• Faith,  Fear,  Life,  Purpose,  Things I'm learning

    Break the silence.


    The human race is sin-scarred and broken. I only realize it more and more as I get older, and it’s heartbreaking. When the latest news lights up the screen and the most recent tragedy is announced, I want to stand on the tallest building and scream, “THE ANSWER IS JESUS. TURN TO JESUS. PLEASE.” This world is hurting, this world is searching, and we have the answer. We have the Hope of the world. We have the Gospel. Why are we silent?

    There has been an itch in my soul, a stirring and a drive that I have not felt in some time. I. Must. Speak. For years I have silenced my passion and my feelings in fear of offending someone, making someone hate me, or looking foolish. And I don’t know, maybe I’ve been out of my comfort zone enough now to know that it does not matter as much as I have always thought. Maybe God pulled me out of everything that was comfortable and easy to draw me in to Himself and re-ignite that passion in my soul, because He knows that we don’t often grow in the warm and comfortable places.

    There is a battle in my heart, two voices that constantly war for my attention and devotion. There is the voice of fear that tells me that I am not smart enough, equipped enough, or skilled enough to be bold. That I am going to make a fool out of myself like I have so many times before. And there is the voice of boldness (or is it the Holy Spirit?) telling me to go. There is a voice that tells me to speak out. Fight for the truth. Get involved in that ministry. Study current issues, take a stand, get involved in discussions, don’t hesitate to bring up my faith. Stand up. Forget about myself and my comfort. Stop worrying about their opinion of me. This is not about me. This is about Him. This is about eternity. This is about good, evil, and the future of millions of souls. And I know the answer. Why. Am. I. Silent.

    Why am I silent about the one thing that the world needs to know the most? Why am I silent when I hear His name dragged through the mud? Why am I silent when I see they are hurting and I know the Healer? Why am I silent when I hear the truth being distorted and ridiculed? Why do I keep it in? Because I am afraid of what they think? Because I am afraid that they will think I’m ridiculous? Because I decide in that moment that my pride and image are more important than the glory of God and the eternal destiny of their souls?

    God forgive me.

    Forgive us all.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines in comfort and mediocrity. This is about life or death. And our time is running out. Let’s pray for eyes to see the world through the eyes of the Savior who gave up his kingdom of perfection and his very own life to save a broken and rebellious world. He died for me, He saved me. I must speak of Him.

    Look around you, look at your neighbor, your friends, your cousin, everyone you see. These are your people. They need to know your God.

    Love them. Speak up. Stand up. Show up.

    Let’s break the silence.

  • Abundant Life,  Faith,  Life,  Purpose,  Reminders,  Surrender,  Thankfulness

    One Year Later: A Reflection on the Faithfulness of God

    I went for a walk this morning on the paths by my house. I love going for walks this time of year, admiring the foliage and breathing in the crisp morning air. I went to my favorite spot by a little bridge over the creek, where I always seem to end up on these walks, and I realized something. It has been a year since we moved here, since I packed up with my family and moved to a place that I knew nothing of and nobody in. I remember going down to that exact spot by the creek shortly after we moved in, sitting on a rock, and crying to God to please just let me feel at home here, and to not make me move again. I was angry about leaving my old home, I was hurting because of a broken friendship, and I was confused. I felt more alone and lost than I had in a long time. But I remember as I sat there with my journal, I gave it all to God. I told Him that even though I couldn’t feel the good in this, I knew in my head that He is good. I asked that He would help me not only know it, but believe it, and surrender myself completely to Him.

    The next few weeks were a battle. I struggled with anger and bitterness, I struggled with a lot of fear, and surrender was a constant battle, something I had to do over and over again every day. I would go for a run every afternoon after work to pray and get rid of stress. I would take my journal down to that faithful little creek and write my thoughts out. I hesitantly started attending the Sunday School class and Bible study at our new church. And the more I took those little steps and prayed through the fear and frustration, my stubborn heart was softened to God’s leading. I met some amazing people, I began to be challenged in my faith once again, and I started to realize that we often grow the most when we are uprooted from our comfort zones.

    And one year later, I look back and realize that God is so faithful. God is so good. And I don’t always see that, but I am learning to recognize it daily. I am learning to lean on His steady hand and fall into His arms when I cannot walk on my own. When everything around me is whirling and dark and terrifying, my God is constant. His love is for always, and His grace is sufficient. Things have not been easy, but God has been faithful.

    He has brought some incredible people into my life this year. I have been challenged, I have been encouraged, and I have grown through their love and friendship. He has brought me through situations that were gut-wrenching and seemingly impossible, and He has taught me (and is still teaching me!) that my worth and my satisfaction can be found in Him alone. He has given me contentment with the season of life that I am in, and He has given me excitement about the future. He is shining the light on the legalism that I struggled with and didn’t work through for so long, and He is breaking down the lies that I have believed about Him in the process. He is showing me what it means to truly follow Him, listen to His voice, and claim Him as my own. He is teaching me that I am in desperate need of Him. He is teaching me to be burdened for the world that is full of lost and broken people in need of Him. He is giving me a love for others, a passion to go and get involved in ministries to serve Him, and a confidence in Him that I never knew before.

    I’m still learning how to live abundantly in the here and now. I’m still learning to be satisfied in Him. I’m still learning what it means to have a true, deep relationship with Jesus, not just head knowledge based on what I’ve heard. He is guiding me on a path that leads me to Him, and I can look back on this year and be truly thankful. I can be full of joy as I remember His faithfulness. And I can look forward with excitement because I know that His promises are true, and His plans for me are perfect, no matter what I feel.

    And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

  • Comparison,  Identity,  Life,  Purpose,  Reminders,  Things I'm learning

    To the Girl Who is Stuck in Comparison

    Yes, you. I hear you…in fact, I am you. I have heard the lies more often than I ever thought I would, and so many times, I have fallen into the trap. It’s a grueling cycle, really. There is a voice that drives us, the voice that fills our head with all the reasons why we need to change.

    “Her hair is always so put together, and mine looks so frizzy.”
    “Look at her outfits, I should really figure out my style, my clothes are awful.”
    “Wow they have such a great personality, why am I so awkward?”
    “I really need to take better pictures like everyone else.”

    I understand because I have told myself every single one of these lies and more. And where do they lead? We put on makeup, re-do our wardrobe, and try to change ourselves over and over in an attempt to look like, talk like, and BE someone else. We tell ourselves that we will finally be happy if we could just change a few things. But those few things turn into more and we become burned out, exhausted, and spiraling down into the painful, never-ending trap of comparison.

    I’m not here to tell you that you just need to learn to love yourself. I’m not here to say that you are perfect just the way you are. Because the truth is, loving yourself will not bring you joy or satisfaction, and nobody is perfect, not even the people who seem to have your dream life. But I am here to tell you that there is a perfect Creator who made you on purpose, who designed you uniquely, and who loves you endlessly. And that in itself should be enough. Because He is enough.

    Here is the hard truth: You will never be “good enough.” You will always find someone prettier, smarter, or more talented. And that’s ok. Because your purpose on this earth is not to be just like her. You are not here to have a great friend group, a perfect Instagram feed, or a dream wardrobe. God has placed you here because He wants to use you to bring Him glory and shine a light in the lives around you. He has placed you here for a specific reason, given you specific and unique gifts and abilities, and He has a purpose laid out for you that you cannot begin to imagine! When we compare ourselves to those around us, it is a direct insult to our Designer and Creator. When we question the way we have been made, we are questioning the wisdom and knowledge of God. When we question why we are in the place that He has put us, and deny the purpose He has given us, we are assuming that we know better than the God of the universe. Hear this now: God is perfect, and He does not make a mistake. He created you specifically and intentionally. You are created on purpose, and for HIS purpose. What more could you ask for?

    Dear friend, I don’t know about you, but I am tired of living in comparison. I am tired of questioning the wisdom and love of my perfect Father. I am tired of mentally tearing myself down because of the things I am not and never will be. I am ready to throw out the lies and become rooted in truth. And I’m sure you are too. Let’s begin today with a heart of gratefulness for the lives we have been given. Let’s dig into His word, learn who He is and meditate on what He has done for us.

    Pray for a heart that sees life with a heavenly perspective. Stop comparing, and start complimenting. Stop searching for flaws, and start intentionally thanking Him for His perfect plan and design for your life. Search for the color, keep a record of His love and faithfulness in your life. Grab a journal, write it down! It’s there, if you will only search for it. He has given her a beautiful life, but he has also given you one. And He knows what He is doing. Can you rest in that?

    You are breathing, you are living, you are loved, and you are His. Nothing can change that timeless, beautiful truth.

  • 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,  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