Choose to Show Up

I sit down with my coffee and my Bible. I get settled in and open my journal and my Bible. I hear stirring from the baby monitor. The baby woke up. Again. 

Sound familiar?


In high school I used to spend long stretches of time reading my Bible. In college, my workload got more intense, and I didn’t have as much time to spend in the Word. At the time I didn’t understand that different seasons of life mean that our time in the Word may look different. Instead, I felt guilty and would often go through long periods of not reading my Bible at all because I thought if I couldn’t spend the time that I was used to spending then I shouldn’t spend any time at all – I was wrong, by the way.

It’s so easy to get frustrated when different seasons of life make your “quiet times” with the Lord look different. It’s easy to just not show up. Something to remember, however, is that God values faithfulness. He honors when we choose to show up, whether we have an hour or just ten minutes. I believe time spent with God is never time wasted. God can bring fruitfulness out of both situations, even if we don’t necessarily see the fruitfulness right away.


So I take a drink of my coffee, set my Bible and journal aside temporarily, and go get my sweet baby. My quiet time is different than it used to be, but that’s okay. Seasons of uninterrupted time in the Word are beautiful, but so is this season.

There will be times as my daughter gets older when I wake up early to spend time with the Lord and the little pitter-patter of feet come down the stairs before they are supposed to, and that’s okay. Maybe I’ll pull her onto my lap and we can read together. Or maybe I will take a break to make her breakfast and then resume – maybe ten minutes later, maybe two hours later. But what I won’t do is get frustrated. I want my children to see their mama meeting with God regularly, and that may mean my quiet times looking much different than they did when I was fifteen. And that’s perfectly okay.


Friends, be willing to meet God where you are, no matter the season. Seek His face no matter what, and remember that your time with God is never wasted. 

With love, 

Photo credit: 

unsplash-logoAaron Burden
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It’s Okay to Slow Down

Living in the age of technology, we expect everything to be done fast. It’s reflected in most aspects of our life:

This person is driving too slow.

The wait is too long.

My phone won’t load fast enough.

The list could go on and on.

What I have realized recently, though, is that slowing down is a beautiful thing. Sure, there are deadlines and time-sensitive things, but why does everything in our lives have to be done at an accelerated pace?

One of the most beautiful ways that I have noticed the beauty of slowing down has been in my time with God.

I have had a relationship with Jesus for almost 7 years now. For 6 of those years I read my Bible the exact same way: a chapter a day (unless it was a super long chapter, then I would break it up). Last year around this time I decided that I wanted to read chronologically (in the order that events happened, not necessarily in the order the books occur in the Bible) and in larger chunks to get a better sense of the bigger picture, and I loved it!

In this season, however, I’ve started studying my Bible in a completely different way than I ever have. I spend about 30-45 minutes a day on around 10 verses of Scripture just breaking it apart. It now takes me 2-4 days to read a chapter rather than 1.

At first, it almost bothered me actually. I felt like I wasn’t reading enough. In reality, though, I’m digging in deeper than ever before. Reading the Bible, like many things in life, is not a race. I’m loving this season of just slowing down and really meditating on the Word of God. It has made me realize it’s okay to slow down in other areas, too. It’s okay to stop and appreciate the simple beauty in your life. It’s okay to leave the dishes unattended for a little bit to spend time with your spouse or kids. It’s okay to not always be in the fast lane.

With love,

B

What is the Importance of Biblical Law?

As some of you may know from following me on social media, I have been reading the Bible chronologically since July. As of this week, I have finished the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) as well as Job! I have now finished the Torah, or the books of the Law (those first five books), which aren’t always the most exciting to read; however, I learned a lot.

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I have read Genesis and Exodus before, but God’s Word is alive and speaks to our hearts. I took away things I didn’t get the other times I have read those books. The latter books of the Torah – the books that really dig deep into the law – were foreign territory .

Since beginning a relationship with Jesus, the Law has always been a perplexing concept. If Jesus came and died for our salvation, what is the importance of the Law? I have struggled with this question for six years. It’s part of the reason that I never read past Exodus in the books of the Law up until recently.

I still have questions and there are still things that I do not understand, but during my journey through these books, I have learned why, as Christ followers, it is important to read the Law:

  1. The Law reveals to us what is important to God’s heart.
    • For example, there are severe consequences for idolatry. This reveals to us that this matter is important to God. Exodus 34:14 tells us that God is a jealous God. He is our Creator and our Father. Just as an earthly father desires a relationship with his children, our heavenly Father desires a relationship with us.
  2. The Law shows us that we are not good enough by ourselves.
    • The Israelites were given the Law and they struggled immensely with living by it. God knew that it would be that way – that’s why He gave them the regulations for sin and guilt offerings. There are 613 laws in the Old Testament – that’s a lot to remember! The Law points out our inadequacy and our need for a Savior.
  3. The Law shows us the importance of Christ.
    • When Matthew 5:17 says that Christ came to fulfill the Law, that means when God looks at someone who has been covered by the blood of Christ, He sees a check mark next to each law. I have read this verse of Scripture several times, but never truly understood the meaning until recently. Jesus does not make the Law irrelevant, He makes it complete. 

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Having a personal relationship with the Creator without being bound to the Law is amazing. Jesus is our mediator, our sin sacrifice, our fulfillment of the Law. This is the best news!

The Law is not pointless, it’s just no longer the way to reach God. Jesus is the link to our Father – the only link. When we believe Him and accept Him, He meets the requirements for us, and we are blameless before the Father. As a follower of Christ don’t skip over the Law, but let it remind you of the beautiful sacrifice of our Savior.

Reading through the books of the Law has humbled me greatly. I expected to be utterly bored, but this process has strengthened my relationship with Christ in ways that I never thought it would.

Photo Credit: Ben White

Lessons from Camp (Week One)

I just spent five days and four nights with seven children between the ages of two and eight (and head back Monday for round two!) during our church’s high school camp (we watch the leaders’ children) and amidst the chaos, God showed me a lot.

1.) Quiet time is essential. Which can become quite difficult when there are seven children running around from seven a.m. until nine p.m.. By the time Genelle, Chloe, and I got the kids to bed, comprehending anything was practically impossible. We were giggly and confused and couldn’t get to bed fast enough. Anyway, the first three days I actually managed to have quiet time twice a day whereas the last two I was lucky to get in one session (the kids were getting quite tired and grumpy). Looking back, the difference I can see in myself on those days when I spent a lot of time with God and the days when I didn’t is pretty astounding. The first few days it seemed I had an abundance of patience, gentleness, kindness. As the week went on and I didn’t spend as much time with God, I became less patient, less gentle, and less kind. I had been telling the kids they needed to stop being so grumpy when I myself was just as grumpy. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.

2.) If you’re working with children, you have to look at thing’s from a child’s perspective. Children do not see things the way we do. We may not think that spilling a box of crayons is a big deal, but to a three year old, it can seem devastating.

3.) Encouraging and rewarding good behavior goes a long way. “Can you clean up your mess? You’re such a big boy! You did a great job, thank you so much for cleaning up!” goes a lot further than “Seriously? You need to clean that up right now!” Children are fragile and gentle and their self-esteem and self-worth are easily damaged, our words can impact them for the better or the worse.

I’m sure there are other things I wanted to say, but I’m exhausted and I have to go teach my fiance how to do laundry. Talk to you later people! And please be praying for us as we get to love on these wonderful children for another week, and for their parents as they love on the middle schoolers, and for the teens. God will do big things.

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Photo Credit: Jose Ibarra

Do Not Be Afraid

God has recently called me to something bigger than myself, something that scares me. I was writing in my journal last night right before bed and I wrote that I’m scared, but it’s okay because that fear is causing me to rely on God. First thing this morning I began the book of Jeremiah and I got to a passage that stopped me in my tracks.

“The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’

‘Alas, Sovereign Lord, ‘ I said, I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’

But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put My words in your mouth.'”

Jeremiah 1:4-9

God has not called me, or you for that matter, to be afraid. He has called us to have courage in what He calls us to do, holding fast to the knowledge that He is going before us and He will equip us.

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Photo Credit: Connor McSheffrey

Health{ier} Living

I turn twenty in 72 days (what?! how is that possible?!) Since I started college nearly two years ago (again, what?!), I’ve grown up quite a bit. I work, I pay bills, I’m planning my wedding (again, I strongly emphasize WHAT?!), I make my own choices. I’m an adult and I have to make my own choices now. I have to be responsible with my money, my time, my life.

Now, this post is not about how I’m aiming to become a size x or how I want to only eat x amount of calories a day. This post is about making choices and how I’ve decided to aim for a healthier lifestyle all around.

First off, I joined a gym. Me. Yeah, I’m surprised too. But I figured I’m more motivated to use something if it’s taking money out of my bank account every month. So I’ve started going to the gym. I hop on the elliptical and watch Netflix for 30-45 minutes. It’s not so bad. I’ve also started watching what I’m eating. Notice I didn’t say calorie counting or eliminating carbs or whatever. Those things are fine, I’ve just decided to be more conscious about what I eat, choosing almonds over chips, water over soda.

Aside from the changes in my physical lifestyle, I’ve changed other aspects of my life, too. I’ve started watching what thoughts I let enter my head. I have a problem with blaming myself for things that aren’t my fault, with anger, with depression. So, when I have thoughts that are critical or negative or hurtful towards myself or others I stop them in their tracks; I choose to think differently. It was a difficult thing to do at first, I mean, I thought, how do I stop myself from thinking? But it starts with paying attention to what you think about and when something raises a red flag, don’t entertain it. Put an end to it then and there.

Additionally, a change I’ve made is starting and ending my day well. I start with a healthy breakfast – if I wake up in time to make one (I’m still struggling with waking up on time… 🙂 ) and I read my Bible. I will sacrifice doing my hair and makeup as long as I have time to read my Bible; if I don’t start my day in Scripture, it shows. I listen to worship on the way to work and I’m always looking for new songs so that they aren’t just becoming routine, but I can genuinely worship. I end my day, even if I don’t get home until midnight, with reading my Bible. I also journal at night. There’s a pretty famous quote by Flannery O’Connor that says, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I have to say.” It is so true. If I’m dealing with a particularly stressful issue, I write about it, and I can vent and be honest and a lot of times that’s where God reveals something to me or just brings me comfort. Sometimes I just write about my day, even if it was just an ordinary day; it gives me time to reflect.

So I haven’t set outrageous goals. I just want to be a healthier me. God didn’t create us to live miserable lives that are weighed down by an unhealthy physical or mental state. When you’re healthy physically, you feel better. When you’re healthy mentally, you feel better. The two go hand-in-hand. Since I’m nearly twenty and am adulting, with the freedom to make my own decisions, I’m doing my best to live at least a little bit of a healthier lifestyle.

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Photo Credit: Autumn Goodman

Notes on Exodus 16

I thought I’d share my notes on Exodus 16 from my Bible Journal.

“Sometimes God delivers us but we are so short-sighted that all we do is grumble like the Israelites in the desert. We don’t see the big picture, how much better it will be for us once we are out of the bondage of sin – or even just a bad circumstance – even if we face obstacles after.

When we complain, we are complaining against God and the life He’s given us – or the situation we’ve put ourselves in due to sin. Either way, complaining doesn’t solve the problem. It just makes us bitter.

Moses told the Israelites not to keep food until morning – not to hoard. They needed to trust God because He was going to provide. We need to trust in God and His ability to provide for us.”

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Photo Credit: Omar Prestwich

The Past Few Weeks

So this post is probably going to be a lot of rambling, but that’s how I talk anyway so it’s fitting! So much has happened recently and God has taught me so much.

The first thing that He has really shown me He did in a pretty cool way. First, my pastor preached an amazing sermon on fearing the Lord and being obedient (Watch the Sermon Here). The same day, my reading in Exodus 3 pertained to fearing the Lord (I blogged about it, Taking off our Sandals). As if that weren’t cool enough, from then – two weeks ago – until this morning even, my readings in Exodus and Psalms have been talking a lot about fearing the Lord and obeying Him. I also randomly decided to read 1 John, guess what that talked about, too? So God has definitely been trying to tell me something here. Through, the sermons and my readings, God has really shown me that knowing Him, fearing Him, and obeying Him go hand in hand in hand. Following God’s commands isn’t a burden, it’s a blessing. When we try to do things our way, we get entangled in sin, and it starts to destroy us. When we do things God’s way, we prosper. It is only then that we are truly free.

“Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham (Clear the Stage) is one of my favorite songs. It talks about crushing the idols in our lives. It makes me think of the times when I know I should read my Bible or pray and instead I do x, or when I am reading my Bible and I’m trying to rush so I can do x. I’ve realized that whatever is has become an idol in my life, and I’ve had to do a serious heart check. I can’t let anything come before my quiet time with God, my following His commands.

You know what else? Relationships are work, like a lot of work. More than I ever realized. There are times when my fiancé (we got engaged on May 30! YAY!) wants to call me and I’d rather read or watch Netflix (sorry, honey… 🙂 ). But that’s not the way it works. Did you know that your significant other needs, like, attention and stuff? Okay, I’m being dramatic. I love talking to and spending time with him, but sometimes I’m just tired and my book or show doesn’t require me to talk back. But relationships take work, they take time, they take – gasp – communication, and most importantly, they take you both being on the same page – especially faith-wise. So, I make sure to talk to, rotate, and water my fiancé. Wait… that’s my aloe plant… but the point is, relationships take work to grow, and if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. (Please excuse all of my cheesy jokes, I’m tired.)

Okay, one more thing to ramble about! It is such a huge blessing to have a job you actually enjoy waking up and going to. I love my job. But that’s not the main point, the main point is that whether or not you like your job, no matter what your job is, you can show the love of Christ. Now, I can’t exactly sit and talk to each of my guests about how much God loves them – the people in line behind them may start to get really impatient. But I can show Christ-like love in the way I speak to guests, in how I go above and beyond to serve them, in serving my co-workers without them asking. No matter what your job is, you can serve God, even if you never get to say His name. Show Him, serve Him, with you actions, your character, you attitude. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Take this piece of Scripture to heart and apply it to your life.

 

Well, lovelies, that’s all I have to say. If you made it to the end of my rambling, congratulations, you’re awesome! I’d love to hear from you lovely people! Until next time!

Do Not Turn Away

Good morning, lovely people of the internet!

The other day while reading my Bible I was cross-referenced over to 1 Samuel 12:20. I don’t even remember what I was reading that night, but the verse it sent me to stopped me in my tracks and nearly brought tears to my eyes.

“‘Do not be afraid,’ Samuel replied. ‘You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.'”

When we screw up or deliberately sin we often want to hide from the Lord or turn away because we feel unworthy, but this verse screams the opposite. We are not to turn away, we are to serve Him. 

I imagine God saying, “My child, I’ve seen what you’ve done. Bring it to Me and I’ll give you forgiveness. Now go, show others the forgiveness I’ve shown you, show them the mercy and grace that I have shown you.”

God isn’t a “three strikes and you’re out” kind of God, He’s a loving Father who wants what’s best for us and He knows what’s best. He can turn every mistake into a testimony, every struggle into a song of praise.

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“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.’”

John 8:10-11

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Photo Credit: Allef Vinicius

Being Still When Life is Anything But

As a full time student, I can say without a doubt that life can be absolutely hectic sometimes.  Between homework, papers, tests, trying to comprehend what the heck that concept means, babysitting, spending time with family and friends, and all the other things that is asking for my attention, it’s hard to feel like I have any peace or any time to just breathe.

This past weekend, Genelle and I babysat overnight. Sunday morning, after making breakfast and cleaning the kitchen, I sat down to read my Bible and to journal.  The kids were actually being decently quiet for the most part – which I appreciated – and I decided that after I read in Matthew to go ahead and read a Psalm as well.  After reading it, I knew God had me read extra that morning for a reason.

Psalm 46 begins with saying, “God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide? No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails.  When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless. When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless. Even in heavy winds and huge waves, or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.” (verses 1-3).

As I read that, I thought of all the times recently that I’ve just been so stressed out that I felt like I was losing my mind.  School has been overwhelming, I babysat 5 out of 7 days last week, and I just felt like I had no time to just recharge.  Then I asked myself how many times during these past weeks when I felt overwhelmed have I ran to God? The answer is not very often.  When I’ve been overwhelmed or upset, I’ve just wallowed in my feelings rather than taking them to God. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries.”  God doesn’t expect or want us to feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders.  Philippians 4: 6-7 says, “Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.  Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.”

I know these Scriptures, I know them well, but I haven’t let them resonate in my soul, they’ve stayed in my head, and that’s the problem.  The Word of God does us no good if we don’t let it pierce our souls and change us.

Back to Psalm 46 and another verse of Scripture that I know well.  Verse 10 says, “Be still, be calm, see, and understand that I am the True God.  I am honored among all the nations. I am honored over all the earth.”   When we really heed what this verse is saying, it is powerful.  When we think about the majesty of God, of all that He has done and all that He is, our problems seem smaller.  Not only that, if you are acknowledging who God is, you’re acknowledging the fact that He does not want you to do life on your own. The verse says to be still, not fret, worry, or try to do it on your own.  Acknowledge who God is, His mighty power and His mighty love for you, and be still.

No matter how busy the life of a college student – or anybody for that matter – can get, God is there, waiting for us to come to Him, and be still.

Photo Credit: Jenu Prasad