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" 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.


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


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)

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