Stronger

“Beloved friends, if life gets extremely difficult, with many tests,[a] don’t be bewildered as though something strange were overwhelming you.[b] Instead, continue to rejoice, for you, in a measure, have shared in the sufferings of the Anointed One so that you can share in the revelation of his glory and celebrate with even greater gladness!” – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (TPT). 

Strength. It is a virtue that is valued and prized by our culture. It is a word that you see on the front of tee shirts in stores or on people that we encounter every day. It is something that many of us strive for, and something that very few of us think we have. However, as Christians, we don’t have to fall into the trap of trying to be strong. We don’t have to approach the trials and temptations that we face from the well of our own strength.

Because, we have a God who is strong, even when we’re weak. 

Over the past couple of months, this is something that God has been teaching me, in particular. By nature, I have a tendency to want to appear strong. To want to appear ‘OK‘ even when I’m not. To want to approach life with a smile when I’m having a legit breakdown on the inside. But lately, God has been showing me (even if I already knew it on some level) that it’s OK to come to Him broken in prayer. It’s OK to still have questions—and not know the end of the story. I don’t always have to be strong and I don’t always have to be brave because I serve a God who is strong enough for both of us (yes, I know I practically quoted a Matthew West song there).

So often as Christians we are told that when we are praying, we’re going into war. That we’re warriors, raging against the powers of darkness. But that is not all that prayer is. It is also going to your Heavenly Father and your friend. It’s telling Him the things that are really on your heart. It is being totally honest and real with a God who loves us! It doesn’t always have to be super-spiritual and it doesn’t always have to sound pretty and Christian-ese.

God doesn’t only care about the spiritual matters of our life—He cares about every matter of our life! The things that matter to us also matter to Him. That girl who is tormenting you at school. That person that you can’t quite get out of your mind. That test that you’re super freaked out about. God cares about all of these things and more because He cares about you!

And the times that we face temptation? We don’t have to fight those battles alone! Ephesians 6:10-18 says below. 

“Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force[a] of his explosive power flowing in and through you.

11 Put on God’s complete set of armor[b] provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser![c]12 Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms.[d] For they are a powerful class of demon-gods[e] and evil spirits that hold[f] this dark world in bondage. 13 Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer,[g] for you are destined for all things[h] and will rise victorious.

14 Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. 15 Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace.

16 In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One![i]17–18 Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies. And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword[j] of the spoken Word of God.

Pray passionately[k] in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers.” – Ephesians 6:10-18 (TPT).

We do not have to fight our battles alone. We do not have to rely on our own strength or our own ‘godliness’ to fight the enemy’s arrows in our minds when they start coming our way, because we have the strength of God living in us, always available to us when we need it.

We don’t have to rely on ourselves when we face situations that seem too great to handle, because we have someone greater and more powerful walking with us through every season of our life.

We don’t have to listen to voices of insecurity or self-doubt because we can choose every day to speak what God says about us over ourselves and choose to listen to His truth over the enemy’s lies.

This week I want to challenge you to fully press into God’s strength. To go to Him and just pour your heart out to Him. To resist the temptation to be strong and allow yourself the grace to be completely honest before God. To come to Him as a Father—and cry out to Him in the times that you face trials and temptations. 

There’s a song by Laura Story that I believe perfectly captures what I am trying to say in this post. Hopefully, it speaks to somebody today.🙂

“God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble—more than enough and always available whenever I need you. So we will never fear even if every structure of support[b] were to crumble away. We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes, moving mountains and casting them into the sea. For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves cannot erode our faith in you.” – Psalm 46:1-3.

International (Christian) Woman’s Day

Fellow Women,

Let us be women of faith, shining an example for others to follow.

Let us be brave, daring to fight as equal partners alongside our brothers in faith. 

Let us be strong, never being afraid to step out, speak out, and defy the status quo. 

Let us never lower our standards for ourselves or our dreams, but dare to be all that God has called us to be – living as the ‘ezer‘ that God has created us to be.

Let us never settle, but choose to wait for a man after God’s own heart, who will love and respect us in equal measures.

Let us be a voice in our generation, daring to live original in a world that expects a carbon copy

Let us speak up for woman around the world who lack the opportunities that we have been blessed with, in freedom and in education.

Let us be compassionate, always remembering that God values our heart more than our appearance or accomplishments.

Let us be leaders, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those whom God has placed in our paths.

Finally, let us be warriors – for all that is good, and right, and noble, and just, and pure.

And let us never forget that we are loved, valued, and cherished by a God who has created us, on purpose, for a purpose

Let us never forget our identity in Him! 

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Fearless

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

For many people, fear is a familiar face. 

It’s the thing that we feel deep down as we step out of our comfort zone. The feeling that we get when we go up on stage to sing or give a speech. The worry that plagues us as we talk to someone new. It’s likely something different for all of us, but regardless of the specifics, there’s something that we all have in common.

We all struggle with fear in some capacity. 

Maybe not on a daily basis. And maybe we don’t experience it to a crippling degree. But, if we’re honest, we’re all afraid of something. And whatever it is, I believe that it’s something that we can overcome. I believe that we all have the capacity to move past the grips of fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God doesn’t want us to live our lives out of fear. He wants us to have peace, to trust Him, and live courageously and confidently through His power within us.

I’m going to be honest, fear is something that has often been a stumbling block in my own life. I touched on this a couple of posts back, in my post about vulnerability. It’s a real struggle for me to open up to people, and let people in. I consider people who open up with ease to be some of the bravest people I know, because it’s one of the things that I struggle the most with. But lately, God has been helping me overcome this. He’s been helping me learn to break down my wall. To let people in and trust that they won’t let me down.

Maybe for you, fear looks a little different. Maybe it’s a fear of public speaking, or of talking to someone you don’t know. Maybe it’s a fear of the future, or of the unknown. Whatever it is, God already knows about it. He sees you and loves you in the midst of it.He’s not disappointed in you for having fears—but as our Heavenly Father, He wants us to have peace and joy. He wants us to lay down our fears before Him and trust that He’ll trade those fears for joy. He wants us to learn day-by-day how to live confidently in Christ. 

Here’s the thing guys, we’ll never be able to live out the fullness of the plans that God has for us if we remain trapped in the prison of fear. God calls us to be bold, and boldness can only really happen when we lay down our fears at the foot of the cross. He wants to use us for big things—and oftentimes, that means stepping outside of our comfort zone, and daring to be uncomfortable. These are the times when we bring what have, and God brings the rest. He will never bring us to something too hard for us to accomplish. In the words of Luke 1:37, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

This week, I want to challenge you to live fearlessly.

To embrace the fullness of God’s plans for you.

To live boldly, to love fully, and to be the change right where you are.

Dare to be fearless; embracing the freedom found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in Whom we find our strength, power, and perfect peace. 

How To Cope With Heartbreak

This post may seem like somewhat of a downer at first sight, in light of the fact that one of the most relationship-y holidays is on the horizon. Nonetheless, recently God has put it on my heart to address those who may be struggling through this Valentines Day. Thus, I put together some tips that I believe are helpful with sort of thing and wrote a post for all of those who are dealing with a lost relationship (or crush) this Valentines Day.

Valentines day can be one of the worst days of the year if you’re going through a recent heartbreak. Everywhere you look, there are candy hearts, gifts for your significant other, and too many cards to count. Combined with the fact that after a heartbreak, everything seems to remind you of them, this is a very bad combo.

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Though, like I’ve admitted before, I’ve never been in a relationship, I have dealt with heartbreak in the past. It’s ignored or forgotten too often in society, but sometimes a crush gone wrong can cause the same sensation. There were real feelings involved and somewhere along the way, they got squashed. Stomped on. Broken.

It’s a feeling that can feel almost like an illness. Your stomach hurts, your throat feels swollen, and you don’t want to move out of your bed. You listen to Taylor Swift songs on a loop, as the situation goes from “sad, beautiful, tragic” to hating on his “stupid old pickup truck” (If you’re a Taylor Swift fan, you saw what I did there😉). You feel like you’ll never recover. You do, but you certainly never forget. Even years later, you’ll still remember the sound of their voice and meaningless details about them, but that’s OK. It’s a part of your past, and those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.

Because heartbreak is such a universal topic—and ever so relevant around this time of the year, I decided to write a post about it, and give some advice on how to get through it.

Pray about it 

This is something that, admittedly, I didn’t do enough during my times of heartbreak. I journaled about it. Boy, did I journal about it! As a writer, my journals were the first thing I ran to when I faced heartache and my first one got quite a bit of air time, looking back. Nonetheless, I believe I may have healed quicker if I had prayed for God to take the pain away. As embarrassing and painful as heartbreak can be, God already knows about it, and as our friend, He’s a safe person to talk about this kind of thing with. I tell my earthly best friend practically everything, so why not do the same with our Heavenly friend and Savior?

Let yourself Rest

Going through heartbreak can be physically exhausting. One of the most tempting things during this time is to turn into a vegetable—lying in bed in sweats and watching too many episodes of Gilmore Girls. We should never remain in this position, but it’s OK to give yourself a break. You’ve been through a lot and your body needs time to recover just as much as your heart. Be nice to yourself during this time and give yourself a little thing we as Christians like to call grace.

Be wise

Thankfully, during the times that I went through heartbreak, I didn’t have social media. If I did, I’m almost positive I would have at least been tempted to pull the “social media stalking trick“. But please do yourself a favor—don’t do it! Looking at their pictures and status updates is only going to make this thing a hundred times worse. You don’t need to give this person that much thought. They’re a part of your past, and right now, your job is to find your way into the future. Which brings me to point #4.

Focus On Other Things

You don’t need another person to make you happy. The only one who can fill the emptiness that often accompanies heartbreak is Jesus. Turn to Him! Read your Bible, and maybe some good books. Hang out with some friends. Take up a hobby. Too often, we can make a person into an idol, and let them take up the place that only God should have. Never forget that another person doesn’t complete you—God does.

Allow yourself to remember and move on

The truth is, if the relationship/crush/person was significant enough, you’re never going to entirely forget about them. From time to time, you’ll wonder what ever happened to them and who they became. That’s OK. Like I said before, you’re going to remember them. They were an important part of your life, and hopefully, you learned more about life and yourself through that experience. You can’t live in the past, but you can be thankful for the lessons learned—and choose to move forward in your life.

When I first started this blog, I often used to post a song at the end, and for this post, I believe it will be especially fitting.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Pslams 147:3 

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. ❤️