SETTING TWO KIDDOS FREE IN JESUS NAME

About a year ago I started sponsoring a young girl named Ludmylla through Compassion International. I felt extremely called to serve through the community and others any way I could. During the Compassion Experience weekend at my church, I was moved by the Holy Spirit to give and sponsor, sweet Ludmylla. I was fortunate enough to have extra money to do my part in giving life and spreading the gospel to this little girl.

Now, a year later, I was in the same place of wanting to do my part in giving life to these sweet kids, but financially I was not in a place to do so. After praying during the service and listening to my pastor speak, I knew in my heart I wanted to take up another child. I had zero idea how I was going to pay for two kiddos, but I was reminded that my God is greater and he will make a way for it to happen. I sponsored a young girl that night named Winnie and my heart was so overwhelmed with joy and faith in my God, who I knew would somehow provide the way for me to follow through financially.

The next day, I was contacted by a friend for a constant nanny position and I started regularly babysitting for another family. Therefore, I am able to provide for my two little girls who I cannot wait to watch grow up. I know to some, this may seem like a small or insignificant story, but it is a huge testimony to how great and faithful our God truly is. I have the means to spread his kingdom and make much of who HE is through loving on these sweet kids.

Even now a few weeks later, I am still blown away at how perfect God’s timing was and is, but I know that he knew EXACTLY what he was doing. I took a step out in faith, faith that God was going to provide for my financial needs, and it turned into a beautiful testimony.

Interested in Compassion International? Questions? Click the link here!!

A TIME & PLACE

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens – Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time and a season for everything under the sun. This can be taken into any part of your life, but today I am going to tie this into relationships and friendships. There is a time and a place for certain relationships and friendships. First, I would like to set the stage up for us before we get into the deep, heavy unpacking.

Everyday we encounter people. Whether you’re at coffee shop, gas station, grocery store, work, even at home. How are you acting? What does your actions and character say about you? For me, I have made an effort to be as open as I can to strangers that I encounter on a daily basis. You never know what someone may be going through, so I think it is extremely important, especially if you are a believer, to show kindness and a smile to anyone you come in contact with. You never know who you could proclaim the gospel too and it won’t kill you to show humanity to someone else. Get off your phone and make connections!

Now, that is slightly off topic of what I wanted to really dive into, but honestly it needed to be said. This year the Holy Spirit really brought to the surface areas in my life that I needed to have more attention too. One of them being, my friendships and relationships with others and I really want to unpack this. This is going to come off as harsh, but I promise I will dive into it more, but sometimes you have to love from a distance. As hard of a decision as it may be, there are times when you have to either remove yourself from a group of people or simply distance yourself. God has really placed this heavily on my heart and mind this year.

Think about it, some relationships we have are most likely dead weight. “We have been friends forever so I can’t stop being their friend”, “that person is my best friend, I couldn’t distance myself from them”, “even though they aren’t always benefiting me, I have to be friends with them or else I wouldn’t have friends.” YEP, I will say it loud for the people in the back THESE ARE EXCUSES. Plain and simple, people.

If you are not benefiting from a relationship/friendship then it’s time to step back and reevaluate the purpose and reason you have that person in your life. If you are not constantly being filled with encouragement, life, and love from someone, they got to go or at least you need to distance yourself from them. You can 100 percent still love someone by taking a step back, if anything it shows that you love them and you want what is best for the both of you. You shouldn’t feel like you’re a burden in a friendship or you shouldn’t feel overlooked. You SHOULD NOT be hanging out with people who you know go against your values and lead you down a path that if full of nonsense or temptation.

I’m 22 and this is a hard pill to swallow because I know there have and are people in my life who certainly do not benefit my life. However, I am so grateful for the progression of my relationship with the Father that I hear what he says and I know that what he says is true. It is a daily surrender to let go and understand that he is working for my benefit, but it is a daily surrender that I am willing to part take in.

I have some action steps for you to take if you are on the fence with someone either being a liability or an asset to your life!

  • Get in community – join a church, volunteer at your church, get in a disciple group that you can benefit and grow from.
  • Surround yourself with like minded Christians – take action & get out of your comfort zone to make new friends with the same values as yourself.
  • Let go & surrender – let go of the relationships that you find are not for your best interest. Pray to God about this, I promise you he will show you who needs to stay & who needs to go.
  • Be obedient towards Christ – if you get a word from God that you need to let someone go or distance yourself from someone, obey him!! You will benefit greatly from listening to the one who knows all things will work for his glory and your benefit.

As always, I love feedback and hearing what you have to say! Feel free to message me or comment your thoughts!

THE UNEXPECTED.

What do you do when the unexpected happens.

When you don’t make the team you tried out for. You may fail your exam you needed to pass the class. You loose your job. You find out you are infertile. Your relationship crumbles into pieces….

AND you find yourself stuck in this rut. You find yourself confused and overwhelmed at the fact that you are now stuck in a place of “where do I go from here?”

I’m sure you have been there at least once in your life and if you haven’t, you will. God didn’t promise us an easy, perfect, smooth sailing life. Honestly, you wouldn’t grow as a person if you didn’t walk through those valleys.

John 16:33 –
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I have to remind myself of this verse more often than you’d think. A set back or an interruption in your plan for life may be what you need to reset your mindset. Your life and plan is controlled by God, not you. While yes, your decisions and choices are made by you because we were given free will, but your future and plans are in the palm of his hand. Think of it this way, God knows better than we do. We would be arrogant to think otherwise. God gives us those interruptions in life or set backs to put us in check. When we are faced with this situation, we should be changing our mindset FROM “Why is this happening to me? I know everything and I have my own plans” TO “God is the creator of the universe and I know his plans are greater than my own understanding. Lord your will be done and not my own.”

We aren’t always going to know or understand why things happen whether they are interruptions that throw us off course, but they don’t just happen to happen. It is all apart of a plan that has been designed for us and only for us.

– 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.

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!