Seasons and Relationships

Lately, I have learned a lot about relationships and singleness. Our society today tells us you are not complete until you are in a relationship/engaged/married. However, I think there is something SO special about being single.

As women, we put so much focus on finding our “soulmate” and constantly being on the hunt for the “one”. With our focus on this, where does Christ fall? It can be so easy to get wrapped up in pursuing relationships that we stop pursuing Jesus. When we place our worth in a person, we forget that our worth lies in Jesus Christ.

Today, I took a class on “chazown”—Hebrew (pronounced khaw-ZONE): a dream, purpose or vision.

Throughout the class we looked at three main categories: Past Experiences, Core Values and Spiritual Gifts… it was so eye-opening to see where the three overlapped and I feel like God truly put on my heart a purpose that I hadn’t been able to express.

He also opened my eyes to see that, you know what…, it’s okay to be in a season of singleness. Honestly, I have been one of those women that has set my eyes on relationships and neglects to set my eyes on God.

Do I have opportunities to date guys? Yes. Would I like to date someone? Well, of course.

But for now, God has closed the door on dating. I have to be accept that and believe that God has a purpose for me being single.

I don’t want to limit God’s ability to work through me because I’m so wrapped up in dating. Obviously, God is never limited; but, I want to pursue Jesus more than ever before and have my mind/heart open to what His plans are for my life—not what I want my life to be like with someone else. I believe that God has a purpose for each and every one of us—He is waiting on us to seek it out.

So maybe right now I am in a season of singleness and guess what?! I’m completely okay with that! I don’t know how long this season will last, but you can bet that I am just trusting that God has a plan and it will all turn out like it is supposed to. I am

Friends let me ask you this—what is your passion or purpose in this life and how can God use your season of life to pursue that?

We need to change that. NOW.

As I’m sitting here writing this my heart is breaking.

I’ve kept quiet about my thoughts on the recent events happening around the US. It seems like every day I get a notification about another shooting somewhere around the country. What’s sad is that even though we should continue to be shocked every time there is a new shooting, it’s become so commonplace that the shock factor is wearing off.

We need to change that. NOW.

We should be in shock, saddened, and standing up to fight for those around us.

It doesn’t matter what race, gender, religion etc. you are… we are called to love our neighbors. Remember the golden rule and how we would say it at least once a day in grade school??

“Treat others how you would want to be treated”

What has happened to those days when we genuinely cared for and wanted to be friends with everyone, no matter who they were?

I went to see (aka was dragged to…) The Purge: Election Year the other night. The only thing I could think about was how it’s not just a movie… The movie felt all too real. It is happening all over us. Not just in the US, but all around the world.

In the past week, I have heard two people in different areas of my life say, “We need to understand someone’s background to truly understand them.” It is all too easy to judge someone off of the first 30 seconds we meet them. If we don’t like the way they look, act, dress, etc. most people immediately write them off. What’s said is that it’s even worse with social media these days. You are about to meet someone new, chances are you have already stalked them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

We need to change that. NOW.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I do not like that man. I must get to know him better.”

I think that quote is just as accurate today as it was 150 years ago. If we were to take that quote to heart and truly take that mindset into our everyday lives, then maybe we wouldn’t have as many problems as we are having today. Generalizations are making it too easy to divide people into specific groups.

We need to change that. NOW.

Somehow, someway, we are all connected to division. It’s on us to make a difference and stand up. I’m not saying I’m perfect because it is so easy to adapt a judgmental attitude. However, I’m trying each and every day to combat that mindset and move towards the mindset that Abe had. I must get to know the people I don’t understand.

This is our world, our country. It’s time to start running towards each other, not away.

Small Part, Huge Significance

 

Sitting on the porch at Common Grounds on a rainy morning. One week of classes left. Trying to enjoy the little things, especially when I only have 23 days left in Waco.

As I’m reading through Luke, God has reiterated that every part of the Bible, big or small, has significance. I don’t know how many times I have read or heard the “Christmas Story” in Luke 2, too many to count. It can be so easy to skim through it and think I know the full story, but I am corrected every time.

Normally when I’m reading Luke 2, I find myself stopping after the shepherds visit Jesus. If you continue reading on, you’ll find that there were two important prophecies that happen when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple. Simeon and Anna were both elders in the community. Simeon immediately recognized that Jesus was the son of God. “… [Anna] never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” (Luke 2: 37) If you did not spend time reading past verse 20, you would never realize that these prophecies are very important to Jesus’ early life. They also show us that we can learn a lot from listening to the older people in our lives.

How many times do we look over people in our own lives and think they only played a small role in our lives? Every person we meet and get to know will teach us something in some way.

I once heard a quote that said, “You are part of a puzzle in someone’s life. You may never know where you fit, but someone’s life many never be complete without you in it.”

What if we approached every relationship this way? Our lives and experiences, good or bad/ small or big, are like puzzle pieces. God sees the whole puzzle in all of its glory and we only see the pieces as we collect them. God sees our significance. We may never know the impact someone is going to make on our lives or us on theirs until weeks, months, or years later.

I encourage you to love on others well, even when you think they only play a small and insignificant part in your life. Trust me friends, they are significant.

Steadfast Love

“No one gives you any warning what day a wave’s going to slam into your whole world and everything you know is going to take a complete 180.”

Let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever struggled with something? Yeah, me too. Maybe you are struggling right now, wondering why good things happen to bad people or why bad things happen to good people. Struggles are very hard to understand.

During trials, it is so easy to question why God is putting us through these things. Or better yet, some people even turn away from God during a trial. I am going to be honest with you… lately, I have been struggling so much. I have been through several trials and keep asking God “WHY?!” For a while, I tried to just keep myself busy and not think about anything. I was constantly on the go, studying, working out, etc. When I stopped for just a second and let my mind run wild, I realized how empty I felt.

I am broken. I am hurting. I am lost.

When I humbled myself and wrote those three sentences down, I lost it. Slowly, I realized I have two choices… 1) run towards God or 2) completely turn my back on Him. I decided to run towards God and seek the answers to my questions.

I was on Instagram one morning and saw Christy Nockles (singer at Passion City Church) had put up a picture with Lauren Chandler (Pastor Matt Chandler’s wife). Supposedly, Lauren had just come out with a new devotional called Steadfast Love. I looked it up on Amazon and decided I needed it immediately, even if I didn’t fully understand what this devotional was about at the time.

Psalm 107:1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Once I started reading it, I found out Steadfast Love is all about Psalm 107 and how to approach the twists and turns life hands us. “When everything takes a 180—take the 107.” If you read Psalm 107, it basically says to receive help from God, we have to humble ourselves and swallow our pride and cry out to Him. God wants to show us His love when we are broken. However, in order to do that, He has to make us fully aware of our need to depend totally upon Him in every situation.

In times of brokenness and hurt, it may seem like God is distant and absent from our lives. When we are questioning why He is putting us through this pain, we may think He does not love us. This is the complete opposite. He is right there, waiting for us to surrender ourselves completely to Him. He loves you and is going to bring you through whatever hard situation you are going through right now. Trust in His mercy and grace.

Lamentations 3:24, “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

So the answer to the “why?” is knowing that God gives you strength to get through hard situations and to trust Him, even when you don’t understand why you are going through a hard time. We have to be content in Christ and know that He is Lord through good and bad days. Our God is on our side and fights for us every day! Our God is bigger than the biggest trial we will ever face. He is the God that can move mountains and that created you and me.

God has shown me that He is there for me in small ways and has given me joy and hope again. He has put people in my life to pray for me, encourage me, and speak truth into my life. Instead of asking, “Why?” I have changed my views and have decided to say, “God, I trust you. I know that you are good and faithful. I know you have me in this trial for a reason and I know you are going to bring me through this.”

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Hello… it’s me

20 She said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?’”          Ruth 1: 20-21

What are your first thoughts when you hear someone talking about Ruth? Is it that her husband died? Is it Ruth saying, “…Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)? Or is it that she eventually meets Boaz and lives happily ever after?

For most people these are the things we think of when we hear of Ruth. However, there is another part of the story that is just as important. Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, has just lost her two sons and her husband. Can you imagine the pain she is suffering? No one should blame her for wanting to change her name to Mara! She had a reason to be bitter towards God… I mean come on, He took away her family!

But the incredible part is… there is so much more than that! Even through her times of bitterness, God still blessed Naomi through Ruth. God still loved her and did immeasurably more than we could ever ask, think or imagine.

Like Naomi, there are so many times in my life I want to change my name to what the world says about me:

  • Bitter
  • Impatient
  • Selfish
  • Unloving
  • Ugly
  • Unworthy
  • Unacceptable

The list goes on.

However, I am blessed to be loved by the creator of this universe. The God who changes our name and continues to immeasurably more. We never have to play the game “He loves me, He loves me not?” because the answer is always the same: He loves me!

No matter how many times I turn away from Him or question what He is doing in my life or why He did what He did… He is always by my side and unconditionally loves me every step of the way.

So when you are wanting to quit and give up on life remember that God has named each of us!

Redeemed (Psalm 111:9) Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
Brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17) Beloved (Romans 9:25)
Child of God (John 1:12) Friend of Jesus (John 15:15)
Accepted (Romans 15:7) Alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
Chosen (Ephesians 1:4) Hope (Ephesians 1:12)

charmed

Walking on Water

Every girl that has a Pinterest account is bombarded by cute ways of writing Proverbs 31. Most often, scripty letters reading

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”

are painted perfectly on a “DIY” canvas (that I could never actually do). Don’t get me wrong, I think that it is awesome. I think it is a really cool Bible verse and hope that my life reflects that of a Proverbs 31 woman.

However, I think it is also misinterpreted sometimes. Girls are taught to be fearful of charm, and to not rely on beauty for anything. No, we shouldn’t fawn over any guy that tells us we are pretty or put on extra makeup to try to get our way. BUT, to a certain point, not allowing ourselves to be charmed or admitting we feel pretty on a good…

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Be still & listen

Good morning-

So with this week being the first round of tests, we can get very overwhelmed with everything that we have going on. With jobs, Sing practice, internships, grad school applications, and studying, it’s hard to find time for the most important person. God. Without Him, it is very easy to become even more overwhelmed. You think you can handle it all. You think you can solve all of your problems. In reality, you are completely unable to solve your problems by yourself.

I know I feel that way all the time and it’s hard to let go. The saying goes, “Let go & let God.” This is a lot easier said than done. I want to have everything put in my planner and make sure I have an hour-by-hour schedule, weeks in advance. I have a tendency to overcommit and spread myself too thin. It’s at that point I know I can’t do it all and it causes me to take a step back and really rely on God to lift me back up.

This morning, I was supposed to get up and go to my 8 am Tennis class, but since it was raining the courts were too wet to play on. I decided that instead of taking this time to catch up on sleep (which was a very tempting option), I would take advantage of the extra hour I had and spend it refilling my cup with the word of God.

I turned to the February 4th devotion of my Jesus Calling book and it could not have been more perfect for what I was feeling. The first sentence drew me in, Bring me your weakness, and receive My peace.” WOW. Reality check. I have been feeling super weak and exhausted all the time. My emotions and patience have been on the edge and I have felt like I am on the verge of a breakdown at some points. It goes on to say, “Do not wear yourself out with analyzing and planning.” I mean COME ON! Was this written directly towards me or something?! It is crazy how at just the right moment, I can get exactly what I need.

As a college student, I know I am constantly overthinking and planning things way far in advance. I am trying to figure out when I’m graduating, what I’m doing after, if I’ll get my ring by spring, and other important things like that. The most important thing though is my relationship with God and that somehow always gets put on the back burner. It needs to start being front and center. I need to challenge myself with my walk with God and always put Him first.

An encouraging verse from today’s devotional came from Numbers 6:24-26, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” I have heard this verse for as long as I can remember. It is the benediction used in many churches. We hear every Monday and Wednesday in Chapel. It has become somewhat repetitive and doesn’t really mean as much to some. However, this verse is such a great reminder that the Lord is always with us and wants to bless us. He will give us peace and comfort when we are struggling with anything.

I can already tell that by taking 20-30 minutes of spending intentional, quality time reading my Bible, that my day has been so much better. I have seen a change in my attitude and just know that I needed the word of God spoken into my life today. I encourage you to take the time to just take a break from the world around you and be still and listen to what God was to say to you. Spend 20-30 minutes with God today. God will provide you with the exact encouragement you need! It will allow you to feel more relaxed and prepared to take on the next few crazy, busy week.