Focus on the Seeds

Sometimes what makes writing these blog posts so fun is typing up a draft, feeling like I don’t exactly know what to type to finish it up, then coming back to the post months later to see how much God has revealed and helped me since then. This is one of those posts…so I’m going to do my best today to articulate what God has shown me this Summer about my teaching career and I hope that it inspires you or gives you some insight into what God desires for you in your life!

For the past 3 years (that’s how long I’ve taught) I have struggled and wrestled with teaching. Yes, I have struggled every. single. year. If you’ve read a few of my blog posts, odds are good that you probably already know that!

My first year teaching was so challenging that I would go home and just cry pretty much every single night. My second year was better, thanks to being placed at an incredible school with amazing people, such as my co-teacher who taught me (and continues to teach me) so much, but I still had some really tough students that challenged me every day. Those challenges led me to doubt my ability, calling, and desire to be a teacher.

There have been many days over the last 3 years that my car rides home have consisted of me crying and thinking to myself, “What good am I even doing here?”, “Am I even getting through to these kids?”, “Maybe someone else would be better suited for this job and I’m not where I am supposed to be??”, “I don’t even think I’m making a difference.”

So every single year, I have struggled and wondered if this is the calling that God wants for me, because quite honestly, I have a lot of doubts and insecurities. There comes a point at the end of each school year where I start to job search as I convince myself again and again that I’m not meant to be a teacher. The end of this last school year was no different. Last year was tough on pretty much everyone because of COVID, but since I had moved into Ed and I’s new house, I had a 45-minute drive to school and to get home… So on top of my typical doubts, I had an extra (at least) 90 minutes a day to sit and think about everything I did wrong each day and I fully convinced myself that God wanted me to find a new job and potentially even a new career. I truly did not think that I’d be stepping back into a school building for the 2021-2022 school year.

As I searched for a new job, I also sought the prayers, wisdom, and advice of many people I hold near and trust. Everyone, especially those closest to me, is always astonished when I tell them how much doubt I have and the idea that I might leave teaching and pursue another job or career…They can’t even picture or think of me as anything but a teacher, but I struggle to see my own ability. So as Spring rolled around, I applied to several random jobs (librarian, secretary, etc.) and reached out to a school right down the street from Ed and I’s new house to see if they had any positions opening up for the next year, because at least then I’d be closer to home and have less of a drive for my own thoughts and mind to torture me.

As I was going through this job search process, I was also involved in a Bible study in which we were reading a book called “The Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer. God revealed so much to me through this study, including the fact that I had let the devil define my identity, but specifically, my identity as the teacher God called and chose me to be. I had 100% let him into my mind and let him convince me with so many negative thoughts of my inability as a teacher. But isn’t that how he works? He tries to disarm and discourage us in the areas of our greatest potential! The exact places we will have the biggest impact! That’s when I realized that for the last 3 years, I had let the devil infiltrate my mind and convince me I wasn’t meant to be a teacher, but God has been so diligent in keeping me in this calling, despite my time searching elsewhere each and every year and despite all of my insecurities and doubts.

I knew that God had led me to this conclusion and I felt so confident that He was in control and moving in my life and in my teaching career, that I stopped the job search altogether. I knew that God wanted me to teach again this year and I felt him telling me that He was starting to prepare me for a tough year. I know that this year will not be easy, but I also know that He has equipped me with this awareness, His protection, and the tools of His spiritual armor that I learned about in that study to start to rewire my mind to know and believe in what GOD says about me, rather than the lies that satan so badly wants me to believe so that I will walk away from teaching! I believe that the timing of that study was so intentional. God was showing me the lies I believed and at the same time, helping me to overcome them by replacing them with His truth.

Typography: Ephesians 6:11 - YMI

It’s hard to articulate all of the small insights God has shown me this Spring and Summer, as it’s really many small things coming together to paint a bigger, more clear picture. What I do know is that I am so grateful for God’s leading, guidance, and presence in my life. So, rather than try to articulate this in a pretty way, I’m just going to type out some of the other things I’ve learned from this experience. I hope one or more of the things I’ve learned speaks to you and helps you with something you’re going through or struggling with.

Maybe there’s an area in your life that you too have let the devil infiltrate? Don’t let him bring you down or pull you away from what God desires for you. We have to be on guard and actively fighting off his lies and remembering God’s truth, or as happened with me, we so easily discount ourselves and walk away from the very gifts, purposes, and callings God has gifted us. Don’t walk away today…that is EXACTLY what the devil wants you to do!

  • Is my job supposed to be easy? Will I feel more content if my job is “easy”? God never said that this life would be easy. He actually said the opposite, that we WILL have troubles in this world. Life is not always going to be easy, but going through challenging times draws us closer to God AND helps us grow as people. I am choosing to see this year as a growing opportunity, not a death sentence! I will better because of this year. I will be stronger because of this year. I will impact the lives of my students this year AND I will be closer to God because of it!
Pin on Daily Inspiration
  • Sometimes the places we feel the most resistance and attack is the exact place where you can and will make the biggest difference. Don’t let satan discourage you from what God is calling you to do.
  • Am I even making an impact? My job is to plant the seeds, not to wait and watch the blooms appear. I will not always see the fruits of my labor right away. There will be hard days and there will be failures, but that does not constitute the calling God gave me as a failure. I may never know the impact I made while here on Earth, but I am called to be obedient nonetheless, and that is what I am going to do!
  • Negative thoughts have a HUGE impact on our minds and our actions. I found a desk decoration that had the quote below on it and I am going to teach this to my students this year AND at the same time, teach it to myself. Our minds are such beautiful and powerful things. What we choose to fill them with is SO important to our mental health and our daily choices.
Mind is a Garden | Etsy

To wrap this post up, this song I heard recently really hit me and confirmed all of these things I’ve learned this Spring and Summer up for me. I feel so at peace with the decision I made back in May to stay with teaching. Here are some of the lyrics…this is my anthem for this year ❤

Narrow as the road may seem, I’ll follow where your Spirit leads.

Broken as my life may be, I will give you every piece.

Here I am with open hands, waiting on your grace again.

I want less of me and more of you, I just want to see you move.

For the one who gave me life, nothing is a sacrifice.

Use me how you want to God, have your throne within my heart…you can have it ALL.

Go the Extra Mile

Well, I’ve been MIA on my blog for a while now…weddings will do that to you! With that being said, I am excited to say that Ed and I are now happily married!! We are settling into our house and finding a routine, so I’m really excited to get back into sharing more posts again as we’re becoming more and more settled with each day that passes.

This post today was inspired by my brother, Dawson.

A week ago today, I was in a frenzy trying to make peach desserts…I had a TON of peaches (like over 100) and was trying to make peach ice cream, peach cobbler, peach pies, and whatever else I could so that these delicious peaches wouldn’t go bad. While making my final batch of ice cream, I ran out of heavy whipping cream and had to quickly go to Kroger to get some so I could finish before I had to go meet my brother at REI.

As I got to the light at the end of our street, I took a right turn and proceeded to go right up the curb. 🙂 Just lovely! It jostled me a bit, but I kept on going, thinking nothing more of it.

After running into Kroger I noticed that in that short amount of time, the tire pressure had dropped to 24. In a perfect world it would be at 32. I chalked it up to coincidence and hoped it didn’t have anything to do with me hitting the curb but as I continued on, it continued to drop.





When I got home, I opened my door to hear a “tttsssstttttt” sound and knew it was NOT good. Without even having to get that close to the tire, I could feel the air going out and see the hole in my tire.

So, I did what any sensible person would do…I went inside and finished making my batch of peach ice cream! Okay, yes, that’s not what a sensible person would do, but sadly, it is what I did.

As you can imagine, when I got back outside…my entire tire was flat. I drove my car .5 miles down the street, freaking out the whole time, but safely made it to the car shop. After giving them my car I walked on back home…to figure out that I was locked out of the house because I left my garage door opener in the car! Another oops.

I called Ed and asked how far away he was from home as it was about to rain…I know, I couldn’t believe my luck either! At this point, I was laughing and thinking that it couldn’t get much worse and that you just couldn’t make stories like these up!!

A few minutes later Ed got home and so graciously let me into the house. I walked into the kitchen to see that my final batch of ice cream had overflowed OUT of the ice cream machine and was now all over the counter.

Seriously, you just can’t make this stuff up! The laughing was done now and at this point I was just frustrated. I already was unable to meet Dawson, BUT I had hopes that I’d still make it to my Bible study that night as Ed was going to let me use his Jeep…and that’s when Dawson called me!!

When the tire incident first went down, I had to call Dawson to let him know that I would not be able to meet him at REI before my Bible study as I had a flat tire and had to get that taken care of. After I had dropped my car off, he had called me to ask if I wanted a ride to my Bible study. The thing is, he had been working all day and my house is the complete opposite direction of his work and even further from home. It would have been way out of his way and added 2-3 hours of drive time to his night AND think of how much gas money that would be for a young man still in college and paying for it on his own!!! I was so thankful and blown away by his generosity and kindness, despite how much of an inconvenience it would have been to him. His call really turned my frustrated mood upside-down!

So I wanted to encourage you to be that person today! Be someone who goes the extra mile to help someone else out, even if it means inconveniencing yourself for a little while…people are worth it ❤

Great Unknown: Faith Without Borders

If you have 9 minutes and 36 seconds of time that you could set aside, I would so encourage you to just be still and listen to this song. I know for me and many others it’s a familiar one, but the words just hit differently for me this time and I have a feeling they might for you too.

I got home from work with lots to do and decided to turn on some worship music while I got down to business. Wedding planning ain’t easy folks, they weren’t kidding! This song stopped me in my tracks though as I looked up and saw the crowd in the video. Not the people on the stage, but the people out worshipping with lifted hands and closed eyes…also, many with their phones out, but I’m going to imagine they thought the moment was beautiful and wanted to capture it to have forever.

As I was watching, I just thought to myself, how amazing that our God can talk to all of those people at once. That He can give them comfort, He can give them peace, He can give them guidance, He can give them whatever they need at exactly this moment…and the most amazing thing to me, is that He KNOWS exactly what they need too…ALL of them!

Can you just think about that for a second? Let that idea sink in. Our ONE God, has the ability to talk, comfort, grieve, love, and speak to ALL people and more at one time. How amazing is that?

And that is the God that we trust and the God that this beautiful song talks about. The God that we give our time to. The God that leads us out into the waters where we can’t stand alone and where we don’t have to stand alone, because He is there!

And so…In oceans deep, our faith WILL stand.

In deep waters, we WILL find GOD in the mystery. We may not understand, but He will be there. He has a purpose and use for everything, good and bad. Sometimes our humans eyes and hearts just can’t yet comprehend it.

We will call upon His name & choose to keep our eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, our souls can rest in His embrace.

His sovereign hand will be our guide. When nothing makes sense, we can look to Him. For what to do, where to go, what to say, anything that we need!

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you will call me. No matter what that looks like, Lord. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander because I know that my faith will be made stronger in the presence of you, Lord.

I pray for courage, God. I pray for the unknown, Lord, so that I can grow closer to you. So that I can rely on only you. I pray, God that your would show up on in my life and I pray that I would be present and aware when you do show up.

And I pray for anyone reading this, that they too would be inspired by this song and feel your love and presence while they listen to it. Isaiah 43:2 When You Pass Through - Bible Verse Collection  Poster - 13x19 Unframed - Perfect Gift Under $20: Handmade

An Empty Cup

You can't pour from an empty cup | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and  World NewsSaturday Magazine — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World  News

This is going to be one of those rare, short posts…I don’t have a lot to say, but I do just want to share what I feel God has put on my own heart this morning to help me. And to be real, I am still struggling with this and would love some prayer in this area if you have time today.

With the end of the school year comes lots of stress, behaviors, and just antsy-ness to have the year be done. I’m starting to slowly, but surely feel that antsy-ness (I’m not sure if that’s a word, but it is now). As we all are well-aware, it has been a LONG year and I think that not only the teachers, but the students who are now for the first time in a year fully back to school 8 hours a day and 5 days a week are really starting to just feel exhausted.

On top of that, Ed & I’s wedding is so close! Only 39 days! While that’s SO exciting, it also brings stress because it’s such a big day that we both want to go well for ourselves and for our family. It’s going to be such a special day. I have to keep reminding myself that the most important thing is that Ed and I glorify and honor God by making our commitment to each other before Him and before our families. If anything else goes wrong, it doesn’t matter because THAT is the point.

So, with all these things “behind-the-scenes”, so to speak, there is a lot going on…per usual. Yesterday, I was struggling so hard to get out of bed and to get myself not even excited (because that felt pretty much impossible), but just wanting and ready to go into school to teach. I’m sharing this very vulnerably and a little ashamedly, but I think that there is value in being honest, especially as a teacher. We give so much of ourselves to our students that our cup often so quickly becomes emptied or low when we don’t take time for ourselves or in my experience, time to be with the Lord. This applies not only to teachers, but to all walks and careers in life, but this is just my experience I wanted to share.

Back to yesterday…I really struggled and debated if I should go into school or not that day and ultimately decided that I needed to take a day to take inventory of my heart, my head, and just my whole-being because I was not in a good space. So I called in. I found out later that day that 8 other teachers had also called off, which is just unheard of, so I knew that I wasn’t alone. Other people are feeling this same internal struggle.

Throughout the day I struggled to relax, I kept finding my shoulders hunched up and had to keep reminding myself to be calm and just let go of the stress I was carrying. By the end of the day, I realized that since I went on a trip this weekend, I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked to reading my Bible, praying, and singing worship songs. I realized that I hadn’t been “filling my cup” so to speak, or in all honestly, letting God fill my cup. So I made time and space to sing worship songs and start to say little prayers to God to begin to re-align my heart.

I wish I could say that I’m sitting here hyped up and ready to go back today, but I am not. What I can tell you is that my cup is a little more full today, and I am aware. I am aware that my cup is low and I am aware of what I need to be sure to do to continue to have my cup be filled by God so that I can pour out onto others.

Anyways, my goal in writing this is that it encourages you in one of these ways…or maybe in a way I’m not even aware of!

  • If you feel tired and worn out, you are not alone.
  • If your cup is empty, it’s okay to take a break or a day to search yourself and to see how you can re-focus or re-align your heart to God and to get closer to Him so He can fill your cup. We cannot fill our cups on our own, we need His help. A valuable lesson I will never forget from my first year of teaching is that “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” Trust me, I tried. I can’t tell you how many times I got physically sick my first year of teaching from trying to keep pouring out when I was not okay.
You Can't Pour From An Empty Cup - Headspace Perspective
  • Spend time in prayer and/or reading the Bible. Don’t discount how valuable this is to filling your cup. Just from a few days of not reading my Bible, I can tell a huge difference in my heart and my mindset. Use the Bible App if you want to find a new devotional or don’t know where to start in your Bible. Write down people’s names on prayer cards and walk around inside or outside to pray for them. Listen to worship songs on the way to work or wherever you are going. I promise these things make a HUGE difference!
3 Things I Taught My Children About Daily Time With God
  • Tell someone that you are struggling. Remember that it’s okay and normal to not be okay at all times. We are allowed and going to have bad days, but don’t go through those days alone. Ask for prayer, encouragement, or just a listening ear. Be real and honest with people. It’s freeing and will help lighten your load. Let people walk with you.
You Are Not Alone – Help is Out There - Ocean Mental Health Services

And really, that’s all I wanted to share. I have no way to wrap this up with a neat little bow, and quite honestly, I don’t have the mental energy to sit here and try to do so haha! I’m still in this and going through this and would love to partner in prayer with you if you feel the same way. Thank you for taking the time to read my post today! I really do hope it helps you in some way.

Goodbye, Egypt!!!

Oh man. I have just been completely wrecked this morning reading about the Israelites and specifically, about Moses. I wanted to share that with you. I pray you read it with an open heart, an open mind, and allow God to just move within your heart. I believe He has something for you today if you just sit and allow Him to speak into your life.

Life this past week has been nothin’ but BUSY. My school district has decided that we can now go back to 5 days of in-person instruction with full classrooms. The first two full days back, simply put, were just plain fun. Seeing all of my students together, watching them interact, and getting to teach like I typically would was so refreshing. I missed it.

Then on Friday, the first day that my co-teacher and I switched (so I saw both classes of 20 students in one day, rather than just keeping one class of 20 students all day), I was overwhelmed. I felt a lot of anxiety, worry, and just plain ol’ fear. I learned the hard way that I had most definitely over-planned and that I was not going to have nearly enough time to get through the lesson I planned, collect homework, respond to emails, etc. So I worried. I thought to myself, I thought it was going to be different now. I thought I had this in the bag! Now it’s just back to normal…As I had that thought, I was reminded of a sermon I had listened to a while back by Steven Furtick titled “Looking Forward to Normal”. If you haven’t listened to it, you should. It is convicting to say the least and a great reminder.

I didn’t realize it when I started to listen to this sermon again this week, but I truly believe God reminded me of it on purpose, because it was so timely and JUST what I needed. God knows us so well.

The story I read this morning goes right along with this sermon and it picks up in the book of Exodus when Moses is called to lead the people (The Israelites) out of Egypt. The Israelites went to Egypt originally due to a famine and a need for food. Eventually, they became slaves to the Egyptians. God is about to save His people from their oppression, and Moses is the man He calls to lead the people out of Egypt. So Pharaoh decides to let the Israelites go, then quickly changes his mind as he worries, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services” (Exodus 14:5). So he gets his entire army ready and starts to pursue the Israelites. Now, it’s important to remember at this point that God himself has spoken to Moses and promised him that He was going to deliver them from Egypt and that they would no longer be slaves. So Pharaoh catches up to the Israelites, and this is how they respond…honestly, as most of us would if we were being pursued by an army…”As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites…were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt to leave us alone and let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”” (Exodus 14:11-12).

Exodus “ Crossing the Red Sea”. 13:1-7 On this day in early spring, in the  month of Abib, you have been set free… 1 Then YaHWeH said to Moses, ppt  download

And that’s where we come in. Oh, how we are JUST like the Israelites! God had promised He was about to deliver them, and rather than believe Him, they start freaking out and asking Moses why he didn’t just let them stay in Egypt…as SLAVES. Can you believe that?? They would rather go back to the place they were held captive, than to have to deal with the fear and uncertainty of stepping into this new thing that God had prepared for them and promised them. We are so much like the Israelites in our desire to have the things that bring us comfort and security, even when they are the same exact things that bind us and bring us down.

When in quarantine, we so BADLY wanted things to go back to “normal”. I spent some time reflecting while in quarantine and I realized that actually, I was again, just like the Israelites. I was a slave to my own agenda and calendar. To my own busyness. I was sooo tired and exhausted, running from place to place, meeting people, just fitting in as much as I could, and God so graciously knew I needed to be called out of that Egypt, just as the Israelites did.

So here I sit now, thinking about the fact that I felt so much peace and calmness when in quarantine because I finally HAD to sit still. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, but to be with God in the stillness. And man do I hope to never go back to my Egypt! So when I felt myself on Friday feeling all of this fear, busyness, and exhaustion, I couldn’t help but think how easy it is to go back to “normal”. To have a desire to go back to how things were before, because it is comfortable and familiar. But in reality, it’s not comfortable at ALL! It’s tiring, it’s discouraging, and it is a place I no longer desire to inhabit!

The Book of Exodus: The Beginner's Guide and Summary

As the Israelites ask Moses why he didn’t just let them stay slaves, he answers and tells the people to “…not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:24). Then God tells Moses to perform a miracle with his staff in which the sea in front of the Israelites that would have trapped them, is parted and they are able to cross through on dry ground. The waters divide and the Israelites cross. The Egyptians and Pharaoh follow them into the sea and suddenly the waters flow back and the Egyptians are swept away into the sea. In Exodus 14:28 it actually says that “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen-the entire army of Pharaoh that followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”

Exodus 14 (with text - press on more info. of video on the side) - YouTube

Not a single one. Can you imagine if the Israelites had, in fear, decided to just surrender and go back to Egypt? They would have missed a MIRACLE and the land that God has promised them! I almost did the same thing. I have to continually FIGHT to not want to go back to my Egypt. Although Egypt feels comfortable and familiar, it is binding!

I’m just so inspired by the story of Moses and by his faith. Sadly even after the miracle God performed by bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, they still doubt Him and are unable to enter into the promised land because of their doubt. They spend years wandering in the desert and the book of Deuteronomy captures the last advice and reminders from Moses to the Israelites as they are finally about enter into the promised land! He challenges them to be faithful to God, to obey, and to remember all that their people have been through in FINALLY getting to this promised land.

And this is the most beautiful part of Moses’ story to me. As he is giving all of these reminders and advice, we are reminded that he is unable to go into the promised land. The very land that he has been called his ENTIRE life to lead the Israelites to. What??? Can you even fathom that? Working your entire life and leading a people who are so fickle and wishy-washy, then FINALLY getting to the point where your people are ready to enter, but you are not going to be able to go. I know I would be so upset! But instead, Moses is telling the people all of these amazing reminders of where they’ve been, what their ancestors have been through, and just how GOOD that God has been to them.

And as Moses is about to send the next generation of Israelites into the promised land, he says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” But God is so good to Moses. Even though he can’t enter into the promised land, God takes him up to the top of a mountain and lets Moses see the whole promised land. Can you just imagine the emotion in that moment? Everything that Moses has worked for and struggled through and for his entire life, finally laid out right before his very eyes. A promise of God, made visible. And after he sees this, he dies and is buried by God himself as Deuteronomy 34:10-12 says “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt-to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all of Israel.”

Journey through the Wilderness (Life of Moses Series 3) - Abeka  Flash-A-Card | Moses, Bible images, Bible pictures

Can you just imagine living a life in which you know God face to face? Being content with knowing that what God has called you to do your entire life, you may not fully see it come to fruition or get to experience it the way you thought? And still, Moses was faithful.

So I pray that I remember the “Egypt” I was living in and that I pursue the “promised land” that God has called me into. I pray I don’t seek the misleading comfort in what my life used to be before. I pray I would have faith like Moses to whole-heartedly seek the promised land that God so desires for me to live in. I pray that I would take time to remember the desires that God has for me and that even when I face fear and worry, and I can remember that my God is good, he is faithful, and He keeps his word and promises!

Goodbye, Egypt!

A Call to Remember…

A word that has been heavy on my heart lately is “Remember”. It keeps popping up and it’s one that I can’t seem to shake. As I read, listen to podcasts, and go about my daily tasks, this word keeps coming up.

In the Old Testament, God constantly told the Israelites to remember. To remember where they came from, how far God had brought them, and to remember the true character of God. Why? Because as humans, we have a tendency to forget. To forget how far we’ve come and how much we’ve changed from our old selves. We feel discouraged and stuck, like God isn’t present or moving in our lives…Like we’ve messed up so badly that God doesn’t want to use us anymore…That He can’t possibly still love us! I am here today to tell you that that is a lie the devil wants you to believe. This is something that we actively have to fight, and how do we do that? We do it by remembering…

The next paragraph is part of my testimony that I have written down, so that on the days I forget and start to feel discouraged, I can look back and see how God moved in my life and remember that He is good, He is faithful, and that He loves me, even when I feel like I can’t see or feel His love. Even when I feel like I am not good enough. I don’t have to be, because HE is.

“I knew that God was stirring my heart for a long time and I’ve always known I’ve had an issue with filling what my Mom called a “God-shaped void” with anything and everything except Jesus, but I finally decided to listen to God and let go of a relationship that was unhealthy and not honoring God.  While I was in college, I had let go of my faith, but God still chased after me. I specifically remember one church service during worship (that I half-heartedly went to in order to make my mom happy, if I am being perfectly honest) singing the song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury and just feeling my eyes swell up with tears from these lyrics: “When I was your foe, still your love fought for me.  There’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up, chasing after me.  There’s no wall you won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down coming after me.  Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.  Oh it chases me down, fights until I’m found, and leaves the 99.”  The chorus repeats so those words can settle in and in that moment I felt God speaking right to me, amidst my refusal to accept and love Him. He still loved me and was never going to stop trying to get me to understand just how much He loves me.  This still wrecks me to this day, thinking about the fact that I never felt guilt in that moment, it was purely love.  Love that I did not deserve, but He still was chasing after me and fighting for my heart. At that point I knew God was trying to get my attention and after a few weeks of talking myself in and out of it, I decided to end the relationship I was pursuing.  I knew in my heart that it was not the relationship He intended for me, and even though it hurt so badly and I felt lonely, I knew it was the right thing to do. I remember just praying and crying out to God in my hurt and I distinctly remember him saying, “Why am I not enough for you?”

Those words still bring tears to my eyes today because that was an encounter that I had with God that no one can take away from me. It was such a clear and convicting moment where I know now that God was calling me out of the grave I had dug myself into.  He was offering me a solution to all my hurt and asking me to try and fill that “God-shaped” void with Him, because HE was enough and what I needed.  I wrote in my journal “I am hurting and broken within.  I need your help God and for your love to cover me.  I am trusting in your plan for my life.  Even if it takes time and growth, it WILL be SO worth it.” 

I am changed today because I opened my heart to hear what God was saying and to take action, even when it was hard.  I did NOT want to be lonely or let go, but I knew I felt Him calling me back to Him.  I am so thankful that God opened my eyes.

And so that is what I remember. I remember the CHOICE that I made to stop filling my heart with things that don’t truly satisfy. To stop looking to the world for things, experiences, and people to fill me, but instead, to look to the God who relentlessly and recklessly loves me, no matter how many times I mess up. I hold onto that story with a tight grip, because I so easily forget and fall into the devil’s trap of believing that God isn’t present or moving in my life because of something I have done to push Him away. Like He has finally realized I am not good enough. And that is just not true in the slightest, as God made it abundantly clear to me that day He sang that song over me, calling me back to Him.

I just want to encourage you today to take time to remember. When have you seen, heard, or felt God move in your life? Write those times down! They are SO important to write down, remember, and to SHARE with others. What is your testimony? How did God move and change your life?

And if you’re thinking, I don’t have a testimony or I still have yet to encounter God, I just so encourage you to take some time today to sit, be still, and pray with anticipation that God WILL move and He WILL speak. And if nothing else, at least take the time to listen to this song and let the words sink into your heart. They are so good and so true to how God feels about you. He loves you just as you are. Just know that today.

Reckless Love S/S Urban Tee — LEVEL SEVEN GRAPHICS, LLC.

The Forgiven, Forgive

As a teacher, something I really struggle with is identity. For me, a good day can quickly turn into a bad one with just one email from a parent with a concern. This has been a struggle I’ve had for a while now, and it is just so hard for me to overcome. I find myself constantly looking for approval and assurance that I am a “good” teacher from my students, their parents, my co-teachers, and basically everywhere, except the one place I should be going: God.

I can still clearly remember one specific situation last year where I had a parent tell the Principal that “She did not want her son in my classroom.” I vividly remember reading those words on my computer screen in the format of a forwarded email and just bawling my eyes out. HOW did I make someone so upset that they literally didn’t want their child in my classroom? Was I an awful teacher? Was she right? Did I do something wrong?? I still cry today thinking of those words. They hurt to my core, because part of me believes that they are true. I felt so misunderstood, hurt, and eager to quickly prove her wrong.

Have there been words spoken to you that hurt so badly you can still so clearly hear them in your mind? Has someone ever done something so hurtful that you feel that you will never be able to forgive them? I’m sure if we all sat here long enough we could easily come up with answers to both of those questions.

The fact is, we live in a sinful world. People are going to say and do hurtful things. Inevitably, our feelings are going to get hurt. Obviously, that does not make it okay for people to say hurtful things and unfortunately, it doesn’t make those things hurt any less either. The thing is, we will never be able to control other people. Hurtful words will come and will be spoken and that is why it is so important to have our identity rooted in Christ, so that we fully know and believe what HE says about us in times where other people call the things we hold most dear about ourselves into question.

In these situations, as we remember what God says about us, I think it’s also important to remember that you have a choice in how you respond in these moments. Luckily, the Bible gives us so many examples of how we are called to respond as Christians in times like these.

One of the greatest & most convicting examples of this to me is found in Luke 23. In this passage, Jesus is being taken to the cross to be crucified. At this point, He has faced so many different hurts, many of which we face today.

He was betrayed by one of His own disciples, who actually turned Him over to the very people who would kill Him. He was falsely accused by those persecuting Him, having actually done nothing worth being convicted for. He was rejected by another one of His disciples whom denied knowing Him 3 times. He was abused physically by being beaten, name-called, and crucified on a cross, and as if that couldn’t get any worse, he was crucified and hurled insults at in a public place, which would have been humiliating.

And while He is literally hanging on the cross, with the weight of ALL the world’s sins on His shoulders, with harsh words being yelled at Him, with people watching and laughing at His pain, he looks to God and says “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

What a beautiful and convicting response. Forgiveness is a CHOICE. In this moment, I don’t believe that Jesus was minimizing their offense, but He was choosing to forgive them because He knew who the real enemy was. Our enemy is not people, but Satan. When we harbor unforgiveness, we are giving Satan a chance to hold us captive.

Offenses WILL come, that is a guarantee. I can tell you with great certainty, that was not the only hurtful email, phone call, or text that I got from parents last school year. We live in a fallen world full of sin. We are all human and make mistakes. The question is, how do you respond in these situations? Are you quick to forgive? How easy it is to respond with anger and bitterness, but that is not how we are called to respond.

The Bible tells us to love ALL people. Regardless of what they do or don’t do to you. Love people. Period! Jesus was able to see the bigger enemy and forgive the very people who were physically, mentally, and emotionally hurting Him. I pray that when I face a hurtful issue that I can humble myself, remember the true enemy, and do the same. How you respond MATTERS, take time to slowly respond today. It will make a difference! Let the verses below encourage you today to respond differently!

Look to the One Sleeping

Well, here we are almost a month after I wrote my last blog post. I’ve “committed” in my mind countless times to finally sitting down and writing this specific blog post because it was a lesson that was so impactful to me while Ed and I were going through the closing process on our home. Sadly, I have yet to actually sit down and write it until now! BUT, I’m so excited to finally get to share!! My prayer is that it encourages you today or any day you happen to come across this post.

When I got on my computer this morning, I opened up the blank draft that I had half-heartedly started yesterday to write this post titled “Through the Storm”, to see that I had actually started a different draft weeks ago titled “Look to the One Sleeping”…Needless to say, I liked this title better, so I opened this draft instead to start writing and this was the first line I wrote weeks ago on…

This week has been full of storms.

…and can I just say…that is RELATABLE! This week too, has been full of storms. And last week, and the week before, and I am confident that next week will have storms too. So, to me that just signifies that this lesson is so relevant and important to get, because we all have storms every. single. day. Can I get an amen?!

And that leads me to what I want to talk about. A couple of weeks ago, as I mentioned earlier, Ed and I were in the midst of some really frustrating conversations with our loan company the day OF the closing on our home. Yes, the day of. That makes me cringe just thinking about it again! The last week of our closing was dreadful. Every time I got a phone call from our loan company I would just shudder and fill with worry wondering what was wrong now and what else we had to figure out and fix. I will spare you the details, but basically we were told (on the day of our closing, about 3 hours before it was supposed to happen) that in order to keep our closing date, we would have to make 2 large money transfers. Well, with our closing being on a Wednesday, that was going to be extremely challenging! Especially considering that Ed and I have jobs that we work…I know, crazy, right?! Coupled with the fact that these sorts of things take time to go through and be processed. So after finding out the news, I was so sad and frustrated. In the middle of teaching, how the heck was I going to figure all of this out?! We had already had things scheduled and people coming to the house after we closed. It could NOT fall through! Filled with worry and so many emotions, I was reminded of this story and opened my Bible to read Mark 4:35-41, the story of Jesus calming the storm.

Mark 4: On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go  across to the other side." 36 And leaving the crowd, they took Him with. -  ppt download

The first thing that always stands out to me is that Jesus literally said “Let us go over to the other side.” He told them where they would end up and God keeps His word! So the disciples (and myself) should have trusted that even when things were going crazy, that they WOULD get to the other side, just as Jesus said. Even if it didn’t end up looking or feeling like they thought the trip or journey would.

The other thing I see is that it says they “left the crowd behind and they took Him (Jesus) along.” And I just wonder, how many times do we enter into storms and leave Jesus behind? No wonder we struggle. I can tell you that there are countless “storms” that I’ve gotten into and realized that I didn’t even look to see if Jesus was in my metaphorical boat! I had the “I’ve got this” mindset. But in this case, Jesus was there. They took Him with them…and what was he doing? He was SLEEPING. I love that. It even mentions he has a cushion, so He was gettin’ real cozy! And it’s while He is sleeping that the storm begins and that the disciples begin to become fearful. So they wake Jesus up and ask “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” I mean, what a question. Rather than answer them, He gets up, rebukes the wind and waves and makes everything completely still and calm.

Still - Hillsong United Lyric Video | Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)  - YouTube

Now here comes the zinger. Jesus then turns to the disciples and says, “Why are you so afraid? Do you STILL have NO faith??” And the disciples are terrified by the power of Jesus that He is able to calm the storm they were in, just as they had asked.

And so I put myself in the story. I pictured Jesus right there with me on the way to the bank to make this money transfer, just praying that it would go through and be quick so that our closing didn’t fall through. I was filled with so much frustration, sadness, anxiety, disappointment, and worry. I asked Jesus, “Don’t you care if this falls through?? I thought this was what you wanted for us? Did I get it wrong?” And after the transfer successfully went through, I felt Him say to me, just as He did to the disciples, “Why were you so worried? Frustrated & upset? That is not what I wanted for you. Do you have no faith? Do you not trust me?”

And that just wrecked me. In that moment, I didn’t trust Him. All I saw was all of the problems or “waves” coming up into my “boat”, rather than the one leading me through the storm.

Here’s the thing, I forgot the promise just like the disciples did. Jesus SAID, that our house closing would happen. He didn’t say that there wouldn’t be storms along the way or issues that came up unexpectedly. He didn’t say the He would leave me. He didn’t say feel anxious and full of worry while we go through this storm. He wanted me to trust Him. To look to Him while He was sleeping, because He knew the end already.

The storms of life don’t go away, but neither does the one who leads us through them. God is with you today. He desires so deeply to lead you through your storm. To take your hand, to comfort you, for you to just trust that He has already said He will get you to the other side and see this to completion. He wants you to trust Him. To remember what He has told you and the promises that He has given you.

So where are your eyes today in the midst of the storm you are in? Are they on the one sleeping or are they on the storm? Where your eyes are will impact your response to the storm. Turn your eyes to the one sleeping!

God is good. He is in control and things will turn out the way that He wants them to. Trust Him even in the storm and know that He is right there with you, offering peace. Let Him lead you to the other side.

Christ Asleep in his Boat Painting | Jesus painting, Boat painting, Fine art

Snippets of Joy

This morning as I sat down to journal, I looked up and saw my calendar…and it made me smile. I know, sounds weird. One of my Christmas gifts this year was a calendar full of cute dog photos, each one themed to fit the month. This month’s smiling pup is laying in a bed of what look like marshmallow hearts…Who wouldn’t be smiling if they were laying in a bed of marshmallow hearts?? I sat there smiling to myself, feeling like a total weirdo for smiling at a calendar that’s been hanging on my wall for the past week, but for the first time, I was taking the time to actually look at it!

Then I started thinking, what else is around me that is a picture of joy that I’ve been missing?

I’ve had a lot going on lately…don’t we all? School is going back to in-person. I’m in a busy frenzy preparing my classroom and lesson plans. I run around my classroom all day printing papers, figuring out a new schedule, and what I want to teach my students, how I will teach them, when, where, why, how…the list keeps going. Teacher conferences are tonight. I have to eat before them, take Maverick out, then feed and walk him after. Then I can relax. I need a haircut…I have to schedule that! Ed and I close on our new house next week. There are so many things to get scheduled, packed, and planned before then. Did I call about the wifi? Water? Did I transfer services to our name for electricity?! I need to take Maverick to the vet to get his heartworm and tick medicine. I have to remember to order my mattress for my bed…otherwise, I’m sleeping on the floor.

How do we keep track of it all?! Phew, I am exhausted just reading that.

It’s easy for me to see now why that little dog with a smile on it’s face, brought one to mine, too. I’ve been walking around with my head down! God’s been giving me little moments of joy, that I can easily think of now, but that I missed in the moment because I was so busy thinking of what was next, instead of what God had for me NOW.

Don’t let the day go by and miss out on all the snippets of joy that God has set out for you. Take 30 seconds now to stop, look around, and find something that God’s placed in your life to bring you joy. A simple smile to your face, but truly a gift from God. Walk today with your head up and eyes OPEN! Joy is waiting.

Here are some of the “Snippets of Joy” God has placed in my life this week:

  • Maverick playing in the snow. He always comes inside with a white snout, and I love it. He hops from yard to yard, so eager to get back into the snow.
  • The orange sunset last night.
  • Hearing birds chirping and singing in the morning. It reminds me that Spring is so close!
  • Seeing Ed be prioritized and loved on by friends and family alike for his birthday. You could clearly tell that he felt very special, and that made my heart happy.
  • My classroom being so full of sunshine, that I can’t even see the projector screen! (Normally something I complain about…oops)

And just in case you’re having a hard time finding any, here is my calendar photo, to make you smile and bring you some joy today 🙂

Wait & See

Lately I’ve been praying a lot about my future career-wise. Being a teacher is tough and there are many days in which I question if teaching is the job for me…I go back and forth constantly. One day I love teaching and can’t even imagine not being able to encourage students and love on them. Then the very next day, I leave feeling discouraged or frustrated, knowing that I can’t possibly meet every need of every student as just one person. I think many teachers feel this way too, which makes it even harder to know if this is something God is putting on my heart to wrestle with and possibly make a career change, or if I should just accept that teaching too, like anything else, has its highs and lows.

I’ve felt discouraged too, thinking that I haven’t heard from God with regards to what He wants me to do moving forward. I feel a little lost and without direction. I have a desire to do what God wants me to do and a desire to be where He wants me to be, but lately I feel like I’m just not hearing what it is I’m supposed to do career-wise.

And so, I pray. And I pray. And I pray some more…I ask if I should be still, search, reach out, ask for advice, or do something totally different that I’m just missing and finally…an answer: Just Wait & See.

Wait And See Agency - Photos | Facebook

Not extremely helpful, but from that, I am reminded of a season I went through with my best friend just before she was engaged and married. We read through a book together called “Wait & See” as she was eager to be married, but not so eager to wait until she was finally proposed to! I then remember that earlier this very morning, I saw a devotional titled “Wait & See” on the Bible App, so I open up the app and start reading!

Day 1: “God tucks dreams into our hearts. We believe Him for the completion of those dreams.”

And with that simple line, I realized that my heart is hurting because I don’t feel like I am living out God’s will for my life. Or at least, not well because I don’t feel like a good teacher. I start to wonder, did I get it wrong? I thought God placed a dream on my heart to be a teacher, but I am struggling. That just breaks my heart, and so I begin to write down all of the dreams I feel that God has so gingerly and tenderly tucked into my heart, while at the same time fully knowing that my little heart is so fragile and full of big dreams that I am so passionate and excited about. So, here they are:

  • To be a stay-at-home Mom who home schools and maybe has a few extra kiddos to love on to help support my family
  • To have a house that Ed and I can use to really love on and minister to people in with lots of food, game nights, and small groups
  • For my blog to encourage and teach others. For it to provide hope and to help people desire to know God more
  • To be a light to my students. To love them, teach them, and encourage them. To make them feel loved and valued
  • To mentor others and go through life with them
  • To really intentionally love the people God has placed within my reach
  • To start up a business where I can sell crafts and baked goods to bring “sweetness” to others
  • To be in God’s will for my life. To be very close to God. To continually speak to Him and get guidance from Him on where He wants me to go and what He wants me to do. To be more obedient and patient while I wait for direction
  • To lead a small group that leads to closer relationships with God and each other
  • To discover which church Ed and I should go to. To discover what our purpose and role is in that church
  • To figure out what my purpose in life is-is it teaching? Does “teaching” look different than the boxed definition I’ve given it?
  • To write a devotional for teachers to encourage them

And it was while writing all of my dreams, I felt God whisper to me…“Who says you aren’t already working on all of those things?” And slowly I realize that in some way, I am already working towards each of these dreams!

I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to know every single step we need to take and to know exactly which direction we are heading, but that is not how God works. God has a plan for each and every person’s life, including my own. While all I see is me failing at teaching, God sees all the work He is doing in my heart to prepare me slowly, but surely for all the dreams he’s tucked deep inside my heart. Because I know for a fact that these dreams are from God. I feel so intensely for all of these dreams and I so badly want them all to come true…in God’s timing, not my own. And in the way that He sees these dreams coming to fruition, not in the way that I do.

So in the mean time, I will be patient. I will wait for each one to come to fruition. I will not become discouraged, but will choose to remember the dreams He has placed on my heart. I will wait & see, what God has for me. God does not ask us to have it all figured out, He asks us to take one step at a time. To be obedient and to pray so that we can know His will for our life.

So what dreams has God tucked inside of your heart? Are you too struggling to wait for His timing? Maybe you’re like me and doubting whether or not you’ve chosen the right career path? Have you taken time to pray and ask God what your next step looks like?

Sometimes it’s those small steps and small beginnings that lead us to accomplish our bigger dreams. Trust God to bring the dreams within your heart to completion in His timing, because if they’re from God, they will come to fruition. In the mean time, take each day one step at a time towards those dreams. Give yourself grace and remember that not all dreams come true over night, and that’s all part of the process. And so, we wait and see.

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