Even Camo Can’t Hide This

img_1068

Last Wednesday I spilled baked beans on my favorite blue and white striped pants. I was having lunch with my department. No one seemed to be paying attention, so I grabbed a paper towel and wet it with my water bottle then proceeded to rub out the pretty brown spot on my left thigh. Thursday I spilled black coffee down my white tank top in the middle of class. Luckily, my students were taking a quiz and I was wearing a button up over the top. I quickly wet a paper towel, blotted out the coffee, and buttoned up my shirt until the white dried without a mark. Friday morning I was getting ready for work and IMG_2217once again spilled black coffee down the front of my white T-shirt. I was at home, so normally my first instinct would’ve been to just change and go on with my day, but instead, this week had clearly trained me to get a wet paper towel and clean the spot, then go along with my day still intact.

I promise I’m not ALWAYS this consistently messy. I mean, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I spilled my lunch on myself, or even my coffee for that matter. I do recall the last time I tried to put makeup on after getting dressed… I have no idea what I was thinking. That white shirt couldn’t be saved by a paper towel and water, but the washing machine did the trick!

Often times in our lives, stains occur. I’m talking literally and figuratively.

I have a bad habit of allowing Satan to bring up my past and get me down. Creeping thoughts of:

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 10.54.33 PM.png

But this week, with the help of my own clumsiness and probably a slight nudge from the Lord, I’m reminded just how stains are cleaned.

215797_492896417399711_1075400613_n-e1526254221914.jpgDon’t get me wrong, growing up my mom had to work pretty hard on some of the literal stains I 163252_175501785805844_4013993_ncreated in order to recover items. I have soccer shirts that will never recuperate from my mud sliding goalie ways. But I have learned that the sooner you work to get the stain out, the better your chances are!

Satan wants us to lose. He wants us to believe we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t worthy, but the Lord has already told us we are. Time and time again, if we seek him and listen, he will remind us.



 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. -Psalm 46:5 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. -2 Timothy 1:7  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.-Jeremiah 29:11

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” -Isaiah 43:1

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. -Romans 5:1-5

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. -Joshua 1:5



Jesus washed away every stain and continues to carry us throughout each to come. It is your choice to let your stains be removed, or to allow them to set in and stay where they are.

Trust him.

Seek him.

Let him take away your stains.

The lord is knocking.

Waiting.

Open the door,

And let your stains be cleaned.


Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. -Revelation 3:20


 

I’m Surrounded By Idiots

          The time was around 11:45pm, way past my bedtime I might add, and we were on the hunt for Ice Cream. In the car following a Chrysalis gathering at a church in Owensboro, I was with my dear friend Geyna. I had her phone, trying to find a song to play, but first noticed that her phone screen background was of Scar, from the Lion King. It read,

landscape-1517660305-lion-king-scar.gif

Ya know, I feel that, but it caught me a little off guard, Geyna probably being one of the nicest people I know and all. At the moment, the “idiots” she was surrounded by were myself and sweet friend Kayla, with Chelsea, Abby, and Austin following behind us. Hah! I, personally, took no offense. Anyone who saw us that night would maybe use some nicer adjectives, including but not limited to sleep-deprived or slap-happy. Our Ice Cream attempts began with DQ – Closed, then Baskin Robins – Closed despite their deceiving internet closing time, finally, settling for McDonald’s – they notified us in the drive through that the ice cream machine was off at 9:30. So, Huddle House it was. Guys, IMG_2159it was beautiful. at shortly after midnight we had officially demolished three milkshakes, a monster sundae cookies, two waffle sundaes, and Chelsea had even drank a coffee cup of syrup as a result of a 86 cent bribe. We were so full, wound up on sugar, yet more than ready for bedtime.

While we may have seemed wild to our poor waiter, we had so much IMG_2250.JPGgood clean fun that night. Beginning with dinner, followed by worship together, and ending with a late night desert. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people in my life with whom I can share times like these. People who love me for who I am, the goofy or the serious. People who bring me joy. People who challenge me to be the best I can be, even sometimes past my bedtime.

This was a good time, with some good people, but times like these, we choose who we are surrounded by. Then there are other times life offers us. Times where our surroundings are more so chosen for us. We encounter individuals daily whom we don’t necessarily choose to interact with. What about our Co-workers? Those we attend school with? Those on our athletic team, club, or small group? How about people you pass in Walmart, those you’re behind in the drive through, or even friends of friends we end up around? People we befriend on Facebook, follow on twitter or Instagram, or add on snapchat? Our world is a very social place, and you can quickly find yourself surrounded by a multitude of diverse people.

What does the bible say about the company we keep?


He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm. -Proverbs 13:20

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character.” -1 Corinthians 15:33

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.2 Timothy 3-4 


Does this mean that as Christians who desire a walk with the lord we abandon the rest of this world and view ourselves as above others who are not sharing our same walk?


Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
He also told them this parable: Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?Luke 6:37-39
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” -Mark 16:15
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.-1 John 2:9-11

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. –Romans 2:1-5
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Luke 6:41-42

While we are called to stand apart, and surrounding ourselves with those who are going to support us and help us in our walk, we are called to Love. Love our Father, Family, Friends, Neighbors, Strangers… As the second greatest commandment says, Love your neighbor as yourself. While we are different than the world we live in, we must work each day to show this world the love and joy that is to offer through our faith that we have chosen.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.-1 Peter 2:9

{{Insert Matthew West – Do Something Lyrics.. If you’ve never heard it, go give it a listen}}

 

While each day, we may feel like Scar, “Surrounded by Idiots”.

We must be better,

We must love more,

We must try harder,

to be the best version of ourselves while we await the return of our Jesus Christ, setting the goal of taking everyone with us when he does.

   Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 6.32.46 AM.png

Ugly Nails, Ugly Me.

IMG_2640

For three years of my life, following college, I was obsessed with having my nails done. I found it interesting the other day that as I sat down to dinner with a friend and we discussed this she had never noticed that I always had perfectly manicured nails. You see, my sweet friend Amber could care less what my nails look like, she cares about my soul.

As many women do, I see flaws in my appearance. My nails were an imperfection that could be fixed fairly easily (not inexpensively though). I had come to the stance that having my nails done, gave me a comfort of having my life together a little more. Some of you may think that is insane, others may be able to relate.

This seed of security was set deep inside of me when I was in a relationship shortlyIMG_2881 out of college. My boyfriend at the time was a very active and in-shape individual. He also often pointed out things that he did or did not approve of when other people were around, such as, how leggings might look on an individual, how a girl’s nails were done nicely, or if someone in the movie we were watching was “looking good”. Now, had this individual been dating someone who was confident in their own skin, these comments probably would have flown by with no weight. For me, they were printed in my mind.

For years, I placed my worth in how people reacted to me, what people thought of me, what accomplishments I could achieve, what accolades I acquired. I would sway like a tree in the wind, with the wind being relationships, friendships, soccer, work, social media, culture, etc.

Fast forward two years…

In January, my nails had grown out and it was about time to get them done again, but for once I actually considered just leaving them undone. Out of habit, I went to the nail salon one night after school and got a fill-in. Two days later, one broke. I wasn’t doing anything strenuous like lifting or work outside, I was at home doing simple chores. Well, alright then. I reacted by peeled off the remaining freshly done nails (absolutely not the least painful process ever) and went without for the first time in two years. And then, cold turkey, the nail obsession was done. -Side note, I by no means img_2246-e1522707471750.jpgam bashing those that get their nails done, I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll get them done again. BUT – I was able to stop placing any value of my beauty, in something as simple as my nails.

Nails, Hair Length, Hair Color, Eyebrows, Eyelashes, Arms, Stomach. Thighs, Ankles, Toes…. My goodness the list of things women (and maybe men) pick themselves apart over could go on and on. It’s everywhere – Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Magazines, TV… How to get longer hair fast… the newest diet trend to lose weight… what makeup can slim and accent your face… The world tells us how much our worth is based upon material and physical things. Not even just the world. If we listen to some of the people around us at work, the gym, class, our partners, harsh family members, the list goes on and on. I was hearing all of this and I was missing the game changer.

My worth, is not valued in these things. My worth, is not based on my flesh that the world sees, but rather that which the Lord has blessed me with. My worth comes from the Lord. We are called to live in this world – this world of appearance, self-obsession, and continual pursuit of the next best – but not of this world. I sure was living here, I let it be my home. I was embracing all that the world had to tell me, and I was never enough. NEVER.

nev·er – ˈnevər/ adverb 1. at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever. synonyms: not ever, at no time, not at any time, not once; 2. not at all.

Well, that sounds pretty hopeless.

But then, I found my hope. I found my hope in his words.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. -Psalm 139:13-15

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. –Luke 12:6-7

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. -1 Peter 3:3-4

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. –Song of Songs 4:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. -1 Samuel 16:7

She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand, in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her oaths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. -Proverbs 3:15-18

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Proverbs 31:30

Every single day that I wake up, I have a choice. I can choose to focus on the flaws of my IMG_2698outer appearance, or I can chose every day to fight and be a woman the Lord would be proud of. I use to wake up and before my feet even hit the floor, the devil had defeated me. I still have some days that I don’t even make it to the front door before something goes wrong. I do, however, recognize that I am not fighting this world. I’m not even fighting the negative person at work, the mad parent, the person speaking negatively of me. I am fighting something much more powerful that I cannot even see, and I am choosing to win. I hand that battle over to my father. Each day, I work to be the best I can be, so that when the day comes that I get to stand in front of my Dad in heaven, I can say I did my best to make him proud. I worked with the life he blessed me with, did my best to use the gifts he gave me, to spread his love and his hope each and every day, through my love, my hope, and my beauty that comes from within.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Whatever you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. –Philippians 4:8-9

 

 

Pullin a Paul.

img_e2864.jpg

Three Christmas’ ago I had a housewarming/Christmas party for some of my closest friends at the time. I had about 9 ladies come over for spaghetti and the best of Christmas games and festivities. In my own creative fashion, I decided to put a spin on dirty Santa, and decided I wanted to “mug” Santa this Christmas. So, I purchased about 12 blank mugs in diverse sizes and colors, then pinterested quotes until I found one I felt would be fitting for each of the beauties that would be in attendance. I painted each quote for 12  unique mugs. As per usual, some ladies had to cancel due to holiday responsibilities, so after all of the Santa mugging I was left with three of the cups I had created. This particular cup, found its home in my cabinet.

I had chosen the quote,

“He offered her the world, She said she had her own.”

for a friend of mine.

My mug said,

You’re allowed 5 emotional minutes in your day, then you gotta be a gangsta.”

Fitting, I know.

Of course, with my obsession for coffee, you’d think that every coffee cup in my home would get regular use…. but you’re underestimating the amount of mugs I hold ownership off. I’m pretty sure I end up getting a new one every holiday, and that is in no way a complaint.

This particular mug reappeared when I moved into my current apartment and found its way to my mug centerpiece and then into my hand this past week. I filled my cup, then wondered over to the fridge, sitting the cup on my stove as I needed two hands to be careful not to drop my carton of creamer, not that I’ve done that before or anything. When I stopped, backed up, and looked at the mug, sitting on the stove burner, I couldn’t help but see an analogy. Bear with me.

I am 25 years old.

I have a bachelors degree in mathematics education.

I graduate in May with a Masters in Teacher Leadership with a Mathematics emphasis.

I am currently teaching high school mathematics for the fourth year at my alma mater.

I attend an amazing church and stay involved in so many beautiful aspects.

I work at our local gym, teaching swim lessons for young kids.

I regularly volunteer time with my family serving at our local Food Pantry.

I have my own apartment in town, with my own vehicle parked outside.

 

All of these things that could be considered accomplishments. All very attainable with time and focus. All filling my schedule to the brim. Still, on a regular basis, the world tells me I haven’t achieved the norm. I haven’t accomplished enough, because I am single.

I am the coffee cup believing I have my own world to live and embrace, but I am sitting upon the burning ways of this world.

Scrolling through a Facebook feed, Instagram timeline, or even walking through church can sometimes be painful. Hearing, “Awe honey, the Lord is preparing the right one for you” or “The right time will come” are all words meant in loving support, but realistically is this something we should believe?

I attended a church gathering around a year ago and had the opportunity to sit and chat with many christian peers I admire and look up to. One individual I was seated with during my meal happened to be an elderly lady who is a clergy. As we sat and enjoyed our meal, she said something that smacked me so hard in the face.

She said,

“Dear, I didn’t meet my husband until I was fifty one years old, and I sure wasn’t searching for him. I knew I alone had to bring one hundred percent to my Lord every single day, and if a man came along wanting to offer the Lord one hundred percent beside me, then that’s up to the good Lord, and together we can offer him two hundred percent.”

WHAT. A. PERSPECTIVE. I don’t even know if I responded to her. I honestly think I just sat there pondering the weight that statement held. How often do we hear people say, “He completes me?” or “They’re my other half.” Don’t get me wrong, I have been one of those people in relationships past.

So, taking those wise words, I decided to dig into my Bible…

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:11-12

 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Mark 12:25

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:32–34

Now, let me be clear, the Bible shares that marriage is a gift, a beautiful one to be cherished, I am not taking away from that! I am simply sharing my discoveries on singleness and the perspectives I feel, personally.

Singleness is something to be cherished. For far to long, I thought singleness was somewhat of a punishment, or a result of past mistakes, and I was in turn missing out on precious time to grow. Time to spend chasing after the relationship our father intended to have with us. A time to bring all of our attention to his kingdom.

Singleness has it’s struggles, the two most common struggles of singles are loneliness and sexual temptation. Our worlds stance on these two can quickly lead singles astray, as it even can those in relationships. Christianity in the culture we live in requires continual pursuit of relationships with friends and family, particularly those who will keep you accountable and desire to join you on your daily quest of a life focused on the Lord. Pressing forward in pursuit of the real prize, we spend our time on this earth chasing after that which would make our father above proud; spreading love and hope. Singleness brings us time to focus it all on on him, our father in heaven, as Paul did.

I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. -1 Corinthians 7:7

Lastly, Rather than find comfort in the words of hope of an earthly relationship, we singles can find comfort in that while singleness may be a chapter or a story of our lives in this world, It is not a permanent state:

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready. -Revelation 7:17, 19:7


You are already a Bride, be sure to make yourself ready, daily, for our heavenly relationship, above all others.

He offered her the world, She said she had her own.♥

If I died in college, I would’ve gone to hell.

If I died in college, I would’ve gone to hell.

That may sound harsh, but it’s a life changing realization I had to genuinely grasp.

img_9663-e1522235984262.jpgThe person I was then, the person I am today, they’re two very different people. While they share many positive characteristics such as a servant’s heart, openness to talk to anyone, forgiving nature, and willingness to embrace tasks benefiting and helping others while sacrificing one’s own desires, I was far from a walk through the pearly gates on my way out.

The world we live in today, is a world of self-gratification.

You want it? Go get it… Sounds fun? Go ahead and do it… You want to eat that? Eat all of it… That’s going to make you happy? Embrace it.      

We are Eve, in the garden of Eden. All of these sins, are the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We have the entire garden, all of its glory, at our command, but Satan simply makes the one fruit we can’t have, the most appetizing to our sight. How bad could it be if it tastes so good, feels so right, or makes me happy right now?

We want to play God, {make our own choices, live our own way} and we lose.

Growing up, I always “understood” the “Rules”. I’d say I understood the things the Bible told us we’re “bad”, But did the Bible ever really say that? I “knew” sex was bad, but now, I read about how it is a gift – A gift to be shared within a marriage. I knew gluttony was wrong, but now I see how much healthy choices make me feel and live so much happier. I felt the guilt that would come with lying, stealing, or gossip, but now I know the relief of knowing that my conscious is clear and I have had no part of those wrongdoings. There was never meant to be a list of rules to follow…. but rather a relationship to be had. A Saving Grace of Love, Peace, & Joy.

Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. -Philippians 2:15

You see, the difference is I have a personal relationship with my savior Jesus Christ. -Often times, we are so willing to invest in earthly relationships, yet offer no real time to a heavenly one unless it is convenient. Oh how guilty I was of this.- By no means does this mean I’m perfect, for we are all sinners in a sinful world. What it does mean is that I started to read his letters to me (the Bible), spend time in his house, embrace his other children, and speak to him, and slowly, I noticed changes. I noticed it was easier to say no to the fried pickles. I noticed I stopped putting myself in positions that made the bad choices too easy. I noticed that when people came up to me saying, “I need to talk to you about something” my stomach no longer fell through my butt because I didn’t know what I had done wrong this time.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:2

Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God – I say this to your shame. -1 Corinthians 15:34

The massive checklist of sins I always felt I had to avoid, was in fact no checklist at all. My father above loves me. Man, he loves me more than anyone on this earth ever has. As a parent, he wants to guide and protect my life. He wants to see me flourish and to do far more than I even know I am capable of, and to do so he gave me a few tips along the way….

“Darling, don’t give yourself to that boy, the future is unpromised and he himself isn’t even sure what he wants from his life.”

“Sweet Girl, have a treat, but be sure to nourish yourself so that you can be fit enough to carry the children around the nursery, run with the youth at the Easter egg hunt, and aid your stepfather in tasks around home. Wouldn’t want your elders to outlive you.”

“My Child, see the best in people, and let nothing come out of your mouth that would cause others to stumble away from my love.”


Matthew 7:13-27 states, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name, drive out demons and in your name, perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”


While there are a plethora of important, powerful, and moving passages in the good book, this one, to me, is probably the clearest.

In my college chapter of life, my fruit was not so sweet, and my House was a bit shaky. I chose to be of this world, and while I knew the name of Jesus and believe that he was the son of our father God, I didn’t know him personally. I didn’t talk to him, or desire to understand him. I didn’t thrive off my studies or try to stand out from the crowd. I chose to be a house on the sand, probably a nice house, with lots of friends visiting, but no doubt the water came and washed that house away. There was no foundation, no strength, until I found my strength in the one greater than anything this world has to offer.

For in him you have been enriched in every way. -1 Corinthians 1:5

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -1 Corinthians 1:18

 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. {Proverbs 27:17}

Have you ever been to a play? I recently went to watch one of the delightful girls in my youth group perform in a play at her high school. It was so perfect! Taylor and all of her peers dressed up as under the sea characters for the mermaid Jr. It was adorable… Sebastian, Flounder, Ursula, Ariel, the Prince…. Guys, I loved every second.

It had me thinking a lot, though. Sometimes, life fly’s by so fast for us that we see it as more of a movie, but just how beautiful it is to see things   s l o w e d   d o w n   a bit. To see the hard work that goes in to setting up each set, the lights go off but you can see the shuffle that occurs on stage rapidly to get all the right pieces and characters into position to make the scene just perfect.

See, God is the producer of our lives. He knows the exact pieces and precisely where they belong for the perfect presentation for the world we’re living in.

IMG_3482

Recently, one of my college roommates and best friends Savy wrote me(<<<She’s the hottie on the right). She brought up just how hard it is to form friendships as we get older and how challenging it is not having the friendships with those surrounding us every day, as we did then. Of course, when you’re living and playing college soccer together, between living arrangements, the pitch, campus, and adopting each others families, pretty much your entire existence is spent together for those four years. Those bonds are unique and forever. She was so right, that I had not held friendships like those, since. Often, I miss them, and I wonder why God felt the need to send all of my best friends to Sweden, IMG_2039Nebraska, Louisville, Amsterdam, Random states here and there, and to the farthest parts of Kentucky, yet leave me here in Home Sweet Ohio County.

But you see, God already knows my play. He has set the stage and he has offered me all the supporting characters I need for HIS purpose. Friendships come, some go, some add a little distance, some adapt. That doesn’t make any role less or more important, for they all are for, from, and through God.

 

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. {Proverbs 18:24}

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. {Ecclesiastes 4:9-10}

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. {Proverbs 12:26}

 IMG_0286  IMG_1948  IMG_0185  IMG_9695  img_4560.jpg

We Boast in the Hope of the Glory of God

Have you ever read something – whether a caption, a book, a quote, maybe a billboard (Sometimes I need something that big for me to notice) – that just caught your attention? Making you ponder and question it to the core? It ignites a fire down in your soul and gave you the desire to press forward in a new direction, as if life hasn’t already sent you in enough directions already? For me, the book of Romans has done just that. It has brought me comfort, hope, and drive. It reminded me of the need to Boast in the hope of the glory of God. -Romans 5:2. Whether in suffering or prosperity, we were called to be obedient. But what does that look like in the world today?

In Romans 11:36 the bible states,

“For from him and through him and for him are all things.”

ALL things. This verse twisted me inside. It brought to light the truth that all of the choices I make each day should have a proper vision. My eyes, mouth, heart, and hands, all set towards HIM.

In Romans 10:8 the bible states, “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.” Will we fail? Oh yes, every day we will stumble, but our reassurance is in Romans 11:11 when we are comforted in, “Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!” Whew, we even got an exclamation mark there! And I am thankful for that exclamation, that I am never beyond his love and grace.

Romans has challenged me to share my stories, my trials, my life, through this Blog. Of course, as the rest of the world, I am a sinner who has fallen short many times before, as I will continue to do so. I can only pray that through sharing my adventures, my stories, and my trials, that this will be somewhat of my gift to you, as I have received the gift of shared life from many who have gone before me.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

-Romans 12:6-8

IMG_2299.JPG