WHY I’M NOT LETTING COVID-19 STOP ME FROM WORSHIPPING.

As much as I miss gathering together with my church family week after week in the physical building, as much as I miss being with my middle school students on Sunday mornings, as much as I wish this whole quarantine/ COVID-19 business wasn’t going on… this is reality. This is our current situation and if I’m being honest, I’m okay with it because I know who is in control.

I refuse to allow COVID-19 and quarantine to stop me from deepening my relationship with Jesus, worshipping, and ministering to my students and those around me. The truth of it all is that the church is not a building, the church is the body of believers, the bride of Father. While yes, I have felt some feelings of missing the building and worshipping in person with the band and my people, that is not what is driving me to worship and praise the Father. What drives me to lift my hands and worship the Father is my love and delight in who He is.

I have noticed a wide variety of different takes, perspectives, and actions in regard to not being able to meet in the physical building of the church. Whatever your opinions may be, I have noticed that being in a building or not has had little effect on how I am worshipping. And it shouldn’t, right? Worship, praising, and singing aloud to the Father is not confined to the walls of a building. I can’t help, but lift my hands in honor of the one who gave up His life for me. I can’t help, but at times fall to my knees and give thanks to the one who loved me when I was at my worst.

To keep this short and sweet, I just want to encourage you to continue to press into the Father. Press into His goodness. Press into His steadfast love. As Christians, the world is looking to us to see how we handle this season of life. Be bold in your faith. Worship with praise and music. Read the word and share how God has been faithful to you in the past and now in the present. Take great delight in the one who laid his life down for you. Take great delight in the love and joy of the Father.

Psalm 16:8-11 

I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore

IF YOU THINK YOU’RE TOO FAR GONE, THINK AGAIN.

SO, with all this quarantined time… I have honestly spent a lot of time reflecting (shocker, because what else is there to do lol) on my relationship I have with myself and with God. Truthfully, as much as I miss my people and spending time with the ones I love, I have enjoyed this time being home for a few reasons. One of those reasons being, I have so much more time to invest in my relationship with the Lord. I have time to sit and bathe in the Word. I have time to read and study books in the bible. I have time without distractions to meet God daily.

I have also had the time to self reflect and asses how I am and the place God has me in. I’ve concluded a few things from all this self-reflecting:

  1. I am so so excited for what the Lord has in store for me.
  2. I am at a place in my life where I genuinely look at myself and see what God sees (which for me, has been a rocky road).
  3. I have become more self-aware (which also, has been a learning process).

NOW to get right into it, I never use to look at myself as a “worthy child of God who is loved.” I mean, I knew this. I read it in the bible. I listened to sermons about that I have value and that God calls me His “beloved”. I believed THAT those truths were true… but I did not live or act like they were true, and if I did I most likely faked it. Being straight up and open here, I treated myself like a commodity and allowed others to walk all over me and because of that, I lost who I was. I was even over here a few years back preaching on this blog and on Instagram that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that my identity rests in the Lord, but I wasn’t truly living that truth out. I didn’t fully believe IN the truth that my worth, value, and identity were found in Jesus. 

What spiked this idea on wanting to sit down and write about this topic on VALUE & WORTH was because I was asked to share my testimony with my team I work with (shout out to every one of yall). I was nervous as heck to share my testimony and somethings I have walked through… partially because that requires me to dip back to a time where my relationship with the Lord was so passive and close to being nonexistent. BUT I was also reminded of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty over my life. I have found myself almost every day recently praising God for bringing me to this point. He has redeemed my life because He loves me, not based upon my works and merit. Let me tell you if salvation and redemption were based upon my actions and works… I honestly wouldn’t have it. BUT how amazing is it that our God is a God of patience and grace!!! Salvation is a wide-open invitation for anyone who believes that Jesus paid the ultimate price of death on a cross for our sins. If you think you’re too far gone, please think again. If you are finding yourself in this place of feeling lost or disconnected from the Father, it is not too late. I’m telling you the love that God has for you goes way beyond you thinking you’re too far gone. It is God’s reckless love that causes him to leave the 99 to find the one [ Luke 15:7 ].

I say all this because there was a time in my life where I didn’t see myself the way God sees me. There is a huge gap in our society that preaches you need X, Y, and Z to be loved and known… and I was once stuck in that gap. I believed that if I just belittled myself then people would like me more or some crazy thought along those lines… which is so far from the truth. I say all these things and I bring up the things I’ve walked through not to seek any sort of applause, but to shine a light on the truth that it was all because of Jesus. None of it was my own doing or on my own strength. God’s intervention has come at the right times in my life and to that point, there is a reason that God’s timing is so perfect.

I was reminded this week about the story of the prodigal son and no matter how many times I read or hear that story, a whole wave of emotions come flooding in [ Luke 15:11-31 ]. I was the prodigal daughter. I was lost in my sin. I didn’t deserve to be clothed in His best robe, I didn’t deserve a ring on my finger or the sandals from His feet. Yet, out of His overflowing love for me and His eyes fixed on me, God claimed me as worthy.

Much like the one son, we think we sustain and keep ourselves together. For whatever reason, most of us have fallen under the lie that we are able to hold ourselves together by our own strength. TRUTH IS, we NEED Jesus. This isn’t just some suggestion might I add… We need Him because we cannot live this life or do anything without Him. I say this to from a place of love because I want you to know the Father like I  know him. I want you to taste and see that the Lord is so dang good, in all situations, He is better than it all.

Honestly, what I learned the other day by sharing my story and my testimony was that you have to look back on those moments where God intervened. You have to look back to the past and see where you are in the present. I promise you from my own experience, God’s faithfulness has consistently been there. Which, because I know God was faithful from then until now, I can trust that He will continue to be faithful in my future.

 

GOD’S NOT WORRIED, SO WHY DO I WORRY?

You guys, we are living in some intense, uncertain times right now. I am not here to simply just talk about the coronavirus and entice you to panic or become fearful. I mean, between all the crazy going on with this coronavirus and our leaders guiding us and figuring out what is best for our country and the world at this time… I just want to encourage YOU today. 

I want to start out by saying, that WE, as believers, are NOT given a spirit of fear… we are not called to be fearful. Fear is of the enemy, NOT of God. As believers, we have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-control ( 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 ). I want to start off by saying this because this truth holds a lot of weight. This is who we are as children of God. We do not have a spirit of fear. SO, let me then say that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but of fear. It is normal to have doubts. It is normal to have those feelings of doubt or questions… but it’s a whole new ball game when you start to label yourself as being fearful and putting a label on something that strikes up fear. You see when you are fearful about a circumstance or situation ( for example, the coronavirus ) you are essentially putting all your weight and faith into the current circumstance. RATHER THAN, putting your faith into the one who is forever in control, which is God. 

So, let me ask you… ( and be honest ) WHERE ARE YOU PUTTING YOUR FAITH? Are you putting your faith in the current circumstance/ situation of your life OR are you putting your faith in God?

Throughout this whole situation that our country and the world have been faced with, I have held tightly to the word and God’s. God’s word is FULLY alive. Jesus is alive. God is in full control over what is going on right now and this is what I mean by that… He knows exactly what is going on right now. He is not surprised one bit about what is going on right now. He has always known. He is in control of the past, present, and future. Think of it this way, the Lord provides for the birds… who don’t hold as much value as us… so if the Lord provides for the birds and honestly, all of the animals, He will surely provide for us ( MATTHEW 6:26 ). In any season of life, God will provide for you. He is so dang faithful to us. I have experienced his faithfulness in my own life so I can confidently say to you that he upholds his word.

I want to leave you with these few points to think about :

  • God will provide for you, but it takes you to have faith in Him. If you’re a small business owner or if you are unable to work right now due to the coronavirus, instead of stressing about what will happen and the things that you need to take care of ( bills, children, food, etc) give that anxiety to the Lord. I know that’s way easier said than done… but please believe me. When you surrender any and all of your control or anxiety to the Lord, you will experience his peace and spirit of comfort.
  • Stay connected with your community. Yes, we should be complying with social distancing protocols BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay connected with your community. Take advantage of social media right now with facetime or apps to stay connected with your friends and family. For me, my disciple group downloaded the HouseParty App to carry on with our usual DG meeting. While yes, this isn’t “ideal” we have to make the most of the situation.
  • Take advantage of this time to dig into God’s word. Personally, I am using this time to spend more quality with the Lord. I’ve been studying the word/ devotionals, following my usual devotional my church has, honestly doing all the things I can right now to make the best use of my time. Currently, my church is doing daily devotionals and we have started online worship gatherings to hear the word and to still praise God.
  • God is in complete and total control over EVERYTHING. So if God’s not worried right now about what the next step is going to be, why should we be worrying? Think of it this way, God is the captain of our team. Since he is the captain, his attitude determines the attitude of his team ( the church ). God is calm, not anxious, and in control… therefore we should follow his leadership in being calm, not letting anxiety, and fear rule us. You may not have control over your circumstances, but you do have control over your actions and how you respond to the circumstances that surround you.

The biggest thing we can be doing right now is following our leaders, being cautious/social distancing AND  ( most importantly ) be praying and leaning into the Lord at this time. He will see us all through this, you can trust him on that.

HIGHS + LOWS : JANUARY – MARCH RECAP

God truly has been teaching me a lot these past few months of 2020. This new season of my life has been filled with so many highs, but also accompanied with a few lows. One of those lows being that I have had to take a slight step back from writing and podcasting.

Don’t get me wrong, right now I am truly so on fire for the Lord. I want to do everything and anything I can right now to continue to expand the kingdom and serve. HOWEVER, the fact of the matter is, that I cannot do everything and anything. There are only so many hours in the day, there is only so much I am able to do… which seems to be sort of a slap in the face for me. I’m the kind of person who wants to do it all, and having to face the fact that I am unable to do everything in this moment has been hard for me.

Which brings me into the truth that even though I want to do it all… I want to have unlimited time to do ALL the things… work, serve at church, write, podcast, cultivate & grow my relationships/friendships, take care of myself, focus on health and fitness, and most importantly spend time with the Lord… God is the only one who is limitless; He is the only one who is able to do all the things if he so wishes. Unlike me. I’m only human and being a human means you are limited.

So, I’ve had to truly look at my life and prioritize my responsibilities according to the season I am in right now. I do believe that your priorities change depending on the season you are in. You have to adapt, change, and move with the flow of the Lord and his plans.

For me, I’ve had to really make spending time with the Lord, taking care of myself, work, and being with family the priority. Which means some other things I care about are not on the top of the list and have to take less of a priority in my life. AND THIS IS OKAY. It is okay to step back from activities and people. At first I had a hard time with this, I didn’t want to disappoint people for not putting out constant content with my blog and podcast… I didn’t want to hurt any friends by not being able to hangout, but I know that it is for my own sake and health (mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically) that this has been the right decision.

The Lord has given me such a peace about this decision which is why I know that it’s right for this season. Praying about it and bringing situations to the Lord, like this one is so important. I mean, why would you not want God involved in your decision making process? After all, he’s the one who is ultimately in control. Being on staff now with church, we have a code of conduct. One of those conducts being : PRAY FIRST, DECIDE SECOND. Sounds easy, right? Sounds like something we should all being doing, right? This is something that hasn’t come easy to me if I’m being honest. I am a control freak by nature (if you know you know lol) so surrendering over control to the Lord is something I have to pray about and follow through with daily. I’m not always perfect, but I continue to put my full trust into the only one who is perfect.

This is just another example in my life of God being constant and faithful. He brought me into this season and placed all these opportunities at my feet NOT so that I could figure it all out on my own, but so that I would continue to lean into him to show me the way. There is absolutely nothing God would lead you into if he wasn’t going to be by your side every step of the way. He is that good… he is that faithful that he would stick by your side, carry you even down the path he put you on.

I’m not sure what your season of life looks like now. I’m not sure where you are at in your faith walk, or if you even know Jesus at all. But let me tell you, there is a time and a place for everything. There is a time to live and a time to die. There is a time to hustle and a time to rest. There is a time to pursue and a time to let go. There is a time of singleness and a time of marriage. There is a time and place for everything. God is in control of it all. His ways are significantly better and higher than our own. His timing is perfect.

If you’ve gotten this far, my prayer for you is that you learn to surrender control over to the Father. That you look at your priorities in life and see where you are lacking and invite God into your priorities and decision making. Don’t allow others to belittle you for doing so. It is wise and obedient to recognize what the Lord wants for you and to align your thoughts and desires with his RATHER than trying to make God align with what you want in life. I pray you have the vulnerability to relinquish control over to him daily, hourly, minutely. Amen.

NEW SEASON + WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE TO OBEDIENT

SO, I’ve talked about this on my Instagram page (@thebeautiful.brave – shameless plug, sorry bout it), BUT there have been many life updates that I would like to share with you all as my readers and supporters.

When I went to Passion 2020 I got a word during one of the worship sessions about going into ministry. Now listen, I’ve thought about this before. I’ve thought about how cool it would be to work for the church and actually step into that role of being a leader within the church, specifically a leader somewhere among student ministry. To many people, this is not any type of “stable career” which I totally understand where they are coming from. It’s a risky move most of the time going into ministry. This is where I was at. I thought I would love to do it, but it isn’t “practical.”

So, when I was at Passion and felt the pull and call to ministry I thought it was insane. Honestly, it scared me a little too. I was praying about what my next steps would be with my life. Would I be applying for nursing school summer 2020 term or would I wait until fall? Should I go back to school or should I not? Many questions people my age are asking and seeking answers too.

SIDE NOTE : Many people would call this “finding out the will of God or what is God’s will for my life.” For all of us, we know what God’s will is for us, to go onto the ends of the Earth sharing the good news, making disciples, and draw others to Jesus. Wherever you are placed in your life, you are called to go and spread the Gospel. This will look different for everyone. Some people will physically go to the ends of the Earth as missionaries. Others might work at a local church, be a teacher/student, or spread the good news as a professional athlete.

I knew that when I got home from Passion I needed to be obedient about this call. Too many times in my life I have heard a word from God and never acted on it until too late or dismissed it. To make it personal, in the past I knew I needed to get out of a relationship way before I actually did. When I dismissed God telling me to leave the relationship things naturally didn’t get better which caused a lot more pain/hurt that prolonged the healing process. I was so confused why God didn’t answer the prayer I was praying the way I wanted him too. Eventually, I saw the light and realized that his ways are greater than my ways and clearly he knows better than I do (but I struggled and still struggle with this).

I applied for the apprenticeship at the Church of Eleven22 (my church home here in Jax) when I got home from Passion. Honestly, I had zero idea of what I was getting myself into, I just knew I needed to be obedient to the call on my life. AND 3 weeks later I am now an apprentice with my church in student ministry, specifically middle school ministry. I have never been so excited to go into this new season of not knowing what comes next.

This is a HUGE step for me. I am the one who always has a plan. I am that girl who is a planner. I am the one who always knows what her next step will be. The fact that I have no real idea of what will be next for me excites me and terrifies me at the same time. Actually letting go of fear and having full trust in a plan that I do not know is unlike me, but I think that’s a good thing. This is what growth and being obedient to what God has planned looks like. Sometimes it truly is not knowing and fully trusting in the Lord’s plan. I am walking proof though that when you are obedient to God, he is faithful and opens doors. How I like to think of it as… if I am faithful, God is faithful in return.

Stepping out & being obedient won’t always be easy & comes with a lot of risk. There is a huge risk here with the pull to go to ministry. Taking time off school/ not trying to get into nursing school right now to be intentional with this apprenticeship is the route I am taking right now. Even though this apprenticeship is only 10-15 hours a week along with babysitting/ nannying 10-15 hours a week, I know that I cannot be fully present and be as diligent as I want if I am also in school. Taking a year off to focus & be intentional with this apprenticeship is my number one priority in life right now. If that means I take time off school to do so, I’m willing to take that risk.

Some verses that I am clinging to right now are :

Jeremiah 29:11, Acts 1:8, Revelation 14:12, Romans 12:2, Romans 5:19

PASSION 2020 RECAP

Atlanta, GA.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

65,000 plus college students.

1,214,075 million dollars (I’m sure the numbers have increased) donated to the Share Light initiative, which enables the gospel to be shared to those who do not have the Bible in their own language.

One motive— to lift high the name of Jesus in complete surrender.

I’ve never seen anything like it before. I have never been apart of something SO huge, but at the same time so intimate. To be able to worship, praise, learn, & glorify MY God with so many others who all have their faith in Jesus was breathtaking and honestly I was in shock/ awe the whole time.

I went with the 1825 group from my church only knowing one person and I went home having more Christ centered relationships than I honestly thought. Our two leaders, shoutout to Tonya & Jonathan, did an amazing at making sure everyone felt comfortable and apart of the family. There is such a need for community within this age range and I’m thankful I stepped out of my comfort zone to find community and relationships. It’s very easy to isolate yourself and think you don’t need anyone to do life with, but I can assure you that the enemy would love nothing more than for you to feel and be alone. SO PLEASE, get connected and find community. You don’t have to be alone in your walk with Christ.

As believers, I feel like we take our faith, beliefs, and freedom for granted. We are SO blessed to be able to proclaim the word and truth of Jesus without having to worry if our life will end because of it. However, scripture does say that to live is Christ and to die is gain. We should be living our life out for Christ and if we are persecuted for doing so than it is an eternal life gain/ reward. Without getting too in depth on this topic, I just want all of us as believers to really soak in the fact that we are extremely fortunate to live in a country that allows us to gather together in a football stadium for 3 straight days to worship JESUS.

Passion 2020 was an experience I will never forget and honestly I will be going every year until I can’t go anymore. The heart change I experience and the awakening in my heart just set my soul on fire. My heart has a deeper desire for Jesus and to draw others to him. So much so, that I signed up to go to Costa Rica for a mission trip with my church. I never thought I’d go on a mission trip. I’ve come up with a billion and one excuses for why I shouldn’t go and why someone else should go. I am over living a life of fear.

Tough love here — if you want change, get up and do it. You cannot live a life waiting for others to do what you want to see. I want to draw others to Jesus through my testimony and I can only do that by going to the places others may not want to go. I am so expectant does what God is going to do. He is a miracle worker and a way maker. I have no doubt he is going to radically change lives and hearts on this trip.

I am asking for lots of prayers in between now and the trip for myself, my team, the people we will be impacting, and for God to do wonders (which I know he will). Along with prayers, I would be extremely grateful if you would join in supporting me for this trip. While you may not be able to go with me to Costa Rica, you can support the trip. You can follow this link below and select my name to support my funds!

https://coe22.managedmissions.com/Donations/Donate/44080

Thank you in advance for the love, prayers, and donations. I am extremely grateful that I have a supportive community who supports my writing and love for Jesus.

2019 RECAP

Beginning of 2019 : Well, the first few months of this new year ended up taking a turn for the worse, especially around April/May. I was in school during this time and completely wanted to just give up on all that. I was in a place of confusion and hurt, which now I see how that affected everything I was doing. It was the little faith that I had in Jesus having my back that got me through this time. I was at the point where I had the mindset of “God, I have zero idea what you’re doing right now. I do not understand why you have put me in this place, BUT I will trust you even though I do not see where you are taking me.” I really had a mustard seed of faith in God at this point in time, but that’s all it takes.

Middle of the year : I truly had such a great summer spent with friends and taking classes. I broke out of my shell and started to branch out. However, I was still broken and hurting. It wasn’t helping that I brushed how I felt under the rug, honestly thinking things would just work out and I would magically heal. This is the time my relationship with God was very wishy washy. I struggled a lot with surrendering the things I was dealing with. I would surrender them on one day then a few days later go back, pick up what I left at the cross, and take them back thinking I could fix things. I had a “plan” for what my future plans were going to look like/be. I really tried to hold myself together and convince myself that my “plan” was from God, knowing well that I was the one coming up with that plan, not God. Still I rolled with it.

End of 2019 : I found out the beginning of October that I was rejected from a nursing program. This completely broke my heart, but I realized that God has such a great plan for me. I acknowledged that I need time with God and time to regroup my heart. (I also turn 22 in October… shout out to one year of getting older and I can only hope wiser!)

I got my feet under me and finally made the changes I had been talking about all year. I stepped out of my comfort zone and truly found my purpose in Jesus. I went on an amazing women’s retreat that made a huge impact on my life. I found the most beautiful group of women and who invited me to be a part of their disciple group (shout out to Whitney, Cassandra, Kathy & Brooke – thank you ladies for loving me for me!). I finally surrendered past hurt and guilt which freed me and led me to whole-hearted forgiveness. AND NOW, I am currently on my way to Passion 2020 in Atlanta with a group from my church.

My year never plays out the way I expect it to when January rolls around. I experienced a lot of hurt, rejection, and disappointment this year, but even more joy and happiness in the Lord. I say it’s funny how that is, but it really isn’t. It’s never a “coincidence” that something happens the way it does. NOTHING is ever an accident. Following Christ means understanding that curve balls, hills, and valleys all happen to us because they are apart of our plan set and designed by the Author of Life. We are so quick though to say something is an accident or too quick to say it’s a coincidence, but really we should be quick to say, “look, there’s God again doing what he does best, show off his mighty ways.”

I have never been more excited for my future and I also have never been so excited to be in the place where I am at in life. There is so much ahead of me that God has planned and I am so stoked to see what his plans are for me.

To kick off 2020, I am so dang excited to share the project I have been working on… The Beautiful & Brave Podcast! This has been an idea I have had for such a long time and finally see it come to life is a dream.

***Below I will leave the link to the podcast on Spotify. When the first episode is released, I will post all the details on where to find it!

STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

This last half of year has really forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I’m in no way a risk taker. I definitely would classify myself as a more reserved typed of person, which I am personally okay with. However, the last half of 2019 really nugged me to step outside of my comfort zone. I knew God was the voice speaking to me saying, “step outside of your bubble. You’ll thank me later.” More so, I knew that if I stepped out of my own bubble, my relationship will deepen and strengthen with Jesus.

Around October/November, I noticed my church was holding a women’s encounter retreat for a weekend in November. Not knowing a single soul, I was reluctant to sign up. Thankfully, God nugged the heart of one of my best friends to go and we signed up together. That weekend completely changed my perspective on my life and I knew what I wanted my life to look like from spending quite, personal time with Jesus and women of God. I made amazing relationships with beautiful, spirit filled women and I am so proud of myself for having the courage to be obedient to the call God put on my heart to go on the retreat. After God and other christian women poured into my life that weekend, I walked out a different person. I was disappointed in myself when I found a week later falling into sin and screwing up, but it is about progress not perfection. God’s grace is new every morning and is never taken away from you, even if you feel unworthy of his forgiveness, grace, and love.

On a whim, I signed up to go to Passion 2020 Conference in Atlanta, GA. This is one of the biggest christian conferences in the states and probably the world. I am so incredibly excited to continue to step out of my comfort zone for Jesus. I will gladly continue to be obedient if that means risking my comfort for the name of the Lord. I am so eager to see what God reveals to me this upcoming trip and I am ready to be filled and poured into by amazing followers of Christ. I am going with a small group from my church and I honestly don’t know anyone other than one of my girlfriends who signed up with me. The best part about stepping out of your comfort zone is forming unexpected, Godly centered relationships which is what I’m looking forward to doing.

As I prepare to leave for Passion tomorrow, I can’t help but be so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to go away for two weekends this year to just sit in the presence of God and surround myself with other believers. It really is a blessing that I am fortunate enough to have the means to part take in these two experiences. I cannot wait for what doors God will open in 2020. I cannot wait to continue to step outside of my comfort zone for the glory of God.

GOD DOESN’T WASTE A HURT.

Nothing is insignificant to God. Painful moments, happy moments, and everything in between are worth something to Him. He doesn’t waste a hurt. He doesn’t waste your time. He won’t ever waste your time. Now, that’s not to say you may not waste your own time, because let’s face it, we all waste our own time somehow doing something.

Now with talking about how God doesn’t waste your hurt, I think its fair game to bring up the topic of healing. Everyone heals differently. Everyone handles hurt and disappointment differently. Most people will choose to be alone, act like the hurt is nothing (basically brush things off), keep busy, or do anything to avoid the healing process. Some seek healing through deepening their relationship with God, turning to friends and community for love and support. Like I said, everyone heals differently, so I may not have even listed all the ways someone copes with hurt. But these are just examples of what I’ve experienced through friends or myself.

To make it personal, I was holding onto a lot of past hurts that were just dead weight. It finally clicked with me the other night that the only way I can move on with my life is if I let the past go. Which you may be thinking is common sense. The thing is, I had no clue until God reviled it to me that I was still holding onto things that. Holding on to disappointment that was lowkey dictating my actions now. I was holding on to past hopes and expectations that if I’m realistic, will still never come to be. I didn’t realize how tired and weary I was from carrying things with me that needed to be dropped a long time ago. So, it was at that moment. A moment of high anxiety that led me to complete (and I mean complete) surrender. A moment that led me to wholehearted forgiveness.

It all ends with forgiveness. Forgiving yourself and forgiving the one who hurt you. This is so dang hard to do. Actually showing grace and forgiveness is way easier said than done, but it will free you once you follow through with it. Only you and God will know the truth. Be honest with yourself. The deeper the hurt, the longer it may take for you to release and forgive. The simple truth is, is that you will never fully move on or heal if you don’t full-heartedly forgive either yourself or someone else.

I have to constantly remind myself of these three truths: This is all for his glory. All for his purpose. All for our benefit in the end.

Who are you to not show grace??? After all, Jesus laid his life down to forgive you of all your sins. So let your pride go. Show yourself some grace today. Take yourself down from the pedestal you’ve placed yourself on and show others the same grace God shows you every day.

BEGIN.

I was so inspired this morning to write and continue pursuing this passion and vision I have of using my writing and platform to draw others to the gospel. I watched a sermon from Transformation Church this morning and my heart was instantly inspired (I will leave the link down below for you to watch it and don’t worry, I’m not going to completely spoil the sermon here).

A point that I wanted to draw out and talk about from that sermon basically is summed up in one word – BEGIN. How many times have you started something or had a vision/calling to do something, but you look at your circumstances and think “I don’t have the means to carry this out”? Me too. I’ve been there. Specifically with this blog. I had the vision for a long time and did absolutely nothing about it. Now, having this blog for two years and taking that step in faith, I have more dreams and aspirations for my life that I have been hesitant to begin because I feel like “I don’t have the proper tools to start this project.” When in fact, God has provided the means necessary to start and begin this project idea I have. I don’t need tech savy equipment like I think I need. Truly, all I need is a pen and some paper. I think a problem that we have in this day and age is we always want more. We want what we don’t have. We want what others possess. We think, “if I just had THEIR life, I would be better off/happy.” It doesn’t help that we have access to information and can make purchases at the click of a button, and sometimes can use same-day delivery.

The cold, hard truth is… if you truly want something for your life, you have to get up and go after it. Your dreams won’t magically come true. For example, I truly do have faith and believe God’s plan for me is greater than what I can even imagine. I trust that his plan is the only one for me. Daily, I have to relinquish my plans over to God and hand him over my need for control. BUT, with that being said, that DOES NOT mean that I am going to sit and wait for things to work out before me. It, in fact, requires my energy and my effort. The same goes for you, my friend. If you have an idea that you want to come to life, first, console with God and make sure that it is what his will is for you, and second, put your idea to action! Begin! Start! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

SO, with 2020 being a week away, I want to encourage you to NOT make a new years resolution list, because let’s be completely honest and open here, you will not follow through with it. Instead, I am proposing a different tactic that has worked for me this past year, just write three things that you would like to see a change in or three goals that you have that are PRACTICAL (key word here, people). To be honest, you don’t even need January 1, 2020, to start on that next project or to fill out that application. You just need to BEGIN. Everyone starts somewhere, but you will never get where you want to go if you don’t START. ***I will be sharing more in another blog coming this week on what I will be pursuing/prioritizing this upcoming year.

Link to the sermon mentioned in this blog – https://youtu.be/6edEDmcnLrI