radical change.

God is doing something radical with my life right now.

Back in early December, He spoke to me and told me that He was going to turn my world upside down, but I’m not sure that I believed it entirely. I kept feeling this pressing voice from the Lord: “Just wait for my timing. I’m doing something radical with your life, but you have to wait.”

Now that it’s June, I can look back and see that every word from God was true.

One of the first things that God told me was that He was going to move in my relationships. He said that everything I thought I wanted in a relationship, everything that I imagined I would want in a man, that He was going to give me the exact opposite. I’m finding that “opposite” is exactly what I needed, and so much more than I could have asked for.

IMG_4065

I was beginning to doubt my decision to become a costume designer. Doing it was fun, but I felt so burnt out when I finished a project. This spring, I worked for two different children’s theatre companies and discovered that I couldn’t get enough. God has changed my heart from simply a design track to wanting to teach youth theatre more than anything.

IMG_4066

I had no idea what I would do with my life this summer. I didn’t feel like going back to working at JoAnn Fabrics was really where I could make the most impact. God opened so many doors to make it possible for me to work at Camp Sonshine in Silver Spring, Maryland. I thought I was going to make an impact here, but after just one week I’ve learned that the camp leadership has made an impact on me more than anything else.

IMG_4352 2

If you are doubting God’s plan for your life, I encourage you to just listen to His voice. If He’s telling you something, believe it. He’s telling you the truth, and His plan will come to fruition. I promise. You just have to wait on His timing, and trust him implicitly.

I am so excited to see how God moves in every aspect of my life this summer. I am ready for the radical change that He is promising me.

what i’ve learned about guarding my heart (pt. 2)

I didn’t plan for there to be a second part to this blog post, but recent circumstances have brought to my attention that there is so much more to guarding my heart than I had discovered in this blog post.

IMG_3172

I recently had a conversation with a very good and very wise friend, who always speaks truth into me when I need it most. In this case, the truth I needed to hear was that my motives were pure, but as I was guarding my own heart, I wasn’t letting God guard it for me.

The reality is, as Christians, we only give God parts of our heart. We often neglect to give Him all of it. If we don’t give God everything we have, how can He safeguard it for us?

I am an incredibly independent person. I always have been, since I was little. I’ve had a few close friends, but always kept myself guarded and secure. I am an open book, personality wise, but am very private when it comes to things that matter. As I got older, I found myself opening up more and letting more people into my life, revealing more and more of my heart. I never believed that I could be hurt by anyone. I was very trusting.

When I was first hurt by someone who I cared about very much, I shut down completely. I vowed to never open up like that again. I put my heart in a concrete box with an impenetrable lock, and wrapped said box in barbed wire. Nobody was going to get in and hurt me again.

03-guard-your-heart.jpg

I thought that by doing this I would be protecting myself from emotional hurt. It worked, to a certain degree, but there was one aspect of this method of protection that I didn’t consider: with such heavy armor, nothing could get out either.

I realized, that for the past three years, I have been squeezing little bits of love out of my heart, giving a little bit away to each person I care about, but I wasn’t able to love them with my whole heart.

I spoke to my friend and he told me that because I was so stringently guarding my own heart, I was impairing my ability to love others, and receive their love. He told me that the key to guarding my heart is not to lock it away until I find “Mr. Right”. The key is giving God my whole heart, and loving others through Him.

Love isn’t about me, or other people, for that matter. Love is about Christ, and his plan for the universe. No matter what happens, no matter how I feel, God’s plan is much bigger than anything, and that’s what I want for my life.

Yes, I can still get hurt. We live in a fallen world, and hurt and heartbreak is inevitable. But now I know that when God is holding my heart, love from any human being is insignificant. The filter of His love and protection lessens the pain of any hurt that I could experience. Through Him, I can love people deeper and more honestly, because that’s the way that Jesus loves people.

It’s not something that is changing immediately. But through God’s grace, I’m learning. I’ve given my heart to Him, and I’m letting him direct my heart and my path.

I’m absolutely terrified of what could happen. I’m terrified that I’ll get hurt, or love the wrong person. I’m terrified that I’ll hurt someone else.

But even greater than that, I have faith. I have faith because my heart is in God’s hands, and I know that he will guide my every step.

Guard your heart. But don’t lock it away.

things are sometimes not that great

I’m not sharing this because I want pity.

I’m not sharing this because I want attention.

I don’t need pity, and I don’t need attention.

I’m sharing this because others need to know that they aren’t the only ones.

About every other month, I have a mental breakdown that involves crying hysterically and having anxiety about things that don’t really make sense. I panic and lose all faith in God, others, and myself. It is at these times that I feel the most vulnerable and the most alone.

Unfortunately, today was that day.

It was a beautiful day, and I was so filled with the joy of the Lord that I couldn’t contain myself. I wanted to shout from the rooftops about how good God is and how happy I was.

This afternoon, one little thing went wrong and I lost it.

I didn’t think anybody wanted me, that I wasn’t good enough, that I will never be good enough, and that my life is effectively meaningless.

I’m okay now. I’m recovering.

I won’t go into why all of these things are absolute untruths that do not come from God because I’ve written about it before.

But the fact is, it happened. And I know others have experienced this.

I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. If you need to talk to somebody, I’m here. I get it. Whatever you experience during these breakdowns, whatever you think about yourself, they aren’t true. You are worth it. And it’ll be okay.

I was kicked out for worshipping.

Every Wednesday night on campus, a group of students gathers and walks over to a courtyard across the street in a business/residence plaza to pray, meditate, and worship.

Tonight was our first night back after break, and it was a much smaller group than usual, only 9 of us.

Towards the end of our session, we were singing out to God, marveling about his grace and holiness:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come…”

We prayed, and when we were finished praying, we looked up and a security guard was leaning against a column, looking at us with curiosity.

“I hate to do this,” he said, “but some residents are complaining about the noise. Your singing really echoes over here. Don’t mind if you sing, just move it farther away from the building.”

We respectfully complied, and moved out from under the courtyard.

As we sang more songs, I got to thinking: We just got kicked out of the building for being too loud with our faith. 

It was an incredible realization, one that I will never forget.

I am so glad we got kicked out for being too loud. Every day, I want my faith to be so loud that people are complaining about the noise and kicking us out of buildings. I want my faith to be so evident that people notice, and they are drawn to the sound of my voice connecting with the creator of the universe.

I want my faith to be a scream that nobody can ignore.

I want to get kicked out of buildings for my loud faith more often.

the things my mother could have been

My mother could have been a doctor.

She loves watching ER shows, blood and gore included, and loves researching how different functions in the body are connected. She’s constantly telling me about what she’s learned about medical advancements.

My mother could have been a psychologist.

She loves researching mental illnesses and conditions, and is so understanding of people who struggle with them. She never jumps to conclusions about people’s attitudes because she understands that they may be struggling with something we don’t know about.

My mother could have been a therapist.

She gives incredible advice from a Biblical standpoint, and always encourages people to love themselves as they are and do whatever is in their power to do with their lives. She doesn’t stand for people degrading themselves, she always lifts them up.

My mother could have been a life coach.

She takes peoples’ aspirations for their future and their current place in life, and helps them discover how to get from point A to point B in the easiest way possible that will give them the greatest joy in life.

My mother could have been a teacher.

She has the most patience ever, and knows how to tailor different styles of teaching for the way that people learn. If someone needs to be read to in order to understand a concept, she reads to them and asks questions. If someone needs to stand to be able to concentrate, she encourages them to stand.

My mother could have been a women’s ministry leader.

She loves Jesus more than anything, and loves to share His word. She is organized, and loves spending time with her peers discussing the way that Jesus wants us to live our lives. She gives Biblical parenting and family advice.

My mother could have been a live in caretaker.

She remembers when people need to take which medications, keeps track of a myriad of peoples’ dietary needs, and is patient and serving when others are ill and can’t take care of themselves.

My mother may not technically be any of these things. But she is all of them.

My mother chose to be a mother. She knew that was God’s calling on her life since she was little, and she followed it.

By being a mother, she does all of these things: she is a doctor, a psychologist, a therapist, a life coach, a teacher, a spiritual leader, and a caretaker.

Raising children to be the best they can be and managing a household isn’t easy. It’s incredibly difficult. I don’t know how she’s done it for 20 years.

When radical feminists degrade women for being stay-at-home moms and housewives instead of “career women”, it makes me sick. These women may not get paid for their work in money, but they are paid in the reward they gain from seeing their family grow under their loving hands.

Don’t demean these women for what they may “not do”. They do more than you could ever understand.

My mother’s career is being my mother. She is raising my generation to be Jesus-loving, people-loving, successful women of the world. If that isn’t something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

My mother could have been many things.

Instead, she chose to be my mother, the most sacrificial of positions.

I love you, Momma.

fullsizerender

life is a funny thing.

Life is a funny thing. It’s constantly changing.

As I write this, I am listening to vintage show tunes on vinyl while typing on the “latest and greatest” laptop. Things change so dramatically.

The start of a new year is when many of us begin to contemplate the last year and how it impacted us.

I am not one of those “2016 was the worst year ever! Burn all the evidence that existed!” 2016 was a year just like any other. I experienced highs and lows and learned and grew from both.

2016 doesn’t concern me anymore.

It’s 2017 I’m worried about.

I’m not setting goals or resolutions for the next year. Those are always broken.

The one thing that I know I can do is love others the way Jesus loves them.

Something I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that people come and go in your life, for a reason, a season, or a lesson. We cannot control the people that weave their way in and out of our life story, but we can control how we behave towards them.

Speak in love and kindness to everyone. Bring joy to the lives of others. Give constructive criticism when necessary. Tell those you love that you do, and frequently. Don’t let a moment go by where someone believes you don’t love them

It doesn’t matter how other people behave. You cannot control that. You can only control how you behave. Let Jesus permeate your words and actions, treating others with the utmost respect.

If you don’t follow through with any other resolution this year, follow through with this: Love God, love others.

img_3026

where did you go?

I look into your eyes and wonder what happened.

Why are you broken?

Why are you hurting?

You used to be happy, used to smile and laugh.

Where did that go?

Where are you hiding?

You can’t feel.

You can’t breathe.

You can’t move.

Why have you become like this?

Why does nobody hear you?

You are better than this.

You are loved.

You are wanted.

You are special.

Why don’t you believe this?

Why doesn’t this mean anything to you?

Get it out of your head.

Go back to who you used to be.

Who have you become?

This is not who you are.

I look in this mirror.

Who have I become?