Today is a gift.

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Not even one week out of my junior year of college, and still super busy.

There is so much to be thinking about and planning for. Studying for my certification exams, scheduling when to take them, visiting student teaching co-ops, getting clearances renewed, finding a gift for my mom’s birthday (which is next weekend, by the way), organizing all of the crap that I brought home from school, planning a short-term mission trip for the summer, finishing curriculum for the summer camp that I’ll be visiting on aforementioned mission trip, getting engaged (?!), planning weekend getaways, and working 2 jobs.

There’s honestly probably a million other things I’m forgetting.Life is busy, people!

Amongst the business and running from here to there, I’m finding it hard to focus. I’m avoiding what’s in front of my face and looking forward to getting to the “good parts.”

The problem is, though, that I have a lingering feeling that I’m wrong. Yes, our Lord does promise us a prosperous future […plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11] but that doesn’t give us permission to neglect the gift of today.

I’ve taken some time this morning to look into how to go about being more present, here’s what I came up with:

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him- for this is his lot.

James 4:13-15 Now listen you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on our business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you should say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will do this or that.”

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As a wise professor of mine says that the time that we spend outside of school with our families is more important than the time we spend toiling away on academics because, “soon, there will be too many empty chairs at our tables.” Every time that I hear him say that, it makes me a little panicky to think that one day too soon the people that I love will be taken from me. It puts it into perspective for me- the idea of being more present, and how important it is that I strive to do that.

Worrying about what is ahead isn’t going to make me get there any faster, and neither is pining for it.

I guess what I’m suggesting is that we all try to take each day as it comes, do what we can with it, and enjoy it while it lasts.

Today is a gift- that’s why they call it the present. (cheesy, I know, sorry.)

#summergoals

The things I should be cherishing

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It’s January 1st, 2016, a Friday night. What am I doing? I’m cuddled up in my bed sipping on wine, snacking, and reading a book about marriage. Next to me is a picture of the man that I love.

As the clock struck midnight,I proclaimed, “this is the year I’m getting engaged!” Because that’s the game plan.

Yea, I know, I’m that girl.

I’m anxious to get to my future and live out all of the things I’ve been pinning to my “Ideas for the Future” Pinterest board. Duh.

But in all seriousness, I was sitting here looking at my room and realizing that there are not a lot of other times in my life when I’m going to sit in my big, comfy bed, having quiet reading time like this.

It scares me to think that I am looking forward to the future so much that I’m missing all the day-to-day happenings that make life worth living.

Anyway, I haven’t always loved this place. But this, this I might miss.

Here’s to intentionally making the effort to live in the present in 2016.

 

Heavy

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It’s just one of those days where everything feels heavy and even though nothing is particularly wrong, nothing is right.

Today I feel like I am being pulled in directions that I don’t want to go in. My heart misses Wilmington, Delaware and the family that I got to be a part of there. And I miss the kids there so much. Thinking about them and our conversations and all of the hugs and laughs gives me great joy and also makes me miss them so much it hurts a little bit.

For whatever reason, it seems like God called me to Delaware because that’s where He knew I could finally listen to Him and see what it really means to serve Him with all of my heart. I have never felt more alive than I did in this one summer. I was exhausted a lot of the time, I was hot and sweaty, I was frustrated and sometimes very grumpy… but despite all of that, I knew I had a purpose there. And that was enough. Just to know that God was using me and strengthening me.

I got back home and was thrust back into school life. And for whatever reason, I just don’t feel nearly as fulfilled in that. I don’t feel God’s presence as strongly as I did before. I don’t feel like I’m really doing anything important to serve Him. Schoolwork already feels like drudgery.

Maybe I’m just not as plugged into the Source as I was in Wilmington. There I was surrounded by a community that was always talking about Jesus. Always singing to Him. Always pointing each other back to Him. And we had lots of time set aside to study the Word and worship.

Back at home I think I give myself a license to slack on quiet time. And plus, so many other things are vying for my time and attention. Between homework and meetings and classes, I feel like I don’t have time for the really important things like spending time with the people I love, for spending quality time with Jesus, or even just for sitting and thinking.

I know I sound like I’m complaining. And maybe I am. I’m trying to decide what God is telling me through this time and the feelings I’m having.

You Don’t Need To Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt

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“You just need to love with everything you have left. It will be enough.”

Thought Catalog

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You can’t treat every love like it’s your first. First loves are for learning. You learn to love in a way you didn’t know was entirely possible. You start to believe that love is something you’ll experience, not just hear about. You trust that someone else might want to take the time to get to know your weird quirks and complexities, and they might even love you anyway.

Everything is new. And you, however unintentionally, feel bound to whoever opened you up to this. You feel closer to them than anyone else who has ever shown a romantic interest. They exposed part of you, they showed you how much you have to offer.

And when they’re gone, you stop being reckless, open, and excited. You no longer have the ease of knowing someone else’s reactions, their humor, their body. You’re at square one. Again. Except this time with you’re…

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What The Beginning Of A Relationship Feels Like After The End Of So Many Others

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This is brilliant and everything I want to say right now.

Thought Catalog

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After a certain amount of time, there is a rhythm to falling in love.

You meet someone. You fall mercilessly for them. And it works – for a while. You carve out those memories – the ones that seem so unique to just you and that one other person: The way they’d kiss you with firm hands and eyes open. The highway that you’d drive down with the windows down and the radio cranked. The way they’d wrap their arms around you at night that made you feel as though the entire world was safe and serene for just a moment. You fall easily into the tranquility of combining your moments with somebody else’s because it feels like you can trust it this time. Like it is going to be okay. Like you can stay there.

Except you never can. It’s not always planned or deliberate. It’s not always harsh…

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Heartbreak is not the worst thing.

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If you had told me this half a year ago, I would have probably wanted to cut you and said, “don’t try to understand my pain!” But now that I have some time and experience under my belt, I can tell you with a fair amount of confidence that there are worse things than heartbreak.

God asks us to have our hearts broken for Him all the time and sometimes we even directly ask for it (‘break my heart for what breaks yours…’). Heartbreak is healthy, it grows us.

There are plenty of times when we don’t ask for heartbreak but our actions put us on the fast track toward it. Those times are usually when it really hurts the most because our pride gets pretty damaged in the process as well. What we thought was sure and true was actually shaky and unreliable. What we thought was going to save us actually sunk us. Ouch.

An aptly timed C.S. Lewis quote came into my life and taught me a thing about heartbreak that I didn’t really fully understand until today. Maybe I still don’t fully trust it. Anyway,

“But then, being hurt is not the worst thing in the world. Better to have suffered and grown than to never have suffered at all. In fact, most growth is accompanied by pain. God can use heartache as well as headache to help us grow.”

I was thinking today about my own heart and how when it aches I become a sorry for myself mess. And how I’m being so selfish because there are people out there with much bigger problems than a little heartache. And that’s when I remembered this quote and it finally dawned on me that I’m okay. I once was broken and lost in my misery but the joy of the Lord has once again dawned in my life. He has not forsaken me and He was by my side throughout the whole thing. Shaping me, teaching me, and comforting me. He was preparing me for the next thing that He has planned for my life and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the direction that it’s headed in.

In fact, I’m actually thankful for my hard time because it has made me all the more thankful for this time that I have now. Not only that, but it has helped me be more receptive to God’s glory manifested in my life. How can we regret anything that helped us to encounter glory?

Guys, our weakest moments and our greatest hurts really do make us into the people that we’re meant to be.

Just parts. Not whole.

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Driving home from work today I was pondering the attraction that two humans can have for each other. And I was thinking about how interesting it is that God made us have these unique and passionate desires and how sad it is that we mistake them for something that they’re not.

I guess what I’m tiptoeing around talking about is the difference between love and lust. There’s one quote from the movie Love and Honor that I kind of took some encouragement in for a while, as strange as that is. Liam Hemsworth says to his pal and fellow solider in Vietnam Austin Stowell who is heartsick over a girl at home, that “…there are a million other girls out there with the same parts in all the same places.”

His friend replies, “But there is only one Jane.”

Yes, this girl was a semblance of parts that are in reality, not all that unique or special. But to him, they made up the whole that was Jane and that was his whole world.

I guess I found encouragement in that quote because while I was going through a rough time, I kept thinking that I hadn’t just broken up with the only guy that there was in the world. There were still plenty and they were generally all alike in the ‘important ways.’

Now I have a pretty different perspective on that whole thing. I was thinking about what really sets me apart from the rest of the girls on the planet and to be honest, I couldn’t come up with a whole lot of special uniqueness. So I started thinking, if there isn’t anything special about this body or particular life, what do I have to offer? And then I realized that that’s where God comes in.

Surely, for one guy out there, it’s not going to be about the parts that I have but the whole that I am. I think that’s how two people know when they’re right for each other because suddenly all of the little things matter less and the big things matter more. When you crave soul connections more than physical ones. That’s magical.

I don’t know if I’m making any sense here, but this really was a bit of a revelation for me.