Friday, December 31, 2010

a tribute to the past and an ode to the future

inspiration: it's New Years Eve!!

i honestly can't say whether i've ever been this excited about New Years Eve or not. i would have to say i probably haven't. in years past, it's been "just another day". but i experienced so much in 2010 that i can't wait to start 2011!!

this time last year, i was in a completely different state of mind. i had made so many mistakes and just wanted to simply go from "old year" to "new year"...to have that fresh start. and luckily, God blessed me immensely in 2010 to be able to do that.

God works in amazing ways like that. He can make us new.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 collage.

inspiration: 2010 is coming to a close...


2010 has been a year of growth for me.
it started as a journey of healing, overcoming the previous battles and heartaches of 2009. but the more i grew in community with a core group of girls that i love immensely and the more i seeked to glorify Christ, the more i found healing in His merciful love and grace.

as the year continued, i was able to mark several things off my bucket list. i've experienced so many blessings from God and i've been blessed with so many opportunities that i cherish dearly.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

dismembering MY idol.

inspiration: a Desiring God letter from last month and I Am Second

at some point over this past year, i bought several John Piper books (pretty sure i've only made it through one, maybe two, of them though. they're quite the intense read!) and with it, i began to receive monthly letters from Desiring God (John Piper's ministry).

i feel bad for admitting this, but most of the time i tend to overlook them (along with my Holt International sponsor letters among other ministries i've previously sowed into at one time or another...). but amidst trying to "clean" my desk (which as i often joke about is more like relocating things from the desk to another locale), i came across November 2010's letter. it was entitled "Zacchaeus: Dismembering an Idol" and it portrayed a hypothetical conversation that followed Zacchaeus (a tax collector) surrendering the wealth he had accumulated, vowing to repay four times what he had stolen from anyone, and choosing to live a life following Christ.

i am always astounded at God's perfect timing.

armed and ready.

inspiration: spiritual warfare.

in less than two weeks, i'll be going to Costa Rica on my first missions trip. and something that i really discounted happening has come upon me: spiritual attack.
Satan knows how to attack me.
to make me feel like i shouldn't go.
to make me feel like everything i do is a mistake.
he wants me to doubt God.
he wants me to rely on myself.

you're not invisible

inspiration: "Invisible" by Disciple

God is always with us.
He loves us.
He cares.



Friday, December 24, 2010

a seriously honest post.

inspiration: philippians 1:21

two weeks from tomorrow, i'm joining about 25 or so other brothers and sisters-in-Christ from Grace Community Church on a missions trip to Costa Rica. God richly blessed me with the opportunity and funds to go and i am absolutely EXCITED BEYOND WORDS about this!!

this is my first missions trip.
this is my first time out of the country.

earlier this evening, my grandmother said to me (with the best of intentions, i know) "Nikki, you make sure you stay safe and get your butt back home!" i know that she wants the best for me. i know she wants me to be safe. quite frankly, i hope i stay safe, too.

but following Christ is risky business.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jesus loves the little children

inspiration: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." --Matthew 18:3-4


this past sunday, i got to experience one of the witness one of the most amazing acts i've ever seen. i served in Grace Acres for two services and we had "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" parties. we made Him birthday cards, played with balloons, ate "Happy Birthday Jesus" cookies, and wore birthday hats. but it wasn't the cards or balloons or cookies or hats that made this day special to me. it was witnessing these 3- and 4-year olds praising Jesus with all they had!!

prior to sunday, i had not served in the classrooms this month, but the Bible verse for this month was "God loves us so much that He gave us His One and Only Son" (John 3:16). When asked "Why is Jesus special?" Every. Single. Kid yelled at the top of their lungs "BECAUSE HE'S GOD'S SON!!!" Of course, when they grow older, they'll learn the true meaning of this, but to witness 3- and 4-year olds singing and praising Jesus and knowing that He is God's Son absolutely warmed my heart and soul to its very core. And I can only imagine how much God and Jesus and the angels were rejoicing at that sound in Heaven above!!!

i wanted to blog about this on Sunday, but i couldn't really find the words. but they came to me this morning as i was reading over my "To Do in 2011..." list (random, huh?). as i was reading over my list of goals/things to do/see/accomplish, i thought to myself "I hope I never lose my sense of adventure. I wish I could bottle up this feeling of adventure and excitement." and then it hit me: neoteny

Okay, so the word itself didn't pop into my head. But i remembered reading about it in In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day (awesome book, btw!), so I grabbed it off the shelf and flipped to find the passage.

according to Mark Batterson:
neoteny: the retention of youthful qualities by adults
Derived from the Greek word neos, which means "new, fresh, or youthful"

He precedes the passage about neoteny by sharing a story about a man who worked for Hallmark who would go into classrooms and ask the kids "How many artists are there in the room?".


In the first grade, the entire class waved their arms like maniacs. Every child was an artist. In the second grade, about half the kids raised their hands. In third grade, he'd get about ten out of thirty kids. And by the time he got to sixth grade, only one or two kids would tentatively and self-consciously raise their hands.

All the schools he went to seemed to be involved in "the suppression of creative genius" (1). They weren't doing it on purpose, but society's goal is to make us less foolish.

(1) Gordon Mackenzie, Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace (New York: Viking Adult, 1998), 20.

(Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, 152)


while i, prior to reading this book, had never even heard of the word "neoteny" (in fact, if you had said it to me, i probably would've responded to you with my typical o_O face and said "Bless you...??"). but the concept of it is what i refer to as "getting logical".

As kids, we have various mechanisms we use to express what we know and don't know. for instance, when i was asked "Why is the sky blue?" or "Why is the grass green?" as a 2- or 3-year old, my response was probably "God made it blue!" or "Because God's favorite color is green!" (Who knows? Maybe it is!) But as we get older, we are infused with knowledge. The more we learn, the less we give credit to God for it. If you asked an adult why the sky was blue or why the grass was green, you'll probably get something akin to a lecture about the sunlight, atmosphere, and Rayleigh scattering (sky) and chlorophyll and chloroplasts (grass) (...but then again, only I may give you that lecture, so don't ask me ;) )

If an adult gives the "God created it that way" response, they may be labeled as "naive" or "foolish". Thus, we begin to credit God less in our faith and spiritual walks, even for simple things like Creation. We give into society's pressure to not look foolish. We settle into the comforts of life. We are afraid to step out and look foolish. We lose our child-like mentality and that affects our spirituality as well.

"Spiritual maturity is becoming more like Christ and more like a little child." -In a Pit..., 155.


"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
--Matthew 18:3-4


So to bring this thing full circle, I'll conclude by saying that I'm both a dreamer and a very practical person. I have my list for 2011 as well as my "Bucket List", but I plan my course through various practical applications and by taking "smart" steps.

I hope that as I grow spiritually, I will cling less to my "practical, smart, organized, controlling self" and lean more toward my "big dreamer and adventurous" self.

I pray that I won't get "too logical" and rely on myself and my knowledge rather than reading Scripture and Truth and by exercising faith.

I pray that I wouldn't be afraid to yell "BECAUSE JESUS IS GOD'S SON!" at the top of my lungs (not literally, i mean that metaphorically for sharing my passion and excitement about my faith).

I pray that I will always have the child-like qualities that God adores so much.

Monday, December 20, 2010

set apart in 2011

Inspiration: Radical and Authentic Beauty

The wireless at work is not functioning, so I'm writing this blog from my phone. I sincerely hope this works and doesn't look bad...

But i am vowing in 2011 to live a set apart life for Christ. In life and in relationships.

Radical has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone in order to truly live out the Gospel: through my finances, through my relationship with Christ and His Word, and through prayer. Today I bought "Operation World" and a "One-Year through the Bible" Bible. Not because I want to be able to say I have them, but to deepen my heart and soul into them. To pour myself in prayer and into the Word. I know I will be much more successful with tangible reminders of the set-apartness I am called to exude.

Authentic Beauty has challenged me to keep my standards in relationships high. Not to settle for anything or anyone less than someone who will draw my heart closer to Christ. I know there are Prince Charming's out there and I am blessed to be able to call them my brothers-in-Christ. I worry a lot about finding the right person, but ultimately, it's on God's timetable. I want to be sure I am leading a life set apart for Christ before I enter into a relationship.

Through various experiences and conversations over time and through prayer and petition to Christ, I've decided that I am not going to simply "date" anyone. I truly want the next relationship I enter into to be "the one". I want the next kiss I get to be my last "first kiss". I want to guard my heart and my soul until MY Prince Charming comes along and begins to pursue me and walk with me down Christ's path. I am not content to be in a relationship for the sake of a Facebook status or the label of "dating so-and-so". My standards are much higher and I am worth more.

So I'm preparing my heart and soul for 2011.
For a new year.
For a new job.
For my first missions trip.
For a new life set apart for Christ.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

to the damsels in distress and the princes fighting for them.

inspiration: the world's standards for relationships are far too low.

We live in a world that glorifies the flesh. Just look on any magazine stand and you'll see scantily clad models/actresses/athletes/you-name-it gracing the cover of any women's magazine. The standard of the world for femininity (and in my opinion, masculinity, as well) is far too low.

As set-apart followers of Christ, it's important to keep our standards high. We'll never, of course, be perfect or anywhere near Christ, but we CAN guard our hearts against the lies of the world and seek nothing less than what Christ wants for us. We (as women) want someone to fight for us and to protect us. And as far as I know, I'm fairly certain men want someone worth pursuing and fighting for. But the principles of being true men and women living set apart lives for Christ appears to be completely lost in this cruel, twisted world.

Here are two excerpts from a book entitled Answering the Guy Questions that sort of set the true standard for men and women, I believe, as we're called to be as Christ followers.


"When God builds men into true Christ-like warriors for His kingdom, women finally gain the heroic advocates they have always longed for. True Warriors protect purity rather than conquer it. True Warriors fight for innocence rather than scorn it. True Warriors honor women rather than debase them. They don't describe a woman of purity as "A Man's Worst Nightmare" -- they honor, admire, and respect her. When true warriors emerge, women feel secure and protected -- both from outside harm and from the fear of a broken heart. When true warriors are built, fairy tales become reality." (39)

"As women, we are created to build men up, not tear them down. This doesn't mean we lower our standards and accept mediocrity. Rather, it means that we motivate guys to rise up to the standard of Christ through words and attitudes of encouragement instead of disgust. (56) ... As we allow the Spirit of God to transform us into radiant examples of Christ's love, guys will be transfixed rather than turned off by our behavior and attitude. They will be won over to the ways of Christ simply by observing the beauty of Christ that exudes from us. (57)"

(Leslie Ludy, Answering the Guy Questions)


It's easy to get sucked into the lies that surround us that scream to women "the only way to get a man is to be easy" and that label all men as "dogs" and only "having sex on the brain". While, that may be the standard for world, there truly are men and women who ARE living for a MUCH higher standard.

I got this excerpt from Authentic Beauty and it really encouraged me, not only for myself, but also for my sisters (and ultimately, for my husband. I want him to know that I'm striving to live a life apart from the standards of the world). I know there are men out there who fit the bill. Who want and desire the same thing from us as we do of them: pure, uncontainable passion for Christ. Someone who will lead them closer to Christ rather than pulling us back into darkness.


"Prince Charmings really do exist in this world. They are men who reflect our Prince Charming in heaven--Jesus Christ. As set-apart young women, our standards for earthly lovers must be calibrated to fit with the nature and character of our heavenly Lover. We must be allow Him to train our eyes to see the beauty and strength of love, courage, compassion, and an intimate relationship with Christ. And when we do, we will be satisfied with nothing less than men who reflect the princely grace of our Jesus. We will recognize these men of God's choosing because they will have been shaped by our Prince. They will be set apart for the Prince's service, just as we are."

(Leslie Ludy, Authentic Beauty)


Bottom line: Prince Charmings (and beautiful princesses) exist. I know this to be true. The world may try to persuade us that "all men are the same", and while on the surface that may appear to be true. But there are men (and women, for that matter -- for any guy reading this) that are truly seeking Christ in all they do. They're serving Christ and living a life set apart from the far-too-low standards that bombard us through media, television, magazines, etc.

Let us all keep our focus on Christ.

Brothers, pursue women that are pursuing Christ; those who are only building you up to be men of God. Don't be entangled by culture's expectations for you to settle for anything less than a pure, godly woman! Protect women's fragile hearts and lead them toward Christ. Always.

Sisters, don't settle for anything less than a "Prince Charming" who is leading you toward Christ rather than the world. Don't let the world define who you are or who you're supposed to be. Let Christ's work be reflected in your heart, mind, body, and soul. Your Prince Charming will thank you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

college complete. next chapter.

inspiration: i've been looking forward to today for a long time.

so number one on my bucket list got marked off today!
(You can check out my bucket list HERE)

But today, while I would love to make it about ME and all I'VE done, isn't at all about me. It's about Christ and the work He has done in me over the last 3 and a half years. I've experienced some of the greatest friendships, hardships, struggles, and moments of happiness over the last 3 and a half years and nothing delights me more than my walk with Christ.

Prior to college, I considered myself a "Christian", but in all honesty, it wasn't anything more than a label on Facebook. But as I grew in friendship with Brooke (my first roommate) freshman year and began to go to church and draw closer to God, I realized that all the years in church throughout middle and high school were nothing more than obligations I had to fill. If I wanted to be a "good Christian", I had to go to church, sing the songs, memorize the Bible verses, and not do bad things. But my perspective changed in college. Jesus was no longer just a picture in a stain-glass window at church. He was walking with me and blessing me.

Sophomore year was a far different story. I wasn't walking with Christ at all. I was dating someone who didn't seem all that concerned with his relationship with Christ, which led me to follow down the same path. I was walking in darkness and didn't even know it.

Which leads to Junior year when my world crumbled. Literally. The BF and I had officially broken up (after months and months of poor decisions. breaking up and getting back together. manipulating each other. arguing. and crawling back to each other only to repeat the deadly cycle once more). All the bridges of past friendships were burned and all I could do was pray for forgiveness for each and every person I hurt.

But through Aqua College Ministry and small groups that I began attending through Grace Community Church I was able to slowly begin rebuilding my life around Jesus, the very person that I had quickly rejected in pursuit of a human relationship. It was a long arduous, painful process. It was during Junior year that I learned what true grace was. I had made friends and connected with people who had been where I'd been. Who were able to see past my pain and remind me that it wasn't what I had done in the past, but who I was going to be for CHRIST in the future. These friendships are truly Christ-glorifying relationships that will continue on beyond the campus of APSU and beyond the city limits of Clarksville. Wherever we all end up in the future, I know there is a core group of people in my life that will always be with me and building me up in Christ.

Senior year. A continuation of growth, healing, and full pursuit of Christ from Junior Year. God is no longer someone I pray to, but He is someone I LIVE FOR! He has continued to strengthen and bless me and prepare my heart. All leading up to this day. Graduation, more aptly referred to as Commencement: The beginning.

Today ends one chapter: college.
Today begins a new chapter: life after college.

God has great plans for me. In life. In love. In career paths. In relationships.
I just know it.
I may not be a "student" in college anymore.
But I will always be a "student" of Christ. Learning what it means to "follow" Christ daily. Studying His Word. Serving my brothers and sisters.

God is continuously penning my story for His glory.
The "College" chapter may be over.
But the next chapter is just beginning.

Today is not about me.
But it's about Him!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the white knight.

inspiration: my devotional from Daily Encouragement for Single Women devotional book


Then I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be glad because he rescues me. -Psalm 35:9

Ever since she was a little girl, Alex had dreamed of someday playing the part of a damsel in distress who is heroically rescued by a white knight.

Reality soon set in.

"How long am I supposed to wait for him?" she lamented to a friend over lattes. "My white knight apparently has a problem with punctuality."

We're all waiting for someone to rescue us. Maybe you're waiting for a soul mate to fill a void in your heart. Or perhaps you're waiting for a friend to come through in your time of need. It could be that you're waiting for your mom to finally treat you like an adult or for a prospective employer to call back with a job offer. We wait and wait for a rescuer to come.

The truth is, God doesn't want you to exist in a perpetual state of waiting. Live your life -- your whole life -- by seeking daily joy in the Savior of your soul, Jesus Christ. And here's the best news of all: He's already done the rescuing by dying on the cross for our sins! He's he true white knight who secured your eternity in heaven.

Stop waiting: seek His face today!

Jesus, I praise You because You are the rescuer of my soul. Remind me of this fact when I'm looking for relief in other people and places. You take care of my present and eternal needs, and for that I am grateful. Amen.



This is a devotional I absolutely needed to read. I'm so quick to tell others to be in a state of constant pursuit of Christ, yet I'm sitting on the bench waiting for Christ to come to me. Waiting for a knight. Waiting for a job.

This also struck a chord when it said to let Christ be the rescuer of our souls. It's extraordinarily easy for me to find fulfillment and happiness in people and things and to begin to praise and worship those things, rather than God who has blessed me with those people and things.

So I will no longer just sit in the "waiting" room, I will be out in the world, praising and worshiping Christ for what He has blessed me with and what He will continue to bless me with. I will live in "undivided devotion to the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:35) while I am single; I will not worry about what the future holds because I know that God will provide (Matthew 6:33).

Christ is the true pursuer of my soul and I want to stay committed to Him, fully and wholly.

This song started playing on Pandora as I was typing this blog. Impeccable timing from God as always (He is always on time!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

true character: built in trials not in triumph

I was looking for Scriptures about our character being developed through trials and hard times. I came across this and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Temptation to walk with the world's standards rather than walking in COMPLETE obedience to Christ is a struggle for me, especially when it seems fuzzy to walk in obedience to Christ.


The character of Christ is developed in your life through trials and temptations

The character of Christ is developed in your life through trials, temptations, and the test of time. Romans 8:28-29 tells us that we must know that God is working in every circumstance to make us more like Christ. With this mindset, you can be transformed by troubles. When hard times begin to get you down, remember that your problems are temporary, but the character you develop will last forever. Rejoice and give thanks in the midst of your troubles, for you know God is in control. Refuse to despair or give up. Go the distance. Stay on course. Even temptation is an opportunity for growth. In reality, every temptation is a chance to glorify God by choosing what is right.

Godly character is developed as we resist the temptation to do what is wrong, and choose instead to walk in obedience to God and His Word. When facing temptation we must: Recognize the strategies that Satan uses against us. Request God's help to overcome our problems. Refocus our attention on the Truth of God's Word. Reveal our struggles to a trustworthy friend. And realize that we are weak, but He is strong. Finally, according to Phil. 1:6, we know that God has promised to complete the work of transformation He has begun in our lives. Christlikeness is your eventual destination, but your journey will last a lifetime. Throughout the test of time learn to: Believe the promises of God; Be diligent to record His work in your life; Be patient with yourself and your seemingly slow progress; and Beware of the pit of despair. Through it all we can agree with Paul who said that these are just short, light troubles when compared to the weight of eternal glory they are achieving for us as we become like Christ. God be with you all...


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." -James 1:2-4

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28-29

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:12-13


It's easy to praise and worship when all is well in the life of Nikki. But, my true character won't be developed or revealed until I am forced to rejoice in times of hardship. My faith and trust in God won't be built when everything is given to me, but rather when I am forced to relinquish what is already His back to Him.


Source: http://www.talkjesus.com/lounge/9727-character-christ-developed-your-life-through-trials-temptations.html

Saturday, December 11, 2010

finding strength in weakness.

inspiration: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10


i can't do it all on my own.
i can't handle or control everything in my life.
i like to put up the front that i know what i'm doing, that i am "prepared" for the future, that i have it all together. but i don't. i'm weak and i'm suffering.

i make mistakes (a lot).
i mess things up (a lot).
but Christ's grace is far greater than my mistakes and my messes.
i know that as long as i boast in the Cross and look to Christ for my strength, God will be glorified in all my life; not only when i am happy, but also when i am weak! Satan may try to sneak into my life and throw hatred, sorrow, regret, and self-pity my way. he may try to get me to believe his lies. but as long as i boast in the Cross, I will be strengthened to overcome Satan's deception. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, December 10, 2010

dear self-pity.

inspiration: dear x.

it seems a bit ironic to me that the emotions i experienced a year ago today (when i created this blog...Happy Birthday, Faith Overflow) are the same feelings that are present in me now. giving up something that i long for dearly (a relationship) is never easy for me. but doing it in order to make sure i'm keeping Christ my top priority and to make sure i'm not a hindrance to someone's else walk with Christ is top priority!

not gonna lie, i'm questioning if i did the right thing and i'm hurt and a little bummed. all the same as last year. but this time, i'm not going to let self-pity take hold of my life!!

i heard Disciple's "Dear X" on the radio earlier and it really struck a chord with me:


Dear pain, oh, it’s been a long time
Remember when you were holding me tight
I would stay awake with you all night
Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
You were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies

I let you go
But you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never gonna take me
You can bend, but you’re never gonna break me
I was yours; I’m not yours anymore
Oh, you don’t own me





dear self pity,
it's easy to listen to your lies.
it's easy to let you reign in my life.
but you don't own me anymore.
i am a daughter of Christ.
whatever He has willed for me is what I'm standing firm in.
i'm not yours anymore.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

surreal-ization

inspiration: i'm travelling down a road and approaching a sign that says "Welcome to Adulthood"

graduation is in 9 days.
we're in single digits now! this is legit!!

today was my last day of classes. crazy!
last week i was absolutely SWAMPED with tests, assignments, etc. and this week, it has been so chill that i totally wasn't focused on it being over, i was just thinking "i'm glad i don't have to do anymore assignments!" and before i knew it *BAM!* my 2nd and last class of the day was over.

it's still kind of a surreal feeling.
i'll get up tomorrow, go to boot camp for the last time this semester. i'll do my push-ups, crunches, run my mile, take my weight/BMI/all-that-jazz and i'll be done.
and i'll come home and instead of going to Trane, I'll ... (well, drive home to go to a dentist appointment. YUCK!), but the point is, I won't be going to Trane.

i'm almost done.
three finals stand between me and walking across the stage, getting my fake diploma, taking lots of pictures, and being finished with college! (i'll get my REAL diploma around Valentine's Day week of 2011...or so i've been told :D)

i'm in this final stretchhhh...
but wondering "what's next?"
what's next for me is a job. hopefully in Charleston. maybe here, though. wherever God wants me.
what's next for me is a new chapter of life. i've been in school for 16-and-a-half years. i think it's fair to say that this next chapter is going to be WAAAY different.
what's next for me is a new set of opportunities for God to use me! i'm excited about all the opportunities and adventures that He will place before me. i'm so scared and so unsure of how I could possibly be used, but i know that He will equip me for every good work that He wants me to do.

it's a crazy surreal feeling of being an "almost-adult".
i'm excited. scared. anxious. but mostly excited.
i don't know what lies ahead. but i know what my purpose is: to bring Christ's name fame in whatever I'm doing, wherever I'm doing it.


However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. -Acts 20:24

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

hope, patience, prayer

inspiration: ‎"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." --Romans 12:12 (ESV)

lately, I've been able to experience unmatched happiness. i realize everyday is a gift from God and i try to meditate and focus on all the blessings He is pouring out on me. things sometimes get hard, but i'm learning more and more to rely on God and trust in His timing and His plans for me. i'm learning to give up control and to let His hands work in my life rather than trying to accomplish everything of my own work and accord.

right now, i'm juggling working on schoolwork, graduating, finding a job, hanging out with friends, but most importantly, staying focused on Christ!! everything has been much easier now that my priorities have been in order with Christ topping the list; but sometimes, focusing on Christ instead of focusing on me gets hard.

this is especially hard in the relationship realm and in my pursuit for a job as well. i had a phone interview today with a company in Charleston, South Carolina that i heard about from Kim and Tristan (my small group leaders). Kim absolutely gushed about how great the company was and how much she loves Charleston (and after my interview today, I'm pretty sure Kim and Darren, the programming manager of the company, should be spokespeople for Charleston!). i knew it was a great opportunity considering Kim recommended ME for it and after hearing all the wonderful things she said about it, but after talking to Darren, i can truly say that working there would be AMAZING!

prior to about 2:30 this afternoon though, i was in the mindset of "i don't want to move, i want to stay in clarksville" (complete 180 from this time last month!), so trying to get back in to the mindset of being open to relocating is tough. i don't want to leave my family, friends, and church. i don't want to leave a potential relationship. but i know that God's plans are greater than mine. after all, He calls us to forsake all others, take up our cross and follow Him daily, right? (see Luke 14:25-33)

therefore,
i'm hopeful in Christ.
i'm trying to be patient about this job and other aspects of my life.
i'm in constant prayer as well for guidance and strength.

i know that wherever God wants me is where i need to be.
i just have to be diligently always listening for His guidance and praying about preparing my heart for whatever He has planned. whether it's clarksville or charleston. single or not. whatever circumstances i may be encountering, i am ready and willing to do whatever needs to be done to praise God for His blessings. i must find my strength in Christ rather than circumstances. whatever He has willed for me is what will come to fruition and i have to trust that it is for His glory!


"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:12-13

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thanksgiving.

inspiration: TURKEY DAY!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I am thankful for...

  1. Jesus Christ - My Savior. My Redeemer. My love. He loves me unconditionally and is there for me, comforting me no matter what! He sees not my past, only my future.

  2. my family - i have the greatest family! so blessed to have parents that love me no matter what and who support me in all my endeavors. my parents have sacrificed and given me so much over the years to make sure that i had every opportunity possible :)

  3. my friends - i say it all the time, but it's so true: I have the best friends a girl could ever ask for! we laugh together, cry together, live life together and i'm so blessed to have a great community of people around me who love me and support me through the highs and lows of life.

  4. Grace Community Church - i am SOOO lucky to have a great church family! it's not about the building (which we don't have yet), but about the people with whom we worship and live life. i've grown so much over the last year and a half: as a follower of Christ, as a servant for others in Grace Acres, and now i'm about to embark on my first missions trip with them. God has moved so much in my life lately and I'm so thankful that I've been able to live life with such an amazing family of people :)

  5. living in America - i probably take this for granted too much. but i am proud to be an American. i get to experience freedoms that many people worldwide never get to. i have opportunities that many people won't ever have.

  6. indoor plumbing/electricity - i feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. pretty sure i would die if i had to go outside in the cold and rain to use the bathroom...so yeah. madly thankful for indoor plumbing!

  7. my apartment and my car - the slow progression into adulthood is happening. paying bills isn't always the most fun. but i'm thankful that i have a roof over my head and a car that gets me from point A to point B.

  8. my education - i'm thankful to have had all the opportunities i have had to learn new things!

  9. all the hard times i've been through - had it not been for the bad things and hard times, i would never, and i mean NEVER, be able to cherish all the great things that God is blessing me with now as much as i do now.


  10. other things...
  11. music

  12. turkey and dressing and macaroni

  13. SWEET TEA!

  14. sonic happy hour

  15. mandarin oranges

  16. o'charleys caramel pie

  17. football

  18. adventures

  19. boot camp

  20. running and all the races i've been able to do

  21. creation!!

  22. sunrises and sunsets

Sunday, November 21, 2010

just a quick reminder...

inspiration: just a quick reminder to myself...because i have a tendency to forget.

my life is not about...
...the things I've done.
...the adventures I will go on.
...how much money I make.
...what I have.
...how many friends I have.
my life is not about ME.


My life is about...
...what Christ gives me the strength to do. (Philippians 4:13)
...the plans Christ has for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)
...knowing I'm not perfect, but have been made perfect through the blood of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 5:17)
...how I can serve the Kingdom with my money and things. (Matthew 6:24)
...keeping Christ first, above all else. (1 John 2:15-17)
...ensuring that my friendships are based on the foundation of Christ; that within these friendships, Christ's love is made known and that we grow and encourage each other in our faith (John 15:13, Ephesians 4:29,


My life is about shining my light for Christ (Matthew 5:16). That in any and every situation, I am in constant worship of God and all His blessings (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18); that, even though I am young, that I would not be discouraged because God has a glorious plan for me and that through my life, I would always reflect the heart of Christ (1 Timothy 4:12).


bottom line.
it's not about me.
it's about Christ.
period.

Friday, November 19, 2010

you think you know, but you have NO idea.

inspiration: proverbs 16:9

Proverbs 16:9: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

this last week has been absolutely craaaazy! but in the absolute best way possible: i've had a lot of "only-possible-through-God" moments.

1) a couple weeks ago, i shared with my small group (and im pretty sure i wrote a blog about it too) about how i was tired of pursuing the "wrong" guys. it was something that i truly tried to control and probably one of the biggest obstacles keeping me from trusting God wholeheartedly. outwardly, i said "i want to focus on my relationship with Christ first and foremost in my life. God is blessing me with a season of singleness for a purpose." but inwardly, i thought "i'm too independent and too complicated for anyone. maybe someday someone will come along. maybe, just maybe. but probably not." and i was content to be single. for however long it took to find someone.

2) i also had my heart dead set on the Southwest internship in Dallas. i was praying that i would get it; anything to get me out of here; anything to give me something "new" in life. i was sure i had all the potential, i was sure it was something that i truly wanted.

in my heart, i had planned my course. in my heart, i thought i knew what was "best for me" and what i wanted.
but the second part of Proverbs 16:9 got me!!

1) God has blessed me with the opportunity to get to know a really, super-cool, awesome guy who also just happens to be completely in love with Jesus! it's totally a perfectly-timed-God-thing, too. in the past week, i've pretty much had my slightly-jaded-"i'm-too-independent-for-a-guy" attitude flipped upside down. i'm still not quite sure why God is choosing to bless me when i feel like i don't deserve it, but i definitely won't complain! it's definitely a Christ-centric friendship and i feel like even if it never works out relationship-wise, we will still be friends since it's based on the foundation of Jesus rather than the earthly desire for a relationship (which has been a huge issue for me in the past). but regardless of what happens, i am certainly blessed to know Jason :)

2) i didn't get the Southwest internship. but despite my previous feelings about it, i wasn't that disappointed. as it turns out, im quite happy i didn't get it! (see above ;)) i wanted selfishly to get the internship; i selfishly wanted to leave and start over somewhere else (why? i truly have no clue), but as it turns out, i have far too much here to just leave. i have some of the best friends that i could ask for, a phenomenal church that i love serving at and living life with, family, and other opportunities!

in fact, i heard about an IT position opening at APSU the day before yesterday (which is another perfectly God-timed event because I found out yesterday that i didn't get the internship). i've talked to a couple people that i've worked with in the past about it and hopefully it will be posted within the next couple weeks. prior to the Southwest deal, APSU was at the top of where i wanted to work post-graduation and i had gotten my hopes seemingly crushed when two IT positions were filled earlier this year; but God has presented another opportunity to maybe work here! i definitely hope that it works out :) :)


God works in strange, but amazing ways. All His plans are perfectly timed, even if they're not on our earthly timetable. Everything works out for His glory. Even when we think we have everything planned out, God's plans will always come to fruition and they'll always be even greater than anything we can plan for ourselves! Nothing is too big for God, nothing is too small for God. Even when we think we know, we have NO idea of the greatness and majesty of the Almighty Creator God!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

dear sisters.

inspiration: this is for all my sisters in Christ

I had a brief conversation about relationship woes with Joyann, my younger sister-from-another-mister, last night that almost broke my heart. We have been friends for almost half my life (and 2/3 of hers -- 12 years, to be exact...and it’s crazy to put it into that perspective) and she was my biggest fan and strongest support this time last year when I was bordering depression over a breakup.

I never (until recently) admitted to anyone just how far away from Christ I was, how lonely I was, and how bad I felt about myself post-breakup. But at that time, Joyann really helped me battle my demons and overcome all the anxiety, guilt, frustration, anger, etc. that I had experienced regarding everything about life and relationships. She brought so much joy and grace (LOL seeing as her middle name is Grace – Joyann Grace ;)) and shed so much light into the darkness that had become my world. And despite the fact that I’m 3 years older than her, I look up to her so much for being a true spiritual leader in our relationship/adopted-sisterhood that it really, really broke my heart to see her wrestling so much. Well, it always does (no one likes to see their little sister upset), but even more so last night, because it was my turn to share my “been-there-done-that” scars...

Part of our conversation entailed questions like “Do you think fairytales exist? where it really is something beautiful?” (which I will address later) and the statement was made that really struck a chord in my heart and it made me cringe when I read it: “I feel I need to go around the block and figure things out...learn the hard way. it seems to be the only way I learn anyways.”

I had been lying in bed and literally jumped to sit up to reply, but my response was: “Don’t let Satan take hold of you like that. Guard your heart. Take it from someone who has let her guard down far too many times. I don’t want you to end up heart and broken like I’ve experienced. Innocence is something you can never get back…”

So this is for all my sisters in Christ struggling with keeping our hearts protected from the temptations of the world, for all of us who struggle walking in the light when the darkness lurks around us, heed my advice:

Guard your hearts; Protect your innocence; Walk in the light, not in the dark.

Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (my NIV Bible)

The NLT version says: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

The latest NIV version is closer to the NLT version and states it this way, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

But no matter which version you read, the principle is the same. Our hearts need to be protected; they are precious, they are valuable, and they need to remain as pure as possible. Think of it as a diamond or pearl. The more we freely give it out to the world or to guys, the more it becomes worn and fades. My heart lost a lot of its luster and beauty and it has definitely affected me in ways that are too personal for a blog.

But I will say this: God restores! It’s hard to see sometimes in the midst of the world and a media frenzy telling us we need to be in a relationship to be loved, but God loves us far more than any man will. We are a reflection of His image and we, as women, feel very strongly about relationships because God feels strongly about relationships. But we have to get it right: our relationship with HIM must be first in our life! Any and every other relationship must be built on the foundation of Christ, friendships, dating relationships, marriages, all of them!

Now to address the whole “fairy tale” thing, my response was my typical response: “Any God written romance is beautiful” and went on state how I’m here to glorify God and I want to make sure that I am fulfilling that purpose by keeping Him as my #1 relationship.

Something I have to constantly remind myself is that I am in a season of singleness for a purpose. I refuse to miss the opportunities and blessings God is pouring out for me because I’m “waiting”. It is up to me to “make the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:15-16). It’s a constant battle against Satan and the world to stay focused on my relationship with Christ; I am often struck with bouts of doubt and worry about finding my future husband, but I have to always remember to walk in the light and not in the darkness.

God’s plans will always come to fruition and everything will work out on His timetable. When we are struck with adversity and doubt, we must combat them with Truth. We must surround ourselves with people who build us up in Christ, who accept us where we are, and who love us despite our brokenness and pour out mercy on us rather than condemnation when we make mistakes. I am lucky to have friends and sisters in Christ who do that for me. But most of all, I’m beyond blessed to have a relationship with God, who meets me where I am and strengthens me for His purposes and who sees beyond all my mistakes and failures! He loves us more than any friend, sister, boyfriend, or husband will. That is why we must put Him first and let His blessings fill us and let His plans for us take precedence over ours.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

let it go.

inspiration: my incessant need for control is keeping me from trusting in God's plans for me.



our sermon on Sunday was about relinquishing control to God. Chad challenged us to give up control of whatever it is that we feel like we have to control.

for me, it's relationships. if i'm being honest, i fear i'll "end up alone" if i wait for God. but the ultimate truth is that i have to trust that Christ will bring my future husband to me on His timetable!!!

i texted my friend Kelsey: "it is so much easier to relinquish the pen of our lives to God. He is a much better writer, anyway ;) He will script a beautiful story for us, in love and in life."

i wish i could say that those words came easy for me to write. but they didn't. i have to not only not worry about my future husband, but not worry about the future. my career. my house. my money. my car. my whatever...it's not mine anyways. it's all God's. He is in control. and everything we have is HIS!

i have to trust in Him to provide for me.
i have to trust in Him to strengthen me for HIS purposes rather than relying on myself.
i have to let it go.

Happy Veteran's Day

inspiration: i haven't written in a while. not that it's of great importance if i do, but i always hate leaving my blog unattended for more than a few days.

today is Veteran's Day. after living in a military town, i realize that it's more than just a day off from school and work. it's a day to honor fallen soldiers and their families and to thank those who have served and continue to serve our great country.

personally knowing a few soldiers/veterans/family members, after saying "Thank you for your service", all of them said "Thank you" back. it's important to remember those who have given their lives for the freedom of others; some paying the ultimate price.

Thanks you to all those who serve, have served, or have family members or know someone who serves our country. God Bless you all :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

blessed by friends.

inspiration: i am ridiculously blessed with some amazing friends who keep me rooted and build me up in Christ!

I have some of the best friends I could ever imagine and I am constantly reminded through my church family how blessed I am!

A few blogs that have inspired me over the last couple days in my faith and walk with Christ and especially in relationships and the future. I've struggled immensely with patience, worrying, and pride. Sometimes, I've been able to overcome this by the power of the Holy Spirit slowly humbling me (especially in the "pride" department). But I know that especially on "downer-days", reading and hearing an encouraging word of truth and encouragement makes all the difference in my daily walks with Christ. And with great friends like these, it's pretty obvious how blessed I am to be surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ.


Brad Clower: Date To Find a Mate
Heather Kennedy: Dear Society
Jason Hart: Bart Millard is the Man/"Beautiful"
Brooke Denny: Dear Little Ones...

They all have touched me and inspired me in some capacity, especially Brad and Jason's blogs. I know in my heart that I need for my husband to be the true spiritual leader of the family. And being surrounded by advertisements, media, movies, television shows, etc. where men aren't leaders (or spiritual leaders, for that matter) of their families is quite disappointing. And even more discouraging when I often see men who aren't leaders/spiritual leaders in real life either, not just in the media. But it's very refreshing and encouraging to have brothers in Christ like Brad and Jason who truly do have it right: Christ first!! It brings joy to my heart that not only are they blessings in my life, but that they will be true spiritual leaders of their families in the future.

Heather and Brooke also inspire me so much as sisters and as best friends. We've all lived life together (HK and I have been friends for over a year now; Brooke and I have been friends for three-and-a-half) and we've experienced our respective ups-and-downs (my roller coaster of an emotional life, especially!). But it's great to know that despite my mistakes and my imperfections and my crazy emotions, that I have friends who encourage me to keep Christ first no matter what. And not just HK and Brooke, but Kelsey, Katie, and everyone else in my small groups and church family!

My prayer for my friends and whoever else chooses to read this is that you would encourage and be encouraged by one another. God places people in our lives to build us up in His glory and to glorify Him through our relationships with one another, not just marriages, but in friendships as well. I pray that each and every one of us is or will be blessed with a spouse that will build us up in Christ; that where we as humans falter, Christ will be glorified as the one who never fails.

Friendships and community are essential in our growth as Christ followers.
And I am beyond blessed to have a great community of friendships :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

restless and weary.

inspiration: i need a change of scenery. a change of pace. or a change of heart.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:34

i would do well to take the advice i share with others.
i need to heed the advice of Scripture.
i need to trust in God to comfort and provide for me.
i'm impatient and restless sometimes. and i don't really know what "triggers" it.

like now, i'm impatient and restless about this Southwest Internship.
i'm struggling to get over the fact that i still miss my ex. i feel like i should be over it by now, but something still tugs at my heartstrings...

if i'm being honest with myself and others, as much as i say that "i'm ready to date" or "i just want to meet my future husband", i know that i'm really truly not ready. i still have a lot to overcome and to let go of.

sure, i miss my ex and i guess it's natural to have a sense of attachment to your first love; but i can't help but worry about the extent of mine. will i ever overcome it? will i ever be able to fully let go of the past, let bygones be bygones (whatever the heck that means...)? i worry that i won't be able to. i know it's lame, i know i'm only 21. but the thought still worries me.


another worry of mine is the future.
i feel like i've always known what i wanted to do without ever knowing what i wanted to do.
i've always known that after graduation, i would work. it's just my inclination.
no grad school, no research. just practical application for what i've learned.
my "dream" was to get a job around here (clarksville, nashville, franklin, middle tn...somewhere close); but the more i think about it and the more i hear "live while your young and don't have attachments", the more i don't want to settle.

granted, getting a job in nashville is not settling by any means. i would still be blessed beyond measure to have that. but if given the opportunity to go somewhere else (like Dallas, for instance, for that Southwest Internship), i would take that over nashville in a heartbeat (ask me if i would've said the same thing about two months ago, and i would've said "no, nashville is the place for me").


i just need to surrender my worries and anxieties to God.
i need to trust in His path and His plans for me rather than create my own.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." -Matthew 11:28

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." -Proverbs 16:9

Monday, November 1, 2010

anticipation.

inspiration: sitting. hoping. thinking. praying. planning. and dreaming.

So much going on! it's sometimes so easy to just get overwhelmed by everything that's on my plate and all the plans and dreams i have...but I am trying so hard to keep my head and heart focused on God's plans for me.

I am graduating in 46 days!!
Classes are still going.
Work is still work.

But something that I am anticipating is hearing from Southwest Airlines about an internship I applied for. I don't know how it will go. I don't know if I will be accepted. I pray that I get it, but I know that if I don't, it means God has something better.

I anticipate that getting the internship will bring another bout of stress and anxiety, but I AM blessed enough to know people in Dallas that will help me transition to life in the Lonestar state (Oh, did I mention the internship is from January to April in DALLAS, TEXAS!)

So we'll see what will happen.


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

-Philippians 4:8-9

Monday, October 25, 2010

our trials make us stronger

inspiration: it's been a day!

i've been up since 4:30AM and i've been going-and-going-and-going-and-going all day.
it's been a long and tiring day with a lot of ups and downs along the way.

i've been tested in many ways (and after a shocking revelation of theft again, i'm still being tested, and trying to find the strength to forgive...), but i've also been blessed in many ways.

i have a lot on my plate this week (that's quite an understatement), but i know that God will continue to strengthen me and bless me with peace.

this week:
-meetings with job recruiters Tuesday and Wednesday.
-two tests to study for.
-a presentation on Wednesday.
-a paper due Monday.
-boot camp.

patience is wearing thin.
stress is overwhelming.
but i am relying on God to get me through every moment of this week, and next week, and the week after that, etc.

i realize that it's not all about me. just because i'm struggling doesn't mean i'm failing; just because i'm experiencing these hardships doesn't mean i'm doing anything wrong. it's just God's way of keeping me in check in my faith - to rely on HIM instead of ME!


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 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. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10


i don't have it all under control, and i never will.
my strength is FROM CHRIST and i have to remember that each and every day, i am blessed by Him with the gift of life.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

first 10K

inspiration: i ran my first 10K today!!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." --Philippians 4:13

it's amazing how far one can come when they believe in themselves and when they trust Christ to provide them the strength to overcome all obstacles in order to achieve their goal. i've been running for 5 months now and i completed my first 10K today. before this summer, never did i think i would ever to be able to run for an hour straight!!

but i worked hard and overcame a lot of physical and mental obstacles in order to reach my goals :) another thing off the bucket list :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

the hard questions...

inspiration: why???

why am i still so drawn to be with a person that i know i'm not meant to be with?
why do i still worry about him so much?
why do i still care?

i guess the last two questions are more because i still care about him as a friend. sure, we're still walking on eggshells a bit and i have to be careful with my heart and with my emotions, but he is human and he is my friend, as hard as it is to say sometimes.

but that first question is just one of those hard questions in life that i'll never know the answer to, but i'll always have to deal with it. God will give me the strength to overcome it and to trust in His plans for me, rather than being pulled by my emotions. He has already brought me so far and helped me overcome a lot of my past mistakes. yet, the longing for companionship still exists.

i have a lot of legit concerns and issues with relationships and i know that only time and the power of the Holy Spirit will heal old wounds and help me find strength that can only be acquired through Christ.

it's hard to deal with. but i know that in time, God will place the man in my life that He created for me. i have to only be patient, trust in Him, and live a life that glorifies HIM above all else and everything else will be provided for.


"An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband." -1 Corinthians 7:34

Friday, October 15, 2010

everything is beautiful

inspiration: Everything is beautiful: life, autumn, adventure.



Starfield's "Everything Is Beautiful"


even though i am uncertain about the future,
even though life doesn't go the way i want,
even though i don't have everything i hoped for,
life is beautiful.
grace is overwhelming.
love casts out fear.

Everything is beautiful :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the cost of living for self.

inspiration: the sermon on sunday and today's events.

God really has a way of planting Scripture in your heart on Sunday and then making you live out that Scripture throughout the week. Sunday's verse at church was:


"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -- yes, even his own life -- he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."
--Luke 14:26-27


This Scripture isn't saying we must hate the world and everything in it to follow Christ. It isn't about hating in it's literal sense; God doesn't operate like that. But what He is saying is that we must put HIM first, even if that means giving up our father, mother, spouse, children, and ourselves.

Today, I was reminded about just how much "self" I have been putting before Christ: I didn't get the job I applied for and I lost my APSU Alumni mug. Granted, those things in themselves are not major things (the job, maybe, but the mug, definitely not) and they most certainly aren't spiritual things by themselves. But for me, the job was something I took for granted and the mug was something I valued far more than one should sensibly value a travel coffee mug.

1. The job:
I've been blessed to be able to work for several departments across campus. I have networked and worked with various administrators on campus, and I'm very blessed to have done so. So, last week when I applied for, yet, another job (mostly just to help boost my income), I thought to myself "I've pretty much got this." I thought my interview went well, but my only concern was getting all the required hours in. I quickly began shuffling around my schedule in my mind, at the expense of my scholarship hours (and again, I thought to myself "Well, you can always just make those up later").

But my selfish pride and ego suffered a big blow when I got the e-mail saying someone else had been hired. Granted, I realize now that it was for the best that I didn't get hired (I would've been shuffling and scrambling to stay on top of everything, every minute of every day; and for what? Money.)


"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also ... You cannot serve both God and Money."
--Matthew 6:19-21, 24


I was ridiculous in thinking that this job would "make my life better", or better yet that I really somehow deserved it. Had I gotten the job, I would've had an income. But I wouldn't have (a) the free time I have now to study and spend time in worship and praise and (b) my spiritual life probably would've suffered tremendously (long-term effect: more money = more shopping = less reliance on Christ to fulfill me).


2. The mug

I went to Grad Finale yesterday and the first thing I picked up was a (free!!) APSU Alumni travel mug. I was so proud of it. And since I don't drink coffee, I drank my sweet tea from it last night and today at Trane. I pretty much adored it because it signified me being sooooo close to becoming an alumnus. It's crazy to think about and I treasured it, like I said, far more than anyone should treasure a coffee mug!

I lost it today. Can't find it. Probably left it at Trane or somewhere on campus (although, I predict it is the former rather than the latter). Nonetheless, I stressed about it for a while earlier; then I kind of realized "It's just a mug. What's the big deal?"

Sure it was free and said "APSU Alumni" (an accomplishment I am in no way saying isn't important), but having a mug that says it compared to having the knowledge and a degree is nothing!


So, in conclusion, to my random blog, I've realized that even the "little" things that cause me to live for self need to be extinguished, even the travel mug-sized ones. We are called to carry our cross in order to follow Christ. I take this to mean that we can't continue to serve ourselves above Christ; we must die to our selfish desires, ego, pride, self-pity, etc. in order to put Christ first and foremost in our lives.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

strength.

inspiration: it's amazing the strength God will instill in your heart when you choose to die to yourself and live for Him.

i declared a couple nights ago that I was going to throw my selfish desire for a relationship aside. and ever since then, i've felt overwhelmingly strengthened by Christ. it's easy to blame circumstances ("I've been so busy, I haven't had time to think about guys."), and while the circumstance of my busyness does remain true, I don't believe that it's because of that that I am feeling so strong.

last night, at Aqua, Brandon talked about how when we TRULY become followers of Christ, we can have complete freedom in Him. We don't have to be held back by chains and we don't have to think that a simple piece of twine limits us: we are free in Him!

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." --Galatians 5:1

I am FREE in Christ!
I am free to be whoever I want to be.
I am not yoked by my past. I am not chained by my sins.
He loves me unconditionally.
He forgives me over.
and over.
and over.
I have been redeemed through His blood on the Cross.

It's easy to find strength in Christ when I'm not trying to get the attention of a guy.
It's easy to find strength in Christ when I know that He loves me no matter what.
When I find my identity in Him and Him alone.

Relationships will probably always be a struggle for me.
But I know that, in time, God will bring me together with the person it's meant to be with and I won't have to struggle to be accepted. He and I will both have our identities in Christ and our love for Christ will be reflected in our relationship with each other.
Until that relationship comes though, I am going to remain in Christ's identity.
Relying fully on Christ's strength rather than my own!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

awkward singleness....

inspiration: i'm about to re-read Sacred Singleness by Leslie Ludy.

i'm going through a significant transition in life: about to graduate college and enter the "real world". no more school (for a little while anyways). no more classes. no more tests. no more homework. i'm about to enter the world of a 9-to-5 job (or hopefully earlier for me...), paying big girl money, doing real-world tasks.

right now, throughout all this change, i'm really struggling to be content with singleness. i know that i shouldn't be worried about relationships (which is why i'm consciously choosing to read Sacred Singleness again) because who knows what God has planned for me as i step out of my comfort zone and into a completely new realm of life.

also, yesterday marked the "one year" point of me being "single" and it was just weird to think about. the first 4 or 5 months post-breakup were a huuuuge struggle for me, spiritually. i was broken, angry, defeated, worried. but over time, i started finding healing and trust and wholeness in Christ. but now, it's kind of like a relapse into feeling the same "woe is me" thoughts I had this time last year.

so hopefully re-reading this book will help me find my wholeness and fulfillment in Christ alone, again. and i'll be able to set aside my relationship thoughts and worries and live life to the fullest for the glory of Christ and His Kingdom.


32I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
-1 Corinthians 7:32-35


i hope to overcome my stage of "awkward" singleness and begin to embrace sacred singleness. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

cultivation.

inspiration: small group last night.

we discussed the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23) last night at great length at bible study last night. we went into great depth about the reason Jesus spoke in parables and why he answered the disciples when they asked him why...but i don't have the time to go into depth about that now...

but something that was on my heart when i left last night was "What kind of soil is my heart cultivating?"
Is my heart full of rocky soil, where seed springs up quickly and then is scorched by the sun because there was no root? Or is my heart full of good soil, allowing me to be fruitful and create good fruit for Christ?

I think it's all about the intention of our hearts what kinds of soil we allow our hearts to till. We can't just say "Oh, my heart must be full of rocky soil, so I can't share my faith..."
Just like gardening in a realistic sense is very much full of the gardener taking time to water, nurture, weed, aerate the soil, etc., it's important for us to be gardeners to our relationship with Christ.

Dr. Denley mentioned that this parable was very relevant for the audience at Galilee, because the soil in places was shallow and underneath was a layer of bedrock, and the seed couldn't take root and it would get scorched or eaten by birds. And this is so true for me, at times, as well. I want to nurture my relationship with Christ, but instead, I hit my "bedrock" of excuses and reasons why I can't: Don't have time; I'm not a good servant; I don't have the money to tithe; I don't have any special "gifts"; I'm not "called" to go overseas (which, btw, is untrue -- I'm planning on going on my first missions trip to Costa Rica in January!!)

But when I'm being very intentional with my relationship with Christ, I find myself being a very fruitful person, not only in a spiritual sense, but in an emotional and physical way as well. When I make the time to cultivate my relationship (reading my Bible, blogging, praying, serving others), even if it means setting down my homework for an hour or not hanging out with friends, it's a necessity for me to do because I know that my relationship with Christ MUST come first in order for me to bear good fruit for Christ. To me, bearing fruit does not necessarily mean evangelizing in front of a crowd of thousands; to me, bearing fruit means shining a bright light for Christ through my actions and words.

If I'm putting Christ first, I know that I'm shining a bright light for Him and that others may not understand why I am full of joy amongst hard and difficult times, or why I feel like God is calling me abroad, but that they may see that I'm set apart because of my heart. But I know when I turn inward and start worrying about myself and all the things that I have to do, it's easy to fade into the world and to blend in and to not live a set apart life.

So my prayer for myself is to continue to till good soil in my heart; to keep being intentional in my walk with Christ and to set Him as top priority in every aspect of my life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

greater things.

inspiration: "Greater things have yet to come..."

i am so blessed.
with friendships that are growing and thriving.
with opportunities that God is placing before me.
with a church that i get to serve every weekend.
with Christ's love surrounding me, even when i fall.

:)

great blessings:

-babysitting opportunities (finances have been a struggle for me, lately. i've been praying about ways to make a little more money and to find ways to be a better steward of my money. i got to babysit Friday night and last night, which on top of the weekly paycheck i get from Mary's is allowing me to have spending money throughout the week, which is definitely a blessing)

-internship is going great (this morning, i finished the database project that Brad and i have been working on. my supervisor and another guy were very impressed with the work that we did and i'm really glad -- that thing really stressed and overwhelmed me greatly when we first started it. i think, if given the opportunity, i'm going to continue doing other ventures related to the database. i was told there would be a lot more to learn and take on, but i'm ready for the challenge!)

-possible careers at APSU (granted, this is a very gray situation and it all comes down to what other career options present themselves between now and december, but there are two IT-related positions at APSU right now. both have been posted for several months now...i reallllly would love to have one of those positions, but, of course, we will have to see how everything plays out :))

-donating my hair to Locks of Love (i made my appointment today to have my hair cut on November 4th! i'm super nervous and super excited at the same time. it's just hair and it'll grow back out, but i'm nervous about having short hair...

-kelsey and krissy are running my 10K with me on October 23rd! it'll be a different experiencing running here in clarksville and running with friends (seeing as i've had to travel and run alone for all my previous races -- which is fine, i kind of like doing things alone -- but i'm super excited to have friends not only run with me but also to have people there to support me personally! :D


greater things are before me.
and i know that greater things are coming, too :D
Jesus is blessing me immensely! Life is good.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

unselfish.

inspiration: i want to be less selfish.

i just had a moment of sadness; not for myself, but about myself. i realized how truly selfish i am sometimes and how it keeps me from being truly HAPPY about everything else that God has blessed me with.

i want to be a friend.
but more than that, i want to be a good friend.
i love supporting my friends and being an encourager and a cheerleader and a fan. i LOVE it! i love when people delight in me and support me and are good friends.
but i think sometimes i expect too much for people to be my biggest fans, my best friends, and my encouragement, too. and when my expectations aren't met, i get disappointed and even jealous and hurt.


Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
-James 3:13-16



I don't want to allow the devil to have a foothold in my life. I don't want to have a jealous and selfish heart; i want to have a servant's heart that is full of humility and love. There is nothing loving or Christ-like about jealous and selfish motives.


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
-Philippians 2:3-5


I love my friends and I want to be good friend to them.
And I want to be delighted in and praised, but not because of what I do, but because of what Christ is doing through me.



On a side note, I feel like this is probably why relationships aren't going my way either; I'm too focused on what I can get out of one, rather than what I can bring to the table for Christ. I feel like as soon as I let go of my expectations and start trusting in the plans and the person God has created for me, I will be far better off than the crazy, deranged worry-wart I am now. Right now, I'm afraid I won't ever be "treasured", but it's not about what a guy sees in me; it should be about how he sees Christ in my heart and in my life.

after all, a woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should be seeking Him to find her. ;) (one of my favorite quotes ever :))

amazing :)

inspiration: life is good.

life is really good :D
Jesus blesses me so much :D

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

cleared for graduation.

inspiration: graduation email.

yesterday, i took my Senior Exit Exam as required by the University to graduate in December. and today, i got my "cleared for graduation" e-mail that stated that as long as i pass this semester, i will be able to graduate December 17, 2010! :D :D

i'm so excited about this.
i'm genuinely excited about all the opportunities that are ahead :)
excited. and also terrified (as i have expressed in many other blog posts).

and lately Matthew 5:14 has really been on my heart.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."

am i really shining a light for Christ?
or is my "city on a hill" my selfishness?
i certainly hope it's the former rather than the latter.

i pray that i am shining a light for Christ.
verses 15 and 16 go on to state: "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

i pray that in all my actions that i am glorifying Christ through my actions and words. i pray that even people who don't know me would be able to see the heart of Christ reflected through my daily life. i love Christ with all my heart and i strive to live a life that glorifies HIM above all else, even if it means forsaking the world and its pressures. if i am hiding Christ's light from the world, I am not doing myself or anyone else a favor. i pray that i would be strengthened by Christ to be in and not of the world.

with graduation and who-knows-what-else looming ahead, i pray for trust in Christ's plans for me; be it to stay here in Clarksville or to relocate or to be called to a different industry. i don't know what lies ahead for me. but i do know this:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."-Philippians 4:13

:D

Sunday, September 19, 2010

matthew 5:14

inspiration: my devotional this morning.


"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." -Matthew 5:14


i wrote this verse on the back of my hand today to remind myself that i need to be a light for Christ. in every aspect of my life, i need to strive to reflect the love of Christ.

i hope that my life is a reflection of Christ's love and that anyone who doesn't know me can at least see my heart and know that i am in love with Christ. if that is not the case, then I am not doing my part as a servant and daughter of Christ. if i am not basking in the promises of God and doing my part to honor Him, then i am not doing what i was created for.

i want to be a light.
i want to shine brightly for my God! :D

Saturday, September 18, 2010

correction and advice.

inspiration: my beautiful friend, Joyann and Proverbs 12

so i talked to my friend, joyann, tonight and was telling her about a certain situation regarding my ex-boyfriend. i didn't realize how much it would affect her when i told her, but it really upset her and it tore me apart, in addition to really catching me off guard.

she gave me advice that i absolutely did not want to hear. and my heart and emotions are telling me to just let what's supposed to happen, happen. but the rest of me telling me that she is right and i need to take her advice.

and right after i got off the phone with her, this was the status of my church:


Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice. Proverbs 12:15


this situation definitely is not one that i want to deal with. if i were an ostrich, my head would be in the sand right now. and as retarded as i am being right now, i'm also being very honest.

and Proverbs 12 is absolutely kicking my butt.
i'm reading it and i'm just being convicted because i know what i need to do. and i just can't muster the strength to do it. it's going to cause more pain because i let my guard down. it's going to open old wounds because i let myself get emotionally attached again. it's going to stinkkkkkk because i really want it to be different. but i know that the heart is deceitful above all things and i need to guard it from anything that will take my focus away from Christ.

Friday, September 17, 2010

doing better.

inspiration: things have finally stopped overwhelming me.

two days ago, i was an emotional and mental wreck.
assignments. papers. work. internship. sleep. running. eating.
there was too much to do and too little time to do it.

but now, things have finally settled down :)

my internship is starting to get better. i'm still overwhelmed at times, but brad and i got the first part of our program running and it really feels like progress!! :D

all my assignments are done, turned in, and i don't have any "looming" work over the weekend (at least, i hope i don't)...

i'm dogsitting and i'm able to relax a little bit before another busy weekend!
tomorrow, i'm running another 5K, plus doing my first modeling class :) i'm super excited about spending another lovely day in Franklin :) i love that place a lot!

i pray that tomorrow goes well and that i continue to trust and walk with the Lord in complete obedience :)



Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3:5-6


i pray for the future. i pray for myself and my future husband. i pray for my friends and family and for all our healths. i pray that i am able to fulfill whatever plans God has laid before me. i pray for more opportunities to live and shine in the fullness of Christ. it's not about me: it's about God's glory :)

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children" -Ephesians 5:1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

holding steady.

inspiration: clinging to hope of God's greater plan.

we've been in class for a little over two weeks now, and i still have yet to find any sort of "groove". i've established that wednesdays are my longest and most tiring day, and other than that, all my days seem to just drag by and blur together.

i still worry and struggle with anxieties about the future (guys, jobs, money). i worry about not ever having a "good" relationship again (but, to be honest, i'm just trying to be okay with my singleness right now). i worry about graduation and not having a job; on top of that, i worry that i may have a job that i'm not good at, or that i won't find one i like. i worry about my finances and my parents' as well. the future and all its unknown variables just worry the mess out of me sometimes.
...but i am still clinging to the promises Christ has for me and the plans that lie ahead!!


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
-Philippians 4:8-9


i hope that in all areas of life, i am able to find strength and peace in Christ even when i am at war with the world and all the struggles and difficulties it brings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

still praying.

inspiration: different situations.

i'm caught in a place in various relationships where i feel like all i can do is pray. for people, for circumstances. i can't ever change people; i can only be a light for Christ to them; i can only pray for the Holy Spirit to move within them.

it saddens me because i want to do more for them, but it's not me that can change the inner being and thoughts of someone. that's God.


Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
-Romans 12:9-13



Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:5-7

Friday, September 10, 2010

priorities.

inspiration: my devotional today.

last night and today, i've been struggling immensely with matters of the heart. i had dinner with my ex-boyfriend and best friend last night. and i was taken aback by the feelings i had toward my ex. i genuinely missed him as a friend; circumstances (distance, schedules, work, etc) in the past made it hard for us to really spend time together a lot and a lot of things happened that strained our relationship and pretty much tore us apart.

but last night, things were different. after not seeing him or talking to him very much over the last few months, i had built up barriers to my heart. i had convinced myself that i was going to have to keep my guard up over dinner; i was going to have to defend myself; i was going to have to just stand up for myself and not be too emotional. but the circumstances of dinner and the fact that we were all just having fun and being laid back made all of those barriers and worries crumble. and of course, being the emotionally-driven person i am, i let myself caught up in thoughts and emotions of the past.

luckily, my ex made a point to make it very clear that nothing could or would happen between us again (he always was such a logical person). and i know that (but like i said, i'm very emotion driven). we have two separate lives and we're going two seemingly different directions in life. it really would not work out, at least not by our own accord.

but today, i've just been battling my emotions. i've been battling myself and battling looking forward rather than backwards. i've longed for this relationship that isn't ideal, rather than trusting in God to provide the ideal relationship in the future.

my devotional highlighted 1 Corinthians 7:32
"I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you're unmarried, you're free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master." (MSG)

while, i'm not concerned about marriage, per se, i am worried about my priorities. i've been so consumed with wanting a relationship (and especially since last night) that i haven't been concerned about pleasing God.

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her." -Maya Angelou

i'm struggling and needing prayer to just keep my priority and obedience to Christ first and foremost. when i am doing that and when i have my sights set solely on Him, i won't worry about anything else; I will only be concerned with serving Him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

overwhelmed: understatement of the year.

inspiration: this week thus far.

so yesterday, i started my internship with Ingersoll-Rand. it went pretty well. there wasn't a lot to do, seeing as it was my first day. but i think i will definitely learn a lot and get to experience the "real world" some and i'm excited about those opportunities.

but when i left, the thought hit me: "do i really want to do this?" and the answer is Yes. i absolutely know this. i've worked hard for the last three years. graduation is impossibly close. i've been granted this amazing gift from God. and i enjoy it.

but i battled thoughts of "what if you're not good at it? what if i realize after graduation that this isn't what i enjoy doing?" and all day yesterday, i battled these thoughts. i encountered various other stressful situations (in which, under normal circumstances, i never would've freaked out about), but yesterday and this morning were both just incredibly stressful times.

this afternoon got a lot better and i praise God for allowing me to experience such a wonderful and uplifting afternoon in the midst of, what will probably become, "near-graduation-the-real-world-is-looming-just-head crisis". but right now, i stand strong in the promises that God will provide in all circumstances for me.

If He is calling me to do something else, i know He will let me know on His timetable His plans for me. He promises to never leave nor forsake me. I am reminded heavily of His presence through the song "Everything Falls" by Fee.



"When everything falls apart, Your arms hold me together.
When everything falls apart, You're the only Hope for this heart.
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone, I find You mighty and strong. You keep holding on.
You keep holding on."

Even in the midst of my turmoil and struggle to discern God's will for my life, I know that He will hold me together and ultimately use me in the ways He has planned and destined me for.

I ask if you're still reading this that you would continue to pray for me as well. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I pray for God's strength and love to carry me through all the days where I feel overwhelmed.


"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his 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."

--Matthew 6:25-34


I will strive to not worry about tomorrow. I pray for God's peace and strength to overtake me and to surround me as I finish my last semester, work in my internship, and begin living life.

Monday, September 6, 2010

tetris.

inspiration: Tetris. Change. Life.

Last night was our first night back at the Denley's for Sunday Night Small Group (SNSG). I'm SOO glad to be back in the swing of things. My Sunday's are always eventful and now I get to add SNSG back to my agenda! Love it!

We talked about change last night. And how a lot of us are about to graduate college (or have already graduated) and how we don't know what to expect (myself DEFINITELY included in this category). We all kind of expect certain things to happen once we have that "college degree", but sometimes life doesn't turn out that way. So how do we deal with unexpected things? How do we deal with life when it's not going our way or when things are nothing like we expected them to be??

Now for a metaphor.



I grew up addicted to Tetris.
I had an old school Nintendo Game Boy and for the first like six or seven years of my life, Tetris was the only game I had. And I rocked at it.
I decided earlier that I wanted to play it on my computer again. So I found an online version (not as intriguing as the original, but Tetris nonetheless) and I proceeded to play for about 30 minutes.

We all know how it goes: We try to prevent "holes" in our set up. We manipulate our pieces to create a wall with a gap on the end and we wait for the straight bar to come so we can drop it and remove 4 rows (the ultimate Tetris move).

We live life the same way. We try to manipulate everything into perfection (at least, I do). We try to plan everything. There's a place for everything and everything should be in it's place. I am completely guilty of trying to control every aspect of my life.

But what happens when things don't go the way we plan? What happens when that straight bar doesn't come and our wall gets taller and taller with no apparent solution in sight? Or worse what happens when we have a "tetris fail" moment (like in the picture) and we've missed the opportunity we've been waiting for?

Life is full of these moments.
Life is full of uncertain times.
Life is full of unexpected events and unpredictable circumstances.

But no matter what, I cling to the truth that God is always with me.
Joshua 1:9 states, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Philippians 4:13 states, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" and verse 19 states, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

It's easy to remain faithful to God when things are all good. When we remove those 4 rows, it's very easy to celebrate. The times when we mess up and create "holes" in our wall, or when we never get that coveted straight bar, it's a little more difficult to praise God. But even through the times where "the straight bar doesn't come" and we are unsure of what the future holds, we should always hold fast to the promise that God will never leave us or forsake us, he will strengthen us, and he will provide for us. In all circumstances, God is good. So while I have no clue where I will be in a few months, I do know that as long as I remain faithful to Christ, He will lead me where He wants me; I will follow faithfully.