Testimony Tuesday

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For 18 days I have had the opportunity to come to Georgia and see my family. I’ve gotten to put aside work and school and really have nothing to worry about while I’m here. It has been such a sweet relief after the summer I’ve had. God has been teaching me more about who He is and that I simply need to abide in Him. “Be still and know that I am God” is a verse that has stuck out to me more than anything. To be still is to put away all the things that distract us from being in God’s presence; to stop thinking about all the things that need to be done today or tomorrow, and sit before Him. During this time I am normally repeating all the names of God, His characteristics, and the things He has revealed about Himself to me. To sit before God and remember who He is is such a sweet time of peace and calmness.

A Week at the Gaylord Texan

From Sunday until today I had the privilege of staying at the Gaylord Texan with my Alyssa’s church as a youth leader. I’ve gotten to do several events with Alyssa’s church and have always loved every second of it. I’m currently between churches and am struggling to get plugged in anywhere, but FBC Livingston has really adopted me and I’ve been able to develop great relationships with so many of the people there. So when the opportunity came up to volunteer at a youth leader at this conference I jumped all over it.

We arrived on Sunday night and played a game called Whirlyball. This was one of the most hilarious and challenging games I’ve ever played. It’s played in teams of 5 each and you ride around a room in bumper cars trying to get a hold of a small ball. Then, you must somehow throw the ball at a board that is a good 10 feet over your head. This game is not for those who are uncoordinated, meaning me. HA! But it was still a ton of fun!

Once we finally made it to the hotel I was placed with 3 high school girls, who were so awesome the whole week. We had minimal problems with sarcasm that first night, but it was soon replaced with us trying to point out things we like about each other. I wanted the girls to realize that sarcasm can be hurtful so I laid down the law: we were going to be the nice loving room. And by the end of the week everyone in the youth group was calling us the loving group. It was awesome!

On Monday we had the opportunity to go serve with Mission Arlington doing apartment ministry. This was new to me, but I loved every second of it. We spent some time cleaning up the apartment complex and then went door to door inviting families to bring their children to the park for games and Bible study. We split up into groups to go knock on doors and at first I was getting discouraged because many families said no thank you, or would not come to the door at all. But one little girl, Maya, came out with us and showed us where her friends lived, and we soon had a small posse of children following us back to the park. When we arrived at the park we were shocked to see at least 50 children running around playing games and being held by different members of the youth. It was such a great scene. These kids just wanted to be hugged and loved on and we were all more than happy to oblige. I also got to speak Spanish with several of the residents in the apartment complex, which was so cool!

The rest of the week was filled with a trip to Six Flags and a water park, multiple worship opportunities and listening to speakers. The fellowship in the wee hours of the morning were my favorite parts of the trip. Those were the moments when people got real and honest and began asking the hard questions. It was awesome to see the youth group grow over the span of a few days. I wasn’t ready to come home today, but I took so much away from the week and am so thankful that I was able to go!

Be Still and Know

This morning I woke up with a to-do list a mile long in my head. I had errands I needed to run, things to do around the house, people to call… And I began doing those things and then stopped with the conviction that I hadn’t taken the time to read my Bible or pray this morning.

I want to be very honest and say that I have not been diligent lately in spending time with the Lord, but yesterday and today I have had the desire to be in the word.

So I say down on my bed and opened my Bible to my favorite Psalm. Psalm 46. When I got to the end, one verse stuck out to me: be still and know that I am God. be still.

In my normal routine I am rarely ever still. I fidget all the time and am always running around trying to get things done. But that verse reminded me that we have to slow down and choose to spend time with the One who created us.

As I sat there and forced myself to be still I started feeling peace come over me and I began going through the names of God that I know and who I know God is. It was wonderful to think of how magnificent He is, but that He loves us deeply. It’s all in His perfect character.

Take a break today from the hustle and bustle of life and remember to be still before the Lord, knowing that He is God.

When life gets tough

Life isn’t easy. Life gets really tough sometimes and somehow we have to make it through another day. I got some really tough news this weekend regarding some family issues and as much as I want to lay in bed and cry all day I HAVE to get up and get through it. Satan throws some really sucky curve balls at us and we can’t dodge all of them. They can hit us right in the gut or they can hit us and open up an old wound. Either way, it hurts and it’s painful.

When I first got this news at home I did the first thing that came to mind: run. I got in my car and just drove out to the lake, sat in my car and bawled my eyes out for a good while. I like to think of myself as a pretty strong person, but Satan threw something at me that just broke me. I felt so hopeless.

And then I started looking at the lake, how the sunset was reflecting off of the water, how there were families out in their little boats having a grand old time, how there were ducks EVERYWHERE, and I was reminded that God is an amazing creator. I began to think about this study I’ve been doing on all the names of God in the Bible and one particular name came to mind: Adonai Yahweh, which means Sovereign Lord. This name emphasizes that God is sovereign over every single situation in life; the universe, nature, humans, politics, sin, salvation, EVERYTHING. AND THAT’S AMAZING.

Even my own life that seems so insignificant sometimes. But God cares about it and is in control of the chaos that happens.

I began to pray and thank God for all that He is. I prayed for healing and restoration. The Holy Spirit moved me to pray because I really just wanted to shake my fist at God and scream WHY? But instead I prayed. God is powerful and can do anything. I will trust in the fact that God uses for good what Satan means for evil. And that is where my peace comes from.

Life is tough, but God is a whole lot tougher.

Wishful Wednesday

I just want to start off with a word of thanks to my family, roommates, friends, coworkers, and God. I have felt so loved and blessed by all of you every day and I see God using every single one of you in my life. Words cannot describe the love I feel. God is moving in my heart and in my life and I see evidence of Him everywhere I look. I feel so at peace and just surrounded by His presence. Just amazing. He is healing my heart day by day. I am realizing that this season of my life is a gift and that I should be using it to bring Him praise. I am just excited for what is going to be coming next.

I lift my eyes up to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will not slumber nor sleep.

Psalm 121:1-4

This psalm has become one of my favorites, simply because it reminds me that my God is constantly watching over me and that I do not have to be afraid. Such a sweet sweet reminder.

Convicting Thoughts

I am currently going through a Bible study by Beth Moore called “Stepping Up.” It goes through the Psalms of Ascent, which are about the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship God (basically getting closer to God). Through everything that has been happening the past few weeks I’ve felt really far from God and just haven’t had the desire to grow closer to Him at all, and I really haven’t had any desire to go to church, or to do anything at all. I’ve just really been unhappy about where I am. Spinning off of that thought, I haven’t been happy at church because I don’t feel like I’m growing there and I don’t feel encouraged by the people there anymore.

One of the points in the Bible study yesterday was that God has us go through seasons for a reason. We are in certain places because He wants to make a point to us about something. But even more importantly than that we are to praise Him and live for Him while we are in that place. The psalm we read was about praying for Jerusalem. I was really convicted to pray for my church because I hadn’t been doing that, and I honestly don’t think that I’ve ever prayed for any church that I’ve gone to. And that’s not how it should be, especially because I am one of the leaders in our children’s and youth ministries. I have been so caught up in myself and my own discomfort that I forgot to look around me and see how much I can be an encouragement to others.

I really want a change, and I am going to have to trust that through fervent prayers God will bring about the change in Him timing, exactly the way that He needs it to happen.