6 years ago…

There was a point in my life where I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t stand to see the horrible person I was. Everyday I felt like I was letting God and myself down. I felt like I was always bothering someone, that I didn’t belong or fit in. And when I did finally, “fit in”, I lied to myself so that others would like me. I get it, high school is hard. You constantly are seeking the approval of others. You want people to notice you. Or you want someone to just love you. But, no matter what age you are, the devil is always going to try his best to get you at your weakest point, and for me, that’s my self esteem.

Ever been there before? Have you ever felt like you are just floating around constantly seeking the approval of others? Or have you ever gone so far as harming yourself and your body because you couldn’t stand who you were and what you looked like? It’s ok if you have, because I have too. And the crazy thing about it all is, its a lie straight from the devil himself.

6 years later…

I love who I am. I love all my flaws, my curves, my thighs. I understand that I was made for a purpose and I was not a mistake. I rejoice now because I understand that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am not a mistake. God’s plan for me is so much larger than what I could ever think of. There are still days were I do not feel good enough and I start to compare myself to people who are “better looking than me”, or “have more going on than I do”, but that thought never lasts long. And when I do start to feel unloved, unworthy, or I don’t feel confident… I pray. I pray that God rids those thoughts out of my head and my heart. Because I promise those feelings and thoughts are not from God.

It’s ok to have bad days. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be upset. BUT do not dwell on it. Get up. Do your makeup. Stand tall. Buy yourself flowers. The pain and brokenness you may feel now is only temporary.

YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU ARE LOVED. You are more than enough, I promise. You are more than enough because your Savior Jesus Christ, says that you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14 || For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My Story

This is my story. My testimony. My walk with Christ.

It hasn’t always been pretty, things haven’t always been easy for me. And right now in this moment, thinking about the things that I have been through, I pray that somehow, someone, somewhere, will read this and understand.

I grew up going to church and knowing Jesus. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was a child, not even truly understanding the meaning of what it means to “surrender your life to Christ.” My parents are both Christians so I grew up following their example of what it means to live a Christian life. There was never really a point in my life I felt distant and confused when it came to my relationship with Christ until high school.

I struggled with many different conflicts in high school, freshman year right off the bat. I tried so extremely hard to seek the approval of others. I convinced myself that if I participated in activities that I knew were harmful to myself, that people would automatically want to be friends with me. So naturally, that’s what I did and I would come home the next day and just sit and think to myself, is this what my life is going to consist of? Nothing but partying, seeking the approval of others, harming myself? I felt completely lost by the end of sophomore year leading into junior year. I struggled with tons of anxiety and depression, that eventually led to a year of lashing out and harming myself. I honestly didn’t even know what I was doing until it was over. I felt like I was living a lie, to my family, friends, and myself. However, God was with me the whole time. Even when I would sit there, crying, feeling lost and broken, asking Him show up and save me. I was so blinded that I didn’t even recognize that He was there in the midst of my brokenness.

Fast forward to senior year, I started to change my attitude and perspective. I recognized that I will not make it in this world if I do not start developing and strengthening my relationship with Jesus. I started going to the Church of Eleven 22 and I immediately fell in love and found my church home.

I started school at The University of North Florida in the summer of 2016, and loved it. It wasn’t until the fall semester started that I started having anxiety and worry again, to the point where I couldn’t find a way to control it. I got back into a relationship, I was in a sorority, I had tons of friends, and school was going ok, and I was still going to church. Freshman year now looking back on it, seems like a blur. However, I know Jesus was present the whole time, and my relationship with Christ was growing.

The relationship I was in, now seems like it was a roller coaster of emotions, causing happiness and anxiety all at the same time. Many ups and downs, many nights laying in bed asking God, “where are you and what is your plan here?” Even when I was with people I felt alone and confused. Church was the only place I felt at home and loved. However, even though the relationship I was in was not perfect, I still wouldn’t have changed anything. God was present in the beginning, middle, and end and I am so blessed that God had his sovereign hand over the situation. I have learned that God doesn’t put us through anything that we can’t handle. And believe it or not, He puts us in situations that we can’t control to show us that He is in control. 

I took part in the Before All Things initiative through Eleven 22. I surrendered my life to Christ again in the spring of 2017 and I was baptized through Eleven 22 this past summer. Still even with that, there have still been many ups and downs. Living a life for Christ is not easy, but it is so worth it. Everything about Jesus is worth it, because he says we are worth it. We are beautiful, because he says we are beautiful. And we are valuable and loved, because he paid the ultimate price for us on the cross, demonstrating the perfect example of love.

I got the idea for this blog shortly after my baptism, because 1. I absolutely love writing and sharing my thoughts, and 2. because since I am called to be a disciple of Christ, that means we are called to spread the word, and what better way to do that than have a blog that is all about Jesus!

These last few months have been hard and full of confusion and doubt. But, I am so thankful to have so many loving and wonderful relationships in my life that have helped me keep a positive outlook on life.

Now, being 20, I have realized a couple things. I realize that God’s got my life in the palm of his hand. I am young and there are so many doors waiting to be opened. There is no need to be fearful or worry. I will continue to put my faith and trust into Jesus, because honestly I cannot do life without Jesus.

To sum this whole thing up, I am so overwhelmingly thankful for the price Jesus paid for us sinners. He goes before all things. 

If not, He is still good

Daniel 3:18 || But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

He is good even when your life feels like a mess.

He is good even when you feel broken and alone.

He is good even when your life is going great.

And if not, HE is still good.

There is nothing about Christ that is bad, there is nothing about our creator that isn’t love. Are you looking for love? Look for Jesus. Are you looking for peace? Call on Jesus. Are you searching for someone or something to fill that whole in your heart? Jesus is the answer to that too. And if not, HE is still good. 

He is good in all circumstances, the good and the bad. He is good all the time, and all the time He is good. It is something so simple to say that can change our perception in and instant.

Romans 5: 8 || But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I was thinking the other night about my life (something I do way too often). And little did I realize that I was sitting there blaming God for everything, and I mean everything. It then dawned on me, what in the world am I doing? I say that He is good in every situation, yet I am here, crying and crying over things that I think are going wrong in my life. Crying over what I have been doing wrong, crying over how to fix my brokenness. The way to fix all of that, is to fully surrender to Jesus and Him alone and then the rest will follow. Because He is good even when I feel upset and broken.

I promise, if you are hurting, confused, worried, stressed, lost, happy, successful, or even heartbroken, He is good.

How To Praise Christ, In The Midst of Your Storm

“How do I give thanks in the midst of  my troubles? How is it possible to praise God for all of his mighty works when I have so much going wrong in my life? If he is the all powerful and mighty God, why does he let bad things happen to us?”

I am sure questions similar to those have run through your head more than once, especially when you feel like your whole world is crashing down on you. There is something extremely freeing when you just accept that God is in control and that he wouldn’t give you anything that you can’t handle if it wasn’t for your own benefit.

When you are suffering or in a hard season of change, or confusion, it is hard not to question if God is there. But, whether you are a believer or not, whether you trust him to be there for you or not, he is there. He is there in the middle of the doctors appointment, he is there in the middle of your toughest exam, he is there in the middle of your breakdown, he is there in the midst of your divorce, he is there carrying you through these trials.

Now, you may ask, “why is he putting through such pain and hurt if he loves me?” I promise, he wouldn’t put you through anything (pain or happiness) if he didn’t love you. You have to understand, that he puts you through situations, especially the ones that cause the most pain, so that you will learn and grow from them.

John 13:7 || Jesus replied, “You do not realize what I am doing now, but later you will understand.” The context of this verse is surrounding around Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. This was the lowest of the lowest jobs a servant could do back in the day. Jesus taking up this task shows a great sacrificial love, one love that caused Jesus to take up our cross and to give his life for us so that we may be saved.

Psalm 46:1 || God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Because Christ is our source of strength, we need to accept that we cannot do this life alone. We alone cannot fix our hurt, we alone cannot change our hearts, we alone cannot do the impossible. It is only with God our refuge, who gives us our strength, that we can do the impossible. It is only with Him we give the glory and praise.

1 Peter 5: 10-11 || And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. It is only after we have suffered a little while, it is only after we have gone through some pain, that Jesus will swoop in and restore us and confirm in us that we are strong because of his amazing grace.

Keep pressing forward if you are in a season of pain and struggle.

God Is In Control

God is in control. We hear that all the time or at least a form of it. Ever since I was a child, my parents drilled that into my head. Twenty years later, I finally am starting to understand what that means.

Everyone struggles with anxiety, stress, being unable to fully surrender their fears and worries over to Christ. Overtime, your fears, worries, and stress will eventually consume you. Now if you want to live a life like this, being consumed by your fears and always stressed out…by all means, be my guest. BUT, God invites us to live a worried- free, stress-free life. Doesn’t that sound so amazing?

Isaiah 41:10 || So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. But, what exactly does that mean, “God is in control”? We hear verses in church, we read the Bible, we listen to song lyrics that all talk about this, BUT do we really take it all in? Do we fully understand it every time the way God wants us to? Most of the time we don’t. We just say, “oh yeah, I trust, I believe, he is in control.” Unfortunately, we don’t act upon that. We become all talk, and no actions.

Psalm 46:1 || God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Because God is our refuge, this means he is our safe place to go to when times get tough and when times our good. When we know that God is our safe place, it makes it easier to fully trust and surrender to him.

I use to be the worst about worrying about every little thing, I realize now looking back that all of the time I spent stressing and worrying, it didn’t do any good and it also didn’t change my situations.

Matthew 6:25-34 || Do Not Worry

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

There is no reason to worry about tomorrow, or the future. God is in control, remember that. Why let fear and worry hold you back?

Understanding God’s Plan For You

We all can agree on this one fact, life can be messy. Life can also be confusing. I have gone through many seasons of just not knowing and understanding where I am headed in life, which can be extremely frustrating for someone like me.

I am a planner. I like to have everything down to a T. This is not always the best quality to have, especially in the story I am about to tell you.

I recently just got out of a relationship that towards the end became very draining in my spiritual life. I had everything planned out for us and I had this idea in my head it was going to last forever. I always knew there was a reason that God drew us together, however, I never thought God was going to draw us apart. I seemed to always be looking forward to my idea of what God’s plan for me was. Little did I understand that my plan is not God’s plan.

I realize that my prayers were starting to become prayers to save the relationship instead of prayers of understanding and clarity. Now, I get how silly that was. I was actually praying, “Please save this from destruction. Please just help things to work out and please just be present in this situation.” Then my prayers slowly turned into, “God help me understand that it is not my will, but your will. Help me to realize that I am not in control, but you are in control of my life.”

Now, the difference between the prayers is that the first prayer was a prayer of selfishness. I was not praying in a way that was fully giving my faith and situation over to Christ. I was being lukewarm about the whole entire thing; I was half in, half out when it came to trusting God’s plan for me. I cannot stress enough, YOU CANNOT BE HALF IN, HALF OUT, YOU HAVE TO BE FULLY IN WHEN IT COMES TO TRUSTING CHRIST. In the second prayer, I was praying from a different place. I knew then that God had bigger plans for my life and that he was going to use me for something bigger than how I was feeling, which was small and unworthy. Has a relationship or someone or something ever made you feel that way? Small or unworthy? Let me tell you something, that is not the plan God made for you when you were conceived in your mother’s womb. Yes, he had your life planned from the moment you were born! He knows every mistake we will make, he knows every trial we will go through, he knows our deepest thoughts and fears. He isn’t going to just write our plan for us in the sky, we have to ask him and quietly and patiently listen to his voice. He may give us an answer right away or maybe his answer will be just sitting here with me and wait awhile.

John 13:7 || Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

I’ve realized that you cannot make plans then pray for the plan to workout, you must first pray then make plans.

Psalm 23:1-2 || The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters

So, if you are in a season of waiting, keep waiting. If you are confused about what God’s plan is for you, keep praying and seeking him in everything you do. I promise, there is a reason for everything God does, even the little things.

What are you THANKFUL for?

I got a book for my birthday titled, 52 Lists for Happiness, **(I’ll post the link for the book below)**, and it has sparked all these thoughts about things that I honestly haven’t given any thought to lately. There are times, well most of the time, where I just feel unhappy or stuck in a season. This causes me to stray away from what makes me happy and it causes me to just be ungrateful. NOW, I hope I am not the only one who feels this way, but I think there are several reasons for this feeling… (I’m trying to be as blunt as possible)

  • I don’t always remind myself of the things that make me most happy. Honestly, when you are constantly reminding yourself of the things that make you genuinely, heart warming, happy… you will be happy! That’s just how it works.
  • I don’t always thank God for the things that he has given me. I mean, I feel like I do every other day, but not 24/7. This is a problem, because truly, we as selfish human beings, forget all that Christ has done for us. Our father sent down his one and only son to die on a cross FOR OUR SINS and we sit over here just asking God for more of this, or for someone to love us more, or for something to go our way INSTEAD of thanking him for his unfailing love, compassion, and mercy. The cool thing about it though, is that God knows that. He knows our selfish hearts and we honestly just have to work on it every single day, every minute, every hour, just thanking him for all that he has given us and has blessed us with. Once we fully understand this, we will have a happier, grateful heart.
  • I don’t always remind myself of how blessed I am to have certain people in my life, like my close friends and family. Once again, because we are selfish human beings, we tend to be so ungrateful and we take everyone who we love for granted, even the simple things we have and need in life like water, food, and common courtesy. I believe once we stop taking the ones we love for granted, and start living a GRATEFUL and THANKFUL life, we will be 100 times happier.

I challenge you to ask yourself these questions,

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What are you thankful for?
  3. Who means the most to you?
  4. Have you told the people you love lately that you love them?

So, for these questions I really want you to think about it. Don’t just write something topical down, truly get down to the truth. I promise you will benefit from this! SO, right now, thank God for everything he has given to you, taken from you, and thank him for his constant, unfailing love and mercy!

Lamentations 3:22-23 ||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.

Link for the book!

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

Why the beautiful & brave?

Honest question. How do you see yourself? Take a second. Think about it. Maybe write it down in a journal. Take time and really think, how do YOU (not other people) see yourself?

Okay. Now what was the first thing that came to your mind? If you are anything like me, your first thoughts would be all of the things you hate about yourself. Unfortunately, as humans, we have a difficult time at loving ourselves for who God has created us to be. We live in a world where it is common to bring others down and bring ourselves down, a world where boys and girls are taught they are not good enough and they are not loved for who they are, a world where it is okay to harm yourself if it means you will look or feel better.

But this is a fact and the truth, YOU WERE MADE IN GOD’S KIND & LOVING IMAGE.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:3-5

“to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:23-24

Beauty is who we are, it is who we are in Christ. Beauty goes beyond what is on the surface, it reaches down to our core, our soul level. 

Again, think about it. What is beauty to you? Do you see yourself as beautiful and worthy as a son or daughter of Christ? If you don’t or if you are a little hesitant, I encourage you to just pray about it. Pray that the Lord opens your eyes, your heart, your mind to just embracing the amazing person God has created you to be! Pray that God allows you to see yourself worthy of the crown as his princes and princesses.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from the beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in hardships, in persecution, in differences. For when I am weak, I am made strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Having courage and bravery is not always easy. It is however, super easy to get caught in the current of this world. It can be hard to say “no” to this that will corrupt you and distract you, and it can be just as hard to say “yes” to the things that will make you stand apart from others. This is how I see look at it, you can either be a leader or a follower. Which one do you think God wants you to be? Once again, THINK ABOUT IT.

After much thought and prayer, I decided to be obedient (stand up, be a leader, and spread the good news of Christ) to my calling of starting this blog. Yes, I had doubt at first, a lot of doubt. Will people actually read it? Will it really have an effect on people? What if it turns into something totally and utterly amazing? Then I started to think, it really doesn’t matter what others may think, what others may say, whether it’s positive or negative. It only matters what God thinks. So even if this does not go far, I know that in God’s eyes, it is good.

“I have not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9