Remember

It seems as if lately God has been calling me to remember Him…and it’s sad how often I really do need the reminder he places on my heart.  I think this forgetfulness is something a lot of us struggle with, and so I share the reminders I have needed over the years with the hope that anyone willing to read finds the reminder they might need tonight:

“Remember my love.” Romans 8: 38-39, 1 John 4:9-10
God’s love exists without condition, without exception, and without end.

“Remember my grace.”  Romans 3:23-24, John 1:16
We make mistakes, but God (thankfully) welcomes us home with open arms time and time again.

“Remember me before you stumble.”  Psalm 37:24
He may catch you, or He may use that to raise you higher than before. Either way, He is good.

“Remember my presence.” Acts 17:27-28, Psalm 23:4
Even when He seems distant, He is closer than you know.  Our King is ever-present.

“Remember my pursuit of your heart.” Psalm 23:5-6
God wants your whole heart, brokenness and all.  He wants you.

“Remember my promises and hold tight to them.”  Hebrews 10:23
In the mountain-top moments and the deepest valleys.

“Remember my wisdom.” James 1:5
Seek Him.  For guidance, for clarity, for all things.

“Remember my plan.” Proverbs 16:9, Jeremiah 29:11
His plan for your life is good and pleasing and perfect, and it has been designed for you and you alone.

“Remember my sovereignty.” Colossians 1:15-17, Psalm 33:6-9
When life gets messy (and it will), God is in control.

“Remember my goodness.” James 1:17, Psalm 119:68
There is no good thing apart from Jesus, and in Him goodness can be found in every situation.

“Remember my sacrifice.” Romans 8:1-4
Jesus left a perfect home to come humbly into a broken and hopeless world to pay the debt of our sin and make us children of God and co-heirs with Christ.

“Remember my strength.” Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:29-31
When you are weak, He is strong.  When you are strong, He is stronger still.

“Remember that I am for you.” Psalm 16:8, Psalm 68:19
Every step you take, He takes with you.  Cheering you on, lifting you up, carrying you through every day and watching over you every night.

“Remember my peace.” John 14:27
A peace that is available in all moments and all seasons of life that cannot be taken from you by this world.

“Remember me…”  Isaiah 48:12
He is the Almighty God.  The great I Am.  He is unchanging, never-failing, ever-present, and so much more.

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peace

For the past month, I have been praying for answers.  What will I do after school? Where will I live? What will my life look like 6 months down the road?  These are things I have worried and stressed about for months, but over this past month of prayer I finally realized what my answer is:

“just wait.”

What months ago seemed like the dreaded answer I knew I would get but didn’t want to accept has now become one of the greatest blessings in disguise.

You see, one of the things I’ve learned in my walk with Christ is that God does his own thing, and he does it better than anyone ever could.  His timing, his plan, and his faithfulness all remain in perfect condition.

In finding that I am just going to have to be patient and wait for His plan to unfold, God somehow managed to show a new depth to his faithfulness in giving me the answer to a question I didn’t even realize I was asking.

He gave me peace. And y’all let me just say that I have never in my life been so overwhelmed with pure, hopeful joy as I have these past few weeks.   I have no answers to where my life will be this time next year, but I have been given something so much greater.

I didn’t intend for this post to be all about me, but as much as I read and hear and speak about the peace God offers, I feel as if I am only now experiencing it in truth.  The peace God offers is different.  His peace is capable of melting every worry from your soul, every wound you still hold tight, and every single anxious thought that tries to crowd out what you know to be true in Christ.  His peace replaces any doubt with a trust that burns so deep it seems as if nothing could break it.

And the joy.  Of all things His peace has brought into my heart, the joy is priceless.  Even now, as I sit and wait for one of the most important exam scores of my life (really), I find myself full of joy because I have his peace.

Tonight I pray you find the same peace.  I hope that as you pray for whatever it is your heart desires, you take the time to listen.  He may not give you the answer you want, but He will answer.  He will answer in His way, in His time, and it will be exactly what you need because He is good and He is sovereign.


 Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
– Romans 15:13

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
-Isaiah 26:3

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Begin Again

Ask just about anyone and they’ll say that New Years Day is the perfect time to start fresh, but ask me and I’ll say it’s at Christmas.

I love everything about Christmas, but what I love most is what it represents.  I know I’m a few days late (but really I’m still full of Christmas Spirit), but the rest of this post was written a few weeks ago, so forgive me for waiting until now to share:

Tonight I am angry, I am frustrated, and I am full of my own selfish pride.  Is this my proudest moment? Definitely not.  Is this my worst moment? Definitely not.  Do I have to keep myself in this mindset because that’s just who I am?  Thanks to my Savior, definitely not.  

Christmas to me is all about new beginnings. A time that reminds me both of who I was at my worst and who I hope to be in my future.  Why? Because we have been given the incredibly undeserved gift of a second chance through a beautiful exchange.

We don’t have to look at ourselves in the mirror every morning, wishing we could somehow forget the mistakes of our past and be a better person. Because Jesus Christ loved us enough to humbly come into a broken world to give himself in exchange for our shortcomings, we don’t just “wish” for a chance to begin again, we are given that very chance every single day, in every single moment.

We have hope. We have hope in the promises our Heavenly Father has made and in the birth of a Savior that came to wash away our sins and offer us a fresh start, a new beginning.

You don’t have to be who you used to be, or even who are you right now in this moment. You have the ability to pick yourself up, climb into the loving arms of your Savior, and choose to begin again.

You have the choice of embracing all that He has offered you. Does that mean you will never make another mistake? Definitely not. But by the grace of God it means you are no longer defined by those mistakes.  

You have been offered new life. A new, eternal, hopeful, joyful, love-filled life now stands in the place of the broken, angry, messed-up, failure that you had deemed your life to be.

This is the gift of Christmas. This is why I celebrate, why I cherish, and why I seemingly turn into a 5-year old when I think of this time of year. I have been made new. I have been forgiven. I have been redeemed. And you can say the same for yourself because of the gift born on Christmas.

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” -Matthew 1:21


“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”


 

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chase grace

We all have people in our lives who inspire us. People who teach us, guide us, encourage us, and love us.  We can all point to a person in our past, and hopefully our present, who showed us by the way they walk through life what it means to chase grace.

The person who showed, not by words, but by actions what it means to pursue the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

The person who teaches you that there is peace to be found in the midst of war and there is something to love about every heart and every person whose heart is beating.

The person who proves that even on the darkest night there is light and there is hope and there is joy.

The person who showed you how to forgive when anger was the much easier option.

The person who is unrelenting in their drive to show compassion in a world where hate and divisiveness seem to take precedence…

My hope is that as you read this, someone comes into your mind.  Your person.  The one who taught you these things, showed you the love of Christ, and led you into a relationship with the One who intentionally molded every piece of you.

Go be that person.

Think about how different your life would be without that person.  The person who demonstrated what it means to follow Christ.  Whether their guidance was known to them or not, they impacted your life simply by living the life God meant for them to live.

In the same way, you may never know the lives you touch or the impact you make on someone’s walk with Jesus, but I think that’s absolutely beautiful.  We don’t live for God in order to be praised by other people, we live for God because we have been transformed by his presence in our lives and want desperately to share the unchanging love he offers to everyone around us.  The impact we, as followers of Christ, have on someone stems only from our God’s ability to break through into that person’s heart and make himself known.

I say all this to make this one point: You can be the very person you look to as an example of what it looks like to follow Christ because you know the very same joy.

The God that captured their heart and set them on their journey to forever chase His grace is the same God who has in turn captured yours.  Whether the person you are thinking of knows the impact they had on your faith or not, God used them to bring you to Him.  He used their obedience in living for Him to bring another soul back home…And He can use you to do the same.

You can be that person.  Live your faith loud, love unceasingly, be compassionate, and run unashamed toward the One who met you wherever you were when your own journey began.  You never know who might be watching.

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(beautifully) in over my head

Let me preface this by saying that if you have not heard “In Over My Head” by Bethel Music, stop what you’re doing and look it up right now.  I could honestly just stop here and this would be enough because this song is that good.  When I’m searching for answers/guidance/help, music is a big way the Lord reveals these things to me.  It may be a single sentence or the whole song, and often it comes when I least expect it.  This song was no different.  It was a normal day of me getting ready to go sit and study for hours and hours, and then I heard this song and it stopped me in my tracks.  The honesty, the purity, the genuineness of the words just wrapped around my heart and stopped me right where I was.  So here are my thoughts:

How many times have you felt overwhelmed? How many moments have been filled with doubt and insecurity because you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, way outside your comfort zone?  Think of those times, or maybe you’re in one now, and say this:

“I was (am) exactly where God wanted (wants) me to be.”

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think we have all (especially me) become too quick to cry out and question why God would put us in a situation/season of life where everything just seems so difficult.  Where we just don’t understand why we’re having to deal with everything happening in our lives.  Why?

Because we don’t have the perspective our God has.  We aren’t all-knowing.  We don’t know what’s going to come out of these hard times, and it’s in these moments that we have to remember that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

God has planned each moment of your life and purposefully laid it out before you, preparing you for each step before he reveals it.

So while you may not understand the purpose behind you walking through some kind of heartache or sickness or all around stressful time, God knows that in order for you to appreciate what is in your next step you must walk through this first.

God may call you deeper into a place you’re not entirely comfortable with to help you break down the human-sized box you’ve tried to fit him in.

He may have you walk through a little fire today to truly appreciate the joy you’ll find tomorrow.

Or He may even take you to a point where you feel like the waves are crashing over your head and you can’t catch a breath and you would do anything to just make it all stop.  No, this place isn’t pleasant, but it is purposeful. God may allow this season to continue because he realizes the need for you to trust him in every aspect of your life.  He may know that in order for you to accomplish the amazing life he has set before you, you have to come to a place where you finally give up the control you’ve held so tightly to and are willing to follow him wherever he may lead.

Whenever you find yourself in one of these overwhelming phases of life, remember that the Lord is sovereign.  Remember that he is with you through all of it.  He knows how you will come out of this phase and what you will find in the next.  Trust him. Give him control.  Allow him to to take the lead and follow him wholeheartedly down the path he calls you to walk, even if he leads you to a place where the waters are deeper than they’ve ever been before.

Every moment God is preparing you for something.  Whatever that may be, wherever that may lead you, my prayer is that you come to accept these moments not as a punishment, but as a place where God is beautifully, carefully, and lovingly molding you into the person he created you to be.

I pray you see the beauty of these “in over your head” moments as God works in you to become your sole desire, your only source of hope and joy and peace, and where he reveals himself as the only one worthy of such a title.  Don’t feel defeated by these moments, see them for what they are: a beautifully broken place where you find yourself lifting your heart to the One who strives so hard to protect it, saying “I’ve lost control but I am free.”


The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. -Psalm 37:23-24

“Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises…We went through the fire and flood, but You brought us to a place of great abundance.” -Psalm 66:8,12

The One who formed you says, “Do not be afraid for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” -Isaiah 43:1-2

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less of me

Sometimes God takes his time molding me and revealing areas I need to let go/pour into, sometimes the revelation takes only a moment, but every time the result is the same: life change.  Over the years, me and God have had plenty of chats where He graciously reminds me that I still have plenty to work on in my journey to be like Him.  Recently the topic was selfishness…

I am a firm believer that prayer is essential.  Even in the tiniest life decisions represents an opportunity to come before God, refocus your heart, and acknowledge that your Creator is in control (this was also a previous lesson I had to learn).   But what is gained when your prayer life consists only of yourself?

Before I continue, let me say this: there is nothing wrong with praying for yourself.  It’s absolutely crucial that you pray for help when you need it, guidance when making a decision, clarity when faced with confusion, strength to stand through a storm raging around you, and praise when he reveals his answer…

but it shouldn’t stop there.

This may seem like common sense, and you’re right.  It should be common sense to pray for other people in need, but so often we (especially me) get caught up in what is happening in our life that taking the time to prayer for someone else falls to the list of things we’ll “get to tomorrow.”

So enough about me; I want to spend the rest of this post praying for you.  I pray these words find their way into your heart, along with the source of every good thing.  Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever season of life you find yourself in, these are for you:

I pray you know that you are so loved.  Deeply, wholly, unconditionally, and eternally loved.

I pray you find your worth in Jesus and not in how you compare to the “flawless” girls on Instagram.  He gave his life to pay the price of your mistakes to make you a flawless child of God.  There is no greater worth.

I pray you seek the Lord in every moment, for he has a perfect plan for your life that he is patiently waiting to reveal to you step-by-step.

I pray you find joy. The kind of joy that goes beyond happiness and cannot be altered by your current circumstances.

I pray you find peace.  Whatever your situation, whatever your heartache. I pray you find peace in the midst of it.

I pray you find strength to get back up, to keep moving forward, to walk away, or to accomplish whatever it is you have been fighting so hard to finish.

I pray you thank God for both the good times and the bad, because he works through both.

I pray you find healing. Mentally, physically, or spiritually.

I pray you find hope in the greatness of our God and that you hold tight to him and his promises through any battle you face.

I pray you trust Him when he says he will be steadfast at your side through every season of life.

I pray you remain confident in your salvation and the inheritance promised to you when you chose to follow Christ.

I pray you give him all the praise and glory when he reveals himself to you and through you (and he will at just the right moment because his timing is perfect).

I pray that when you feel overwhelmed and your whole life seems to be crashing around you, you remember that you are not alone and you can find rest in the shelter of our Savior.

I pray you never lose sight of the presence of God and the knowledge that you are loved, you are forgiven, and you are beautiful because God has made you so.


In reading these, I hope you found what it is you needed to find, or even just took a step towards finding that thing.  My final prayer is that if you have a specific request or need, you reach out to someone. Whether it be to me or to someone you feel more comfortable with, please reach out.  There is power in praying to the God who always listens, and so much comfort can be found in knowing someone is praying with you and for you.

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“Lay it down before you fall down.”

A few nights ago, I was scrolling through Pinterest before going to sleep.  My first few weeks back in school have consisted of studying, going to class, and studying some more, and this particular night I was feeling especially overwhelmed with everything I needed to do.  And so I got on Pinterest and just typed what I wanted to find: “rest.”

First of all, you might be thinking, “Why didn’t you first go to your Bible?” The truth is, I just didn’t.  I believe God works and speaks in many different ways, and that night I was tired, I was worn, and I wanted to be able to quickly find multiple verses specific to what I was looking for.  I know rest is found in God alone, but in that moment I needed reassurance…and that’s when I saw this:

“Lay it down before you fall down.

If you’re anything like me, you constantly pick up too many things at once.  It’s like my life is a constant “I can get all the groceries in one trip,” except instead of groceries it’s trying to manage class and homework and studying and friends and family and church and this and that…

The problem with me, and maybe you, doing this is that we were never meant to live this way.  We were never designed to carry everything all at once or all by ourselves.

We were made with a God-sized hole that only He can fit.  We were made in his perfect image, and that image involves us relying on him because He cares so deeply for us that he wants to help us carry our load.  And more than that, God is offering to be our strength and our protector and our load-bearer because He knows.

He knows exactly what we’re dealing with. He knows of our tendency to want to fix things ourselves. He knows the instant we become overwhelmed with what is going on in our life.  He knows that the reason we become overwhelmed is sometimes because of our desire to do things on our own.  And he knows we can’t keep living like this.

God is sovereign.  He knows where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going.  When we try to take that control and manage everything on our own, we are picking up a load that was never meant to be ours.  And if we hold it too long, we will be crushed under the weight of it.  So what should we do?

“Lay it down before you fall down.”

If you’re stressed about something, take it to God. If you’re anxious about an upcoming exam (school or health), go to God and tell Him that.  If you are drowning in uncertainties, pray about what you’re feeling. If you are tired of doing everything by yourself, give control back up to the One who rightfully owns it.  Don’t pick up more than you were meant to carry.  Stop trying to handle things on your own, because God is right beside you, waiting to free you of the weight you have chosen to carry on your shoulders.

God is so good that He is willing to carry that weight, that He wants to carry that weight for you and for me.  But in order for him to pick it up, we have to lay it down.

My prayer for you is that if you struggle with “laying it down” –whatever ‘it’ is– that you would come to find rest in the One who so desperately wants to love and support you.  I’ve once again been reminded that nothing is stronger, nothing is more powerful, and nothing will make you feel as free as the moment you lay down your struggle and let God be God.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” -Matthew 11: 28-30

“Lay it down before you fall down.”