Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Fun

Hey, ya'll! In celebration of summer, I have decided to put together a list of some fun activities that will allow you to de-stress and enjoy!

Find a Beach:
Whether it's alongside a lake or an ocean, find a place to enjoy the sand between your toes. 
Pack a towel, your favorite tunes, and you're ready to soak up the sun!

Shop Small:
Small-business shopping can have a very therapeutic effect.
Whimsical towns and bustling brick streets can sweep you away from the big-city buzz
and allow you to unwind with the locals.

Discover a New Hobby:
Take that adventurous step to find something new. Maybe it's something you've thought about, and maybe it's something you've never even heard of before. Look in your area for classes, lessons, and other opportunities to satisfy your curiosity. You never know--you might just find a new pastime.

Improve Your Space:
A bedroom, an apartment, or a home--update your living area! Don't have money to spend? 
Cleaning, organizing, and rearranging can make your space feel brand new. 

Have a Picnic:
Simple and chic. Pack for yourself, or for you plus one. 
Visit a neighborhood park, or try somewhere you have yet to explore. 

Visit a Gallery or Museum:
Visiting an art gallery is an excellent way to leave your worries behind. 
Escape to another time and place with each piece. 

Get Physical:
Join a gym, enroll in a dance class, or simply take a walk. 
Any way you can be active will keep you healthy and improve your mood. 
Not to mention, it will boost your confidence in that little bikini!

This world is full of need. There are so many different ways you can help! 
I have listed some ideas to get your search started. 
Habitat for Humanity: www.habitat.org 
Big Brothers, Big Sisters: www.bbbs.org
Make-a-Wish Foundation: www.wish.org
American Red Cross: www.redcross.org

Hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing summer!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Find You on my Knees

It is difficult to explain in words what I have experienced in the past few months. My hope is that you gain some encouragement within the words that I do find.

About eight months ago, I entered what was the most terrifying time of my life. I was beginning the first season in my new job, as well as my first semester of graduate school. Let me point out that this, in itself, was not the scary part. Rather, it was thinking that I could do everything on my own ability, not through the power of Jesus Christ. I have always been the type of person to stretch myself quite thin with activities and opportunities. Regretfully, I began to enter into a mindset of self-glorification. I was concerned with straight A's, becoming the teacher's pet, making a name for myself in the workplace, and proving myself to those around me. 

"This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord." Jeremiah 9:23-24

I pushed myself to the point of physical and mental illness. I spent four months trying to understand the numbness, insomnia, slurring motor skills, loss of  ambition, and my battle with faith. Throughout my struggle, I entered a dark and discouraging time, which ultimately led to many foolish life choices. I was stuck, running in circles--confused, scared, angry with God; turning to convenient and temporary fixes. 

I remember sitting in church on Sundays, with a voice in the back of my head repeating, "Why ask for forgiveness when you know you're going to do it again? You don't deserve to even be here." I began to live by these words--a vicious pattern that  convinced me I wasn't worthy of calling myself a child of God. The harder I prayed, the stronger the enemy pushed back at me. It wasn't until I realized that this voice in my head wasn't God's, nor was it even my own, that I was able to believe differently. 

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." 1 Peter 5:8-9

I began to read scripture, heavily. I would post it anywhere I had history of these physical and mental attacks--in my car, my home, my office. The Word would pull me back into focus, and the onset would fade. I prayed, constantly, that God would provide something in my life that would help me hold myself accountable, and bring me closer to Him. 

For the past few months, He has been putting my life back together according to his plan. There have definitely been trials, temptations, and even failures. But through Him, I have the strength to get back and up and keep walking by faith. He has shown me that I am not defined by the mistakes I have made in the past, nor am I limited by the mistakes I will most certainly make in the future. 

From "You Are More" by Tenth Avenue North:
'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to.

Everyone has battles. Some may even believe that mine seem relatively trivial compared to their own. This message was not meant to evoke sympathy, but to encourage those who are also struggling and to glorify God.  It is only thanks to His mercy that I am able to tell this story with hope and joy for the future!

As always, I have attached a song that has spoken a million words to me lately. It is a beautiful song, and so inspirational. Enjoy!