The Goodness of God

{Past}

It’s been a while. A long while since I saw him, or heard from him. And then, there he was. Smiling, staring at the ground with a girl by his side. Their faces frozen forever in a perfect little picture.

I shouldn’t have been stalking her. Now my heart hurts. It’s not broken. I remember what that feels like. It was so horrible. I felt shattered, crushed into a million pieces. I never felt so small and insignificant in my whole life. No, this time it’s a dull ache that burns in my chest. There’s regret. So much regret.

I’m relieved that it’s over. I finally have closure. But I also feel sad and disappointed that things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. I desperately wanted him notice me. I tried so hard and wasted so much time and energy trying to get him to like me. But it was all to no avail. He wasn’t the one for me.

Thank God.


{Present}

The past three years have been one heck of a ride. It’s amazing how far the Lord has brought me and just how much He’s done in my heart.

15. That was not very long ago. I was young and crazy and head over heels for one guy, and then another guy, and then another. (None of which liked me back the very least.)

I spent so much time and energy trying to make boys that just weren’t the ones for me, the right ones for me. I had tried so hard to give my heart to each one. Mom warned me about the consequences of doing that. It would hurt and it’s a waste of time and affection that is so very precious. I would regret it because there were so many other things I could pour my energy into other than boys. But I didn’t listen. I still gave my heart away and every single time, I got hurt.

I let myself go until I became someone I didn’t recognize. I was unhappy with my image, with my personality, with all of me because I felt like no one liked me for who I really was. I tried so hard to be someone else for a guy. A guy who didn’t care for me. I spent so much time and energy wishing, wanting, and trying way too hard to get him to like me. Every night, I prayed that he would be the one for me. I said, “God, please let him be the one!” when really I meant, “God, please make him the one!” I am so thankful God did not give me what I wanted!

Then I moved.

And then the healing began.

I came to face some really hard truths.

Truth is, I wasn’t ready to date. (And I’m still not ready to date.)

Truth is, I wasn’t ready for marriage. (And I’m still not ready for marriage.)

Truth is, every guy I really liked was actually a terrible match for me.

Truth is, the distance away from my friends and all the guys I knew has actually been really good for me.

Truth is, I really need to get to know my Savior first before I ever get to know any guy.

Truth is, I have a really good God who has protected my heart in so many ways, it makes me cry every time I really think about it.

For three years, God gave me acne. The kind of acne that you just can’t hide no matter how much makeup you put on. It was big, red, painful, and pretty much all over my face. I hated it so much, but now I’m pretty sure those mountains were what kept the boys from falling in love with me during a very vulnerable time.

You know how I know?

Three years ago, in the middle of my boy-craziness, my acne was just awful. Like I went to a dermatologist because it was so awful, and she said it was awful. (Okay, she said it was very severe, not awful.) It was bad. Up until the time I moved, it had stayed that way. But ever since I’ve been living here, my skin has healed! It’s unreal. As I have grown in the Lord and let Him heal my heart, He has healed my skin too. It’s so amazing.

Ever since I moved, I have not met a single guy who is remotely close to my age. (Okay, that’s not true. There are boys here but they’re young and wild.)

God gave me ladies like my mom and Mrs. Nancy. Ladies who love the Lord and who are the kind of wives that I want to be when it’s time.

God gave me a handful of good, Christian girlfriends who have encouraged me in my walk with Him.

God gave me such a good daddy (and mommy) who will guard my heart even when I won’t do it myself. And they will continue to guard it until God brings the man HE picked for me. I’m so thankful for my parents. They counseled me when I was heartbroken. Now they’re encouraging me to pour my energy and time into the people I love and the things I like to do. To be busy instead of sitting around wishing for a boyfriend. They reminded me to be myself and to love myself because God made me the way I am: Complete. Perfectly and wonderfully made. Exactly the way He wanted me to be. And God doesn’t make mistakes. And finally, they told me to wait on the Lord’s timing. For His timing is perfect, and He always, always, has my best interests in mind.

So that’s where I am now. Waiting and trusting in the Lord.

Good Gifts

You don’t realize how special your family is. 99% of the time, you take them for granted whether they’re around or not.

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That is until you have special moments like these.

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Becca tho. Why.

When you’re together and you catch up on life.

 

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When you’re laughing so hard your sides hurt and you’re crying. Or you stay up till 2am and literally fall asleep talking to each other.

That was what happened when the cousins came. We haven’t seen them in a couple of years, but they came to visit for New Year’s weekend. It was so so good. I didn’t realize how much I missed them and loved them until they had to go. I cried so hard the day they left. I had taken them for granted.


My uncle flew in from Korea and stayed with us for like ten days or so. Komo came for two days during that time. Oh, and Uncle Joe surprised us and stayed with us too. So we had our family reunion and played games and watched movies. Here are some of my favorite moments.

That time when we watched Inside Out and we all cried together.

All the puzzles we put together. With every piece, Uncle David would say, “This is key.”

When we played games and Uncle David said,”The losers shall eat chocolate because they are sad.”

The fact that Uncle Joe brought more food than clothes with him when he arrived. How does he manage to get everything through security?!?!? #donutsfordays #whitecastle #ilovemyuncle

Sam was baptized the same weekend both uncles were here. (Komo unfortunately had to go back to work.)

With every game we played, Uncle David calculated the probability of the dice or the cards and insisted that we trust the math… Because the math works and math is life.


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We also took a trip down to Texas to see some friends. Man, have I missed these girls!

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An unexpected surprise! We got to see Aunt Laura and Uncle Kerry!

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Aunt Laura and Uncle AJ renewed their wedding vows for their 25th anniversary.

Hearing parts of their journey together and hearing their new promises to each other with the ocean crashing behind them was such a privilege. Being married to only each other for 25 years is a rarity. It’s one thing to get married, but it’s another thing to stay married. Their marriage and my parents’ marriage are a testimony to the Lord’s goodness and His grace. That’s the kind of marriage I want–one that is firmly anchored to the Lord and to be growing and encouraging each other to be more like Christ.

 

With all the people I got to see these past few months, James 1:17 kept coming to mind. Every soul I got to see, every hug I got to give, and every laugh we shared was a beautiful gift from the Father of lights. I don’t know when I’ll get to see them again. It’s more fun now that we’re older, but it’s also harder to get together because we’re working and there’s college and life happens. But I realize that my family is important. I often take them for granted, but they are a good, good gift from my heavenly Father. I need to make time for them. I may not see my friends on a regular basis, but every text message, every card, and every skype call or lunch date is a good, good gift from my Father. I can’t take that for granted.

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“These are the days, these are the days. The days we’ll never get back. These are the days, these are the days. And these days are all we have.”

Goals for 2017

I’m not one who makes New Year’s resolutions. However this year, I did have some goals I want to meet. Or at least work on throughout the year and see progress. 😉

1. Read through the entire Bible in one year.

2. Become a more balanced person spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

3. Read the steadily growing stack of 20-some books sitting on the bedroom floor.

4. Graduate.

5. Play my violin more often.

6. Finish the projects I started.

7. Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. (My new motto)

Run wild: Take risks. Take chances. Don’t be reckless, but don’t live in fear. Have courage, dear heart.

Live free: Live the life of freedom that the Lord has given you. Walk with Him, living in accordance with the plan He has made for you. Taste and see that the Lord is good; you are blessed when you trust in Him.

Love strong: Because you were first loved and without love, we would perish. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Don’t be afraid of sharing your heart and soul with Him. He’s a master of holding hearts and He’ll take good care of yours. ❤ And finally, love others.

Here’s to 2017.

Reflections on 2016

I said 2016 was the worst year of my life.

And apparently a lot of people agree with me.

But here’s the thing. 2016 in of itself wasn’t bad. It was just another year. What made it bad for me personally was that in the past, I had made a lot of poor choices and bad decisions and this was the year I suffered the consequences. But even through all the trouble I caused and experienced, God was faithful, steadfast, and unchanging.

Here’s what I’ve learned this past year.

Life can suck. Change can really suck. When everything is completely new, it can be really terrifying to think about adjusting and it is perfectly normal to feel like you can’t handle it. It’s okay to feel sad and a little lost over something you can’t control. But. Don’t dwell on the fact that everything is different and nothing will ever be the same again. Don’t let that drag you down. Instead, remember that God will never give you more than you can handle and He’s going to go with you through all the changes. He won’t leave you behind.

Life is short. Too short to hide behind a camera. Take the time to step away from your phone. Stop taking pictures for a minute and enjoy everything around you with your own two eyes. Soak it in. Remember it for yourself. Then maybe take a few pictures for that scrapbook of yours. 😉

Read some more. Be still, even if it’s for twenty minutes. Take one chapter at a time. Go on those adventures between the pages. Fight monsters. Conquer fears. Find true love and live happily ever after. Just don’t forget about reality.

Don’t lose heart. Some days, life can feel really crappy. There will be times when you won’t know what to do or say, or how to react and that’s okay. Take a deep breath. Talk to Jesus. Really talk to Him. Pour your heart and soul out –trust me, you won’t regret it. He’s a master of holding hearts and He’ll take good care of yours.

Listen to what He has to say. It’s so important to listen. Otherwise it’s a one-sided conversation, you know? You do all the talking and you ask all the questions, but you don’t get any answers because you don’t listen. Sit at His feet and rest in His presence. Seek His will. Chase after it and never stop.

Choose your friends wisely, love. There is a huge difference between friends and acquaintances. Make sure you know the difference.

Don’t push away your family. Your parents will always be your biggest cheerleaders and you will always have a friend and confidante in them. You really are going to be stuck with your siblings forever. You don’t have to like them, but you do have to love them. They will be the ones who will take you in when you need a place to stay. They’ll keep you company whether you want them to or not. Cultivate good relationships with them now while you’re all young. It won’t be long before you all start moving out and living a life on your own. These are the days and you’ll never get them back. Redeem the time you have.

Finally. Run wild. Live free. Love strong.

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Here’s to another year.

Love Like God Loves

This past Sunday marked our one year anniversary of attending our church. Originally, I had written up a draft reminiscing of my family’s adventures in finding this church that we call home, but I discarded that because I want to share what’s going on in the present, rather than focusing on the past. Lots of things are happening, some good, some bad.

What I really want to share is something that has been on my heart ever since I was sick with a nasty cold last Sunday. I stayed home from church and listened to a sermon by Ben Stuart on how God Is Our Father. What struck me was that God loves me. Like, He loves me. And I didn’t do anything to make Him love me, He just loves me because He is love. So, that caused me to question myself: how can I love God more? Like, how can I rejoice and get excited over God’s love even more than I do now? How can I love like He loves? What are some areas in my life that I need to work on loving like Him? Do people see God’s love shining out of me when they come in contact with me? So, I prayed about it. And honestly, I didn’t think God would answer it, not to mention in this way, but He did.

For the past few months, my family and I have been having some issues with our nextdoor neighbors and just this past week, it had escaladed into something a little more serious. Serious enough that the police showed up at our front door after my parents had confronted our neighbors about a letter they received from the HOA. The neighbors had anonymously filed a complaint about us kids being disruptive and too noisy while playing soccer in our own backyard in the daytime. I know, it’s ridiculous and that’s not even half of it. But from that, to a very unpleasant encounter I had with the husband telling us to stay off of his property (which we’re staying clear of now!), I have found it really, really, difficult to love my neighbors. I felt so angry and confused that they would treat us so terribly when all we have done is make them feel comfortable, welcome, accepted, and above all, loved. Before they even moved in, we have treated them like family, and we have been kind to them, helping them in any and every way that we could.

Forgiving these people has been so hard. I’ll admit, I have been very bitter about all of this drama. It just doesn’t make sense that they would be so mean! I know that they’ve been through a lot these past few months, but that’s no excuse for them to act like children and tattle on us to the HOA or the police over something so trivial.

But. God reminded me through my big sister that He loves these people too. Jesus died for these sinners too. And His love is not like my love. God’s love is patient. It is kind. It is not envious. It is not puffed up, nor is it proud. It doesn’t behave rudely. It doesn’t rejoice in iniquity, rather it rejoices in the truth. It doesn’t seek its own. It thinks no evil. It bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and believes all things. God’s love never fails.

That’s the kind of love that I want to have. I want to love like God loves. And part of loving like He loves means putting aside my bitterness and anger and choosing to forgive. Because God loves my neighbors too. He loves them just as much as He loves me. That doesn’t mean that what my neighbors said and did was right. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t apologize. But it does mean that I am not going to hold this against them regardless of whether or not they recognize that they did wrong.

If I’m going to love like God loves, I need to love my enemies. I need to love my neighbors whether they’re neighborly or not because God’s love is unconditional. I want my love to be unconditional too. I need to forgive them because if I continue to hold a grudge against them and remain bitter, there’s no room in my heart for love. And I choose to love.

I choose to love like God loves.

Sixteen.

I’m turning seventeen in a matter of days. I’m trying not to think about it because I’m actually kind of dreading it. Let me explain: My goal in life was to turn sixteen. I know, it’s a silly goal, but that was my dream. I had this idealized version of what my sweet sixteenth year would look like ever since I was a little girl. Like, I would be driving, working, possibly graduating, hanging out with friends with no adults around, and enjoying the privileges an adult has without having the expectations to fulfill their responsibilities.

Well, let me tell you that my sweet sixteen was nothing like that. I don’t know how to drive, I don’t have a job, I’m still in school, and I haven’t gone out with a single person other than my family ever since we’ve moved.

If I’m completely honest, sixteen was the worst year of my life. I dealt with some serious emotional, spiritual, and relational problems all throughout my sixteenth year. I wrestled with all kinds of change. And I think this was the year that God really got ahold of me and had me face all of the issues I was keeping inside of me for years. Which, is a good thing because looking back, I really needed to do that. But gosh, it was so painful; I never want to go through that again.

The thought of being a year older and facing all of the changes, good or bad, accompanying it gives me some anxiety. Some people have already made the comment that I’m almost an adult. That thought gives me even more anxiety. I’m not ready to be an adult! This past year has shown me that I’m not ready–that I’m not as prepared for adulthood as I thought I was.

Last night, Mr. Blais gave a study on the book of Ruth. Throughout the whole study he reminded me that life is full of choices: good ones, bad ones, better ones, and the best ones. And with that thought in mind, I can see that if I had made some better choices in the past, this year would probably have been a whole lot easier. Maybe that’s why I’m dreading my seventeenth year of living. I’m going to have to make choices that are a little harder than whether I’m going to do Algebra today or tomorrow. I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do after I graduate, where am I going to go to college, am I even going to go to college, who am I going to date (when the time comes), what am I going to say to those who disagree with my decisions, how am I going to live my life?


So, here’s what I found this morning that calmed my anxious heart.

“that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:12)

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“That He (Jesus) would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

” Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.: (Ephesians 4:29)

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit[b] is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10)

” Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

“and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:10)

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

 

Summer Recap

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That.

Fireworks.

4th of July.

Myrtle Beach. (Jami though.)

McBee Road Trip.

Peach Canning.

Olympia. ❤

 

Summer is over. I’ve loved every bit of sunshine, fun day, road trip, canning day, and any other day I didn’t have school ;). It’s been great. Our first summer in a new state, new area, new house (!), with new friends, as well as some old ones, has been fantastic. I still get homesick. Like, I miss my friends and I wish that I could hang out with them and make memories with them. I still get really sad some days. But, it’s better. I think I finally get what my mom and dad have been trying to tell me, “Make new memories. Make new friends.”

So here they are. My new memories.