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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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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Jesus + Sorority Life

Joining Greek life was one of the best decisions I made when I started college.  I was the girl who never planned on going Greek or being a “sorority girl,” but I am so thankful to God for leading me to my sorority and, more importantly, my sisters.  This isn’t a post about why you should go through recruitment or what you should do to land a bid from your dream house.  This is for the girls, like me, who had reservations about how being in a sorority might affect your faith.


But first, let me explain what it really means to be a “sorority girl” because we are so much more than TSM makes us out to be:

We are strong and beautiful women.  We work hard to keep our grades high .  We have goals and dreams that we are daily striving towards.  We are advocates of domestic violence awareness and breast cancer awareness and special needs children and countless other philanthropies nation-wide. We have integrity. We are loyal to the values of our Fraternity. We have respect for all people, not just our sisters.  We care about more than just ourselves.


My biggest fear going through recruitment was being placed in a situation where I had to choose either to live out my faith or walk away from it in order to enjoy my sorority years.  In the hopes of relieving you of this fear, I want to share a few insights into being a Christ-follower while in a sorority:

  1. Your sorority becomes your mission-field.  I am a firm believer that God is sovereign, he places us where we are for a reason, and he wants to use us right where we are.  Finding your home with a certain sorority is no exception.  You are in the house you are for a reason.  The Lord makes no mistake, and if he leads you to a house, even if it’s not the one your best friend wants, please trust his plan.  There may be someone in that sorority who is desperately seeking to find the love, joy, or peace found only in Christ, and you may be the one to bring her to Jesus.  Follow the Lord’s lead, and allow him to work through you as you love him and love your sisters.
  2. Don’t hide your faith.  When you first enter a sorority, you may be tempted to hide your beliefs from your new sisters because you aren’t sure what they will think about you.  Please, for all that is good in this world, don’t do this.  And believe me when I say that if your sisters judge you for your faith and for what you believe in, they are not the right sisters for you.  In following Christ, you have been shown a love and grace that cannot ever be matched.  Don’t keep that kind of knowledge to yourself.  Share it with each person that crosses your path because the love and the light of God needs to be made known.
  3. Your sisters will stand with you.  I have met some of the most God-fearing, Jesus-loving, faith-driven women in Greek life.  You will build lifelong relationships with girls who will grow with you, worship with you, pray with you, and be accountable to you throughout your walk with God.  Every girl in your sorority will not hold the same beliefs as you, but every girl will respect and encourage you as you go through this crazy time called college.
  4. Get involved.  Some sororities actually have a position for one of the girls to share a few verses or inspirational message during meeting.  If you feel led to do this, go for it!  If your sorority doesn’t have that option, then most sororities will have their own bible study or be a part of a Greek-wide bible study.  Take advantage of this time to meet people in the same phase of life, dealing with similar struggles, and seeking the same God as you are.  College is difficult no matter what your major is. Having a community of believers that you can rely on to help you when your down and rejoice with you when you land your dream internship or pass the hardest class of your major is so important.
  5. Your faith will be stronger because of your sisters.  I wholeheartedly believe that the Lord uses other people to encourage us and to remind us of who he is. I’m no longer an active member of my sorority, but I can look back and tell you of times when my faith seemed to be at a stand-still and everything seemed to fall apart.  I can also tell you that my sisters were the ones who were my shoulder to cry on, the ones who picked me up, and the ones who reminded me of the strength that was inside me.  My sisters, whether they knew it at the time or not, were the hands of feet of Jesus in how they loved and encouraged me. They often were the support-system I needed to keep trusting that the Lord was in control of my life.

In your sisters, you will find love and encouragement and strength.  They will be the source of so much laughter and so many memories.  They will be the ones standing by your side through the ups and the downs. They will be the ones motivating you to be your best self and to be a light to everyone around you.  They will believe in who you are and who you are striving to become.

Your role is to show them Jesus and be everything they are to you.  Show them love, show them grace, and show them the joy that comes in knowing the Lord.  If you are a follower of Jesus, you will be watched perhaps more closely than others (not out of judgement from your sisters but often out of curiosity).  Live the life God has called you to live, and be His light.  Show your fellow sorority girls that following Jesus isn’t about being perfect, but rather acknowledging your imperfections and your need for a Savior.

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