Scripture Sunday Vol. 33

     Happy Sunday!  Today I’m posting my first “Scripture Sunday” post since my little month-long hiatus and I’m so excited to share what God’s been teaching me lately!  This is my thirty-third “Scripture Sunday” post I’ve written in the past year or so (crazy right?), so if you’re interested in reading any of my previous Scripture posts you can find them here.  I hope you love today’s post as much as I loved writing it!  Enjoy!

IMG_8028 2

Today’s Verse:

James 1:11; For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes.  So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

     I love to travel.  I love seizing every opportunity I get to see more of the world, and I’m never disappointed.  God’s creation never ceases to amaze me, from the crashing of ocean waves to tall purple mountains it’s all so beautiful and it’s such a blessing to see.  One of my favorite things about traveling, especially by plane, is that it puts in perspective just how little my life really is.  As a junior in high school, it’s so easy to get caught up in myself, not necessarily in intentionally selfish ways, but caught up in things like bringing up my SAT score, being disappointed in my GPA, or getting involved in as many extracurriculars as I can manage.  The compounding of these expectations that I, and those around me, have for the remainder of my high school career easily creates stress and a sense of drowning.  I constantly get stuck in the cycle of feeling like nothing I’m doing is good enough, like my grades will never be as high as I want them to be or my athletic performance will never be enough to get played in lacrosse games.

     A couple weeks ago I read the book of James.  I love the number of metaphors in the short, five chapter book, and I especially love the one found in verse eleven of chapter one.  It says “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes.  So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.”  While this can definitely be taken as targeting the selfish ambitions of those who only focus on money, I think the “pursuits” of the “rich man” mentioned can also refer to our earthly goals that aren’t based on God.  If we choose to spend our whole lives focusing only on our grades, athletic performance, or income, not only will we never be content, we won’t be living for God.  While high academic achievement and athletic talent are by no means bad things, they are still distractions from God.

     The funny thing about all of these earthly aims that we place such high value on is that they won’t matter at all when we get to heaven.  When we meet our Creator all that will matter is how we loved others, how we shared His word, and how we poured into our relationship with Him.  We aren’t going to have a nicer house when we get to heaven because we had higher paying jobs on Earth.  We aren’t going to get an extra high five from God because we got into the most prestigious college.  God loves us as we are and for who we are, not who we present ourselves as to the world based on what we’ve accomplished or how we look.

     This week, remember what actually matters.  Remember what the Bible says about our earthly pursuits and our God-based goals.  Don’t let a failure get you down and remember who God says you are!

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Scripture Sunday Vol. 32

     Happy Sunday!  Today I’m excited to share my thirty-second installment in my “Scripture Sunday” series (read my previous posts in the series here)!  Today’s verse has brought me so much encouragement lately and I hope it does the same for y’all!  This post is definitely Christian, so if the Christian religion offends you for whatever reason please feel free to continue scrolling through my blog, I hope you find something else you like (this past week I shared an outfit post and my Isle of Palms travel diary from spring break)!  Enjoy!

IMG_7379

Today’s Verses:

2 Timothy 4:18; The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.  To Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

     Life is hard.  That’s a groundbreaking statement, right?  Obviously not.  Whether your current hardships have to do with low grades, having trouble with friends, your parents’ relationship, or just about anything else, you know the sad truth that life is full of struggles and moments in which you can’t see a trace of the light of good days.

     An issue that has been really hard on me a lot lately is judgement.  What’s ironic about the judgement that I’m specifically speaking of is that it’s based on the assumption that I would judge someone else.  Being a faithful Christian in high school is hard for so many reasons I never thought it’d be.  I always knew I’d be able to resist the temptation to drink and do drugs in high school, but what’s hard about the presence of these substances in high school social life is that other people’s knowledge of your decision not to get involved with these things often leads to their assumption that you think they’re “bad people” because they choose to use them.  Quite the opposite is true, as I would still love to maintain relationships with these people.  In all honesty, there are so many nights in which I lie awake hoping these friends make it home alright.  I’m not going make the decision to exclude someone from my life simply because they make choices I won’t, but my peers often choose to distance themselves from me because they know I don’t approve of or participate in the things they’re doing.

     Last week I read 2 Timothy, the second letter from Paul to Timothy.  If you’re unfamiliar with Paul, he underwent a colossal conversion from persecuting Christians to putting his life on the line to spread the message constantly.  Paul was thrown into prison several times and faced consequences left and right for sharing the gospel.  Something I often overlook is the thought that Paul’s friend group, like mine, radically changed after he made such a dramatic shift in his life.  Recognizing all of this certainly puts things in perspective and gives me hope and motivation to continue on no matter how hard it gets.  In verse eighteen of chapter four, Paul says to Timothy, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.”  This verse was such a beautiful reminder to me over the past week that God will save me from the worst parts of this world and one day I’ll get to spend eternity in His perfect kingdom.

     This week, try to see past your challenges to that eternal life God promises us.  Even the greatest troubles here on earth pale in comparison to the glory awaiting us in heaven.  If you share that issue of judgment I mentioned and also worry about your friends making potentially dangerous decisions, pray for them!  One thing I’ve learned over the past year or so is that approaching people about their questionable actions rarely helps, so prayer is your greatest tool.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Scripture Sunday Vol. 31

     He has risen, happy Easter!  Today I’m sharing my thirty-first “Scripture Sunday” post (read the previous posts in my “Scripture Sunday” series here) with an Easter theme.  The verses I’m sharing today are a couple of my favorite from the gospels in regard to Jesus’ return!  As always, I’ll throw in the disclaimer that my “Scripture Sunday” posts fall under the Christian category, so if the Christian religion offends you for whatever reason please feel free to continue scrolling through my blog until you find something that strikes your fancy (this past week I shared my Carolina Point travel diary and an outfit inspired by Jeanine Amapola)!  Enjoy!

IMG_6917.jpg

Today’s Verses:

Matthew 28:19-20; Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

     I didn’t want to spend today’s “Scripture Sunday” telling y’all what I’m sure you’ve heard all day, “He is risen!”  Yes, He has risen indeed, but what does that mean for us today, over two thousand years later?  What does it mean to serve a living God?

     We’re about to reach that time of the school year where the teachers review what they’ve taught us so we are prepared to take the exam and advance into courses where we will be expected to know everything they have taught us without their presence.  These final days with the teachers we’ve gotten to know and love (or loathe) so well are stressful and scary, and personally I spend a lot of it scared that I won’t be able to retain everything they’ve shown me throughout the course of the school year.  But still, these teachers will soon finish reviewing study guides and pass out exams that will mark our departure from their classes.  Imagine what it must have felt like as a disciple to realize that your teacher of the most important lessons ever has died, and while He just somehow came back from the dead, is about to leave you again.  Like I said, I’m stressed about the fact that I’m supposed to remember how to graph cotangent functions without my pre-cal teacher next year, if Jesus told me “I’m about to go back to heaven but you stay here and teach people how to live” I think I’d pass out on the spot.

     What I love so much about Matthew 28:19-20 is that while Jesus tells his disciples basically just that (“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”), He also gives the greatest reminder of all time; He might be leaving us physically but He is with us forever.  In my opinion, the last sentence of Matthew is debatably the prettiest and most comforting thing in the Bible, it says “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  If that’s not some of the best news you’ve ever heard I really don’t know what is, personally I’d be a train wreck without Jesus.

     This week, look for Jesus in everything.  You are not alone, and you will never be.  Know that your teacher Jesus has given you a mission, but unlike your school teachers and the exams they give you, He accompanies and guides you throughout this test.  He loves you unconditionally and sends you into the world to do amazing things with Him.

Thanks for reading!  Happy Easter and have a blessed week!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Carolina Point WyldLife Weekend Travel Diary 2018

     The weekend of February 23rd through 25th I had the privilege of traveling to YoungLife’s Brevard, NC camp, Carolina Point, with my area’s WyldLife group as a leader.  This was my first time going to camp as a leader and it was so neat to see the other side of things!  I loved getting to know all the sweet girls in my cabin better and watching them grow in their relationships with God as the weekend progressed.  Today I’m sharing the weekend’s happenings as well as a video in a travel diary!  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM lens.  The background song is “Feel Good” by Felix Jaehn and Mike Williams.

Friday

     Friday night we arrived around 9:45 p.m. and shortly after dropping my bags in one of  the eighth girls’ cabins I ran with my area’s leaders to the leader lounge for a meeting.  In this meeting we were introduced to all of the weekend’s authoritative roles, including the speaker, camp director, program staff (aka the hilarious people who put on skits and organize the games for club), property staff, and more.  In this meeting we also discussed the schedule for the night and Saturday morning.  After a series of introductions and prayers for the exciting weekend ahead, we were dismissed and joined our middle school friends in front of the club room to anticipate club’s start.  About fifteen minutes later, music began to play and the club doors open.  During club we screamed and danced to a few songs, played games, and heard the talk.  The opening club’s talk focused on the things we pursue instead of focusing on God and the idea that maybe we were meant to pursue the one who created these things.  Following club was the opening cabin time, which was honestly a bit awkward for my cabin (as the first night’s cabin time often is).  Cabin time ended around midnight, so we prepared for bed pretty quickly and went to sleep soon after.

67ec85c5-54c0-4089-b0e1-d2e381c5334b

Saturday

     I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and quietly got ready for the day (my cabin was still sleeping!) before heading to my leader meeting at 8:00 a.m.  In this meeting we picked kids for the games that would take place in club and discussed the planned happenings for the day up to dinner.  When the meeting ended, we went to the dining hall to claim our area’s tables at our first meal at camp.  I have to admit, standing on chairs and dancing to get kids to my table at each meal was one of my favorite parts of the weekend.  If you’ve ever been to YoungLife camp you know that as soon as the dining hall doors open every camper sprints to their leader’s table as though the table was going to stand up and run away.  It was so fun to see that excitement from a different perspective!  We ate some delicious pancakes and the best sausage (anyone else not like sausage unless it’s at YoungLife camp?) while watching the hilarious skit.  After breakfast it was time for the cabin challenge!  Our cabin did an array of activities, including leapfrogging around the pool, push-ups, dancing to YMCA on the dock, and trust falls from the stage to compete for the coveted cabin challenge winning title.

0e2b5225-490c-4d93-9391-acb33d2bd95f

     When the challenge ended, we went to the club room to wait for the morning club.  I distinctly remember the song selection Saturday morning being so good, including mashups of cartoon theme songs (the Phineas and Ferb theme is such a jam, don’t lie) and the “Banana Song.”  This club talk was one that’s always hardest to hear, the reminder that we are sinners and that there is nothing we can do to redeem ourselves.  In my now five trips to YoungLife camp, I’ve seen kids of all ages struggle with accepting this fact that without Christ’s crucifixion (which isn’t discussed until the Saturday night club at weekend camp) we are helpless.  That being said, the cabin time following this club proved frustrating for some of our girls (expected), but also brought up a lot about where they see Sin in their own lives.  At the conclusion of cabin time, we had about half an hour of free time before lunch.  Lunch was super good as usual (although I forgot what we ate, oops) and the skit led into field games!  Field games included a few fun games I don’t know how to name, a huge tug of war, and flour bombs (which I luckily dodged thanks to having my camera in hand).

f593fb3c-3290-4a46-a2b6-96eb7cfa433f

f83aedc6-6bdb-4aa3-92be-11ede2a9b103

193f372f-6d0b-4138-b3db-4ec2e4c628f0

     The end of field games marked the beginning of free time, so I quickly rushed to the cabin with a few of my eighth grade girls to grab our wallets before heading to the camp store. Somehow I managed to buy just one tee shirt and a sticker this trip (that’s a huge accomplishment for a tee shirt lover like me!), but the line was super long so the camp store easily ate up an hour of our free time.  After taking our purchases back to the cabin, we went on the hike with a couple of our area’s head leaders.  The hike was a lot of work but the view was so worth it.  Atop the mountain, we took a few minutes in silence to just talk to God and marvel in the fact that despite His creation of the gorgeous peaks in front of us, He still sees us as His most beautiful creation.  We took a few photos before heading back down the mountain.

82b838a8-add1-4066-9043-1f8fb06ef77b

83848ea2-c769-4910-894e-60e98ff5b174

89be3155-44c0-4385-b1df-993af6c88a16

     When we got back to camp, I took a quick shower then hung out with a few girls for half an hour or so before dinner.  We had the best lasagna, green beans, and bread for dinner while watching the climax of the skit.  For dessert we had big cookie, but this weekend they prepared a “s’mores big cookie!”  The famously sweet dish included graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate syrup in addition to the traditional giant, gooey cookie.  After dinner I returned to the leader lounge for another meeting in which we discussed the plans for the night and worshipped as a large group.  When the meeting concluded, I reunited with my area’s girls in front of the club room.  Club was again filled with a ton of fun games, funny skits, and a great talk about the crucifixion of Jesus.  At the end of the club talk, the campers were given an opportunity to silently find a seat around camp and write a letter to God for fifteen minutes.  If you’ve ever been to YoungLife camp, we do something similar (fifteen minutes of silence to talk to God with all of camp’s lights out), but having never gone to camp as a Wyldlife kid it was really neat for me to experience this different take on the fifteen minutes.  When the fifteen minutes ended, the bell rang and we went to cabin time.  My head leader asked me to lead this cabin time, and this particular cabin time after the crucifixion talk and fifteen minutes is always my favorite as a camper so I was so nervous to lead it.  We spent cabin time asking and answering questions about beginning a relationship with Jesus based on the club talk and discussing what the campers though and wrote about during their fifteen minutes.  The five-minutes-to-club bell signaled the end of cabin time and I ran down to the club room with my eighth grade girls.  This particular club included a few “minute to win it” games, the conclusion of the skit series, and a super fun dance party filled with glow sticks and lots of whipping and jujuing.  When the dance party was over I headed over to the Mason Jar (snack bar) with my best friend and co-leader Cammie to purchase some Cheerwine slushies and ice cream.  After we finished our snacks we returned to our cabins and went to bed.

b025e9f7-f54a-4807-b8fa-b45dd74f05f9

484d09a5-521a-4227-8c91-55b400b2ed3a

Sunday

     Sunday morning my head leader, Townsend, woke me around 8:00 a.m. up with a stack of area tee shirts for my cabin.  I passed out the tee shirts as the girls slowly got up in preparation for 9:00 a.m. breakfast (on the last day of YoungLife camp everyone wears their area shirts!).  Breakfast consisted of lots of cereal, biscuits, and good conversations. After breakfast we returned to the cabin for cabin cleanup, in which we finished packing, took out the trash, folded all the blankets, and swept.  As soon as we finished cleaning we went outside to take lots of pictures before our area meeting!  I have to say, we got quite a few adorable shots, I wish I was that cute in middle school!  Our photoshoots ended when it was time for lunch, a delicious platter of chicken sandwiches and French fries.  We watched the meal skit’s conclusion as we finished dinner then packed the bus and headed home.

bbf81ede-987c-4152-969c-88ff3c9b96e1

7faa7c7e-e85e-4f6d-9220-5108a210443e

abfe6547-bd49-4794-a520-4e0c08ee4d02

01a2783b-f8c5-4ca4-863e-858777182160

8447b469-7387-4b97-bffa-3d4989a35b57

d9b6902b-9d3c-42d1-8771-680fa81fd16a

I’m so grateful I had this amazing opportunity to lead some of the sweetest middle schoolers around!  If you have the chance to attend or lead at a YoungLife camp, trust me, you should go!  You can read about a few of my other YoungLife camp experiences herehere, and here.  Thanks for reading!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Scripture Sunday Vol. 30

     Happy Sunday!  Today I’m sharing the thirtieth post in my “Scripture Sunday” series (read my previous “Scripture Sunday” posts here).  If you haven’t read one of these posts before, they typically include a verse or two I’ve been touched by recently and a little correlation to my life (that you can hopefully relate to as well!).  Obviously these posts are Christ-based, so if you don’t feel as though this kind of post is for you I encourage you to keep scrolling through my blog until you find something you like (this past week I shared two outfit posts here and here)!  If you’re sticking around I hope you enjoy!

IMG_6770 2.jpg

Today’s Verses:

Ephesians 4:1-2; I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love

     Have you ever had a really cool opportunity you knew you weren’t deserving of?  I know I’ve had plenty.  One that I still feel completely honored to have had was the opportunity to go to Carolina Point (a YoungLife camp in Brevard, NC) as a Wyldlife leader (side note: stay tuned for a blog post on my weekend at Carolina Point soon, I promise I’m working on it!).  Being a Wyldlife leader had already brought me so much joy and getting to hang out with these middle school girls all weekend at a camp as beautiful and fun-packed as Carolina Point seemed like a dream come true, and believe me it totally was!

     I’m honestly still not one hundred percent sure what it feels like to be “called” by God to do something, but if I had to take a guess I’d say it was the feeling I got when my YoungLife leader Townsend texted me about being a Wyldlife leader back in July.  The thought of not leading didn’t even pass through my mind, I was as certain that I wanted to lead more as I am certain that I love chocolate (and if you know me you know that’s really certain).  Despite knowing that leading middle schoolers would require time-consuming training and eat up my Wednesday nights that could otherwise be spent studying or hanging out with friends my own age, I knew that I wanted to do it.

     I’m now reading the book of Ephesians, and while reading chapter four yesterday I came across what I think are two of the coolest verses I’ve read in the Bible thus far.  These verses, written by Paul, say “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”  Paul calls himself “a prisoner for the Lord” because he completely changed his life to follow God.  After years of persecuting Christians as Saul, He encountered God and began sharing His love from nation to nation, staring in the face consequences like the ones he had previously inflicted.  What does he mean though, by “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”?  I think Paul’s referring to how we should approach those callings (i.e. awesome opportunities like leading at Wyldlife camp or even just everyday things like sharing His word with your friends).  If you ask me, getting to serve God in any way is a pretty cool thing, an honor if you will, but with great power comes great responsibility.  Matching that honor of leading at Carolina Point, should I have walked off that bus at camp cussing left and right, missing my leader meetings to sleep in, and helping my cabin sneak out at night?  Absolutely not!  Going into that weekend I intended to live up to the expectations of my head leaders and the hopes of God.  Looking back, I think I led that weekend “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” as Paul advised.

     This week, recognize that even the small parts of your everyday life offer room to pursue what God has called you to do.  Do your best to live your life in such a way that reflects the great opportunity you have been given to serve such a loving God.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM

Scripture Sunday Vol. 29

     Happy Sunday!  I’ve kept up with reading at least one chapter in the Bible each day since the start of the new year and I’ve absolutely loved it.  Not only do I feel so much closer to God, but I’m learning a lot about the life I was designed to live and the way I want to pursue that.  One of the passages that I read this week inspired this installment of my biweekly “Scripture Sunday” series.  As always, I’m going to throw out the disclaimer that this is definitely a Christ-based post and my readers who aren’t part (or don’t want to be part) of the Christian faith probably won’t enjoy it.  If that’s you, I’d love it if you continued scrolling though my blog until you find another post you like better (this week I shared an outfit inspired by Morgan Yates here and my February favorites here)!  I hope you enjoy today’s “Scripture Sunday!”

IMG_2113.jpg

Today’s Verse:

2 Corinthians 4:17; For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

     If you play a sport, have ever attended any form of school, or work a job, you know what it’s like to push yourself through something awful for a promised reward.  Maybe you attend intense two hour practices daily with the promise that you’ll end up competing at state this season.  Maybe you’re exhausted, staying up all night studying for a test in the hope of bringing up a grade that you’re convinced the colleges you’re applying to will see.  Maybe you absolutely hate working at your job but go to work simply because you need the money.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that in each person’s life there’s at least one area that they aren’t really thrilled about but continue to pursue for the promise of positive outcomes.

     In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he advises the people of Corinth to stay strong in their faith and to continue to spread God’s word as they build their relationships with Him.  I particularly love this prevalent reassurance in 2 Corinthians 4:17.  The verse says “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”  Here Paul encourages them to not lose hope as a new Christian group while they face daily trials in the midst of unbelievers, but I think this verse is still more than applicable to our lives today.

     As I mentioned before, we all have things we have to push through in order to get to something better, something worth it.  Some days, the concept of life as a whole being this way isn’t too far out of reach.  As 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, our earthly troubles will pale in comparison to the great glory we will reach in heaven.  We will think of these times, times when things got really hard with our parents or friends, times when we faced rejection, times when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, and we’ll laugh.  We’ll see just how worth it pursuing a life with Jesus is.

     This week, face the hard times knowing that something incredible will come from them.  Know that God is preparing an absolutely amazing eternal life for you in heaven, something too good for you to even grasp right now.  Stay strong in your faith and never be afraid to talk to God when things feel hard or out of control.  He loves you and everything in your life is done for a specific purpose of His.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 7.53.30 PM