Friends Are Forever

Challenge & Revelation, Missions

This week one of my best girlfriends embarks on a very exciting journey.

 

For 9 months she will be interning with Sarah Kelly in Texas! I am so stoked for the opportunity to travel and learn even more in her journey to becoming an amazing leader. She is an amazing woman of God. And through the years of our friendship she’s always had my back and helped me sort out the jumbled thoughts I seem to collect. Through every breakup and heartache or confusing, frustrating moment she’s been there. I absolutely adore her upbeat and honest personality. There really is no one like this girl. She is amazing and totally has a piece of my heart. I treasure her advice and being able to spend time with her. She has helped me become what I am today. Michaela brought out my sociable side that I’d forgot about as a teen. She helped me laugh when I wanted to cry and boosted when my confidence was at a very low point. Thanks for always pushing me to grow, girl. You are awesome. Praying for you and the many blessings that you are sure to encounter in this next season.

In celebration her and I went out to dinner this past Thursday at Domenicos in Beloit. Every Thursday they have a live Blues band so we got all dressed up for a late dinner. Food was amazing, as always. But the music was phenomenal! I loved the atmosphere. Saturday we got together again, this time to take pictures of her and her boyfriend. She wanted new ones of the both of them. I absolutely adore them. Watch the slideshow to see some of my favorite shots!

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Michaela, I love our memories. And look forward to the awesome ones ahead! Heads up, Grammys. Michaela Hargrove is in town!

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Rule With Peace, Stand Against Strife.

Challenge & Revelation

A few days ago there were several times I encountered mothers with misbehaving kids. Both times I had to remind myself not to become irritated because the situations were beyond their control. One was a fairly new mom with a cranky two-year old. He didn’t want to eat and the circumstance resulted in her having to leave the restaurant. I’ve never had that happen to me, but I’m sure it’s humiliating. The second scene was a little different.

Kids at the table across from me were arguing about who was in charge. Their mom quietly entered the conversation, “those who are in charge, keep the peace.” The children fell silent realizing their argument amounted to nothing.

Way to go, mom.

Instead of yelling at them for arguing, one single thought brought silence. I was proud that she hadn’t added to the noise.

This week, the Lord is working on me with keeping the peace. Many times, I aggravate the situation with my words. I’ve never been one to hold my tongue, unless I didn’t know what to say. In a heated situation it can be hard sometimes. You want to throw something back in their face because you’re hurt and angry. But that never makes any situation better.

I woke up this morning to a verse a friend sent that really helped me.

James 4:1 {MSG}

“Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.”

Strife is partially wanting your own way and doing anything to get it. Peace isn’t not caring how things go, it’s being okay with how things turn out and trusting God that He is going to make good of every circumstance.

So how do we keep constant internal peace? Instead of letting every little thing get under your skin, you make a choice. Let His peace reign through you at all times. With the phrase “constant peace” my mind is taken to a verse I learned at a very young age.

Isaiah 26:3 {AMP}

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind {both it’s inclination and it’s character} is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on you, and hopes confidently in You.”

This verse is so straightforward that you can’t help but think, “Why didn’t I remember this in those stressful scenarios?”

The point is, every part of our being reflects the God we serve. With the distracting things that surround us, it may be hard to continually think on His Word and promises, but the more we let Him pour into us, the easier it gets.

Have a great week, guys. That’s all I have to say for now 🙂

Forgive and Let Go.

Challenge & Revelation, Uncategorized

This morning as I was driving home from church a thought occurred to me.

There will always be drama around you, it’s your reaction that determines the outcome.”

In high school (you know, a few months ago) I always bragged that I didn’t have any drama. I later realized it was because I made the decision I didn’t have time for it. When a situation arose where people were taking sides, I avoided it. Now, I see things a little differently.

Drama populates every circle. You make the choice to either side with whomever you’re talking to or find out the real story. Let’s be honest, most of the time the first version of the story you hear, isn’t the real one. So what do you do when a friend comes to you crying and hurt, spouting out how this person lied to them and destroyed their dreams?

Listen.

A true friend listens when support is needed. You don’t have to side with this person (even though, some may take your head nod as an agreement..) People need to be heard out, get the garbage out of their head that keeps harassing them. Others say what they need to say, but continue to circle one thought like a vulture with it’s intended prey.

The key is to focus on what they’re saying, comfort them, and help them rise above it. Drama can cloud a mind and often leaves people disoriented and confused. It can act like tear gas, dropping you to your knees in surprise, sinking with you to the floor. The tear gas blurs your vision and can cause disorientation, confusion, and sometimes panic. When exposed to tear gas, the best thing to do is stay calm and not rub it in.

What does this have anything to do with drama? When you’re offended, what is your immediate response? Do you respond in anger or do you keep calm? It may sound simple but take a deep breath. It’s harder to remember this than you think. The last thing you want to do when dealing with a stressful situation is to dwell on it. Constantly turning over the situation won’t fix anything, and dwelling on your hurt or anger will only make the circumstances worse.

You don’t have to be apart of it. Feed the peace, not the strife. 

Some friends will look to you as their voice of reason. Some may need you to stand taller than the attack and pull them up. Our words were meant to uplift and never condemn. There is a difference between having an opinion and accusing. Watch your tone, and be careful in your phrasing with words. When someone is already surrounded by drama, they can easily become offended.

With that said, don’t tread so lightly that you become an enabler. Allowing people to see the reality is never easy and there may not always be a right moment. Pray about it. Say what you have in your mind first, think it through, don’t let your tongue flap in the wind. Self-reserve can be the most modest and respected attribute of a person.

Okay, those are my thoughts for the week/day/whatever. You know 🙂 Have a great week, guys!

A thankful heart is a peaceful heart.

Challenge & Revelation

Last night, God reminded me how blessed I am. To do what I do with the people that surround me. i cannot express my gratitude to the friends that have been with me in some season in life. It doesn’t matter if we simply grew apart or became strangers in a short amount of time. Everybody goes through stages in life, and we’re all constantly changing. The key to friendship is you never point the finger. Whether they did something, it was a happenstance coincidence, or you messed up, friends are there to pull us back up and support us in our lives.

The most amazing people surround me. Musicians, moms, ministers, and mentors.  I don’t have words to express my gratitude to these awesome individuals.

I’m nearing the almost a month-away-from-going-to-South-Africa mark. Woohoo! I have a meeting this week to meet everyone I’ll be traveling with and to discuss the almost-three-week-expedition in-depth. i cannot believe how much time has passed already!

I’m super excited for all adventures approaching!

Some really great things were said in church yesterday. They were so inspiring to me, I’d like to share a few with you. Bear with me, they may seem a little jumbled but it will all come together in the end.

Found this in my time in the Word this morning:

Mark 10:21

1} He saw this man and immediately loved him. He did the same for you.

2} Upon seeing this man, He knew his heart.

3} The man’s wealth would only became heavenly wealth if He set aside and followed God.

God’s will for us is that we trust Him with our every need, and He’ll provide it.

He would never ask us to do something he wouldn’t:

John 13:3-17

Jesus took off his status and served his disciples, making himself humble.

  • Your influence is not determined by numbers {how many connections you have, the experience you have gained} but by your heart.
  • Confidence in your walk creates influence.
  • We lose our influence when we become self-centered.
  • Your relationship with God keeps Him near.
  • Be thankful the Lord is near.
  • A thankful heart guards peace.
  • Putting hope in the wrong place robs you of peace.
  • Peace is the resting trust in the middle of turmoil.
  • Don’t be governed by circumstances.
  • Bitterness is rooted in lack of gratitude.

Now for the kicker.

  • When you’re bitter, you’re bitter towards the Lord because the situation did not go how you wanted it to.        

Hope this encourages you in the week to come. I think this is enough for me to chew on for a good month!

God bless!

Getting Fed Up Is Easy.

Challenge & Revelation

Sorry I haven’t written in a while…been a little preoccupied.. :/

Trusting God is hard. It’s a small truth, but a big one at the same time.

Probably my biggest struggle is remembering to turn it over to Him. Nobody is perfect. When you’re believing for something, it takes faith and trust. But how do you feed that faith? Walking in His love. Recently, I’ve come to realize I need to walk in love more. Sometimes those critical thoughts of others overtake you. Whether it’s out of response because you’re hurt (been there too many times recently) or because you feel you’re better than them. Anger and pride have no part in God. Yet those thoughts plague us and we accept them as our own.

–You mean those aren’t my thoughts?

Of course not. They’re only yours if you accept them. Satan speaks to us in first person so we’ll take what he says as our own thoughts. Just because you read the Word and have a personal relationship with our awesome God, does not mean you don’t fall.

–But how do I turn those thoughts captive? They haunt me with their taunts, I feel trapped by their persistence.

They don’t have authority there. Once you tell them no once, if they continue, that’s harassment. They have to leave.

It may sound extremely simple, but it was hard for me to put that into practice. Satan attacks us out of our insecurities, fear we’ll never find a significant other, fear we’ll never be good enough, fear we’ll never get out of what so relentlessly haunts us.

You have to let go. Turn it over to the King who has planned your path before you were conceived. When I first let go, I was okay. But after a crazy week of trying to be strong for myself and others around me going through trials as well, I fell apart. I went back to the despair, the hurt, the isolation after feeling like no one cared to ask how I was.

And then a friend stepped in. One who had been where I had been. Who years later still faced situations that tested her strength. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to God who sent me a friend that could understand just exactly what I was saying and encourage me to never give up on the Word I knew God had told me.

As weeks passed, I began to hold my head up emotionally and pursue God with fervency. Relying on Him was the best decision I had made. I think, through the stress of finishing school and everything that came before and after graduation, I forgot.

So, I’d like to challenge whoever reads this, all two of you. Ha.

God created us for companionship, right? This week, instead of telling whoever first, let’s thank God for the good experiences and lift up the bad ones. I don’t do it enough. Maybe you do. Would love to hear if this challenged you and what the results were.

God bless 🙂