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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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

Thoughts from my Devotional

Hello lovely internet people! I’m doing a really cool devotional called 52 Weeks With Jesus by James Merrit and I had a pretty cool realization this morning while I was reading so I thought I would share what I wrote in my journal.

“God wants our lives to be a masterpiece of His goodness and grace.” – James Merrit

I love that. Our lives are meant to be a testimony of God’s goodness and grace. That wouldn’t be possible if we were perfect! If we were perfect people, there would be no room for grace – so that takes some pressure off of us. We don’t have to be perfect because we never will be, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean we should walk around intentionally making bad decisions because we think God hasn’t had a chance to exercise His grace in awhile. What it does mean is that when we do stray from God’s best, His perfect plan (a.k.a. sinning), His grace will cover it because of His goodness. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s masterpieces. Think about how crazy that is:  God knew that the fall would happen from the beginning, He knew that we were going to be messed up people, yet we are still His masterpieces! Despite our shortcomings, God loves us dearly. We are not to let our flaws and struggles destroy us, we must let God mend us and work in our lives so that our lives are beautiful testimonies of God’s goodness and grace.

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Photo Credit: Anastasia Zhenina

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

March 2016

Apparently it’s the last day of March!

This month has been a roller coaster of sorts, but looking back, every low point led to me realizing how much I need God and how amazing He is.  There have been battles faced and there have been times of spiritual rejuvenation.  A lot of caffeine has been consumed. An appreciation for concealer has been formed for its ability to lessen the appearance of dark circles. I got bangs.  I still am terrible at knowing what day of the week it is.  I smashed my knee into a pew at Chapel. I finished my first journal.  I’ve developed the “allergies”. I’ve read a lot of books.   I have a month of school left and then I’m halfway done with my BA degree.  I made dinner – twice!  I’ve practically learned the layout of the new Walmart Market (a.k.a. The Baby Walmart).  I learned that my sister is Batman. Easter was EPIC.

1/4 of 2016 down, 3/4 to go! I’m ready for adventure!

Photo Credit: Claire Satera

January 2016

Hello lovely people of cyberspace! Last month I randomly decided to do a recap of the month and I decided that I really liked the idea.  So here is a recap of my first month of 2016!

  • I started the second semester of my sophomore year of college (I’m almost halfway done with my Bachelor’s degree!).
  • My best friend tried on wedding dresses for the first time and I only teared up a lot.
  • I started recycling.
  • I started eating healthier and working out.
  • I started a prayer journal in this super cool journal my boyfriend got me for Christmas.
  • I finished my first Bible journal – today actually (Here’s a throwback post: Bible Journaling).
  • I started a jar on January 1 where every time I finish a book I put the name of the book on a slip of paper (with my typewriter, of course) and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year I can look and see all the books I’ve read this year – I am so excited for this!
  • I learned that my mini golf skills have only improved on a small scale since I last played when I was 14 (at least I didn’t hit a lady with a golf ball this time).
  • I finished Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke which is a seriously amazing book.
  • I learned not to despise small beginnings; you have to start somewhere.

 

January felt like it flew by, but looking back I can see a lot has happened in my life this month, I’ve seen God move in multiple areas of my life and it is such a blessing to reflect like this.  A lot of these things may seem like they were New Year’s resolutions, but actually none of them were.  They were things that happened because God placed them in my heart.  Other things are just really random things that happened that give you a glimpse of what my life is like.

So what to expect for February: I’m going to start weekly posts on Wednesdays (hint: this week’s post has me really wanting to watch Peter Pan) and I’m expecting God to do big things in my life.  Until next time, lovelies!

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

Thoughts from my Journal

I just wanted to share with you guys some thoughts I had last night while journaling.

As humans, we are creatures of inconsistency, we change like the weather in East Tennessee, yet God is constant; His love does not change, His promises never prove untrue, He is the one constant in our ever-changing lives.

I change my major? God is constant.

I lose someone? God is constant.

I lose my job? God is constant.

I’m not giving God 100%? God is constant.

I constantly sin and mess up and stray? God is constant.

God’s love, His relentless love, never stops. He will never stop pursuing me, loving me, waiting for me with arms open wide. No matter what.

Photo Credit: Good Free Photos
 

Things I’ve Learned in my First Four Days Back in School

I can’t believe it’s the second semester of my sophomore year of college already, it absolutely blows my mind.  Today was the fourth day of class, and I’ve already taken away a lot – academic and otherwise – so I thought I would share.

1.) I am now a morning person.  I never – in my entire life – thought I would say this.  I love sleep, I love sleeping in, and I’ve always despised waking up early.  I would always wake up at the last possible minute I could to get everything I needed to done before leaving the house.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that Genelle is my best friend, anywho, she is a full-blown believer in The Early Bird Catches the Worm, and I would stay with her and see all that she could accomplish in the morning and how much she actually enjoyed waking up early and yet I still found sleeping thirty extra minutes more appealing. Well, it came the dreaded time to set my alarms for this semester’s classes, and for some reason, I set them earlier than I normally would. I. Love. It. I have time to get ready, drink my coffee, and spend time with God, leading me into my second point.

 

2.) Spending quality time with God – both first thing in the morning and otherwise – is the best thing, like ever.  In the morning I read from whatever book I’m in (currently, Isaiah), I journal while I read it, then I read my morning devotional (currently, Joyce Meyer’s Promises for Your Everyday Life), and then I journal in my normal journal and pray.  I realized yesterday that this takes up nearly half, if not more, of my morning routine, but I also realized how valuable this time is.  I get to get my mind set on Jesus early in the morning before I really do anything else, and best of all, I don’t have to rush.  At night I then read from Psalms or Proverbs (currently, I’m in Psalms), read my nightly devotional (currently, Praise in the Presence of God), and journal again, ending my day the way I began it, with Jesus, and also with reflection of my day.  By starting and ending my day with quality time with God, I’ve shifted priorities and honestly it makes it easier to focus on the right things during the time in between.  But this isn’t something I do to check it off of a checklist, I actually make it a priority to spend quality time with God and with strengthening my faith.  A relationship with God is exactly that – it’s a relationship, not a checklist.

 

3.) Being organized and setting goals is fantastic. College is hard.  It’s true.  There are days when my workload makes me want to cry and eat icecream and never ever ever get out of bed, but then I remember that that’s not much of career. Anywho, Genelle and I were at Wal-Mart getting school supplies and they had a 17×23 inch calendar white board for $7. I couldn’t pass it up! And I’m so glad I didn’t.  It’s great to have everything for the month laid out in front of me, assignments, tests, appointments, babysitting dates, etc.  Also, I decided I need to drink more water, and my goal is at least three bottles a day.  Each day I mark how many bottles I’ve drank on the white board, and boy is that motivation.  Sunday night I was getting ready for bed and realized I had only drank two bottles of water, so I chugged a third – which, honestly, wasn’t the best idea because I had to get out of bed and pee three times before I fell asleep. The point is, being organized and having my goals in front of me makes me a.) stress less and b.) way more motivated to accomplish my goals.

 

4.) In my environmental science class – which we’ve only had one full day of – we’ve talked about how if God created the Earth, shouldn’t we honor it and take care of it? I was really convicted by this.  God did make the Earth, and I believe He did so so we could enjoy it, not destroy it.  Honestly, I had never really thought about this until then, but it’s really convicted me to be more conscious of my decisions (hello, recycling).

 

I’ve learned a lot more than this in my short time back in college, but I wanted to share a few key things from my life, a few lessons I feel God has really laid on my heart.  Until next time, lovelies.

Photo Credit: Eric Rothermel

Bible Journaling

I’ve been a Christian for a little over four years now (that seems so crazy!), and over these years – especially the last three – I’ve really come to love God’s Word. Four months ago today, though, something made me fall in love with Scripture even more.  I didn’t suddenly become super enlightened every time I read a passage of Scripture or become super knowledgeable of Biblical times, I simply started Bible journaling.

To make a long story short two of my best friends and I were babysitting nine kids (overnight) for four days during youth camp and we were pressed to get in Bible time because, well, we had nine kids to keep alive.  So we would sit in the kitchen of the little house we were in and read our Bibles together either really late at night or really early in the morning (or both) while the kids were sleeping.  Genelle at this point had been Bible journaling for a month or so and she was talking about how much she loved it and how it helped her really get more out of Scripture -shout out to Genelle (touchthesky.wordpress.com)!

I was anxious to start but I couldn’t exactly leave and go get a journal at the time so I had to wait until after camp. I started journaling when I was about halfway through Genesis and since then have went through Joshua, Job, and I am now currenlty in Isaiah.  Journaling while reading helps me stay focused on what I’m reading and I also tend to get more out of what I’m reading in general. Also, it’s great to go back and reference your notes on what you’ve read before.

I suggest finding a nice journal (Books-a-Million is my go-to place) and as you’re reading Scripture, write down your thoughts on what you’re reading, how it applies to your life, what it must have felt like to be there in that moment, really just make it your own – and always pray before you read, you’ll be surprised what God reveals to you when you ask Him to. If you guys have any Bible study tips, holler at me in the comments. I’d love to hear from you lovely people.

I just thought I’d post since it’s the 4 month anniversary of my Bible journaling adventure and I find that really exciting.

Until next time, lovelies.

Photo Credit: Ben White