Such a Time as This

Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
— Hosea 6:3

Okay, let’s have some real talk. Let’s take a moment to pause, breathe in some pure summer air, and be present in this moment, wherever you are, wherever you’re reading this. The pace of life always seems so busy, doesn’t it? Or at least it looks like everyone else is busy doing, achieving, and creating, and we have to run against the current of our own inabilities to keep up. It’s exhausting. The comparison game. Competing for success, recognition, beauty. The question of who’s the prettiest, fastest, strongest, will always linger unanswered. But, nonetheless the invisible standard slips into the air we breathe, and it can be suffocating.

There’s nothing that crushes joy quite like running in a race and towards a purpose that you weren’t intended to pursue. But, I think we are all guilty at some level of measuring ourselves against the people to our right and to our left, questioning whether our own talents or position in life are level with the people standing around us. I think we like to blame social media or good genes or Hollywood for this uphill battle. While the glossiest versions of our friend’s lives can strike a nerve, they are far from the root of the problem.

See, we were created for purpose, for beauty, for love, and purity, and an awful lot of joy. We crave the kind of life without bumps, bruises, and times where our hearts are raw with grief. Although this type of deep down desire points our hearts to the healing peace and love of Jesus, we still struggle to see past the imperfections of our lives. We are a near sighted kind of people. Instead of looking past the brokenness of this world to the joy that lies ahead, instead of resting in the promised hope of Jesus and finding our identity in Him, instead of expecting goodness to emerge out of his providence, we question. We worry, we compare, and wish, and hurt for different circumstances.

Sweet friends, my heart is breaking as I write this because we miss so much joy in the direction and purpose that God has created us individually to fulfill if we are constantly longing for a different life. You were created by God for His glory. Really think about that, though. No matter your status in this world, no matter your success or failure, your exact story is creating radiance and worship for Jesus. How beautiful is this type of purpose?

Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling—all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace. Words used to describe us being with Him.
— Lysa TerKeurst

Jesus not only sacrificed His life to free us from slavery to sin while we were His enemies, He not only promises to walk with us, to draw near, to empathize and forgive and carry us in our weakness, to protect our fragile hearts and to provide an unshakable hope for future glory that anchors our heart in every moment. No. He also gives us a purpose as beautiful as the first rays of the sun peaking over the wild ocean. Creating beauty out of the dullness and deadness, God did something wholly breathtaking when He formed His children. Our passions, gifts, and talents, no matter how influential or ordinary they may appear are the specific tools he has given us to breathe life and light into a world so heavy with pain.

Let’s not forget that the way you look, the amount of money you make, the family you have, or the career you pursue, are truly essential to the way you influence the kingdom.  Because He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. Every imperfection, every hurt, and rough edge, and beautifully adventurous part of your soul.  When we compare and question and wish for a better life or better circumstances, we miss the beauty and the purpose of God moving in our lives right here and right now. Let’s find life in the words of Jesus today because no matter how perfect or adventurous or successful or free someone’s life looks, the effects of sin still cause tension, even if it’s unseen. In this tension, we have the opportunity to draw near and see the beauty that Jesus is creating in pain and in joy. Please, sweet friends, let’s strive together to live fully in the moments and the experiences that God brings into our lives.

Let’s wake up seeking God with our whole hearts and pursuing the adventure that he creates out of the mundane moments. It’s here that we are making an impact, one that God chose for us specifically. It’s at these times that I’m reminded of the words of Mordecai in Esther 4:14, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” God has created opportunities for you to redeem and restore this world through the power of the Gospel in your life. Let’s find hope here today to move forward, working together towards the calling of our God, joining hands and hearts in pursuit of the King and letting the walls of comparison crumble before the passionate purpose we have been created to pursue together.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved. God will help her when morning dawns.
— Psalm 46:1-5

 

 

Our Champion

Hey sweetest friends! I hope this Memorial Day finds you well with bright eyes and happy hearts. The sacrifice when someone else fights for us and with us is a beautiful thing. It's also painful at times because it leaves some of us with holes in our hearts and memories in the place of people we love dearly. But, I think some of us forget that there is someone fighting for us at all. So wherever you find yourself this monday, there is some goodness for you in the words of Jesus.

"You championed my cause, Lord; you redeemed my life."-Lamentations 3:58

I found this line of hope tucked somewhere in the endless sea of words that God has given us so freely. So much fight, so much victory and overcoming and making new in this passage, and I love it. I really do because it reminds me that there is joy when raw darkness and pain are overcome by the very love of God. A thread that holds us tight and knits us together because love, the kind that only Jesus brings, bursts into the world and makes all the deadness beautiful again.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

I was remembering that because it's easy to forget. To forget that we have a champion and that our lives are not about fighting for ourselves, defending our decisions, or attacking those who oppose us. See we have a King who is always fighting for us, and He is the One who has proven our worth. When we are identified with Jesus, our value and significance is proven in Him and His sacrificial love. And what does that bring into our lives but a care-free, grateful joy.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."-Isaiah 55:12

I say all of this because joy is an important part of our lives. Not just a surface level feeling, but an underlying heart condition that allows us to find a steady hope no matter what storms or goodness life brings. Our champion is fighting for this kind of joy in our lives no matter the depth of pain or the height of love we feel. He is making a way. A way that keeps us grounded with eyes looking upwards and hearts filled with hope. 

No matter the season of life Jesus is walking you through right now, whether you feel the pain of loss or the freeness that comes from a restored heart and eyes wide to the beauty of the world, there is a King fighting for your joy.

Hey Summer + Where I've been for the Past Two Months...

Hey sweet friends! Wow oh wow it's summer time! Okay, I know it's still May, but in Florida that means summer is in full swing, and that makes my heart oh so happy.  This is going to be a little bit of a life update because so many things have happened since my last post in March. I'm sitting here writing this, and I'm just the most excited and happy person because I have so many sweet gifts to share with you. So, here are 5 major things that happened in my life over the past 2 months!

1. I started a photography business: Yay! This one is so exciting to me because it wasn't planned at all! I absolutely love photography, and I've been taking pictures as a hobby for a little over a year. In February, I felt like it was something I wanted to pursue further, so without any real jobs or a solid idea of what I was going to do I decided to upgrade my 7 year old Nikon D3200 (still a great beginner option) to a Canon 80D. I know, it was a huge leap of faith. But,  Jesus is so sweet because it was only a week or two later that I had my very first client who contacted me because they saw photos taken with my new camera. How great is that? And, if that wasn't enough of a blessing, a couple that I knew from home contacted me about shooting their wedding and engagement photos in April. I am so unbelievably happy about this because it wasn't something I really spent time seeking out. It was one of those rare gifts that God sits in front of you when you least expect it, and I am so grateful. Because of this, I created a Facebook Page and added a new Photography section to my website, so check it out when you have a chance because I would love to take your photos, too!

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"Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling—all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace."-Lysa TerKeurst

2. I finished my junior year of college: And, this is the reason I haven't blogged in ages. April was probably the most stressful month I've encountered in college. Between final projects, making room to catch up with all the wonderful people I won't see until the Fall, diving into my photography business, and working hard at several internships, my schedule was absolutely more than I could handle. I would love to say that I slowed down, spent time with Jesus, and relied completely on Him instead of trying to control a schedule that was far from being tamed, but that's not exactly how it went. The busy pace of my life kept me distracted and constantly attempting to cling to my own endurance instead of God's peace and rest. I think that through this season, God transformed my heart to see how debilitating a schedule filled to the brim can be and to understand that He calls us to slow down our pace and our gaze to rest in Him alone. It's in these moments that we can truly reorient our hearts to depend on a God who fills our weak hearts and tired muscles with His overwhelming strength.

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3. I turned 21 in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: Well, it wasn't really the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but it definitely felt like it. The week after I finished the semester, I went on a cruise with my family which happened to be during my birthday. So, I did turn 21 while cruising through the wild sea. If you know me, you know I love the ocean, so it was the most refreshing thing to look outside and see deep indigo waters and smell the salt air every morning. I really focused on resting and spending time with Jesus because the weeks before took so much energy. One way I did this was by reading this book called Redeeming Love. It's a novel by Francine Rivers, and it's based on the book of Hosea. Okay, I can't begin to describe to you how beautiful or impactful this book has been in my life. It was a refreshment to read a story of the relentless love of God. Although different from my story in so many ways, there it was so much a part of it as well. I never have time to read things like this, and it was so refreshing. We also visited Cozumel, Mexico, so I got to speak and read in Spanish a lot, and I really enjoyed that, too. I have so many pictures from this trip, so stay tuned for more!

4. I started my summer job: Last summer, I interned with Costa Sunglasses based out of sunny Daytona Beach, FL. I'm not sure if I can adequately express how great the brand and company culture really is, but I'll definitely try to share more about it because I'll be back again this summer as a Community Coordinator.  Built for adventure and tied to the water, Costa embraces the salt air on your skin and the wind at your back, which is why they make their lenses the clearest on the planet and built for any adventure. I'm so excited and inspired by everything I've learned so far, and I can't wait to see what this summer will bring.

5. I started a Youtube Channel: Ahhhh okay! I've been going back and forth with this idea for so long, but after praying about it and considering all kinds of options, I finally decided to do it. I think it's going to be an adventure for sure, but I want to share with you a little bit of my vision for this channel. You can watch my very first post for more details, but my main goal is to use this channel to share life and community with people. I love building relationships, exploring new places, and seeing creativity, beauty and goodness in the world. I think a Youtube Channel will give me the opportunity to capture all the adventures of life and things I'm passionate about while sharing how Jesus takes every piece of our lives and turns it into something beautiful. I hope you lovely people will subscribe and follow along because I love y'all more than you know. 

Thanks for sticking with me through this crazy long update. I hope you all are doing well, and if you wanna hang out this summer and talk about life just let me know!