HIGHS + LOWS : APRIL – JULY RECAP

WOW! What a crazy, unexpected past few months it has been. Truly, I still cannot believe the events that have all played out these past 7 months from COVID- 19 to all the racial injustice in our country. Just in January, I was in a stadium filled with 65,000 men and women… of all different ages, different colors, different stages of life, all in one place giving praise and glory to Jesus. We were all there with one intention and purpose. Now, it seems like that was so long ago, in a completely different time. Things are just so different now and it’s weird knowing that we have to adjust to this new “normal.” However, ONE thing is for certain, regardless of everything in our world and culture changes (which it will) JESUS remains the same today, tomorrow, and forever.

As always, I want to remind you as you are reading this 4-month recap/life update – I did none of this on my own… ALL of the good, the blessings, even the lows I’ve walked through the past few months, it is all JESUS. He alone deserves all the credit and all the glory.

The past 7 months of 2020 has been a true growing season in listening to what the Lord wants/has for me and being open in going where I am being led. I have had to make decisions that haven’t been comfortable, say no to my flesh and yes to Jesus, and face confrontation (which is not my favorite thing to do… Can anyone relate?). 

Something the Lord has so kindly pressed more onto my heart the past few months has been my singleness. I think for a while I tried to fight it because what girl in her twenties wants to be single? Many of my friends are in serious relationships or engaged or married… so I think I’ve just been wanting to go with the flow.  However, God showed up and made it clear that singleness is a GIFT and during my singleness, I should be pursuing and running after Him rather than other things. Something clicked, a light bulb went off, and the whole idea of dating or being in a relationship was turned off in that moment of being quiet with the Lord. I can’t explain it fully, but I have never been more content with saying “yes Jesus, I will and want to run after you, and only you.”

Truthfully, I have never been happier just being me. I think singleness gets a bad rap… because society puts such emphasis on having someone and that is the only way you can have a purpose – WHICH IS NOT TRUE.

It’s completely counter-cultural to be single AND not talk or hook up with someone. We live in a world where it’s normal to hop around from relationship to relationship, claiming Jesus as Lord, yet doing relationships and sex societies way vs Jesus’ way… (I say this so bluntly because I have lived it and now understand the truth). We live in a hookup, shack up, break up culture… and again, it’s counter-cultural to do relationships and singleness Jesus’ way. I am grateful that God got a hold of my heart exactly where I am at – because now I know what is right in the eyes of the Father and how He does relationships.

So yes, I am completely content and full of joy with where the Lord has me (and I’m not just saying that to say it, I mean it!) At the end of the day, I know who holds my heart and has my best interest in mind. I know who has my story written, therefore I am not worried about what the future holds in terms of a relationship. For anyone who is single OR in a relationship and you want to take advantage of this gift/season – I recommend checking out Relationship Goals  by Mike Todd and Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart!

Now that I have that out in the open… I have to say, July has been my favorite month this year (next to January)! The Father has been revealing His faithfulness to me as I have been taking steps of obedience in my walk. I have been seeing fruit from ministering to my 7th-grade girls who I lead every week (they have been the best part apart my summer). I had an opportunity to submit a writing challenge for the First 5app (w/ Proverbs 31 Ministries). I applied for bible college, AND GOT ACCEPTED INTO SCHOOL! I never thought I would have the opportunity to pursue ministry in this way, but God has continued to pull me in this direction. It truly is so exciting to know that my story is written and God is just showing up in His faithfulness to me.

What I’d love for you to take away from all of this is to be open to the Lord. This is what I mean by being open to the Lord – be willing to surrender your plans over to Him. My prayer for you as you read this is that you would walk open-handedly with Him and let Him guide your steps, rather than you seeking to take the lead. He is so faithful to us and He wants us to experience His faithfulness. I don’t think I would be where I’m at right now in my life if I had not taken the leap of faith to surrender my plans over to God.

So, here is to the last half of 2020 and walking with the Lord with open hands and an open heart!

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.