Thirty Day Blogging Challenge Returns: Day Fourteen

blog-challenge

Hey everyone, I’m finally back after a far too long hiatus! 

For those of you who have been wondering, everything is totally fine on my end. There haven’t been any illnesses or catastrophes of any sort—that is, unless you count the absolute frustration of writers block. For a while, I have been completely stumped on the prompt I’m about to answer today. I have had plenty of problems in the past, but I wasn’t quite sure which to use. Nonetheless, after talking with my mom about it, she gave me an excellent idea:

Talk about the transition from high school to college. 

As some of you know, this has been my first year out of high school and I’m currently in the process of transferring to Liberty University—a college that I believe will be the best fit for my future career. Nonetheless, before I decided on Liberty, I was attending a local college near my house—and the year of 2015 may be one of my rockiest years to this date. 

For a while, I have avoided writing about the fact that I was homeschooled on this blog. I wasn’t ashamed of it, but I was worried it would conjure up stereotypes of an anti-social, socially awkward girl in her room doing math problems all day—which is far from my actual experience. Nonetheless, because I strongly believe in the process of being real and sharing your stories with others, I have recently began to write about it—especially since I believe it had an effect on my high school experience and my subsequent transition to college.

Contrary to the stereotypes, I wasn’t raised in a church—but began attending with my mom during late elementary school. Nonetheless, because many homeschool environments (though not all) are run by Christians, I’ve pretty much been in that subculture for my whole life. College was the first time I was ever in a school that lacked faith. 

Because I was well aware of this, my best friend and I spent long hours talking about what college may be like and all-but planning an escape plan in the case of a God’s Not Dead scenario. When graduation night came, I felt more terrified than anything. What did the next chapter hold? What was my life going to look like? From the summer of ’16 all the way through the end of the year, I began experiencing weight gain, acne, and other physical stress syndromes.

During my time at college, I faced both internal and external conflict. I began to think about life after high school, and experience almost paralyzing fears about the future. I wondered if my unusually close friendships would survive into adulthood and if I would end up as the little personification of the crazy cat lady. I also worried about my career, missed my high school classes, and tried to figure out what the heck I wanted out of my life. I had a basic idea, but my career path changed during my time at college from teacher to journalist, subsequently affecting my degree and college choice.

At college, I was faced regularly with dramatic clashes of ideologies. I heard things that never, in a million years would have been taught in any of my high school classes. Friendship and family ties were all but mocked, prayer was seen as unimportant, an obnoxiously loud sociology teacher in the next room over taught that sex was between two or more people, and that rape was simply inconvenient, and I met a fellow classmate who was a self proclaimed witch. I felt like I had entered an alternate universe and all but emotionally shut down. 

Nonetheless, as difficult as this time was for me, God managed to teach me a lot and bring good out of bad. He taught me to depend more heavily on him and open up to wise Christian friends and mentors. The more stressed, anxious, and depressed I became, the more people God brought into my life to help me. It’s easy to follow God when things are going well and you feel like you’re on top of the world, but it’s a lot harder when you feel like everything you know is crashing down all around you. This experience taught me to trust and fully lean into a God who’s a lot bigger than myself. 

I also became more aware and humbled by the fact that everyone has a story—and that sometimes, we have to learn to simply love people where they’re at. It can be so easy to disregard people as some kind of giant agenda or conspiracy, but there’s always more to people than this. I learned that one of my professors, who I had a huge personality clash with had a much more difficult life than I had originally thought, and learned to have compassion through hearing their story. I also learned that the classmate who practiced wicca really wasn’t a “bad person“—just a lost one, who also had a difficult past.

Now, that season is finally behind me, and I couldn’t be more excited to start at the university I believe God is leading me to—but I don’t regret a moment of my time at my first college. I learned valuable life lessons and I believe I’ve become a stronger, more compassionate Christian and person because of it. If you’re going to college this fall for the first time, I’m not going to lie and tell you it will be easy. It will likely be a challenge—a grueling one, even—at times. But you’ll survive it, just like I did. Trust in God, lean into friends and mentors, and don’t let fear control you.

God has a plan for you even in the midst of your hardest battles. 

“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 

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My First Ever Vlog: How To Stay Strong In Your Faith


Hey guys, I’ve thought about doing a vlog for a while now and I finally decided to throw one up on my site today.

I’m just going to warn you guys ahead of time, I probably said “um” about fifteen hundred times…the joys of improv, lol! 😂

If you can think of any other good vlog topics, I’d love to hear them in the comments section!

My Struggle With OCD

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NIV)

It was before a big production in my theater class. I was talking with one of my friends, Alex, while another friend was working on setting up the chairs. Finally, both feeling guilty, we went over to help our friend set up. To our surprise, which we both got a kick out of, he was determined that they be set up a certain way. We both teased him, in a friendly sort of way, but deep down, I knew something.

That I wasn’t all that different.

It probably formed early in my childhood, as I remember lining up crayons by color in elementary school, and to this day, I organize my clothes by color and type (though they don’t stay that way for long!). It also causes me to be prone to anxious thoughts, fearful of drinking out of a cup that isn’t clean, and make sure everything is just right when I leave the house. For instance, a simple thing like “is the blowdryer unplugged?” becomes check-it-two-hundred-times-because-if-it’s-not-the-house-will-burn-up-and-we’ll-be-homeless.

I can’t tell you exactly what the root of this is, or exactly when it showed up, but I can tell you that this is my struggle, as each person battles something. Maybe it’s a physical disability that you battle, like diabetes or having to be in a wheelchair. Perhaps it’s something psychological like my OCD. Maybe it’s an eating disorder, or self harm, or an ongoing situation with bullies and drama.

I don’t know what your situation is. But I do know that you’re strong enough to overcome it! Just as I know that I’m strong enough to manage my OCD, I know that you’re strong enough to deal with whatever your facing.

Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (NKJV)

You have the strength to eat right…Through Christ who strengthens you.

You have the strength to put down that razor…Through Christ who strengthens you.

You have the strength to keep your head held high when they try to bring you down…Through Christ who strengthens you.

We are warriors, because the one who overcame death lives inside of us, and is “ever present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) So put on the full am of God and keep fighting (Ephesians 6:10-11). Even when we don’t feel strong, we have His strength to keep us going.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. 

Because nothing that we’re facing is bigger than the God that we serve. ❤️

 

 

When God Closes a Door…

A couple of weeks ago, I was given a reminder.

This wasn’t just any reminder either. It wasn’t a reminder about homework or about chores.

It was a reminder about a time when a door was dramatically slammed in my face. It was a reminder about something that happened that came completely out of nowhere. It was a reminder about something that I had to leave behind.

It was a weird feeling, as memories that I haven’t even thought of in a long time flooded back to a less-then-pleasant time in my life. I didn’t understand why things had to happen the way they did; why everything had to change so drastically and so suddenly.

A couple of months later, I finally understood. I found out some details that pertained to my situation and “thanked God I didn’t get what I thought that I deserved”, in the words of Carrie Underwood’s song, Good in Goodbye. Today, I realize that what happened was for the best.

Oftentimes, when God closes a door, we don’t understand why. We want things to happen our way in our timing. We plead with God, we ask why, and we we analyze our situation to death. Nonetheless, I’ve found that every time God has closed a door, it’s been for the best. The times that God has said “no” and “wait” have always been times that have led me to something better. Whether it be with an opportunity or relationship, God always knows what is best for us.

Perhaps you’re going through a time like this right now. Perhaps God is shutting a door that you’re struggling to pry back open. You cry out to God asking “Why?” You ask how this could possibly be good. If this describes a situation in your life, hold on. God has a greater plan for you than you can even imagine right now. That closed door will end up being the very door that steers you to find an open window. You may not see the light right now, but believe that it’s there. God never closes a door unless He has something better for us, and endings are always portals to new beginnings.

If God says no to something, it’s because He sees what we can’t. We can only see the here-and-now, but God sees the big picture. In the movie Do You Believe life is compared to a tapestry. Our lives are all intertwined, threaded together to create a masterpiece. From our perspective, we only see a mess of scattered threads, but from God sees the full tapestry, in all of it’s wonder and beauty. Each event is one chapter in the story of humanity, and every end leads to something far better.

So, next time God closes a window, take heart. God is opening a window somewhere else that is more amazing than you could ever imagine. 🙂

God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything he knows.-Tim Keller

Beauty From Ashes

If there was one thing that could erase from your life forever, what would it be?

I think if we’re honest, we all have something that we wish we didn’t have to go through. Maybe it’s an negative experience that you faced, or are facing right now. Maybe it’s an ongoing battle with something. I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for myself, and I know that I’ve felt this way.

When I was younger, I dealt with an ongoing situation that I can still remember vividly to this day. After a lot of prayer, before my first year of jr. high school, it faded away. I didn’t have to deal with it directly anymore, but there was definitely a certain aftermath to it. I had to come to terms with it, and at times, felt like I was really alone in dealing with my situation. I went through various stages, from anxiety to trying to push it as far out of my direct consciousness as possible. Only with time have I learned to face it, rather than run from it. It’s still a part of me, and a part of my life experience, but I can turn that negative experience around into a positive one, even though it wasn’t positive in itself.

If I didn’t have that experience, than maybe I wouldn’t know what it’s like to feel like an abnormality. Perhaps I wouldn’t have as much compassion for those who are struggling or people whose life looks different than most. Furthermore, seeing those prayers of my ten-year-old-self answered strengthened my faith in a way that can only happen through watching God’s power at work. I think in a lot of ways, it actually made me stronger.

Whatever it is that you’ve struggled with in the past, or are struggling with right now, take heart. I believe that no matter how bad, God can use it for good to help you grow and help others in similar situations. Romans 8:31-39 says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God loves you more than you can imagine. He can help you through any situation that you’re going through, because no problem is too big for Him. He can also take those things that we want to erase and remold them into something beautiful. Some day, you and I may actually use those very things that you want to get rid of to help someone else. Instead of looking back at the past, I believe that we can all take our own life experiences and look forward to the future, anticipating that God will take our brokenness and turn it into something beautiful.

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This link here is a really inspirational story about a cancer survivor. I highly encourage you to read this. It describes perfectly what I’ve reflected on in this article. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gabrielle-flank/voices-of-strength-gabrielle-flank_b_7869230.html