Well two weeks until I officially move to North Georgia, and I could not be more excited or more scared. Here is a small insight to my thought process of what I am most excited and nervous about.
Excited: I have an incredible roommate that loves Jesus, and I can not wait to see how God uses us this year!
Nervous: I am leaving everything I have known behind and starting new for the first time in my life. Northpoint Community Church, my home, my friends, etc.
Excited: To meet new friends that become family and just to experience independence.
Nervous: Making sure I don't forget anything while packing even though I am only 45 minutes away from home
Excited: Getting started on learning more about nursing and Spanish!
Nervous: COLLEGE CLASSES! and keeping up my GPA for nursing school.
Everything in my life is about to change in two weeks. I can not wait for all the amazing events, situations, and people I am going to encounter. I am thrilled that God led me to such an amazing school and people. North Georgia here I come!
In this situation in particular (and you may relate to any situation in your life), I feel like I am walking into the unknown, and that scares a lot of us--especially me. With my personality, I feel as if I have to be in control of every situation, but in reality, I need to learn how to completely put my trust into the maker of every situation. Into the unknown reminds me of the story of Jesus walking on water. Like how cool would that be if you one got to meet Jesus while He was on earth, and two see Him walking towards you on the water in the middle of a storm. The storm for me is college right now--flooding my thoughts of the world around me. In the story, Jesus walks up to the disciples on the water and tells Peter to come out there with Him. Well Peter had no idea what he was getting himself into, but he listened to Jesus. Peter walked on water out to Jesus. Um I want to walk on water! That is the most amazing and scariest moment of his life. Like seeing the animals under you and knowing that you could sink and die at any moment! For the first half of Peter walking on water with Jesus, Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, but when Peter started thinking about the world around him and took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. Of course Jesus pulled him out from the water, and then He asked Peter why he had such little faith.
In church the past Sunday, Andy Stanley talked about his wishes for us, the church. His first wish for us stood out to me the most: a courageous act of obedience that costs you something. He continued to say, "if you don't say yes to those internal nudges from God and ignore them for too long, then your faith may become stale." I pray that God gives me those internal nudges and that I will say YES to whatever He may ask-- even if He asks me to walk on water, completely into the unknown. And that is my wish for you too. Say yes to what Jesus is asking of you because you never know who you will impact.
'Lord, I pray that you will use me. Use me at North Georgia this year, and lead me to those around me in love and patience. I know that you have plans for my life, and I choose to trust you through the unknown because Lord, you are God of all. Thank you for loving me so well and sending your son to die for me. Thank you for choosing me. Bring me into the unknown.'
Don't bother like you've gotta do it all
Just let Jesus use you where you are
One day at a time"
PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS SONG! As I have said before in my past posts is that I connect with God a lot through Christian music. I recently came across this song and fell in love with it. One of the many things I struggle with is trying to do everything. It is hard for me to say no to someone when they ask me to do something. And I want to be involved, so I try to pile on the activities, responsibilities, obligations, and service. Now I don't just want to do the activities, but I want to complete that task to perfection and frankly just be the best at it. My personality is very perfectionistic which is one of my strengths but also one of my downfalls. I feel this pressure inside of me telling me to push myself far beyond my best towards perfection, but quickly I have learned that I am not perfect. I am not the best. And I have had to accept that, or I would just be miserable trying to make every aspect of my life perfect. Who wants to live that way? Throughout high school, that wore on me. I was trying to be the best student, the best Flood chief organizer, the best student athletic trainer, the best small group leader, the best friend, the best daughter, the best everything. I got tired real quick because that was impossible. If I didn't live up to my own expectations, I would be so down on myself because I felt like I could do better. I knew God had huge plans for me, and I just wanted to complete everything that I thought was in His plan. I was so focused on the big picture.
So when I was a fill in leader at the walk, God put something on my heart to do a devotional book with one of the girls. This book was called 'Grace, Not Perfection'. Just the title sounds perfect (hahaha) for me. We started reading this book, and I could not relate to this author more. She felt like she had to have her life together all the time and be the best at all the things she did. It wore her out just like it did for me. As I am reading this book, she constantly is saying do not miss the little nuggets of goodness. Savor those little nuggets of goodness. Find those little nuggets of goodness in your life. Over and over again she said this phrase, and I caught on. It made me realize that I should cherish those little moments that happen in our lives.
Then this song came about. God's timing is perfect! In the chorus above, it talks about dreaming small and don't feel like you have to do it all. That is just an overwhelming sense of peace. Saying that it is taken care of by Jesus, so you don't have to feel like you have to have everything on your shoulders. It is just one day at a time. Another one of my favorite lines in this song is "these simple moments change the world", and it is so true. Those little, simple moments are little nuggets of goodness. Have you ever had a little moment turn into something huge? I remember when I went to Mexico the second year on a mission trip, one of the little boys I met the previous year ran up to me and started crying (actually bawling). I was a little taken back, but I loved on him and cried with him. Later to find out, he told me he thought I was never returning to Mexico and he missed me everyday. he explained that he didn't have a lot of friends, but the year before I was dancing and singing with him and made him feel loved, wanted, and not alone. Just that little act of smiling, dancing, laughing, changed that little guy. I miss him like crazy, but I pray for him. That is such a precious nugget of goodness. How do we dream small? How can we focus on those little moments? I challenge you to be who you are and who God created you to be. I challenge you to ditch perfection (because only Jesus can achieve that), and just start loving people. And I challenge myself all of those thing daily. It is hard to focus on the small moments when the world is telling us to look at the big picture.
"Of course, there's nothing wrong with bigger dreams
Just don't miss the minutes on your way, your bigger things"
IT IS OKAY TO DREAM BIG. Jesus has huge plans for each and every one of us, but like the song says: don't miss the minutes on your way to bigger things. Each minute is precious. Each minute brings a whole new experience. Take that minute and use it to glorify Jesus. "Visit the widow down the street or dance with your friend with special needs." Every person matters. You matter.
I hope you listen to this song because truly just reading about it doesn't explain or justify the awesomeness. My prayer is that we will ditch perfection and let God use us right where we are. You are a world changer-- one day at a time.
Book Info: Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley (10/10 recommend!)
This right here is one of the hardest aspects of life--especially in the world we live in today. We are constantly bombarded with things to do, people to meet, questions to answer, places to be, and the list is endless. We live our lives thinking what's next... or I can't wait till I graduate high school then college then get a real job then get married then have kids. This is one of the biggest things I struggle with because it is so easy to get consumed in that though process and not appreciate what is right in front of us. I feel like I am constantly planning for what's next, bombarded with life's next thing, and thinking how can I accomplish that goal to the best of my ability. Well quickly I had to realize that these aren't my plans or my goals, but rather they are God's plans. Within the past two weeks, I have experienced two types of peace. A lot of people think of peace as complete quietness out in the forest thinking about God and His creation, and sometimes I do believe that is peace just that. But, I have also experienced the peace in the middle of the storm. Everyone has their own way of experiencing peace, so I challenge you not to set a box around only one type of peace.
So, God has shown me both of those types of peace. About a week ago, I had the opportunity to go to the Walk '18 with North Point Community Church as a fill in leader for my Transit co-leader's InsideOut group. Words can not even begin to describe how much fun we had as a group, and the way God used this group that week was incredible. Jesus is doing some HUGE things in and through this InsideOut group, and I cannot wait to see how He uses them. So with any high school group, there was craziness. I believe when Jesus is trying to use a group of people in such a huge way the devil is running after them just as fast trying to stop the heart change-- and NOT TODAY SATAN. But within all of the craziness, heartache, spiritual warfare, there was peace. I cannot even begin to explain how Jesus just settles your heart when you give Him your worry. Just like in the story when Jesus walked on water and asked Peter to step out with Him. When Peter was focused on Jesus, nothing else in the world mattered and peace filled him, but when his eyes were off Jesus, he began to sink because he was worried about everything around him. But Jesus will always extend that hand for YOU and offer you His peace. Find the calm in the storm.
As I am writing this today, I am sitting out on a family member's porch that overlooks their pool and is completely surround by trees. No one else is out here, just me, my computer, and Jesus. This is a lot of people's definition of peace, and man it is so nice. Sometimes it is so needed just to have that quietness and alone time with Jesus. When you are quiet and just listen, Jesus can calm your heart. It is so hard in our lives today to find that quiet spot and just listen for Jesus. This can be any spot for you, but I challenge you to find it. It could be sitting in Starbucks on a Thursday night by yourself, in your room at home, or even in your car in the Target parking lot. Jesus just wants you. He wants your heart. Find that spot and dive into your alone time with Jesus, because when you make time for Him, He will use you more than you could even imagine.
Now, there are no right and wrong ways to find peace. Those are just two examples on how I find peace. Jesus is handing out a free peace card, so why not take it. Find calmness in Him because our lives are insane. We are all being pulled in so many directions, but remember whose direction do you want to move in.
I want you to continue to always know how loved you are. No matter if you screw up, mess up, think that the mistake is unfixable, you are loved. God loves you more than you ever know and so do I!! There is no limit to His love.
Secondly, God created you just the way you are. He knows every hair on your head. He created you beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of him. He knew you even before you were born. Stay confident in who you are and dwell that you were made in the image of God. You are beautiful inside and out.
Through all my experiences in school, I 100% recommend you be friends with everyone. I know that kind of sounds weird, but it will allow you to make relationships with people you never knew you could. I am definitely not saying be best friends with everyone and you definitely need that group of best friends to support you through everything, but keep your heart and eyes open to people. God is a people person and loves having a relationship with people. It will bring you so much joy knowing you can make someone's day but just saying " Hi ______". God will use you to do incredible things.
Step out of your comfort zone. Take that scary step and just go for it. Meet new people, go crazy for Jesus, go on that mission trip, lead by example and your life will be forever changed. When you give that fear to Jesus, he will use you to connect with people and transform lives.
Middle and High school is hard as heck. You will go through trial and error, mess up, be so confused in the problems of this world but I encourage you to take heart. Jesus told us when he was here he was like don't worry about the temptations of this world, take heart and He has overcome this world. You will get curious on different things you feel like "everyone" is doing, but please look back to God and trust Him. Following Jesus has been the best decision of all time. He will completely transform your life.
Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with your small group and small group leaders. Be honest and vulnerable with them. God placed these people in your life for a reason. No matter what happens they will be there for you no matter what. And guess what?! Your small group leaders love you more than you will ever know. I can't even begin to explain the love I have you all you girls. Trust your small group leaders with everything. They will keep you accountable through every step. We want to be here for you!!! Pour your heart into them and they will pour it right back into you. God has given us an incredible gift of small group.
Boys, oh boys. This is such a fun topic :) Middle and High school are so extremely tough that it's hard to date. Boys are immature at this age and sometimes don't have the mental capacity to care about someone in a relationship. But if you do, i challenge you to make sure of a few things first. What is the purpose of your relationship? If the purpose of the relationship isn't to Glorify God together, then he isn't the one for you. Jesus has specifically placed a man on this earth for you. He asks us to be patient and trust him. Secondly, are you confident? Many girls get into a relationship to find self worth. A guy can't do that for you. Only Jesus can. Fill that hole with Jesus and everything else will fall into place. Finally do your friends and family approve? Not just any friend you ask but ask someone you are close to or your awesome mama. These people want only the best for you and can sometimes see something you can't when you are in a relationship. And TRUST these people. When some girls get into a relationship, they put blinders up and can only see the good part. Be honest with those people so they can keep you accountable.
Enjoy high school. Everyone says this but it is so true, it flies by. Freshman year you are like I just want to be a senior and be done with high school, but by senior year you don't want it to go by fast anymore. Take life slow and enjoy every moment. Laugh, be filled joy, have fun with your family and friends. Stay true to who you are though. It will be tough not to transform to the patterns of this world but when you stand up to the devil and show him who's boss (Jesus) everything changes. Also, AP classes are not everything. You will get into college no matter what, so don't take too many to overload yourself. You won't enjoy high school. Think of school as a place to make a difference. It is one of the darkest places someone could ever walk into. Not to scare you, but be that light. Shine that light that Jesus put inside of you!! And have fun!
Love each of you more than you will ever know! I am and will always be here for you! I am only one call away!
Today Monday April 16th,2018 was my Gigi’s funeral. We got up early this morning to drive down to swainsboro, GA to go to the church and cemetery where she was going to be buried. I knew today was going to here hard but didn’t know it was going to be that hard. Well a few days ago my grandmother asked if I wanted to speak at Gigi’s service and I said I would have to think about it. Well the other night around 2 am, I woke up randomly and words just started coming out of my mouth. I felt like God was telling me exactly what i needed to say at the service. Well I didn’t write any of it down at 2am, so yesterday I sat down and wrote the whole thing out. I started crying just writing it and thought to myself how in the world am I suppose to get through this tomorrow. Well I talked to my grandmother, Mom and aunt and they were all hesitant for me to read it just because it was long and they knew it would hard to read standing in front of Gigi. We got to the cemetery today and I went out earlier than others from the church were people were meeting to the gravesite. Man, I haven’t cried so hard ever, but even with the crying and sobbing I knew that Jesus was right there with us crying too. So the service started and it was amazing. The preacher spoke and some of Gigi’s closest friends spoke of her so beyond highly. Well my papa was up next and seeing him so vulnerable and sadden was just such an indicator of Gigi’s impact on everyone. My aunt read a sweet poem to Gigi and then it was my decision to go or not. I told my mom earlier I couldn’t just do to the fact that crying and talking don’t go well together. So I knew that I needed to read what God had put on my heart so here it is:
“Hi, I’m Lindsey Lawton, Gigi’s oldest great-granddaughter. I just wanted to take a minute to appreciate the impact Gigi had on my life, and everyone’s here. Recently, I had to go through my mom’s computer to find homework for a class and came across a poem I had written about my Gigi when I was just 10 years old. My 10 year old self described Gigi perfectly:
It was called Gigi. My great grandmother Gigi is my best friend. She is always there for me. Loving, caring, that’s the way she is. Fishing, reading, painting, and sewing. She loves to do those types of things. And she loves me very much.
Isn’t that perfect, and isn’t that what we all know Gigi for. She is everyone’s best friend. She will forever have an impact on my life and my heart. I know this is a strange thing to say at a graveside service, but I want to tell you all about the day Gigi met Jesus in my perspective. When I woke up that morning after I had found out, I looked at my YouVersion App which is just a bible app and the verse of the day was John 11:25-26: Jesus told her, “ I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never, ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” Well, that right there gave me some peace, but I was still pretty frustrated with God taking my best friend, my great grandmother, my Gigi. I got up, went to church to lead my middle school group, and the series was named Death Was Arrested. Wow, God’s timing. My co-leader wasn’t there that Sunday, so I had no other choice but to lead these girls about this topic. The preacher was talking about the story of Lazareth. I’ve heard that story so many times in church, but wait wasn’t the verse of the day about the same thing. I started really listening to the service, and the preacher continue to tell the story of how Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to Lazareth, but He still wept with Mary and Martha. He had compassion for the people because He saw how much they hurt. Something that really stuck out to me in that service was that every time Jesus addressed death, He said Lazareth fell asleep. Over and over he spoke of death in that way. Fell asleep. Then I started thing about Gigi. Jesus is right here weeping with us, but Gigi is just asleep. She is right up there with Jesus, and I know that one day I will see her again. God has perfect timing. He planned the whole thing. Gigi, thank you for your everlasting impact on my heart, and especially leading me to Jesus by reading the Bible together. We will most definitely miss her everyday, but I know that I will see her again one day.
Lastly, Gigi gave me the book called I’ll love you forever when I was maybe 5 years old. For so many years, she read that book to me as we went to sleep at night. When she was in the hospital, I had the opportunity to read her the book one last time here on earth. She loved the song. It sang:
I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.
Well I changed it that day a little bit…
I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my Gigi you’ll be.
Love your favorite great granddaughter named Lindsey”
With tears in my eyes and sadden heart, I am hopeful that she is just asleep and that I will see her again soon. Today has been in of the toughest days because it’s a realization that I will never see her again on this earth, but I got to spend 18 years with her. With the sweetest, most loving woman on earth. She will be missed so beyond dearly but I know that she is up there partying with Jesus.
When fear comes knocking, there You'll be my guard
When day breeds trouble, there You'll hold my heart
Come storm or battle, God I know Your peace will meet me there
Again and again
Oh, be still my heart
I know that You are God
Oh, fear no evil
For I know You are here
- Prince of Peace by Hillsong United
As most of you know, Christian music is a huge part of how I am able to connect with God. I realized tonight that I have been so caught up with everything around me that I haven't really been able to sit down with God and just be with Him. Which is so sad because I LOVE spending time with Him, and I missed out of all those valuable days with not having true quiet time with Him. When I sat down with Him tonight, I just started flipping through my Bible and randomly (not so randomly--a God thing) started listening to listening to this song and reading the first part of Romans 6. First of all, the song that came on "Prince of Peace" is amazing, so I definitely recommend listening to that! That part that says that "Oh, be still my heart" just reminds me that Jesus desires that one on one time with us and just wants our attention. I found that it is so much easier to lean on Jesus through some difficult times rather than remembering to rejoice with him in the great times. He wants to there with us throughout the whole thing. But sitting down with Him and just let your heart be still and listen to the Holy Spirit. He will always be here for us no matter what we do or how we feel. But that kind of leads into what the first part of Romans 6 says as well. If you have time, sit down and take your Bible out and read all of it, but here is one part that really stands out to me.
1. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
It talks about even though Jesus is always here for us and will always give us grace He doesn't want us to take that for advantage. He wants you to see a relationship with Him as an opportunity to live differently. Yes of course He knows we will make mistakes and sin, because we are not perfect not will ever be. He later on says in Romans 6:6 that "we should NO LONGER BE SLAVES TO SIN". We are free. YOU are free from whatever is holding you back, but don't take that for advantage. Take that as an opportunity to live out your potential and live for a God who sent his One and only Son down on this earth to die for YOU. You are priceless, you are worthy, you are loved, you are one of a kind, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You can make a difference.
Now in the craziness of life, I challenge you to do the same. I am guilty of putting so many things before my time with Jesus, but it is so incredibly important to sit and be still with God. The business of your life will follow you wherever you go and might not ever slow down, so you have to train yourself to take time for you and Jesus. Because He died on the cross for YOU, you will forever be able to talk to Him whenever and wherever.
Well here are a few updated in my life during this craziness season:
- I officially decided I will be attending University of North Georgia in the fall of 2018 (plan on majoring in nursing with a minor in Spanish--and I have an AWESOME roommate who loves Jesus and I am so excited to get to know her better)
- Graduation season is coming upon us, so I am trying to sort all the grad part invitations and announcements out. As well as, my family and I need to start planning for the party.
-We just attended the State Leadership Conference for HOSA, so after studying hard and practicing... I received 7th in the state of GA for Sports Medicine.
-We just had our last Walking Wisely for our 8th grade girls. I am going to miss them tremendously next year, but I know Jesus has huge plans for each of their lives.
-In February, we had senior night for basketball, and it was so amazing. I couldn't believe that those four years went by so quickly.
-I recently took some senior pictures!! Can't believe I am a senior!
*I will post some pictures of all the events that happened in the photos section!*
Merry Christmas All!! Hope your day has been awesome!!
On this day in history (HIS-STORY), our savior was born. The light of the world entered into this sinful world as a baby. God sent his one and only son down on this earth in the form of a baby, The most simple yet marvelous ways God works. With the spirit of Christmas and Jesus being a baby and all, I thought it would be a perfect time to reflect on this child like faith God calls us to have. In the Bible app, today's verse is "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus, THE son of God, came down to this earth for us. This little baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger came down to save you and I. Like how incredible?!?
For the past month in Transit, where I am a middle school small group leader, we have been talking about the Trinity. One of the Sundays, we talked about Jesus and how can we relate to Him now. Our girls felt as if it was hard to relate to Jesus because He was perfect, but we later dove into that a little more. Kate, my co-leader, and I began to ask the girls what temptations they struggled with, and some temptations were lying, gossip, boys, and many more things that anyone struggles with. From there, we looked at different Bible stories and compared their temptations they have now to the ones Jesus dealt with. It really opened their eyes, but my eyes were also opened to the fact that yes Jesus is perfect but he still struggled with temptation. With His struggles with temptation, He showed us how to handle our struggles. Just a man did that. A baby born in a stable while there was no room in the inn became our savior who walked through temptations and struggles and died for us.
Going back to child like faith, I want to go back to that complete trust in God. Darren, our youth pastor, explains it so well by comparing it just to his little girls, and when they get tired, they ask Darren to hold them. So, go back to that faith in your Dad (Heavenly Father) and just let Him hold you. God knew exactly what He was doing when He decided to send Jesus as a baby into this world. God wanted us to have someone who we relate to on a certain level, and someone that serves as a middleman for God. When Jesus died on that cross for us, that vail fell. How marvelous. I don't know about you, but I need a savior to love me and pull me out of my struggles.
The little girl in the video is a chica de Costa Rica (a girl from Costa Rica). This video was taken when I went for the first time in 2015 and has continued to make an impact on my life ever since. Her beautiful voice and love for Jesus inspired me to follow Him even more. Her child like faith inspired me to be more open minded, trusting, and just to lift my arms to my Father in Heaven. He was thinking about me and you when He sent Jesus down to this earth as a little baby on this day thousands of years ago. If you haven't watched the full video yet, please do because her faith and passion for Jesus is contagious. Yes it is in Spanish, but just watch her and her love for Jesus.
My prayer for you and I is that today will be a start to our child like faith as we are remembering the birth of our savior.
Merry Christmas and love,
The past Thursday (10/5) and Friday (10/6) I had the opportunity to go to the Catalyst leadership conference, which was INCREDIBLE. It was awesome just to hear all different points of view of leadership and how to be of good courage. Throughout the whole conference, it was so cool just to sit back and listen to the ways God has moved through people. His will for us is far greater than our will for ourselves. I don't know about you, but I want a life worth living for Him. I just wanted to share some of the really cool ideas each speaker spoke about how to lead with God's plan first and have courage to trust His will for you.
1. A single act of courage can be a catalyst for something extraordinary, so what story do you want to tell?
2. Focus on people not problems & take a step toward what scares you
3. You only have so much time here, so what do you want to do with the rest of your time?
4. Don't be Jesus' lawyer- Sink it up! Cut out what is hanging you back. What can God do with what you already have?
5. When roots go deep, branches will grow wide. Pause and focus on him.
6. Fake it till you feel it. You don't have to feel courageous to act courageous.
7. Your greatest title is child of God so live differently!
8. He didn't promise easy. He promised that He would always be with us.
9. Endings have huge impacts on us. End with gain/positive outcomes
10. We will always be walking from water (Jesus' baptism-Jesus high) to wilderness (fear, doubt, temptations, hard time)
11. Always remember: I am loved, I am a child of God, and He is pleased with me!
12. How will you handle the temptation of the wilderness?
13. Don't be two faced. Your inner world has to match your outer world.
14. Take another lap in the name of Jesus Christ (Wall of Jericho)
15. What are you filling yourself with everyday?
16. Ask great questions that reveal values, reinforce values, and reinforce behaviors
17. "What would a great leader do?"
18. We have to rise about all the hate in the world and just love others
19. People are hard to hate up close. Move in. Hold hands with strangers. Strong back, soft front and wild heart.
20. Make disciples through all the nations. Bring light to God's visions.
Those are just some of the many notes I took over the wise leadership advice God has called us to do. Leadership is difficult. Being courageous is difficult. God doesn't promise us easy. He promises that His will is better than ours and that he is always with us. An old song they played at Catalyst (I bet you couldn't tell by now that I loved worship songs!) was called "Heart of Worship". It talks about going back to the heart of worship and that we are sorry for the things we made it. Talking about that everything we do goes back to God. It's all about Him. And that's hard as well. But we have to remember constantly what is the purpose of this mission: to make disciples of Jesus by loving others unconditionally the way Jesus has loved us. Our job isn't to force religion on people, but rather to love and be there for people always. Be the light in their life.
Well... I have some exciting news. Today, I received my first acceptance letter from Auburn University!!! I am beyond excited for what the future holds!
Though that is SO exciting, we have even better news of acceptance. Our acceptance shouldn't just come from these earthy things of getting into college or getting into the popular girl's group chat. It comes from a source so much greater and has so much more love than just the temporary things in this world. Sadly, it is so easy to allow ourselves to fall into that trap of outside love. Temporary love. Social media, boys, make-up, popularity and so much more. We strive to be accepted. Our acceptance and worth come from our incredible Heavenly Father. He has accepted us with arms wide open. He has never had second doubt if we are "good" enough. Side note: Darren, our youth pastor, had a great point of questioning what is good, and that none of us are remotely good enough for God. God is perfect, but He accepted us for who we are. Not what we have done or how we messed up. No matter what you have done or will do in your life will never change God's love for you. God meets us in the middle of our mess. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for YOU. With all your baggage, He wants you. He accepts you. He sent you an acceptance letter a long time ago, and now all you have to do is accept it. No strings attached.
I have fallen in love with the new song by Tenth Avenue North called "Control". It talks about how God doesn't need us, but He still wants us. Strange, right? God is an almighty God who can do anything. But He still wants you, He still accepts you, He still loves you for you. You are His focus. When we realize where our acceptance comes from, we find our true identity. I challenge you to dive into God's truth to find your true identity instead of relying on earthly acceptance.
"Let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh He is my Song
Let the King of my heart
The fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh He is my Song
You are good, good, oh
You’re never gonna let me down
When the night is holding on to me
You are holding on"
-King of My Heart by Steffany Gretzinger
Just let that soak in... "the King of my Heart.... You are good...." I mean that right there just gives me chills and so much joy. He is the center of my life. My passion. My rock; my cornerstone. He is never changing.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to my last VR (Vertical Reality). My fourth and final one. Over this time, our sessions consisted of talking about the Bible. I mean of course we did, because it was church camp, but not just talked about it. We DOVE into the Bible and why it is so important. My words can't describe how fired up I am about this book called the Bible. 66 individual books that span over 1500 years. How does that happen? 4 people (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) all have the same stories of Jesus, which by the way is not about them. Jesus left an everlasting impact on their lives, but mine as well. Each scripture is GOD breathed (2nd Timothy 3:16)! Like God wrote that. He spoke through people. Like holy cow. I am just in awe of how special this book is. Most people are like oh, it's just a Bible. Yes, but it is SO much more. It is the greatest opportunity, because it is a letter from God to US. Throughout the Bible, God prevails through everything. He equips us, prepares us, loves us and so much more.
The Bible is awesome, but you can't experience that until you open it. Each scripture has it own specific meaning for YOUR life. In the past, I really struggled with finding the time to sit down with God and just read and talk to Him. I thought it was awkward. I can be, but don't give up! There is so much knowledge and truth in it. God tells us exactly who we are. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are altogether beautiful (Song of Songs 4:7), we are children of God, we are hand picked, we are knitted together in our mother's womb. The list is endless. His love is endless. Recently, I have become close with one friend, and she is awesome. Her love for others and for Jesus inspires all that are around her. She has really started to encourage me to sit down with God and just have some one on one time with Him. I can't thank her enough for that advice. When you sit down with Jesus and let Him be in control, some amazing things happen. He fills me back up when I am empty, He sets me back on the right track, He reminds me not to give up, He cares for me. The reason I am so passionate about this is because I can see the work that God is doing in my life and in my heart. I am so much happier with Him right by my side. Everyone desires to have that amor of God ready for battle.
If you are reading this, I hope you can see the passion I have for the Bible. If you are thinking 'yeah, that sounds great but I don't think I can do that', let me encourage you that you can! It will be so worth it in the long run. When you get in a situation, a specific Bible verse will just pop up that you read and protect you! Living for Jesus is the most amazing experience.
Wondering where to start?
If you know Jesus: Read Ephesians!!! Amazing!
If you are unsure about the Jesus thing or just starting out: Read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Get to know who Jesus is and see what He has done in people's lives.