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.

YOU ARE WORTH IT

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.

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?