 year old) recognized it and let me know that they cared.
I tell this story because it is SO important for us to show our love to others. Later on, some people who were close to me admitted that they knew I was not doing well, but that they were afraid to ask if I was really okay. How I wish they had! How I wish there had been more brave “Little Jacobs” out there who had let me know that they cared for me even when I was not myself. I feel no anger toward any of these people either, because I know how hard it is to feel like you are getting in someone’s personal space. It is hard, but it is so necessary.
Please, please, please speak up if you believe that something is wrong with the people you love. Even if they are not ready to talk about it, that person is going to know in their heart that there is someone who cares and sometimes that is all we need. Be a friend, be a shoulder to lean on, be a Little Jacob. ❤