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.

<><><>

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.

<><><>

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.

<><><>

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.

<><><>

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.

Advertisements

When You’re Lonely

On this blog, I try to be 100% real with you guys. That means telling you what I’m struggling with, trying to tell you how I’m working through it and sometimes just simply saying that I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.

This blog is my way to work through things and try and process how I’m feeling. It’s a way I can worship Jesus and give him honor and glory.

SO because of all of those goals and dreams for this blog, I need to tell you what I’ve come to realize in recent weeks.

I’ve been so lonely lately. And I don’t mean lonely in the sense that I have nobody because I know that I have been blessed with some of the best friends and family on earth.

But guys, and please don’t laugh at me, I’ve been lonely because I desperately want to be in love with someone.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship you know that feeling of comfort knowing there is someone who always thinks of you, who prioritize your needs, who is always genuinely interested in what you’re doing, how your day was, what you’re learning, I could go on.

Now this isn’t a desperate cry of, “Someone please love me, I need a boy to complete me.” Because honestly if it was, I’d be missing the whole point of this blog.

But, I have done that before. I’ve made a boy my identity. I’ve completed replaced Jesus with a human being and that is not right.

Now I don’t know if there’s a way to do relationships right. I can barely do daily life right let alone add another person into the mix! I know that I have a lot of learning to do and I think I’m on a life long journey of learning. But here’s the conversation I had with myself and Jesus the other day while driving home.

*cue “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur*

I start to cry.

“Jesus, I want that.”

“Jesus, can’t you hear me? I want somebody to love me like that, I want somebody to care about me like that, I need that connection with somebody.”

“And, I’m scared, Jesus. What if I never find that? What if I just end up alone for the rest of my life? What if everyone I know moves on and gets married and I’m left in the dust?”

“Jesus, please.”

“Beloved, you already have that. I am so in love with you.”

Now this isn’t a man hating blog post declaring how I don’t need no man because I am a strong independent woman. I would still love to be married one day, I would love to fall in love and have all that mushy stuff. But here’s the thing, if I define myself by whether or not I’m in a relationship or if somebody likes me or doesn’t, I’m never gonna get anywhere in life.

This goes for all things too. If I define myself by anything other than loved by Jesus Christ, my life won’t mean much of anything.

So yes, it’d still be cool to maybe fall in love one day, get married and have a family but I’m not gonna let myself stress about it anymore.

I’m not gonna let myself get caught up in the fact that I am single. I’m not gonna let that simple fact stop me from living a full life and I’m definitely not gonna let it stop me from serving Jesus.

The truth is this, Jesus loves you and He cares for you and He wants the best for you. He has incredible things in store for you and really, in the whole grand scheme of things, whether you end up single or married, that’s all that will ever really matter.

So here I am, a single 20-year-old woman, helplessly in love with Jesus and just trying to live the best life I can, reminding myself over and over to find my identity in Jesus, find my identity in Jesus.

 

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.

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.

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.

To the One Who’s Healing

Maybe you’re broken right now.

Maybe you’re surrounded by sunshine, flowers, parties and everything else that signifies the beginning of summer and you feel utterly helpless and broken inside. Me too. I’m glad I’m not alone.

This is for you, but it’s also for me. Lord knows I need it too.

I’m in a season of healing. A season of picking up broken pieces and trying to figure out how to put them back together again, a season of hurting but also a season of renewal, a season of loneliness but also of independence.

Quite honestly, it’s not fun most days.

I’ve said on more than one occasion that I absolutely despise the fact that this whole healing process takes time. I don’t want to wait for “time to heal” I just want to be healed.  But, as I’m stubbornly learning, healing isn’t a fast process. It’s slow and most of the time painful. I’m learning that in order to be healed to our fullest, we first need to feel the extent to which we’ve been hurt. As unfortunate as it is, we need to embrace our pain in order to move on from it.

I don’t know what healing looks like for you. Maybe it’s calling your best friend to cry and talk for hours, maybe it’s surrounding yourself with people to escape the loneliness, maybe it’s trying to be more independent by exploring and doing things by yourself, maybe it’s studying and immersing yourself in truth, maybe it’s long drives at 3:00 am, maybe it’s tears streaming down your face. For me it’s all these things and I think it will be all these things for a while.

I think it will be months of letting the tears fall, months of allowing myself to be angry, months of being real and knowing that it’s “okay to not be okay”, months of showering myself in the promises of Jesus and months of embracing this pain I’m feeling. I’m sure it’ll be months for you too.

So, strong girl and brave boy, feel that pain. Let it hurt, cry, scream, get angry, grow, heal, learn because the beautiful part of it all is that Jesus isn’t finished with any of us yet – this is the hope we have and what I’m choosing to hold onto.

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.

In My Brokenness

Something I’ve been learning lately is that sometimes life is just going to completely and utterly suck. There’s no getting around it. We live in a broken world filled with broken people and the honest truth is that we all screw up every day.

Things have not been going the way I had planned recently. I feel like everything is changing and not for the better either. Sometimes I can’t accept this and I end up crying on my way home or screaming at Jesus late at night or just continually asking why but something else I’m learning is that it’s possible to have joy even through all the brokenness around me.

When I feel like my life in left in ashes, Jesus is rebuilding me.

When I feel abandoned, Jesus is faithful.

When I get a parking ticket (yes that happened, ugh), I know I don’t need to worry.

When I’m late, rushing or feel like I’ve lost control, I’ve started looking to all the good things in my life rather than focusing on the bad and let me tell you, it’s done incredible things for me emotionally and spiritually.

I focus on the lunch dates and long conversations.

I focus on the places and people I love.

I focus on how others are happy and how to give them joy.

I focus on my Jesus and how He is forever faithful and good.

This week I’m choosing to be joyful and even through all my pain and brokenness in this season, that is enough. Choosing joy is choosing Jesus and He is eternally enough.

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.

My Life Has Been Ruined

I want to write about something that’s ruining my life right now. I was anticipating this, I was excited for it actually but I didn’t understand how it would truly affect my life until I really got into it and now, I don’t think I can go back. My life and outlook has been completely changed and I’ve been destroyed.

Jesus has been doing this thing lately where he uses things in which I would not expect to find Him to teach me things about Him that change my life and give me passion. This is another one of those moments.

If any of you are avid Netflix users like me, you’ll have seen the new show called “13 Reasons Why.” Well friends, this is the thing that’s destroying me.

I heard that this show was coming out a while ago and I was anticipating its release. The idea of suicide is something that has always been heavy on my heart and something that I want to keep learning about in an attempt to understand it and this show seemed like another resources I could use to learn and help my understanding. So I started watching.

Guys, this show is heavy. There were many times where I would watch one episode and then have to turn it off because of how deeply I was affected by it. There were many times when all I could do was cry and wonder how many people are silently suffering.

That’s what ruining my life.

I’m watching this show and realizing how passive I am. How many times do I say, “I’ll pray for you,” and then walk away and never actually pray when I know something is wrong? How many times do I ask, “how are you?” and simply accept “Good” or “I’m fine” as an answer? There’s nothing wrong with saying any of these things cause in some cases they may be the truth. The danger lies in becoming passive, in being ignorant, and in not caring enough to invest in people’s lives.

I’m watching this show and I realize how careless I am with my words. What are the things I say that hurt someone else? Do I make jokes that makes someone’s life worse? Why do I throw words around like they’re nothing?

I’m watching this show and I’m realizing this reality that we don’t know everyone’s story. We don’t know how deeply other people are hurting or what we could be doing to cause that hurt and because of that truth, we need to be careful.

I’ve always hated the word ignorant. It’s never, ever been something that I want to be. I’d rather know the hurtful things in this world than be completely blind to them and I think that idea has a lot to do with this issue we’re facing.

Our prof in Ethics today said this, “we treasure pleasure and refrain from pain.” That’s the truth isn’t it? We’re afraid of pain. We’re afraid to hurt and be vulnerable. It’s a weakness. We can’t deal with our own pain let alone anyone else’s so it’s so much easier to ignore the pain of others because if we don’t know or if we can forget about it, it doesn’t become our responsibility.

There is something so sick and wrong with this way of thinking but we all have it. Why should we stand by when our friends and family could be hurting so deeply? Why let people die when one word of encouragement or love could have saved them? Why act like their pain doesn’t exist when recognizing it could save their life?

We need to help each other out.

We live in a fallen and broken world, bad things happen every day and if any of us are going to get through it all, we need to bear one another’s burdens.

So I’m proposing something new. Well, it’s not really new, just an option that we don’t usually think of.

Let’s be real with each other.

Let’s take care of each other.

Let’s ask someone how they really are.

Let’s ask someone how we can pray for them and then actually pray.

Let’s talk and talk and talk.

Let’s recognize when someone is hurting and then do something about it.

Let’s not just sit idly and live our own lives. We’re all here together and we need each other if any of us are going to get through this life.

Let’s be real and vulnerable and raw. Maybe we could change a life.