Encouragement

2018…here we go!

well 2018 is here and it’s going…it came quick and hit the ground running.

I can’t believe it’s already 22 days into the new year, time stops for no one. But in the start of the new year I’ve finally found the time to reflect, pray, and dream for 2018…a few days late, but hey life happens.

I have a friend who introduced me to this practice of adopting a word for your year. A word to hold onto for the whole year and see what God does. As I began to pray for 2018 and the world that God has for me I couldn’t help but look back at 2017.

2017 was a hard year. One to bury in a box, to never look back on again. It threw me off course more times than I would like to count, but somehow, I am here in 2018 knowing what it means to dwell in a place of self-grace. What is self-grace? It is my word of the year and means to simply allow yourself to be who you are…all of the crazy, the pain, the dreams, the confusion, the joy, the restlessness, the doubt…it’s accepting what you are feeling, recognizing what brought you to this point and truly believing what you are going through to be valid. It’s knowing we are exactly where we are supposed to be no matter the circumstance because our mighty Author won’t lead us astray.

Moving forward into 2018 though…it’s on my heart to encourage you (and myself) to keep accepting yourself and smothering yourself in self-grace. (this is what I’m learning) What does that look like? Well it’s different for each of us…

Maybe it’s quitting a job or asking for a raise.

Maybe it’s packing your bags or deciding to finally sit still.

It could be learning a new skill or giving one up that doesn’t make your soul feel alive.

It might be deciding to stay with that person despite everything or knowing the healthiest thing is going your separate ways.

Perhaps it’s deciding to start your family or changing directions on how you go about doing that.

It could be changing majors in university or taking the risk to walk away from what you thought your future was always supposed to look like.

Moving back home or to a new city where you know no one.

Maybe you finally make that appointment with the counselor whose number you have been holding onto forever.

Maybe you finally call that person who hurt your heart so badly once, but you are ready to tell them you forgive them.

Your sight might be set to touch the highest of mountain tops or to take that literal jump out of the plane to feel your body soar through the sky.

Maybe it’s allowing 2018 to be the year of saying no or possibly finally saying yes…

Whatever it is for you, LET IT BE. You do you. Allow yourself to be inspired, but don’t conform. Take that leap or actually… let yourself sit still. (sounds harder than you think) When you feel lost, know you are far from alone. You are surrounded by people who love you and a unrelentless God who will be with you no matter which direction you choose to go.

Cheers to a 2018, a whole new year ahead of us…we still have 343 days this year to make them look like however you dream of them looking like and when they start to look different, embracing them and yourself anyway.

-S

Reminiscing a Wandering Heart: Finding God Amidst a Heart of Turmoil

I sat in Church this past Sunday listening to the Word and singing worship as I usually do, but then I was hit with a ton of bricks when we started to sing one particular song, You Are With Me Still. I don’t know what happened, but I was filled with an overwhelming sense the Holy Spirit and just as Jesus did, I wept. As I stood there singing praises to God, singing the words to this song I couldn’t help but cry. Tears filled my eyes as I sang every word because as I sang every word, they rang true to me, my life, and my heart. God was with me still…

These past few months have been incredibly….overwhelming; emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally I was all over the map. I felt as though I was in this fog, haze, and unsure of whether God was even with me. But as I sang the words of this song I was assured that He indeed was still with me.

He is with me still…

…as I still grieve the loss of my Gramma and still continue to comprehend the fact that she’s no longer here on earth.

…as I question whether I ‘m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Am I making the right decisions?

…as I reminisce about my time in South Africa and my heart breaks for the people I met there, missing them so much.

…as my mom has good days and bad days, struggling to overcome the grief of losing her mom.

…as my family goes through rough times. We’re not perfect, we’re human, we don’t always get along.

…as I try to plan for the future and figure out where God is calling me next in life. Where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do? God I just want you to tell me what to do.

…as I try to find the balance between school, work, and a social life. It’s hard, I can’t do everything, but I want to it all.

…as I try to handle my finances, trying to get by as a barista paying my way through college. I know God will provide, but that trust is not easy.

…as I find the strength to continue to follow God’s call to share the Gospel. Stepping out of my comfort zone, doing things I never would have imagined.

…as I find the courage to say YES, Lord! Each and every day. Some days I would love to just do nothing, but God is calling me to something much greater than myself.

These are some of the thought’s that raced through my mind as I sang this song. It seems like a lot, but in that moment I was in complete peace singing every word because I knew it to be true that God was still with me. Even through all of these thoughts of darkness, doubts, questions, fear, hopelessness, pain, grief, and so much more He is with me.

It seems like we often forget that we’re not in this alone. When the world seems to fail us, we think we’re on our own, but in fact we are never in this alone, God is always with us…fighting our battles with us…grieving our losses with us…questioning our purpose with us…He is with us still.

Our darkest days are no match to what God can handle. He is there with us through it all. His love will endure. His promise is sure. His mercy remains. He will give you strength, Just look…You’ve made it this far.

I hope you find encouragement and hope in this. No matter what you’re going through, He is with you still. Take a moment, take a listen, and see what God has to say…

-S

Listen to the Song Here

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