When You’re Lonely

1. Clean something. Anything. Your room, the closet, the bathroom mirror.

2. Do some laundry.

3. Sing your favorite song.

4. Call a friend.

5. Friend’s busy? Call another friend.

6. Write to a loved one. Or text. Or both.

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7.  Make cookies or cupcakes.

8. Do something artsy- craftsy.

9. Wash the dishes while listening to your favorite band.

10. Do something nice for someone you love.

11. Snuggle with a baby.

12. Read a book.

13. Journal. Write out your thoughts.

14. Watch a movie.

15. Cook dinner.

16. Do some more laundry. (Those blankets haven’t been washed in a while.)

17. Vacuum.

18. Plant something. Or offer to take care of someone’s garden while they’re out of town.

19. Eat those cookies you made earlier.

20. Call your favorite aunt or uncle.

21. Cuddle a puppy.

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22. Pray for someone you love.

23. Tell that person you prayed for them.

24. Color a picture.

25. Watch the Jamie Grace Show.

26. Make a bucket list.

27. Make a grocery list.

28. Make a To Do list.

29. Don’t forget about those things you put in the washing machine and hour ago.

30. Have a backwards dinner. Eat your ice cream before your veggies.

31. Go find and talk to the frogs in your backyard. They might be lonely too. (Apparently one was because he was in my house this morning.)

32. Read Psalm 139.

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33. Tell God about your loneliness.

34. Go for a walk or a bike ride.

35. Go visit a friend.

36. Cuddle another baby. Or puppy.

37. Take a nap.

38. Organize your sock drawer, your dresses, or your shirts by color.

39. Rearrange your bookshelves

40. Make yourself a cup of tea and have another cookie.

You are not alone.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalms 34:18 NKJV

For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalms 107:9 NKJV

Undeserving Love

So much love has been showed to me in this past week alone. It’s almost too much for me to handle.

Last week, I passed out at work. I was helping write up a customer when I started feeling light headed. It was past 2, I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, and I hadn’t been drinking enough water so naturally, my body shut down and I blacked out. I was only out for a few minutes – I have no idea how long exactly, but long enough that by the time I came to, Bailey had called 911 and Mom, Mrs. Jenny was at my side, and the customer I was helping got down on the floor and was rubbing my hands. I felt so bad that I put everyone in a complete panic in a matter of seconds, but I also felt so overwhelmed by the amount of concern and love that came from my coworkers and even the customers who were present.

Dad took me to the ER to get checked out and other than my scraped and very bruised nose, everything was fine. I’m perfectly healthy…I just need to be sure I’m eating and drinking and taking care of myself. Anyways, throughout the two hours we were there, Mrs. Jenny and Mrs. Nancy were texting me letting me know they were praying for me. Mrs. Nancy always tells me, “love you more.” Whether I say “I love you” first or not. Mr. Rex had sent a mass email to my church family asking for prayers.

For the next two days, my phone blew up. People from church called me up or texted me telling me they were praying for me. (The fact that people pray for me is enough to make me cry, y’all.) My friends reached out and were there when I needed them. Beth sent me a letter that came at the perfect time. I wasn’t feeling that great and she encouraged me so much by reminding me who our God is by describing His names alone. My favorite is El Roi – The God Who Sees. I have written in my Bible, “You are the God who sees. And You are the God who sees even me!” For so long, I had felt lonely and I struggled with thoughts that God didn’t really care about me or that He was disappointed in me. I wish I could tell myself when I was in the midst of these emotions that I could never be more wrong. My God sees everything and He sees even me. Not only does He see me, but He cares for me. He  loves me and His love is not like my love. It is not based off of how well I do things, or what I don’t do. My God has surrounded me with so many loving people so that I am never alone.

My siblings kept an eye on me when I was home to make sure I didn’t do anything crazy after I fell. Bailey, Mr. Mike, Mrs. Jenny, AND Travis all made sure I was eating lunch and drinking plenty of water when I went back to work. They’re still keeping an eye on me. I’m telling you, I can never pass out again because I put way too many people into a panic.

Yesterday, the same customer I was working with when I passed out came in to pick up his order. Y’all, the sweet man brought me candy to keep my blood sugar up. He didn’t have to do that, but he wanted to and that totally made my day.

That’s only a fraction of the love I have felt. That has just been this past week. I might just be ridiculously lucky to have so many people who care about me, but I think it’s safe to say that the Lord has placed those kinds of people in everyone’s life. Even if it’s just one person, that is one of the ways He expresses His undeserving and overwhelming love.

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.

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.

One Year.

A year ago, I was sitting in our jam-packed (and I mean JAM-PACKED) van, with sleep still in my eyes, and brain fog on the road to our new home.

I still remember it like it was yesterday. McKenna, her mom, Darby, and her mom got up at like 4 in the morning to drive an hour to our house to camp on our driveway so they could send us on our journey. It was all the Lord’s doing, let me tell you. My parents were so exhausted from packing the van the night before, we decided not to leave at 5, but at 7 in the morning. So we all got to say our goodbyes and give our final hugs. I remember us all praying on the driveway right as the sun began to rise. I remember getting into the van, and feeling so grateful for such sweet friends who would make the trip out to say one last goodbye. But I also remember feeling so exhausted, afraid, sad, and a little angry.

It’s been a year, but I still remember feeling every. single. bump. in the road. That’s the worst thing about road-trips, you know. You try to go back to sleep, but right as you’re about to drift off, there’s a pothole, or trash in the road, or roadkill. And you keep trying to fall asleep until you’re so exhausted, you just pass out. Then five minutes later, your dad pulls into a gas station and that’s the only stop for the next three hours, so you need to get up.

A year ago, I was staring at the darkness outside our windows with tears rolling down my cheeks as I already felt the homesickness settle in my chest. Saying goodbye was never easy for me. The thought of this big change terrified me. I remember asking God so many whys. “Why would You have me leave my home? What’s out there? Why do I have to leave my friends? Why would You place me in a new area to get settled? Why are You making me go through all of this change? Is this really necessary? Why are You doing this to me?”

I knew I would get used to my new home. Hey, I might even like it one day. I knew my friends and my family-by-choice would adjust to my absence and I knew I would too. But I didn’t want that. If you were to ask me a year ago, “if you had the choice to stay, would you?” I would have said, “yes” in a heartbeat. I didn’t want to leave at all. But God definitely had other plans.

A year ago, at around 3 in the morning, we pulled up in our rental house’s driveway. I remember dragging myself out of the van and shivering in the freezing wind. I looked up at the sky and saw the biggest, brightest, most beautiful stars I had ever seen. I remember thinking that my friends are looking at those same stars and at the same moon. And I remember telling myself that this might not be a bad place after all.

So that started my adventure here and God did so much within just that one year. I will be sharing some of that in the months to come, so stay tuned. 🙂

We’re Not Kids Anymore

We used to be afraid of the dark.

The shadows in the corner,

The monsters in the closet,

The dragons,

The skeletons,

The thundering rain.

They didn’t disappear

When we grew up.

No

They grew with us.

The shadows are now inside us.

Haunting thoughts,

Discouraging dreams.

The monsters are Insecurity,

Depression,

Hatred,

Stress,

Pain.

The dragons destroy our sparks

Our hopes,

Our courage,

Our ideas,

Our love.

The skeletons scare us

Until we become

Just

Like

Them.

Unfeeling,

Unloving,

Uncaring.

We aren’t little kids anymore.

Now we’re little kids inside big people bodies.

Fighting to stay alive,

To stay true,

To stay “us.”

We’re turning on night lights,

Revealing monsters,

Slaying dragons,

Touching skeletons realizing,

They felt once,

Cared once,

Loved once.

Now we’re reaching,

Rescuing,

Holding,

Healing,

Loving.

Living.

Because Someone did that

For us.