An End and a Beginning

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

Today my sophomore ended and my junior year began. And I mean college sophomore and college junior. Crazy how time flies, right? Honestly I really want to reflect on this past year and take notes on what I have learned and all that, but my brain is mush and my mind has kind of stopped thinking for awhile. And that is okay, I need a break.

BUT. I can’t help to not think about what I blogged about a week or two ago. What that blog consisted of was this: God’s got it all under control, take it one day at a time, make small checklists, take your daily bread, and be joyful.

HA. Three days later, I was back to my old routine of stress and hair pulling. Isn’t that the most frustrating thing ever? When God teaches you something, leads you into this great understanding of how He is holding you and it will all be fine, and then BOOM life’s stupid messes blur your vision and you’re right back where you started.

That picture above is me taking that day a few steps ahead of where The Lord wanted me to, stressed beyond belief with a pile of work in my way of a restful weekend. So instead of me resting in The Lord and taking one step at a time, I freaked, tripped over my jumbled mind and landed in that puddle of homework.

And what did The Lord have to say to that?

“Didn’t I tell you not to get ahead of yourself?”

Yeah that’s what he told me, but that was after I stressed for 2 or 3 days straight. Funny how He was still teaching me even after I thought I had fully understood the lesson.

 

So I am sitting here in my dorm room, with 2 nights left in room 404. I’m getting teary eyed thinking about all the memories that I made in this room and how next year will be very different. I’ve learned so much about friendships, relationships, myself, and The Lord. I have 2 and a half days left on this campus before I head back home and “rest” for 4 months. School is over, no more checklists.

And what did I learn?

Stressing is not worth it. There is always an end to the craziness. The day will end, the week will end, and eventually the semester will end, and then it will all be over. And when it is all over and done with, you will wish that you did something differently. And as I sit in my room of one that used to be a room of two, I am sad for the times that I did not take advantage of this wonderful campus and what is has to offer. I’m freaked out about teaching still, and I already miss my friends that are still here.

But one thing I know is that life is full of second chances. The Lord’s grace is never ending (HALLELUJAH) and I am only 20 years old. Life still has a lot to offer, and God has so much more planned for me and I am so ready to see where He takes me.

I just want to live my life for Jesus, be who He wants me to be, and be bold for His name.

 

Im still taking it one day at a time, seeing my life as a crazy, weird, more than I could ever deserve, adventure with Christ as my guide.

Small Checklists and Daily bread

IMG_0239                                                      Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset


As of three days ago, my heart was heavy and my head was overwhelmed by all that I have to finish before this semester ends.

Papers. Behavior Plans. Comprehension Report. Lessons. Grades. GPA. Projects. Volunteer Hours. More Papers.

This list kept running through my mind, and before I knew it, my head was in my hands and my eyes were filling with tears.

How the heck can I finish all of this? There are two and a half weeks left and my checklist is a mile long. My GPA is going to drop from that one A minus. It’s just not worth it.

But as I was reading my friends instagram post about not worrying about tomorrow, it hit me. The Lord does not want me to worry. He does not want me to stress. That stress, that worry, take me away from glorifying Him. So I decided to do something about it.

Starting two days ago I decided that I am going to take my life day by day. Not worrying about tomorrow, not stressing about my projects, and instead start being joyful in The Lord and serving others every moment of that I can. Now it is important to remember that I am not a perfect person. Whatsoever. My attitude gets in the way, my girly moods take over my mind, and my heart’s feelings are not always pointed towards Christ. But I am a sinner, and what is most important is that I start fighting against those sinful thoughts and stop letting Satan convince me otherwise.


 

So my plan is simple: make small checklists and focus on the daily bread given to me. I am going to walk the narrow path, focus on The Lord, and stop being selfish. And it is working. It’s not a perfect plan, but it is working. Taking a picture of my feet once every day is reminding me of my Faithful, Redeeming Lord. The picture reminds me of that daily walk and all that The Lord gave me within those rainy days or sunny saturdays.

April 4th, a misty Friday: The Lord gave me a coffee date with a selfless and beautiful friend. He gave me time to praise and worship His Holy name. Time for a filling lunch and a simple, restful project. Time for revising, editing, and lesson planning. He gave me time to rest, more time to worship, unplanned visitors, and good conversation. But Friday was a tough day for me. My mood was far from perfect and I was being so selfish, but as I reflect back on that day, He was still faithful and He pulled me out of that grumpy, stupid mood.

April 5th, a sunny, chilly Saturday: Man was the Lord great today. I was given the glorious gift of sleeping in. There was miscommunication and jumbled thoughts, but I chose to trust Him. There was complaining and frustration, but I know He is faithful. A Starbucks homework stop was filled with a finished lesson, a free refill, and a small checklist finished. And that was only up to 5 o’clock. In a nutshell, dinner was full of laughter, my night was full of Pinterest scanning and disney princesses, and now I get to finish it with reminiscing on how great my God is.

I have 2 and a half weeks before my sophomore year of college ends. So I am doing this. I am going to walk daily with the Lord, receiving my daily bread and nothing more. I am slowing down and taking in all of His majesty.

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

So be it.

Praise The Lord my soul

Wow. I am overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness. The Lord is so incredibly good, and His timing is more than perfect.

On Monday I had the best birthday that I have ever had. Yes I have had an amazing 20 years of my life so far, but this birthday goes down in the books as the best of the best. As I mentioned in an instagram post on my birthday, my heart was overflowing with joy from all of the encouragement that I received on my big day. When I woke up, I had at least 4 text messages, and as I walked to my dorm bathroom, there were papers of 20 things that my roommates wrote about why they love me posted on our mirror. Things like: “we love your sweet smile,” “your ability to see good in others” or “your heart is so full of service.” Then as I walked out of the door, my roommate Morgan gave me a huge hug and encouraged me with some friendly words before I headed to practicum. My next step was practicum, and when time came for lunch, I grabbed my phone, seeing at least 15 other birthday messages/instagram posts from my friends for my birthday. When I got back on campus, everyone, literally EVERYONE, seemed to know that it was my birthday. Then before I headed to chorale I checked my mail, and I had 4 packages in the mail, along with 4 other letters for my birthday. Throughout the day the birthday wishes never seemed to end, and the love that I received was absolutely amazing. As I ended my night with nonstop laughter with my closest friends, I still was overwhelmed by the love and encouragement that I had received.

 

So why does this matter you ask?

Well just the night before, I had been filling empty in the scope of feeling loved and encouraged. This emptiness was not because I was not being fed from those around me, but because I was not receiving love from others.

I have this stupid flaw that yields me back from taking any sort of compliment. And instead of taking and being thankful for how others love me, I push away their love, insisting that I am a horrible friend,  a horrible girlfriend, and worst of all, a horrible daughter to my parents and my Heavenly Father.

So Monday the 17th of March was a big day for me, and no one really knew how much their words meant to me. My Lord knew that I was not taking the love that He had given me through my relationship with others, so He decided to throw it in my face until I finally noticed how stinkin’ thankful I should be. He did not stop the encouragement until I saw myself as my friends see me.

And now, because of all of you who had overflowing love for me on my birthday, I see myself as a woman of Christ, I see myself as someone who will be a great teacher, and I see myself as someone who has something to give to others.

Being a follower of Christ is a extremely hard road to walk, with the battle of never feeling equipped, always seeing my sin instead of His grace, and never seeing myself as good enough for Him, but I am. I am good enough for Him to use me. He is working through me, He is encouraging me, and He is leading me to be the woman that He created me to be.

And He is doing the same for all of those who love Him.

So I will Praise the Lord my soul, all my days.

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me.

Psalm 139:2-6

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:11-12

Bone-weary

Being in college is busy. It is hectic, overwhelming, stressful- moving at a fast pace all the time. And that kind of busyness can kill us. For me, it fills me. It takes over my being- my heart is always beating fast, my thoughts never stop, and sleep seems nonexistent, even when I wake up. My problem with this?

Because of my busyness, I push my time with God to the bear minimum- right before I fall asleep. My problem with this is that I am letting my stress, my busy life, consume me. I tell myself that I am taking time to rest, that I am take time out of my day for The Lord, but when I look in the mirror, my eyes can’t even focus on my reflection because they are so tired. I get up and go to practicum and I can barely focus on the students that are there, and they are the reason I want to be there in the first place. My mind can barely focus on one task before it starts to move to the next one on the list. And as I sit here, honestly with tears streaming down my face, I am ashamed of myself. By letting myself be consumed by the stresses of schools, relationships, and just life, I’ve realized that I have been drawing out energy from myself, a very shallow pond of energy, instead of from The Lord and His everlasting stream of strength.

So, today is a Monday, the Monday after the longest, most stressful, tiresome week that I have had in a very long time, and  my shallow pond of energy has run dry. I am tired. I am worn out. I am overwhelmed by future tasks. And The Lord knew that. He knew that my energy had run out, and He was just waiting for me to turn around and realize that He has been waiting for me to give Him my burdens for quite some time now. And before I left this morning for my 4th day of practicum, I read this devotion from Jesus Calling:

Trust me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day. Refuse to feel guilty about something that is so pleasing to Me, the King of the universe. Because I am omnipotent, I am able to bend time and events in your favor. You will find that you can accomplish more in less time after you have given yourself to Me in rich communion. Also, as you align yourself with My perspective, you can sort out what is important and what is not.

Don’t fall into the trap of being constantly on the go. Many, many things people do in My Name have no value in My kingdom. To avoid doing meaningless works, stay in continual communication with Me.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with  My eye upon you.    [[ Psalm 32:8 ]]

And thats it. For the past week and a half I felt that I had been resting in Him and I hadn’t been. The reason I have been so stressed is because I have not been leaning on Him. I have not made time for Him in my busy day. Instead, I had been leaning on myself, slowly wearing down to almost nothing. But if I would have just leaned on Him, on His strength and His promise, my burden would be much lighter.

The Lord desires to spend time with His children, and by His power and strength He can bend time and events in our favor. If I turn to The Lord first, my day looks incredibly different. It is clear, quiet, and stress free because I am allowing Him to lead me, instead of me leading myself.

So I am taking a breath, breathing Him in with each breath. I am taking life one step, one moment at a time, holding on to God’s hand, letting Him guide me through this path that He has chosen for me. I’ve let my battle against this world take over me instead of resting in His embrace.

But not anymore- I choose to rest in Him.

“Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you, oh God.” – St. Augustine

Matchless Name of The Lord

We’ve all heard of the ten commandments, and no matter how hard we try, there seems to be no way to erase what has almost been engrained in us. No this is not a quiz or a test of knowledge of whether or not you can name all 10, but before I start ranting, I thought I should name them all, for you and for me.

‘I am the Lord your God…

1. Do not have other gods besides Me.

2. Do not make an idol of yourself whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth…

3. Do no misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…

5.Honor your father and mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

6. Do not murder.

7. Do not commit adultery.

8. Do not steal.

9. Do not give false testimony against your neighbor’s house.

10.Do not covet your neighbor’s wife…or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’           [ Exodus 20:2-17 HCSB ]

So what is the point? You all already know them and aware of the weight that they hold, correct? I honestly do not think so. I fall short of a few of these, like honoring my father and mother in ways they truly deserve to be honored (typical teen, right?), but that is not the only commandment that I lose track of in my daily life. Go back and look at number 3. What does it say? ‘Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God…’ 

Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God. That seems so simple right? Do not say ‘oh my God’ or ‘ Oh God!’ and we’re good right? No we are not. The idea of using the Lord’s name in vain has been heavy on my heart every since my friends and I talked about the commandments in bible study, 3 months ago. The reason saying ‘oh my God’ is “bad” is not just because we are misusing His name, but because we do not understand the power behind what we are saying. Just think about how many times you say the Lord’s name in a day: 

     ‘Praise the Lord!’– ‘Oh Praise Him from who all blessings flow!’– ‘Lordy living’– ‘Oh Lord’– the list could keep going. 

 When you are saying ‘Praise the Lord’ are you truly praising Him? Do you actually understand the power, the holiness behind that name? Do you feel the weight of it when the words slip from your mouth? Does your heart stop when with the inability to fathom his beauty when you breathe His name? These questions have been running through my head every time I speak the Lord’s name. I have the freedom to praise Him on my school campus, I have the freedom to speak His word til I can no longer take another breath. The Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the One whose Heaven is His throne and the earth as His footstool, is not just some average name that should be capitalized on twitter or facebook. He not only reigns over all the earth, but that same Lord who rose His Son from the grave, brings me back to life every morning. That same Lord who separated the water from water, is jealous for me. I am not talking about some plain, simple god right now, I am talking about the God who gives me and you undeserving mercy and grace every stinkin’ day. Do you get where I am going with this?

Our Lord does not deserve an empty hallelujah or hosanna, a pity ‘praise Him’ or a weak and distracted song during church/chapel. He deserves every little bit of energy that we have, from the time we rise out of bed to the time we put our heads on our pillow. 

THIS is what I struggle with every single day. Of course I say ‘Praise the Lord’ because it is an easy catch phrase, but I give it little meaning when I do. Yes I do sing the whole first verse of “Praise God from whom all blessings flow’ when I get a parking space in the Kem parking lot, but I truly believe and try to praise Him because it is a TRUE blessing from the Lord when I do (especially in this yucky weather) BUT I still have a long way to go in half-way understanding this mysterious, wondrous God that I follow.

 

So what are you doing to do about this? Well that is your choice, but my hope and prayer for whoever is reading this is that they will think twice before they speak the name of The Lord because He should not be just a mere blimp in your daily life. 

Know the weight of His name and Praise Him for the Glorious and Holy Lord that He is.

 

                            

His is Peace

Image

The idea of teaching has always terrified me. I’ve never been confident in my ability to lead and teach children, and even with following my calling for teaching, the doubt of never being good enough or smart enough to teach still chased me. And when I look at my schedule for this semester, I still question whether or not I have the strength, the knowledge, and the skill to teach. For the first time ever, I will be IN the classroom teaching students. The thought scares the heck out of me, but that is where God steps in.

I have been continually praying for peace, for my doubts to be washed away. And every time, The Lord has answered. But as of tonight, He answered my eager prayer in a mighty mighty way. I have been extremely blessed to be a part of a university that cares about my personal relationship with Christ, and through recent events and chapels, the Lord has shown me how He will be holding me throughout my entire teaching career.

As most of you may know, the song Oceans by Hillsong has become incredibly popular in the last year. The song has always hit home for me, no matter what the circumstance, but tonight, God changed my entire view of that song and I would like to share that view with you.

Here is the song’s lyrics:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will standAnd I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mineYour grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

After singing this song 4 or 5 times in the last 5 days, God was finally able to get His point across to me.
He has called me to teach, to the ‘great unknown where my feet may fail.’ Yet I find Him in the mystery and in the oceans of doubt, and my faith will always be able to stand. His grace is always overflowing and His SOVEREIGN hand will be there to guide me, and even when the fear surrounds me, He has never failed me and He wont start now.
        So when I call upon His name when I first enter the classroom this year, He will keep my eyes about the waves. My soul will be
        resting in His embrace because I am His and He is mine.
So I am embracing His call. I am ready for His Spirit to lead me where my trust in Him has no borders. I want Him to take me deeper into my calling of teaching, I want to go deeper than my own feet could ever wander. And because of Him and His overwhelming Presence, my faith will grow stronger. My desire and passion to teach will grow stronger. All because I know that He will be right by my side.
Christ is my overwhelming Peace. His persistence in telling me that I am not inadequate to lead my students is whats given me the strength to finally let go of my stupid worries and fully surrender this crazy, scary calling all to Him, for His glory.
[[ And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ]]
                       Philippians 4:7

The First of Many

Welp. This is my first blog. Ever. I couldn’t really tell you what to expect from my blogs. I know for me, they will be questions that are running through my mind daily. They will be new ideas and old ideas. But mostly they will make you think. My goal for this blog is to make you, the reader, think about how you are living your life. I really just want to write about new ways of living for Christ which will involve me questioning how I and we live: in our daily routines, our relationship with Christ, and our relationship with others.

Being a Christian is the most difficult thing I have ever committed to BUT I wouldn’t change it for the world. Christ is how I get through the day, His grace that I am so undeserving of makes me a better person. But living a true Christian lifestyle is hard, and always will be hard because of the fallen world that we live in. So that is what I am going to blog about. My blogs will be written by me, as a sinner, who is just writing out her thoughts as she goes about her day. Nothing too drastic, nothing too exciting.

BUT.

I do want to have fun with this blog. I’ll share my most embarrassing moments and moments I will never forget. I’ll post random things, like pictures or crafts, probably mostly things I have done on pinterest that have failed miserably. I am quirky and awkward, and I really just want to share my life with others. I want to share my struggles and my heartache, but also all that I have been blessed with.

I’m just living my life as an adventure, with Christ as my Guide, and I have decided to share that adventure with you.