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Isaiah 30:21My mind is slightly all over the place this evening. I’m trying to tame my thoughts to make sure I tell the story that has been laid on my heart. I am currently on what I deem my second great adventure. I truly believe that everything that happens will be truly great as long as I listen.

I have officially been in Colorado for one month this week and everything that is happening just proves, that if I let God, He has an amazing plan for my life. When I first came out here I went to a meeting for church builders, not sure I really belonged there, but why not? After attending the meeting I received a book called The Faith of Leap: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage. Now, if that isn’t the most perfect book title for what I am doing I don’t know what is.

I have been slowly diving into this book, and I mean slowly, but that is because I find myself highlight or underlining half of the page on most of the pages in the book.

First, we confront the fear of crisis: “Crisis is no bad thing. In fact it’s an opportunity to rediscover.” Wow, that line just blew me away in this book. The past has been one giant crisis after the next. I have worn my armor and tried to protect myself from my real emotions, tried to protect my family from how I was falling a part. Really, I was looking at the situation all wrong. God was not allowing life to sucker punch me repeatedly because it looked like I was just “too happy,” it was allowed because I needed that opportunity. It is time all of us take a look at the drama and crises and see if they are really just opportunities.

Secondly, we start to see how this life and our walk with the Lord are supposed to be an unpredictable adventure. The book quotes Tolkien,

[Bilbo] used often to say that there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs are at every doorstep, and every path is its tributary. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Life Begins... You can’t predict life, but you can predict your reactions. The greatest thing any one of us can do is show love and compassion to others remembering that each of us are going through a battle. Of course, we all misstep and do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, but it’s how we move forward with that. My sister, one of the nicest people you will ever meet, is a 2nd grade teacher. She called this week and said she was really disappointed in how she reacted to one of her students. I reminded her that you can do something right 1000 times, but that 1001 time you just mess up. That IS LIFE. That doesn’t mean we don’t walk out onto the road.

“Adventure is an attitude we must apply to the day-to-day obstacles of our life…” We get a second chance EVERY second of every day of our lives, yet so many of is do not take advantage of this. You could change everything. Not happy where you are? Move. Not happy with your relationship with God? Pray. Having trouble forgiving? Forgive and Forget. Need to apologize? Call them. Life is an adventure and we have to be willing to seize what God gave us and live for him every moment.

The book provides some great reasons for why we don’t do anything though. My favorite two lines so far are: “Much depends on how we perceive life–as a threat or opportunity.” and “Our preference for stability and security blind us to the opportunities for adventure when they present themselves.”

I love the second one because that is why I left Florida. That is why I am in Colorado, thousands of miles away from my family and friends.

The last thing I’ve taken away from this wonderful book so far is that life is anything, but normal and we have to live with courage.

“Courage finds it’s greatest expression in love and sacrifice. It is that point where we can be sure we are in faith (1 John 3). When we really love, consistently and in Jesus’s name, we are being as courageous as we are ever expected to be.”

Courage is a wonderful thing, we need it to make it through every day. I know it may seem like you aren’t courageous in your life, but take a look and see that standing up to someone, being kind to a stranger, dealing with poor health, dealing with death, saying good-bye and so many more things are all acts of courage.

Today I went on my own adventure. I went out alone and just was. I didn’t need to be with someone else in order to enjoy this wonderful world. I hope that each of you can learn to live life they way it was meant to be for Jesus. And so I leave you with this, “Martin Luther suggested, the church should live its life as if Jesus died yesterday, rose from the dead toady, and is coming back tomorrow.” Are you living that way?

Today I am smiling for this great adventure.

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to figure things out. I’ve tried it my way, tried to take what I wanted and impose it on Gods plans. Let me tell you how well that has worked out for me. However, it’s not really fair to sit here and tell you all about miracles and encounters and special circumstances without telling you how I got here.

I grew up in a family that believed in God, went to church, prayed, etc. etc. I kept going to church, praying, and believing until I got to college. Then I stopped going to church, prayed some nights, but still believed… or I think I believed.

Then I met a guy who insisted I needed to go to church with him. (This is just a guy not a romantically partner that will change my life). I had agreed to go to church, it was Mother’s Day and you know what happened? I woke up an hour before my alarm to a phone call from my sister. My mom was in the hospital with a possible heart attack. I jumped out of bed, threw some stuff in a bag and started driving home, no church for me. I really thought that was not a good sign for this church.

A few more months go by and I am in total bliss with my recent college graduation, a job, and an amazing boy that I saw no end with. Well, then the boat started rocking. I think God was frustrated with me. He was giving me everything I wanted, but I ignored Him because of that “bad omen.” Finally, to be blunt, shit hit the fan.

The boy and I break-up, my mom is in the hospital needing brain surgery (you can read though my posts for more on that), my grandma falls, my grandad can’t remember who I am, and I’m not happy with my job. Seemed like a good time to try out this church thing again.

It’s only been 5 months, but so much has changed because of all of the bad things. I’m not saying everything worked out and I have roses and butterflies. In fact, everything is nothing like I expected. My mom is happy, my grandparents continue their downward spiral, the boy who I loved so much and I can’t even speak, and I moved across the country.

You know what though? I’m happy. I got out here and I found a church. That is the most important foundation. I need to surround myself with people who love the Lord, people who will pick me up when I’m failing, falling, and scared out of my mind. It’s too soon to tell where everything will lead, but I jumped into this with the Lord knowing He was kicking me out of my own ways. I wish I would have listened sooner, I wish I would have never stopped listening before, but I can’t change how it has played out. I can, however, change how I continue.

I like to say worrying is something I am great at…. I’m also great at telling God how I think things should be. What I am finally learning though is if you take the time to sit with the Lord and soak Him into your heart, you will change, mountains will become mole hills, and problems will have solutions.

I think back to every time I almost came back to God, every time I almost walked into a church, read a book, and I was stopped. I am starting to realize that the Devil medals more in the lives of the ones who are seeking then the ones who have found or than those that are lost. He doesn’t waste his time, he plots to destroy you. He plans on you turning and never looking back. Everything should have destroyed me, but I am stronger and braver than I ever was. I have found a peace that will never leave. I have found myself again and it was about time because I really missed me.

What’s even crazier is that according to the world I should feel alone right now, but in all truth I’ve never felt more alive. I started this blog when I was really confused on the path my life was taking to remind myself that no matter how bad or confusing things were each day gave us something to smile about. And when I struggle I look through my posts and remember all of the things I have that make me smile.

Today I am smiling for a fresh start, which seems only fitting for Easter 🙂

Happy Easter everyone!

240027855111609098_lPl7TKxO_bTell me a story. A story of love with no end in sight. Tell me how you overcome the backward, unexplainable actions. Tell me how you fall in love and stay there. Tell me.

This is no ordinary love story and really it isn’t my love story to tell, but then again if I don’t tell it who will?

Think about everything you could put a relationship through, every test, every heartbreak and image you still get your happy ending. There were times of silence, times when nothing seemed like they would ever work out again. There were times when everyone gave up and walked away.

How do you overcome that? How do you learn to trust the other person again? I don’t know how personally, but I have seen it. I have seen a relationship put through unimaginalbe things, things that would doom it to fail. You know what though? God brought them back together exactly when the worst things imaginable were happening. He has a funny way of doing that, never early, never late, but always perfect timing.

He brought them back together and then the whole world FLIPPED upside down. We have one in the hospital because of a mystery mass on their brain, the other with two parents on the verge of reaching the other side, and they have each other again. Perfect timing, but more miracles were on the way.

The mass turned out to be an infection, not a tumor or cancer. The parents died within such a short time of  each other they had a joint funeral. The medicine that would keep the one from going to the funeral were cut off on CHRISTMAS DAY and in perfect timing they were both able to go to the funeral.

God sure is great.

Now, you would think, “okay they’ve had enough, time for a break?” No, God isn’t done yet. Two more parents health failing, Alzheimer’s stealing one before they are actually gone, the other so weak any misstep could be the call we all dread. There is a silver lining though and it comes in the form of a promise. A promise that they will never let go of each other. The missteps of the past are exactly that and have been left where they should.

We aren’t meant to understand, we are meant to trust.

Today I am smiling for their love, for my love for them, and for their love for me.

Hebrews 13:5When I was younger I took the popular saying, “everything happens for a reason,” and changed it. I changed it to, “everything happens for a reason, that’s what we tell ourselves to make us feel better in bad situations.” I clearly did not believe the saying.

What I didn’t get then is that by me saying that I was challenging what I claimed to believe in. God says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

It took me a long time and a lot of mistakes to finally understand it all. See I could have saved myself from a few things that have really hurt me in my adult life, but I didn’t see the whole picture then. And even if I could have seen the whole picture there are still so many things out of my control. Nothing will change that my mom had brain surgery and that my grandparents continually slip into the vast emptiness that is Alzheimer. It would be easy for me to get angry and frustrated for so many trials coming at one time, but God knows me far too well.

He knew what it would take to kick me into living the life He had planned for me because as long as I felt safe, I wasn’t going to move. It took this kick to follow Him into the unknown. MercyMe has a song called Move:

I’m not about to give up
Because I heard you say
There’s gonna be brighter days
There’s gonna be brighter days

I won’t stop, Ill keep my head up
No, I’m not here to stay
There’s gonna be brighter days
There’s gonna be brighter days

I just might bend but wont break
As long as I can see your face

When life wont play along
And right keeps going wrong
And I cant seem to find my way
I know where I am found
So I wont let it drag me down
Oh, I’ll keep dancing anyway

I’m gonna move (move)

I took a leap of faith with God and there are brighter days and everything does happen for a reason. We just have to take a moment to breathe and see that even when the world is seemingly falling all around you there is hope. Not only is there hope, but there is love and even when you feel as if the whole world has left you and there is nothing, there is God. Sometimes we are too stubborn for our own good and God knows exactly what to do to make you move.

Trust Him when everything is falling because it just means great things are awaiting you. It just means you had to learn this lesson to get to where you are supposed to be.

If we stop and think about every time we didn’t think we would make it what we would really see are the moments that made us. They didn’t break us.

Smile and keep dancing.

budahI just moved half way across the country. What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking its time to stop waiting and start moving.

I lost some people with my choice, but if they’re meant to be in my life they will come back.

I hope that everyone decides to wake up and bet on themselves. Wake up, realize you are more than enough. Wake up, seize the day because today you are alive for a purpose, or you wouldn’t be alive.

Wake up and say this is my life.

Now that is a reason to smile.

One day you wake up and you realize that there are people in your life that care more about how they portray themselves than about how they treat you. One day you will wake up and realize you have spent hours trying to help and be there for someone only to get left in the dust for people who were never there. You will realize that you prepared the feast for other people to enjoy. These people live their lives on Facebook and the amount of likes matter more than the people who are doing the liking. They think more about making everyone feel okay than about actually being okay.

And one day when you find one of these people, trust that they will hurt you. I am not saying it will be on purpose, but they will because there is no way to make everyone think you’re okay all of the time without taking all of your anguish out on one person.

You will allow it, make excuses for it, think progress is being made, but you are just preparing someone else’s feast. You don’t want to be someone’s release. On this same day you will realize that the people you thought would be there for you, aren’t. Don’t let these people break you, let them make you stronger. Walk away smiling because you know who you are and even if you don’t you’re on the journey to find you, not everyone else.

Besides when the world fails you, remember God has your back.

Today I am smiling because even though I am learning tough lessons and about to embark on a crazy adventure I am starting to remember what being happy feels like.  And I know it’s because I am finally putting my trust in the right place.

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!” — Psalm 41:11

 

My sign: Trusted no one.

FLIP

Finding trust through Him.

Today I am smiling for both sides of my cardboard.

I feel many of us recent graduates have a problem once we graduate. Some people have trouble finding jobs, others have problems moving past the “college-life,” and than there are the rest of us who have no idea what to do because many of the people we love are still in school. We are in different phases trying to pretend like we aren’t.

I am afraid. This separation between the “next phase” and the college phase is sometimes too much. It clearly proved that way. I hope that whoever stumbles upon this rant needs as much help as I do. I hope that I am not alone in this in-between phase of belonging. Maybe others find it easier and maybe that makes me weak. For the first time I am okay with being weak.

The point of all of this is that I am trying to get my life in the right direction. I am trying to meet new people that will propel me forward. I hope each day that I am making strides toward a better tomorrow and a better me.

Today I am smiling for moving forward.

Today I am smiling for THE BEST NEWS EVER.

Thank you to wonderful amazing doctors and the Lord for miracles.

I often find I ask too many questions and over think almost all of my actions, but this past week and a half has really knocked me off my feet.

It’s as if my whole world exploded and I’m scrambling to grab the pieces, praying I remember where they all go.

I feel I’ve gone through a fair bit of rough patches in my life, but this one is so unique, so unfamiliar.

I couldn’t imagine any of this happening, each blow came just as shocking as the one before. I pray all the time. I feel His answers, I swear I do, but then I question if what I feel is simply what I want to happen. What if I’m only fooling myself?

I recal verse upon verse saying for me to trust the Lord and to accept what he’s saying, but I keep getting pulled back into what-ifs.

I need courage and strength, but really I would give all mine away right now to my mom and family. I need wisdom and guidence, but again I would give it all away to the person I think needs it.

Life and death, it makes you reconsider what is important and it certainly makes you realize who is
important. It really makes you realize what you’ll be okay with and what you just won’t accept.

So again I send out my ramble…

Today I am smiling for my family, in good and bad health.