Sunday, February 15, 2015

"God Loves Ugly" thoughts

Pretty much every day, at some point, an idea pops into my head, something I know the Lord wants me to write about either on here, in my journal, or in my word document that I pray will eventually make itself into a book. Recently, sadly, I havent been doing much writing of any kind. I have written and rewritten so many "pages", blog posts, journal entries, etc.; and yet somehow I am praying that this post gets a "publish".

I recently read a book called "God loves Ugly and love makes beautiful" by Christa Black. I had been wanting to read this for awhile, and every time I went to Barnes and Noble or on Amazon to buy a book, I would forget or find another book I wanted. Well, I finally remembered and ordered it on Amazon, and it showed up on  a Tuesday afternoon when I least expected it. I opened the book at about 5:30pm with curiosity and intimidation.

The back cover reads:
"Your eyes can lie. Rejection, shame, and self-hatred can poison perceptions and hinder us from seeing and believing what's true. In GOD LOVES UGLY, Christa Black shares her personal victory against powerful adversaries-her own thoughts, feelings, and reflection. From world-touring stadium performer to rehab-bound bulimic binge eater, Christa and her unashamed transparency will win your heart, hold your attention, and give us pratical tools to overcome monsters that can consume our lives. She invites us into her painful struggles and spiritual journey, providing solutions to life's problems in highly entertaining and vulnerable, yet empowering, way. You were made to live free. Whether you are struggling with an eating disorder, depression, addiction, or just feeling a little insecure, GOD LOVES UGLY will shift the way you think, motivate permanent change, and inspire your heart to find peace."

I mean, if that back cover alone doesnt make you want to read this book, I don't know what will.

Christa toured with The Jonas Brothers and she is a wonderful performer and song writer. She started the book by talking about how whenever she would see these teenie-bopper girls she just really wanted to be a friend, mentor, and cheerleader for those girls; how she wanted them to have help and guidance through the rough waters of young adult life that she had already sailed (not smoothly). Christa talked about the capacity of your Love Bucket, and how when we believe lies about ourselves the hole in our hearts where love resides is like a leaky bucket. "people cope in different ways when they believe lies about themselves. They act differently when they believe they are unwanted, rejected, or damaged- maybe believing they're dirty, wrong, or unlovable. My beliefs about myselfmight not have been true, but they were the most powerful things in my little universe, and I unconsciously lived through their power every day (pg10)". Wow, its only on page 10, but some how this writer, this lady who never met me, let alone even knows who I am, it was like she knew my heart and could see inside my journal! I shut the book, closed my eyes, and said "no freaking way". I quickly opened the book and continued reading as fast as I could. I wanted to obsorb and read everything this book had to offer.

The three pages over I read this:
 "On top of everything, being loved continuously when you believe that you're unlovable is like throwing salt on a wound. It stings like acid. You want it desperately, instincitively knowing deep down you were wired to need it. In fact, I guarantee you even Adolf Hitler, when he was a baby, longed to be loved and held and cherished. But the more love my parents gave, the more unworthy of love I behaved, constantly trying to find ways to make up for the void and the pain that resided like a monster inside my heart."

What?! I reread that. again and again and again. I found my highlighter and covered the paragraph. As I read this once again, I am in shock, complete shock that someone could help my heart understand why I push away people who really love me (not ALL the time, just when I feel like I really want to be around them and I don't think it will be reciprocated). It was a pararaph that changed me, forever. I don't feel worthy of love because my pain was/is heavy and I carry it around like a tattoo on my forehead that only I know is there.

For my 20th birthday (2010), I got a tattoo (the only one I have), its on my left wrist and it reads "You're worth it". When I got it, I got it because I knew what it was like to feel completely unworthy and so many days I woke up dreading a day that I would have to face the fact that the Savior of the world died for me and I wasnt worthy because I was gross, dirty, and unlovable. Then I heard Mattie Montgomery's spoken word track called "You're worth it".
 (listen here: )
I been asked by one singular person (my friend Brian Beeson) why I got it and what it means for me. It was only a few months after I got it, we were having lunch and he asked me. He always asks question in a way that you are not sure how to really answer, even when you know the answer. I told him that I got it because for so long I felt unwanted, unworthy, and unloved. And one day, in the summer of 2010, I realized that it may take me awhile to feel wanted, worthy, and loved BUT I knew that I never ever wanted anyone to ever feel the way I felt. I told my friend, that I got this permanent reminder because I wanted to be able to constantly remind myself that Jesus calls me worthy, and that I never wanted anyone around me to ever feel that way. My friend smiled because he knew that as much as he wasnt "supportive" of my now tattooed wrist, he knew that I was telling him the truth and he told me that that was the first deep thing I had told him (when I first met Brian Beeson, I was intimidated because he radiated Jesus, every word out of his mouth glorified the Lord and that scared me because THAT guy wanted to be around me and be my friend, needless to say, I did very little talking around Brian, except maybe saying sorry alot and agreeing with most things he said)

With that said, I have officially had this tattoo for 1,597 days (in retrospect of my life thats only 4 years and about 5 months) but not one day have I ever regretted it. There have been days where, it was "less convenient" than others. When I am in Kenya, I cover it because tattoos have an entirely different meaning there. There have also been days where I have completely forgotten about it, and caught a glimpse of it in the mirror or while I am washing my hair in the shower. And nowadays, the baby I babysit all day likes to touch it and make a face like "what the heck is that?", and I always look at him and say "Thomas Patrick, Jesus loves you and I pray that every day you remember who you are in Him." That was the point of this, wasnt it? A perminent reminder to me, to remind those around me that they are LOVED and WANTED by the one true King, definitely, without a doubt.

"Fear is the most crippling emotion. It brings out the worst of the worst if you let it. It kills hope, dreams, and destiny. (God Loves Ugly, pg 67)" Fear is gross, I know that I could get You're Worth It, tattooed on my forhead and I would still have days and nights that functioning because hard because fear has resided where bravery should be. Just recently, I had a night where I felt like there were strips of scotch tape holding my eyelids open, making me unable to sleep. This is frustrating to me in more ways than one because I like to sleep and I like that I can turn off my brain (usually) and dream about frolicking in a field of sunflowers, playing with Faith in Kenya, or the day I get married (yes thats actually been dreamt about). If someone came up to me, and asked me what I was afraid of I wouldn't have to thikn twice about saying "SHARKS!". They terrify me and I can never watch shark week because then I definitely wont be sleeping at all....for awhile. Yet, while I was reading GLU (God Loves Ugly), she prompted a few questions "What are you truly afraid of? what have you not allowed yourself to become out of fear? what are the deams that you dont dare dream because you're afraid they're too big? what are the secret desires and passions of your heart? You weren't born to be dearful; you learned how to be fearful from disappointments, circumstances, and experiences. There is a reason behind every fear. (pg 67)" My fear behind sharks, it mostly that when they are "shown" in a movie, coming at someone who is swimming in the ocean, they come out of no where and the person has no idea! If I really thought about it, I could probably write about all the things I am deeply afraid of: never getting married, never being good enough for anyone, never being someone that someone else couldn't live without, never finishing my teaching credential, never living up to the hope and potential in my life. 

There is a story, that I don't tell because it offends too many people, which is ironic because it happened to me. It's a story that wont ever fully be written on here (but I am praying about writing it in "the" book). I am so thankful the people I have gotten to share my story (face-to-face) because I think that it helps make sense for alot of who I am. In GLU, Christa talks about how every experience, every circumstance, every word said to you, every person you know, every feeling you have affects who you are your fears, beliefs, your confidence, your hope, the way you love, etc. I know that makes sense but its wasnt until I read the words in her book, that I realized that I have always known that, but no one has ever told me that thats ok. It's ok that because failed a college class, that school makes me feel like a failure; its ok that because after an emotional event I was told I was worthless, that I don't feel that I am worth the dirt on the bottom of people's shoes; its ok that because I was told by someone that "I love you" was automatically followed by "but you would be prettier if...", that I have a weight problem because I have made that the loudest voice in my head. All of this is ok, BUT ITS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS FOR ME! He created me to live in my destiny that calls me to live passionately and unabandoned to HIM! 

One of my biggest issues with Christian self-help or encouragement books when people write about their own journey or story, I always have a hard time when I read the last page because I feel like its always "well you read the whole book, it HAS to change your life which means that right now you are going to be a better person, better Christian, better daughter, better friend. The person who wrote this book figured it out and shared it with you, so now just do what they are doing be better, be different." But wait? what happens when I wake up tomorrow and hate the way I look, or when I wake up and eat a donut for breakfast (and hate myself later), or when I show up to work a little grouchy because I couldnt sleep the night before, or when I am short with my roommate because I want 5 minutes all to myself, or when I do exactly the opposite of what the book says and live in fear and hopelessness for a day?  Where is the in between? The in between of not knowing, then knowing, and then "having it all perfectly together". One of my favorite things about GLU, is that Christa talks about her eating disorder and that there are still days when she wakes up and hates herself, but she rememebers who she is in Jesus, she stands in front of the mirror and spouts bits of encouragement in the image of herself she sees. I appreciated the fact that she admitted that its never over and you'll never have it all figured out. 

I have recently been going to some stuff, that will probably never get shared intimately with anyone else, simply because its shameful and embarressing (you can make up whatever you want, I promise you probably wont be right #sorry). Anyways I have seen the Lord work in my life recently in small important ways; ways in which unless I take a step back, I probably wouldnt ever notice. A few months ago, I was begging the Lord for a job. One day He said, "what do you want? what kind of job cna your heart handle?" (no, its not like he didnt know, but its so important to be honest and vulnerable with the Lord). I told the Lord that I wanted 1. to work as a nanny 2. with a family who loved the Lord 3. with a family who respected me 4. with a family that the dad wouldnt be awkward or uncomfortable around me 5. with a family who wasnt funny about paying me (like I have had a family pay me in quarters one time, and another family who no matter how many times I babysit for them they never pay me the right amount) 6. with a family that lived in a safe neighborhood 7. nanny for a kid who was happy and didnt mind that they spent all day with someone who wasnt mom or dad 8. lastly I wanted to work somewhere close to my house so that I wouldn't have to drive too far and put alot more miles on my car 9. have a job that I love waking up and going to every day. Who knew that just a short (but it felt like forever) month later, I was put in contact with the O'Hara family (through a friend of a friend of a friend). I met with the mom of the family and started the first Monday in November watching her son (who was 6 months old at the time) days a week; now a few months later I work FULL TIME watching this sweet boy and working for his wonderful parents! It's close to my house, I absolutely love this family, and I absolutely love getting up and going to work every day (well just 4 days a week). The day I verbally asked the Lord for specifics on the job I wanted, I was skeptical and I felt like I was overreaching and asking too much. Even after everything,  it's crazy that I am still surprised when the Lord really comes through when I ask for something. 

Now that this is the longest post of all time, I would love to express that this was just a bunch of jumbled thoughts put together to say that I am thankful for this awkward, interesting, gracious stage of life I am in. I am thankful that as much as I love my job, I wont be doing it much longer than a year because I am definitely going to become a teacher (soon!)! God is good and every day I am thankful for this journey. 

(that's a weird ending for a post that took a week to write :)) 

Also, I (obviously) highly recommend the book called GOD LOVES UGLY by Christa Black.
Read it. Soak it in. Learn from it. Share it. Love it. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today is Thanksgiving. Basically the easiest day to say thank you and talk about the things we are thankful for. Its "easy" to say thank you for our family, friends, health, job and so on.  This month in my kindergarten Sunday School class (@ San Diego First Church of the Nazarene), our "word for the month" was GRATITUDE. First thing I always do when presented with a new word to teach my class, is I look it up in the dictionary.

GRATITUDE ::the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

I love that. 

I love that I got to share with my class that gratitude is all about having an attitude of saying thank you. Each week, there is a bible story to go along with the theme of each week. The second week, we talked about "taking the time to say thank you." Our bible story was Luke 17:11-19; The Man Who Said Thank You. 

read it here: 
Luke 17:11-19
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance  and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
The man in this story came back to Jesus after being healed to say THANK YOU. 
My kids in my class, LOVED this story. They couldnt understand why only one person said thank you, when Jesus did such a great thing! I loved sharing this story with my kids because it was a tangible example. Jesus healed these 10 men, from a disease that prevented them from living with their families, having a job, or going to church (this created questions like, could they go to the zoo? could they celebrate Christmas? could they see their mom? could they eat pizza?). But we talked about how Jesus came and saved them and made them better, but then after all of that only one person took to the time say thank you. 
Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, and the act of giving thanks. Let us thank Jesus for each thing in our life; from the smallest thing to the biggest thing, from the easiest thing to the hard thing. 
Today I am thankful for:
my mom
my dad
my sister
my brother
my 4 grandpas
my 4 grandmas
my 5 aunts
my 3 uncles
my 17 cousins
my family in Kenya
Faith Mackenzie
Pauline Mwende
my family in Mexico (Pastor Jose and Marta)
my  3 roommates
my house
my best friend
my job
my sunday school class
the children's pastor and her assistant at SDFCN
most of all, 
I am thankful for Jesus and his power to save of from a life of pain; I am so thankful for his love that wraps me in His comfort when I feel completely alone. 

Thank you Jesus, for who You are.  

Happy Thanksgiving, to you and your family! Have a wonderful day! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"You Make Me Brave"

If you know me, then you know that I absolutely LOVE crime fighting shows. Like, Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods...etc. I love the idea that someone CHOOSES for their whole life to save people. I know it's just a tv show but you get what I am saying. (I have two uncles who are/were FBI agents and one uncle who is a polica officer)

To call someone or to be called BRAVE is just a beautiful adjective to describe a person. 

I looked up BRAVE in the dictionary: 

//possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. (adjective)
then I looked up courage:
//the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

I figured that upon looking up the word brave would give me the word courageous and in turn I would need to look up courage. "The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain without fear". Wow! I absolutely love this definition. 

I know that its been awhile since I have posted anything on here. Honestly, I dont feel like many people even read this unless I am talking about the joy and trials of living in Kenya, which is completely ok. But the past few months have been...different. I have felt like I have been pushed and swayed in so many different ways in which the Lord has allowed me to grow. But some days are harder than others. I have really worked towards really wanting to center my life on Jesus and limit my doubt and fear in my life over things I cannot change or control. 


are just some of the words that I have really thought about the past few months. 

I have been trying to learn and see what it means to be fearless and brave in situations where you feel small and unimportant. I don't think Jesus ever asked us to be fearless per say but he does say "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand". He does promise to be there for us forever. Bravery is a beautiful thing. 

The Disney movie called BRAVE is "determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse" (taken from IMDB). When this movie first came out in 2012, I was was skeptical, mostly because I love the "original" Disney princesses and I don't think any should be "added to the pack" without much scrutiny. Anyways, I ended up loving the movie BRAVE. I love that Merida takes her life into her own hands and understands her worth as a person and as a princess. I love that in one scene she rips her dress and her hair is a complete mess, proving that princesses can even have "rough beauty days".  "There comes a day when I don't have to be a princess. No rules, no expectations. A day where anything can happen. A day where I can change my fate"

I don't LOVE the idea about fate and all that stuff in the movie. But the idea that when we stand up for ourselves we can be supported by those who live in truth. (After Marida stood up for herself and how she can CHOOSE who she marries, her father supports her because he realizes that she is telling the truth and being brave". 

There have been many events in the last 10-ish months that have made me want to stand up for myself or my family. Situations that I have not done anything because in those moments, the bravest thing I can do is nothing. The hardest thing to do is recognize when our bravery and strength is best used by repsecting those around us (even when we may not agree). 

In the past 10 months, I have finished college, gotten my BA in Liberal Studies, I spent the summer at home, I officially moved to San Diego full time, I got a part time job as a nanny, I have learned to fall in love with Jesus every day. 

There is no huge epiphany to be talked about here...

But what I do want to say is that, every day I am thankful that Jesus has made me BRAVE through my obediance to him. I am thankful that Jesus had given me hope, strength, and courage in every part of my life. 

THIS song is my heart and mind today. 


I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way
You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

Monday, February 17, 2014


As I sit here in my special education class, I am thoroughly distracted, more so then I have been in awhile. This morning in my pe for teachers class, my professor handed me a brochure for teaching school in Ghana, and getting school credit for it. Honestly, I sort of brushed it away cause I was nervous for my lesson I was to teach to my class today. Then I come to my special education class, and Dr. J hands me the same brochure. I am in awe. This brochure is the same one except this one is in color, and you can see the real beauty of living in a place in Africa. I am struck with heartbreak. So many people have asked me if it will be hard for me not to go back to Kenya this summer, after going to 3 years in a row. Will be hard? It already is. This idea that I'm going to spend this summer (in a way) going to the beach, soaking up the sun, and sleeping in. It's hard to even imagine at this point. At some point, it'll sink I'm right? This idea that I have "chosen" (rather I listen to The Lord) that this summer instead of going to Kenya, I am graduating from point Loma, finishing my last undergrad class, and (hopefully) taking some credential classes. Seems funny, that at this point in the semester for the last two years I have had my plane ticket bought, my bags 1/2 packed, and my heart already too excited. It's weird to think that I won't be going this semester, simply because I am going to the next step of my life. I love that comfort of knowing that I will always go back because that's where my heart lies and where Jesus has called me. It's unnerving to think about all the munchkins who will continue to grow up and move on with their lives. It's crazy to think that the next time I go to Kenya (presumably), baby Jessica will be 2 and walking and talking, Keziah will be 6 and in 1st grade, Faith will be 11 and in grade6 (HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!), and Mwende will be 11 and in class 5. This is insane to me! But on my end, I will (again, presumably) be 24 (almost 25) graduated from college and have my teaching credential, HOLY MOLY! In a way, I help but move on with my life, I can't help but live my days in a way that the only way my heart knows to not be broken by not being in Kenya, its the only way I know how to honor the Lord in the here and the now.

(I wrote all the above part in my class, dont worrry I was paying attention)

Now, I am home and have more work to get done in the next 9 hours then I feel like is even humanly possible. Yet, I came home and watched 4 videos which included the beautiful singing voices of different children in Masii. For those of you who really know me, well you obviously know that I am bawling my eyes out. Totally overwhelming, "can't even see the screen" sort of crying, but I am not heart broken, rather I am thankful. Thankful that I was able to go so many times, and hopefully will be able to in the future. As I continue to go on with my life, my school work, my jobs, and church stuff because THIS is where the Lord has me. Which is a hard thing to grasp as I attempt to really live in the presence of the Lord in every instance of my life.

As I continue in school and graduate in 2 months 3 weeks and 1 day, I am learning to remember the big picture and not just stress over todays homework. God plan is bigger than this silly assignment I can't figure out, and bigger than what I can figure out. Thankfully THAT is one of many joys of following Jesus, I dont have to have it all figured out.

"Your heart will take you places your head can't comprehend. In God you can experience things that are impossible to explain." Kris Vallotton

Friday, January 17, 2014

Praising in all circumstances

I can get so caught up in days when there is so much to be thankful for, that I forget to actually thank the one who is worthy to be thanked! Its so easy on bad or hard days to yearn to look upon the face of Jesus and rest in His peace. I think for me, its hard to live through the same time. On Sunday, I moved back to San Diego and Tuesday I started my last semester of undergrad at Point Loma. WOW, I have been feeling so good and so positive and excited for this semester. 

On Saturday night, one of my professors son died and then I find out a family I am close are going through a horrible legal thing, that honestly definitely should NOT be happening. And all I can think is, WHAT THE HECK! I can't even begin to explain the heartache that I feel for those who are going through so much. Its incredible that throughout this whole week, different things have come up that have caused me to really take a step back and to look at what is happening to those around me. 

At some point, I believe that we (hopefully) can grow out of our selfishness and begin to see and treat others the way God sees and treats them. Its hard to stand by and watch as so many people around you in such a hard place. For me, its weird to be on the opposite side of it all. I have had a rough few years, and I honestly never thought I would come out of it. Every day I lived in a place of hurt, pain, and loneliness and just very recently have I come to see the light and hope in my own life that I have only found through the grace of Jesus. 

As I watch those around me go through things, that I can only imagine, dont even feel real. Today, I had lunch with my friend Leslie, who is close to the family of my professor (whose son passed away) and she was also friends with my friend Raegan who also passed away almost two years ago. Its incredible to sit with Leslie as she expresses to me how the family is really doing and how different it is than so many stories and rumors I've heard through the bubble of Point Loma about everything. As I sat with my dear friend and we talked about Raegan and how it's still SO hard because so many things remind us of her, about working with kids and the joys and challenges of that, and about how life is so precious and can be over in an instant. 

Today I was listening to the radio and someone came on the radio about how a very HIGH percentage of people were diagnosed with cancer in 2013. I usually don't listen to the commercials but this caught my attention simply because it was really true. I heard the statistics and then began to sink into my own thoughts as I began to think about how being diagnosed with cancer is so shocking and usually the person really has no idea they have it and then they become sick and weak and have to (usually) depend on others to take care of them. I thought about how just today Leslie and I were talking about how Raegan was always preparing those around her for her passing because she always knew she wasn't going to live very long, and expressed to me how as much as losing Raegan was almost too hard, losing her younger brothers best friend (my professors son) was almost more hard because it was instant and a complete surprise. When she first said that, my (selfish) initial thought was "oh well are you saying that you don't miss Ragean?" Well I KNEW that wasn't true but as I listened to my friend who has been too close to the heartbreak of death in the last few years, I see her face soften (even more) as she shares with me how her brother is doing and how this is hard for her because it has taught her how quickly life can be taken away and in turn she taught me of the same thing.

As I think back on where I was 10 years ago, I realize that I was 14 and I had no idea that in 1 year I would deal with real depression and that two years after that I would go through a horrible trauma that would almost take over my life. Thankfully by the overwhelming grace of Jesus, I was able to go to counseling and was blessed to have my family stand by me as I worked on becoming the person Jesus created me to be. (and no this isn't an "I'm all better post", but I do feel a WHOLE lot better!) I was talking with someone today, and she was telling me about how she is really praying that everything I have gone through will help me to see the world differently, not with naiveness but with genuine grace and compassion. 

"Why do bad things happen to good people?" this question has ALWAYS bugged me and I am positive I have never written a blog post about it. It's bugged me because I have had alot of people ask me that and I never ever know what to say. I usually follow it up with a compassionate "I don't know". I don't think I will ever know the answer, and I honestly don't want to. I don't want to know the reason why my professors son passed away, or why my dear friend Raegan passed away before she could get married and have kids, or why my grandpa Bill wont be able to come to my college graduation, all I know (and all I can understand) is that it was time for them to go to heaven, because Jesus really wanted them there. 

As I think about this past week, the two chunks of bad news I was told, the fresh start of my last semester of undergrad, the start of my new nanny job, attending my first grad class (which I totally cried after because it seemed so unreal), and the reuniting with friends I made last semester, its easy to be thankful for the good things. It becomes all too easy pray to God in the heartache to pray for Him to save you in a time of hopelessness. I think, that that is ok though. Jesus' heart does yearn for us to call on Him and lean on Him when we need Him (isnt he depicted as the hubsand of the church?). Yet, I know for me, life becomes crazy and busy and school work load gets heavier and heavier and I seem to forget to praise Him on my "easy" days. I forget that joy and peace comes from Jesus alone and through what He has given to us on THAT day. 

It's interesting that this week, I have faulted to not writing in my journal or taking the normal time to write this blogpost (instead of a few hours, it took 3 days). It's funny how I had a harder time praising Jesus for the good, yet when I felt heartbroken or weak, I called out to Jesus and begged for his comfort. 

What if I/we learned to be praising Him in all circumstances with no limitation on anything? What if we praise Him for His holiness and worthiness. I think that no one will ever do this perfectly but what if every day, we worked on saying something positive, something loving, something thankful, and something your struggling with, and bringing it to the Lord every day? What if we learned that God is the ultimate being and that everything good comes from Him and that He makes all things new in His name, whether or not we know it, understand it, or like it. I am thankful that we serve a God who knows that we are human and faulty (He made us! He knows!). As I continue to lift those who are in pain and give it to Jesus, I pray that they may know that this is a season of life and that they are still here because God is not finished with them yet. 

Thank you, Jesus for loving us despite our brokenness, hopelessness, and flakiness. Thank you for sending your son to die for us, so that we may find our hope in you. Thank you for NOT giving up on us.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY 2014!!!!!

I honestly cannot even believe that it is already 2014.

2013 was an incredible year. I was honored to be able to go back to Kenya for the 3rd time in a row. I was able to sponsor a little girl through Tumaini. I was honored to go back to go back to Point Loma to finish up my senior year (only 4 more classes!). I made so many new and wonderful friends!

The last few days, I have been really....deep in thought, I guess you could say. I haven't been sleeping well, and three nights ago, I woke up and wrote 5 pages in my journal with all the thoughts and ideas flowing around in my head. Two nights ago, I woke up bawling because of something sorta silly that I have been struggling with. And today, I have really just wanted to spend time alone and read and journal and sink deep within my own thoughts and the words that Jesus shared with us in the Bible.

As, I tried to think about what I wanted this post to be about, its a funny thing because things that come to mind are similar to things I have written about so many times before; patience, gratefulness, thankfulness, hope, joy and being in love with Jesus. yet, shouldn't our wholes lives be a living these aspects because THAT'S who Jesus created us to be? I have learned that I have to be gracious with myself as, so often I want to write about something that is so obvious to me yet coming to an understanding that this is all simply my point of view and making it anything more or less than that, is wrong.

Going into 2014, there are VERY few things I am certain of. I know that I am going to graduate from Point Loma on May 10. I KNOW that I will turn 24 (yikes!) on September 30. Apart from that, there are very few things that I am sure will happen. I am usually ok with not knowing, not fully understanding what the Lord has planned, I know that I definitely don't need to know or understand any of it.

It's moments like this, moments of unrest and uncertainty that I am so thankful that I serve a Jesus who (without hesitation) understands who I am and all my worries and impatient waiting. I am thankful that as many sleepless nights I may have, over this "silly" struggle with I am having I KNOW in my heart that Jesus is the ultimate conqueror of my heart, no matter what.

Some days, that idea makes it easier and some days it doesn't.

But I am thankful that no matter which kind of day it is, that Jesus is still with me even on the worst days.

I am sort of forcing this blog of me, more than most because writing really does help me to see deeper into who I am, as a way to further help those around me understand who I am.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

learning to be thankful

I am so thankful. I am thankful for where I am at right now and for the things happening in my life. Currently, I am taking 4 upper division courses, working 21 hours a week (@ school which means M-F between 8 and 5), I volunteer at first church on Sundays and Wednesdays, I babysit Monday and Wednesday mornings from 8-10:30, and the family I live with is moving before next semester (and I'm unsure if I will move with them or not).

Today, I have done alot of "I'm stressed" and "I'm overwhelmed" crying. Today, I am thankful for those tears. Thankful that my life is completely chaotic and stressful.

Sounds funny, right?

But truly, I am! don't get me wrong, I absolutely hate that last night I was unable to sleep because I have so much to do in the next two weeks. Yet, I am absolutely (at the same time) loving this because its really teaching me how to trust and be thankful in everything all the time. Yes, granted I have had a few meltdowns and many days with lots of tears, yet its most comforting that I can rest in the peace that I never have to be alone. I am thankful, explosively thankful that the Lord is allowing me this time to truly trust Him, when I feel like I can't do it on my own. I am thankful for what I am learning and for a hope and a light that my life wont always feel like this.

I am stressed. I am overwhelmed.
but I am also thankful.

I (like everybody else) have been through alot, yet through it all I have learned that Jesus is the ultimate provider and protector. And usually, the ways in which He allows us to grow, learn, and live; is not in the way we can even "plan" or "assume". I am thankful that even when I think I have everything together, Jesus reminds me that I don't have to have it all together but I can trust in Him as the perfect constant.

Though this sounds like a post about me complaining, its actually about me and how I am learning to be thankful, when sometimes I don't want to. Being thankful in all circumstances is not necessarily a habit that we form and one day it becomes natural, but through each individual and singular circumstance we learn how to be thankful for each aspect of every situation.

Today, I am thankful for school, stress, too much work, the piano test I have in a week & I have to play 3 songs (!!), for the fact that I don't know for sure where I am living next semester, or for the fact that I have more work due in the next week than there are hours in a day.

I am thankful that no matter what I got going on, Jesus is Lord and His plan is perfect for me.