In the Waiting

The more I get to know Jesus, the more I am astounded by his grace.

The past couple of weeks have been hard. I’ve had a week of vacation and that was wonderful and I feel like I’m normal again but boy, were those weeks hard to get through. I’ve cried more than I’d like to believe is possible, but through it all, Jesus has been faithful.

It’s interesting though, Jesus gives me affirmation and peace in many, many different ways.

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Three weeks ago, everything was too much. I couldn’t handle it anymore so I went to my room in true introvert fashion. I grabbed my Bible and journal with the full intent of reading and studying but instead, I just sobbed. I sat on my bed, wept, and cried out to Jesus.

I sat there for what felt like forever just crying into the shoulder of my Saviour and he just held me.

He was there with me, holding me as I cried. His arms around me reminding me that he sees me. He sees how hard I’m trying to do well. He sees my tears and my heart and my motivations and he affirmed me. I was alright that day after he held me for a little while.

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I am a firm believer that Jesus uses the people in my life to show me his grace.

He also gives me affirmation through other people. When I feel like I’m not enough or when I have thoughts that shame my own body, he sends people to randomly tell me I’m beautiful. He inspires friends to send me texts telling I’m doing well. He inspires my boyfriend to remind me that I am enough, that I am loved and then we pray together.

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I also have felt God’s grace through the music I listen to, the Bible verses I’m reading and what I’m learning in school.

It seems like what I’m struggling with the most is addressed in class I’m taking. My prof will say an offhand comment that has nothing to do with the lesson that builds me up without them even knowing it.

The Bible verses I’m memorizing come to my mind when I need their strength the most and I realize that I didn’t just pick a random Bible verse to learn.

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I don’t have all the answers and like I’ve said before, I don’t know how to stop pain or brokenness but these random thoughts are just here to say that if you’re struggling today or this week or this month or this year, Jesus sees you. You’re not invisible in your battle. He sees you and he knows you and he’s sending you encouragement. Just wait for him.

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Here’s What I Want You To Know Today.

You’re not alone. If there’s one thing I want you to know in this moment it’s that you’re not alone.

I’ve been struggling this week and I guess for the whole summer with feelings of inadequacy, feelings of not being good enough and feelings of not being forgivable.

So I want you to know that you’re not alone in these feelings cause I feel them too, every second.

Here’s another thing I want you to know; that voice that’s telling you you’re not good enough, that you can’t receive grace, that you could never be forgiven – that’s a lie sent straight from the pit of hell.

satan wants you to be discouraged. satan doesn’t want you to receive Jesus’ love, grace and forgiveness because he knows that if you do, you’ll fall in love with Jesus and never get back up again. satan wants you to fail, satan wants you to believe that you are a terrible, disgusting piece of human life who has no worth and who Jesus doesn’t give a second look at so he lies.

He lies and he tells you that you’re not worthy.

He lies and says that Jesus could never forgive you for going to that dark place you were in.

He lies and tells you that there’s no way Jesus could even get you out of that dark place you’re in.

He lies and tells you that you’re not good enough.

He lies and tells you that you could never change.

He lies and tells you that Jesus doesn’t love you.

But, my love, that’s all they are – lies. satan’s words have no authority here because while satan is lying to you, Jesus is whispering truth into your heart.

Jesus hugs you and tells you that you are a worthy child of His.

Jesus says you’re already forgiven.

Jesus comes alongside you and brings light into your darkness. He tells you that He left the 99 others to go out and find you.

He smiles at you and says you’re more than enough.

He picks you up and tells you over and over again, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

Jesus is with you, He loves you and He’ll never let you go. Today, I hope you know that.

When You Question Your Worth

     About 3 years ago, I bookmarked one of my favourite blog posts to my browser so that I could go back to it whenever I needed it.
     I need it often.
     It’s a blog post about worth and worth is something I question almost daily. I’m sure you do too.
     When did questioning start for you? Did someone hurt you when you were young? Did a boyfriend or girlfriend or best friend break your heart somewhere along the line? Did someone act as if they didn’t care? Did someone tell you that you had to be better or speak smarter or do more? Did you start comparing yourself to those who seemed to have it all together? Did someone tell you that you weren’t enough?

I’m over on my friend, Beth’s blog today.

Join me there!

 

Let Me Tell You What I’m Bad At

Guys, I’m actually very bad at this whole Jesus thing.

This is something I’ve realized over the past two years and something that has shook me to the core.

If you knew me when I was younger, you might have thought I was a bit of a snob. Pride has always been a struggle for me and while what I believed in was good, the way I showed my beliefs was not.

I would look down on people, I would compare our sins and think, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not as bad as them, Jesus.” I would sit on my tall and mighty horse and point out everything others did wrong.

This is what pride does – it makes us think that we’re way better than we actually are.

I slowly and stubbornly realized how I had been acting and I actually had to start forcing myself to admit when I was wrong.

I wouldn’t just apologize either, I would quite literally force myself to say the words, “I was wrong.”

Through this quest for humility, I realized this important lesson – I suck at this whole Jesus thing.

I forget to pray about things, I often find myself pushing off spending time with Him and reading his word. There are times when I doubt and question and I screw up more than you know. I do things wrong every hour, if not every minute.

I’m not trying to glorify these things by any means – it’s wrong that things are this way. But I want to be 100% real with all y’all. I want you to know that I don’t have it all together and I want you to know that it’s okay to fall short.

This is why I’m so thankful for grace.

Because I am not perfect, I am desperately trying to be better but I will never be perfect. And grace says that I don’t have to be, grace says that it’s okay not to have it all together and that even if I mess up every second, I’ll be welcomed back with open arms. Grace says that I can’t do it but that’s okay because He did it for me.

Grace wins every time.

So real talk, I’m terrible at things I’m desperately trying to be good at and Jesus knows that. He still loves me any way and He loves you too.

When a Girl Obsessed With Modesty Buys a Bikini

I bought a bikini yesterday.

I used to wear them all the time when I was young. I think it was because there’s something so innocent about a four year old wearing a bikini that no one even takes a second look. But when I turned 13, I can distinctly remember fighting with my mom in Sears over why I couldn’t buy a bikini like all my other friends.

I didn’t think it was fair at all but out of respect for my parents, I tried my best to find cute one pieces and tankinis that covered everything – which, as a side note, is a very hard thing to do these days. I understood where my parents were coming from, they were trying to instill good values in me and they were teaching me to guard my body and my heart. These were both good things but I think eventually, modesty became a wall I hid behind rather than something I really believed in.

Growing up I developed some body image issues. I’m sure every teenage girl has had them as well. In a mix of our own insecurities and satan telling us lies, we begin to hate ourselves.

I’ve hated myself for a really long time.

I’ve never thought that my stomach was flat enough or that my legs and arms were small enough. I’m never tanned or toned enough and there’s always someone prettier, am I right?

I was never enough and for a long time this lie was all consuming. All I thought about was the next diet fad, weight loss tea you could buy and how to get rock hard abs in 5 minutes. I researched metabolism-boosting pills and I prayed and prayed that I would some how lose weight. I was always thinking about how big my stomach looked or why my legs were the size of Texas and if my arms jiggled too much and there was nothing that could stop those thoughts.

But at least I was modest, right?

As a side note – I don’t blame my parents for any of this. I think there is so much value in dressing modestly especially in a day and age where every new style is just a new and creative way to show off more skin. I do value dressing modestly but what I’m struggling with is where do we draw the line between modesty and insecurity?

You see, I started to self-righteously hide behind this whole modesty thing. I said I was being modest in not wearing a bikini but I really just hated the way I looked. That, my friends, is not a healthy place to be.

I know Jesus doesn’t want me to show the world my body, that’s not something that everybody needs to see but I also don’t think He wants me to be ashamed of my body. He’s the one who created it, right?

So I bought a bikini yesterday and I didn’t buy it because I want to show off my hot bod and make all the boys stumble – I actually think it’s quite a modest bikini! I bought it because I have worked really heard in the past 5 years to get to a place where I actually love my body, a place where I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin.

Loving yourself is difficult, y’all and it takes a lot of work. But let’s not hide behind self-righteousness and pride, let’s get to the root of the issue and stop the lies we’ve believed. Cling to truth, cling to Jesus.

When Your Faith Threatens to Shatter

I’m not gonna lie to y’all – this week has been hard.

I don’t know if it’s the build of a few months of sadness or if it’s just satan trying to get the best of me but I can for sure tell you that this week has definitely made the top ten for toughest weeks in my life. Emotionally and spiritually, I am exhausted.

Honestly, it started out with just pure sadness. I even wrote in my journal that I wasn’t feeling it and that I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I sad when I should be healed by now? How could I go from feeling so great to feeling so crappy in a matter of a few hours?

This sadness turned into questioning and wondering why.

Why questions have always scared me because who am I to ever doubt God? I try to shove them down and ignore them because to question God is to question the entire foundation of my life and it’s to sin against the one, true God and what right do I have to that?

I started asking, “Why do I even follow Jesus?”

Friends, even writing that scares me to the core, but I want to be real with you so yes, I started asking that.

I realized that if my answer to that question was because it was expected of me or because following Jesus secures safety when I die that I was not in this lifestyle for the right reasons. But as I searched, I realized that my answers were not that at all and in fact, the answer to this question is the foundation for my life.

Here are my answers;

  1. God is real, there is nothing outside of God and we can’t be without him. He is everything and everything depends on him.
  2. I am, by nature, a helpless sinner. My life proves that there is nothing I can ever do to escape the sin I commit. Yes, I can try to be better and I can try to live a life free of the bad things I do but ultimately, I’m just going to do something wrong again. This isn’t hopeless, friends, this is in fact the beauty of Jesus. He came to do what none of us ever could or can – to live a perfect life and save us all from the wrong we do.
  3. Jesus is and forever will be my first love. I am head over heels, weak in the knees, butterflies in my stomach in love with Jesus and through him I have grace, joy, peace and everything else I could ever need. Take everything else away from me, as long as I have Jesus, I’m set.

This is my life. This is what I am living for.

Yes, satan is still trying to plant doubt within me. He’s constantly trying to convince me that I don’t deserve any of this, that I’m too far gone and that Jesus couldn’t love someone like me. But in those moments I am crying out to my Saviour, begging for him to save me and guys, He always does.

I realized this week that deciding to follow Jesus isn’t a one time thing at a summer camp or a church service, following Jesus – choosing him – is something I have to do every day for the rest of my life.

So friends, I encourage you to doubt. I encourage you to question. I encourage you to embrace your brokenness and really seek why you’re living the way you are. Don’t be afraid, Jesus can handle your questions. He loves you and he wants you to choose him.

Relentless

It’s four in the morning, I got off work a half-hour ago and on my way home I had a revelation.

It’s not something new, I’ve known it for a long time and I’m sure you have too. But, maybe you haven’t and maybe that’s why I feel like I need to share this with you before I go to sleep this morning.

You are being relentlessly pursued.

You are being tirelessly pursued by a faithful God whose love goes on forever.

It never ends or stops like so many human relationships do, it just goes on and on. His love endures forever.

So even though I’m fickle, flakey and tired, He is constant, steadfast and strong.

Even though I forget some days, He is always thinking about me.

Even though I take way more from Him than I give to Him, He never stops giving or listening.

You are being relentlessly pursued and I hope that gives you just as much hope as it’s given me tonight.

Suffering

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tonight is the night that Jesus is betrayed. I don’t think I’m ever fully prepared for this weekend and what transpires on it. I’m never prepared for the weight of Friday, the anxiousness of Saturday or the joy of Sunday. It’s all so overwhelmingly amazing that my flighty human flesh can’t handle it.

As I was reading my Lent series tonight, I came across the verse above and I was struck all over again with awe at how amazing Jesus is.

How many times have I prayed the first part of this prayer? How many times have I desperately asked God to take away my pain and suffering? How many times have I told Him that I don’t deserve this and that if He would just take it away, I would serve Him better? How many times do I fail in my faith in Him?

I really don’t believe that God causes suffering, but I do think that He can be glorified through our struggles and suffering.

Jesus knew this too. Jesus knew He had to die for us because of all the suffering that sin had and would cause. Jesus wanted it to go away; like me He asked God to take it from Him. Unlike me, He went one step further. He trusted and knew that God’s will is higher, that He knows better, and that He has a plan to make goodness shine through our suffering.

I may not understand why I suffer and I may not be able to handle my pain at times. But through it all, I know that God is faithful. He is in control and because of that I can say, “yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tomorrow Jesus is going to die for me and yet again, I’m not prepared. But tonight I’ll rest in the truth that my God is faithful and that He will bring to completion every good work that He has begun in you and in me.

Struggling

I should be studying right now, I should be reading the countless pages of textbooks that are due in a matter of days but instead I’m struggling with the idea of love.

It seems that this is something I always struggle with. Maybe it’s because my goal in life is to love people, maybe it’s because so often I fail at that goal, maybe it’s because I’m still learning how to love people and maybe it’s a mix of all three.

I started at Bible College in September. I’m studying theology and missions and while my brain is continuously filling with new knowledge and facts, the greatest thing I’ve learned about missions is that we need to love people.

I’ve learnt that lesson time and time again and not only in class. I learn it in living in community, in living far away from friends and family and having to make an effort and I learn it in the relationships in my life that are constantly growing and developing.

I know I need to love people, I just don’t know how to and I know I don’t do it properly most of the time.

I think love and selflessness are the same thing. I think love demands selflessness. I think of my parents, giving up their time, sleep and money just so they could raise me. That’s selflessness, that’s love.

Being selfless is the hard part of loving people. I think we are so naturally inclined to think of ourselves first that we have to force ourselves to be selfless. It’s on the days when I’m sick or tired or angry that this is hardest but it’s also on the good days where I’m really happy, I don’t want to give that up to show someone love.

But then I think of my Jesus. The perfect, spotless, righteous King. He gave up His throne in the heavenly realms to come a seek me out. That’s love.

He endured the worst death so that I would never die. That’s love.

He gave up everything just to show me He loves me, so why shouldn’t I do the same for the people He loves?

We love because he first loved us.

“If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life and live in the pattern of gracious love.” ~ 1 John 3:17-18

When You Get to Worship Again

It’s not that you haven’t worshipped for the past nine months, you have, it’s just been different. Something was missing.

And then it starts and you realizing what you’ve been missing.

Your knees go weak and you try not to cry cause if you start, people will ask why and you want to keep this moment between you and Jesus.

You realize it’s not that you weren’t worshipping, but that it is a lot harder to worship in a language that you’re not fluent it.

You see, when you worship in a different language, it doesn’t come as natural because not only are you trying to pronounce the words properly, you’re also silently trying to figure out what the song is saying and sometimes you just don’t know. So you still sing, but not whole heartedly because how can you when you don’t know what you’re singing?

And so you’re in this moment, you can’t really believe it’s happening, you fully understand every word and you are so filled with joy you could start dancing around the whole room.

You sing with a huge smile on your face, as loud as you can, finally getting to worship your first love in your first language and you don’t think it could get any better.

And then they play your favorite song.

And you exclaim (accidentally) out loud that this is your favorite song.

And the words float through the air,

“You’re the Lion of Judah, the Lamb who was slain…” 

And you stand, but you really want to drop to your knees because the sheer weight of God’s goodness is just too much.

And you think to yourself that you always want to feel like this, so filled with joy and humbleness and awe for this man who loves you unconditionally and without limits and who blesses you in the most unexpected ways.