When Change Is Hard

When Change Is Hard

Wow. What a month it has been! May has been jam-packed with so many exciting adventures and new challenges.

As I was thinking about this month’s post and what God has been doing in my life, the word “change” kept bubbling up in my mind. So, naturally, I thought that was what the focus was going to be. I was planning to do a mini update on all the changes that have happened and how they are new adventures full of sweetness and wonder. It was going to be great!

But, as I started to write this post I realized there is so much more going on inside of my heart. And I never created this blog to just write some pre-planned words so I could check a box off in my mind to feel accomplished. This is a part of my personal ministry, using the gift of writing God has given me to express what He is doing in my heart. This is real, I always want it to be real.

So, this post is no longer just a sweet recap of all the awesome, exciting things that have happened in the past month. It’s also going to be a snapshot of where my heart is right now as I trudge through the hard parts that come along with the change.

You may be wondering, what changes I’m talking about? Well, let me tell you.

This month brought new beginnings. I turned 21-years-old and got to celebrate with the amazing people who make my life such a blessing. I also finished my junior year which was easily my best year of college so far.

But, at the same time, this month brought bittersweet endings. The biggest one, in my heart, is my transition out of Wednesday HUB (which is my church’s youth ministry) where I have been serving for the past three years as a middle school girls leader.

This month has also been full of new, unexpected adventures! I ended up getting to go to Los Angeles for a week with my dad to celebrate my birthday and it was so much fun. I am very thankful for those special memories we got to create together.

But the biggest adventure that has “fallen” into my lap is probably why this month feels so crazy to me and is where those tough heart things are coming from- I started a “big girl” internship!

It’s a very long story that I’m going to do my best to keep short…basically, I have to do an internship to graduate. I’ve known this ever since I started studying journalism at UNT and I remember being very excited when I first realized it. Internships sounded so fun to pre-college me (they still do!) and I remember picturing myself in a cool office, working for a magazine in a city somewhere.

Well, it hit me this year that I am getting closer to graduation (I am one year away!) which means I am getting closer to needing that internship. I knew I wanted to do it during the summer so I could focus fully on interning and not worry about going to class. So, in the back of my mind this entire year I have thought about how I need to do an internship and pretty soon.

But there was something else in the back of my mind too. As some of you may recall, last summer I worked at a Christian camp called Camp WOW and I LOVED it. I didn’t write a ton about it because last year I didn’t keep up with the blog as well. But it challenged me and humbled me and rocked my world and gave me a second family and, basically, I love camp. So much. And this summer I wanted to go back to camp. So bad.

I could see the need for an internship but I could also feel my heart wanting to be back at camp. So, I decided I would just go back and figure out my internship situation next year. Simple.

I didn’t even ask God though and let me tell you, He had his own plan.

He started whispering, “Apply to your dream internship, just try.” And, even though it confused me, I did.

For me, the ideal internship would be at D Magazine. It’s a hugely successful magazine (which is where I want to work someday!) and it’s in Dallas.

So, I applied and told God that if He wanted me there He would have to make it happen, half-heartedly believing it would go anywhere.

And God responded! He opened the doors and gave me the internship. I needed a clear answer if I was going to choose this over camp and getting it was a very clear answer from Him to me, “I want you to spend your summer at home, doing this internship.”

I remember getting the email and being so surprised, excited and nervous all at the same time. This was unknown, this was not my plan. But I heard Him tell me, “I am with you wherever you go, just trust me.”

So as I write this, I am currently sitting in that cool office that’s on the 22nd floor of a big, shiny building I dreamed of getting to intern in as a newly graduated high schooler just a couple years ago. Officially, I am an editorial intern for Dallas Innovates through the D Magazine Partners internship program. WHAT?!? God is SO good. Part of me still can’t believe I’m here.

It’s been so cool for so many reasons, He has continued to give me signs that this is where He wants me. Getting to meet people who are passionate about the same things I am and learning from professionals in the world I hope to be apart of someday…it’s already been such a neat experience.

But, if I’m being honest, it’s also been a huge change for me which is where the “not-so-warm-and-fluffy” heart stuff comes into play right now.

The commute to Dallas, the long hours, learning how to communicate with new people, and the transition has been challenging in ways I didn’t expect.

And what I’m trying to remember is that’s okay, it’s normal. I have to keep reminding myself of that: the uncomfortable transition is part of the experience and learning how to adjust is part of the process.

Now, don’t get me wrong! There have been some really wonderful moments already and I have no doubt in my mind God has put me in this internship for a reason. I know it’s where I’m supposed to be and I am beyond grateful to get to go through the hard parts of this experience and soak up every ounce of this dream internship I didn’t ever think I would have. 

But, I want to be honest about all of the parts of this new season because sometimes it is just plain hard. And not talking about it would just discount how good God is in those overwhelming moments, so I’m going to talk about it!

What I’ve realized over the year is just because He calls us to something doesn’t mean it’s going to be any easier. I’m actually convinced it’s in those uncomfortable, exhausting moments where He speaks louder than ever.

I’m learning that He is there in the long commute and in the frustrating conversation and in the daily 3 p.m. mental crash. He is there.

I am weak but He is strong. He is there lifting me up and reminding me that He is in control.

Change is hard. Being an adult is hard. Life is hard. That’s why we need a Savior who makes our burdens light and gives us the courage to keep going, even when all we want to do is give up.

It’s the truth but if I’m even more honest, I usually forget this part. I get focused on the circumstances of life and my own shortcomings- and y’all, that will make anyone want to give up. But the good news is, even when I forget, He is with me.

And as I type that, with my puffy eyes tired from the almost 7 hours I have been sitting and staring at this screen writing assignments, I breathe a sigh of relief because I desperately need to know He is good and He is with me, trudging through the change.

That’s the biggest thing I want to say: if you are in a new season that has turned out to be less sunshine and roses and more of a sunburn and thorns, just know you are not alone. I get it, but most importantly, God is with you- YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

Even the moments that haven’t been so perfect and sweet have all happened on purpose and for a purpose. Through the change He is shaping us into who He has called us to be.

Change is a part of His plan for us. It isn’t always fun and can be really hard, like “I-want-to-give-up-why-is-Dallas-traffic-this-terrible” kind of hard. But that’s the cool thing about God, He doesn’t abandon us when it gets tough. As a matter of fact, He gets even closer.

It’s in the hard moments of this world that His refreshing presence collides with the brutal reality of life, reminding us that He changes all things but He never changes. Thank goodness.  

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

“Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change.” -James 1:17 (TPT)

“He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” -Romans 8:27-28 (MSG)

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Twenty-Sixteen

Twenty-Sixteen

Hi, friends! Happy New Year!!!

What a year it has been! So many amazing, difficult, wonderful, frustrating and beautiful things have happened over the past 365 days in my life and in our world- and I’m very grateful I got to experience some of them.

Before I dive into these moments, I just want to say that I know this hasn’t been the greatest year for everybody and many people are excited to see the end of 2016… BUT I am so thankful that God gave us this year and the hard moments because I believe we wouldn’t be who we are without them.

God is still King in the difficult, dark places of this world and He is still sitting on the throne when we feel like He has left us- He is in control over every single circumstance in our life and He is working to make every moment reflect and glorify His Kingdom!

So, yes…it’s been an interesting year but I believe that there have been just as many, if not more, blessings and good moments as there have been bad moments. And at the end of the day, God is still good and He has a purpose for each of our lives!

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post called A Year Full of Revival and it was about God’s promise for this year. Every year God gives me a word as a symbol for what is to come, in 2015 it was “light” and in 2016 it was “revival”.

I remember when I listened to my pastor give the first sermon of the year on God’s word for our church, the word was breakthrough. I felt like God was confirming my word, revival by giving our church this word. In my heart, those two actions go hand-in-hand and this confirmation gave me the faith to believe that God would fulfill His promise of revival.

As I already said, this year was beautiful and difficult in more ways than one. Of course, it was an amazing year for many reasons, here are some of the highlights…

My family and I got Rocky, our sweet blessing of a puppy after praying that God would provide the right dog for our family.

I turned 19 years old and got to go to New York City for the first time with my dad to celebrate (we saw The Lion King on Broadway and it was magical!).


I finished my freshman year of college and my last semester at NCTC in May and began my sophomore year of college and first semester at UNT in August.

I’ve made so many amazing new friends and have had the blessing of reconnecting with family.

I got to be a leader at my church’s summer youth camp, HUB Camp, for the first time and had an absolute blast!

I had the privilege of voting in my first presidential election.

And I got to go to Europe for the first time and travel through Greece and Italy with my sister!*

But, 2016 has also been a really difficult year too…

I’ve had ongoing health issues throughout the year that have made me feel constantly tired, sick and weak.

I’ve felt alone, unnoticed and hurt at times.

I watched my 18-year-old cousin battle against (and BEAT! Praise God!) the evils of cancer.

I’ve struggled with temptations and fleshly sins.

I have painfully watched people I love numb themselves with the world.

And I’ve had moments of crippling doubt and fear that have left me feeling completely in the dark.

If I’m being honest, there have been more moments of hopelessness and frustration than there have been of faith and thankfulness for God. And as I look back on this blessing of a year, I can see how unintentionally self-focused I was when I thought I was striving to be focused on Him.

Thankfully, God still works and moves in and through us whether we are focused on Him or not but I just realized how much sweeter the hard moments would have been if I had been looking to Him instead of looking for a way to fix the situation myself.

This year God did revive my heart, my life and my family.

He has slowly begun to knock down the ungodly beliefs that have tried to take root in my heart and has replaced them with His permanent promises of love, freedom and grace.

He has opened my eyes to the Godly relationships He has placed in my life so naturally that I didn’t even realize they were there. He has revived my perspective to see His beauty and “Only God” moments instead of getting stuck in my everyday routine.

He has been faithful with a seemingly impossible promise that He gave me at the beginning of the year. He told me that my family would go to Georgia (where my dad’s family is) and reconcile relationships, something that I believed He would do one day but never thought He would make happen this year. He also said that I would go to Passion 2017 in Georgia.

All I can say is, God is faithful because I am writing this post from Georgia right now and have had the blessing of reconnecting with family members who I didn’t think I would ever see again. I’m also going to Passion 2017 in two days to experience God’s awesomeness with thousands of college students from around the world.

God is faithful, even when we are not. Thank goodness! And He has made this year better than any resolution I could have created or attempted to actually follow through with.

He is the Great Reviver and His word is true.

My prayer for all of us this year is to focus on the promises He thoughtfully gave us in the greatest love letter of all, the Bible. He already knows every joyful moment, heartbreak and breakthrough that this year holds for our lives.

I pray that we will focus our attention from what could happen this year, to the One who has already made and will make all things happen for His good.

Sending lots of love, joy and peace to everyone this New Year’s Eve and am believing that He will do great things in and through each of us in 2017 and beyond!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

These are a few pictures that highlight my year through a lens of travel, fun & spending time with loved ones
*A blog post about my AMAZING trip to Europe will be coming soon, I would like to say I’ve started to write it or have been working on it but the truth is I haven’t. But I want to write it and tell you all about it, so be on the lookout…

 

 

 

 

Beauty In The Refining

Beauty In The Refining

Hey there. Well, it’s been quite awhile since I wrote a blog post on here. And, I really wish that wasn’t the case because I’m most happy when I’m writing- but life happens & these past few months have been iNsAnE for lots of different reasons. But I’m here now & thankfully, just like Jesus, this blog isn’t going anywhere (even if I do stray a little). So this is me attempting to bottle all of the craziness that’s been going on in my heart & head over these past eight months…this will be an adventure! Also, thank you for taking the time to read these words I’m writing- it means so much to me.

Lately, my heart has felt like a rubber band ball- a really tight, randomly put together & crazily colored rubber band ball of chaos. 

So much has happened since I last blogged. I finished my first two years of college at NCTC in one year, went to New York City & Europe for the first time this summer, was a seventh-grade girls leader at my church camp & so much more. But I also have lost close friends, gone through frustrations about my Hashimoto’s disease & have struggled with my faith in multiple different ways. 

I feel like I’m always using the word “season” to explain the place of life I’m in, but I really feel like it hasn’t just been a season. It feels longer than that, it’s almost like I’ve given into “just surviving”.

And I really, really hate being in that place. I just don’t enjoy feeling like a rubber band ball, being carelessly bounced around by Satan, because it’s overwhelming & chaotic & not who I was made to be. But sometimes I get too caught up in life & creating the rubber band ball that I forget who I let hold it…and I don’t realize how bad things are until my monstrosity of rubber bands is big enough for the Guinness Book of World Records.

But no matter how out of control life can get, I know that God is just waiting for me to ask Him to unravel all of the “rubber bands” & reveal His beauty underneath the insanity. The thing is, that’s actually a really scary process that I didn’t even realize I needed to go through until recently. Life just slowly handed me rubber bands- school, temptations, doubt, broken relationships & deep wounds- until it became too much for me to handle. And when each one is removed, it’s painful. Over the past couple of weeks, God has opened the doors for some of my rubber bands to be taken off & replaced with His freedom. I can feel Him refining me & molding me into who He has created me to be- instead of who the rubber bands of life want me to be. 
I’m not exactly sure who He is forming me into or for what purpose but I know that He’s creating a masterpiece of His goodness, grace & love- something so much better than a rubber band ball. 

Even though I’m still in this difficult season of life & have more “rubber bands” to take care of, I am holding onto the promise that I’m being pressed on and stretched to be turned into someone beautiful for His Kingdom.
And I want to remind you that He’s working on you too. Whether your “rubber band ball” is big or small, we all have one. God wants you to know He is shaping you into the masterpiece He designed you to become for the unique Kingdom Mission He has called you to accept. 

Before I had this revelation, I had run dry in my faith (which is partly why I haven’t written in awhile- that & I’ve been either too busy or too lazy…let’s keep it real). But I realized that is exactly why God gave me a passion for writing- to authentically process & encourage seasons like these. Whether we’re just surviving or thriving, God placed us in this exact moment for a reason- He is with us & He is always giving us a word to share (even if it’s a weird metaphor about being a rubber band ball). 
Giving into the craziness of life is easy, letting Him unravel us into His own unique creation is harder. But no matter what, throughout the highest of highs & lowest of lows: when God is in control, there is beauty in the refining.

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”‭‭.                        – 1 Peter‬ ‭4:12-13‬