0

Devotion #4

The devotion this morning cut right through me just in the first line. God is so good, and he is speaking straight to me through devotions lately. It literally brings tears to my eyes. If you pray to God for wisdom and strength and seek Him … you will find what you are looking for and He will answer you. I have a bad habit of not seeing all of the blessings that God has given me, and I tend to focus on the struggles of everyday life. At times I definitely feel like God does push and challenge me often. I feel like I am tested often, and at times tested more often than others. Regardless if this is true or not… I was recently reminded that God does not give us anything that we cannot handle. I need to learn to be grateful and to show gratitude for the things that I do have and for the moments in my life that do go well. I have been blessed with so many great things and I need to not take advantage of those or take on the stance of entitlement. I am going to make it my goal to show others gratitude the rest of today specifically and make it my focus so that I can continue on this path in the future. The best way to create a habit is through practice and repetition. If I consciously think of showing my gratitude to others then eventually it will just flow from me unconsciously and become apart of who I am. I think that this is a good way that I can show praise to God. This devotion has realized that maybe it isn’t that God is just continuously testing me, but that perhaps it is my attitude and outlook towards these challenges that need to change. Once my attitude changes then maybe so will my circumstances. I do not want to be weighted down any longer by stress and worry. This will definitely be my prayer for the day… That God help me in having a grateful heart and to show His love to others in this way.

Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Job 1:21

“…and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

1 Peter 5:6

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

-A

0

Devotion #3

The devotions today really touched on intertwining your life with God and identifying more and more full with Him. I think that this is a good message, but not something that I have thought a lot about in the past. I feel that I am still young, and my body is changing and becoming stronger. However, I know that it won’t last forever and even though we may try to remain healthy and strong that eventually the effects of old age will take hold, and this process is irreversible. However, even though the body weakens and weighs down our minds can become stronger and more alive in Him. We will be wiser and this devotion tells us that those who live in Him will have a youthfulness apparent in them despite the aging of the outward body.

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Colossians 1:29

“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

1 John 1:7

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

-A

0

Devotion #2

“Come to me with your defenses down, ready to be blessed and filled with My Presence. Relax and feel the relief of being totally open and authentic with Me. You have nothing to hide and nothing to disclose because I know everything about you already. You can have no other relationship like this one. Take time to savor its richness, basking in My golden Light. One of the worst consequences of the Fall is the elaborate barriers people erect between themselves with others. Facades abound in the world, even in My body, the church. Sometimes, church is the last place where people feel free to be themselves. They cover up with Sunday clothes and Sunday smiles. They feel relief when they leave because of the strain of false fellowship. The best antidote to this artificial atmosphere is practicing My Presence at church. Let your primary focus be communing with Me, worshiping Me, glorifying Me. Then you will be able to smile at others with My Joy and love them with My love (Young, 2004).”

This devotion was also very touching to me because I have a lot of things from my past that I do not like revisiting, and it is painful to have to recount them to others. However, God already knows everything about me and it is very freeing to not need to retell your story over and over again. When I feel uncomfortable I tend to put up walls and barriers around me because I do not want to let others in or share my secrets.

I also like how this devotion touches on the fake attitudes that many people put on for church, and that they don’t truly feel the Holy Spirit within them. They feel the need to play a part and to “put on the Sunday clothes and Sunday smile.” It reminds me of the song Dollhouse by Melanie Martinez. People act a certain way in front of others, but they are different people behind closed doors. I’m sure that some people are working on personal things and truly want to feel know the true joy and love of the Lord, but sometimes it is difficult. Sometimes the world gets tough, and I feel the strain of life weighing down on me. It is very difficult in these times to be happy and to know that God is always walking with me. At times I still feel alone and hopeless, but this devotion definitely helped me through a tough day and a rough time this past Sunday.

I love that this devotion gave us the answer to this problem of putting on a face at church and other places. it tells us what we can do… The key or the answer is this: “The best antidote to this artificial atmosphere is practicing My Presence at church. Let your primary focus be communing with Me, worshiping Me, glorifying Me. Then you will be able to smile at others with My Joy and love them with My love (Young, 2004).”

1 John 1:5-7

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live in the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Exodus 33:14

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Philippians 4:8-9

“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.”

-A

Reference
Young, S. (2004). Jesus Calling: Enjoying peace in his presence. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.

0

Devotion #1

Today was a really rough day for me. I struggled with so many feelings and emotions. As the day went on it just became more and more unbearable. I dealt with anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, uncertainty, and others.

I feel so ready and open for change, but I didn’t expect it to be so difficult. I thought that the “fighting change” was the hard part, and when you were open to it… that the changes would just come fast and easy. I cracked open the devotional my mom sent me a month or so ago for the first time today, and it was perfect. The devotional is called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and I want to share the entry for today.

“Go gently through this day, keeping your eyes on Me. I will open up the way before you as you take steps of trust along your path. Sometimes the way before you appears to be blocked. If you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, you will probably go off course. Instead, focus on Me, the Shepherd who is leading you along your life-journey. Before you know it, the “obstacle” will be behind you and you will hardly know how you passed through it. That is the secret of success in My kingdom. Although you remain aware of the visible world around you, your primary awareness is of Me. When the road before you looks rocky, you can trust Me to get you through that rough patch. My Presence enables you to face each day with confidence (Young, 2004).”

John 10:14-15

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Isaiah 26:7

“The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.”

This has helped me put a lot of perspective in the day, and I wish that I had read this in the morning and kept it on my mind the entire day as it would have gone a lot better. I feel that God is working so much in me recently, but I am stubborn and my emotions are so raw that is has been painful… even though my progress towards God could be described as “less than baby steps.” I feel that He has so much for me and ahead of me that if I just put my faith and trust in Him… that I will be alright.

One of the big issues on my heart recently is a friendship that has soured and has not been a healthy one for me. I know that this friendship is not healthy, but I feel also an obligation to this person to be their friend, and I know that a lot of the issue is my own insecurity…. and this person makes me feel good about myself. However, this person also has the ability to make me feel terrible, and I know that they have their own issues. I just wish that I could be smart about my friendships, and learn from them. I hate that I think I can change people or that I think the best in people, and they always turn out poorly… I knew that they would from the beginning though so why did I think anything would change?

I also have been carrying a lot of guilt for a long time, and I wish I knew more about the Bible to find versus that would help me with what I’m going through right now. I need to give my problems up to Him and listen intently for direction on how to manage them and handle situations moving forward. I feel like I attempt too many things at once instead of focusing on just 1 or a handful of goals/things to work on… and so I end up never meeting any of them. I need to slow down and really work on one thing at a time and make it my primary focus, and from the devotional I ready above, it is clear that right now my focus needs to be on Him.

-A

Reference
Young, S. (2004). Jesus Calling: Enjoying peace in his presence. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.

0

Goalies

“Come on skinny love… just last the year.” -Birdy

I have written several blogs in the last several months, but haven’t been able to post them. I feel like today is going to be the start of something new… something terrifying, sad, thrilling, something that will cause me alot of sleepless nights. I am taking that step forward. A step that I’ve needed to take for a long time. The step that hasn’t been taken, and I’ve run out of people and things to blame that on. Life is scary. Life is what you make it.

I’ve been dealing with a lot lately… divorce, failed relationships, exhaustion, hectic career, uncertainty and confusion in basically all aspects of my life. I’m restless. I want to move. I want to stay. I want to be alone. I want to be someone’s someone. I want to believe in people. I want not to care. I want to run far away and not come back. I want go home.

So this step… I’m going to grow up.

I didn’t think I’d ever be saying that, but I think that it is officially time. I’m going to start taking things and mysef seriously. I mean for the most part I put on a good “adult” show. No, not like that. I have a good job… I’m alive (for the most part), and I know what I want. I’m bright and I have so much potential. However, my personal life is just a mess. It is so … scattered, unorganized and lacks purposeful direction. Well no more games. I have some goals that I’ve written out and I’ve been trying to meet many of them, and I think that I’ve been relying too much on other people to help me. I’m going to do this myself, and not for anyone else or with their help.

So Update of Goals:

Goal #1: Grow up.

Goal #2: Strengthen and renew my relationship with God. Give Him control over my life, and put my trust in Him. Be observant and mindful of His plans for my life. Go to church regularly, pray often, do devotions, join a small group or Bible study. Schedule daily time with Him.

Goal #3: Build healthy self-esteem and nurture a positive self-image of myself.

Goal #4: Put forth a conscious effort to make true, strong friendships that will improve my life and not take from it. Also, learn to give in friendships and realize it friendship goes both ways. Be an active participant and put in the work.

Goal #5: Work at a stronger professional relationship with my co-workers and netowkr with others in my industry.

Goal #6: Take better care of myself and respect myself physically, mentally and emotionally. Protect what is important to me… including relationships. Do not let outside influences interfere.

Goal #7: Have respect for others and those I love. Consider how my actions and choices impact those that love and care for me. Make good and responsible decisions.

Goal #8: Do not be afraid to love others and to tell them what. I am not weak, but vulnerable for showing emotions. That is okay. It is okay to let some people “in,” but not everyone. Protect myself from those who do not have my best interests at heart, but let true friends and family to know the real me. Be open and honest about my life and what I’m struggling with…

Goal #9: Take chances with people, experiences, work and love. Try new things. Try things that are scary for me.

Goal #10: Allow myself to be vulnerable. Put myself out there with the chance of getting hurt and disappointed. DO NOT allow myself to shut down emotionally and shut people out.

Goal #11: Practice forgiveness. Even when I don’t want to or want to convert back to my “old ways.” Forgiveness will free me and not them. Forgiveness is the opposite of simply not caring.

Goal #12: Be open and brutally honest with myself, and those I care about the most. Being genuine and reassuring is key. In relation to others always put them and their needs first before my own.

Goal #13: Learn to have emotions. Learn to express them appropriately to others. Be comfortable with having them and letting others see them for what they are…

Goal #14: Consider counseling if needed – just to get out some things and take away a new perspective. Don’t stop it when I feel like I’ve made myself better, but commit to 6 months or 1 year and complete it. Seek advice from those that I trust and do not keep things inside.

Goal #15: Stop blaming others. Place blame where it truly belongs, and always start by looking inwards. Take responsibility not by being a martyr, but over my actions and words. I’m going to mess up and make mistakes and do the wrong thing at times, but that isn’t failure. It doesn’t mean I’m not moving in the right direction.

Goald #16: This is a new starting point in my life. Do things that right way… start fresh. This is the time to change the things about myself that have been holding me back!

Goal #17: Keep a schedule and stay true to it. Make my goals and my life #1 priority. Do not let outside distractions and bad habits get in my way of accomplishing what I need to do.

Goal #18: Minimalize life as mush as possible. Stop making things harder and more complicated and cluttered. Minimalize in all aspects and areas of my life… including posessions and harmful relationships. Only the really important things should remain.

Goal #19: Make my passions my priority in life. Make legitimate strides at accomplishing these goals. Fitness, travel, family… (side note: fam. tree proj.)

Goal #20: In all interactions and activities remember to be present, genuine and intentional.

-A

0

The Past – Originally written and edited May 20, 2014

I met someone 2 months ago that has changed my life in a profound way.  This person is like no one I’ve ever met before, but yet I feel like I have known him my whole life.  On the surface he is my opposite, but on the inside we are identical.  He sees right through me.  Being with him is like being with your reflection… the only way to remain identical is by acting opposite.

Is it possible for someone like this to exist?

I love him, but I’m afraid to tell him.  I’m afraid to hurt him.  How do I tell him that I’m broken, and I don’t know how to love?  How will he understand that I didn’t want to love him. He is too good for me.  

I’m a broken girl with a shattered heart … that never learned to be herself again. 

 

No matter how much you change in life… your past will always find you.  You will always be judged for what you’ve done in the past and people will want you to open up old wounds and start reading like a book.

and I’m afraid of being hurt.  I’m afraid that because of who I am… what I am…. he won’t want me.  

How do I tell him that I’m broken, and I don’t know how to love?  

What is it that causes you to lose your breath when you lock eyes with him? What is behind the butterflies in your stomach when you see him walking towards you from a ways off?  How is it that when he touches you and pulls you into the most reassuring, safe, protected hug of your life that it creates total confusion in your mind, and the only thought that you can formulate is that you wish you could stay there forever?  Is that love?  

When you can’t sleep because you miss him. But when he lays next to you, you can’t fight back the darkness.  When you wake up and your first thought is of him.  When he is gone, but thoughts of him put a smile on your face…. and he will never know it.  When he makes you feel special for the first time in your life.  Is that love?

He understands things that no one else has ever before understood, and we can have conversations about things that I wouldn’t have ever thought would take place.  Is it possible for this person to really exist?  

0

#palegirlproblems

This is the time of year that all pictures of me turn out crap.  Why?  Because I blend in with the background of everything that is light, and if it happens to be dark… then I look like this flourescent lightbulb brightly shining and drowning out any recognizable facial characteristics. It is just this blob.  Like an orb.  Like the bright North Star guiding the three wisemen to Jesus’ stable.  That is me. 

So this year I’m going to fake tan it up and become not white…. but hopefully not orange either.  I shall opt for the spray tan as I do not go to tanning beds.  Tanning beds will surely cause me to develop cancer faster than you can say melanoma.  I cannot apply any tanning lotion to myself because that is where the uneven color and lines and streaks will occur.  However, I shall get a spray tan… not for vanity sake, but for the sake of having a winter picture of myself that doesn’t portray me as being the color of paper.  Or a ginger.  Mind you… I love gingers.  Not only is my beloved J a ginger, but I have recently developed an amazing crush on Tri Bourne… a professional volleyball player and full time ginger.  *happy dance*  That 6’5″ giant man of hotness is amazing.  I digress…

Sooooo in other news.  I had LASIK last Thursday and it was amazing.  So far the results are phenomenal and I’m so happy to not be wearing contacts or glasses.  I still think my vision could get a bit better so cross your fingers.  It was a pretty pricey ordeal, but I think I’ll be able to get rid of that debt fairly quickly.  Also, another awesome thing is 12 months no interest so I can get rid of this thing in a year easily and then not have to pay all the interest back on it as well.  Woohoo!! 

Work is outrageously busy and I’m going to actually run downstairs and grab some food and then start churning out massive amounts of productivity!!!! 

-A