We All Have Lots to Learn

We All Have Lots to Learn

I have just started an internship with some amazing people at my church and am doing exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life (Ministry through writing and worship). It has been so amazing and I have already learned so much. I have become aware of the unique gifts and passions the Lord has given me as well as all the growing room.

Now, when I say the term “growing room” I mean lots and lots of growing room. It has been brought to my attention that I don’t know as much about the Bible as I thought I did. I seriously struggle with the timeline of events and recalling all the names and stories of the many men and women of the Bible.

I have felt this way for awhile and have just put off really figuring it all out. But as I have been writing and putting things together for my internship, many difficult topics have come up and I’ve had to really define and research what the Bible says.

For instance, I’m writing an Advent devotional and needed to clarify what it means to have God and then to experience Jesus. Because they are the same person, except not, but kinda, but totally different (see what I mean… ugh the struggle.) So I am dedicating

So I am done procrastinating. If I want to do ministry and to do it well, I need to dig deep into my Bible and start truly understand the books instead of just going verse by verse. I crave the deeper understand of how each book ties together and how to effectively share that with others.

So now what…

Many of you guys know that when New Year’s rolls around, I always name the upcoming year (2016 was my “Kicking Fear’s Butt” year and 2017 is my “Do It” year)  

So, following the theme of this year, I’m finally going to do it. I’m going to dedicate (how ever long it may take) to diving into the details of the Bible. I’ll be making maps and timelines and probably writing papers about topics and biblical truths that are difficult to understand.

I’ll finally crack open my “Basic Theology” book that has only been used to balance my book shelf (I know, embarrassing).

I have so much to learn, and sometimes it can seem daunting how much I need to learn. But the great thing is that every ounce of my being wants to do this and wants to learn more about the God I’ve dedicated my life to.

I want to be able to quote scripture before I complain. I want to go straight to the stories of the Bible for hope before I go somewhere else.

So yeah, I’ve got lots to learn. But I also have lots and lots of support through all of this. And so do all of you. If you ever need reminded of that or challenged… you know where you can find me. 😀

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

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Leadership Conference Reflection

Leadership Conference Reflection

I recently went to a leadership conference for the very first time. I have never been encouraged and inspired as much as I was those two days. I left with a notebook full of plans, one-liners, as well as a reignited heart for leadership.

I was able to hear from some of the most loving and impactful Christian leaders and want to share with you some of my personal highlights.

“Respect everyone always.” – Bill Hybels

Kinda sounds elementary but boy does it have a punch. Immediately when I heard this I thought… “Wait, everyone… and always?” Ohhh I don’t do that all the time.  Over the course of the whole conference, this statement had a lot of emphasis. I think the key to being a great leader in our world today is just in caring and loving the people we are leading. You don’t have to be the best speaker or a millionaire to lead. It’s all about love.

“When you’re offered a seat on a rocket, you don’t ask what seat, you just jump on.” – Sheryl Sanberg

I love this one because I think it applies to so many different areas of our lives. For example, When God is at work, I don’t need to be concerned with whether or not I have a big role or how this will affect me. I just need to hop in and enjoy the ride.

“Friends show up for friends… you don’t have to be someone’s best friend from the first grade to show up for them.”- Sheryl Sandberg

If I had to choose one takeaway from this conference, this would be it by far. I have always struggled with loving people like crazy (what God calls us to do) if I am not someone’s bestie. But that line made me realize that I am just making up excuses. I need to be there for people no matter what. Who cares if I only know their name… how do you become close to someone if you aren’t there for them?

I have so much more amazing takeaways that I’m sure will find their way into my future blog posts. But for those of you in a leadership position of any kind,

My challenge to you is to love and love like crazy. You lead out of brokenness and what would you lose from being open and letting people know that their brokenness is welcome?

I love you guys and I pray for you daily! Keep up the great work!

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

For the Girls Who Dream of Being More

For the Girls Who Dream of Being More

 

As humans we have this deep craving to be happy all the time. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be cheerful and smiley all the time… but if you are anything like me, I’m not always happy and it irritates me.

I want to be the girl who always has a smile on her face and is secure enough in who she is and who’s she is, to be able to be vulnerable. I want to be the girl who doesn’t have to sometimes force a smile on her face.

Now I am not saying that I am never happy and am drowning in deep sorrow, because that is not me at all. Just some days are hard. More hard than happy.

But you know what, I am tired of saying, “I want to be the girl…” I’m tired of wishing I was better or the girl I dream of being. It is time for me to start becoming her, start praying over my heart and start getting secure in who I am.

If you are in the same boat as me, hold on because this could be a bumpy ride. I’ve talked a lot lately about the future and our aspirations for ourselves. And I know that is not by accident. I think the Lord is telling me it’s time to stop wishing and writing about these things and actually start making them happen.

I don’t know how to become the girl I want to be, I have no idea how to become more secure in who I am. But I do know one thing…

The God of Esther, Ruth, Mary, and Abigail… is the exact same God as the one I can always talk to. The God of David, Job, and Paul is the same God who created me.

So here is to becoming better versions of ourselves. Here’s to wanting more from life. Here’s to accepting the challenge.

But I want you to remember… even when we can’t seem to put a smile on our face, remember that we have the Joy of our Lord. We ALWAYS have a reason to be thankful and joyful.

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

P.S. Next week I am going on a Mission trip and won’t be able to blog. So I’ll be back in two weeks!

Love you all!

I tried something new…

I tried something new…

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So I tried something new last night. I was driving home from VBS at my church and just wasn’t feeling the music I was listing to (Sorry Jack Johnson… It’s nothing against you). I decided to turn off the music and talk…yeah just talk, like out loud to myself.

The first few seconds I felt ridiculous, like people probably are looking in my car and am thinking I’m going crazy. But I just kept going. I talked about what went well, what didn’t go well, and that lead to me to began praying.

I started just having a conversation with God about my night and the day and how beautiful it was outside. That conversation then bled into every area of my life. So I prayed for my family, friends, school, this next year, the new opportunities, the people going on my mission trip, and the kids at VBS.

It was the best car ride I’ve ever had. Just being able to unpack my whole day and cover the next in prayer… does’t get any better than that does it? So that 15 minute car ride, that use to be my time to jam, turned into a holy car ride. Where I refocused my thoughts and heart on God. I was able to use my downtime to glorify God.

Truthfully, I’ve always meant to pray a lot… haven’t we all? We know prayer is powerful and very useful but how many of us pray for all of the things we mean to pray for? I’m guilty of it to, you are not alone at all.

But having just covered every aspect of my life in prayer (or at least attempted to) I can tell you it pays off. Just today I’ve been more focused on God and have tried to challenge myself to be the person I want to be and who Christ wants me to be.

Now I know we may not all have enough time to sit and unpack our days with prayer, but I want to encourage those who may be feeling out of it. I want to encourage the ones who are having trouble praying or feel like they are drowning in work and stress.

There is someone so much greater who delights in you and wants to hear about your life. He wants to help you and take away your burdens.

And don’t push this off, even if you are on a spiritual high and nothing and nobody can bring you off your smiley mountain top… you still need to pray, thank the Lord for this time and ask him to remind you of this time when things aren’t going so well.

Just to let you all know, you were also prayed for during my drive. Thank you for reading my posts and for wanting to grow in your faith. Life is hard but we are in this together. You got this, but more importantly… GOD’S GOT THIS. So keep pushing!

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

 

Painful Expectations 


I know this sounds bad, but this exact week and time of year always makes me a little sad and angry. It sounds bad because the end of the year brings so much hope and joy for the future. So many things (school in particular) come to an end and summer starts. Those things all make me happy.     It’s around this time when I let my expectations get the best of me. I think of what could happen and (in my selfish mind) the things that I deserve to get or deserve to have given to me just because I’ve worked really hard. In fact, I remember writing a blog post around this time last year. And it’s crazy because I’ve grown so much since then yet I still find myself in the same spot. Hurt and broken because of my own expectations.

So I don’t know about you but from my own experiences… I think we need to work on our expectations. Because more often than not, those are the things that make us heartbroken. When we work really, really hard and expect to get rewarded but don’t. When we push ourselves and challenge ourselves and don’t see it paying off the way we thought it would.

Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not saying to just work hard and push yourself to get some reward or trophy. Because it’s not about the trophy, it’s about our character and about Christ. Truthfully, I don’t think motives are a problem for us. I think we just seek some encouragement… someone to come alongside of us, take our hand, and say, “I see the work you are putting in and I want to tell you to keep going girl.”

So this post may be more for me, to remind myself of the truth that my hurt is being self inflicted and that, even if not recognized for my hard work, that I have done a great job and will keep doing a great job.

If you get anything out of this today I pray that it prepares you for the time when your expectations get the best of you and leave you in tears over something you dreamed up in your fairytale. Because girl (or boy) you work hard and I’ve noticed your growth and how you’ve challenged yourself. This has been a great year and I need you to keep pushing.

I am praying for you guys, especially around this time because I know it is hard and I know that hurt we can bring to ourselves.

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

Me Too: Dealing With Heartache

Me Too: Dealing With Heartache

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I’m coming to you today as a friend because sometimes I think that’s all our hearts need… a good friend to talk with.

So I get it. I know that some days are WAY better than others and that sometimes it takes all you have to get through the day. I know what it feels like to be hurt by people’s words and actions. I have had many nights spent in tears but have also have had nights filled of laughter.

So friend, I am coming to you with open arms. Because it is so hard sometimes to suck it up and start loving the people who hurt you. But I can’t do much to help, all I can do is tell you I’m here for you if you want to talk, I get it, and I’m sorry.

But luckily for you we know someone who can help way more than me,

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” – Hebrews 4:15

“Choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” – Hebrews 11:25

 

Christ experiences first hand the cruelty of humanity. He not only experienced betrayal and denial from His two of his most trusted disciples (Luke 22), mocked and scorned before his inhumane death on the cross (John 19), and tempted for forty days (Matthew 4). Yet with all of that and more, Christ still was the only example of true, unconditional love. He loved radically, even those who nailed him on that cross. He loved. Despite all the cruelty he went through, He died for us.

Every time I read Hebrews 4:15, I picture Jesus saying to me, “Me too… I get it.” Because he does, he does get it. He was tempted and hurt more than you have been and yet he was still without sin.

Kinda puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? But please know that what you are going through is hard and tough. I get that… Christ gets that. But let’s just chalk it up to the result of a sinful world. In the end, that’s the root of all this hurt you are experiencing.

Now, I’m giving you a warning because what I’m about to say you may not like too much. And I know we can’t be perfect like Jesus but we are called to try. *FYI I am not even close to getting this right, it’s hard… I get it.*

In Hebrews 11:25 it talks about Moses and how he could have easily chosen all of the comforts and riches of life as a royal, yet he didn’t. This action of purposely choosing discomfort is something my selfish brain can’t comprehend. I love the idea but when given the chance to live it out, I can never seem to do it.

To choose ill-treatment with fellow Christians instead of the passing pleasures of sin is not an easy task. Because I think, in the moment we see it more like this choice:

To choose to get over deep cuts in our hearts and persecutions …. Or…. to love those who love you back and hold grudges over our persecutors.

No wonder it’s so hard to live out what Hebrews 11:25 says. We need to train ourselves to see it as kingdom work. As us suffering as Jesus suffered and choosing to deal with it as he did. Love, grace, and sacrifice.

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

The Underwater Faith

The Underwater Faith

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It was a Thursday afternoon after track practice and I was sitting at my desk just looking out of my window (I was trying to find motivation to do another SAT practice test… whoops). This little bird, I don’t even know what type… all I remember was that it was brown, I think. Anyway, this little bird came into my view of sight and it captured every ounce of my attention.

As the little guy pecked into the ground in attempt to find food, I started allowing myself to let my mind run wild. I thought,
“Wow, lucky bird. That little guy doesn’t have to take the SAT or any test for that matter. That bird is only concerned with finding food. Gosh, sometimes I wish I was a bird, just flying around enjoying God’s creation.”
Then I was reminded of a verse I heard awhile ago,

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.’” – Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)

In the past years of my life, this verse has always confused me a little bit. Because I have never been able to grasp the fact that my thoughts and worries are lower than God’s. But it wasn’t until I sat in my gold chair that Thursday afternoon that I started to understand.

That bird was only concerned with finding food, yet I had these crazy big things going on in my life. My thoughts are obviously higher than the birds thoughts at that time.

In that same why, the Lord is not worried about the things going on in your life. Now don’t take that the wrong way, He cares about the things going on in your life, He wants to hear about them, but He is not worried about them. Just as I was not worried about that bird finding food.

I love the picture for this post. I love it because you see the bigger picture. You have the little people in the boat, but under them is this amazingly massive creature. However, the main reason it has been my screensaver all week is because it is so symbolic for our faith.

Just as Isaiah 55:8-9 says, the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher, and His concerns are higher. So when things in life (I like to call them curve balls) come our way and throw us a little off balance, we need to remember that the Lord isn’t even worried about those momentary curve ball. And that is what I call the “Underwater Faith”.

When we try to comprehend the big picture, the behind the scenes heart work happening in our lives, and when we don’t allow the enemy to trick us into believing that the things of this world are a “big deal.” That is Underwater Faith.

Going back to that bird. What the Lord revealed to me that Thursday could not have come at a better time (Let’s all just applaud God for his perfect timing, like seriously He is on point every single time). Because this SAT coming up has been stressing me out to the max. But you know what, It isn’t even a worry on God’s radar. He is working on the future me and how I will further the Kingdom of God…not on my SAT scores.

    So fellow people who get caught up in the world sometimes, I’m reaching out to you and challenging you to take my hand in this idea of Underwater Faith. I know we will never fully comprehend the truth written to us in Isaiah 55:8-9 but I want you to try. Try to allow your worries and thoughts to be silenced, so that you can just fly around enjoying God’s creation.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.’” – Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)

XOXO, The Christian Prepster