True love

 

Have you ever attached to God the hurts or disappoints other people have caused you? I have. If I’m not careful, I can begin to think that is how God is. I can begin to not open myself up to God because I don’t want to get hurt again. I begin to let my thoughts wage war and fill my mind with lies.

That is not truth though. That is 100% false. Let us not go down this slippery slope. God is the exact opposite of hurt or disappointment. The love of the Lord is so much better than settling for a “human-like” image of love in 2017. He is proud to stand next to us. His love is breath to our lungs. His grace makes us stand with our shoulders held high. God has been re-shaping my image of true love. True love bears all. True love is pure. True love is not anxious.

Yes, that person or situation hurt me. But that’s not God. He has a perfect track record of faithfulness and He won’t blow it on you. With God, we can take a deep breath and let down our walls that we’ve built up to “protect ourselves” from pain. Our human minds can’t even comprehend the holy, pure love God has for us. Unlike any type of love we will ever experience on Earth. He doesn’t give His love in pieces. He offers himself completely to us. Other people will never be able to offer us the same kind of intimate, captivating love that God does. If we give other people the expectation to love us like this, we will be let down every time. Only the divine romance of God will satisfy.

Until Jesus is enough for you, no person or thing ever will be.

My prayer recently has been, “God, please re-shape, re-mold how I think about You. I know in my core that you are loving and full of grace, so help me to actually live like I believe that. People that have left me, made me feel less than, and hurt my soul are not You. You restore my soul, you are proud to stand next to me. Help me remember that daily.”
The song by Bethel Music, Pieces has been on repeat in my car the past few weeks. You know when you have those mini worship jam sessions in the car? Well, I highly suggest this song to jam out to ya’ll. This song beautifully defines the love of God. It takes a unique approach to the popular 1 Corinthians 13 chapter about love.

Don’t let your past hurts define how you view the love of God. Let it enhance how you view the love of God. I encourage you to listen to this song and take a minute to invite God in to re-shape your idea of true love.

You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us
Your love’s not fractured
It’s not a troubled mind
It isn’t anxious
It’s not the restless kind
Your love’s not passive
It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keeps its word
It honors what’s sacred
‘Cause its vows are good
Your love’s not broken
It’s not insecure
Your love’s not selfish
Your love is pure

 

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Messy Quiet Time

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One of my best friends encouraged me recently to get messy in my quiet time with The Lord. To lay it all out on the table. Cry before Him. Pour out my fears, concerns, anger, thoughts, disappointments, hopes, dreams, and everything in between.
God can handle our mess. He can handle us getting a little messy with Him.

I don’t know about you, but I appreciate authenticity in other people. It is encouraging when some one is vulnerable about their life, their struggles. So, why are we hesitant to be raw, and real before God? There’s so much pressure to have it all together in our culture. The beautiful thing about quiet time with the Lord is that we don’t have to feel that pressure AT ALL. Why are we trying to cover up what He already sees? When we are real with God, it will help us be more real with people.

He eagerly waits for us to vent to him late at night when we can’t fall asleep. He wants us in our unshowered, messy bun, sweat pants moments. Authenticity with the Lord is not found in the “instagrammable” or “tweetable” moments. It’s found in the raw moments of stillness before our Creator.

Jesus was vulnerable before His heavenly Father. In Luke 22, we find Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane before he is to be crucified. He prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Verse 44 says, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

Jesus is so raw in this moment. He is sweating and crying tears of blood. He is crying out to the Lord in this time of unimaginable distress. He’s not worrying about what anyone around him thinks of him. He is simply alone with His Father and laying it all on the table.

Verse 43 says, “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Ya’ll, this same power lives within us. We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts. When we call on the name of the Lord…

He will strengthen us.

He will equip us.

He will comfort us.

He will heal us.

He will invade the cracks of our broken hearts.

Zephaniah 3:17 “…he will quiet you by his love.”

God can handle your mess. Go enjoy some messy quiet time with the Lord.

 

 

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HUSTLE HARDER

 

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Have you ever been slapped in the face by God? Have you ever read a scripture or heard a message and it literally felt like a slap in the face? God even likes to speak to me through social media feeds. Probably because He knows I spend an excessive amount of time scrolling through them. This past week, God really spoke to me with a passage I read out of Romans. Honestly, I just tried to ignore it and move on with my day. But then I opened up Instagram in an attempt to distract myself, and Judah Smith (one of my fav pastors) had just posted a short clip about the SAME EXACT THING GOD HAD SHOWN ME IN ROMANS EARLIER. Every tweet I saw, every text I received that day, every cute quote I saw on Pinterest was God gently speaking to me.

I want to be a woman who does hard and holy things for the Kingdom. I want to hustle harder. But the reality is, I will never be able to achieve that if I continue pushing to the side what God is showing me.

We must be obedient to the Lord. Our obedience to the Lord not only benefits our own lives, but it benefits everyone around us. Obedience in essence shows humility. Letting God wreck our plans, before our plans wreck us. Humbly falling at the feet of our Savior and saying, “Here’s my shame, here’s my guilt, here’s my pride, here’s my thoughts, here’s my worries- I want to lay it all down and let you refine and grow me.”

“Obedience is less painful than regret.” -Christine Caine

Often times what WE WANT and what GOD WANTS, do not line up. To be perfectly honest with you, there are times when I want what I want way more than I want what God wants. We must learn to be cautious to this feeling of “wanting” or desiring something. We should never allow our feelings to control us. Our feelings will deceive us every single time.  // 1 John 3:20 “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.”

So, how do we hustle harder? We recklessly follow Jesus. Obedience brings fruit, peace, and genuine joy in our lives. Do not grow weary of doing hard and holy things. The Lord knows your story, all the way to the last page. But we tend to get stuck, because we can only see the page we are on. Be bold, surrender to Him, and allow Him to write your story. Trust me, it will be 1000 times better than any story we could attempt to write on our own.

 

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God WILL Give You More Than You Can Handle

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

I’m sure we’ve all heard this saying whether you attend church or not. It’s a common saying that many people lean on. We see it cross-stitched on pillows, we see it scrolling through our timelines on twitter, and people pat us on the back after we pour our heart out and say, “Don’t worry, God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I don’t know about you, but that statement provides me zero comfort when I’m in pain.

The reality is, God WILL give you more than you can handle. You will experience brokenness, pain, loneliness, confusion, loss, exhaustion and tragedy in this life. We will have moments where we feel like we are drowning. And this is typically when someone “conveniently” says to us, “but don’t worry, it will never be more than you can handle.”

THAT IS A BIG FAT LIE.

God will most definitely give us more than we can handle. That’s the whole point. It’s the moment where our weakness meets His strength. We can’t face trails in our lives without Him.

God has been teaching me lately that there is strength in brokenness. We need to come to Him in our brokenness. And I’m talking about the crying your eyes out in your car, makeup running down your face, hair a mess type of brokenness. Completely vulnerable, completely broken before the Lord.

2nd Corinthians 12:10 puts it this way…

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

How in the world are we supposed to DELIGHT in weakness?! To be completely honest, when I’m having a “crying alone in your car kind of moment” the last thing I want to do is delight in the pain I’m feeling. I am not an expert on this topic by any means, but I’ll be honest I am in a challenging season right now and God is teaching me how to let Him be my strength. His strength becomes our own.

Romans 8:26 says…

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

I love at the end of this verse how it says, “with sighs too deep for words.” I don’t know about you, but I can relate to that feeling. Sighs, thoughts, feelings, sorrows too deep for words. We don’t even know how to describe it. That’s the beautiful part, when the Holy Spirit intercedes and makes sense of all the things we don’t know how to begin to describe. God knows exactly how we are feeling and we don’t have to explain it loud to him, He already understands our soul’s desires.

I remember praying a few weeks ago, “God, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep trying to control everyone and everything. I am not perfect, and I am in desperate need of you. I am exhausted trying to heal myself. I feel like I’m drowning in my pain, and I can’t get my head above water. I don’t even know where to begin or how to rely on you for strength, but please speak to my heart and show me how. Please teach me how to rest in you.”

It’s so comforting to know that God doesn’t have any expectations of “where we should be”. He simply calls us to rest in Him. To get down on our knees and ask Him to teach us how to let him be our strength.

So, as I’ve been praying this prayer the past few weeks God has been quietly speaking to my heart and helping me be vulnerable with Him. He is helping me realize that it’s totally okay to not have it together all the time. (Shocking, I know right?!)

There is strength in stillness.

Stillness before our Creator who says to us, “I know this is too much for you to handle. That’s why you need me. Come to me in your brokenness and let me give your weary soul rest.”

So, what does it practically look like to rest in God and let him be our strength in our everyday lives?

I want to share with you some tips that have been SUPER helpful and healing for me when I feel weak and broken.

  1. Rest in Him. Literally, take a deep breath and rest. Don’t try and fix everything or work everything out in your head. Allow yourself to sit in your pain for a little while if you need to and ask God to teach your heart how to rest in Him and His strength.
  2. Allow yourself those “crying alone in your car” type of moments. Allow yourself those moments and begin to turn them into precious moments with our Lord. Pray out loud, scream out loud, whatever you need to do.
  3. Find a friend or mentor to sit with you in your pain. We were not meant to walk through struggles in life alone. Be vulnerable with a friend and ask them to come along side you and lift you up when you are weak.
  4. Do something that makes you feel strong. I have found that going on a run daily, and working out has been very therapeutic for me. Find something that makes you feel productive and strong and work it into your schedule.

 “We are never so healed that we don’t need Jesus every single moment of every single day.” -Christine Caine

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How to Make the Best of Your Senior Year

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After completing my first week of senior year, I realized how incredibly fast this year is going to go by.  I plan on making this the best year yet. Soaking up every conversation, every theatre performance, every audition, every lunch with my friends, and yes, even every boring math class.

Just by simply being given the title of a senior, I have been given the gift of great influence over my school, and I plan on making it count.

Here are some of my goals that I pray every senior will strive to achieve as well.  🙂

1. Notice the little things: pick up trash on the school campus, hold the door open for fellow peers when entering a class, invite a new student to sit at your lunch table, offer grace when its lacking, speak words of kindness.

2. Read your Bible: reading your Bible every day before school will equip you to have the courage to be bold in your school and put your heart at peace before the day. Don’t underestimate the power of being in His Word. I recently decided to take on the challenge of reading the Bible in one year with my church small group. It has been amazing to see how God is working in my heart since I took on this challenge. I highly suggest taking your faith to the next level and challenging yourself this year spiritually. How cool would it be if you walked into college saying you have read the whole Bible?!!

Here is the APP I use to read the Bible on YouVersion.

Be in this world, but not of it.

3. Be the example, not the exception:  as a senior, it’s extremely tempting for us to think of ourselves as the exception to the rules. This comes off as rude and as if we think of ourselves as superior to other students on campus. I want to be a role model for younger students, not the lazy senior that thinks I am above the crowd.

Realize that life goes on after high school, and some of the greatest moments of our lives are yet to happen.

4. Live in the moment: it’s going to be extremely hard for me not to be stressing about college 24/7 this year, but if I do this I will miss so many unforgettable memories. Worrying will not fix or help anything; it will only hold me back this year.

  • When I’m at a football game, I’m really going to be ALL there mentally.
  • When I’m performing in the school play, I’m going to soak in every second of goofing off with my amazing cast backstage.
  • When I’m driving my brother to school, I’m going to have meaningful conversations and lots of pre school jam sessions.

Lastly, go on spontaneous adventures,
try lots of new things, love people unconditionally,
offer grace, and be bold.
Make memories.
Go make this year count.

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I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Feeling Seventeen

It’s going to be hard to top last year’s birthday for me. Sitting by the ocean in Nicaragua with the sweet Godinez family, fishing for hours, worshipping the Lord in their church, and seeing their home be completed.

It was the adventure of a lifetime.

This year I was sitting at the beach in Cali on my 17th birthday. I thought back on what God has done this past year and I could not be more in awe. Partnering with 1MISSION and CIY has blessed me so much throughout this past year and has given me such amazing opportunities to reach out into our world.

If you want check out this crazy adventure watch the video above!

Here a few of my goals for this year (because I plan on making 17 the best year evvveerrrr).

  1. Be selfless
  2. Speak life into others
  3. Go on more weekend adventures
  4. Be more spontaneous
  5. Don’t worry so much about what people think about me

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5 Tips to Help You Have a Stress Free Semester

It seems like our culture is over committed and always stressed out. How can we eliminate that in our lives? Last week I was feeling down and a bit stressed out so I decided to put these steps into action and it’s amazing what the Lord will do when you simply come to Him for refreshment.

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1. Re-evaluate your priorities: I often have to take a deep breath, step outside and take a look at where my priorities are. Some questions I ask myself are, “Have I been spending enough time in the Bible and having quiet time with God?”, “When was the last time I had a night to relax at home with my family?”, and “What’s really most important to me right now?” This helps me to get back on track and realize where my heart is amongst the craziness of life. I’ve found that focusing on others, helps me to loose sight of myself and feel less stressed. Take a moment to make a list of your priorities and who you want to invest in.

2. Rest: When I start to feel overwhelmed, I go to bed early that night. Rest restores creativity. A good nights rest allows you to think more clearly and have some perspective. Trust me, you need rest! It’s worth it.

3. Be productive: If you feel stressed or overwhelmed with balancing work, family, friends, schoolwork, church, and sports you’re not alone. It’s challenging to give it your all, 100% of the time. But what I’ve found is if you are productive and work hard in the moment you are in, you will feel accomplished by the end of the day. When you’re in class, make progress and give it your best instead of saying, “Oh I’m so stressed; I can’t do this today.”

Continuing to say you feel stressed will not solve the problem.

4. Take it off the plate: When stress consumes you, consider cutting out some unnecessary activities that take up some of your valuable time. For example, cut out that club at school that you are just not passionate about so that you can invest in your family more, or stop watching that show that’s causing you to get behind on homework. Don’t overcommit yourself because that will cause you not give the activities you are most passionate about your all. You want to do a few things excellently rather than overcommit and feel defeated.

5. Take a day: Take a day. Simply, don’t make plans. Stay in your PJ’s all day and watch movies. Eat lots of ice cream. Spend precious moments of stillness and quiet. Take a day to refresh your soul. It’s not selfish. The best leaders take time for themselves so that they can feel confident, which allows them to lead others better.

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How To Stand Strong When You Are Standing Alone

My beautiful birthday wife Rene @ Getty Villa

Sometimes in life you’re going to have to stand alone. It’s okay.

It takes nothing to join a crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.

It takes courage to stand alone and fight for what you believe in, even when no one else will join you. People will not always agree with you. When you stand up for what is right, you will face opposition.

“And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Mark 13:13

When you’re standing alone and speaking truth and you get glares when you walk in a room, or don’t get invited to a party you are suffering for Christ. But The Lord is fighting for you. Always.

When other people back down and leave you alone, The Lord is right by your side, cheering you on when other people turn their back. He’s got your back when you feel weak.

“My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Cor. 12:9

I’ve found that on days when I feel weak, I’m able to experience His power and love even more clearly.

Be in this world and radically love and unleash compassion, but don’t be of this world.

There is a huge difference. Don’t pollute your mind with lies, fill you heart with truth so that when the time comes to stand for what is right, God’s word will overflow from your heart.

I’m continually learning more and more about this, and what God is showing me is that He will never leave me or forsake me. By renewing myself in His Word each morning I can remind myself of what is true. The Lord is always by my side when I’m having an amazing day or when I’m in tears when life gets tough.

He is constant when the world is inconsistent.

So this year, in 2015, I encourage you to remind yourself that God will never leave you in your moments when you feel alone. If He has prompted you to stand up for something or someone then you can trust that He will give you confidence and help you succeed.

He’s got your back.

Be bold this year.

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Jesus Is Enough

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept lately. I grew up being told that Jesus is enough countless times, and I believed it. But it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve been really starting to unpack it and see it in action in my life.

I was watching a video of a worship leader, Tim Timmons, on youtube with my family one evening.  I encourage you to watch his video, it’s incredibly inspiring and convicting.

He finished his song, Great Reward, and then began to talk about Jesus being enough to walk him and his family through the trials of life. Tim has been diagnosed with cancer for 12 years, and he was talking about Jesus walking his family through life when he’s gone one day. Then he said something that struck me, “What if Jesus was enough?” That question rang in my head throughout the next week. I asked myself this question daily, what if Jesus was enough to fill my soul?

As I looked at life with this outlook, I started to realize that He is enough.

He’s enough to calm my heart and cast out all the worries piling up in my mind after a rough day.
He’s enough when a boy breaks my heart and leaves me feeling confused.
He’s enough when friendships crumble.
He’s enough when patience fails.
He’s our hope when hope is gone.
He’s enough to help us choose joy on the days when it’s hardest to do so.

When other people around us let us down, He never will. He is constant, never changing. This is encouraging to me when I feel like my world is spinning around me and shaking me up.

That hole, that void we try to fill with worldly things will never be satisfied unless we fill it with Jesus. We tend to turn to Jesus on our not so great days, but He’s also enough on the good days – the days where patience and joy prevail. His unfailing love is enough. He has always been enough and will continue to be. We just need to remind ourselves that He is. I let that question echo in my mind; I wrote it on my mirror, and it began to revolutionize my outlook on life.

We can come crawling to Him in tears, and He will refresh our hearts and give us hope. His name holds power. The only name that will ever be enough for us.

I’m still learning more and more about this daily

Ask yourself this week, “What if Jesus was enough?” He’ll begin to reveal moments of indescribable peace if you allow Him to take control and be ALL you need.

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16 Things I’ve Learned by Age 16

Welcome to my blog!
Super excited for this first post. Here’s a little insight on what I’ve been learning lately. Hope you enjoy!

1. It’s okay not to have everything together 100% of the time. It’s okay to cry. You’re not perfect.

2. Some day a boy will break your heart. Its okay to be sad, but don’t stay sad. God has someone greater in store for you.

3. Boys/ relationships do not determine your worth or value. ONLY God defines who you are and He sees you as beautiful and valuable.

4. Sometimes in life you’ll have to stand alone. It’s okay, God is always on your side sitting right next to you, fighting for you.

5. Fill your mind with the truth of God’s Word, not the lies of the world.

6. Sleep. Get rest and refresh your tired mind and soul so you can give every day your all.

7. People disagree with you? Good. That means you stood up for something or someone at one point in your life.

8. Meet new people. Make new friends, even if it’s scary, branch out of your clique.

9. Jesus is enough to fill your soul. He is ALL you need.

10. If it’s in God’s hands, then you can rest assured that it will be done well.

11. Things are never as bad as they seem. Take a step back and gain some perspective.

12. People will not remember how your hair looked or your outfits, they will remember what you stood for and how you made them feel. So, don’t stress if you’re having a bad hair day.

13. Be known for what you love, not what you hate.

14. Show me your friends, and ill show you your future. I’ve heard my dad and many other pastor’s say this before, and it is 100% true. Surround your self with wise, encouraging friends that you want to become like.

15. Grades are not eternal.

16. “Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love.” – Emma Watson

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