Faith

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I used to have this verse hanging via decal on my living room wall. Then I moved from Waco and never replaced it. Still I find myself doodling it a lot

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gain approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible…and without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” –Hebrews 11

If I told you I took a spiritual gifts test on Sunday and faith came back as one of my strongest spiritual gifts would you believe me? Honestly, I was somewhat shocked. The knowledge and wisdom aspects didn’t surprise me as much. I am a learner. I love gaining knowledge about anything and everything. Scripture is no exception to this rule. Concerning wisdom, I understood how I ranked so highly on that. From my knowledge, I had experienced spiritual maturity and began to be able to practically apply that knowledge I had grown up with my entire life.

But faith…really…faith? Faith is for the crazy people that believe God is capable of everything right? Faith is for people like Abraham, Moses, and David. But me? God granted me the gift of faith? I was honestly taken aback. This simply cannot be so. Yet then again, I did mark a five out five on the line “I feel assured that a situation will change for the glory of God even when the situation seems impossible.” 

Then I read the text box for faith:

Faith trusts God to work beyond the human capabilities of the people. Believers with this gift encourage others to trust in God in the face of apparently insurmountable odds. (1 Corinthians 12:9)

If you want to talk about yelling at God for saying a situation is impossible, I am probably your poster child. Still, I realized this very reason is why it hit me so much.

Make no mistake, I am always the first person to say “don’t doubt God, you never know what He could be up to.” But saying it and believing it. Well, those are two completely different scenarios. Yet here I sit, faith tied for the highest score on my spiritual gifts.

The faith one is the one that hit me the most because it’s the one that has felt so real in my life for the past few years. I had to go beyond hearing it and knowing it to living it and believing it. Ultimately, it was this faith that God is in the midst of everything and is able to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds that my ex and I became so close.

He was going through one of the, if not the, toughest time in his life up to that point at least. I could sense his anger. I could sense his hopelessness. I could sense there were moments he wanted to ask God why He would place such an egregious situation in his life.

As he went through these circumstances, I would sit with him and try to make him talk to me. I knew he didn’t want to, but I still encouraged him by letting him know that I was there 24/7 if he ever needed a support through everything he had to face. Although we weren’t yet dating at this point, let’s be honest I inherently knew I loved him (whether I was ready to admit it or not is a topic for later discussion), and all I wanted was assurance he would be okay no matter what happened.

I distinctly remember one night at our local city park. He and I and a few other friends all went down to the park to hang out, goof off, be kids, whatever. We were 16 year olds that wanted to stay out until curfew. Though while we were all joking around, he separated himself from the group. He climbed up to the top of one of the slides and just stood there analyzing his surroundings. I figured his mind had to be racing with thoughts so I climbed up there with him to see what was going on. Like I said, my goal in the entire situation was to always make sure he was okay.

He opened up to me that night. He told me how angry he was at everything. He told me how he felt alone, almost like his other siblings didn’t quite understand the feelings he was trying to work through. And most importantly he told me he just didn’t get it. I sat there and listened and then proceeded to talk him through his anger. I told him God had an end to this situation but it would require a lot of faith on his behalf. I told him God would use the hurtful and seemingly impossible circumstances in his life to not only grow him stronger as a person, but also bring glory to His name. I remember telling him it may seem weird now, but you’ll see how God will work this out.

I held his hand (literally and figuratively) as he moved forward with a battle he never thought he would have to face in his life. It’s coming up on seven years, and I pray he is able to see how God used and is still using this situation and how everything worked out because I know I can.

Little did I know, however, that years later God would use him to shatter my world, and in my heart-broken state I would have to begin uttering those same words of faith I gave him on the slide that night to myself. I could no longer look at him and tell him everything was going to be okay and move on with my life. I had to learn how to hear and believe the truths God was speaking into my life, even though I can recall pulling into the parking garage at Baylor one day and in my prayer simply saying “God…it’s impossible”, to which his response to me was “I am God all-sufficient. I will make it possible.”

My faith grew that day.

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El Shaddai in Hebrew

As I discussed this aspect of faith with those around me, I realized the journey God brought me down was one very much of faith-solidifying. God knew the faith was there, but I had to realize it. I had to dig deeper into myself than I ever had before and cling to God harder than I ever had before (which I am still doing). It was either that or fall WAY off the deep end. I would think my friends and family are happy I chose the former as opposed to the latter.

But faith-solidifying is really where I fell at. Once that was laid out before me, I could see the truth in my spiritual gifts test. I could tell God had given me this faith for a reason, even if I cannot yet see what that reason is.

I was brought to the edge of myself so I could reach something greater. It was an unknown. It’s still an unknown. But I have faith one day I’ll see that place, whether on earth or in Heaven. The important part was I didn’t step out in blind faith, but instead in all-consuming readiness to be used by God through what I viewed as insurmountable circumstances.

I have said it before but I want to reiterate it – my faith grew stronger because in seeking explanation from God, I found revelation instead, and through this revelation my mind was elevated. I know longer saw my circumstances for what they were but instead saw God for who He was and the things He is capable of (which is a lot).

While it was weird at first, faith was actually spot on. Faith is that God is who He says He is and will do what He has said He will do. Faith that in God I can experience immeasurably more.

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100 Things: A Follow Up

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Forever pondering 100 things…and being super basic in the process courtesy of snapchat

A year ago I read a Thought Catalog post on journaling/blogging ideas and I decided to give one a try – make yourself vulnerable and share 100 facts about yourself. So I did. If you never read that post, believe me, they. were. random.

Today my mom and I were talking about journaling (because she got me this adorable blue and red anchor journal) and she’s decided to take it up. She told me it’s one of those things she’s thought about before, but never really knew how to move forward with it. My response went something like “well mom, you just do it.” But on the flip side of that, I understand her argument. How do you journal? What do you write about? Where do you begin?

I understand. It’s scary. Even when you are branded “a writer,” I have a whole folder full of writings that will never see the light of day.

I guess that’s when I was reminded of my 100 Things post. Thought Catalog inspired a post for me, there’s so many writing prompts on Pinterest, and amongst other things, I do what I can to draw inspiration from the world around me. The thing about the 100 Things post is how much it required me to dig into myself, to analyze myself, to become vulnerable and share my likes and dislikes with the world.

Being vulnerable is really the biggest part. It’s the hardest part. It’s the scariest part. But it’s also the most important part. And today, I decided to become even more vulnerable and do a follow up post to my 100 Things.

I decided to this because I’ve talked to my mom about writing a lot the past couple days. I realized my writings help display a lot of that growth, but also being able to go back to my 100 Things posts and show how things in general have changed also seemed like a lot of fun. And who knows, maybe by going back and revisiting some my older writings – including the ones never published – I’ll be able to find more inspirations for my writings. Just keep growing, right? (Which I almost spelled “write” because puns…okay I’m done)

I won’t cover ALL of the 100 items listed in the original post. That’s just way too much. But here is an overview of how things can change over a year (P.S. I will be using the original number from the list):

1.  “I have the most fun relaxing and watching Netflix.”
Still true. I have binged on House of Cards a lot lately. But I’ve also spent a lot of time reading. Trust me, a large book post is coming.

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9. “I’ve never broken a bone.”
While this is still true, I did twist my ankle pretty badly trail running the other day in Trinity Park. Let’s talk about how fun it was limping back to my car…

11. “I want to learn how to speak French.”
Well…Savoir, penser, rêver. Tout est la. A lovely phrase.

25. “I want a German Shepherd and his/her name will be Kona.”
While this is still true, I am a renter and German Shepherds are restricted breeds in most rental places. Because of this, if I do get a dog it’ll either be a Lab or a Catahoula named Huckleberry. Then everywhere we go I can say “he’s my Huckleberry.”

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30. “My favorite bible verses include Psalm 118:8, John 3:30, and Habakkuk 2:3.”
I also want to add Ephesians 3:20 to this list. A beautiful doxology by Paul that has been on my mind a lot lately. Even if it’s a temporary favorite verse, I’m glad it’s there.

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32. “I have my entire wedding planned on Pinterest.”
Scratch that. I do have a wedding planned on Pinterest, but it probably won’t be mine. Why? Because I don’t want a wedding ceremony with the bridesmaids, and the 300 guests, and the stress. Haley once told me I’ll have shotgun wedding and she’s right. I want a small ceremony (seriously like 10 people max) on a beach (preferably Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown, VA) probably on some random day of the week and that’s it. Think like Chuck and Blair Gossip Girl getting married in Central Park, minus the whole Bart’s dead plot twist.

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Part of Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown

35. “When it comes to European travel, my dream destinations are Paris, Venice, and Prague.”
I’m happy to report that my wanderlust has ventured beyond just Europe. (You thought I was going to say I got to go to Paris, didn’t you?) At the time I wrote this, I REALLY wanted to go to Europe, a couple of other places, and that’s it. Now, I also want to go to both Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan as while as go hike Patagonia in Argentina/Chile.

48. “As much as I love Texas, I have a longing to travel and live in different places.”
Look up and look back down. I guess travel was really on my mind a year ago (and still is). Though stateside I am currently planning a trip to Williamsburg/Yorktown. What up Hampton Roads! Trust me guys, the day my dream (and I mean legit I had a dream about this) of moving to Yorktown comes true, y’all will be some of the first to know.

50. “The marathon I hope to run one day is the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C.”
So I signed up for the MCM newsletter and I do plan on enrolling in the lottery for the 2017 marathon. If I don’t make it through the lottery, I’ll probably run it through a charity. I was thinking TAPS, but I’ll definitely keep y’all posted. Oh and we can also add the 2018 London Marathon to this list.

59. “I would like to work somewhere like Wounded Warrior Project or USO.”
Still very true, though my dad wants me to be commissioned as an officer for the Navy. I won’t deny I consider it…all the time. I’m just trying to get through grad school first. Plus, the thought really scares me. I love the military, I just never thought I’d actually be apart of the military.

73. “Loreena McKinnett and Phillip Wesley are some of my favorite classical artists.”
Throw Tim Janis in there and we’re golden.

80. “My dream grad school is William & Mary.”
Obviously, W&M is not where I am getting my MA from, however, this does not mean I do not love the school. Grad school right after I graduated college ended up being a whim decision for me and my options were limited. (I had initially planned on deferring for a year) However, this doesn’t mean I regret my decision to not go to W&M either. Liberty has been good for me. If anything this is more of a “terminal” MA to just get my feet wet in the realm of International Affairs. W&M is still my dream school, I just want them to be the ones who hood me as a doctor.

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The Christopher Wren building on William & Mary’s campus

95. “I am a huge introvert.”
I used to think this was a bad thing, but lately I’ve learned to embrace it. I enjoy my own company. I guess some people think it’s depressing when you go do things on your own, but I’ve learned to love it. Whether it’s going to eat or going exploring (I still haven’t gone to the movies by myself), it’s still incredibly enjoyable and relaxing (plus people-watching). It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of others because I do. I guess it’s just overtime I’ve learned it’s okay to spend time alone and it’s okay to enjoy it. Being an introvert is nothing to be ashamed of.

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Taken the day I explored Grapevine, TX on my own

So there you have it friends…13 updates on my life. I did this because I wanted to see growth. Because from these 13 updates, I can use any one of them to fuel a fire in my writing or build future blog posts off of (which will definitely happen if I run the MCM).

As stated before on my conversation with my mom, I know it’s hard. There are many times I publish a post scared to death because of how vulnerable it will make me seem, and there are plenty of writings that will never be published because I’m not ready to be that vulnerable. But the simplest things in life can provide inspiration to the world around us. That’s why I love these lists of facts about ourselves and the world around us so much. I ultimately believe they can help all of us become better writers and thinkers altogether.

Whether you’re just starting out writing or you’ve been writing for a while, keep going guys! There is inspiration everywhere, I know you’ll find it!

 

 

A Moment of Impact

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My grandmother and I at her 79th birthday dinner

A little over a month ago I lost my grandmother. She was one of my closest friends, my rock, and my hero. I find myself tearing up as I sit to write this post. When she first passed, I knew I wanted to honor her memory, but no amount of words ever seemed as if they’d be enough.

Through the past month I have moved forward with life, still fighting the sting of the pain and the loss of a grandmother I so dearly loved. I knew her time would come eventually, but she was one of those people who was always there. Knowing the time would come and experiencing that time are two completely different aspects of life. I never wanted to think about the day I would have to lose her because I didn’t know how I would find the strength to face it. And as I sit here a month and a few days later, I’m still not sure if I do. It still seems surreal.

Even so, the words came.

From the inside looking out, I struggle finding the words to explain it. It was one of those rare moments – a moment of impact – one that not even the most eloquent of words could describe the allure of. The kind of moment that becomes immortalized in song and word, yet far more beautiful.

I sat at her bedside, my hand ever-so gently relaxed on her arm, as I sang my favorite verse from Messiah/You’re Beautiful to her – When we arrive at eternity’s shore, where death is just a memory and tears are no more. We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring, Your bride will come together and we’ll sing, You’re beautiful. 

The tears fell from my face onto the rocking chair. I saw the faint flutter in her eyes. While it felt unnatural praying for the very thing we spend our entire lives avoiding, it was the moment she and I both knew her time was arriving to come home.

She died of stage four breast cancer. It was a hard-fought battle, yet one that made her stronger as a person. Back in October when we learned the cancer had metastasized to the brain, we knew what it meant. There are days the most difficult decision we will make is when we decide what we want to eat. This was not one of those days. After a journey that felt both so short and so long, I sat by her bed that Friday night, and I knew the day I dreamed would never come had emerged.

She is one of a rare breed. One that once she has that moment of impact in your life, you will never be the same. She’s one of those people you can never forget, even if you wanted to try. Though in a sense of honesty amongst yourself, you know you never really want to forget.

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It was the last night I would spend with the woman who had such a profound impact on my dad’s life and later my entire family. I couldn’t quite find the words to say. Not even I love you felt like it could be enough. Still through my tearful eyes I could see the exhaustion of her body could not stop her from smiling. I know she told me she loved me too.

Words didn’t feel like enough, but music did. I became too emotional to sing, so I started playing music instead.

My grandmother had a funny thing about taking me to southern gospel singings growing up. I hated them. I thought they were boring and would never end. Yet in those moments I sat by her bedside holding her hand, the Precious Memories album by Alan Jackson felt right. I turned on “In The Garden” and just let it shuffle.

Indistinctly, I saw her facial expressions change with each song. In The Garden changed to Softly and Tenderly, which changed to I’ll Fly Away and then to The Old Rugged Cross. It was during this song I saw her eyes glance to me and felt the light flick in her hand. We shared that moment together. We knew her crown was coming. We knew she would soon stand in the presence of our Father.

What proceeded was the most memorable of the entire night. My parents joined me at her bedside and we started to sing to her. As How Great Thou Art came on, an atmosphere filled the room I’m not sure can ever be replicated in this lifetime.

With heavy hearts and tear-filled eyes, we looked at my beautiful grandmother with both joy and sorrow as we sang one of her favorite hymns. I choked back what I could as we finished singing. Goodbye really is the hardest part.

A moment of impact.

The quote from C.S. Lewis states “When I die, I pray all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight.” At 2:30 am on the 10th of December 2016, I have no doubt that’s how the fallen world felt. She fought the good fight, she finished the race, she kept the faith.

Amidst the chaos and the pain I’ve felt for the last month, I’m forever comforted by the words of Paul – to live is Christ, and to die is gain. My grandmother, the most God-fearing, caring, tenacious woman I have ever met, has gained far more than this world could ever offer her. She no longer lives in an earthly body broken by age and cancer, but now walks those beautiful streets of gold in a lovely, heavenly body given to her by the Lord.

That night I thanked my grandmother for being a guiding light in my life. I thanked her sitting on my couch, holding me while I cried, and loving me at the moment in my life I felt most unloved. I thanked her for teaching me that no matter what you absolutely never give up on the ones you love, even if everyone else is begging you to. I thanked her for showing what an authentic love for Christ looks like. Most importantly, I thanked her for choosing to be my grandmother.

Even still, she inspires me to become a better person, as she often did to so many around her. She fought like a girl until the very end. I’ve never been more proud to call her my grandmother.

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My grandmother bought me this shirt shortly shortly after she finished chemo in 2013. From beginning to end, she fought like a girl

Music Wednesday: Something Different

As I sit here writing this music Wednesday post, I find myself thinking it’s crazy that 7 years ago was 2010. 7 years. SEVEN.

Seven years ago my life was turned upside in the most beautiful way possible. Seven years ago my dad accepted a new pastoral position and at 15 years old with only 2 years of high school left, I moved 5 hours away from the place I had known as home my entire life.

While some people, arguably most, would hate going through such transition in life, I embraced my new world with open arms. God was in the middle of all of it, and I could see it every step of the way.

Let me explain:

As I’ve gotten older, my dad has always been very open and honest with me about his life in ministry. When the church initially contacted my dad, he turned them down. We had so much happening at the time, and my parents wanted me to finish high school at Little Cypress-Mauriceville. Naturally, we moved on with our lives.

A few months later, the church calls again. They ask my dad to reconsider. As stated before, he’s always been open and honest with me. So he gives in to their consideration, while on the side thinking something has to be wrong with this church if they are circling back though resumes. What followed was a moment I’ll never forget. He called me out of room to tell me what had happened. I stood barely out of doorway from the hallway to the living room, just enough where I could see our TV in my peripheral. And the second my dad told me the church called again, I heard it in the back of my head – “we’re going to move.” 

I never admitted it to my parents initially, but I knew God was in it. My family looked for roadblock after roadblock. Every single one of them was torn down. The interim youth minister? The nephew of my dad’s best friend from college. Head of the music minister search committee? The grandfather of my best friend, Meghan.

God’s trajectory was laid out for us and it was only a matter of moments before He deemed the timing perfect and it came colliding into our lives. As simple as it is to say, when God’s in it, He’s in it. 

If there was one thing I learned throughout the entire process – no matter how hard you may try, you can’t outrun God.

Needless-to-say, this entire process had me on FIRE for God. It doesn’t mean moments were hard. Oh trust me, moments were hard, and there were plenty of moments I wanted to run away from it all, and others where I just wanted to run away to my new life and forget Orange, TX ever existed. But I didn’t. And I still remained on fire for the work God was ever-so clearly mapping out in my life.

Which brings me to this music Wednesday. Correlating with being on fire for God was the music which aided in fueling that fire. Let’s get one thing straight up front. I don’t really listen to a lot of rap music. However, I grew up in the youth age where Lecrae was it, and admittedly, I gave in to some of the songs.

All the songs reminded me of the power of God. Of the example we’re supposed to be for Christ. Of the glory we’re supposed to bring to God. And as I reflected on this journey these past few days, these songs just resonated with my sophomore year of high school and all the change I embraced.

Side note: only one of these songs is actually by Lecrae.

3. 2nd Coming: Flame

You remember when people used to wear those Free Hugs shirts? I had a friend pass away in a car accident my sophomore year, and he loved those shirts. Well one night a group of us decided to adapt from James’ example, but instead of doing free hugs, we did free prayers. We drove up and down 16th St. in Orange, ventured to the local Wal-Mart, and tried to find people we could pray for. It was a really, really fun night, and one I will never forget. While out that night, we kept listening to this song. As the title suggests, it talks about the second coming of Christ. It just helped fuel the fire in us. We were reminded we DON’T know when Christ is coming back, and wanted to embrace the opportunity to bring Him as much glory as possible.

2. Make War: Tedashii

If you ever want to see this classy girl who dresses like she just stepped out of a J. Crew catalog rap, this would be the song. (Actually that only happened when Eminem came on during the kickboxing days. True story) Anyway, before the start of our sophomore year, Meghan and I went to a mini revival in Bridge City, TX. Here we took a class on apologetics where the instructor had us listen to this song and it kind of became our anthem for quite a few months. As two 15-year-old girls, it hit us hard. We read the lyrics and both realized how easy it is to become complacent in sin rather than raging a war against it. We became each other’s accountability partners. We went through each other’s rooms looking at CD’s, Facebook accounts, and anything we felt like could draw us away from God. We even broke a couple CD’s and threw them on the ground at the revival as a very symbolic way of the ways we were going to wage war. It was pretty radical moment for the both us.

1. Send Me: Lecrae

Someone once told me they don’t understand why I like this song so much. I ignored them because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. The same way I listen to Krystal Meyers or Breaking Benjamin to get ready for a long run, I listen to this song before mission trips. It’s like the Til I Collapse of missional music. The entire song is focused on the Great Commission. Lecrae talks about the need to be missional, locally and globally. He says we need more people with the martyrs of faith attitude, and as I listen to the lyrics, I find myself agreeing with him. As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors, and we should act as such. (And speaking as someone who REALLY wanted to a go a certain Middle Eastern country when I was 18, I also resonate with the line about sharing faith in a place where they will kill you for it). But beyond that, there is one line in the entire song that always hits me no matter how many times I listen to it – there’s more to life than work, church, and football, what if you were dead in sins and Christians overlooked y’all? Fire. Lines such as that help fuel the fire within me. Plus, I love how much it relates to one my favorite verses, Isaiah 6:8.

For those who know me well, they are very different than most of the music you will find me listening to. Seven years ago my life changed, but these songs helped me embrace that change whole-heartedly.

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Music Wednesday: The Song of 2017

Happy first Wednesday of the new year!

I hope each and every one of y’all had a fantastic new year no matter how celebrated. I know we’re only four days in, but I hope your 2017 has gone well thus far.

For me personally, I’m currently sitting on my couch, a cup of water to my right, a Christmas tree that’s still up to my left, curled up in my favorite Oxford University sweatshirt and american flag crew socks, watching the fire burn in my fireplace.

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If you’re thinking about how idyllic that sounds, it’s probably because it is. Winter is my favorite season. Being able to come home every night, cook dinner (or order curry for takeout), and curl up by a fire to watch Criminal Minds or House of Cards is a dream for me.

But enough about how much I love the fact it’s 20 degrees outside and I broke out the bowler hat today. As it’s the first music Wednesday of the new year, I thought long and hard about the song I wanted to kick of the year with. I mean, I’ve been on a Tim Janis kick lately so Sunrise Over the Ocean was definitely an option, though that’s more of a song to kick off spring or do yoga too. There’s always James Blake and I LOVE Falls Creek Boys Choir, but a song with a wolf barking in the background wasn’t exactly what I was looking for today. Band of Horses is always a good option, yet something didn’t feel right about “kicking off” 2017 with a song called The Funeral. (Awkkk)

I circled my Spotify again and again for the song I wanted. Weird as it may sound, I knew I didn’t want to do country, not that it limited my options by much, but some.

Then it hit me…I wanted a song that absolutely worshipped God. This doesn’t really narrow it down much either (I have 3 playlists on Spotify dedicated to this, all with different songs). Yet, there are the songs that speak to us more than others.

For me? It was God of Miracles by Chris McClarney. I first heard the song a few months ago. It was a Sunday and I was cleaning my room and I had my computer propped up on my dresser. It was a nice mental break from the paper I had just finished writing.

I was playing one of those random playlists on Spotify I had pulled from the genre section, just talking with God about everything that was on my mind. And I mean everything.

It became one of those weird moments, the song came on and the lyrics instantly hit me.

See, God and I talk a lot about a lot of different things, but the one thing we always come to is when. I can become so tunnel-visioned on certain things in the future, I worry about things that 1) I need-not worry about and 2) may never even happen, ESPECIALLY in the ways I play them out in my over-active imagination.

The thing is I don’t need to worry because faith in God includes faith in His promises AND His timing. Yeah, the timing part is hard. But as hard as it is, and trust me I really, really, really know how hard it is, the timing is perfect, and we shouldn’t worry about anything.

That’s what I love about the line in the song – “Let faith arise and see the kingdom come. I lift my eyes for the battle has been won. My God is faithful and every word He said is true.”

The battle has been won. While the timing part is difficult for our human minds bound to concepts of time and space to comprehend, it’s not something that affects our Father. He is faithful and every word He says is true.

2 Corinthians 1:20, right?

That’s why I think this is a perfect song to start 2017 off with. As a year of hope, it’s good to be reminded God is not bound by the same limitations we are. Our hope is not in vain, it’s in the Lord who has already won.

Just something to think about this Wednesday.

Have a great week!

A Year of Hope

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2016. It was interesting year to say the least. I think you could all agree with me on that. No matter how well or not-so-well your year went, 2016 was definitely a year of oddities.

I don’t plan on rehashing all of the lessons I learned over the year – especially since I did an anniversary post for gilliamgirl.

While I think we can all agree we’re glad this year is ending, more importantly I’m glad about the start of the new year. We know the sayings. It’s a new beginning, “new year, new me,” new years resolutions, all that jazz. For myself? Yeah, I’m glad a new year is beginning. I felt like I got sucker punched by life this year just over and over again. So the notion a clean slate for me can begin at midnight CT tonight is definitely a refreshing rhetoric to accept.

As I’m writing this blog, I’m on call for work and I look at the clock on my computer and it says 22:08. Just a couple more hours until midnight, and a few more hours until that new beginning.

And for 2017, I am embracing that “new beginning” with hope. Hope that grad school will continue to go well (gotta hold on to that 4.0), hope that I make more awesome network connections (probably through Twitter), hope that I’ll get to go to Virginia, hope that I’ll get to run the Marine Corps Marathon, hope that I’ll be able to continue chasing the dreams I have for my life, and most importantly hope in Christ.

Last year, I wrote a post that the thing I needed most for the new year was prayer. In this post, I said prayer was our greatest battle weapon. After all, it is direct communication with our Father and we should be engaging in it daily. I guess you could say a stronger prayer life was my new years resolution for 2016. As a fun fact, I definitely saw some of the prayers that weighed more heavily on my heart answered this year.

This is not to say I feel I am lacking hope and need it rejuvenated for 2017. Quite the opposite actually. I’ve had so many prayers I’ve prayed about for so long answered in 2016, it gives me immense hope going in 2017. Hope in the power of God and the acts He is capable of performing. I move forward into 2017 with hope that God is able.

I’m not sure I can say I’ve ever really done “yearly” verses before, but lately Romans 12:12 has been on my heart and I feel it’s a good verse to kick the new year off with –

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Joyful in hope. It’s the possibilities I see in 2017 that make me joyful. The capabilities of God (which are a lot) give me hope.

After a year of craziness, I am joyful to be moving forward in hope. I aspire to stay faithful in my prayer. I know God will help me get through whatever affliction I face. I do not go into 2017 with fear and feeling broken down because God has given me hope.

Here’s to 2017 friends! Make it a good one filled with nothing but hope!

Music Wednesday: Singin’ in the Rain

So…..it’s been a while guys. I’m sorry. WordPress went down on my computer for a while (not sure what happened there), my grandmother passed away and then I had to deal with the end of the semester. By the time it was all said and done, I just needed some personal time.

I didn’t mean to keep y’all hanging without any notice, but alas I’m back and ready to write my heart out and play catch up on life in the blogging world.

So with this somewhat inaugural, and last, music Wednesday of 2016, I had originally planned another song. However, 20 minutes ago I learned of the passing of Debbie Reynolds. To say I’m sad is an understatement.

Well, luckily Santa brought me Singin’ in the Rain on BluRay for Christmas (those midnight rants about movies missing from the Netflix classic section really pay off – seriously who doesn’t show Funny Face?!) and that’s what I’m currently watching.

Anyway, I guess you could say this music Wednesday is dedicated to Debbie Reynolds (and it is). BUT Singin’ in the Rain is also my all-time favorite movie so it’s an ode to that as well.

Guys, I love this movie so much. And Moses Supposes is my favorite song from the movie. Here you go friends! Enjoy Donald O’Connor’s facial expressions.

P.S. I also included the routine done by Jeanine and Phillip on So You Think You Can Dance. I highly suggest you watch it – Jeanine was the winner that year and Phillip jumps across a 6 ft couch.