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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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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more than gold

When I like something, I don’t just like it, I’m obsessed with it…the Olympic Games happen to be one of those things.  With Team USA bringing home medal after medal (can I get a hallelujah?) and my denial that the games are ending, I’m reminded of something that I want to share with you:

Of all the gold medals won at the Olympics, you are worth more.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold…” -1 Peter 1:7

“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.  And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” -1 Peter 1:18-19

One thing I catch myself thinking as I sit on the edge of my seat watching every game that involves a medal is that  I wish that could be me.  I think about how I would give almost anything to be talented enough, strong enough, fast enough, or tough enough to win a gold medal for my country. And it’s in those moments I am reminded that God has other plans for me life.  God’s plan for my life does not include an Olympic medal, but the plan he has placed before me is uniquely mine.

The same goes for you.  God has laid a one-of-a-kind plan out for your life. I repeat: God has created a plan specifically for you.  It is a plan laid out step by step by the hands of a loving and all-powerful God with you in mind.  It’s a path that only you are destined to walk.   Your life may not include a medal, but that’s okay beause you have been especially created in the image of the perfect God to follow a path that not even Michael Phelps could walk, because it is only yours.

And while I am relating this specifically to the Olympics because I am 100% obsessed, that moment of looking at someone and wanting what they have because it seems like God gave them a better life relates to almost anything.

The girl you see with the seemingly perfect boyfriend/husband with the cutest kids and the supermodel body.

The guy you see that has your dream job and dream girl.

The neighbor you see with the fancy house and brand-new cars.

The family you pass with 5 kids when you are only praying for one.

The relationship that is perfect by Instagram standards.

The friend who has traveled to more than 25 different countries.

The co-worker who just got the big promotion.

The believer who seems closer to God than you think you could ever be…

There will always be a life you look at and see as better than your own. But here’s what we need to remember: We have been created in the image of the perfect God who makes no mistake.  Our Creator has molded every piece of you to fit the path that only you can live out because he loves and cares for you so deeply.  God’s plan for your life is perfect for you because he made it with you, the one who is more precious to him than all the gold in the world, in mind.


“What is the price of five sparrows–two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” -Luke 12:6-7

“Look at the lilies and how they grow.  They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.” -Luke 12:27-28

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” -Psalm 32:8

 

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a time for everything

As I sit here and think about all the blessings I’ve been shown in my now twenty-one years, I am truly in awe.  In awe of the amazing support system I have in my family and friends. In awe of the love I’ve been shown.  In awe of the life I’ve been given.  In awe of the Lord who got me through every up and down along the way.

I am a self-proclaimed old soul, so even at a mere twenty-one I find it fitting that I share a piece of the wisdom I have found throughout my life in hopes of inspiring an “awe” moment for anyone reading…

Life is not simple.  You may look at me and say that I know nothing about “hard times” and that my life has been all sunshine and unending happiness, and to an extent you would be right.  My life has been full of blessings and things I will forever be thankful for, but that doesn’t mean every day has been easy.

Ecclesiastes 3 explains perfectly the life we all live on earth.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
v. 1-8

Life is a constant change.  We are constantly moving from one point to the next, from one place to another. We have ups and downs, laughter and pain, good days and not so good days.

In my life, I’ve experienced all of these. I’ve had times of complete joy; times when I had not a worry in the world because my life was just good.  I’ve had times of sadness, where the loss I was facing seemed too big to overcome.  I’ve had times where life seemed to throw every punch it could, and times where not even a punch could hinder the joy I was experiencing.

But time doesn’t just stand still.  We will not be in any one season forever.  Good times come and go just like bad times.  If you’re in a season of  heartache, find comfort in knowing it will not last forever.  If you’re in a season of laughter, remember to be present in each moment because you don’t know what tomorrow holds.

If you’re like me, change isn’t always the most welcome idea.  Moving into a new season of life, full of uncertainties, and feeling like you’re walking blind is not a fun thing.  But more than simply saying there is a time for everything, the Bible gives us an unwavering hope in the midst of any and every season of life.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

This verse reminds me that because God is sovereign, I have no need to worry.  It’s okay that I don’t know what my next season will be or when it will arrive because the Lord’s perspective is much higher than my own. I’m also reminded to look for the beauty of the season I find myself in now, even if that doesn’t seem possible.

Whatever season you find yourself in, remember that “God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” There is beauty in every season because God has made it so. Though the beauty may be hard to find in moments of suffering, trust the Lord’s perspective and know that you will one day see it clearly. He knows the path you will walk because he laid it out for you.  And more than that, he walks with you.  In every season, in every step, God is there and He knows.


John 16:33 – Psalm 139 – 2 Corinthians 5:7 – Romans 12:12 – Psalm 37:23/24

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the pursuit of surrender

When I think of the Lord, I find myself falling into a state of overwhelming awe. So while this post is about abandoning self and chasing wholeheartedly after the God who is in every way superior, I want to share three simple truths about who God is and why he is worthy of our surrender:

God is good.  We serve a God who is so good we, in our humanness, can’t fully understand how the goodness of God steadfastly exists in every situation

God is sovereign.  In every moment and in every situation we come across, God is in control.  Our God is 100% in control of anything that happens in our life.  This may be hard to see when things get hard, but remember that God has promised he will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can stand *with his help* (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Yes, he will allow us to be tempted, but he is sovereign.  Nothing will touch us without God first knowing that we can withstand it as we rely on him for strength.

God is faithful. The Lord has promised that he will never leave or forsake us many times throughout scripture.  His promises never fade, and his faithfulness is eternal.

This is the God to whom I surrender.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24

Surrender is the heart of faith.  It means laying everything at the foot of the cross, trusting the Lord, and accepting His grace.  It’s laying down your problems, your sins, your plans, your dreams, your desires, your life, and picking up the salvation that Jesus died on the cross for you to gain.

Surrender means giving your heart, your whole heart, to the Lord. It means giving up the plans you have in your mind of what your life should be like.  It means seeking the Lord with every ounce of strength that you have inside of you, despite circumstances trying to steal that strength away.

Surrender is more than a one-time decision.  To me, the pursuit of surrender is something I strive for daily.  I have to wake up each morning and decide that God is worthy of my every breath.  I would love to tell you that I made the decision once and I never question it, but that wouldn’t be true.  I’m human. I make mistakes. I lose sight of how good, how sovereign, and how faithful my Lord is every single day.  That is why I’m calling my surrender a pursuit.  I’m pursuing the Lord and the life he has called for me, knowing that I, in my power alone, could never accomplish the plans he has for me.  With each new problem that comes my way I’m striving to lay down at his feet, trusting that he is more capable of handling that situation than I am.

Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You” lays out the idea of surrender in such an incredible way.  If you haven’t listened to it, I encourage you to do so.  There is one part specifically that I want to share to sum up what the pursuit of surrender is all about:

“When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move.
When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through.
When you don’t give the answers as  I cry out to you.
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.”

Surrender is all about trusting that God’s plans are perfect, and his ways are good.  It’s about acknowledging that he is all-powerful, that He can move mountains, split the sea, and answer any question you come to him with, but also acknowledging that he may not do these things for you because he has other plans in mind.  His plan may be for you to climb to the top of the mountain instead of him moving it out of your way, or to stand and fight rather than him providing you a quick escape, or to wait months or even years before he will answer the questions you have for him.

In your pursuit of surrender, you have to trust that his plans and his timing are perfect.  It’s about having the faith and the trust in God to answer “Here I am Lord, send me.” whenever and wherever he may call you.  The pursuit of surrender is sacrificing yourself for the glory of God, knowing that by laying down your life to him, you gain infinitely more than you could ever lose.

My prayer is that you begin your pursuit of surrender if you haven’t already.  See what the Lord can do in your life.  Experience the joy of knowing and trusting in the One who made you.  Lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow Him.

 

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