A lesson I learned this year(:

2018 has been such a learning experience(:

One thing that has really helped me is fully realizing that life is predictable in its unpredictability.

That may have been a scary thought for me before but fully embracing it makes life a wild adventure. A huge part of it for me was learning to trust God when there is a ‘plot twist’ in my life. The bad things become not a ‘Why God?’ They become a ‘I know You’re with me and I’m ready for what life throws at me’ Sometimes, it’s so crazy that you cant help but laugh at how unpredictable it is. Does it feel like that every time? No. Sometimes life it is so stressful I wanna hide away forever. 😛 I have to remember what God has already brought me through. There is so much peace in trusting God through the good and the bad(;

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

-John 16:33

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Excited To Read the Bible

The Bible is a letter from God, written to us.. Everything we need to know about Him is in there. It is all woven together to make a wonderfully written book about His plan for salvation despite mankind’s many shortcomings.

These are some tips om how I learned to love reading the Bible even more. (Because life can be crazy and we can forget to read it)


1.) Highlight and Underline

a.) It helps you stay super attentive! (More than I ever thought possible!)

b.) You can flip through your bible and look at the verses you love when you need His words.. (Flipping through reminds me that life is about remembering His love for me and in turn loving Him and others! Not about what I’m feeling in the moment)

Before I had thought that because the bible is holy it should look brand new and spotless. But then I heard someone say that God LOVES seeing a worn out and read bible more than he loves a perfect bible that just sits on a shelf. Before, I wasnt reading it very often.. Now, I stay more attentive and I can flip through when needed. I know he wants me to know and remember his truths more than he wants a ‘perfect, brand new, looking bible’


2.) Leave your bible open on a table in your room

I bought a laptop table and always kept it on the floor with my laptop on it.

Well, I don’t use my laptop very often… so I decided to put my bible on it to read and highlight while sitting on the floor. I loved it there so I decided to keep it open so when I walk in my room I can see it.

I sit down to read it at LEAST twice a day now. (Before when it was closed and on a table, I wouldn’t remember to read it.. how sad?) Now, I’m genuinely excited to read more because it’s always in front of me! I also keep a sticky note with boxes next to the chapters of the book I’m on and I check them off as i finish each chapter. This motivates me too!


3.) Own a Study Bible

My amazing small group leader gave me the best bible I could ask for. It’s an ESV study bible and it has helped me immensely! I was desiring to go deeper into the texts, but didn’t have the resources. Trust me!! It is beyond helpful! When I read the old testament before, it always seemed a little hats hard for me to remember and see it as part of the big overall salvation story. The study bible explains each passage thoroughly and shows how it fits in with the other books in the bible


4.) Last but certainly not least..(; pray about it!

When I realized that it was a prayer that God definitely to answer, I prayed for a stronger desire to read His word. That’s when the ideas above came into place! (How awesome!?)

God wants you to know His Word. He wants you to know His characteristics and His desires for you and all of creation. You can never stop growing in your relationship with God.

The more I learn about Him, the more I love Him and the more I strive to live fully for Him. Even through my shortcomings and failures, He is faithful.


Those are a few things that help me tremendously!

Let me know if you have any strategies that have helped you(:

Kids can teach you a lot(:

Being around kids constantly reminds me to enjoy the little things in life.
I work at a before and after school program with elementary kiddos. I love it!

Yesterday, I was subbing at a site and one of the activities planned for the day, involved painting.
Subbing was a scary idea for me, because you’re at school where they already have a routine and a way of doing things… and you’re by yourself.. Anyway, for this activity I was very task oriented. I try not to be.. but I was. 12 kids painting and adding cotton balls and other materials to their paper. I mentioned how we need to keep everything clean.. blan blah blah..
I was helping someone and I looked over and there was a messs all over the table and somehow on the floor.. so in my head I was freaking out. I started thinking ‘how long is that going to take to clean?’ ‘What if parents come now?’ (I tried to remain calm on the outside though haha) I tried to start cleaning up the current mess while they finished up their projects. Then a kindergartener knocked over some paint.. And there was some pipe cleaners being carried dripping paint… Oh, and wet paintbrushes moving across the room. (I sound like an inattentive person, but I literally turned away for a second Haha)
So.. I told everyone we could work as a team. I gave them individual jobs.
Something clicked when one of the kids mentioned how the other teachers would’ve been so mad. It’s just paint… washable paint.. it’s not a big deal..
As I orchestrated jobs, some of the kindergarteners wet pieces of paper towel to try and clean up puddles of water at the sink. Which of course, was unsuccessful. It made everyone laugh though..
Some kids were just rubbing paint around the table.
But we were laughing and joking with each other.
Sure it took a lotttt longer than if it had been adults doing it.. but they were enjoying cleaning together.. squeezing paintbrushes and looking at their bright pink hands.
The kids talked about how fun cleaning up was. Crazy, but as fun as the actual activity.
At the end we all high fived… and celebrated.
Kids constantly teach me and remind me that life is meant to be enjoyed, in the moment, and to the fullest. 😊

Nicknames

Hey there!

So a couple a weeks ago, I started randomly thinking about why nicknames start.

Nicknames usually start because;
People we are close to, decide to call us a different version of our full names.
Or.. We choose to be called a different version of our full names.
Isn’t that weird?
It’s not like our name changes, it’s just another thing we are called.


Awhile ago, my close friends made a nickname for me.  Now, it’s just another name that I am used to being called.
I don’t have to think about whether they are referring to ME or not when they call me by my nickname


Okay, so what about the things God calls us?
God’s words are absolute truth and if we know that they are truth, we need to know the things that He calls us… and then BELIEVE that they are true(:


 

His handiwork

“For we are God’s handiwork….” (Ephesians 2:10)

How awesome is that? It could be translated  as  “work of art” or “masterpiece” How amazing? He created you and thought about how you should look and what your gifts, talents, and quirks should be(:


God’s treasured possesion
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)

His ‘treasured possession’.. The creator of the universe deeply values us, individually.


 

Child of God
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)

How honoring and humbling❤


 

Now the question I have is- What would happen if we actually fully believed, with everything that we had, that God uses these as different names for us, individually?  (those were only just a few verses too!!)
Nicknames that God gives us(:
I tend to  brush over them while I’m reading the bible, as if they weren’t about me.
And yet they are..
And they are about you too.
Allow His truths to become embedded into who you are. (Even if you have to repeat them to yourself over and over again)
My prayer for you is that in good times and in times of trouble, you respond to what He calls you just as you would, if someone called you by your name.

When you believe His truths, you can fully rest in knowing how deeply your creator knows you and loves you.
Blessings,
Melanie(:

-When insecurity knocks-


What makes us let insecurity in?
Is it the experiences we wish we could change? The hurtful things people say to us when they themselves are hurting? The things society tells us we should be?
All of the above?
When you’re young, you’re experiencing so many things for the first time. You’re fearless.
But as you get older, there tends to be a pattern of hurt that just continually repeats itself. The monotony of that pain,is tiring. You just want rest.
You’re not sure who you are, where to go or if you’re even doing things right.
You sit down and step into your mind. All of the sudden,You hear loud knocking and yelling too, about how you should’ve done better today and how you’re not good enough. That is insecurity.
You can’t think straight, your head hurts and you’re concentrating on trying to ignore it. You just want peace.
Instead of fighting it, you decide to let the insecurity in and you feel grateful. You sigh, sit down and relax.
You think, by allowing it to come in, that you will get some peace and rest. That you’re just calmly surrendering and that you both get to equally share your thoughts.
But letting it in, doesn’t mean that you both sit down, laugh and have a cup of tea together.
What you don’t realize is that it’s a dictator, It doesn’t want to equally share your thoughts, it wants to fully control your every thought and feeling. It doesn’t have an ounce of kindness in it.
It speaks louder than any of your kind thoughts ever had before.
You aren’t good enough, smart enough, kind enough or pretty enough.
Why do you even speak, when your words don’t mean a thing? Why do you laugh when you don’t deserve to? Why do you even exist at all?
It continues on, telling you who is greater than you. Listing off every name you know and each stranger you pass.
The tears stain your pillow with brokenness and heartache.
You wish you could disappear or maybe even die, because not a single person would care.
You dug a hole so deep within your thoughts and you didnt even think to bring a ladder with you.
What you didn’t realize, was that while you were digging the hole, insecurity let depression in.
While insecurity was continually telling you all that you weren’t, depression was in the background, laughing.
Depression takes over every happy feeling, until you yourself cant find any joy.
You feel lost, weary and you wish you could just give up.
But by grace, you eventually, climb up. The air becomes clearer. You can breathe, think and see better.
Finally, you decide to throw both of them out.
Slowly, you begin to feel happiness again, and you realized how much you missed it.
You’ll still have the scars and, sometimes, you’ll reflect on what it told you, as if they were facts..
Insecurity never fully leaves. It’ll always want to come inside and take over again.
It’ll yell cruel things at you too, from time to time. And it’s voice is so recognizable in its familiarity that, sometimes, you can’t help but listen to the harsh words, and believe them.
Do me a favor, if insecurity ever knocks, please dont answer.


So back story.. I wrote this awhile ago. Obviously I’ve dealt with insecurities in my past. Those insecurities led me to believe that I was worthless.

I was finding my worth in who was around me. When a lot of people I was close to, left,  I  had no sense of worth.

Having no sense of worth made me seriously doubt God’s love for me. And that physically made me hurt.. I could see how He loved everyone else in the world, but not me.

All I could pray, over and over again was- ‘Jesus..please.. help.. Jesus..please..help.’

It was a long process but He showed me through conversations, prayer, and His word how much He loves me. That’s why, by grace, I climbed out of the hole.

Insecurities are absolutely terrible and I still struggle with them at times.  What I realized through all of that though, was that my worth comes from how much my Savior loves me and not from the worldly things, like I had previously thought.

So if you’re ever doubting your worth because of things this world may tell you, tell yourself those are LIES.. What God says about you is the truth and God wanted you before time began, so much so, that he decided to CREATE you! If that doesn’t give us a sense of belonging, I don’t know what will.(;

 

-My favorite prayer-

I’ve learned some awesome things about prayer over past years.. i have also discovered my favorite thing to pray for.(:
Before, I would thank God for all he has done for me and I would ask Him for extremely specific things. What l now realize, is that by being extremely specific, I was putting God in a box.
A few years ago, I had decided I fully wanted everything God wanted for me.
So I prayed…


I prayed for opportunities, friendships, and experiences that would bring me closer to Him. I truly wanted it. I also prayed that He would take the things out, that drew me away from Him.


I thought of my life as a garden. God was the gardener. He could nurture the things that were good, dig things out , and plant new things.
What ultimately happened after, was the most amazing thing ever. I started realizing that my life had so many weeds and those weeds were not allowing other wonderful things to grow.
By completely allowing Him to work, He did just what I had asked.
New friendships developed, and preexisting ones flourished. The best thing about them were that they were friendships that encouraged me to deepen my faith and that always directed me back to God when I needed it.

Situations came up, that ultimately helped me even better understand how much our Savior loves us.
When I allowed it, everything started bringing me to closer to Him.
When I prayed, I could feel God telling me to do things, that were out of my comfort zone, and doing those things were life altering because I became even closer to my creator through them.
It wasn’t just about what I thought I wanted anymore, it was what He wanted for me.             I (lil’ ol’ me) was trying to work (alone) on changing things in my life so I could be closer to God, but I hadn’t even thought to ask HIM to help me become closer. That feels silly to me now, because God desires a close relationship with us, even more than we do and He knows what to do to make it happen(:
I’m far from perfect and more often than I’d like to admit, I put Him back in that box and take my life over again. That’s when my life starts feeling chaotic.
And I continually have to remember to pray my absolute favorite prayer. ❤

-Why I love keeping a prayer journal-

 

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Y’all don’t even know how keeping a prayer journal  has helped me grow in my faith! I started this about three years ago and it has been one of my favorite ways to connect with God. Granted, He hears you the first time you talk to Him, but the prayer journal helps you write down what’s on your mind, allows you to look back on what God has been doing, and allows you to spend a good amount of time with Him!
Personally I am someone who tends to dwell on things without even realizing it… even when I talk to God about things. So reading through my prayer journal everyday, REALLY helps me to just give it God completely.
                                                    What you do       
It’s simple, you write down any prayers that you have! Pretty self-explanatory, right?!
My suggestion though, would be to start off the prayer journal by writing some of your absolute favorite bible verses and quotes about faith. (I LOVE having them all at the beginning of my journal.)
Then you can write your prayers down.(: It could be a letter thanking Him for always being there, asking for a job, praying for more faith, asking for guidance, praying for a friend, ect. Anything you want to tell or ask God. He loves it when we come to Him!
You can look back on them or add more anytime you want. Looking back, every one of my prayers in my journal have been answered in some way or another. Some took a really long time but they’re answered! It’s awesome to look back and see how He has been working to get me to where I am today(:
Not only does writing it down, make it feel solidified, it helps clear your head. It always feels like a relief to be able to write stuff out.
Through the prayer journal, I have realized that God always answers requests with a ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or a ‘Wait.’ How comforting it was to truly realize that the creator of the universe, always answers your prayers? He knows what is best, and that is a hope you can always hold onto.
If you haven’t tried keeping a prayer journal, you should definitely give it a chance, you may just love it!