God

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

Catch the Story of the Song Here

Reminiscing A Wandering Heart: The Boy in South Africa

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My time in South Africa was something that I have yet to completely process…it’s something that is always on my mind and something that I am ever grateful to have had the opportunity. But it was only the beginning. So as the days go by and the time passes I find it useful to write out my experiences and the emotions I felt and since I was not on this journey alone, but I invited many to walk along side me I thought I would start a series of post reminiscing my heart and the memories of South Africa. This experience was rather life changing and my hope in sharing it with you is simply give you a glimpse of the work God did in my life with the hope that you can recognize the work He is doing in your own life.

In South Africa there was a little boy the age 7. He was like any other 7 year old boy, rambunctious and fearless, yet he captured my heart like no one ever had. He had a smile that won my heart the second I saw it. He was as most people call, my one. The one who was always sitting on my lap; the one who I was always holding; the one who I clung to as we said goodbye.

Our time together while he attended the VBS/camp we hosted in South Africa is something I’ll cherish forever. There was one memory I have when the group was playing on the field, kids running all over playing dodgeball, soccer, and picking flowers. I was sitting with a group near the bags and the kids were playing and climbing on us, the the boy climbed inside the bags and started to zip himself up, so playing along I grabbed the bag and told him he was coming home with me back to the states; he literally fit inside our bag. It was that moment that I really struck me and made me think…I really love this little boy. He laughed and had the hugest smile on his face it filled my heart with overwhelming joy.

As the week went on my love for this little boy continued to grow and I dreaded the idea of him leaving. Although there were times when he was up to trouble and I would have to tell him to stop doing something, he would turn around and look at me with a huge smile from ear to ear that totally won my heart. There wasn’t a chance that I could be mad at him, but simply give him a big ‘ol hug!

The relationship that was formed in a matter of only a few days is that of one that often takes years to form. But this little boy was so accepting of the love I had to offer and craved that love, he changed my life in more ways than I could ever offer him. It wasn’t till just a few days ago that I realized why God had put that boy in my life and the relationship that was formed with him. I was with my mentor walking through a prayer exercise of how I see God and my relationship with Him.

As I was in this prayer state of just me and God, He gave me an image…an image I was very familiar with that I often have when I reminisce my time in South Africa. It was the image of my relationship with that boy in South Africa; playing with him, holding him, sitting with him, and simply loving him. A huge grin on both of our faces laughing as I held him in my arms. This was so significant because God revealed that this was the way He wanted to love me. For so often I forgotten to come to God as my Father, simply for Him to hold me tight and whisper in my ear…”I love you.” This was a moment of complete and utter joy, so overwhelming I found myself in tears. God took a moment that I cherished so much and reminisced about often to give me a glimpse of a tangible relationship that He wanted with me. It was simply beautiful, just as the the little boy in South Africa was.

I was reminded that God wants us to come running to His is arms simply to be held by His sweet embrace. He wants to hold us and laugh with us through every good and bad experience. He wants to love his child unconditionally. My prayer is that you would not forget this and that you would accept this love God is offering to you. The relationship I had with that little boy in South Africa is something I can only describe, but I hope that you may feel that type of love someday and maybe some of you already. But I hope you get to feel that love with our Almighty Father because who knows it just might change your life…

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Fast No More, but continue to Seek God

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Well as you can see I am back on media outlets. The fast is over; 5 days without any media and no sweet treats. I have survived. (now mind you my birthday was on Wednesday, so fasting during my birthday week was a lot harder than expected) But As I walk out of Seek Week I enter this time of new beginnings with a new perspective, a changed heart, and refueled passion. I must say last week was kind of nice. I felt as though I was more alive. I was present in the everyday beauty and the simple things.

The intentional quiet time, the intentional conversations with God, and the time set apart was something that I always long for, yet I rarely make time for. I feel as though I am coming out of this time a new person almost. It’s always nice to intentionally set aside time for God because truth is HE listens and HE will meet you where you need to be met.

Here are some things that I learned this past week:

  • God speaks when you are willing to listen
  • He will use other people to speak to you
  • He will meet you where you need to be met

God has a way of revealing Himself to us and sometimes it is a little overwhelming. I entered Seek Week coming into a new season of life and waiting on the Lord. I am using this month of September to wait and see where the Lord is calling me next and what plans He has for this new season. And this past week at one of the Seek Week Celebrations there was a lady who asked if she could pray for me. I saw no harm in letting this woman pray over me, but what she prayed for was exactly what I was seeking.

She prayed that I would let God use me because He isn’t finished with me. That I would trust in His will because this is only the beginning and that I would be refueled and rejuvenated this week. WHAT?! now you can imagine at this time I am filled with the Spirit and chills ran up my body. Here this complete stranger, she has no idea of what I ‘m thinking or going through, prays for what I’m seeking. AMAZING BLESSING! I wish I could share every detail from last week with you, but that would just be too long. But I will say, I am refueled and their the fire within my heart has been rekindled. He has made me want nothing more than to serve Him.

Seek Week was an awesome time and I am blessed that my church takes this time to set aside intentional time with God. But it is also a good reminder that we should all take time to intentionally meet with God because God does speak!

-S