To My People.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year.

Last year at this time, I was at camp getting ready for the hundreds of campers I was going to meet. I had just moved back to Canada and everything in my life was in transition.

A lot of new things happened in this year but the thing my mind keeps wandering back to is all the people I got to know.

I’ve met some incredible people.

I love meeting new people but it’s never been something that I was very good at. I’ve always been very shy and (something I also realized in the past two years) I always seem to attract people who take and take from me rather than give.

This year was different.

Guys, between camp, school and church, I can’t stress enough how many cool people I have in my life. Real, genuine, down to earth people who encourage and love me like Jesus does.

Jesus really knew what I needed this year. Moving away from my family was hard but it was made easier by the people He brought into my life.

We need people in our life who spur us on.

We need people who ask hard questions, who talk about real issues and who aren’t afraid to confront you when something is wrong.

We need people who teach us things – as hard as those lessons may be. We need people who leave and we need people who come so that we can learn and grow and develop who we are as a person.

Right now I’m sitting in bed and I am so happy. I feel so blessed that Jesus has given me the old and new friends and relationships he has this year.

This year was a real growing year for me and I think most of it is due to the people that are in my life.

So to my people,

Thank you, I love you and I’m better off because of you.

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Generosity and Christmastime

I’ve always thought that I’m a generous person.

I believed that I could freely give up my time and money without any complaint or struggle and for the most part that’s true.

It wasn’t until earlier today when I realized that sometimes I lie to myself.

I think we all like to make ourselves out as a good person. We never want to see the evil in ourselves because we want to feel good and that would make us feel awful.

Recognizing the bad parts of ourselves makes us feel uncomfortable and inadequate and sad. Unfortunately, as I realized today, this is something we must do in order to love others well.

I’ve been tight on money this year. The reason for this probably being because I’m a college student with no job. I’ve watched the money in my bank account slowly deplete over the past four months.

I’m going back to Peru tomorrow to visit my family for two weeks so this morning I was out buying last minute things that I needed to pack.

I pulled in the Walmart parking lot and was going through my mental list of everything that I needed to buy while in the store when I realized that while I had bought things for my immediate family, I hadn’t bought anything for the kids and other people who are living with us.

I got this sick feeling of guilt in my stomach.

I think giving people gifts is a really good way to show them that you love them. It shows them that you’re thinking about them and that you care enough to go out and buy them something.

I want to show the kids that live in our home that they are deeply and fully loved. I want them to know that there are so many people who love them and that even though they may feel abandoned or wronged or unwanted that there are people who will never leave them and that there are people who desperately want them.

So through that sick feeling of guilt, I decided I would get them all something for Christmas but immediately after, the evil part of me kicked in.

It’s so awful to admit but as soon as I decided I was going to buy them something, I started thinking about how I don’t have a lot of money and how I didn’t want to spend my money on that. I became selfish and thought maybe I could get away without getting them something.

Whenever the evil parts of me threaten to take over, it’s so easy to want to give into them, it’s much easier to just give in than use my limited strength to push through those evil thoughts.

But I didn’t want to give in today.

Be generous, I said quietly in my head.

Be generous, I whispered to myself.

Be generous, I said firmly and aloud.

I kept repeating it over and over again until I won and I walked into the store and went Christmas shopping.

I’m learning that it’s not easy to love others. It takes effort and humility and strength that I don’t have.

It takes the supernatural strength of a divine begin who is better than I could ever be. And that’s why I’m so thankful that Jesus has my heart and that it’s not me who directs my paths and decisions but that it’s Him.

Keep teaching me, Jesus, keep teaching me.

When Bible College Wasn’t What You Were Expecting

I haven’t really written much of anything in a long time.

I never write during the summer because days at camp are just too long and too busy to sit and get anything down on paper.

I promised myself I would start writing once a week when September came around but that didn’t really happen either.

At first, it was cause I was just a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts and business. My job was ending, I was moving into college, my mom was back visiting, I was going on my first date ever and starting my first relationship ever. They’re all amazing things but it just kept me busy.

And then college started and holy, I didn’t understanding the meaning of the words homework or busy until the beginning of September. The readings and the assignments and the essays that are required is enough to make your head spin. Then add on all the social events then you’re expected to go to and sometimes it’s more than I can handle.

(Don’t get me wrong, I love college now but honestly, it’s been a struggle to get to this point.)

I got so sad and frustrated around October. I was in the midst of Bible college but my spiritual life was lacking more than ever.

I found it hard to read my Bible for my personal life because even though my professors had warned me, it was becoming my textbook.

I found it hard to actually retain anything and instead of learning I felt like I was just studying to pass the exam.

I found it hard to make friends and balance my social life with my school life.

I thought coming to Bible college would put me on a spiritual high that was better than any I have ever experienced when in fact, I have just been struggling in my personal relationship with God.

I felt stuck, like I was at the bottom of a deep hole with no way to get out and back to reality.

And then, one night after crying to my boyfriend and him affirming me that everything was gonna be alright, I went to small group.

One of the other girls raised her hand timidly and said, “Does anybody else feel like you’re in Bible college but your spiritual life is declining?”

My soul screamed, “YES.” I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only one struggling. In fact, most of the other girls voiced the same opinion.

We talked about why this was happening and how we could change it and we realized that sometimes we have to be so, so intentional and creative with our relationship with God.

I have to carve out that time just reading my Bible with Him or I’ll just be drained.

I have to carve out time where I write about what He’s teaching me or I won’t remember.

I have to be creative and find other ways to be with Him and worship Him and go deeper with Him.

I have to be intentional with my relationships with my boyfriend and my friends. I have to make time to hang out and know them or else those relationships will fizzle out.

Yes studying is important, but it can’t take precedent over these other important things or we’ll just be drained and lonely.

So, I finished most of my studying today in between my two classes today.

And now I’m sitting here writing at exactly 9:30pm, just like I planned.

My Spotify playlist of Jesus music is playing in the background which is also what I use to worship Jesus on the drives to Hamilton or Brantford to be with friends.

I’m still learning and most days aren’t as organized as this one was but that’s the beauty of grace. I’m allowed to constantly be learning, I’m allowed to mess up. Jesus still welcomes me back, broken pieces and all.