Scripture Sunday Vol. 19

     Happy Sunday!  I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend.  Today I’m sharing my nineteenth “Scripture Sunday” post, you can read all of my previous “Scripture Sundays” here!  I love today’s verse and I hope y’all do too!  Just like always, if you are offended by the Christian religion please feel free to scroll past and find another post that better suits you.  Let’s get into the post!  Enjoy!

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

Jeremiah 31:3; the Lord appeared to him from far away.  I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.

     Junior year is infamous for being the hardest.  I went in with the mindset that this idea was really a matter of opinion and would depend on what classes you take.  My course load includes A.P. U.S. History, A.P. Environmental Science, A.P. English III (Language), honors Pre-Calculus, Spanish III, and yearbook, so I didn’t think it would be too much to handle.  Now, a couple months into the year, I understand that it’s not the courses themselves that make the year harder, but the expectations placed upon the junior student.  Teachers expect you to have ample free time to focus exclusively on their subject’s work.  Coaches expect you to excel and focus on your sport.  Parents expect you to keep yourself in line and make good grades (luckily mine are relatively lenient and understanding unlike some of my friends’).  Friends expect you to hang out and party with them.  Future school options expect you to be very involved in your community and school.

     My personal struggles have been in keeping up with school work while also keeping up with blog posts (hence why there was only one post this past week) and at the same time participating in YoungLife and Wyldlife leadership and attending our weekly two-hour lacrosse offseason practices (which just so happen to be the same evening as YoungLife…perfect *sense the sarcasm*).  Forget a social life.  The hard part about this is that none of these things are things I don’t love to do.  I value my education and like to do well in school, therefore I want to get my schoolwork done.  I love writing this blog so much and absolutely do not feel inclined to let it go, no matter how convenient it might be to do so.  Going to YoungLife and learning more about developing a relationship with Jesus is the highlight of my week and I’m never willing to skip a club, same goes for leading Wyldlife.  I enjoy playing lacrosse and I want to continue improving, so I don’t want to skip practice either.  Life has become overwhelming and all I want to do is sleep.

A couple weekends ago I got to step away from it all and go to Windy Gap with my area’s YoungLife group.  Because we left our schoolwork and electronics at home, the weekend was an incredible reminder of God’s presence in my life, even when I’m blinded by the world’s (and my own) expectations of me.  I recently came across a verse, Jeremiah 31:3 that reminds me of that feeling and goodness, it’s so beautiful.  The verse says “the Lord appeared to him from far away.  I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.”  When I’m distracted by earthly things, Jesus is still standing there, I’m just not looking for him.  He loves me with such an everlasting love and will never leave me, even when I push my relationship with Him aside.  There’s no other love that works like that, how could you turn it down?  The best part of this is that even when I don’t live up to the world’s expectations of me, like when I fail a test or don’t post enough blog posts one week, He’s still there and He still loves me, and that relationship is all that really matters.

This week, remind yourself that Jesus has appeared to you from far away.  His love is unconditional and everlasting, no matter how distracted you are.  Take just a few minutes each day to talk to him, while you brush your teeth in the morning or unmake your bed at night.  Give him your troubles and let Him love you.  Your relationship with Him is all that truly matters.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week.

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

 

Scripture Sunday Vol. 18

     Good morning and happy Sunday! I’ve prewritten this post because as it’s published I will be preparing to leave my favorite iPhone-and-computer-free weekend of the year; YoungLife fall weekend at Windy Gap. I seriously love the Bible verses I’m talking about today! The funny thing is I actually came across them recently while on my phone at a totally random moment and I screen-shotted them so I wouldn’t forget about them. As usual, if you’re offended by the Christian religion please be my guest and scroll past this post. If you came to read this week’s “Scripture Sunday,” you’re in the right place! I hope you enjoy it!

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

1 Peter 1:24-25; For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

     A week ago right now I was at Music Midtown, a music festival in Atlanta.  I had an amazing time, and I would definitely say I’m at my happiest at events like that.  I love to travel, I love to attend concerts, and I love going to YoungLife camps (like the one I’m at this weekend!).  However, not every moment in life, or my life at least, is an adrenaline rush like those experiences.

     In everyday life, I tend to find joy by accomplishing things and hanging out with friends.  Let’s be honest, I think we all become happier momentarily when we make good grades, perform well in our sports, and hang out with people we think are “cool” or good for us to surround ourselves with.  This happiness is temporary.  As soon as you get a bad grade on a quiz and your average falls again, you’ll be disappointed in yourself and have to work hard again to reattain your high grade.  When your coach doesn’t give you as much playing time in a game, you’ll wonder what made your coach think you were less capable than the players who started the game.  If you don’t get an invite to the party, you’ll question your friend group and your place with them.

     Finding your worth and identity in these earthly things can be dangerous.  They are imperfect just like you and I and are completely temporary.  1 Peter 1:24-25 says “For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.'”  At first, I liked these verses because I love flowers and metaphors that involve them, but then I dug deeper.  I love the way our “glory” (like grades, performances, social groups, and other accomplishments and earthly joys) is compared to flowers.  While beautiful at the time, they are temporary.  This reminds me of having flowers in a vase.  You pick the flowers, like your glories, when they’re beautiful and positive and make you feel good.  If you’ve ever had a vase of flowers, you know that the flowers obviously die sooner or later.  I hate watching them die, it’s almost painful to watch something so beautiful fade into something that has to be thrown out.  This parallels with our grades falling, our athletic performances becoming underwhelming, and our social groups disappointing us.  Not to mention, the verses’ comparison of people to grass that withers away.  This can be taken in regards to death or loyalty.  No one is permanent, a good percentage of relationships aren’t either.  Eventually it all ends, and it’s sad.

     However, another much happier thing I love about those verses is that they reveal that there’s one thing in our lives that has a sort of “lifetime guarantee” if you will – the Bible.  Everything in the Bible is true and it will never cease to be.  It will always be there to comfort you in times of trial and doubt, to remind you of what is right, and to guide you through your life.  The eternal love of God that is continuously referred to in the Bible is a constant in your life too.

     This week, don’t let the little things get to you.  Remember that the most big, important thing that could possibly be in your life is also the most constant.  Take pride in your earthly glories but don’t let them become who you are.  In times of disappointment, look to God’s word for guidance and joy.  Pray for those who can’t seem to see the ultimate shortcomings of their earthly satisfactions.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!  If you’d like to read my previous “Scripture Sunday” posts you can find them here.

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Scripture Sunday Vol. 17

     Happy Sunday!  I hope y’all are having a fabulous weekend.  I’ve loved catching up on my sleep!  Today I’m sharing another “Scripture Sunday” post, you can find my last sixteen here.  I hope you love today’s volume as much as I loved writing it!  I’m talking about seeing the good in the seemingly bad created by God.  As always, if you’re offended by Christianity, feel free to continue scrolling through my blog until you find something that strikes your fancy.  Enjoy!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Today’s Verse:

Psalm 121:2; My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

     Odds are you’ve heard about the hurricanes.  Harvey, Irma, and Jose have been directly affecting our part of the earth and I can’t say I like it one bit.  Yes, I am pretty safe a few hours inland of South Carolina’s coast, but I’ve hated seeing all the destruction that’s already taken place and tragic forecasts of what’s still to come.  In times of disaster it’s so easy to lose faith and wonder where God could possibly be in this.

     I recently came across Psalm 121:2, a simple verse that provides me with immense comfort in times of disaster and doubt.  The verse says “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  This reminds me that the disaster and help to come, even in the most unseen and unexpected ways, comes from the creator of all things in heaven and on earth, including the hurricanes.  It’s awfully strange to think that “a good Father” made the hurricanes and other disasters and it’s even stranger to think about how the catastrophes could possibly be part of something ultimately good.

As I was spent some time trying to come up with something good that’s coming out of these hurricanes I thought of unity, gratitude, and generosity.  It had been a hot minute since our last call to action in the United States in the form of a natural disaster, maybe God wanted to remind our divided nation that we’re all here to help each other, despite our differences.  For example, Jadelynn Brooke has had a support effort going on in which you can purchase a backpack filled with supplies for a child in need in the affected Houston areas.  As people buy one of these backpacks, they don’t know what kind of household it’s going to.  The donors don’t have a way to know if their support efforts will go to a family of a religion, political viewpoint, or race that they don’t particularly like or agree with and quite frankly they don’t care, they just want to help them.  Maybe God was trying to remind those of us who are constantly complaining about the hardships of our blessings (honestly myself included) to be more grateful.  Being practically unaffected by the hurricanes definitely makes me feel blessed.  As we compare our lives right now to those who are currently living without their homes, belongings, and educational systems, we can realize how good we have it and really begin to appreciate our surroundings.  Lastly, I think God might be trying to remind us to give more eagerly.  When something hits you on a personal level, like multiple catastrophic hurricanes attacking your country within just a few weeks, the cause and need to contribute seems a lot more urgent.  Maybe next time news comes of a hurricane devastating a foreign country we’ll remember what it was like here and be more eager to give.

So, how does that long explanation of possibilities for goodness in the wake of disaster  tie into Psalm 121:2?  Think about a time when you’ve reached out to a friend or family member for help with something and they didn’t help you in a way you’d expected them to.  Maybe you asked your dad for help with homework and instead of working out the problem with you he pointed you to a page in your textbook that he thought would help. At the time this kind of response can be frustrating, but ultimately you’ll teach yourself how to solve that type of problem and you’ll get it right on the test, when your dad can’t help you.  God might be helping us in hard ways that will ultimately better us.

I’m by no means an expert on God’s purposes in disasters, but when you really stop to think about it as I have you can begin to see the good in the bad.  I hope reading this has inspired you to look for the hidden blessings in big disasters in all areas of your life and encouraged you to keep your faith strong.  This week, remember to look for the needs of others despite your the walls built by your differences, count your blessings, and give eagerly.  Pray for those who have it worse than you and pray that your faith, as well as the faith of those affected by the tragedies, stands strong.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week and stay safe!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Scripture Sunday Vol. 16

     Happy Sunday!  It’s been two weeks since my last “Scripture Sunday” post and you know what that means… time for another one!  Today’s installment is about finding your identity in Christ, something I’ve found so enchanting recently.  I’m excited for you to read this, I hope you love it as much as I do!  As usual with these Scripture posts, if you are offended by Christianity or the Word of God for whatever reason, feel free to scroll past this post and read a recent fashion or lifestyle post.  Now that that disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get into this week’s “Scripture Sunday!”

DC0F1A47-83E6-4900-92B2-DC5D96294DB7.jpg

Today’s Verse:

Psalm 139:14; I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

     We grow up hearing cliche phrases like “just be yourself” and “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”.  At the time when we first start to hear those sayings in elementary school, they seem obvious.  Who else would I be, mom?  As we grow up, these phrases begin to hit us a little harder.  As humans, we are constantly seeking the approval of others.  We are constantly striving to please those around us, to be liked, to be thought of as “cool.”  I’m a junior in high school and now more than ever I find myself thinking “Would they think this is cool?” or “Is this too lame?” before wearing an outfit to school or posting a photo on Instagram.  This sounds pretty silly, but I think we all do it to an extent.  Even if we like to think of ourselves as “unapologetically me” we all still question how our actions, outfits, and words will be viewed by our peers.

     In the week I spent at Frontier Ranch (a YoungLife camp) in the beginning of the summer, I heard something new.  During cabin time, one of my leaders said “Our purpose is to be loved by God.”  I hadn’t ever really thought of that, and it’s so relieving to hear.  While you might think of your earthly purpose as a future profession you’re meant to take on or a group of people you’re supposed to share the Gospel with (which are both awesome things, don’t get me wrong), your ultimate purpose is simply to accept God, love Him and be loved by Him, live with Him, and share that love.

     I recently came across Psalm 139:14 and found it to be so beautiful and refreshing.  The verse says “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”  Hearing this makes you wonder how you could possibly seek out your identity and worth in others when you were fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of this Earth.  The same artist, per se, who sculpted the mountains, filled the seas with coral reefs and an innumerable amount of fish, and paints the skies with bright oranges and pinks every sunset and sunrise also created you.  It’s so easy to look at His other works, these earthly wonders, and think of them as wonderful, but do we see ourselves and others that way?  Does it register with you that an artist far more talented than Vincent van Gough or Pablo Picasso also created you?

     This week, take a little time to enjoy God’s artistry, then remember that He sees you as His most marvelous creation.  Crazy, isn’t it?  He doesn’t think so.  You are here to be loved by Him.  At the end of the day, if you feel like the only approval you’re getting is from God, know that is more than enough.  If “loved by God” is all you have to your name, know that’s all you need.  Find your identity in His love instead of others’ opinions of you.

Thanks for reading.  Have a blessed week!  Read my previous “Scripture Sunday” posts here.

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

 

Scripture Sunday Vol. 15

     Happy Sunday friends!  I’m so happy to be sharing my fifteenth “Scripture Sunday” post with you today.  I’ve loved writing them for y’all every other week and I hope you’ve loved reading them too!  I’m just going to jump into the post, but as always I want to throw out the reminder that if the Christian religion offends you in any way you are more than welcome to keep scrolling through my blog and find a style post that you’d prefer to read.  Now, let’s get started!

6C5B0457-1791-432D-B356-5AF1FA02D9C2.jpg

Today’s Verse:

Proverbs 11:27; Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.

     I’m not sure about when y’all are going back to school, but I return this Thursday, August 17th.  I’m going to be a junior and yes, I do know what they say, “junior year is the hardest.”  I’m pretty frightened to be starting such a crucial year to my college applications, but I’m also a bit excited for a new school year of possibilities and opportunity.

     One thing I’m really not excited about, however, is seeing some of those people I’ve been happy to avoid all summer.  Those that have been a little less than kind to me in the past, those that I’ve hit rough patches with at some point this summer, etc.  I think it’s pretty fair to say this isn’t all that strange for a high schooler, but I don’t think it’s a good thing either.  I try not to judge people but sometimes it just seems as if my everyone at school is doing something bad or saying something bad about someone else and I’m just tired of it.

     As I’ve tried to come up with a way to get past this before the school year begins, I found Proverbs 11:27.  The verse says “Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.”  What I take away from this is the idea that if I go around school just waiting for someone to “wrong me” or do something I wouldn’t think of as right, I’ll see it a lot more.  However, if I begin to look at everyone the way God looks at us, I’ll be able to see the good in everyone I pass by in the hallways and sit next to in class.  I want to stop seeing people as fake, mean, etc. and start seeing them as children of God, made perfectly in His image.  I’m beginning to pray more for those I’m not too fond of and to only think of positive responses to things I hear or see about my peers.  I’m doing my best to stop searching for the bad and start opening my eyes to the good.

     As you start school, stop yourself whenever you think those negative thoughts about others, even those that you might think are justified.  Start thinking “child of God” before thinking anything else of someone.  Everyone is worth loving and there’s no need to look for reasons to hate them instead.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week.

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Scripture Sunday Vol. 14

     Good morning and happy Sunday!  Today I’m so happy to be sharing my fourteenth “Scripture Sunday” post with y’all.  Today I did the calligraphy a little differently than usual, let me know what you think!  I think I like this way because it looks a little cleaner and more professional.  Anyways, as usual I’d like to throw in the fact that if the Christian religion offends you in any way, you can continue scrolling through my site and find another fashion or lifestyle post that strikes your fancy.  Enjoy!

583E1D3C-6AB7-4E53-8C6A-560E4FFAB3E0.jpg

TODAY’S VERSES:

Matthew 5:16; In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

     Recently, in a chat during our Bible study, my friends and I began talking about how we’re supposed to represent God and Christianity.  It’s sort of our duty as Christians to love others so that they can see Christ’s love through us.  If our actions don’t reflect the goodness of God and Christianity, no one will want to join in.  So what about those days when these “others” are getting on your very last nerve, being rude to you, not including you, etc.?  Yep, your actions still need to display God’s love and acceptance.

     If you ask me, the best example of this kindness can be found in my YoungLife leaders.  A few of them come to our school lunches at least once a week, where they not only say hey to those of us who they already know and love as YoungLife students, but they also reach out to the kids that don’t like or just don’t come to YoungLife.  They sit with them and get to know them, showing genuine interest and love for them the way Christ does in all of us.  If after a few weeks they still reject my leaders’ invitation to come to YoungLife club, guess what?  My leaders still continue to form that relationship with them because they want to show them that unconditional love and acceptance that God shows us.  If you ask me, my YoungLife leaders are some of the best models for the way I should be treating and reaching out to others.

     Honestly, I’m don’t treat others that way all the time.  I don’t always represent God in a good way.  I don’t always display God’s love in my actions.  However, I’m always trying to become better at doing so, even though I slip up quite often.  I find instruction and encouragement for doing so in Matthew 5:16.  This verse says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  This kindness and genuine interest in getting to know others for the ultimate purpose of letting them get to know Christ is referred to as “your light.”  I seriously love that.  The verse continues to say “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

     This week, pay special attention to the way you treat those around you.  Realize what you’re doing.  Are you anywhere close to accurately reflecting God’s love?  I think this is something that most of us need to work on, myself included.  Obviously it’s extremely hard to love others unconditionally all the time the way God does, but just give it a try.  When we label ourselves as Christians, we become a little like billboards advertising God.  What does yours say?  Make sure the way you’re living His word out seems like a good advertisement.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM