8.18.2016

Skipping Ahead

As I drive home from work, or wherever I'm headed, I often listen to my mp3 player to enjoy some of my favorite songs. Somehow I add new songs on every week, and yet, I still find myself tired of listening to the same old songs. I constantly skip through every song until I try to find one I want to listen to.

While driving home today I found myself skipping every song until I could find one in particular to listen to. I got to the point that I was determined to find this song, until I realized something. I was so determined to find that one song, I was skipping over so many others in the process. I've often found this in stages of life as well. I'm so determined to skip over parts of my life, in search for things I want or desire, that I'm missing out on big pieces and opportunities right where I am.

I desire for the day that I can be successful at something. I get impatient waiting for the day I can marry the man God has chosen for me. I long for a lasting friendship. I desire opportunities that I can be a vital inspiration in someone else's life.

Just as I've been skipping songs, passing them by in search of something better, I've been doing that with God too. How many times I think my ways are better than God's. I'm in search of my wants and desires, and God's plans get skipped over. I try to rush through seasons of my life, searching for something of more value. A lasting impact. I want more than the provincial circumstances God has placed in my lap.


Lately life has been filled with work, work and more work. While I enjoy what I'm doing, it often gets tiring when I feel like I have no deep connections with anyone. I desire to have a deep relationship with someone. I would like to help encourage and influence with my life, but it feels like God keeps taking things and people from me. I feel like all that I'm left with is empty hands and a broken heart. I desired more for my life than where I'm at right now, but I know God has a plan. I may be a mess, feel like a failure and make mistakes, but I know God is using all of the pieces of my brokenness for something great.

Even though I feel like everything has fallen apart, God is using these broken pieces for something greater, that I may not understand, from my shattered life. Even though I wish I could skip through this season of wondering and waiting, I know that God is teaching me, more than ever, to rely on Him. When things are taken from me, I have to remember that God is bringing me closer to His side. He wants me to grow closer to Him and not rely on the earthly possessions I often get twisted up in. He can use this pain and hurt for something far greater than I ever could imagine.

If you're experiencing hardship in this season of your life, don't try to skip through and search for something better. God has it right in your lap. He's doing something amazing with your life. Not just in your past. Not in the future, but right now. Let Him lead the way and follow after Him. It takes great faith to trust God when things are unclear, not just when everything is sunny and bright. Let your faith remain strong even through the most painful trials you may be facing. Remember, if you are hurting, God is seeking you to draw closer to Him in ways you never could have if things were perfect and put together. Hardships are God's way of telling us He desires to deepen our relationship with Him.

Isaiah 43:2
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end. 

James 5:11
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

7.27.2016

Letting Go of the Past

Have you ever experienced a circumstance in your life and you were struggling through the pain? You finally reached a point where you could catch a breath. You could begin to start healing. You were finally able to give God the hurt, pain and wounds of your heart. You learned to let it go and you began to move on.

Just when you thought you were through the worst, something reminds you of your past and hints of the memories come back again. The good. The bad. You thought you just overcame the pain and suffering and the memories come flooding back in, taunting you to open that door again.

Often times I experience struggling in my life that really tests my perseverance. I question what God is doing in my life. Even through the pain of the situation, God somehow always seems to pull me through. There are times though when I just can't seem to let go. Memories come flooding in and it's hard to just let it go. To let go of what might have been. To let go of once was. To let go of the anger and frustration. To let go of how my life used to be. To let go of the memories.

I've been struggling to let go of things in my life. I've given them over to God, but I feel like they often times they keep coming back again, placing an ache on my heart that I wish I could somehow overcome. I've asked God many times "Why can't I let go of this? Why is this so hard?" It's been a struggle to move on, but most of all, it's been a struggle to know that God's plan is best. I've been reminiscing in my past and finding hurt in situations that didn't go as I had planned.



This is where I get stuck. I look at things from my perspective. I focus on the things that hurt and wonder why God directed me to where I am. I grow disappointed with my life and fail to see God's direction. When I choose to go where God instructs me to go I don't have to be discouraged with my life. I have to remember that God has chosen this time of my life to use my current circumstances to teach me something. To use my life as an inspiration to the people I come in contact with.

When you begin to feel discouraged with your life and you have trouble letting go of past circumstances remember something. God has a purpose. Not just a good purpose, but a great purpose! He chose to place you where you are right now for a reason. When we choose to do what is right, try our best and seek God we can rest assured that no matter what we face, it is for our best. It is helping us to grow. It is an opportunity for us to strengthen our character. It is a blessing (yes, I said a blessing) to grow closer to God through what may seem to be like a time of discouragement in your present circumstances.

Remember, don't grow disheartened in your present circumstances. When we are too focused on our past or future we are hindering ourselves in the present. We are missing opportunities. If you are struggling letting go of a circumstance, take it to God. Even if you've taken it to Him many times. God loves a persistent heart that is willing to submit and surrender. The pain and weight of the burden you are carrying isn't only yours to carry. God is there to take it away and relieve you from what is piercing your heart. Ask God to take all the pain. All the stress and worries. Remember, He is with you even when it seems like you are all alone. He is working.

Isaiah 43:18-19
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
 
Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will straighten your path.  

7.15.2016

Trusting {poem}


When will it be time? When will he come along?
When will I meet the one I've been waiting for, for so long?
Watching everyone else find their special someone
Leaves me wondering if I will ever meet "the one"
Lord, I'm waiting.
Waiting to find the right one and not rush into dating

Things worthwhile should never be rushed
Because patience helps deepen our faith and strengthen our trust
Help me to grow through this time
Work in my heart and strengthen my relationship with You in the meantime

And when that moment comes and the time is right
I will have true joy knowing that I obeyed and waited for Your "green light"
I don't want to follow a road where You're not by my side
I need You as my leader. I need You as my guide.
Help me to be fervent in prayer for my husband and me both
And even though we're apart, that we would seek after You and continue to grow
Help me to gain confidence and get me ready
So I will be a strong, godly mother and wife for my family

So help me not to wait, but trust in You Lord
Help me to trust that You have great plans in store
Help me to trust that You'll bring along a man who will pursue me
And until then, I will continue to pursue You, until we're both ready
Ready for the right moment that we'll meet each other
And we're ready to grow in our relationship with God together

7.13.2016

Enduring Mistreatment

Do you ever feel something nagging on your heart and you just can't let it go? You try to forget the pain but you quickly are reminded of it once again and the irritation and urge to feed on the anger grows in your heart. Have you ever felt like your life never met up to what everyone expected of you? Like your opinion never matters? Your voice always goes unheard. You're viewed as an "ignorant nobody." You're the person who's effort often gets overlooked and the person whom others often forget about. The one who constantly faces rejection and never feels good enough.

It's hard when you feel like others get better treatment and your thoughts, circumstances and ideas go unnoticed. Everyone else seems to lead a more important life with great wisdom to share, while you are left feeling like you are too young or ignorant to be heard. You want to voice your opinion, but it's never given the chance. It's like your life and entire existence is entirely invisible.

It's nice to know that someone understands. Jesus knows how it felt to be viewed as a nobody and He was treated like an outsider for being the Son of God, the Creator of the universe. It sure does make me look at my circumstances a bit differently. If the Son of God could humble Himself and come to this earth for me, why do I have such a hard time when I feel unfairly treated with others? Even with all that Jesus had gone through: rejection, ridicule, physical abuse, etc. He still remained humble and lived the life of a servant. He didn't expect to be treated like royalty, even though He had every right. How dare I complain when I feel like I am unfairly treated for things so inferior to what He had faced.

Seeing Jesus's example reminds me that even though life may seem unfair, and it's hard to let things go that hurt us so badly, God has forgiven me and given me grace when I don't deserve it. When others seem to take advantage of me and it's hard to forgive them for their treatment, I am reminded of God's forgiveness to me. God has extended His grace to me, and yet why I can't give that to others?

It puts a different light on my situations when I look at things from God's perspective. It's not about holding onto the pain and reveling in it. It's about giving that hurt, pain and anger and giving it over to God to take the burden away. This past week I had encountered an issue where I felt frustrated and I didn't want to let go of the anger I was feeling. It was then I realized that by holding onto the pain was only doing me harm. It's such a simple truth, that I learned before, but how easily I forget. When I gave it to God I felt relief and peace knowing that it was in His hands and up to Him to take care of the circumstance. It's not my place to judge, change or seek revenge, but it is God's job. He knows what is just and what is right and He will make sure nothing is overlooked. He sees the hurt, pain and knows the treatment we face. He sees the unjust situations we encounter and knows when others undervalue our worth.

Often times the pain comes back again, throbbing like a severed wound, and we begin to feel the anger begin to grow within us again. God understands the hurt it causes us, but when this occurs we should continually give it back to God. Sometimes we have to keep doing it over and over until we can fully let it go. It's not an easy thing to do by offering the situations to God when we feel undervalued and unfairly treated. It's easy to get angry, lash out and take things into our own hands. When this occurs I try to remember that God has called me to be different. I am a Christian, I am an example of Christ, maybe the only example someone will see of Him. I should offer others the love I have received from God even when I feel hurt and mistreated.

If you feel like your circumstances have led you to feel unfairly treated and you wonder what God is doing through this time, take a deeper look. When others reject and undervalue you, it doesn't define your worth, but their character. When others don't show love or take the time to listen, remember your purpose. You aren't here to be loved, but to love. To show God's love. You aren't here to live a happy life, but to use your circumstances as a launchpad for who God has called you to be. To use those hard and difficult times to strengthen your character, not as a time to complain and seek revenge.

God isn't trying to hurt you or punish you. He's testing you to show your character. He wants to see how you react. Will you become jealous, angry or seek revenge? Or will you show love, seek forgiveness and show grace? We have Jesus as our example to look to when we feel like everyone is against us. He was humble, a servant, He cared for the misfits and lived with the peasants. He loves those who have willing hearts and show grace and love even when they feel undervalued and invisible.

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

I Peter 2:19
For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.

2 Timothy 4:12
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

7.06.2016

How are You Defined?

Have you ever felt caught in the pressure of life and so many things keep pulling at you? One minute things seem like they are moving along just fine, but once you get comfortable, it's like everything got turned upside down. Just when things felt secure, the foundation started crumbling.

My life has felt like a constant flow of ups and downs, roller coaster rides and sharp turns. Once I begin to feel content, God changes my circumstances. Once I feel like there is a clear direction, I feel like there's a sharp turn in the road. Just when I feel like I can begin to accept myself, the next minute I wonder how anyone could love a mess like me. Just when I seem to get over comparing myself to everyone else, I lose my confidence and feel unattractive. Once I begin to find someone who seems to care, I feel replaced, ignored and unwanted.


Life feels pretty uncertain right now. Every direction I look is a road with no clear direction. Every door is half open, but not completely opened or closed. Nothing seems certain anymore. Once one thing goes wrong, doubts start flooding in. I  begin to question my existence, my career choice,  my worth and if I truly matter to anyone.

After a hard day, like today, where everything in the world seemed to go wrong, it's hard to find good in situations that seem so daunting. One thing that I have found to help me through is remembering where to focus my attention. Is it how others perceive me? Is it what they think of me? Is it based on the thoughts I'm thinking? The doubts Satan tries to throw at me to discourage me? Am I focused only on the negatives? Do I place my joy in things that will not satisfy?

Sometimes I have to refocus my attention off of the problems and things that feel important. I have to remember why I'm here. I have to remember my mission. Am I here to be loved, feel important, be successful, be perfect or have it all-together all the time? No, I'm here to show God's love to the world, even if I don't get any in return. While I'm far from being anything from perfect, I know that God still loves me with all my mistakes. He accepts me when I fail and make a mess of things. Often I feel like I don't have any love to give to others, when I feel like I'm empty. It is then that I need to ask for God's help to give me the love to show others and the strength to overcome the hard days. True love is giving it when we may not get any back.

God has really shown me that I can still have joy even after I have a horrible day. I don't have to dwell on my mistakes or shortcomings, because God sees my heart, knows the effort and He sees.

If you are facing a difficult time and it is draining you of your joy. God is right there with you. Seek after Him. Remember that your day and what others think of you doesn't have to define your joy. You can find true happiness when you focus only on what really matters and what God sees. When we focus our attention on God and we blur everything else out, we can find joy in seeing ourselves how God sees us! We are precious and loved in His eyes. He created us on purpose with a purpose.

Romans 15:3
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I Peter 5:7
Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


6.13.2016

Letting Go

Have you ever wondered what God is doing with your life? What is the purpose for what you are going through? Why do you feel overwhelmed with pain, stress and worry? Why is God taking the things that mean the most away from you?

This is such a simple truth, but I feel it so evident in my life over the past few months. Giving things over to God, that took up so much of my heart, has been such a struggle recently. It's definitely taken some time, but I feel like I have finally been able to let go of the things I have been holding onto so tightly. I can honestly say it feels so relieving to release the control I once thought I needed to have. I thought when I was in charge of things in my life that I could make them go how I had planned. Wow, was I wrong. Lately I have found that when I let God take control I don't have be stressed or worried. I don't have to have the responsibility of having things together all the time and planning out my future, that's God's job. Things might not go how I planned, but when I leave the choices and heavy lifting with Him I know that whatever happens is for my best and He will lead me where He wants me to go.

Recently I was experiencing a hard time in my life that I needed to give things over to God and it left me questioning what He was doing. Although it wasn't any easy choice by giving God control, I realized that true faith was trusting in God even when I didn't know what the future would hold and I couldn't see what was ahead. I felt like everything had been taken from me and I was giving God the one last thing I had. Looking back now I can see that He was there through it all and has never left my side. Now I can see that He was protecting me all along and He knew what was best, when at the time I was so caught up in what I wanted. I've grown closer to Him through this stage of my life and I thank Him for the trials He has brought along the way that have led me closer to Him.



It's neat looking back over this past year and seeing all the ways God has led me to where I am now. It's been a roller coaster of a year, full of enjoyable times, deep struggling, big decisions, searching and growing. Through the trials I experienced I felt like God was giving me more than I could handle, and maybe He was, but I've learned to rely on Him with all circumstances and I don't have to bear them on my own. Just when I didn't think I'd make it through I've found that with God's strength He will always be there to sustain me and help me through the darkest of times.

Remember that God is using the things you are going through right now for an important lesson. The things you have in your life can either be a tool or a temptation, use them wisely. I honestly can say there are many times I've gone the temptation route, but they have taught me to refocus and learn for next time.

Take a few minutes to look back over your life, look at how God has worked and the ways He has provided for you. Maybe you'll find how He has protected you from a wrong decision you would have made or has opened a better door for you. Just remember, whenever you are trusting God amidst a difficult time, know that He will guide you in the way you should go, just remain consistent and steadfast. No prayer to God is ever forgotten. No answer is ever mishandled. His answers are always for our best and in the perfect timing when we are seeking after Him.


Psalm 71:20

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.

5.24.2016

Overcoming Daily Struggles

Trying to find the moment that my life will be peaceful and serene often seems quite impossible when circumstances get thrown my way. How many times in my life have I thought about the future and believed with high expectations that things would be perfect and happy. Then real life sets in, and I encounter struggles where I once had thought it would be a blissful stage of life.

By this point in my life I thought I would be living my dream job, I would be married and feel successful. Wow was I wrong. Often I grow discouraged with where my life has led me. I look at this life I have right now and I often question the purpose for where I am. What is my purpose? When will my life feel like I'm more than just a girl trying to get through day by day? When will I be happy with the person I am? When will my daily struggles cease to exist?

Recently I've been wondering why I feel like every day brings some sort of struggle with it. Just when things start looking up, there's another pitfall waiting around the corner. I've grown hesitant to become happy with a good day because I've become too familiar with the quick nose-dive my life often takes when things seem to be going well. It's a great way for Satan to get us to doubt and become discouraged, and it sure does work!


One thing I have found over the past few months is where I put my confidence. Where do I focus my attention? Is it on my success? Is it on compliments? Is it on my appearance? Is it on my possessions? Is it in my relationships? Lately it seems like God has just taken everything from me. For a time I felt like God had removed everything from my life was important to me. Everything I relied on for happiness. I then realized just how much I was placing my confidence and focus on those areas. When I looked to God for my joy and remembered that there was purpose to what I was experiencing it showed me a different outlook to my struggle.

I felt like God had taken away all of my friends, close relationships, success in my job, and my self-worth, and it brought me to a low in my life. When I looked to God and remembered that He chose me, loves me and has a great plan for my life I realized that I don't have to be defined by what this world thinks of me. I am not defined by my success, popularity, relationships or how many friends I have. God sees my heart, my effort, my worth, my talents and integrity. Even when the world defines me as someone who is unqualified, ignorant, unusual or untalented, God sees what truly matters.

Once I began to focus on what God thought of me, I could then refocus my attention off what others thought of me. My perspective changed from earthly satisfaction, full of its constant ups and downs, and I could place my confidence in something that would remain steadfast- something I could hold on to no matter how my day went. Days are still hard. Things still hurt. Things definitely aren't perfect or how I pictured, but I know that I can find true joy when I place focus my confidence in God when my circumstances may be crumbling.

One verse that I have found encouraging recently is Jeremiah 20:11: "But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior." I really like how it mentions that God is our warrior. Knowing this helps give me confidence and know that He will help me overcome what sometimes seems impossible.

Some lyrics to a song that I have found encouraging recently are in Josh Wilson's song "Fall Apart." I attended his concert recently and was reminded of the truth in his song. How true it is that we find God often when we feel the most broken inside. Our deepest pain can often be used for great things God has in store for us and even though it feels like it is breaking us apart, God is using it to deepen our relationship with Him!

Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel you now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
But somehow still have all I need?
God I want to know you more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find you when I fall apart

I don't know how long this will last
I'm praying for the pain to pass
But maybe this is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

4.26.2016

Finding God in the Silence

Where is God when the going gets hard? Why can't I hear Him? Why do I feel so alone?

Sometimes we go through heartaches that nobody else seems to understand. It feels like the weight of our problems is only ours to bear. Often times when things are the hardest God feels the farthest. We try to seek Him and look to Him for help, but all we seem to get is silence and emptiness.

When we can't feel God it is hard to trust in Him and know that He is working all things together for His good. It's hard putting everything we have into His hands when we don't see Him or can't hear His voice. Sometimes we hear a faint whisper of His presence, but it doesn't seem very secure or dependable.

Trusting in God isn't risky or treacherous. It's not uncertain or unreliable, rather, having faith in ourselves is risky and unreliable. Instead we place our trust in things other than God and then we wonder why worry, fear and despair overtakes our faith and causes us to doubt. We try to take control of our lives and jump ahead to the future when God is telling us to rely on Him in the present.


How many times I take my life into my own hands. I look at my problems and see them as things I have to bear on my own. And when I begin to take my burdens, heartaches and worries on by myself I realize that I grow weak. I begin to lose my focus, and doubt comes flooding in. Once doubt comes into the picture, worries, insecurities, fear and uncertainty all erupt and it's like a nose-dive heading right into Satan's schemes.

Satan wants us to question God. He wants to use the silent times we experience as a time to doubt God and let our relationship with Him to be chipped away by our distrust. God isn't trying to ignore us or push us aside, but He often uses the silent times in our lives to see how strong our faith really is. When everything else around us is taken away, it really shows just how much we rely on those things to bring us happiness and contentment on a day to day basis rather than relying on God.

God has really showed me that my joy doesn't come from friends, relationships, my income, job or even my family. My joy comes from God. Everything else will change and disappear, but God's love always remains. I will never be truly happy with things of this world. They let us down and leave us with pain. God is the one thing that will always remain by our side no matter what we face.

The next time God is silent and you begin to doubt Him handling your situation, know that Satan is trying to make you doubt. He takes whatever insecurities we have and uses them against us. Yes, although God may seem silent, it doesn't mean He's not working and handling your future. God doesn't always work in the daytime, sometimes He works at night, when we can't see what He's doing. But when the morning comes we will soon see the beautiful and miraculous plans He has in store for our lives.

God will never disappoint us even though it may feel like He has forgotten us. He will never fail us, because He knows what is for our best. Our plans may feel destroyed, but God's plans are always handled with great detail and purpose far beyond what we see.

I love the quote "the teacher is always silent during the test." It's so true. God is often silent to see how we will react and will we fall or will we fly? Will we rely on His strength and mount with wings like eagles or will we fall using our own fragile wings? Look to God in the midst of the silence you are facing and know that He is there. He is working. He is protecting you. And he is using this to strengthen you. Don't doubt, but look to God and seek Him even through the silence.

4.13.2016

The Inner Me {poem}

From magazine covers to facebook profiles
From the latest trends to the "in" hair styles
Looking at the aim for perfection everyone is seeking,
Meeting all their expectations can get quite daunting
Wishing the person you knew inside could shine through
But your insecurities and fears of rejection constantly hide the real you

When will the person you see in the mirror be what others see?
When will you become the person you'd always hoped you'd be?
When will you accept yourself and see beauty in who God created you to be?

Wondering when you won't feel ashamed to be yourself anymore
When will the time come when you will truly loved and cared for?
Will you ever stop being overlooked and feeling invisible?
Will anyone ever see you as something more than ordinary or typical?

Sometimes I feel hidden beneath my silent and introverted appearance
I feel trapped behind my quiet and timid spirit
My past often feels like it has defined who I'm going to become
It feels like something I'll never be able to overcome
It's an ongoing battle to be confident in who you are
When the world seems to be draining you of God's truth and leaving you with deepening scars

I may not ever be what I seek to become
I may not ever be truly loved by many, or even by some
I may not be able to attain beauty or traits I admire in others
And I may not have friends in large numbers
But I do know that God loves me unconditionally
And He sees the real me that I'm apprehensive to let others see
I can find joy in knowing God created me just the way I am
And He began loving me even before my life began

When I don't feel love from others and I can't seem to accept myself
I know that You, God, know me completely and love me from the inside out!