Who You Are

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In the midst of all the craziness that is becoming my senior year of college, I thought I would take the time to type about the subject of being scared. That is, being afraid of who you really are. The world is spinning, life is proceeding, changes are happening, memories are being made, accomplishments are being met, and even tears are being shed; however, one thing remains. God. He never changes, He is always right beside us, and He is the one who continues to forgive, save, and love us every second of every day. You and me…we are children of God & like someone reminded me of recently: “Once a child of God, always a child of God.” How true is this?! And how often do we forget that it is why we wake up everyday?! Each of us are crafted uniquely; down to the cuticles of our fingernails, the hairs on our head, and the arteries (which I’ve been privileged in learning more about recently) that keep the blood flowing. Each of us are living a life that cannot be replaced and we were put on this planet for a reason. God made us a part of His Kingdom for a reason.

Lately, I’ve been having some trouble remembering all of this beautiful glory. I’ve been told continuously how I’m not good enough, should be doing this or that, and have been failing at life at the moment. And I know it’s not cool. Because I cannot be afraid to be me. I have to remember (same goes for you too) that I am going through this season, even day, of life how God wants me to and only He can define me. That’s it. Plain and simple. The God of the universe just wants me to believe in His word and follow Him with every step I take. He defines me and no one else. He defines you and no one else. He defines your neighbor, coworker, boss, cleaning lady, and professor too. No one else. A child of God is fearfully and wonderfully made, adopted for forgiveness, grace, strength, and love…as well as destined for a place far better than this one.

I think I’m getting a little off track but let me share an example with you. Think of it this way: trees. Autumn is approaching and the trees are starting to turn colors, right? When a tree is green, it is still a tree and we claim this as good (summer/spring). When a tree turns orange/red, it is still a tree and we claim this as good (fall). When a tree loses its leaves and is naked with only branches, it is still in fact a tree and we claim this as good too (especially once snow arrives in winter). This beautiful cycle of growth and life within one tree is just like our identity in Christ. No matter what we go through, whether times of happiness or pain, laughter or cries, we remain ourselves. At the end of the day, we are still a child of God. Whether you are stressed out of your mind (like me) or a five-year-old not having a worry in the world (we all miss those times), you are still a child of God. Whether you are CEO of a company or you are a janitor at a high school, you are still a child of God. Do not be afraid. Do not put so much pressure on yourself to be x, y, and/or z [trust me, this is something I am working on especially lately]. Do not remain anxious or stressed or upset. God’s got you.

You need only to be still, my friend. Trying to be someone you’re not and being scared of the future – Satan loves such anxiety. But you have an almighty God who loves you more than you could possibly imagine. & even if this blog was all over the place, I hope you remember at least that tonight. I know I need to. I’ve been praying for strength, guidance, patience, support, and love…when all I need to do is soak in God’s presence and lean on Him when I am feeling all of the above. I only need Him. I am only His. He is mine. No matter what. Forever and always.

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Faith, Hope, & Love

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So it’s been about a week since I got my first tattoo: a symbol on my left wrist. A cross for Faith, a lifeline beat for Hope, and a heart for Love; they all connect together (picture below). A special person in my life went with me when I got this done. She had encouraged me to get this particular tattoo for months and was even planning on getting it with me. When we walked in and made my appointment, I still couldn’t believe it but I was beyond excited. At Totem Tattoo here in Williamsport I was so thankful that Aaron was the artist who inked me. He made my first tattoo experience great and we ended up having a wonderful conversation about each other’s stories after. Looking down at my first tattoo with Demi’s “Warrior” blasting in the background, I felt truly blessed.

Anyway, if you want to know more details about my tattoo I would love to chat with you about it in person some time. The real reason for this new blog is to provide you with real life examples of why this tattoo means so much to me. Now every day I wake up and I have a reminder on me that faith, hope, and love are why I am here. Throughout the day, I look down at my wrist and I am reminded that faith, hope, and love are what keep me strong when I feel weak. When I feel exhausted and overwhelmed, frustrated and lost, this symbol keeps me going. Jesus keeps me going. I continue to have Faith that I will get all my schoolwork that I need to get done daily accomplished. I continue to have Faith that God has a plan for me. I even continue to have Faith that I will be able to find clothes that fit me for my internship soon (this happened earlier tonight and I hate shopping). I have Faith in recovery, and in my community, friends, and family. Without Faith, I wouldn’t be here today.

Next up is Hope. This specifically struck my heart this past Wednesday, September 10th: World Suicide Prevention Day. In a week I will be participating in a walk dedicated to the awareness of suicide with other students and faculty from Lycoming. This past Wednesday I was reminded that Hope actually exists. It lies in the path of someone who thinks they are useless, unloved, unwanted, and ready to give up but just won’t. Hope lies in the heart of someone who is trying so hard not to harm themselves, harm others, or even take their own life. Hope is within Jesus and Hope is within you and me. As you can see in my tattoo, the lifeline plummets to its lowest point but miraculously increases once again to keep living. I’ve been at my lowest point before, which was full of toxins, sin, and negativity; however, I didn’t give up and I leaned on this sense of Hope to get me through each day. Now, just like my tattoo, I am gaining enough strength to rise above the mess again. Life is going to be hard and seem like a roller-coaster at times but luckily I have Faith and Hope by my side to lead me right to Love.

Today in church we were reminded of the most powerful, unconditional, and amazing love there is: our Father’s love. God’s love is eternally free and no person or thing can ever take it away from us. Hearing this today made my heart happy because Love is so important to me. Without it, similar to Faith & Hope, I really wouldn’t be here today. When I was at an all time low, I survived by the Love of the other people in my life who genuinely cared about me. I survived by the Love of Jesus. I survive daily because of God’s love. I survive daily by the Love I receive from people in my life who still do genuinely care about me. Love is so miraculous; I can barely put the feeling into words. I hope you have your own definition of Love and you learn to realize how vital it is. Our bodies are made up of sixty something percent of water, right? We literally need H two O to survive. I believe the same thing is with love. People need other people; love goes a long way; and Jesus can show us what that beautiful Love feels like. If you don’t believe that you are loved, please come talk to me.

I am so thankful that I am able to wake up every day now and see this symbol of strength on a place where weakness once was expressed. I apologize if this didn’t make a whole lot of sense, I just wanted to type my thoughts out 🙂 I pray that you lean on Faith, Hope, and Love as much as you can daily. ❤

Stay strong and remember what 1 Corinthians 13:13 says  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

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Worn Bottle

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Two mini topics are going to be shared this time; no worries, there is a connection (I think.) One topic is the campus carnival that happened today at Lyco. This fundraiser for clubs and organizations on campus helped me discover something beautiful that I really needed to be reminded of lately. For an hour I was stationed at the UCM table, where you could try the semi-challenging game of “Stand A Bottle.” While watching participants over and over again try to stand up a glass bottle with a ring at the end of a pole, the Holy Spirit worked inside of me. Let’s say: God is the person trying to win a piece of candy from standing the bottle upright, we are the ring, and Jesus is the bottle. Please take a moment to envision playing this game. Trying to put the ring on the bottle is probably the hardest part; patience is required if you’re like me and have shaky hands. The ring will get so close to the top but often it slivers around the edge or completely misses all together. The first objective is to get the ring around the mouth of the bottle so you can then concentrate on finally standing the bottle up (which is frustrating at times if and when the bottle swivels around and doesn’t stay in one place.) Watching this being done multiple times let me realize…

This red ring (us) doesn’t give up because there is someone helping at the other end of the pole (God.) All God wants to do is help and guide us into something extraordinary (Jesus.) God knows that we have the strength to stand upright with Jesus and walk alongside of Him but the swiveling done by the ring (us) exemplifies the conflict and sin in our life that keeps us from Jesus. Thankfully after patience and understanding of the way the world works, contact with Jesus is made – all thanks to the help of God (who was there all along.) Once the ring and the bottle connect, strength is created through love for one another and then both are able to stand up and keep going. Without Jesus, we slip and slide all over the place. We can’t do this thing called “life” alone.

Which brings me to topic number two.

I’m worn, already. Yes I’ve only completed one week of my senior year in college so far…but man am I irritable, busy, and just physically, emotionally, and spiritually worn out at the moment. I’m praying that the upcoming weeks and months will be better, while also reminding myself that the unexpected silver linings in my day are because of my faith. Jesus is walking along side of me and I know He isn’t going anywhere. Because of being busy and stressed lately, my depression has taken some deep dives too. Negative thoughts run through my mind often; however, Friday night helped a lot. City Alliance held a get together for students to play lawn games and eat pizza on the Quad. It was wonderful, even though I would not have known that because I almost didn’t go. Watching from my bedroom window (yes I’m a creeper because this particular window happens to be right in front of where Jared set up this event) let me soak in my sadness in private. Eventually, something inside of me chased away the negative thoughts and my mind flooded with positive reminders. My friends were outside. Pizza was outside. Corn-hole was outside. God was outside, always close by. I felt lifted and when I arrived I was greeted with hugs and smiles that warmed my heart. God has placed certain people in my life for especially on the days when I feel down and all I want is a hug. He is amazing like that. He is good all the time and He never runs out of patience and love for me. He never runs out of His righteousness for you either! Whether you’re a student anticipating this upcoming week of classes (like me) or an adult with a job to go to tomorrow, I hope you take the time to rest in His presence. If you’re worn out, soak in His word. If you’re stressed, cry out to Him (and sometimes that means literally.) Know that everything will be okay. & I pray that this next week full of classes, events, meetings, homework, and more is one full of silver linings. I pray that you be reminded of your strength to make it through each day. You are beautiful and wonderful, and sometimes a worn out bottle, but with Jesus lifting you up, anything is possible. ❤

 

Heartbeat

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Have you ever heard the sound of a heartbeat? As you’re cuddling with someone and lying on their chest, you’re hearing this beat. [beat] As you’re hugging someone close and your ear lands perfectly on their chest, you’re hearing this beat. [beat] As you’re watching an ultrasound of your own baby boy or girl, you’re also hearing this beat. [beat] This consistent, everlasting, and beyond beautiful heartbeat. Lately, I have thought about this and I find it absolutely phenomenal. [beat] … [beat]  … [beat] No matter what you are doing right now, no matter where you are, no matter who you are with, it is still there. [beat] You could be at a coffee shop enjoying a nice cup of coffee with a few friends. [beat] You could be in your room simultaneously watching TV with your roommate. [beat] You could be at work taking a break from reality with your coworker. [beat] You could be at the White House signing a bill of some sort with Obama. [beat] You could be in class taking notes, sleeping, riding a roller-coaster, eating, at church, reading, making out with someone, dancing, or just sitting here writing a blog like me…and we all have this melody in common. [beat] Sometimes it speeds up [beatbeatbeat] or slows down [beat         beat       beat] for different reasons but it never goes away. It keeps us going. Even when we don’t want to or when we think we can’t, it keeps going. [beat] Even when we are in love with someone or when we are full of hatred and anger, it keeps going. Every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year. [beat] Isn’t that absolutely incredible?! The thought of this makes my own heart happy. [happybeat]

 

& this heartbeat shouldn’t be taken for granted. One day, it will go away…but that shouldn’t scare us (more on that later.) This heartbeat of ours is fascinating. Sure, we are going to be broken-hearted, head-over-heels, nervous, joyous, upset, or frightened on certain days…but once the thrill goes away, we are back to a consistent, everlasting, and beyond beautiful beat. I know God is the one who fully understands and loves our heart and its beat more than anyone. I know God is letting me continue having a heartbeat for a reason. I know Jesus is walking with me each day to help keep my heartbeat healthy. I know the people in my life (besides my doctor) cannot hear this personal pulse (unless participating in previously mentioned examples above); however, I also know that I can display the rhythm of my heart daily and that is something I should be grateful for. You have a heartbeat that is similar yet different from everyone else’s. The sound of a heartbeat identifies life, passion, patience, and grace. I don’t know if much of this made sense but I do know that if you’re reading this, your heart is beating right now. No matter what you go through each and every day, please remember your heartbeat and its wondrous melody. It means a lot to me. 

Bad For Me

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If I were to ask you right now to name something that is bad for you, what would you say? It can be anything: physical, emotional, and/or mental. We all suffer from a certain sin that is bad for us (because we are human.) Whether it be some form of addiction, not eating right, talking to the wrong guy/girl, etc. We want to please ourselves in the time being but afterwards we want to scream out loud and we hate ourselves for going back to something so unhealthy. Isn’t that crazy? We do recognize how awful it is yet we insist on going back to it over and over again. The human mind can be very manipulating. The song “Bad For Me” by Megan and Liz reminded me of this topic I thought I should blog about. I can relate to this song, as I’m sure other people unfortunately can too.

The chorus starts off with these lyrics:

“Cause you make me feel so right, Even if it’s so wrong. I wanna scream out loud, Boy, but I just bite my tongue.”

Do you see something wrong with that?

Satan can trick us into thinking something makes us feel “so right” for only a certain matter of time…even though WE KNOW that this particular sin is “so wrong.” And then the result of that would be: “I wanna scream out loud” but instead of doing so (therefore making our sin visible to the world) we just bite our tongues and keep the secret inside. Is that healthy in any way, shape, or form? I don’t think so. & I know that actually RECOGNIZING and ADMITTING to this crummy cycle is hard and it sucks so I’m here to remind you of something that isn’t bad for you…and that something is JESUS.

Jesus can actually make us feel good for the right reasons! He isn’t bad for us! He wants to walk with us through the times that we want to scream out loud and cry on someone’s shoulder. And He especially does not want us to bite our tongues. He is there for us no matter what, every second of every day. Instead of holding sin (that Satan tries to convince us is good when it really isn’t) inside and running back to it when we feel most vulnerable or worthless, Jesus wants us to confess it to him and allow him to help us. We cannot handle what is bad for us alone. We need other people and we need Jesus. No matter the circumstances, how hard life gets, or how much you have sinned, God wants to protect, love, and save you through Jesus. He is understanding and full of grace, which we all need. What we don’t need is that addiction that makes us feel unworthy. What we don’t need is that mindset of food making everything better. What we don’t need is that guy or girl who only causes harm to our hearts. Jesus is healthy and almighty; He is never “yes, no, or maybe.” He is “I’m right here, right now, ready to help you through whatever battle you are fighting.” God is good all the time and I pray that whoever reads this, you start to weed out the bad in your life. Faith in God means faith in His timing, which is never easy (patience is another blog yet to come), but trust me when I tell you that He is GREATER than WHATEVER is bad for you.

Human

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How many of you know the song “Human” by Christina Perri? I heard it today and because of Robin Williams’ death recently it made me think. I don’t know much about Christina Perri (say as I would about Demi) but I think this song is a perfect example of someone living with depression.

“I can fake a smile. I can force a laugh. I can dance and play the part. If that’s what you ask. I can do it but I’m only human.”
“I can turn it on. Be a good machine. I can hold the weight of worlds. If that’s what you need. I can do it. I’ll get through it but I’m only human.”

We shouldn’t have to fake or force or turn on anything that’s not us. Society frowns upon depression and the world is scared to talk about it. But guess what, just like Christina Perri says: we do bleed, we do fall down, we do crash, and we do break down. We are hurt daily by words and thoughts and actions. BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN. We mess up and sin and we can only take so much. We are human beings and we need each other to help and love and take care of one another because if we don’t, that is when people have had enough. That is when people break down and feel unworthy of life. And this breaks my heart. Depression shouldn’t be something we have to hide. Saying “I suffer from depression” shouldn’t be embarrassing. Robin Williams was an incredible man who proved that laughter really is the best medicine; however, his illness got the best of him. If you are suffering from depression, I will be the first one to tell you that it is OKAY and that getting help is OKAY because YOU ARE HUMAN and YOU ARE LOVED.

❤ {88} ❤