Saturday, January 23, 2016

he is my perfect peace

It is so incredibly easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of life. There are times when it seems as if we are being pulled in every direction; we can't seem to catch our breath, we feel helpless and afraid ad confused. We can't see past the storm that surrounds our head and fills our heart and clouds our insides.

There have been moments when I've been trapped in that whirlwind. I've looked up at God in fear and confusion, and begged him to help me, to save me, to heal me, to bring me clarity and comfort. I have found myself in such a state of confusion that there would be times that I would lay on my bed and feel my mind spin as it tried to work through the panic and anxiety and (if I may quote my last blog) the "lostness."

One of my most favorite people recently gave me some really amazing advice. She encouraged me to head in the direction of peace when I feel most surrounded by the whirlwind of life. That could be peace for today, for tomorrow, for a month from now, or a year from now, but just set your internal GPS toward peace.

The Bible tells us that the Lord is our perfect peace. He is our stronghold, our firm foundation, and our comfort from the storm. His is the peace that we should be headed toward. He is our strength and our refuge, and it is in him that we find the peace that we so desperately long for.

I am so thankful that God provided me with his perfect peace. He knows that I can't make it through the storm without him. He is gracious and merciful and oh so strong. He is strong when I am not. He is calm when I am not. And he plucks me from that whirlwind and sets me on solid ground and surrounds me with his stillness.

Isaiah 54:10
"'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed', says the Lord, who has compassion on you."

Isaiah 26:3
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."

1 Corinthians 14:33
"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace..."

Philippians 4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

to all who are lost

Even as I type these words, I too, am lost. I am not the authority on navigating life, nor do I have any tips on how to become "un-lost" (yes, the opposite of lost is found, but I'm getting there.)

I am human. I am lost. I am often misguided and confused and wrong. I am often wandering through life very unsure of what I'm supposed to do or where I'm supposed to go or who should hold my focus. I have a human-sized plan for myself--that seems grand and exciting to my human brain--but there are also God-sized plans for me. However, those are not carefully laid out for me to find and execute, so I am often lost.

I am lost when it comes to my words, my deeds, my actions, and my plans. I get lost in the stress and confusion of life. I get lost in sadness and hurt. Sometimes it feels like I'm more lost than I am "un-lost."

I know a lot of people who are lost. I've sat with them and cried with them and loved on them, even when I feel just as lost. We are a bunch of lost people, and that is scary and overwhelming. But lost people are still God's people. We could be lost for days or months or years, but even though we are lost, we are God's. We are FOUND. We have not found ourselves; we have not reached through the chaos that is our lives, plucked ourselves out of the confusion, and set ourselves on the right path. We are found by one who is bigger and better than our chaos.

Somehow, it's comforting to know that even in my state of being lost and unsure and confused and scared, there is this perfect peace, this beacon, this lighthouse that is our Father. Even when the "lostness" seems to be too much to handle, there is our Savior. Even when we cry and ache and drag ourselves through our "lostness," there is our Almighty God.

So, I will press on, even during the times I feel lost, but I will take joy and comfort in the fact that my God sees me when I'm lost and finds me and gives me a purpose and a direction and a future and a hope. //

Luke 19:10 
"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

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

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

welcome to a new year

I don't make new years resolutions. I just don't. I'm terrible at sticking to them, I lost interest, I get distracted, life gets in the way, etc. (all of the usual excuses).

So, this year I resolved to have pick a word (or words) to focus on for the next 12 months. There were literally thousands and thousands of words that I could choose, and when it came down it I couldn't choose just one word.

My words for 2016 are these: patience, grace, trust.

I want patience with my friends and my family and myself and my God and my circumstances. I am known to have quite the temper. I get fired up easily, and it takes a while for me to come back down to Earth. I get frustrated easier than I should. I often make mountains out of mole hills. I want what I want and when I want it, and I'm terrible at being okay with waiting.

I want grace. I am learning that giving someone the benefit of the doubt is often the better choice. I am learning that no one is perfect, we are all deserving of grace and mercy, so I should stop expecting people to live up to some unattainable level of perfection--it's not going to happen. I am learning that grace is freeing. It produces love and understanding and freedom and joy! It makes people feel heard and not condemned. It gives us a chance to love others in a way that is glorifying to the Lord. Grace is not easy, but it is well worth it.

I want trust. I always want trust. I pray for trust with my future, my relationships, my fears, my goals, my dreams, everything. I'm learning to stop making decisions based on whether they make me feel comfortable, and start making decisions with the hope and desire that God will use me--even through the fear. I want unfailing, unconditional, unrelenting trust in God the Father. God wants me to trust in him, to put every ounce of fear and uncertainty aside in the pursuit of his plan for me, and he never, ever, EVER leads me in the wrong direction, so why wouldn't I trust him?

I am beyond excited for this new year. God was so so good to me throughout 2015--even when I refused to let him work in me. If 2016 brings half of the growth and change and excitement that was found in 2015, then it will be such an amazing year.

And my prayer for you is that you're willing--willing to let God work in you, willing to put yourself aside for his glory, willing to give it up to him. I believe with my whole heart that God's plans for you this year are incredible, so be open to him. He won't let you down.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

you are seen

Sometimes life requires getting down on our knees and giving it up, and that's not an easy thing to do.

Sometimes we hear God's voice say, "hey, come here," and that's even harder because we think: Why on Earth would God want me? I am broken, I am flawed, I'm not worthy. He obviously hasn't accounted for the things I've said, done, thought, etc.

If you've ever thought that listen to this.

I feel like I don't need to say much because the song says it all, but I will say that God sees you, and he LOVES you. He loves you so deeply and so unconditionally and so fiercely. He sees you as a treasure, you are hand-crafted by him--the most high God.

We see ourselves through the lens of a broken and flawed world. A world that says that you're not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. A world that says that you've messed too many times to be "good." A world that says you have too much baggage, and no chance of getting rid of it.

But God wipes that clean. God takes broken and flawed people, and reshapes them. God specializes in broken people, who live in a broken world, and he loves them. Oh, how he loves them.

You are never too far, too messy, too weighed down with baggage, too broken for God to love you. He loves you, he sees you, he WANTS you. He calls to you in your brokenness and sees something far greater for you.

Friday, December 11, 2015


hair goals
family goals
body goals
makeup goals
girlfriend goals
boyfriend goals

How many times have you seen one of these so-called "goals" on social media? I'll be the first to admit that I've seen them, and said them, often. We all have goals. Things we want to accomplish for ourselves, or for others.

I'm not saying that it's bad to have goals. Goals are GOOD. They keep us motivated, they give us something to shoot for, and when they're achieved, they give us a sense of pride and accomplishment! Goals are not bad, but they "why" behind our goals are what gets us into trouble.

Do we have body goals so that that guy/girl will notice us? Do we have family goals so that we will feel like we measure up among our social circles? Do we have makeup goals so that those girls will finally be friends with us? Do we have goals for our significant other so that we will feel fulfilled by that relationship?

A lot of times these desires turn into unhealthy pursuits that hurt us. We starve ourselves, we get ourselves into bad relationships, we settle for things we shouldn't, we compromise who God made us to be in order to live up to a goal.

I'm not going to pretend that I've never said/thought about accomplishing some of these goals. I think about it constantly--if I want someone to notice me, like me, be friends with me I must first pull myself together and achieve these goals for myself. It's hard not to think that way when the media bombards young women and young men with pictures and descriptions of what they should strive to be like, look like, and act like.

But God--the creator of the universe, of heaven and earth, of the land we walk on, the oceans we swim in, the stars we wonder at--looks at us and sees such beauty. When God formed us, he did so with a plan in mind. He does not look at us and say, "I wish she'd put some makeup on that face I created," or "I wish he/she would do something about that body I created. They aren't doing my work justice." God sees his creation with such pride. He sees beauty and purpose and perfection in the human beings that he created. He saw us before anyone else saw us. He knew us before anyone else knew us. He loved us before anyone else loved us. To him, these "goals" only get in the way of the purpose for his divinely created and dearly loved people.

I'll end my rant with this: you, yes you, are spectacularly made. You are amazing. God sees you. God knows you. His goals for you go far beyond your hair, your face, or your body, and his love for you knows no bounds.

Amen. That is something I can get behind.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

to the friends I didn't see coming

Everyone told me all about you. They hyped you up. They promised me that you'd be funny and sweet and kind and wonderful. They said I'd love you for life, and you'd love me right back. I mean they really hyped you up.

I was skeptical. I was scared. I had scars from past friendships gone wrong. I am a bit stubborn, a bit guarded, a bit (okay a lot) overbearing. I didn't all they way believe everyone who told me about you. I took their words with a grain of salt. I didn't let it sit too deeply in my heart. I tried to stay rational. Not everything works out. Friendships end. Not everyone will get you. Don't let them in too quickly. Keep your distance. Play it cool. Play it cool. Play it cool.

I was wrong. I admit it. I'll eat my words. I'll swallow my pride. I'll say "they were right."

You, my dear friends, are a gift. A very wonderful, smart, kind, funny gift. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me laugh until I cry. I am forever grateful for your understanding hearts, your ridiculous jokes, your warm hugs, your late night hang-outs.

I didn't expect how good you'd be to me. I didn't expect to love you like sisters. I didn't expect to know everything about you. I didn't expect that I'd love you fiercely and fight for you wholeheartedly and support you unendingly.

I don't remember the moment I met you. I don't remember the moment that I realized I'd want to spend the next four years being your friend. God--in His infinite wisdom and grace and mercy and goodness--simply set you before me (thank you Jesus).

So to you, sweet friends, I say thank you. I cherish our friendship. I cherish YOU.

//Don't worry about me, family. I miss you like WOAH, but I found a sweet, sweet second family to watch over me when I'm a thousand mile away from you//

//And to you, who wait and sit and wait some more for those people who "just get it," God sees you. He's got your people. They might just be living somewhere else--waiting for you too//

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

An update...of sorts

College is exhausting. It's challenging and exciting and new and strange and fun and tiring...but mostly it is so good.

I look back at where I was three months ago, three weeks ago, even three days ago, and I see how beautifully God works. He took a heart of defiance and anger and stubbornness and is making it a heart of trust and peace and love and mercy and joy. OF COURSE there are days when I'm overwhelmed--I get snippy and moan and anxiously pace up and down the hallway, but then I'm reminded of God's perfect peace, and I feel okay.

He keeps pouring blessing after blessing out on me.

He has gifted me with women of faith who make me laugh until tears come pouring down my face, who cry with me when I'm having a bad day, who give me words of encouragement when I'm feeling like the walls are caving in, who love, who comfort, and who take care of me. I get to love on these beautiful young women! I get to know who they are, and who God created them to be! It's such an honor and a privilege. UGH. I'll be honest, I couldn't tell you the precise moment I met them, or what our first conversation was...sometimes I feel like God just plopped them down right in front of me. He's funny that way.

He has put me in an environment where I'm challenged academically and nourished spiritually. I continually see students strive to be His hands and feet, His messengers, His fishers of men. I am honored that I do life with these people! I am inspired by their relentless faith and unashamed worship and no-holds-barred passion for advancing the kingdom of Heaven.

College is exhausting. It makes me cry and laugh and question and seek and grow and learn and wonder and ask and discover who I am in God's big plan.

I most definitely do NOT have all of the answers. I don't even pretend to have all of the "things" figured out (if you know me then you know that KILLS me). BUT I'm learning that God will use me right where He wants to...right where He sets me down.

College is exhausting, and I am remarkably undeserving of His grace and mercy.