By Grace, I’m Here.

Hey All!

So I’m back… I feel like this is the third, maybe fourth time I have returned to this blog after an extended period of time. I swear, I’m trying to get better at being consistent. The reason I am back is that the last few weeks I have felt this nudging from our Father to return to this blog, but I just never felt like I had anything to say, so I didn’t (anyone else ever “ignore” the nudging?). Anyways, I had a meeting with my counselor tonight and it was super positive and encouraging and as I was driving home, I felt the nudge again. Yes God, I hear You! šŸ™‚ Here goes…

The last time I wrote was just over 2 YEARS ago. Holy guacamole, that’s a lot longer than I thought. Two years ago, I was heading into the summer ready to return to Camp Gifford with the intent of moving to Missoula, MT to pursue my teaching degree and what I thought was God’s plan for me. Flash forward to the first two weeks of summer camp. I realized that plans were changing and changing fast. The Lord had placed an opportunity at a different Salvation Army in front of me that was going to keep me in the Pacific Northwest. At first, I was mad and frustrated, but then I was grateful (and I still am :)…details to follow). So I called the University of Montana, gave up my scholarship, canceled my classes, canceled my housing and financial aid, and continued on into the summer ready to start this job I thought I was going to get. The summer was difficult and emotionally painful, but oh my, how much I learned and grew. That summer was my second and final summer at Camp Gifford (unless the Lord brings me back). It was also the Camp Directors last summer as they were moving to the Kroc Center in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. I thought I was going to follow them.

The week after summer camp ended, I got a letter saying that I wasn’t even considered for an interview. Rejection, failure, and doubt filled my head. I was so upset. I kept telling (yes, telling) God that HE was the one that promises to bring greater blessings when things get taken away, that HE was the one that told me to give up school, that HE was the one that told me how this was all going to work out. And where was I left? Jobless, with no plan to go back to school, and no idea where to go next. So I had my pity party, got all my anger out and then He said, “Pick yourself up and try again. Trust me this time.” Now, at that time, I had no desire to go back to school, no desire to go back to counseling, no desire to go back to any of my previous jobs before camp. Try telling that to your dad when you’re living at his house for free. It doesn’t go well, let me tell ya!

I then started with what I knew best. Kids. I got on my laptop and googled “Childcare Centers near me”. I found a place called Harvard Park Children’s Learning Center North. Little did I know, that place would change my life. I emailed them basically begging to look at my resume if they were hiring even though I had no preschool experience (most of my experience was with elementary age and older in a home or camp setting). By the Grace of God, I got an interview. I fell in love with the philosophy, the kids, the setting, the vibe between coworkers, everything. I wanted in. I was scheduled for a trial day and that was super fun and then after that, I was told to wait about a week and then I should know.

So I waited and didn’t hear a thing. I was running out of money, patience, and faith. I was getting ready to go crawling back a retail job I hated and signed up for school that I didn’t want to pursue. And then, the job offer came. I was hired on to teach an AM kindergarten class and a PM after school program, full time, with benefits. THANK YOU JESUS! I started the following week. After my first day of work, I called my best friends and told them, “Guys. If I get fired, it’s because I fell in love with a coworker…”. And I’m pretty sure they thought I was insane. And maybe, just maybe, I was.

At this time, I was in a place where I had NO intentions of dating. I was in the midst of a year long commitment to being single. I was still healing from past relationships, trying to deal with the diagnosis of PTSD, and find a counselor that I could trust to help me get to a place where I could haveĀ  healthy relationships/friendships and function in them. But then Tyler came out of left field and turned my world right side up. The moment I met him, the dreams of my future husband, the prayers for him, and that gut moving “my life is about to change forever-AGAIN” feeling all came into play. God opened my heart the tiniest crack and Tyler flooded it. Fiercely, fearlessly, and confidently. He knew it, I knew it, and luckily, we were brave enough to try. He was gracious, gentle, and brave to take on a girl recently diagnosed with PTSD and a carload (bagful didn’t seem big enough) of insecurities and fears. And slowly, but surely, he loved me just as God loves His Bride (or us). He encourages me in counseling, he never lets the label define me, he picks me up when I’m not strong enough, and he expects me to do the same for him. We are a team, we do life together, and we face our fears, trials, and triumphs as a team. And to this day, a year and a half in, we are here. Standing, succeeding, loving, thriving, and living.

I know this is super long, but the message from my story that I want to be heard is:

DON’T GIVE UP. God has a plan, HE WILL COME THROUGH. He ALWAYS does. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It’s probably going to be hard and it’s probably going to hurt a bit, but be brave. Look at my story. Look at yours. Where has God been there? Where has He given you that push, where has He showed up? You know that little voice that says “Keep going, you’re almost there!”…That’s HIM. That sense of calmness and peace in a moment of chaos…That’s HIM. God has a lot of Grace, make sure you’re giving yourself some, too because “Sometimes God will put a Goliath in your life, for you to find the David within you.”

But the Lord stood WITH me and gave me STRENGTH.
2 Timothy 4:17

Keeping In Step with the Spirit

As I am sitting here reading my bible, I came across another guideline. I like to write about these because they help me come back and refer to them when I feel like I need to be brought down a few notches. 

As Christians, we will go through peaks and valleys in our faith. Some days we will be on fire for the Lord and making “good” decisions comes naturally. This is when we are “in step with the spirit”. But there are days where we just aren’t on fire, we are lukewarm or maybe even cold. We just want to be alone, don’t want to do much, and kind of let the day go. Sinning doesn’t seem so bad. These are the kinds of days where I personally feel like I’m calling on God and thinking “Alright… It would be good to hear from you or at least feel like you’re there…”. But the crazy thing is…He is always, always, always there. Right next to you, holding you and loving you. 

As I’m reading in through Galations, I read about the difference between the workings of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. These two things either draw us closer or back us up from God. I just turned 21 and I have gone out a few times with my friends because I can, it’s legal and if I’m drinking, I don’t drive. I have to admit though that when I’m hanging out with some friends at a bar, I dont feel as close or as focused on the Lord as I do in church or when I’m ministering to younger kids or serving others. It’s not easy for me to admit to it, but I do have those internal struggles of wanting to fit in with my friends and still wanting to uphold my standards and morals. I think this is something many young Christians struggle with as well. 

So my challenge to all the Christians out there (you don’t have to be 21 and going to a bar to do so), keep in step with the Spirit. There is no shame in sending a prayer up at a party! You can still be out in those settings and be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and show self control (Galations 5:22). But if you are starting to let the flesh control your actions through sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkeness, or orgies (Galations 5:19-21/ now I know some of those are a little out there) maybe consider taking a step back. I’m not saying I’m perfect and I will continue to have moments where the flesh controls my actions, but I know what to look out for. And greatest of all, our God loves us soooo much that He will forgive and help each and every one of us become better, we just have to let him. His Grace and Mercy is like nothing you will ever experience! 

Seeing is BelievingĀ 

Hey WordPress Bloggers! I’m back! After a few months off of social media, I have decided it’s a good time to jump back on. I’ve learned a lot and I want to share some crazy awesome stuff that the Lord has been doing in my life. I pray that in some way, my message will give out some smiles or reassurance or whatever is needed! 

In the last few months God has been moving some pretty big mountains in my life. I am returning to the summer camp I worked at last year and was anticipating an interview and finding out if I would be hired back. I’m also moving over to Missoula, MT in August and was waiting to hear about housing. I just graduated from Spokane Falls CC and turned 21. Most of this happened within the last two weeks and I almost think God was trying to teach me to trust His timing and not try to control outcomes that aren’t in my control. I was fighting anxiety almost all of February and March, but hey guess what… GOD PULLED THROUGH. 

That’s the crazy thing. He is always there and there is always more. Even when we feel like God isn’t going to show up, He does. I got hired as the Volunteer Coordinator of the summer camp which means I will be in charge of all the teen volunteers and ministering to them every week. I got accepted into an amazing house in Missoula that is run by a strong Christian couple (no dorm!!!!). I also was admitted into Unicersity of Montana’s School of Human Services.  I graduated from SFCC with my associates degree and was put on the Vice-Presidents honor roll for my fifth and final quarter. And last night I baptized three of my cousins! 

Not only did God provide me in every way I needed, he “over provided” me. The bible says that when we give God an inch, he will take it miles (not in those exact terms, but you get the idea!). So THANK YOU JESUS for the abundance of blessings. 

Happy Easter everyone! He is RISEN! 

Beatitudes

The first time I learned about the Beatitudes was when my younger sister was doing a project for school on them. At first, I thought it was something Sunday school teachers created as goals for children to be more God-like. But as I started my real journey as a Christian last spring, I found out that this was actually something laid out for us by Jesus. So I’m going to break them down and try to relate them to young adults my age.

Matthew 5:3-12

1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Being “poor in spirit” means that we are conscious of sin. In turn means that we realize that we are in desperate need for Jesus. He can do all things, fix all things, change all things, and create all things.

2) Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
A person who mourns can recognize that he/she is a sinner. Personally, when I recognized my struggle with a sin, it made it easier to change. Instead of ignoring it, I addressed it with God and was able to make the changes needed to walk away from it.

3)Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
What makes a person meek? A person who is meek is someone who sees God and sees God in everything. Now I know that it can be hard to do so in everything, but being completely faithful and trusting in the Lord is a start!

4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the Lord, for they will be satisfied.
Jesus is the best example of righteousness, He IS the example of righteousness. Being righteous is being upright, virtuous, and noble. Some ways to start is trying to be in constant communication with Jesus in all that you do.

5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
These are the people that go out of their way to help and make the effort to help no matter what.

6) Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
These are the ones that acknowledge that they aren’t pure, but can become clean through God.

7)Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.
These are the individuals and communities that try to keep the peace. And they keep trying even if they fail.

8) Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Living the Godly life places a label that distinguishes them from the rest of the world. I was told before my baptism that once I was baptized, life could get a little bit harder because it’s a public proclamation. It leaves you open and vulnerable.

So that’s it! These are some things we as Christian’s can strive for.

Change

Change – It is feared, accepted, denied, avoided, but inevitable. No matter how much we would love for things to stay the same, they wont. It’s impossible actually. Every four years, your mind and emotions alter. Every seven years, the cells in your body are brand new. These facts and the whole idea of change used to scare me. I actually based my entire senior year of high school on trying to prevent the change from coming, I even considered failing out just to stay. The more I resisted change, the more painful it became.

Even though change happens, there are some things that will never change. There is the brutal truth that the sun will come up in the morning and the moon will come out at night whether your world is falling apart or not. The earth will continue to rotate even if your heart breaks in two. The universe doesn’t care what’s going on in your life… But there is one being that does.

God is our solid, permanent, and relentless constant. He will not change. His love is so powerful that it can’t possibly grow anymore, let alone fade. So as I sit here, trying to figure out some changing relationships in my life, I know there is one that won’t. The most important relationship I will ever be in will never change. The closeness I feel will from time to time, but He is always there. For me, for you, for anyone willing to grab on.

So I guess change is scary, but it’s also a blessing. I have had many failed friendships/relationships that sometimes I wish I never had to experience. But they happened for a reason, so I’m trying to be grateful for them. They say the emotional and mental pain is the hardest to heal from and that the physical pain goes away. Which is true, the bruises on the outside fade, but the voices that tell you you aren’t good enough stick around. Like I said earlier, in a matter of years, every cell in my body will eventually be untouched by the causers of this pain. And maybe when those years come, the emotional pain will have healed up a bit. But for now, I will work on being thankful for my story.

It’s being written personally for me.

God’s Promise

It’s been a minute (or two) since I have written, but I made time today because a certain topic was weighing so heavily on me I spent most of my day really upset. I would find myself randomly crying over memories that snuck up on me. Now I’m not sure why it happened all day today and trust me when I say I have a massive list of all the possible reasons, but none of them gave me relief. During all this, I came up with this shpeel in my head and I hope it helps someoneā€¦.

A few weeks ago, I made a commitment to work on listening to God everyday and doing what He leads me to do. The directions happened almost instantaneously and they were really painful and hard to accept. Even down the road a little bit, I struggle constantly throughout each day. I have come to realize that God ends a chapter for us in order to protect us, ready or not. Why? Because in committing to listening to Him, we get switched to God’s time and not our time. Even though I am struggling, I understand that I will not be put in something I can’t handle because He loves me that much and He will do the same for you.

Throughout these last few weeks, I have been blessed in so many ways. I got accepted to my dream school for Fall 2015 and received a major scholarship that covered most of the expenses. But a major part of me wanting to go to that school was taken away so I am now trying find a way to cope and find the positive to it. In John 10:10, Jesus writes about how the enemy only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He will take any opportunity to nail you down with frustrations, stress, depression, and doubt. And that is what has been happening to me. I am doubting everything I have worked for.

But here’s the silver lining. God makes promises to us; Promises to prosper those who give their lives to Him, to protect us, to love us unconditionally, to never destroy the Earth until the final judgement. But what he doesn’t promise is to make it easy. The crazy part about that is I never knew what the reminder was or that there were any at all. In the early chapters of Genesis, God talks about how each season will come and each day and night will come as a reminder of His Promise. But specifically, each rainbow. When He brings the clouds and rain and a rainbow appears it is a reminder of the covenant that is between us and God (Genesis 9:15).

So that’s all I got for right now. If y’all take anything from this, just know that there is a plan to all the craziness that is going on. Keep looking up and keep moving forward.

Relationships with Jesus

Have you ever evaluated a relationship? At what point should we? When things are great, when things aren’t so great, every six months, every year? Lately I have been feeling like I needed to reevaluate certain aspects of my relationship with Jesus. And it just so happens that the church I go to is doing a series on being “In Christ” and what that means.

To me, being in Christ means that you are living through Him. Knowing everyday that your life is not your life. “Then Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it. but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone exchange for their soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 Living through Christ to me means that you are praying about your options and future and jumping when God says jump.

We are called to not only believe in Jesus, but we are called to FOLLOW Jesus as well. That means that if we talk the talk, we better be able to walk the walk. We wouldn’t want a relationship or a marriage without love, so why have faith without action? Now I am not saying I am the perfect Christian, I think I will always be thanking God for his patience with me, but I can say I am trying. By being a “Walk the walk” kind of Christian, it means that you are just involved. In church, bible studies, volunteer, give to the poor or needy, show God’s love at school or work, pray everyday. What good does it do for this world if we just sign our names on the roll call sheet. As kids, when our parents said get moving, we usually got moving. So why aren’t we answering the call to our ONE TRUE FATHER?

My challenge to you (and myself) is to answer the call. When you feel that tug to go talk to the girl who looks upset in the corner or that pang in your stomach while you eat your lunch and the homeless man across the street looks at you hungry, do something. Pray for them, if you feel moved to do more, do more. The more we answer the call, the easier it will get. I know it will take courage, but we can do it. We have the most powerful Being on our side.