Freedom.

     It’s been a pretty long time since I last shared a Scripture-related post with y’all – almost nine months to be exact.  I can blame that on getting busy but a big part of the reason for those posts’ disappearance was the way I confined myself to sharing what I’ve been learning to the every-other-week “Scripture Sunday” posts.  I knew when I started that series that I wanted to start using this platform to share God’s love with y’all, but I think I outgrew the limitation I gave myself in just how often I could discuss my faith and how deep I would go.  As I’m preparing to leave for college (I move in in just eleven days!), I want to reclaim my blog for a greater good.  I still love fashion and I’m sure I will continue to post that type of content, but at this point in my life, I’m far more passionate about the life God is calling me to live and the love I get to invite those I interact with into.  I want this blog to start looking a little less like a fashion editorial and more like the life I live with Him.  In all honesty, my senior year was filled with highs like the ones I shared in my senior year recap post, but it was also a time in which I experienced a lot of challenges.  I’m done pretending that I’m anywhere near perfect and that I can fix everything myself because I’m not and I can’t.

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     Growing up, my family was far from perfect – which began to become obvious when my parents separated when I was in kindergarten.  Don’t get me wrong, I have so many happy childhood memories, but there were still a lot of moments of chaos and tragedy and disappointment as the years passed.  The home life I had no control over led to my desire for control growing up.  I wanted to control my grades and my appearance, but most of all, I wanted to control the way people thought of me.  I worked so hard to please my teachers, my parents, and my peers who I longed to hear call me their friend.  I tried my best to follow every rule, I worked hard in school, I wore what everyone else said was cool, and I filled every spare hour with activities that I thought would impress my parents and the colleges I applied to.  This constant cycle of trying to prove myself and not being noticed and trying again but harder began in early elementary school and still hasn’t completely ended, but over the last couple of months, something changed.

     As my high school career and thus my involvement with my area’s YoungLife came to a close, the promise I’d been reassuring my friends with and telling my Wyldlife middle school girls for years finally began to click in my own mind – I don’t have to perform for God.  I am saved by His grace, not by my own acts.  Psalm 147:11 says “but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.”  Simply making the choice to follow Him every day brings Him pleasure!  Seriously, I’ve been telling my friends who were frustrated by their unchanging SAT scores or poor performances in athletic events the very same thing for years, but I guess I never really got it myself.  It’s not just that I don’t have to perform for Him, He knows that in running this race I’m going to fall flat on my face a few times (and by few times I mean a lot of times).  Even when I do the exact opposite of performing for God, He doesn’t turn His back on me.  Instead, He brushes the dirt off of knees by sending me friends and mentors who will guide me back onto the path to keep on running.  He gives me opportunities like a second time on Work Crew that will remind me that staying on the hard, narrow path He references in Matthew 7:14 is so darn worth it.  He points me to Baylor, which wasn’t even really on my radar before my dad told me to schedule a tour, where before I’ve even started school I’ve already found a community to run alongside.  His grace is sufficient – none of my sins are too big for the cross.

     In the vast grace and steadfast love He’s given us, I’ve finally found freedom.  I’m set free from the ball and chain of my Sin, I’m set free from my need to be perfect, and I’m set free from the need to please everyone around me.  I am living in the freedom brought by knowing that the One who loves me more than anyone else ever could does, simply because I’m running towards Him.  And that has brought me peace and joy like I’ve never experienced before.  A specific verse has stuck with me since one of my last morning devotionals on Work Crew at Saranac last summer – Psalm 23:6.  The verse says “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  When I finally choose to let go of my need for worldly validation and lean into His mercy, I’m running free – and His goodness follows me wherever I go.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.  I’m so excited to start sharing real life with y’all in this space and I really hope you’ll stick around.  Here’s to living in the freedom of knowing that I am never going to be perfect, but the cross covers that.

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