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

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Real talk.

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I sound like a broken record. But I’m that girl. That girl that has to do her own thing and make her own decisions regardless of how questionable they might be. You might say that I don’t have to make shitty choices. But actually, I’m convinced that’s how I learn best. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people that learn things the hard way.

And on top of that, I’m a slow learner. Not only does it take one experience to teach me something, but I usually have to repeat it, enlarging the damage that I’m creating until I’ve dug myself a neat little hole that I can’t possibly climb out of without some serious tribulation.

And it is in the climbing out that the learning happens. I look around and I’m confused about how I got into this predicament in the first place.

When I finally get myself into the light again, on solid ground, I take a look at myself and realize that something has changed. Maybe it’s not dramatic but it’s definitely different. You can never come out unscathed.

That’s the sucky part. Learning via experience hurts- yourself and other people that matter to you. So what’s a girl to do when she wants to love people and be loved but doesn’t want to hurt them? From what I’ve learned so far, you just have to do it. You just have to love and make mistakes and learn from them. I read this super awesome quote in a Thought Catalog article the other day and it sums up my conclusions:

 I will keep telling the story of me making mistakes and eventually being real to myself, of me being strong and not afraid to move on, of me being human, being young, being a reckless loser, wanting something I can’t have, realizing I don’t need it, accepting the past, learning to respect myself and believing in something that’s just right for me out there. After all, that’s what life is about, isn’t it?

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 So that’s it. I’ve learned that I’m a doubter. I wish I could take Truth and instantly accept it but instead I have to put myself through trails and put that Truth to the test. Thankfully though, God is faithful and always draws me back in. He meets me where I am with grace and forgiveness and shows me the way back to solid ground. Sometimes I wonder why I was created this way but I’m starting to embrace it because the lessons that I learn are convicting but powerful ones.

And I’m always thankful for a good lesson because that means I’m moving forward. And there’s really no better place to go.

Soggy.

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On a day like today, when the rain is slowly but surely pouring down on my tiny town and I ought to be doing homework, I like to bury myself under the covers in my dark room and stare at the same walls that I have stared at for nearly 20 years. Nearly 2 decades.

I think I find it hard to focus in this place because of all of the thoughts that nudge me to think about them. I wonder about my life and about life in general and I think about how simple it is to be alive and how complex it is to live.

When the sun is shining my soul is awakened and my heart is singing. When the rain is pouring, the need to withdraw into myself trickles in. I’m not depressed, I’m not moody- I’m thinking.

My thoughts turn to things that I have loved and things that I have lost. My list isn’t as long as others and in all honesty I have no right to complain. But today is a pensive, sorry-for-myself day and so there you have it.

I decided to use this Mumford lyric for this post because it speaks to me today. Sometimes I just miss the laughter, the smiles, the touches, the conversations, the sideways glances of days come and gone. I think about them and I just feel so lonely because I put so much of me into those precious moments. The moments that are now only held until my memory fails me. And then who will remember them? Who will remember our lives and the joy that filled them? We are so fleeting.

But like the quote says, what more can be done? We walk around daily pouring out little pieces of ourselves and what more is there? Who can blame us for loving whole-heartedly? Is there any other way to live a fulfilled life?

Once again, my main man C.S. Lewis said it the very best:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to be sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

Having loved and having lost is something that is a staple of the human life. No one can blame us for being susceptible to vulnerability. Sometimes life smacks us in the face with pain and we wonder if we are at fault. If our pain is a result of having been so unguarded.

I’d just like to say that I hope that this lyric can be a testament to the way that I live. Is it my fault for loving with my whole heart? I’d rather do that than be accused of not loving enough. Some of the best days of my life were spent being 100% open with someone that I loved. Sometimes that causes me pain. But I’d never take it back. Not for one minute would I return to those days and regather my pieces to keep for myself.

The joy of the dawn.

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Wow, what a whirlwind. I am forever awestruck by how fast time goes.

I’m back to school now so my time for blogging has been dramatically lessened. I do however, have something that is weighing on my mind today that I would like to share…

I can’t say that last semester was all smiles and laughter for me. If it appeared that way on the outside, it was certainly not the case on the inside. I was going through the motions and trying to feel better because that’s what I had to do.

But over break, God really did a number on my heart. He has done so much to help me heal, it’s incredible. Coming back to campus has only solidified and strengthened me in this process. My friends, and even strangers, have been nothing but loving3d48336b38bca7a4b9d0dada777df195. So many new opportunities have arisen and I am genuinely excited about so many things. Genuine excitement is something that I hadn’t felt in a little while.

All of a sudden, it’s like the weight is suddenly shifted and my heart doesn’t feel so heavy anymore. I still have moments where I feel down but I am better equipped to pull  myself out of those times.

I’m a strong believer in letting people know when God does something cool. And my life is a living testament to that right now. He tipped my plans on their head, helped me through the heartbreak, and opened my mind to the possibilities that I would have otherwise been blind to. I am still continuing to grow and learn. I’m sure that I’m not anywhere near where I need to be, but I am so thankful to have come from where I was.

Life is good because God is great. But even when life doesn’t feel so good, God is still great. Isn’t that a convicting revelation? I think so.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn and I believe that to be true. When your days begin to be brighter, recognize the one who made the sun and praise Him! The joy of the Lord is our strength!

What is God doing in your life? What can you praise Him for today?

‘Tis the Season

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For the past few Sundays at my church, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 has been printed in the bulletin. In case you aren’t familiar, this is the verse that says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…” And then goes on to list all of the things. Check it out, it’s awesome (because it’s the word of God, duh). I’ve been really convicted by this passage of scripture lately because it speaks a lot into what I believe God is trying to teach me right now about seasons of life.

I saw a quote once on a friend’s dorm room wall that said, “The bad news- nothing lasts forever. The good news- nothing lasts forever.” And I thought “Pssshhh, that’s depressing.” And moved on. But as I was reading Ecclesiastes again, I thought of that quote. And I realized how much it has to say about seasons of life.It’s both encouraging and intimidating.

We experience seasons in our lives where we feel like we’re finally breaking through. We’ve gotten into the school of our dreams, we’re pursuing the career or our calling, we’ve got the best of friends and family by our sides… We realize the school has a lot more challenges than we anticipated (or wanted), we question our calling, we lose friends, significant others, disappoint our family members…

People would say that these are just the ups and downs of life. I can’t say that they are wrong. But Jefferson Bethke mentioned in a podcast that I listened to recently that we like to look at life as a linear thing when really it is more cyclic (he’s still very much in the Christian worldview here people, calm down). He said that the history of the stories in the Bible lead us in a spiral instead of a line. I think that’s true- though I may be doing a poor job of articulating it.

God puts us in certain seasons, when we aren’t anticipating them and when we don’t want to be in them because He is helping us grow. Sometimes growing hurts, sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes we go through seasons where we serve others in their growth as well. I think it’s important to remember that though this season may seem endless- there is an end, “there is a time for everything under heaven.” These seasons are things that we are going to experience throughout our lives. They’re going to pop up again- hence the spiral instead of a line. Once you move on from a season of ‘wait’ don’t expect to never have to wait on God again. Once you move on from a season of overflowing grace and happiness, don’t expect to never feel that way again. Once you move on from a season of feeling like you can’t feel God, don’t expect that He will always feel close.

Right now I’m going through a season that isn’t easy. I have to remind myself of my need for growth and dependence on God every day. I have to spend time in His word every day, meditating on His promises and reminding myself of the changing seasons of life. But I am so encouraged by the seasons of life that I am able to look forward to what great things God has planned for me. I know that I am being prepared every day for them and that in and of itself is a source of joy.

If you have any advice/encouragement about the different seasons of life, please comment and share it with me. I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

Bro talk.

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I have a fantastic little brother. We were having a conversation tonight and he offered to write a blog post for me. Just to try his hand at it and offer his thoughts and a little wisdom of his own. I know you’ve never met this kid but let me tell ya, you don’t turn down an offer like that. So here it is, and I must say, I’m impressed.

TASK: Write a blog for my sister.

Well, I didn’t know what I was taking on when I asked “Can I write a blog post for you?” So here I am staring at a computer screen trying to think about what to write. Suddenly it comes to me as I think. What you say doesn’t matter, It’s how you handle yourself. Recently I’ve been the victim of useless ranting. At school and when I get home. It seems as if I can’t escape it. Also, It’s only about trouble with men, or should I say boys. This is a problem for a lot of girls I know, and I suffer from a similar problem (only with women of course). At a time in everyone’s life, a feeling arises that makes us feel like we need someone to be with just to show off and feel wanted. Been there, done that, and I’m only 16! My freshman year of highschool I felt like I needed a girlfriend to be worth something. I quickly came to the realization that it wasn’t so. Another person in your life can be a burden just asking to drag you down into the pits of no where. I find another person nagging me is just a distraction, and if you really feel like that’s what you want, find a good friend who talks a lot and engage in a conversation in something other than having a relationship.

A Youtuber that I’m currently big on (wranglerstar) gives great lessons and advice based on prior experiences. I looked to his videos to get a take on relationships. He says that It is not necessary to have a relationship until you can support it financially, spiritually, and mentally. I agree with the way this was phrased. Another person can be a setback to a step in your future, whether it be buying a vehicle to get to your job or buying a home to live in. Get yourself financially set for your future and then think about another person to take care of.

Now to the spiritual take on that. You need to get yourself right with God before you jump into the undertaking of a husband or wife. If you are quick to choose, how do you know you are making the choice God wants you to have? A wise man once said “Good things come to those who wait.” so by saying that, I recommend taking some time and thinking your choices through. You’ll know they’re the right one if you listen for the small still voice of God telling you your choice has been wise.

And lastly, let’s not forget, the most important; being mentally prepared for this. Having someone telilng you their problems and feelings openly is a big thing to take on. The more you’re prepared, the easier it will be for you to give open advice. Another quote from Wranglerstar I like is “chance of survival favors the prepared”. By no means am I saying relationships are by chance, but you have to be prepared for anything. And by saying anything, I mean anything at all. Honesty and openness is a huge part of testing how mentally prepared you are.

I feel like I’m going no where, so i’m going to end this here. I like feedback so tell me where I can improve and if you got anything out of this message. At least now I can say I tried!

The ripe old age of 16.

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My one and only younger brother will be turning 16 in just 4 short days. It’s causing me to become quite nostalgic (even though I’m really not that much older).

Thinking back to when I was 16 I’m pretty sure I had it made. Although at the time I’m sure I was just as angst-y as ever. I wanted my independence. I wanted to drive, go out with my friends, make my own money, buy my own clothes, make my own decisions. And I suppose for the most part I did those things because I was feisty. But like all other seasons of life, hindsight is 20/20. I lived a lot, I made some mistakes in the process. If I could go back, here are some things I would tell myself:

1. Practice patience. You’ll need that later.

2. Love your parents. Listen to them as much as you can without going crazy. They care about you more than you know. As much as you don’t want to- you need them.

3. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

4. If you think you’re in love, enjoy it. But don’t become obsessed with it. Guard your heart.

5. You don’t know everything. Embrace new experiences and learn all you can.

6. You don’t have to be perfect, whatever you do doesn’t have to be perfect. But you do have to try your best.

7. Sometimes people suck. You do have to love them BUT YOU DON’T have to put up their shit.

8. Stick to your guns about your faith and what you believe. Be uncompromising in your morals. I wish so much that I could tell you just how critical it is to practice this now. Life is about to get a lot harder and the world is not going to help you be more like Christ. You’re going to have to fight to do that every day.

I love birthdays because I like the feeling that a new age brings. If you think about it, 16 is really the first big milestone birthday there is. It comes with huge amounts of responsibility (operating a motor vehicle on a road where there are other people operating motor vehicles).

I know that I still have so, so much to learn. I just like sharing what I have learned from my experience with others. I think that is probably one part the future teacher in me and one part the older sister persona.

But what I want my little brother to know is that sometimes life sucks and sometimes it hurts. And it’s not going to be easy. But nothing worth having ever is.