I Know How The Story Ends

I Know How The Story Ends

Can you imagine not knowing?

The darkness of the night must have been the only comfort, the only thing to block out the pain and fear. He was gone, He had died.

Light had left, hope had gone.

They must have wondered why He said He was the One? Why didn’t He save Himself? How did He perform the miracles and do the things He did?

Why did they believe Him?

He was it. They must have felt like the one escape they had from this fallen, broken world had just closed in on them. They must have felt like He died and just left them there to die too. It’s was just a matter of time.

How could they not feel hopeless? They had watched him just stand there, taking every word, every spit, every punch. He just took it, He didn’t even fight back.

He let them torture Him, He let them mock. He let them hurt Him, why did he have to give up?

Now it life was complete darkness. No hope. Total pain.

That was what they must have felt, absolute despair.

But can you imagine? The shiver that went down their spine as they saw Him, the One who had been rolled into a grace, breathing in life and walking in power with the holes in hands and feet. Alive.

They must have thought, “He is dead, there is no possible way.”

As their minds tried to come up with an explanation, Heaven showed them the proof-He was alive. He hadn’t given up at all, He had come back undefeated and brought forever life, hope and freedom with Him.

I can only imagine the unexplainable joy that crept into their hearts that had been weighed down with sorrow only moments before.

He was no longer dead, He never had been. He had only walked past death, on His way to unlocking everlasting life for all His brothers and sisters.

He is exactly who He said He was, He came to FREE. The stunned believers of that day didn’t have to wait anymore, they didn’t have to live in their old ways anymore. And neither do we. Everything He said is true, it was then and it is now.

Even when anxiety comes or people disappoint or life seems too much to bear. He is still who He says He is and He keeps His promise.

He is Jesus, the greatest comeback story of all time.

Tonight we don’t have to wonder, we don’t have to sit under the crushing weight of disappointment and sorrow.

We know Sunday morning is coming, we know the end of the story: Jesus wins.

It’s been the story since He walked out of the tomb the world thought He was going to stay in forever. It’s been the story since the beginning of time. And it’s still the story today and every day after.

Jesus wins. Death is defeated. He is alive.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,’Why do you look for the living among the dead?’ He is not here; he has risen!'” -Luke 24:1-6

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Jesus Is Everything // Holy Week Thoughts

Jesus Is Everything // Holy Week Thoughts

My mind has been everywhere this past month, it’s been both restful and restless, chaotic and calm. Since a good chunk of this month was Spring Break, I’ve had a lot of time to do nothing…let me explain. While all my friends seemed to go on fun adventures during the break, I spent mine recovering from wisdom teeth surgery. I know, crazy! No seriously, it was a glamorous week of milkshakes, ice packs, and The Office.

Not that I’m complaining, it was a nice and much-needed break from the whirlwind of homework, deadlines, and commitments but it was also very difficult for me to do nothing (even though I physically had to!) The whole thing just reminded me one more time why God gave me the word “rest” for this new year.

Anyways, all this to say, I’ve had an interesting month of wanting to do both nothing at all and everything at once. It’s a weird place to be.

And since I’ve had necessary downtime, I’ve also thought a lot about what I want to write for this month. Some of my initial ideas came from the things I’ve been struggling with lately- anxiety, restlessness, feeling like I’m not living life fully…but today I realized that there’s only one topic I want to talk about.

Or, I guess I should say, there’s only one person I need to talk about- Jesus.

Maybe it’s because the Easter season has me more excited and aware of His sacrifice for us on the cross or maybe it’s because deep down I know He’s the only One I could write about that matters.

I just know that Jesus is everything. And as we go through this Holy Week and walk through these few days leading up to Easter weekend with hearts weighed down by the heaviness of the crucifixion but expectant of His resurrection, I am desiring to truly be aware of His power and presence.

Even sitting here typing out these words, I realize I’m not even sure what that means, to be fully aware of His power and presence. Jesus is so much better than anything my tiny, human brain can conjure up. But I know my soul longs in ways it can’t express to get even just a glimpse of the glory of Jesus, of the true life He gave me when He gave up His on the cross.

I need that resurrection life. I need that hope. I need that overpowering light. I desperately need Jesus.

And the greatest thing is He desires to be with me too, with all of us. I think that is just insane. I mean, really thinking about it is just too much.

Jesus is everything, yet He wants me. He wants me, the one who forgets Him and what He’s done more than I remember. It’s in the brief moments of His glory when my heart overtakes my mind when I get a glimpse of how overwhelming His desire for me is, how real it is.

He is everything. And I want to be aware of how true that is, not just in the days leading up to Easter Sunday but every day of my life. I don’t want to miss Him, I want to be in awe of Him especially in the normal parts of life.

I want to be in awe of His grace when I wake up to a new day, even if I’m snoozing my alarm clock for the third time. I want to be in awe of His protection over my life when I pass hundreds of cars on I-35 to commute to school. I want to be in awe of His creation in every blade of grass and beam of light that stretches before me as I walk across campus.

He is everything and He is in everything.

I want to be in awe because to be alive, to have these in-between, beautiful moments where His love lives is awe-inspiring in itself.

But He doesn’t stop there. He gives us beauty and joy and hope and dreams, He gives us Himself- He gives us everything.

Even though we don’t deserve it, He gives. Even when we aren’t aware of Him, He gives. Even when we forget He is everything, He gives. It’s a no-strings-attached, genuine and pure kind of love. What a beautiful reality, the love of Jesus.

I am so grateful He picks me up every morning, looks at my heart, gives me a purpose and leads me by the hand into the life He died to give me. I am so thankful He went to the cross on the ultimate rescue mission for my soul, that’s my Jesus- my Savior, my Rescuer, my Everything.

It’s too much, to think about every detailed way He lavishes love on my heart every day just simply because He can and desires to. It makes all the struggles and hardships of this world melt away, knowing I am loved by Jesus, the One who conquered death and darkness forever.

I am loved by Love Himself and He is worthy of celebration. He is everything and He deserves everything we can offer.

Thank You, Jesus, we love You and remember who You are and what You did. You won.

“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:4-5

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” -1 John 4:9

“And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” -Ephesians 5:2

“The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive, He is alive!” -Forever, Kari Jobe

Twenty-Fifteen

Twenty-Fifteen

Hi, everyone! Happy New Year!!!
I can’t believe 2015 is coming to a close. It feels like just yesterday I was setting my New Year’s resolutions & writing about all the wonderful things God had in store for 2015 (all of them true & even better than I could have imagined!). 

At the beginning of the year I wrote a blog post about 2015 titled “A Year Full of Light” because God had told me that is what this year would be. I remember the night He gave me the word “light”- I was watching the flame of a single candle dance & flicker in a dark room, every time I thought it would go out it never did. The flame would change but the light would never leave it- that’s the moment He told me. 

As long as I am a burning flame for God, my life will never lose its light. 

Now, I will be honest, this past month has worn my flame out quite a bit & has made it difficult to see the light. But that’s why I’m so thankful for this blog, which serves as a reminder of how faithful God has been during these past 365 days. I’ve had this little blog for about a year now (which also seems crazy to me!) & it’s been so wonderful to look back at my writing & see how God has truly illuminated my life & all of 2015 with His goodness.

I was able to “look back” at this year in a special way, thanks to a truly wonderful surprise I received from WordPress-they essentially wrapped up everything “Curly Hair & Cheerful Heart” did by summarizing all of my moments from the past year! I thought this would be the perfect “last post” of 2015 because I want to share this special part of my world with you- my friends, family & fellow blogger buddies- who continue to read the words I write & encourage me to follow this passion of mine. There wouldn’t be a “summary” to look at without all of the support from those around me (both physically & virtually!).

You guys continue to remind me how blessed I am & how GOOD God is! I am so looking forward to the new days ahead & all of the crazy amazing things He is going to do in our world & each of our lives! 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting my tiny corner of the blogosphere & for making this year one full of so much light & love. I hope you have a very Happy New Year & can’t wait to see you on the other side!

Rachel

Curly Hair & Cheerful Heart’s Year In Blogging: Click here

Each of these photos is a cover photo from a blog post I wrote in 2015
Uncomfortable 

Uncomfortable 

Tonight I sat down with absolutely no idea where this post would go. I just decided to stop trying to make my words happen & let God lead them instead (which is never a bad choice, if you ask me!). This is one of those posts where He gave me a desire to write & told me what my words & this post would be about as I was typing. So, it may be a little more scattered than usual but I can honestly say it’s straight from the heart. I hope you enjoy & receive your own sweet revelation from His words tonight…

  

I have been thinking a lot about this blog post.

Which is precisely why this blog post has yet to be written.

I have quite an issue with overthinking things and ideas and moments and people. I overthink about what I’m going to wear. I overthink about the things I have already said. I overthink about overthinking. It’s one of my core struggles.

So, when you mix the idea of supernatural overthinking with a crazy, busy season of transition and then throw in a tad bit of laziness- you have yourself a blog post that is way overdue.

I’m not kidding when I say I have been thinking about this post. I mean I have been really, truly asking God to give me a word or desire to write about.

I’ve had a few ideas, they were all good but every time I would get in front of the keyboard I would lose my inspiration or (even worse!) my ability to form cohesive, thought-provoking sentences…well okay, let’s be honest, have I really ever achieved that?

Seriously though- this has been on my mind a lot, but I have yet to actually act on any of my ideas.

Which, if I’m honest, is a lot like how I treat my walk with God. (Woah. That’s some in-the-moment revelation right there, y’all.)

Man, I love to think about God. He is so awesome. I love to think about what He is doing in my life and the lives of all of those around me. When I pass by someone at school, I think to myself “I wonder if they are a believer?”. I think about all the times He has proven Himself utterly faithful. I think about how I should apply that awesome devotional I read that one time to my day. I think about loving others. I think about how much He loves me.

But do I live the same way I think?

Often times, I forget that the thoughts swirling around in my head are not public knowledge to everyone else (because sadly, mind-reading is not a characteristic of following Jesus).

If I am not careful, this mentality of assuming my thoughts about Him are automatically expressed through the way I live becomes my reality.

Basically, I find myself being all talk  (or, in this case, thought!) and no walk.

My hope & prayer is that I am over-exaggerating or being much too harsh on myself (yet, another core struggle of mine…) and in actuality, everyone is aware of my love for Jesus…but I have a feeling that is just not the case. 

I will be the first to admit that the idea of getting up in front of my entire lecture hall and declaring that I am a Christian who is madly in love with Jesus is just a tad bit overwhelming. And I don’t really think that’s what God wants me to do either…(unless He tells me…). But He does want me to live like Him & for Him everywhere I go. 

That includes my lecture hall. 

That includes the doctor’s office. 

And that even includes the DMV.

It’s so funny, I find myself living authentically & boldly for Jesus around those who I know are fellow believers & in places that I am comfortable in. Yet, when it comes to being like Jesus around those who are visibly broken & in the places that I don’t like, I suddenly lose my fervor to talk about God.

I love to preach to those who have already heard the sermon, not to those who desperately need to be invited to the service.

It all comes down to the fact that I like to be comfortable. 

But the problem is, I was created to live an uncomfortable life on Earth for God so I could spend my eternity comfortably in Heaven with God.

And that is the great paradox that makes being a believer so bold & rewarding- we are warriors who live in a world that we are not of.

He calls us (by name!) to pick up our crosses every day and to follow Him straight into the darkest depths of this world with everything we have.

But, if I’m really honest, I often find myself suited up in the armor of my thoughts, too afraid to charge into the world with the truth God has given me. I know He is always with me & I know he will protect me.

So, why do I get scared sometimes and try to avoid telling the world about Him? 

Because as much as I hate to admit it, the world can be scary.

It’s plain & simple- I’m a tiny human who takes a look at the world through the lenses of my own strength & gets scared.

But God is not asking me to change the world in my own strength & with my own words & through my own thoughts- He is calling me to trust Him to turn my silent thoughts into bold, Kingdom-building shouts. 

That’s it. Just trusting-truly trusting-  Jesus has it all under control. When we give it to Him, we hand over any authority the world may attempt to use against us.

When we boldly declare His promises & truly are real & raw with those who desperately need the truth- He will use us to change the world.

When you get uncomfortable, you become unstoppable. 

“Arise & shine, you Kingdom-builder!

Allow your mind to dwell on Me.

Let your words reflect Me & reveal the beauty of My children.

My voice is your guide, let your steps follow Me across every hall, every ocean, every street & every desert.

Shine brighter than any darkness, be bolder than any fear.

You are a warrior. You are an Earth shaker. You are My battle cry.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.

In this world you will have trouble.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun

Bright. 

Gloomy. 

Joyful. 

Numb. 

Refreshing. 

Beautiful.

Our lives and memories are overflowing with these tangible feelings. They make us who we have been, who we are and who we will be.

I am generally a very outgoing and joyful person. I believe in optimism and in loving and encouraging those around me. But- every now and then- I am overcome by a storm which clouds my heart and head, making it difficult to see the sun that shines so brightly in my life. I am not given a warning or time to prepare- the dark clouds just come.

And it may not be a fun and cheerful topic, but it is reality: we all experience these stormy seasons at some point during our lives. I want to remind anyone out there who may be weathering through a storm that every person has had a few gloomy clouds. Because we are exactly that: people. 

We are human. 

Life is messy. 

The weather changes, but the sun does not. 

See, that’s the thing about gray skies: they only stay around for a little while. And even though we can’t always see the sun, it never truly leaves our atmosphere.

You are not a person without sunshine. Actually, you are the sunshine. 

We carry the bright warmth of the sun with us wherever we go- with or without the dark clouds. 

It’s in your genuine smile as you walk down the street and wave to a perfect stranger. 

It’s in your uncontrollably contagious laughter. 

It’s in the light-hearted conversations you have with your friends and family. 

It’s in the moments you forget the world is watching and you get lost in the beauty of life.

I could go on and on- because your radiance is everywhereBeing the light in someone else’s day does not have to be a big gesture, but it does involve you to beBy being who you are and sharing your joy with another person, you get the opportunity to break through those few gloomy clouds hovering over them for a moment. You get to remind them what sunshine looks like because your light brings out the light in others.

So. If you are walking through a season of gloominess and gray skies, I want you to know: you are not alone & that everyday you are being used to help brighten someone else’s life (whether you realize it or not). I challenge you to embrace this season. I challenge you to find a way to get some sunshine to break through your clouds. I challenge you to realize that experiencing light again is possible.

Gloomy days come and go but the sun is always there. Waiting. Hoping. Being bright and bold for you when you need it most.

Do not lose hope. Here comes the sun.

A Year Full of Light

A Year Full of Light

Dear 2015,

Well, you’re four months old now! How wonderful you’ve been so far. I know that you aren’t feeling as celebrated as you were at the beginning of your life in January…but hopefully you know how thankful we all are for the fresh start you brought us this year. Also, we are forced to acknowledge you for a couple of seconds when writing down the date or glancing at a calendar. We haven’t become completely desensitized to you yet…

You are a very special year to me. You are the year of many wonderful things that have already happened in my life. You are also the year of many beautiful beginnings in my life. You see, 2014 was quite a difficult year for me. It wasn’t because anything horribly tragic happened to me or a loved one (thank the Lord!), it was more because lots of difficult moments happened in my life that made it hard for me to see the light. I believe there is light surrounding me- surrounding all of us- at all times. Except, during the past year, the dark moments clouded my vision and made it extremely hard for me to see at times. The worst part is that I wasn’t even aware of it. The only thing I am certain of is that God was with me through it all, even when I couldn’t see Him. He never left my side, he was the reason that 2014 was bearable. It was hard but I was not alone. And for that, I am grateful. 

But 2015, you’re different. When January 1st rolled around a couple of months ago, I had this hope I’ve never had on New Years Day before. I had a newfound excitement for life, something I had lost at some point in 2014. I decided to change the unhealthy parts of my life for the better when you came into my life and because of that you have been an amazing year so far. I have been living a much more healthy lifestyle and have experienced a renewal of my passions. You have been the exact opposite of last year- you are a year full of LIGHT! 

You are the year when my best friend became a Christian- something I have been praying for since I met her six years ago. 

You are the year when I have worked out and eaten healthy every day, making me feel absolutely beautiful inside AND out. 

You are the year that I made new friends who make me laugh so hard I cry & who show me what friendship looks like. 

You are the year that I will graduate high school. 

You are the year that I will become an adult. 

You are a beautiful,

wonderful,

lovely,

year.

I am so excited to grow with you throughout these next few months, it’s going to be a LEGEN (wait-for-it) DARY year.

Bring on the light!