– 2 0 1 9 –

I have been MIA, I know. I had goals for writing more during my break, but life happens… I am sure you can understand. I am here though to share with you my goals for this new year and hopefully, by publicly sharing them, I will stick to what I have planned for this new year.

X Health – For the most part I have always invested time in my physical health. I love to cook and eat clean. I enjoy the gym and feeling strong. This year I want to push myself and make serious changes physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Investing in my overall wellness is one of my top goals for this year. I am my happiest and most confident when I am eating clean, working out, and taking care of my emotional well being.

X Deepen my relationship w/ Jesus – I experienced a dry season this past year and oddly enough I still saw growth in myself even though I did not expect to. I am choosing to make Jesus, even more, a part of my life than he already is. To dedicate more time to worship and investing my finances in his work.

X Love more deeply – Every year I make this a goal. To invest more love and show gratitude to the ones in my life and to life itself. It sounds so easy, but I personally struggle with loving like Jesus does and that is my ultimate goal. I struggle with hateful words leaving my mouth and consuming my mind, which I hope I am not the only one who struggles with this.

X Live w/ purpose – I want so badly to live with more purpose and intention. Living with a purpose to me is just living with gratitude and intent. I have found myself so caught up in habit and a routine as so many busy people do, that I have forgotten what I am doing with my life.

Here are my top 4 goals for the new year! I encourage you to write out your goals/thoughts for how you want to carry your life out this year.

THANK YOU.

I recently watched, Only The Brave, a film inspired and dedicated to the Granite Mountain Hotshots who tragically lost their lives to the Yarnell Hill Fire in the summer of 2013. 

When I researched more into the story after watching the movie, my heart was filled with so many different emotions. My heart truly goes out to the families who lost their loved ones. I have not personally gone through any situation similar, but I could only imagine the impact it had on the families and all that were impacted by this tragic event. Pain, loss, heartbreak. I pray that the loved ones of these fallen heroes know how much of an impact they have made. While their story is heartbreaking, I can see how God has used this story to inspire and touch many. 

I hope that our country never forgets the ones who have so selflessly given their lives to protect the people of this country. We owe more than a thank you to the ones who give their time and their life to protect ours. I think it is so important to recognize these men along with many more men and women representing our country. 

To me and many others, these men are heroes who even though I never knew one of the 19 men, I know that their story has impacted me in such a way I pray their legacy that they left never fades. I am truly inspired by this story as well as the men. I am thankful that their story was shared so that many as able to learn and share their heroism. The courage, strength, and selflessness these men, like many others who have and are serving our country should never go unnoticed. Truly it is my prayer that we all can exemplify their heroism and selflessness in our everyday lives. That these are the types of heroes our future kids should be looking up to. God has called so many to serve our country and what a beautiful calling it is. Our country is blessed to have the bravest men and women protecting us and fighting for us.

I hope you take the time to learn about this story of the fallen 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots. I am sure they will inspire you just as their story has inspired me. 

WHAT’S THE DEAL W/ WELL BEING?

Stress, motivation, school, work, social life, money stress, relationships, mental & emotional healthYOUR WELL BEING. No matter what age you are, your situation, I am sure at one point or another you have dealt with a variety of these factors in your life. Now you can take what I say with a grain of salt, but this is just my two cents on this issue. 

I can’t begin to stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Your health and well being is so much more important than grades, a relationship, or a job – plain and simple. If your well being is compromised, how do you expect to perform your best in your life?

I will say this if you are working towards a school or career-related goal, make sure you know how much you can handle and establish that line of what is too much. If you are in a good financial state, working like crazy and going to school full time, mentally drained and overworked… maybe take one less class so you have time to perform to your best ability, rather than dividing up your attention more than needed. Take the pressure off yourself. This is hard even for me sometimes, but at the end of the day, you have to learn to accept that you put your hardish effort into your work and move on. There is no reason for dwelling on your past failures or shortcomings. Keep your head high and move on with more motivation to crush your goals. YOU GOT THIS!

In my personal opinion, is not worth your risking your emotional health to go down the drain. There is a way to reach your goals without completely risking your well being. For me, I have found that taking 3 classes a semester and working 2-3 times a week (I work 12 hr shifts as a caretaker) is the most I can handle and still have time to manage my emotional health and well being. For you, it may be more or less than that OR you might have to do less to work more, OR you may just have to load more on your plate because of your situation. Whatever it may be, making sure you have time to focus on your health is key to succeeding. I truly would hate to lose myself in stress and anxiety over something that I can control/manage. 

If you find yourself overwhelmed with your schedule, plan your week out in a diary or planner. Scheduling my day out helps me tremendously with not having that overwhelmed feeling and I find I accomplish more when I set standards for myself. Another way that I find helps with not feeling overwhelmed is waking up earlier and getting the right amount of sleep. When your body is well rested, you perform better in every aspect of your life (from my experience). When I wake up early, I have time to actually wake up, have breakfast and prepare for my day. Rather if I wake up late, it sets my whole day/schedule off. 

Your physical health is just as important as your mental/emotional health BUT I do find that I am at my best when I am working out and eating right. I am a firm believer in what you put into your body reflects your outward appearance and attitude. Developing healthy habits like eating clean, drinking water, having sweet treats in moderation, and working out are key to aiding in your well being. I enjoy moving my body, eating clean, focusing on strengthing my body, gaining confidence in myself… but there are days I do just feel like a blob and run down. This is where I listen to my body rather than push myself. Rest days and self-care days are essential to reaching your fitness and health goals. MIX UP YOUR WORKOUTS TO KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED. I love doing weights and the basic workouts at the gym, but incorporating yoga, pilates, CrossFit type workouts help keep things interesting & fun! I encourage you to mix things up if you find yourself bored at the gym. 

Honestly, everything revolves around balance & moderation. I encourage you to find new ways of coping with stress or whatever is making you feel overwhelmed. Find music that motivates you, get a friend who motivates/supports you when you feel like you can’t reach your goals, find a way to love being active + healthy. BOTTOM LINE: find what makes you happy & stick to it!

– BE STILL –

He says, “Be still & know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

How many times a day do you think you spend stressing, worrying, accumulating anxiety? Within a week, how many times do you find yourself trying to control every part of your life? My guess is that it is probably more than one time. For me, I can spend minutes which turns into hours of stressing, specifically over my grades and school.

This two weekends ago I went on a trip up to St. Louis from a Thursday to a Sunday. The following Monday I had an anatomy exam. I was dealing with a lot of conflicts during the week. I failed my previous anatomy exam so I was extremely hesitant about going on the trip because I was worried that I was not going to prioritize my studying. Overall, I was very nervous and stressed about the fact I had an exam the day after I came home. I did the best I could with finding a balance between studying and spending time with my family. Still, I found myself very stressed because I was terrified I was going to fail this exam and ultimately fail the class.

I received a box of prayer cards as a gift and I decided that once a week or every other week I will randomly choose a card and hang it on my bathroom mirror (so I would see it every day). The one I picked the night before my exam was Psalm 46:10. even though I “randomly” picked this verse, I know it wasn’t random at all. It goes without saying, God’s timing is perfect. I choose to meditate on this verse, pray it, know it in full.

God showed who he was to me through this verse and for that, am so thankful.

YOU CANNOT BEAT A RIVER INTO SUBMISSION

Written by Jack Pues

Doctor Strange – Surrender

If you haven’t seen the movie, Doctor Strange, I urge you to see it. The movie starts off by showing us the life of Dr. Stephen Strange as a surgeon until he gets in a serious accident, which takes away the use of his hands. He looks for any type of medical help that’ll cure him, but the only help he finds lies within a mystical sanctuary. There he starts to learn about the power of the mystic arts, in order to become powerful enough to heal his hands. The movie goes on to show his journey as a sorcerer, as well as a person. Of course, it has the traditional elements of a comic-book movie, but there’s so much more to it. There is a particular scene where Strange’s teacher, the Ancient One, is trying to teach Strange to let go of all that he knows and accept that this art and power is real, despite whether or not it makes sense. She says to him, “You cannot beat a river into submission. You have to surrender to its current and use its power as your own.” He finally listens to her and embraces his power and all that comes with it. In my opinion, this is the turning point of the movie. After that, Strange excels in the mystic arts. I have thought about that ever since, and I realized something recently: this teaching is one of the most essential parts of faith and our relationship with God.

I was asked in a Bible study recently if I think that I have the power to heal as Jesus did, whether it’s the blind, deaf, sick, etc. I didn’t really know how to answer. It was something I had never considered before. I know Jesus did it, and I have heard miracles such as that happen before with others as well, but I never thought it was something I could do. I thought, “Well, maybe through God’s grace and power, I don’t see why not.” While I was thinking about all of this, the quote from Doctor Strange popped in my head. I immediately tried to relate the two together, and through that, I found my answer. I feel that most Christians, or even people, have prayed for miracles before, and even just for simple things that they desperately want or need. I also feel like so many believers, while praying for God’s intercession, rely more on themselves rather than Him. Many do not fully submit, or “surrender,” to the power of God. God is our river, and His strength, love, and hope are its current. When we try to do it all by ourselves and try to interject our own will into His river, we’re actively fighting against the current. Instead, I urge you all to flow in His embrace. Let Him guide you. Believe that He loves you more than all things. Surrender yourself to Him, and I promise you will see a change in your life. Once you surrender, you will feel his peace and grace. Once you place your WHOLE faith and belief into Him, the Holy Spirit will fill you with the power to do extraordinary things. This was my answer to the question. If we truly believe in God, believe in what he has done, what Jesus’ has done and taught us, and completely surrender ourselves to Him, anything is possible. I think Casting Crowns’ song “Just Be Held” puts it best: “And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control, There’s freedom in surrender, Lay it down and let it go.” You only weaken yourself in your own control, but you are free and strong in Christ when you allow Him to hold you, and float in His current.

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

One of the many things I learned in that bible study was that God is on His knee offering us His love and eternal life always. We have the choice to accept Him or not. I promise that if you accept Him…you will be powerful, free, and satisfied.

 

1 year

Today marks one year since I posted my first blog post on here. Reflecting on my posts on the website and on my Instagram, looking through my old prayers, requests, notes, and thoughts on this blog, I have realized how much I have grown from just sharing my thoughts and the word of God.

I’ve been through several different seasons since I started this blog – each has taught me valuable lessons and you can certainly tell by the blog posts I’ve written. I have also learned a heck of a lot about myself – my interests and my dislikes, who I want to be as a person.

I fall short more times than I can count, yet God still loves me and picks me back up. He knows I’m broken and have a fragile heart, but he still sees me as courageous and he provides me with the strength I need. He says I am worthy and beautiful, which is more than I think of myself, but I am trying to rest in that truth. THE SAME GOES FOR YOU!

I see such a huge future for this blog, whether it’s just me who reads it, 10 people, or 100. Numbers in my mind do not matter. However, I truly only care about the 1. The 1 person needs Jesus or a word of encouragement. That has always been my hope and prayer for this blog, that one person comes to know how loved they are in the eyes of Jesus. If one day this impacts 100 people, praise God. But, truly it is the one that God wants and he wants your heart more than anything.

I am forever thankful for this blog, thank God for his faithfulness! Here is to many more years of Jesus loving encouragement!

READ MY FIRST BLOG POST HERE: Why The Beautiful & Brave

READ MY TESTIMONY HERE: My Story

AN HONEST PRAYER

sitting. watching. admiring. waiting. praying. 

image1 (1).jpeg

God what a sinner I am. How I have fallen short time and time again, yet you still love me. I look out at the sunrise admiring your creation, the strokes of the color you so intricately painted together.

You are so good and holy. I feel unworthy to say I am yours, but the fact is that I am worthy. You, in fact, call me your child. You love me even when I am far gone.

Oh, how I love to watch you paint the sky. Your majesty. Heavenly Father. You are good. So perfect and wonderful. Everything I am not. Yet you still love me and my selfish heart.

His works are wondrous. I am so thankful I was able to watch the sunrise this morning. Spending time admiring this painting of the sky was breathtaking.

 

THE WAITING

I can say with almost full confidence I am in a season of waiting. I can see my future dreams + aspirations within reach, but I still have a long way to go. This is hard for me because I so wish I had things accomplished now, or at least next week. So, I am working on appreciating the journey & the waiting.

good things take time

I. What does it look like to be in a season of waiting?

From my own experience, waiting for me seems to look like I am constantly just running the race, doing my work, & staying focused on what lies ahead. Right now I can see the goals + plan God has laid out before me, right now I am just learning patience.

II. What should you do while you are waiting?

Pray. Take time to do your work right. Spend a little more time bettering yourself. Take moments to breathe/ recognize what is going on in the present moment. Sometimes it takes a few months, maybe a few years to reach that point you are waiting for. But, appreciate the journey. You may be waiting for your dream job, waiting on a relationship to heal, waiting to figure out what your purpose is, whatever it may be, just appreciate the journey, even if it is a long, dark road. God would not put you through something if he did not think you would make it, plus he is with you every step of the way.

III. What do you do when the waiting is over?

Praise God for his goodness + thank him for giving you the strength to make it to this point. Celebrate! Whether you landed your dream job/career or your relationship with a loved one is healed, celebrate the good news. Remember to stay focus + just as patient as you were when you were in that season of waiting.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF ENCOURAGED?

Sometimes, most of the time, I have a difficult time staying encouraged. People encourage me, they give me pep talks, I get hyped up, then an hour later I find myself in the same spot I was last time.

SO, how do we keep ourselves encouraged, even when our circumstances seem to be pulling us in another direction?

  • Speak truth over my life, I find that this helps my mood stay positive. 

    Today will be a good day.

    You are a blessing.

    You are loved.

  • Encourage someone else – when you encourage others, it can help you remember to stay positive.
  • Read your bible or some encouraging words – I find that if I fill my mind with encouraging words from either the bible or simply in a book / devotional, my day completely turns around.
  • Listen to positive, uplifting music!
  • B R E A T H E !

“God is in her, she will not fall.” || Psalm 46:5

I find that these work 100% of the time when it comes to encouraging myself and others. Usually, when I get overwhelmed by something, which it does not take a lot for that to happy, I have to constantly remind myself that I am not in control of things. Knowing this truth helps allow my mind to stand still + be present. I have such a difficult time moving too fast and forgetting to focus on what is happening at that moment.

The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity. – Lysa TerKeurst from Uninvited 

The last thing I would like to address is the important fact that we are like sponges. What we feed our mind, we absorb.. we take in. If we are constantly feeding our mind negative + hateful thoughts, that’s who we will become. If we focus too much on the future, rather than the present, we will find ourselves always wanting more + seeking things rather than being present in the moment we are in now. Focusing on the negative will eventually lead you down a path of a negative identity. NOW, if we feed our mind positive, uplifting, + encouraging thoughts/words, our identity will become exactly that. Which in my opinion, will leave you better off now and in the long run.

THE ISLAND OF ISOLATION

Every once in a while I fall into a season of feeling like I am being left out or I am falling behind in life. I have been so consumed with school and starting a new job that I have been having these thoughts that 1) I don’t have friends anymore, 2) everyone has forgotten about me, and 3) that I just don’t have a purpose.

How silly of me to think these things, but sadly when I start thinking stuff like this, my mind just keeps on wandering and going down a path of negative, non-God maximized thoughts. I go into a phase of minimizing God and maximizing my weaknesses.

However, I am being reminded that being “left out” is not what God’s goal is here. I think he is wanting me to realize that I am being set apart versus being set aside – and I have struggled with coming to understand this, I am still trying to make sense of things.

I believe sometimes we have to go through times in our life to somewhat get ourselves together, ready and prepared for our future endeavors essentially God puts us through these seasons of either feeling alone or left out to really help us focus on our purpose and our future.

Lamentations 3: 22-26 || Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

In the midst of disappointments and conflicts in our lives that leave us feeling alone or left out, remember that God wouldn’t put you through anything that wasn’t beneficial to you somehow (yes, that includes heartbreak too). There is always a purpose to pain, disappointment, happiness, joy, and sorrow – don’t allow any of that to stop you from letting God work in your life.

Get off the island of isolation and be here in the present!