Reflections of a Year Gone by

As I look back at the previous year I can divide it right down the middle and see two distinct times of my life. The first six months began with hopeful excitement and disbelief, but soon after those feelings came disappointment, sadness and regrets. Although this wasn’t a particularly enjoyable time of life I learned and I grew. The next six months I also learned a lot, and this helped me to grow as a person. Most of all  I gained confidence in myself and who God has created me to be. I don’t need anyone to validate me. I’m comfortable surrendering the plans of my life to God and going where He leads me.  Almost a year later I’m remembering the lessons I learned and trying not to repeat those steps.

Reflections of Year Gone Bye

May was a full month of really trusting God with providing summer employment. I learned to trust that God will always provide for our needs and often He will come through right when we think our situation is beginning to seem hopeless.

June to August was packed full of new experiences, many new people, a lot of time to just think and talk with people I never would have otherwise gotten to know. I also had a few low times during this period. I found it difficult to learn new tasks at work, I was exhausted, frustrated and trying to fit in and get to know my coworkers. It was at times a rough transition, there were times when I felt like crying and giving up. I know I am not a quitter and I have to rely on God’s strength to get me through each day. I learned my body is capable of way more than I ever thought possible, that I can push through the fatigue, the sweat and frustration.

As I began a new school year I took the lessons I learned from the summer and applied them to school. I went to the gym when I didn’t feel like it, I took fewer naps and wrote more notes. I did all those things that are boring and I didn’t feel like doing because I wanted to continue to feel proud of myself. My summer job was one of the proudest achievements I’ve had so far, and I want to continue that trend in my life.

Last Christmas was not the most wonderful time of the year for me. So this year I decided to do an Advent study my church recommended by John Piper called Good News of Great Joy. As I progressed through this study my understanding of the Christmas season intensified. Christ didn’t just come to earth as a vulnerable baby in a manger. He came to start his mission and ministry on earth. He came to suffer for us, to die on the cross and to rise again to sit at the right hand of God. His mission was not always easy, at times it was hard, but He obeyed God and His Father was well pleased with Him. Life isn’t easy or fun and we should expect hard times and disappointments. In these times we understand more of God’s character and we learn hard lessons. I would encourage you to never stop praying or reading your Bible, these are the only true sources of comfort and hope and really the only thing that keeps me going.

My year started off on a high note and it is ending off on an even higher note. Recently God has really blessed me. I never expected this to happen especially not the way it did. I can see God in the details. Nothing I did made these circumstances occur. I’m just so thankful this is how I’m starting my new year. It’s fun, new and exciting. I can’t wait to see what this next year holds!

 

 

XO

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

When You Don’t Get What You Want

I recently heard a story about a lady who had infertility problems and she was to adopt another ladies baby after it was born. The due date came and went, and it turned out the lady had given the baby to someone else.

She had been promised this baby, had been hoping and excitedly preparing. She was thankful that God was giving her the desires of her heart. But then her hopes and dreams did not come to fruition. What a terrible loss.

She ended up going into a deep depression. Her comments on her situation from her current perspective really made me think. I’m paraphrasing but she said “We need to trust in God in who He is. Not in what we think He should or is going to give us. We shouldn’t put our hope or faith in relationships or desires. Only in God in His character and who He is.”  This really made me think. Often I want to look forward to what God has in store for my life such as a relationship, marriage, children. I can’t count on those things to fulfill me or to be proof of my good faith. I can only count on God, on His promises in His word.

Here are some attributes of God to dwell on:

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever Hebrews 13:8

Nothing can separate us from His love Romans 8:38-39

He will never leave us or forsake us Hebrews 13:5

His love is unfailing Psalm 147:11

He is good Psalms 136:1

Count on God, His character and His promises; not on what you think He’s going to give you.

 

Why I Like Being Called ‘the Weaker Vessel’

I don’t find it offensive that in 1 Peter 3:7, wives are likened unto a weaker vessel:

Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 5:7

I think it makes sense and I don’t disagree. First of all, because the Word is inspired by a perfect Heavenly Father who loves us and wants what is best for us. Secondly, I am weaker as a female, but I am created equal to a man.

Men and Women have Different Brains

Men are able to compartmentalize their lives. Whereas women connect everything. Their emotions and feelings are tied to all aspects of their lives. Men can leave work and come home and totally forget about everything that just happened, women carry the events of their day with them. Women are wired to be more relational and connect through conversation. Men bond through activities and just being together, more than chatting over coffee. We are both made uniquely to complement and balance each other out.

We are Created Equal, but We have Different Roles

So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

I don’t believe in feminism as in the belief that society’s problems can be blamed on patriarchy. Men and women are seen as equals before God, neither one is better. Men are called to be the provider and women are called to nurture and care for the family. To be specific, this is known as role specialization and it’s a beautiful thing. When we can live out our calling and support each other, our lives will run more harmoniously and be more fulfilling. On a basic level, this is letting a man hold the door for you and saying thank you.

Women Can Be Crazy

To prove this point just take a look at all the crazy girls that stalk celebrities and pay thousands of dollars just to meet them. Women are inherently crazier than men. Even though we act like this, men still love us. God created men to be patient and to cherish women despite their crazy tendencies. I think this is really humbling, even when we don’t deserve to be loved, they are there for us.

Overall, sometimes I am weaker due to my emotions and the stress of life. It’s awesome that the Bible acknowledges this and tells men to honour their wives. Women shouldn’t feel ashamed of being called weaker but should embrace being a biblical woman.

This post does a great job of summarizing what it means to be a ‘weaker vessel’ 

Guarding Your Heart in a Yes World

We live in a world that is constantly inundating us with images and messages. As a result, these messages become our thoughts, this affects how we behave in front of others, how we view ourselves and our lives. We have a choice to make: either to dwell on what society throws at us or to be vigilant in guarding our hearts and minds against the enemy and his lies.

One of my biggest temptations is comparison, especially when I’m scrolling through Pinterest. I start thinking if only I could have her legs or that sweater then I would feel better about myself. I’m so aware of how others look and what they’re wearing. For example, I could leave my house looking great but when I see another girl looking better than me (in my opinion) I suddenly feel like I don’t measure up. Part of my problem is the amount of time I spend on Pinterest, filling my head with pictures of airbrushed models. Part of this is my sin nature. My inherent ability to not view myself as God has created me. Instead of thinking of myself as fearfully and wonderfully made I start to dwell on my flaws. Society permeates what an ideal woman should look like. Or at least Pinterest is influencing my view of what I should aspire to look like. What we focus our thoughts on becomes what we dwell on and this, in turn, influences our actions.

To guard our hearts and minds it’s important to set boundaries based on biblical principles. Each person’s convictions may vary, but it’s important to yield to what the Holy Spirit and God’s word says is appropriate. Many quotations on Pinterest say things like “Follow your heart” or “Do what makes you happy”. Doing the right thing according to God is not always going to be fun or what feels good. It’s important to remember that:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

You cannot trust your heart because it will not lead you in the way of truth, Satan is trying to deceive us and feed us lies. This also applies to the “if it feels good do it” mentality. I may not feel like going to the gym but this will benefit me. Obviously, it would feel better in the short run to stay home and eat chocolate. Many people fail to consider the long-term results of their short-term pleasures. We must be vigilant in making choices that honour God. This comes from a heart that loves God and His word and desires to please Him. God does not expect us to be perfect and not have fun. In fact, Jesus says in John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

God wants us to have full, exciting lives. He gives us commands and admonitions in scripture because He loves us! He created us and therefore knows what is best for us. Even when we mess up if we humble ourselves and repent of what we did wrong He is merciful and just to forgive us! In fact, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39)! How comforting to know God will never leave us or abandon us. How many people do you know that are this faithful?

God is very clear on specific issues that are sinful in scripture. You may be wondering what about the things he doesn’t specify. Then we turn to the principles laid out in Gods word. 1 Corinthians 10:31 is a great starting point

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

When you’re not sure if something you’re looking at or listening to is approved by God, think about whether this action brings glory to God. Personally, I don’t like watching or listening to media that contains a lot of profanity, using the Lords name in vain, sex, a storyline based on carnal pleasure, or nudity. Sometimes I can be caught off guard like when I’m at a movie theatre. In this situation, I try to look away so as not to send images to my brain that I don’t want to remember.

It is so important to study God’s word for what He has to say and to memorize scripture. You can train yourself to determine what is appropriate or not appropriate. It’s tough to be vigilant and make good choices or change the channel. Ultimately this is part of becoming more like God, part of becoming sanctified (1 Peter 1:16). We are called to become more like Christ each day. Obeying God is an act of worship, we are saying thank you that He sent His perfect Son Jesus to become sin for us and die on the cross and conquer death the punishment for sin. We could never have satisfied Gods price for sin. The only way He will accept us is if we through faith in Jesus Christ accept His gift of salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

I want to encourage you to put God first in all areas of your life, not because you have to, but because you love God and desire to please Him.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Are You Really Content?

Maybe you really are content with your station in life at the moment. A lot of times I feel like I am trying to persuade those around me that I really am okay with not having a boyfriend.
We are all trying to convince each other we’re content by saying:

“I’d love to be dating but, I’m good right now.

I’m not looking for a boyfriend.

God will bring me my prince charming.

I’m just really content with my life.

I’m too busy with school, this would not be a good time to have a boyfriend.”

Who are we trying to convince?

Each other or ourselves or maybe God?

Maybe you really are content with your station in life at the moment. A lot of times I feel like I am trying to persuade those around me that I really am content with not having a boyfriend.

This sounds a lot better than being honest and saying “Ya I’d love to be dating someone, do you know of any people?” or “Ya I’m so looking forward another valentines day alone!” or even “Somedays I just feel really sad and it feels like nobody notices me, I put effort into looking good and being friendly, but nothing is happening.”

It’s hard to be real with people because I don’t want them to think I’m jaded and overly emotional. At the same time, I want their support and encouragement. I can feel all these different emotions but at the end of the day I know I have too much to be thankful for to wallow in self-pity.

Obedience brings blessing

Multiple instances in the Bible show that obedience brings blessing. For example, when God is preparing Joshua to lead the Israelites he instructs that if they follow his commands their way would be “prosperous” and they would have “good success”.

In the story of David, even when those around him encouraged him to do wrong (1 Samuel 24:4-7, 26:8-11). He was steadfast in his faith (1 Samuel 30:6), he looked to God for strength in times of distress. He became king of Israel and God richly blessed him.

God’s blessings aren’t always what we desire, but if we obey God he will give us good gifts. He also looks at our hearts and can see our motivation for obeying Him. Whether it is out of love for Him and in thankfulness for all He has done for us or out of selfish ambition.

Reject the clichés

Aahh I cannot stand clichés. First of all, they set up false hope. They make getting what you want a formula. They can be good if they offer encouragement, but they are not applicable to every life situation. I find it more helpful to study God’s word for encouragement than read another relationship book on how to be Dateable or how to stay sexually pure.

Study God’s word for what He has to say

Having a quiet time or devotional each day is imperative to standing strong during temptation, growing closer to God, being able to discern truth, and staying encouraged.

Personally reading my Bible each day helps me have a right view of the world, of others and it teaches me how I should be acting. Most of all when I’m stressed about life or just feeling sad, I feel so much better after spending time with God. My perspective is flipped around. I begin to see life from God’s point of view again. I remember everything will happen in God’s time according to His plan.

I am at a point in my life where school is very important to me. On a personal level, this means surrendering my plans and my life to Him. I want to go where He leads me. I know his plans are best for my life, better than I could ever dream or want for myself.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones Proverbs 3:5-8

Formulate opinions based on truth

I’m constantly being inundated with opinions not based on a biblical worldview. Social media shows a never-ending stream of what I should look like, aspire to or accept. I despise this.

It is so important to surround myself with the truth. Practically for me, this means, avoiding movies with blatant sex scenes, listening to music that talks about sex or other inappropriate content. I try to make it a priority to surround myself with images and messages that proclaim a biblical worldview.

I strive to set high standards in order to prevent my mind from drifting to thoughts and places it shouldn’t. One reason I don’t like watching romantic movies, reading novels that focus explicitly on romance or listening to songs about relationships is that this breeds discontent. I don’t want to let myself focus on what I can’t or don’t have now. I’d rather concentrate on my present circumstances and be thankful for what is going on now. I want to aim to enjoy today without worrying about the future or what could be.


Discontentment begins in the mind, with one thought of “I wish…” or “why can’t my life be like…”. I want to leave you with a challenge you to change your thought pattern. I’ve found it really helpful to memorize the following verse and repeat it to myself when my mind begins to wander into ‘what if’ land. If my thoughts don’t fit into the admonition below I know this is something I should not be dwelling on. Also, another great verse to remember if you’re having trouble curbing your thoughts is 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Maybe you really are content with your station in life at the moment. A lot of times I feel like I am trying to persuade those around me that I really am okay with not having a boyfriend. #relationships #dating #singleness

When Everyone Else is Getting Engaged

Within the past two years, it seems I’ve known a lot of couples who’ve gotten married or engaged. (Just today I found out about two young ladies at church that had recently gotten engaged). This is serious, people aren’t just dating anymore. I think I could’ve handled dating. Marriage is a huge step, it’s almost mind-blowing to me. Most of these couples are in their early twenties or late teens. It just seems almost preposterous to me, especially when there are virtually no potentials on my horizon.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Even though I can’t personally relate to the joy of these couples, I’m thrilled for them. What an exciting season of life to be in! It’s awesome to see Christian couples coming together and becoming families, it’s a great example for the world to see. We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice, to join in their excitement and to be happy for them. Sometimes I’d rather just cry and ask: why not me? What’s so good about that girl? I guess I’m just not at that level spiritually or mature enough. Overall I don’t want to be stuck in a selfish rut, I want to be happy for these people and support them and pray for them. Yes, I’m not at that point in my life, but they are and this is exciting for them. As hard as it may be sometimes, I want to be reminded to “rejoice with those who rejoice”.

When Everyone Else is Getting Engaged


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Encouragement for Single Women

A lot of times I feel very discouraged that I haven’t met the right guy or have never been in a relationship. Especially when I see other couples holding hands, working out at the gym together or at a party. It’s hard not to feel sad and lonely. When I’m feeling down I try to remember these tips:

 

It’s not a competition

Every guy is looking for certain character or personality qualities in a woman. Such as high moral standards, integrity, hard work, thoughtfulness or determination. For most guys, these are the non-negotiable qualities. You may have certain unique qualities that another woman does not. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, embrace who you are and don’t be jealous of other women.

Of course, you may be more attractive to one guy if you enjoy sports, but the attraction has to go deeper than surface things for a lasting relationship.

Always be yourself, be genuine, and be honest.

You’re not better than all the other women in the room

When you’re with your friends don’t try to distract a guys attention to yourself, be a wing woman and help your friends out.

 Keep a proper and balanced view of yourself, often times I’ll compare myself to other women. I’ll think I’m prettier or nicer than her and this guy should go for me over her. I’m not perfect and neither is she, but we are both valuable and worthy to be loved, neither one of us is ‘better’. Instead, come from a place of humility.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

  Pursue your dreams, goals, and aspirations

Instead of waiting around for a guy to complete your life, chase after something that inspires you. It could be finishing your bachelor’s degree and getting a Masters or simply volunteering once a week with the homeless. For me, I would love to have a family and be a stay at home mom. At this point that is not what I’m able to do. Instead, I’m working towards my BSc to become a dietician. My focus is on University and studying. Although it’s not the most exciting thing, I have a goal in mind and I’m working hard to achieve it.

Plus, you will appear more interesting to a guy if you have a life and interests of your own.

 Don’t over analyze every situation…guys are simple

Don’t look for little signs to see if he notices you or is giving you extra attention…

…if he wants it to be more, he’ll ask you out.

If a guy asks you out for coffee, it’s just coffee nothing more.

Take it one step at a time and enjoy the process.

Too often I read into a guys attention because I want it to be more, I want it to mean something. Most times I’m left jaded and disappointed, over time I’ve learned to not get my hopes up and just wait patiently and prayerfully for a guy to initiate.

If a guy does ask you out for say coffee or lunch, he’s not asking to marry you. He just wants to spend some time getting to know you, to build a friendship. It’s important to hold back and keep an aura of mystery about yourself. Let the guy ask questions, let him pursue your heart.

This past summer I was chatting with a guy at work, and as we were talking it got more and more personal. I just briefly knew this guy, and I thought I don’t need to know his whole life story, I can just take things slowly and get to know a little more about him everytime we chat. Don’t try to be in a rush to get to know a guy. Let the stories unfold slowly.

 God is only asking you to be single for today

I find it so easy to get caught up worrying about the future. I’ll flip from imagining my dream life to contemplating a dreary future alone with nobody to share life with. In reality, I don’t know what the future holds. At the end of the day, I trust that God has a plan for me and He is good. I can only take life one day at a time. I always try to thank God every day for what I have, like my health, good food, a loving family, the ability to go to University…It’s so easy to get caught up in what I don’t have. I believe this is a lie Satan wants us to believe, the if only, then I would be satisfied lie. Envy is a sin and contentment is a difficult lesson to learn. I can only take life one day at a time. I need to remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Romans 3:23). I’m not walking through life alone, I have Christ and He is always by my side.

 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Life can be disappointing when it doesn’t happen on our terms. We may not date the guy we want to when we want to or get the job we want. However, life is better when we surrender our desires and our plans to God. When we say to God “lead me in the direction You have for my life”. Ultimately His plans are better than we can think or imagine.

For more encouragement click here to read To the Ladies in Waiting

Young Marriage (16)


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