A Change of Course

Trials and Tribulations

In church a few weeks ago, the speaker taught about waiting on the Lord. Oftentimes, when the Lord reveals his plans to us and we choose to listen and obey, we have to wait upon the Lord. During this time of waiting, we are often faced with trials and tribulations. These tests are meant to build our faith in the Lord and our obedience to Him. They aren’t easy tests, but they aren’t meant to be.

In the last month, there have been multiple trials in my life. After I applied for the 3-month long Immersion mission trip to Costa Rica for the fall, I quickly wrote and distributed my support letter for the trip, believing that if this trip was God’s will for me, that the funds would come in. In the midst of sending these letters out, I became extremely sick. I have dealt with health/stomach issues for about a year and a half now, but never have they caused me as much pain as they did the week I was accepted into the program.

I went to the doctor for blood work and the results came back a week later with news that I tested positive for Helicobactor Pylori, a bacterial infection in the stomach that is actually present in about 50% of the people in the world. However, not many people experience the symptoms of H. Pylori. Unfortunately, I did. They put me on a triple dose of medication to rid my body of the infection and sent me for an ultrasound and an upper GI, which both came back clean of ulcers and damage (Praise Jesus!).

But I still felt miserable. The sickness and the medication took a lot out of me. I also had simultaneously began taking progesterone pills to help resume my period after not having one in over a year after coming off of birth control. As you can assume, my body was a mess and my mind wasn’t far behind.

To top it all off, the initial money I needed for my trip did not come in, despite my letters and prayers. I was extremely disappointed at first, but then I thanked the Lord, realizing that if this trip had truly been of His Will (which I thought it was), then I would have had the money in, no doubt about it. I took it as a sign of protection and emailed the program staff, heavy-heartedly declining the spot on the team.

Right Where I Need To Be

Immediately, I felt a sense of relief. I knew that the trip wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I know that the Lord has called me to the mission field, but I know that He will lead me to where He wants me, in His good and perfect timing.

And right now, I am exactly where He desires me to be.

I have been attending my friend’s church with him on Sunday mornings and joining their youth/young adult group on Tuesday evenings, while still going to my family’s church on Monday nights for prayer and to the Wednesday night services. I am falling so in love with this new church though. There is such a pure heart for the Lord. It radiates off of every single person there. There is such unity and a sense of family that I’ve never felt in any church before (and I’ve been to quite a few). I adore the church my family attends, but for the first time in forever, I feel at home when I’m at this church and with its members. I believe that is truly how a church is supposed to feel.

Plus, there is a large group of people my age in the church. People that I have quickly come to call my friends. I am so blessed to have been introduced to a group of Christians my age who live close to me and enjoy just fellowshipping with one another – no parties, no bars, no booze, no excessive spending on hanging out, but just watching sports, grabbing dinner, taking walks and playing games. It’s exactly what I have needed, exactly what I have been searching for.

Missions on the Home Front

I truly believe that God has placed me in this new group to help me grow further in my walk with Him. I believe that He will continue using me for His kingdom, starting right here in my hometown area.

I absolutely love spending my Tuesday nights with a group of children and young adults who have such a child-like faith in the Lord. I’m able to talk to girls who are coming into adulthood and will be faced with all the worldly pressures and temptations that I was, and I’m excited to be able to be an example and a confidant to them.

Right now, God has me right where He wants me. For the first time in a long time, I’m not looking to run away to a new life or get lost in a foreign destination. I am content, I am happy, I am full of love, and I am ever-so-grateful to be here.

Beautiful Surrender.

A Whirlwind of a Week

5 April 2014 – “Ah, happy girl. Feeling a little more grown up lately. I like it. I’m pretty content right now. I’m still waiting on the ‘what’s next’ thing, but I’m patiently waiting and living in the present. I like it. It’s working alright for me at the moment…My life is working out exactly as God has planned for it to. There’s a reason I’m not 1000+ miles away right now. I wouldn’t be turning into the woman of God that I’m becoming if I was, and I truly believe that. I’ve needed this season at home to become humble and lose my prideful spirit…I want to be humble, modest, and full of humility. A Jesus-like spirit, not a prideful one.”

6 April 2014 – “The guest speaker spoke on getting your friends saved and about being called into the mission field. I gave a public declaration to give my ALL to go for God, and I meant it. Mission work has been on my heart for so long now, and this timing for me to visit the church was just incredible.

God is doing great things in my life. They may not be BIG things yet, but he is stilling working in and on and through me. I serve a mighty, loving savior. I am so blessed beyond measure. I may not have always made the best decisions and choices, but they have all brought me to this point, to this moment, to these people, and honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

8 April 2014 – “I feel so undeserving. So impure and damaged. I know that is a feeling of the devil though. I know that I am a new creation in the Lord. I know he took me back as a prodigal child as soon as I came running back to him, and that he has been working on me ever since.

I know that I am enough, every flaw and mistake is forgiven. I know that day on the driveway that God spoke to me. I know He has great plans for me. I know He is making me into a woman of beauty in Him, one who is worthy of love and happiness and a life in His perfect will. I know that despite my past, I am more than enough.”

9 April 2014 – “We’re taught not to test God, or to ask him to reveal things to us through signs and wonders, but isn’t that oftentimes what they did in the Bible? Like with Gideon asking God to make the fleece wet and the ground dry (and then vice-versa) to know that the Lord would be with him to save Israel by his hand? I guess I just don’t get it. I guess I’m just looking for a sign.”

10 April 2014 – “Yesterday, I wrote that I was just looking for a sign. A sign that what I have been feeling and thinking and desiring was placed on my heart and my mind because it was God’s will and part of His plan for my life, not just something I wanted. Last night at church, God gave me that sign.

Pastor walked up, placed his hands on my face and before I could utter a sound, he began whispering in my ear, ‘You’ve done the right thing by taking off your shoes, for the place you’re standing on is Holy Ground. Just as I called the prophet to go, so I am sending you’ (there was more to it, and he used the word humility, but I was so consumed, this paraphrase is all I can recall).

I broke, I cried, I shouted, I dropped to my knees, overwhelmed by the Lord. And God spoke. He said, “you asked for a breeze, but I’ve sent you a hurricane.” I cried and I laughed, because he confirmed what I have known since I was a child, that I was called to be a missionary, that I would be going to the ends of the earth for Him. I have never before felt so full and so satisfied. These last few years, I have been in search of something. I travel, I enjoy and I come back longing for more. This is why.

I’m not sure what comes next and I don’t need to. Like mom said, something is going to come along and I’m just going to know it’s time. I’m no longer anxious, but excited. My heart feels as though it may burst with joy and happiness and love and excitement. I feel found. I feel like everything I’ve been longing and searching for is suddenly mine. This passion, this fire, this burning desire is so amazing and so overwhelming.

I’m laying it all down for Him. All of me.”

11 April 2014 – “Ah, how freeing this feeling is. I am excited beyond words for what the Lord is planning to do. I’m anxious because I’m ready. I am SO ready to lay it ALL down for His name, His honor and His glory. I am so blessed that He has chosen and called me to be used by and for Him. So unbelievably blessed and honored.”

 

 

Let’s Catch Up

So much has gone on since my last post in November. You can see a small (but extremely important) part of that in the journal entries I posted above (those are from my personal journal – very real and very raw).

In a quick whirlwind, I’ll attempt to bring you up to speed…

After I forgave A in November, my heart was released from a heavy burden that I didn’t realize was weighing me down so much. As we moved into the new year, I set my sights on the Lord and was determined to dive deeper into him. I began using JoyFm’s Read Through the Bible in a Year as a challenge/resolution for myself. I have always wanted to read through the entire Bible, but have never made it past the first three books before getting extremely bored or off-track. This time, I was determined. I pushed through a few books in the Old Testament that nearly put me to sleep, I got behind during a weekend away and had to read a ton of chapters to catch up and I woke up an hour early some days just to have time to do the reading. I am three and a half months into 2014, and 9 books into the Old and New Testaments (it splits it up so you alternate a bit).

As I’ve read further, I’ve learned more. Even on the days that didn’t hold my interest, I pushed through and kept reading. The days I didn’t feel like doing my devotions were the days I knew I needed to read the most.

And God has taught me so much through these last few months. I have grown in Him more than I ever expected. He has brought me through so much and has given me more blessings than I could have ever thought to ask for. He is truly a mighty God.

He has swarmed me with a few words (aka lessons) lately – pride, humility, beautiful, surrender and faith.

Pride Cometh Before a Fall

“You need to stop being prideful and just drop your weight…”

This was said to me while lifting weights with a (newer) friend at the gym. This was the second time he had called me out on trying to lift more than I could and the second time he used the term pride with me. Six months ago, I got defensive when he used the word. We hardly knew each other, and he definitely didn’t know anything about me or my pride (yet, that reaction makes it obvious that I was very prideful!).

Last week when he said it, I stepped back, dropped my weight for the exercise and then read up on pride and humility during my next devotional time. Two days later, I ended up thanking him for calling me out on it. Pride is something that the Lord has been quietly working on in my life, and sometimes, it takes another person to point out your flaw so you can see that it is still there and needing to be worked on.

He smiled at me and said, “That’s something the Lord works with me on every day. I didn’t even realize I said it, but I’m glad I could help you.” It was one of those moments that you just know is dynamic. I was proud of myself for putting myself out there in humble honestly. I trembled the entire way through the conversation, and realized that thanking someone for calling you out on your pride, was nearly more difficult than actually being called out on it.

None More Beautiful

Beautiful. In today’s world of photoshop, it’s hard to define the word. For months after I moved home, I worked out for hours a day, stuck to a strict diet and wasn’t only unhappy with the results I wasn’t seeing, but I felt ugly, inside and out.

I was miserable and unhappy. I kept comparing myself to the bodies I saw on social media and in magazines, wondering why all of my hard work wasn’t paying off. Wondering why my digestive issues weren’t being resolved (I’m still working on figure this all out and praying for complete healing) and stalling my weight loss. Wondering why I wasn’t beautiful.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but one day, I just decided that I didn’t care anymore. Sure, I still want to look good and feel confident in my appearance, but I no longer want to believe the lies of the enemy that I am ugly, or that I am not good enough.

Ever since I resolved to be at peace with my body and began eating for health, rather than for a number or a size, I became less stressed and more accepting of myself. I have been released from a disorder that has plagued me for years. I can slip up now, and forgive myself for having a treat off my meal plan or skip a workout and not feel the need to kill myself twice as hard at the next session. In fact, I actually began to FEEL more beautiful. Because God loves me, whether I’m a size 14 or a 4 (and believe me, I am much closer to a 14).

A Call to Surrender

Surrender. A word that has been resonating in my heart lately.

To surrender means to:
– abandon oneself entirely; give in to
– the act of surrendering (synonyms: submission, yielding).
– to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc.
– to give control to someone else
– to allow something to influence or control you (Merriam Webster)

When I stood up from the wooden pew at that little non-denomination church last Sunday, I was surrendering my all to God. I was putting myself aside and taking up the cross. I was losing myself again, but this time, I was gaining so much more. I was surrendering to the God who forgives my pride, makes me humble and finds me beautiful.

Well Done, My Good and Faithful One

I cannot wait for the day that I hear the Lord speak those words to me.

I am ready to begin serving for His kingdom, to fulfill the calling He has placed over my life. I am so ready to trek the unbeaten path, to reach the unreached and to spread love to those who have yet to hear of His great name. I am SO ready.

I made a big decision this morning, and while I am extremely nervous about it, I am doing it in faith. I plan on giving my two weeks notice at work this week.

I have dreaded every shift I’ve worked these last few weeks. My heart weighs heavy in my chest the entire time I’m there and my spirit aches. I know it’s because of my recent choice to surrender to God. I am no longer able to return in “good fun” the foul language, inappropriate jokes and crude remarks, and I am no longer able to let them pass by me unaffected. The Lord is calling me out of such a place.

I’m nervous, as I make pretty decent money waitressing. I pay my own bills, buy my own food and have enough extra to treat myself to expensive treats and trips. But this is part of laying it all down for God. This is part of leaving the world’s ways behind, taking up my cross and following him.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says that, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we cannot see.”

I am ready, willing and waiting to find out where the Lord is leading me to next. I have a few mission trips in mind, and I am praying for each of them. I only want to do His will, and I know that when the right one comes along, it will all work out according to His purpose.

I am stepping out in full faith, and I’ve never been more sure.

Oh July, where did you go?

July? What am I talking about, where did the other six months of this year go?

Life in General

I’ve been back from Europe for nearly five months now. I’m still jobless (though to be completely honest, my hunt has been lacking – there’s not much in St. Louis that I feel competent enough to do, and I haven’t heard back from any of the jobs I have applied for, therefore, the search just leads to being depressed and wanting to binge on gluten-free cacao chip cookies while taking breaks between sob sessions).

So I’ve been spending my days working out, laying out and trying to figure out my life. I have no real direction, and while that slightly scares me, I have an incredible peace about it. I know that peace only comes from the Lord, and I’m incredibly thankful to know that He is the one directing my life and that He has a plan for me, though I still have no idea what that may be.

Living at home has proven to be just as stressful as I assumed it would be, as there are way too many people under this roof. On top of that, my mother thinks I’m just out to make her miserable. I don’t smile enough or talk enough (and when I do, she says it’s sarcastic or disrespectful), I don’t wipe down the counters sufficiently (but, let’s not forget the fact that I do all the cooking, dish-washing and I do wipe down the counters), I don’t do this or that when I should or shouldn’t. Aren’t our relationship with our parents supposed to get better as we get older? Somewhere between high school and college we started losing the close relationship we had, and we’ve yet to be able to figure out how to get it back. I don’t know how to change any of this. I work on it and it seems like things are going well, then she goes off on me again. I’m not saying it’s completely her mood swings, but it can’t always be me (which she seems to think it is, though everyone else in the house can attest to it being her, as she gets this way with nearly everyone). Sorry for the rant, it just happened again, so it’s fresh on my mind. I love my mom, I honestly do. She has always provided for me, even when she had to go without to do it. I just wish I knew how to “fix” this. Any advice?

Workouts and Diet

My workouts have been intense lately. I was lifting heavy with less reps for quite awhile, but have joined a group of girls on Facebook who are creating workouts that are both challenging and really switching it up with the lighter lifts and higher reps. I love it though, and can already tell a huge difference just in the first week.

My diet is pretty much the same from day-to-day: protein, veggies, fruit, healthy fats. I eat a lot of the same things, but try to switch it up here and there, since I don’t want my body getting used to any one things. It’s hard when you’ve cut nearly everything out of your diet (I’ve been eating gluten, dairy, egg, corn and shrimp free). It’s actually been going really well. For those of you who think you could never cut all that out, I assure you that it gets easier with practice. When you feel so miserable whenever you eat any of that stuff, cutting it out is the most rewarding option. Plus, all that clean eating really helps with the cutting weight and healthy lifestyle.

I’ve also signed up to be a Beachbody Coach. I’m loving it so far! Although I’m still trying to get my follower count up. So if you’re interested, follow along on my journey through Facebook, Instagram and WordPress! Oops, nothing like a little self-advertising on my own blog, right? Haha.

Love Life

….what’s that?

I attempted this chat app. Which I suppose is a lot like online dating. And it sucks. One guy pretty much catfished me (really funny, now that I look back on it — I didn’t even know what that was until I started talking to a person on that app and they told me to Google it). I went to the Blake Shelton with another guy on Friday night. Talk about awkward. The drunk older women in front of us made a big deal about this “first date”, but by the end of it, two of them pulled me aside at separate times to advise me not to go on a second date with him. I had already planned not doing so before we even got to the concert, as I had “friend-zoned” him about three weeks ago. This probably makes me sound like a douche, but I really just wanted to see Blake Shelton, and figured it was as good of time as any to give this guy a chance. Thank goodness for the concert and the hilarious entertainment around me, otherwise I would have been miserable. After the concert, I met up with another guy I met on the app (who happened to know people I know, so it wasn’t quite as awkward). We sat outside by a fire for a few hours just chatting, and I thought it went fairly well, but I haven’t really heard from him since. So, guess that’s already finished.

I realize now why I have never liked the concept of dating. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and disappointing. But, at least now I can say I gave it a go, right?

Adios

I’m fairly sure that’s all the news I have at the moment. I’m sure there’s more that I will think of as soon as I post this, but oh well. I’m going to try to post more frequently, as every few months really isn’t enough.

I’m off to finish grilling dinner (we ran out of propane, so dad had to run to the gas station) and then stuff my face. When all else fails, my love of food does not.

Happy Sunday, loves! xx

Update!

Woah baby, where has November gone?! This month has been crazy! But wonderful. I’ve dropped some more weight, bought my plane ticket for EUROPEEEEE, had a wonderful Thanksgiving break at home with my family and am so close to graduating and moving out of this apartment that I can barely stand it!

I’ve had a hard time concentrating on school with so much else going on, but I’m working to get through these last three weeks of presentations, projects and finals. I am so over classes and college. I can’t believe that in less than three weeks, I will HAVE A DEGREE!! Wow.

I move home in two weeks and I’m actually looking really forward to it. I’m ready to spend some time with my family, get back into my workouts and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. After Christmas, I’m heading to Virginia on a road trip with a childhood friend to move her onto base and spend New Years with some friends. After I get home, I’ll go crazy trying to get things done before I leave on a TWO MONTH TREK THROUGH EUROPE. I cannot wrap my mind around the amazingness that is about to be my life.

Of course, when I get back, I’ll have no money, no job and no place of my own…but who cares! Things will work out, they always do.

 

And until then, I’m worry free, happy and so in love with this great thing called life.

My Baby Sister.

My baby sister and I used to fight like cats and dogs. We were, and still are, completely different people.

I used to get so jealous that my friends all go along with their sisters. They were always the best of friends, and here I was, constantly feeling enraged by sister – she stole my clothes, took things without asking, used my stuff, got me in trouble (sure, they weren’t things to get enraged over, but I was a teenager…clothes are a big deal!).

In recent years, my sister and I have really gotten closer, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. I am so thankful to be blessed with a sister who is so loving and caring. She honestly would do anything for anyone, and that is just one of her many amazing traits.

This isn’t to say that we don’t still fight or say mean things to each other, because we do…but we’re getting so much better at not doing that, and instead just enjoying each other and the company. She is honestly one of the most important people in my life, and I wish I would have realized that years ago so that we hadn’t wasted so many years bickering. But it’s not too late.

She scared me yesterday. My dad had to rush her to the ER after she had been throwing up for a full day. By the time they got there, her blood sugar was almost in the 600’s, which is high for anyone, especially a diabetic. They admitted her into ICU and have been giving her medicine through an IV to treat a bacterial infection. I didn’t go see her last night, and everything in me wanted to. But she can’t really have visitors and my dad was already there, so he was going to stay.

I’ve never been so scared that something was seriously wrong. I worry and care so much for her on a daily basis, but this was so extreme. It makes me realize what a wonderful and amazing sister I am so lucky to have, and it makes me realize that we don’t know what could happen tomorrow, so we should never take for granted what we have today.

And today, I’m going to see my baby sister ❤

 

Sis and I

Life Lessons: Mistakes and Goals and The Little Things.

Reminiscing about college makes me sad – partly because it’s almost over, but mostly because it didn’t live up to my expectations.

You know what they say,

hindsight is 20/20.

If I could go back and start freshman year over with the knowledge I have now, I would in a heartbeat. But wouldn’t everyone do something differently in their life if they knew then what they know now? I honestly think so.

Visiting Springfield this weekend put my heart into knots. I miss that town and my friends from Missouri State. As I was driving to meet Jodi for dinner, I wondered how different my life would be now had I not transferred to a school closer to home.

Love Life

When I graduated from high school, I was highly impressionable. I went to MSU with the promise of having my best friend there and not being as controlled by my mom, but looking back all I can think of is how much I hated it – I was doing awful in classes, Sam and I quit talking because of a guy, and I was 3 hours away from the family I was so close to. I took it hard, and the more I talked to Jodi, the more I decided that transferring was the best option. I wanted to go to Mizzou, but my mom wouldn’t allow the “party school” atmosphere. Sadly, my mother has had a hand in a lot of the decisions I’ve made. I was never sure what I really wanted, and my mind changes faster than you could believe sometimes, so what others thought and said always played a major role in my decision-making. Looking back, I hate that I was so vulnerable.

I guess that is something good that came out of college though – I have grown immensely as a person. I still may not be sure of what I want, but I know I’m not the only person who is about to graduate and is unsure of their future. I have become more independent. I know I can take care of myself, and I am much better at not letting people walk all over me or make my decisions for me. I take advice and apply it, weighing my options and my pros/cons, but I never let one person’s opinion be my deciding factor anymore. I no longer try to please the masses. I no longer am trying to please my mother, which is incredibly difficult, but necessary.

Please don’t think my mom is a terrible person. She is one of the most amazing, caring and giving people I have ever met. But she thinks she’s right about everything, always (okay, sometimes she’s right, but not always). She is my biggest supporter and would do absolutely anything to help me reach my goals.

What are goals and where can I find some?

Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions of life and don’t really know what you want or how to get it? I do, and pretty constantly lately. I’m about to graduate, but I feel so inept in my abilities. I worry I’m going to be a failure. Honestly, if you had asked me two and a half years ago where I’d be when I’d graduated, I would have told you that I’d be with that stupid boy. I guess that’s something I learned throughout college, too, that you should never center your life around something that can change in the blink of an eye – whether that’s a friendship or a relationship, or even a pan of fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies – they can all disappear. That entire relationship took me on a dizzy ride around and I’m only just starting to stop spinning.

I don’t know when my dream of working for a magazine in the city, living in a high-rise loft and eating pastries at a cute coffee shop ever went away, but I still have that desire in the back of my mind. I honestly can hardly wait to start applying for jobs. I’m going to search every city until I find something that fits. I honestly don’t see myself staying in St Louis for much longer. I’m not sure where exactly I see myself, but I’m telling you, it isn’t here.

To be completely honest though, I would be so content with just falling in love and making a home. I could craft and blog and live and love. I would be so happy. If only it were feasible. Maybe someday, but not today.

Today, I will snuggle into bed in my one-bedroom apartment in preparation for another week of classes. I will work hard this week to bring my grades up while I begin packing for when my lease is up, planning my Europe trip, and working out in my free time.

I’ll try to remember the good times I’ve had throughout my four and a half years of college. I’ll appreciate the friends I’ve made, the things I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had. I’ll mourn a bit for the things that didn’t work out the way they were supposed to or the way I had hoped that would, and then I’ll move on, remembering that everything I have been through in the last four and a half years has made me into the person I am today. And as much as I question my value, I am constantly reminded that the person I’ve become is pretty okay.

Well, hello again.

Busy Bee!

I’ve been vacant for about two weeks now and I miss blogging! I honestly couldn’t begin to tell you where the last few weeks have gone and now my favorite month is coming to a close all too quickly.

It has been busy! Midterms, work, weekends away – so much going on, but I absolutely love it.

Here goes nothing…

I have made the first few steps towards some MAJOR life changes, or transitions, as some psychology students might call them. I have decided that after I graduate in December, that I will move home for a few months. I have quit Victoria’s Secret and just broke the news that I would not be taking the position I was offered at the Ad Agency I have been interning at.

This was a HUGE decision for me, once that I have really been struggling with the past few months. I don’t see going home as a failure, although I see it as being in the middle of nowhere, with my entire family and out of a job – so it’s kind of scary. But more-so, I see it as an opportunity. I’m going to spend the holidays with my family, take a month or so off to travel through Western Europe, and then begin applying for jobs when I return.

I couldn’t be more terrified and thrilled for my decision. I really think it will give me a chance to figure out who I really am now that college is almost over, and it will help give me a sense of what I really want to do with my life. I can’t explain how much I need this time for myself. I can’t tell you how much I need this time with my family. I am so ready for this “break” to regroup.

I’m anticipating that many people are going to tell me it’s a terrible decision, but I don’t care what they think. This is my life and these are my decisions to make.

 

I’m ready.

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