– 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!

ENOUGH

I’ve written about this before, and I will again and again. YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH.

You are enough. I promise. Anyone is crazy to say you aren’t and they are crazy for not giving you the love and appreciation you deserve.

The confidence I have seems to only be for a fleeting moment. I constantly desire what others have rather than look and say, “I have enough. I am enough.” I struggle just like the next person does. I am not a saint. I am not perfect. My humanness is hard to hide and it is extremely difficult most of the time to work on it. One minute I feel like I am making progress, the next minute I find that I have taken 5 steps back. You seriously think he wants YOU of all people? You think she wants to be your friend? I think to myself all the time, “What am I doing wrong? How can I be better in this aspect of my life? Why am I not good enough for this person? I do not have what it takes. I do not have enough. I am not enough.” The moment I start to build myself back up, words and thoughts creep into my mind tearing the effort and work I had back down to dust, down to absolutely nothing. This leaves me feeling so hopeless and confused. Will I ever get back that now destroyed progress?

In the midst of these thoughts and words that are so damaging, I hear a quiet and soft voice speaking to me. A soft reassuring, gentle voice speaking to me… “My daughter… do not forget who you are, do not let this world crumble and tear you down. Look at me, look at who I am. I will provide what you need. Put your trust in me. My love is sweeter than anything you have ever tasted. My words will bring you peace. I will protect you. I will be your rock. Abide in me.”

You know, when you feel small and pushed to the side, it is hard to see anything past that. It is easy to get stuck in the mindset that because this person makes me feel small and unimportant, that that is who and what I am – small and unimportant. But that is not the case, whether you believe it or not. Just because someone treats you like you are unimportant does not mean that is what you are. God certainly does not look at you and think, “This person is unimportant to me.” Absolutely not. He looks at you and thinks, “Perfect. Redeemed. That is my son. That is my daughter. I love who they are and who I have created them to be.”

So, since all of this is true, why do I still struggle with feeling unimportant, small, uninvited, unworthy, unloved by the ones in my life? It’s the enemy. He wants you to feel isolated. However, when you are rooted in the fullness and love of Christ, you will be able to stand against the enemy.

John 15:5-7 || I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

A SIDE NOTE: Be kind to yourself and to others. I cannot stress that enough. Be positive. Speak supportive and encouraging affirmations to yourself and to others. You never know what a simple smile or kind word may do to someone’s heart. Everyone is on a different journey and everyone is battling something. You have the power within you to spread the gospel and the love of God. Take advantage of it. 

 

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Not everyone’s story is the same, just like not everyone is the same. Honestly, wouldn’t this world be incredibly boring if we were in fact… all the same?

We live in a society that tells us that if you are this size, you are beautiful. If you have this color hair or hairstyle, you will be pretty. If you are “just like this”, or “only like that”, or “be more like her”, and “just do what he does”, we will be identified as “ideal or normal.“I say, “no.”

Because I know that trying to be someone I am not, will just make me miserable. I’ve been there. I have tried in more ways than one to be “that girl” that I thought was going to get me noticed by my friends, by boys, by anyone. Sure, it worked for a while, until I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor crying one night because I was so exhausted trying to be this girl that I thought I was suppose to be striving for.

Now, I am not sure what your story is, but I am sure you can go back to a time in your life, or a moment, where you tried to conform to who society says you should be. It can be straining and take a toil on someone, especially a young male or female, specifically in middle school, high school, even college and it doesn’t even stop there. It trickles into adulthood and pierces at the heart. “If you could be more like this mom”, maybe your kids will like you. “If you hung out more with your kids instead of working”, maybe your wife and your children would appreciate you more. “If you just worked harder”, “if you only spent more time in church”, “if you only took better care of yourself”. These thoughts creep into our hearts and minds, if you say that they don’t or they haven’t before…I think I’d be amazed.

There is a fine line between doing something for yourself and doing something for others or because you want to conform to society. I have found many times that I think I am doing something for myself, then I take a step back and realize that I was doing it to please or satisfy someone else. BUT, there have been more times, recently, where I have started doing things because I WANT TO and because I have a PASSION for something. It takes time and a whole lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and to break away from what society says is “beautiful” and create your own beautiful. It is worth it though.

This is what is so beautiful about Jesus and the gospel. We are called to walk in the fullness of God and just be OURSELVES. God doesn’t call us to be like everyone else, he doesn’t except us to fit in with what society tells us we should be. He wants you to embrace your differences and be unique. He will give you the courage and confidence to break out of your shell if you ask. If you think that there is nothing “special” or “different” about you…think again. God created you in his image, there is a whole lot of special just in that! Then you add on all the gifts he has blessed you with, you are one completely amazing human being! Sometimes it just takes a prayer, or a whole group of people to help bring that YOU out.

B O T T O M  L I N E:

You are the only one who is like you. You are the only one who has your story. You are unique. It is okay to be different, it is okay to show that to the word. Break away from conformity and let your heart shine. 

DEAR JESUS,

Dear Jesus,

I don’t know where to begin…

or what to say other than thank you. I can’t help but want to cry in total gratitude.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be here if your love didn’t came down and scooped me up into your arms, wrapping me in love and grace. You didn’t have to save me. You didn’t have to die on the cross and say “it is finished.” You didn’t have to forgive the ones who wronged you. You didn’t have to pay for my sins. You didn’t have to give your life. BUT, you did. And you did it all because you love me. You saved me because you see me as worthy, even if no one else does. You saved me, a sinner.

You know, there have been many seasons of my life where I have not put my trust in you or I have questioned your authority. There have been so many times where I think “I got this, I can do this on my own, I don’t need your help”, however you know that. You know my every move, every thought, what I am going to say before the idea even comes into my head. You know what my life will be like in five years, even until my last breath, you have my life all planned out.

And constantly I find myself questioning your plan and your power, when I shouldn’t because you know what YOU are doing. I think it’s because I don’t have all the answers, and honestly that frustrates me. Because all I want are the answers.

There are so many days where I just feel lost and broken. There are times I don’t believe that you are listening to me. There are times where I cry in anger because I convince myself I am not important to you or that I’m not important to anyone.

Do you understand me? Do you hear me? Am I worth it? Am I good enough? If I changed who I am would people like me more?

But you tell me I am beautiful, even when I feel ugly. You tell me I am worth it, even when I feel worthless. You tell me I am whole, even when I feel broken. You tell me I am loved, even when I feel far from it. You tell me saved and redeemed.

BUT…Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t have been given the opportunities that have been placed on my path. I wouldn’t have been blessed with relationships or met certain people. I like how I can only be open and completely honest with you. I couldn’t try and hide anything from you even if I wanted to. I don’t have to suppress my feelings. I don’t have to hide my tears. I don’t have to hide who I am like I hide myself from other people.

A thank you does not even do you justice. You deserve all the glory and praise, forevermore.