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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the Lord merely spoke

The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created.  He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.  He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.  Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him.  For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.
Psalm 33: 6-9

If there was ever a moment where I felt an overwhelming sense of humility, it was reading these verses.  Re-read these verses and think about the fact that the Lord of these verses is the Lord who loves you unconditionally, who protects you in every situation, and who pursues you each and every day of your life.

The Lord that “merely spoke, and the heavens were created” is the one that craves a personal relationship with you.  He wants to take up residence in your heart and never leave.

The Lord who only had to breath the word to create each one of the beautifully unique stars that we see in the sky each night created you in the image of himself.  You are who you are, how you are, and how you look because that is exactly the way he intended.  If you are like me and are fascinated at how beautiful the stars look hanging in the sky, look in the mirror and see that same beauty tenfold because the same God created both you and the stars, and  I promise you are more precious to him than all the stars in the sky.

Think about standing at the edge of the ocean, looking out at the depths that extend farther than we can see.  You are loved and cared for in a way that cannot adequately be put into words by the same God who created and controls every wave of that ocean.

For when he spoke, the world began.”  This is the God who is calling out to you above every other voice on this earth.  This is the Lord that is calling you to walk with him, to trust him and his plan.

He has the power to create the heavens and the stars and the earth and the oceans.  He has the power to speak the world into motion and give life to every soul that exists within it, and still he wants you. Still he offers to you a life beyond this earth, filled with hope, joy, and peace.

The Lord of these verses desperately seeks to be the Lord of your heart.  He will meet you where you are. You need only to look his way and say the word, and he will be there.  And once you open your heart to him, once you accept him for who he is–your savior, your protector, your guide, your one and only King–he will never leave your side.

If you haven’t done so already, my prayer is that you would open your heart to the Lord.  Allow the Lord to show you the life he has for you.  Witness firsthand that when the Lord reigns in your heart, you can find rest in knowing that his power and his goodness and his love for you cannot be matched and will never be overcome.

Let everyone stand in awe of him.”


~ John 17:22-24 ~ Genesis 1:27 ~ Matthew 6:30 ~ John 3:16 ~ Philippians 2:13 ~ John 10:28-29 ~

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