Monthly Archives

May 2015

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Focus

I am a daydreamer, which is not always a bad thing. But lately I feel like I have been daydreaming too much and not focusing enough on what my reality is right now. I tend to worry too much about the future and dwell far too much on the past. I do not spend enough time enjoying the present and focusing on what should be seen and lived out right now.

A couple of weeks ago I was at my spin class and the leader kept repeating: “it is not our circumstances that is our problem–it is our thoughts.” I am in a really good place, but at times I find my mind wandering off, overthinking everything and trying to prove myself to others. Making my circumstances not so bad but my thoughts dangerous. I am working hard to stop focusing on the opinions of others but to focus my energy on glorifying God and enjoying the life I have been blessed with. Our thoughts have so much power over us, we can be our biggest supporter or our own worst enemy. Sometimes my mind is so cluttered and it is hard for me to pull myself out of my head into the real world.

I have mentioned many times before that I journal. I use my journal as a means to just let all those thoughts out; writing them down releases them from my mind and frees me up to focus on reality. I found this wonderful song by King and Country titled “Fix My Eyes,” it is a song that proudly professes that we should fix our eyes on God. Many of my devotionals lately have continually told me to focus on God, make God the center of my thoughts. So when I start to drown in my head and I feel like I can no longer swim, I have learned countless times that God will always come to my rescue.

Deuteronomy 4:29

“From there you will seek the Lord your God, and will find him if you search after him all your heart and soul.”

Isaiah 26:3-4

“Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace–in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.”

Brothers and sisters, I know all too well the power our thoughts have over us, especially if those thoughts are negative. But I also know all too well the beautiful, amazing and restful peace that God can provide us if we just shift our focus to our “everlasting rock.” One of the most reassuring facts we have about God is that God never changes and that God is GOOD. We can trust God to take care of us and bring calm to the storms that are sometimes our reality but can often be just in our heads.

James 1:17

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Mark 4:37-40

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke us and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He sad to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Jesus is capable of calming all storms, even the ones we may be enduring alone in our own heads. Cling to your “everlasting rock” and I know you will make it through your own storms, whether in your head or in reality.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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22 Years

imageSo today is my birthday, I have turned 22 years old! As Taylor Swift has so famously sang, “I am feeling 22!” It is hard to believe that I am already 22, where did all of last year go?! I cannot believe I have graduated from college and turned another year older. It has been a year of ups and downs, world travels and immense spiritual growth–my 21st year has been one of the best years and I look forward to my 22nd.

Well as I have mentioned a few times I have struggled with my insecurities and have one too many times questioned my self worth. But in the past year I have really cracked down on addressing these issues and working with God to recognize my worth. But of course I have slip ups every now and again and this week I had some minor moments, so today as I journaled, I realized how special today is and how special we all are as children of God.

I was born 22 years ago today, but God had me planned long before then. So if think about it God has not only guarded, guided and loved me for 22 years but has loved me long before I was even born. Just as God has guarded, guided and loved you from the moment you were born–and even when you were still in your mother’s womb. What a beautiful thought! God planned us to all have a purpose and has been gently guiding us our entire lives. Today on my birthday I realized just how powerful it is to declare that I am God’s and that I have continually rested in God’s hands.

Psalm 139:13-15 (One of my favorite passages. If you ever question your purpose or worth please refer to this passage, you will be reminded that you were made with incredible intention).

“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. The passage declares that all the works of the Lord are wonderful–and you are one of those works. YOU ARE WONDERFUL. YOU ARE SPECIAL. YOU ARE LOVED. Please remember these things and tell yourself this mantra everyday. Accept the love of God into your hearts, he wants so badly to show you just how special and loved you are.

God created us to be his hands and feet in this world. I was born and given life to commit myself to listening for God’s call and acting on that call. I was born to serve my fellow sisters and brothers and to serve God. What a wonderful thought, my life is in God’s hands, his hands are my resting place. Brothers and sisters, I just cannot quite get over this beautiful thought. God has called each and everyone of us by name to our own special purpose.

Isaiah 43:1

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do NOT fear, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name, you are mine.”

We were God’s before we were born, the moment we entered into the world, every moment on earth and in heaven. Wherever we go, God goes with us. Friends I write this post so that you will take a moment and think about how wonderful it is to be loved by a God who guides us, loves and knows us inside and out.

Let the One who calls you by name into your heart. I promise you will look back and see how God has always guided you and that God will continue to always be there for you.

Deuteronomy 31:8

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Sisters and brothers, God goes before us and with us have no fear you are in strong and trustworthy hands.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Letting God In

So around two months ago a plan of mine fell through. Everything was running smoothly, or so I thought, I was too consumed with my thoughts and plans to see that a knob was loose in my plan. And sure enough I was blindsided when everything I had once been so sure of, fell apart. But something happened. I fell but I did not stay down too long, I was upset but I saw a bright light in the distance and as I grieved I saw hope despite the pain. For once the plan that fell apart and the heart that hurt was held up and bound together by Divine Hands and something rare and beautiful happened.

In the midst of the hurt, pain and sorrow I recognized a hope, a presence, and a closeness to God I have never felt so strongly. As you may know I began writing thoughts about God on this blog this past fall, and around Christmas time I ran into an incredible woman from scripture who led me into the arms of my Savior. This woman was Mary, the Mother of Jesus; after my class Pauline Epistles, my meeting with Mary and falling in love fully with Jesus my faith took shape in a way I never thought it could. As a dear friend told me, “You are on a Jesus high.” I was on fire for God! I have always  had a somewhat strong faith–but something had shifted and I felt things differently. I really think it is when I accepted Jesus fully into my heart as my Lord, Savior, and Friend that my faith became so clear and powerful.

After this initial “Jesus High,” I came back down but could still feel the tugs in my heart and soul. But a couple of months ago when my plans crumbled apart and I was crying, I felt the call of God, I felt the call of Hope and the call of Love in my heart. And that is when I knew–I was okay, I was safe, I was in God’s hands. WOW. Ever since then I have been on a “Jesus High” almost straight for two months. I have felt the Holy Spirit fill my heart and my soul; I have felt God sewing up my heart with needle and thread;I have felt God’s hands cupping me–sheltering and protecting me; I have felt myself being healed. Brothers and Sisters I cannot describe how beautiful it feels to realize that the Divine Healer has worked on me, seeking out all the little hurts, bruises, and cuts and has kissed them and put Jesus band-aids on them.

It took that carefully crafted plan falling apart for me to realize that even if things do not go according to plan, it will always be okay. God’s plan is always so much better than anything we have come up with ourselves. But after my plan fell through I have clung tightly to God–and I am seeing life in an entirely new perspective. Joy fills my soul to the brim and I feel as if I could shout from the mountain tops. I find myself constantly wanting to talk about God, I have become one of those people, but when your heart is so full you just want to share the joy! Though we will suffer in our lives God is truly merciful and is there to kiss and heal all of our wounds. Through our strifes we should turn to God, for in those moments of suffering if we allow our Healer to enter into our hearts we will be healed and stronger for it.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

When we learn to trust God and God’s plans for us, no matter where they may take us, we will find joy. For one thing we can always count on is that God is fully good and will bring everything together for good. It may take longer than we think and it may end up a whole lot differently than we expected but it will be better than our wildest dreams.

So my sisters and my brothers, trust God, let God into your life completely, allow God to fill every nook and cranny of your heart–and I promise you will feel unmatched joy. Joy you will want to shout from the mountain tops. Go forward, allow yourself to be God’s servant in this world, spread the joy and love that you receive and remain close to the one who knows you and your wounds fully.

Matthew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.”

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Hope for the Future

Recently I have been thinking about the future of the church, I’m not talking about a certain denomination, I am talking about the universal church. I have been pondering what it is going to take for the Christian faith to remain relevant in today’s world and tomorrow’s. It seems that year by year we see an increasingly lower number of practicing Christians and truthfully that is so scary to me. I think that we have tricked ourselves into truly believing that we can be fully self sufficient and that we have control. These two things I have come to realize that I do not have! But in today’s world we look around and see people who think that they have control that they do not need anyone–even a higher power. This is frightening for us all and saddening.

However, despite the growing number of people who do not believe I have recently been confronted with an outstanding number of those who do. The other day I mentioned that I was going to try out a Christian focused workout place, well I ended up going! It was amazing! I was able to get a great workout and I was able to worship God while I worked out with a group of God fearing women. I left that workout with a renewed sense of hope. God is still so active in this world, God put this unique ministry on one woman’s heart and through her faithful answer she has helped spread the love of a healthy lifestyle and the love of God combined, to tons of different women.

I have found myself sometimes wanting a quick fix of God and go to the quotes section of Pinterest. There I find an overwhelming load of beautiful and inspirational quotes, many of which refer to God. I even think they have a specific search labeled God quotes. God is still relevant, people still seek out something deeper than what they can see. They want to believe that there is more to this life than just the pain, sadness and violence surrounding them. My grandmother and I have talked about it, how sad this would be if this is all there was. There is something engrained in us that makes us hopeful, something deep inside of us wants to believe in something more. Why do you think we have fairytales? Fairytales preach the secular version of what religion teaches us. Fairytales teach us to have hope, to never stop believing, good always defeat evil and love is the answer to a hurting world (watch Once Upon a Time-it’s a fantastic show that preaches all this). Our hearts want to believe in something bigger than ourselves.

I love searching for new blogs and recently I began reading one, She Reads Truth, a Christian blog written by a handful of different God fearing women. How wonderful! I looked at a few different posts and saw a ton of comments listed below, meaning many people had read these posts, and think about the people like myself who didn’t comment but read! There are people out there who still believe. God is active in this world–touching the hearts of many.

And today, as I walked in to Chick fil A to get some breakfast I passed by a couple at a table. These two were holding hands, head bowed, eyes closed, participating in a blessing. I was touched in my heart, how beautiful of a scene. A couple saying a prayer of thanks to God for their time together and the food they were about to share. I know I may seem silly saying that this prayer touched me so much, but it did. Eventually one day I would like that to be my husband and I. It was a gentle reminder that God  is very much alive in the hearts of many.

I want to live my life as a servant of the Lord unashamed of her faith. I want to be like the people I have noticed in the past few days, an example that God is very much alive, present and at work in this world–despite what people may say. Brothers and sisters my hope and prayer is that you will also strive to live your life as an example of faith, so that you may bring hope to a hurting world that the Lord is present and at work in your life and theirs.

Jeremiah 29:13

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart”

search for the Lord with all your heart. As my pastor’s benediction states “May everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you and may you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet.” Show the face of Christ friends, be a hopeful reminder that God has not and will not abandon us and pray that you will also be met with the face of Christ, so that you too will be reminded that God has not and will not abandon us.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Food for the Soul

Well I am done!! I have taken the big step and graduated from college! I cannot believe it, I am done with my undergrad and in just a few short months I will be off to Scotland for my Masters. I can hardly believe it–but for now I have a few months to prepare. So for the summer I have written a Bucket List of the things that I want to do to prepare my heart and soul for my upcoming adventure.

This summer I want to focus on my relationship with God and developing it more fully. This bucket list is intended to help me feed my soul and focus on the things that are going to bring joy into my heart and bring me closer in my relationship with God.

1) I have decided to start working out again–and this time remain committed to it. I want to work out and start trying to be a bit more healthy. Working out relieves my stress and makes me feel much happier. In the words of one of my all time favorite characters Elle Woods “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t” (Legally Blonde). Tomorrow I am going to try out a Christian based workout center. I am really excited that I can not only strengthen my body but while I do that I am able to strengthen my relationship with God.

2) I want to eat really delicious food. I love food and I love to break bread with my good friends. My version of a perfect evening is eating delicious food, maybe having a good glass of wine or margarita, and having wonderful and intelligent conversation with good friends. This summer I plan on doing just that.

3) Read. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read. I like to read frivolous books but I also love to read serious books that strike a chord in my heart and make me think. I have a fantastic list of books lined up for this summer, books that will challenge my faith and make me think about how to more fully answer the call of God in my life.

4) Volunteer. I have this incredible capacity to love and I want to share that love with others. I want to spend some of my extra time this summer giving back and I know that in doing so my heart will be healed. I am not sure of where I would like to volunteer but if anyone has any suggestions I am completely open!

5) I have mentioned in some of my posts before that I journal and do devotionals somewhat regularly. I want to try to make this a more regular habit. I want to develop a constant communication with God to develop and nurture our relationship.

6) Last summer, after I returned from France, I started going to church every Sunday with my grandfather. This is now one of my favorite things to do. He comes and picks me up, we go to church and sit in the same pew every Sunday. I love spending this time together. So this summer I want to continue this tradition.

7) I want to spend time with my family and show them how much I love them and appreciate them.

8) Be kind, generous, and loving.

9) Seek out joy. I want to be positive and a joyful human.

10) Trust God. I want to work on relinquishing my control and trusting God and God’s plans for me.

11) Cut down time on my phone. I want to cut that toxic tie that this society has with our phones. I want to take time away from my phone and live and communicate in the real world. I am sick of being so addicted to my phone. I have already cut the tie, somewhat, with certain social media sites–I don’t spend all my time scrolling through looking at the image of perfection others broadcast. Instead I can spend those hours on other things, more productive things.

All of these things on this list will feed my soul. I want to be joyful and have a full summer which will lead to a full life. These are all habits that I hope will stay with me.

I hope that you will start thinking about what you want to feed your soul. The summer is the perfect time to begin, we are all a bit more relaxed and can focus on the things that will bring us joy. I hope that you do the things that will fill your heart with joy and feed your soul.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Avoiding God

Why is it that sometimes we avoid God? We avoid going into those long emotional conversations with God? We can feel our hearts, emotions, and lives spinning out of control and in my case, inching closer and closer to the rabbit hole. I know what I need to do, what is going to make me feel better–and yet I seem to avoid doing it. Maybe because I know I am going to tap into a lot of emotions and it takes a very long time. But maybe I am also going to discover some things that I don’t really want to discover. And if I am being one hundred percent honest, I probably have some doubts that I am ashamed to voice. God’s reality is not always easy to face, it is so much better than any of our fantasies, but it is not always an easy path to walk.

If I am being completely honest there have been, and I am sure will be many times where I avoid God and the tugs I feel on my heart. I know that it is better for me to sit down write out my thoughts and face the things that God wants me to face–and yet I still seem to avoid God. I am not sure about you, but I think no matter how faithful we are, there are just times that we avoid having those deep conversations with God. We hide ourselves, our doubts and our fears and just hope that they will eventually disappear. I just keep teetering on the edge of the rabbit hole. Despite the dangers of that rabbit hole. I can feel my control and peace slipping away.

During these moments I know who I have to turn to and what I have to do. I call it quiet time or Jesus time; I have to be alone in a quiet place and just sit down and write everything out. Like I have mentioned in previous posts, I use the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It truly is incredible what happens when I’m in these moments, when I can focus on what God wants me to hear. Because when I listen, God speaks to me and truly brings an incredible amount of peace to my heart, and I think that would be the case for a lot of people. Even when it is hard and we don’t want to face God’s reality sit down and have those conversations with God. Even when we have doubts that we know we shouldn’t have. I think being raw and open with God–admitting our fears and doubts, these moments help strengthen our relationship with God. God will forgive us, so don’t avoid God for too long. There are plenty of times that I avoid God and hit a point where I am falling down the rabbit hole and it is much harder for me to get out. But if I monitor my feelings and turn to God first, everything goes much smoother.

If it is a reality that we don’t want to face, but it has been issued to us, we must remember and trust that “God brings all things together for good” (Romans 28:8). My devotionals constantly remind me to fix my eyes on God. When the problems of our world swarm around us and we feel the temptation to jump down the rabbit hole–quit avoiding God, turn towards the one who will always make things right.

No matter where we run or hide–God is always with us. There is no place in this world that we can go that God is not there. We can avoid God all we want but God will never avoid us.

Psalm 139:7-12

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.