• Faith,  Life,  Things I'm learning,  Writing

    Where I’ve Been | Life Update

    Hello, friends. I am back for the first time in quite a while, and I thought it would be appropriate to give an update of where I have been in the past few months and why I haven’t been posting.

    Quite frankly, this blog (and my writing in general) has not gone how I have always envisioned. I am a very idealistic person, and I had a lot of ideas of how my writing should be. I pictured myself going all out, constantly finding new inspiration and motivation, and spending every spare moment writing. But life has a way of happening in the middle of your dreams, and instead of working through that, I just didn’t put my priorities in the right place for some time. My job just recently went full time, and when I wasn’t working or spending time with other people, I was tired and didn’t feel like doing anything productive. As a result of that, I quit pursuing things like writing and music. And honestly? I have a pile of books that I want to read, but I don’t make the time to read them. I have so many ideas for projects and adventures, but I haven’t taken the time or the effort to actually put them into play. I’m not here to make any excuses, but I’m also not here to make a promise of posting every week, or to make an announcement of another big project. I am here simply to say that 1.) I’m sorry that I haven’t made this a priority, I feel like I have let people down and not been true to my word, and 2.) This blog is a huge dream of mine and something that God has been nudging me towards for years. I am finally deciding to be honest about how much I have been struggling to prioritize it and follow His will in obedience.

    The truth is, I love writing and blogging. I love coming up with new ways to express things, and I have always wanted to use my writing to help people. But I learned that it doesn’t come effortlessly. I still need to cultivate it and work hard to find my writing style and methods. I am prioritizing writing and posting on this blog again, and I know that it will take time for me to develop my style, to get things to a point where I can communicate thoughts and ideas well. But something God has been teaching me is that if I wait until I’m a good writer, I will never start at all.  And I am deciding right now to walk in obedience and stop ignoring His call.

    I have felt very unqualified to write this blog. I have had a lot of struggles in my faith, especially lately, and I don’t have a lot of extraordinary life experiences to draw wisdom from. I also worry a lot about peoples’ opinions, and I have allowed their opinions and my ideas of what they think of my writing to control me. But I know that God is teaching me to stop focusing so much on what people think of me, and I am learning and growing, even through the difficulties. He’s been showing me that He doesn’t call the qualified, but he qualifies the called. With that being said, I am still working on figuring out what kind of things I want to post on here. For a while, it might just be a collection of journaled thoughts and things I am learning. I haven’t quite figured it all out. But I know that the time to start is now, and I have been putting it off and forcing a routine and a cookie cutter around my writing. I want to be open to what God leads me to write, and be pliable in His hands to His will.

    As you can tell, I am working on a bit of a new design, hopefully something that is more true to my vision and style for this blog, and I am excited to see where it goes! I would appreciate your prayers, that I will stay faithful in what God is leading me to do, and that I will not allow complacency about my writing to creep back in.

    I feel like this post has been all over the place, but my hope and prayer is that I will be honest and open with my readers, and that my writing will be used for God’s kingdom and glory. I feel like I need a fresh start with this blog, even though I have barely started at all, and I know that this was the post I needed to write in order to do so.

    Thank you so much for being supportive, kind, and patient with this blog process and with me. I love you guys, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to use my writing in this way!

  • Faith,  Fear and Anxiety,  Reminders

    30 Reasons to “Fear Not”

    Fear is something that so many people deal with on a daily basis. It has been one of my biggest battles, and for a long time, I allowed my fear to hold me back and keep me from pursuing the opportunities that God had given me. Friends, that is exactly what Satan wants. One of his favorite tactics is using fear to keep us from our God-given purpose. There was a conference that I attended where the speaker was talking about fighting spiritual battles. God opened my eyes to the fact that I had allowed fear to have a foothold in my life, and I realized that allowing fear to control my life was not bringing Him glory. It was then that I saw how important it was to fight this fear. I had simply been playing offense, trying to keep myself afloat, trying to keep others from knowing how freaked out I was. But we are constantly in a spiritual battle, and it was time for me to get in the fight.

    One of the biggest tools that has helped me fight the battle of fear is the Word of God. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this is such an effective weapon. God’s Word is mentioned several times in the Bible as a sword.  (And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. -Ephesians 6:17) God’s Word is powerful, a fact that I learned through the seemingly hopeless situation of fear. One of the most frequent commands in the Bible is “Fear not.” God knows our tendency as humans is to be anxious and fearful about situations that seem difficult. But instead of leaving us to figure it out and “get over it,” He goes with us into every situation, with the promise that He has already won. We serve a wonderful, powerful, victorious God.

    Always remember that God is bigger than any fear you face, He always has the final say, and He never, ever leaves his children alone. Through Him, we have victory over fear. It is incredibly powerful to have God’s word memorized and hidden in your heart for the times when those fearful thoughts creep in, or Satan tries to convince you that you are alone.

    I put together this list of 30 verses that talk about fear. These are 30 times in the Bible when God has given us a reason to trust in Him instead of surrendering to the fear, and there are so many more that I could have listed. Pick a few to memorize, and declare the truth of God’s word over your fearful thoughts.  Never underestimate the power of God’s and His word to transform your thinking!

    1.) Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    2.) Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    3.) John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

    4.) 2 Timothy 1:7 – for God gave us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    5.) 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

    6.) Psalm 94:19 – When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

    7.) Psalm 56:3-4 – When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust, I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

    8.) Isaiah 43:1-3 – But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

    9.) Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

    10.) Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

    11.) 1 Peter 5:7-8 – Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

    12.) Isaiah 35:4 – Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

    13.) Psalm 27:1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

    14.) Psalm 27:5 – For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock.

    (Actually the entire chapter of Psalm 27 is incredible. Go read it!!)

    15.) Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.

    16.) Mark 6:50b – But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

    17.) Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

    18.) Isaiah 41:13 – For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

    19.) Psalm 118:6 – The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

    20.) Proverbs 29:25 – The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

    21.) Psalm 34:4 – I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

    22.) Psalm 34:7 – The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

    23.) Deuteronomy 3:22 – You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.

    24.) Mark 5:36b – Jesus said…”do not fear, only believe.”

    25.) Romans 8:38-39 – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    26.) Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

    27.) Psalm 91 – (This whole chapter is amazing, so I highly recommend reading it. I’ll put in a few of my favorite verses from it on here.)

    28.) Psalm 91:1-2 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

    29.) Psalm 91:5-6 – You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

    30.) Psalm 91:15 – When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

    It makes such a difference when you can stop the fear dead in it’s tracks and preach the word of God to yourself. He is powerful, and He has given us His word is to crush the lies of the enemy and fill us with the Truth of the Gospel.

    —– LET’S TALK! —–

    Have you committed any of these verses to memory? What are some of your favorite verses for combating the enemy’s lies?

     

  • Faith,  Life,  Reminders

    19 Things I’ve Learned by 19

     

    //Live with purpose. We are not promised tomorrow.

    //You cannot make everyone happy. If your life and decisions are controlled by the opinions of other people, you will be kept from listening to the Lord’s direction and seeking His will for your life.

    // You can be a kind person and still say no. 

    //You are in control of what you think about. You can choose to dwell on the Truth.

    //Read more books. Don’t forget the delight in a good story on a page.

    //God’s goodness does not depend on your circumstances. Our circumstances are constantly changing, but the faithfulness and goodness of God never does.

    //Never seek your worth in your appearance, or in others’ opinion of it. You are more than what you look like. Appearances are never permanent.

    //God’s timing is always perfect. God knows what you want, but he also knows what you need, and He will provide it when the time is right.

    //Love people. Remember the love extended to you, and let it overflow to others.

    //Make time for little people. Invest in the kids in your life. They are looking up to you whether you realize it or not.

    //God is greater than your feelings. As terrible and overwhelming as a situation may seem, God is holding you, and He is bigger.

    //Worrying about the future never helped anyone. God is in control, leave it in His hands and trust that He knows best.

    //Don’t be too busy to take care of your physical health

    //Nothing you do can change the infinite amount of love that God has for you. He loved you when you were His enemy, and as long as you are His child, your sins are covered in His blood. Stop trying to earn His favor.

    //Find your people, and love them. Surround yourself with friends that encourage you, but who also challenge you, and the people who are honest enough to tell you the truth in love because they know it is for your good.

    //Do not listen to Satan’s lies–cling to the promises of God. Memorize Scripture–immerse yourself daily in His truth.

    //God has given you gifts for a reason. Don’t ever allow distraction to pull you away from your purpose.

    //Look to Christ for lasting joy and fulfillment, not to another human. People change, and people are broken. Only in Christ can you be made whole.

    //You will never regret living 100% for Jesus, because this life is only a moment, and you exist by Him and for Him only.

    “I have one desire now–to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.” -Elizabeth Elliot

     

     

  • Faith,  Reminders

    He is Faithful.

     

    when i am fearful

    He is my Courage

    when i am weak

    He is my Strength

    when i am hurting

    He is my Healer

    when i am anxious

    He is my Peace

    when i am heartbroken

    He is my Joy

    and no matter what this wandering child does

    He is always, always Faithful

     

    Romans 8: 38-39

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Devotional,  Faith

    Wait Patiently

    I am not a patient person. I can remember so many times when I was excited about something as a kid, and I believed that I would go crazy if I had to wait much longer. As I’ve gotten older, the things that make me excited have changed, but my mindset hasn’t changed much. I still struggle to patiently wait for the things I want.

    God has really been convicting me of my need to wait patiently for Him. In Psalm 130:5 it says, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Our heart, our attitude, our desires, our everything is to be waiting on God. This doesn’t mean that we kick back and relax while we hope to hear something soon. We are not told to sit and do nothing until we feel like we are moving forward again. We are called to pursue His heart and serve Him in the day-to-day moments while we seek His guidance. We are to be actively seeking Him and patiently trusting his timing on our lives, knowing that He has us right here, right now, for a purpose that is beyond what we can imagine. Times of waiting are the perfect opportunity to draw near to the heart of God and be fully present where He has us. As His children, we are called to live a life of surrender and obedience to God’s will and direction, and even if we feel like we are not moving forward, it is never backwards to draw closer to Him. In this season of waiting, we should want nothing more than to seek an even deeper relationship with our Father.

    We are called to wait patiently on God, and we are also called to be content in every circumstance. I believe the two go hand in hand. This is the part that is really hard for me. How do we stay content when things seem to be going all wrong? Contentment isn’t being happy when things are going right. Contentment is the conscious choice to focus on God, praise Him for His provision, and decide every day that we will be completely satisfied in Him, no matter what. We are not told to question his goodness, mope around until things get better, or take matters into our own hands when they don’t go how we think they should. We are told to seek Him now, and choose to rejoice in Him in this exact place that He has us, completely surrendered and content with His guidance and direction.

    We have been given so many beautiful promises from God to carry with us through tough situations in our lives. He has promised to provide for our needs (Philippians 4:19), cover us with his protection (Psalm 91:4), never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), give us wisdom (James 1:5), and fulfill His perfect plan for our lives (Philippians 1:6). Something I have come to realize is that God is the only one who can both make those promises and follow through. There are plenty of things in this world that offer happiness and satisfaction, but they always, always fall short. One of the beautiful things about God is that not only does he make promises, he fulfills those promises. He has fulfilled them all, time and time again. As his children, it is our responsibility to rest in those promises and to wait on Him in obedience and faith, knowing full well that He has begun a good work and He will bring it to completion.

    Maybe you are in a season of waiting as well. Maybe you feel stuck in a cycle of discontentment with where you are and maybe you fear what could happen in the future. But if you take anything away from this, know that God is completely in control and completely good. No matter what you may be feeling, that will never change. Let’s rest in that promise today, and wait on God with confidence in His sovereignty and His love.

  • Faith

    be all there.

    “Wherever you are, be all there.” -Jim Elliot

    Be all there. Since the first time I read that quote, I have not been able to forget it. I recently realized how quickly I resort to complaining when something isn’t going the way I want it to.  But every time I begin to complain about my situation or circumstance, God has a way of reminding me that I am here in this very moment for a reason. When I am at work, tired, and ready to go home, when I am in the middle of a task that is less than pleasant, or when I am having a bad day and I just want to go to sleep and forget about it, that quote from Jim Elliot comes to mind.

    It is so easy to complain when things aren’t going as planned, or when we have to do something we dislike. Complaining is the natural, easy, and usually our first response. But we as Christians are not called to do what is easy. We are to fight the sinful reactions that come so easily and put them off. (1 Peter 2:11, Ephesians 4:22-24) So while it may be the easy thing to complain about how tired I am, or how much I want to be doing something else, it is not the right thing. It does not glorify God. And maybe that’s what we need to remember as Christians, that the hard response is often the right response, and when we do the hard things, we are becoming more like our righteous Father.

    What if we began cultivating the habit of gratefulness instead of grumpiness? How much would our outlook on life and our responses to it change? Would we be more aware of opportunities to serve others? Would we be even more in awe of our Creator as we notice the details and blessings that we completely overlooked before? We have been given so much, and we often miss it because all we focus on is what we don’t like. I am so guilty of this. 

    So wherever we are, no matter how annoying or unpleasant the situation is, let’s be all there. Let’s be fully present, give it our all. Whether it’s at work, school, in the middle of a hard day, or doing chores around the house, let’s make it our goal to give God glory no matter what we are doing, both with our attitude and our actions. (Colossians 3:17) And instead of complaining about it, let’s look for things to give Him thanks for and express that thanks to Him. I believe it will make all the difference.