I'm trying to walk by faith while giving nothing but love along the way while seeking the love of our Heavenly Father. Will you walk with me?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pirate pride.

As my first semester of college comes to an end, I look back on these past couple of months with a smile on my face. Despite some bumps in the road here and there, I honestly could not have asked for a better first semester of college, or a better college to attend. It's funny the way things turn out.

If you asked me this time last year where I wanted to go to college, Seton Hall would not have even crossed my mind. I only applied there because my religion teacher thought that I would like it and that it wouldn't hurt to apply because my school had an instant decision day for Seton Hall. And with that, Seton Hall was added to my common application list. Coincidentally enough, Seton Hall was the first school I got in to. But even still, I had a much different plan. I wanted to attend Saint Joseph's University and I wanted to become a special education teacher and work with children with autism. However, God had a much different plan for me, even down to my major. Although it may not have been what I thought I wanted, it was definitely what I needed. And God's plan is always the best plan, even when it leaves us to follow it kicking and screaming. With that said, I got wait-listed from SJU because I'm a terrible standardized test taker and I visited Seton Hall, and adored it. The biggest prayer I had during the college application process was to end up at a school that will help me grow in my faith and make me fall more in love with Christ. And lets just say that God knew what He was doing and that He knew Seton Hall was the place for me. I was meant to be a pirate all along.

This semester has been such an incredible faith journey and I know that there was no where better for that to happen than Seton Hall. I have had some amazing faith opportunities from daily mass, to Saint Paul's Outreach, to late night conversations. I have become more aware and sure of God's love and His faithfulness. I have fallen more madly in love with Him and have desired to serve Him more than ever. My faith has taken a serious next step and I know that this wouldn't be able without all God has blessed me with at Seton Hall. I can't even begin to describe all of the powerful God moments. He has just been so present this semester. He has been there and He has been a constant friend. I have and continue to learn how to depend on Him and how to be fully satisfied in Him. Each day, He does something new that captures my heart and Seton Hall has helped me to see this more and more. Even my major helps me grown in faith. I get to learn about faith because of my major and that is so awesome. I'm receiving an awesome education while growing in faith. It can't get much better than that!

God has truly blessed me in the most tremendous ways. Some of the blessings were in disguise, but they were some pretty great blessings nonetheless. One of the biggest blessings was the people God has brought into my life through Seton Hall and SPO this semester. I have met some of the most genuinely amazing people. It's amazing how close you can get to someone in a matter of almost four months. But I have made some incredible friends who I am certain will be my friends for the rest of my life. These people have been by my side through every up and down throughout this semester. Their support, love, and acceptance has been unreal. I'm in awe at how these people have genuinely cared about my well being and have been so quick to offer support, advice, guidance, prayers or just a fun time. These people have been such an example of God's love and I really can't thank them enough for allowing Him to use them in my life. Words cannot express my gratitude to have them in my life. I don't think I have ever laughed as much with any other people than I have at Seton Hall.

To those people who are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have touched my life in an extraordinary way and my first semester of college would not be as amazing as it was without you. Thank you for accepting me the way I am and for being the amazing person that you are. God has blessed me by putting you into my life. "Friends are God's way of showing us that we don't have to walk alone."

I wish words could describe how awesome this semester was. I can't wait to see what God has in store for next semester and the next three years to follow. He's not promising it to be easy, but with Him, it will be great. God is so good!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Preparing the way of the Lord.

When I was little, advent was something that was so exciting. It was the ultimate countdown to Christmas. Each week, a candle would be lit, showing how many more weeks would be left until the big day. The most exciting week of all was the week where the pink candle would be lit. I can remember the excitement that lighting this candle would bring and that were was about a week and a half left until Christmas. But the older I get, the more advent changes for me. It's no longer the exciting countdown until Christmas, the day where Santa comes and brings awesome presents. But now, it's a time of preparation in my heart for the birth of my King and Savior. Pretty drastic change, huh?

This advent  has been quite the journey. It's journey that I'm honestly so excited about that my heart is leaping out of my chest as I type this to you. It all started with the decision to focus on God right now. To take some time, be single, and chase Him rather than chasing cute boys. Now, it was much easier said than done. Naturally, when we lose something, we try to replace it. So as much as I was praying and saying that I was focusing on God, the dream of my future husband would take over my mind. I would be at mass, look over, see a cute boy and think "maybe it's him!" I know it sounds kind of crazy, but it's true. Instead of looking at what God has to offer and how God can satisfy me, I was painting this picture of my Jesus-loving,  tall, handsome, loving future husband that God has handpicked for me and who would bring so much joy into my life. Rather, I should be looking at the Hero in my life who already does that for me. Now I'm not going to lose the hope of my future husband, I know he's out there and I will keep praying for him. And it is natural for me to desire and seek the mate God has in mind for me because that's the vocation I'm called to and the desire that He has placed in my heart. However, there comes a time when the thought of a good thing becomes too much. And that's what happened with me. So advent started and I began to realize this. God started knocking on my heart and I knew that my focus really needed to change and that I needed to mean it. I heard some really great homilies that challenged me and made me think. Generally all were talking about preparing the way of the Lord. This may mean by being the light of Christ to others. Or preparing our hearts and changing something in our life in order to get to Him. I kept hearing these hidden messages that God was saying to me. I felt Him calling me to more. I had this desire to take the next step in my faith, but I was unsure how to go about it or what to do. But then they all came together. My school was offering adoration one night from 9pm-12am. At 11:30, while in the midst of studying for finals, I remembered this and I ran to the chapel. On my way to the chapel, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy; like a little kid about to enter a candy store. Once I got in there, an overwhelming sense of peace and emotion took over. I was in awe. I sat there are started talking to Jesus. But as I started to pray, I realized that I tend to say the same things over and over. And then I realized that something needs to change. That was it. I realized that I needed to change. Not the circumstances that surrounded me, but me. And at that moment, I prayed the scariest yet most peace-bringing prayer that I've ever prayed; "God, change me." And right there, for the first time in my life, I felt that I was able to wholeheartedly, fearlessly, undoubtedly willing to let God change me. I understood that the only thing holding me back from a deeper relationship with God was me. And with this, a desire to grow in faith and grow closer to and serve God consumed my heart. I realized that I need to do more and make more of an effort in my relationship with God if I want to grow closer to Him. I need to prepare my heart for His way.

Now, this isn't just a "one and done" kind of change. It's a change that I'm going to work on for the rest of my life and until I'm Home with my Heavenly Father. I'm going to have to constantly have to prepare my heart for His way and change in order to grow closer to Him. It's not going to be easy, but every step will be taken with God right by my side. Like any relationship, a relationship with God takes effort, time, and patience. That means making time for Him throughout the day, spending time with Him at night, even going out of my comfort zone in order to dive deeper. And even praying for my future husband will help lead me to Him. I'm learning to be completely satisfied in Him and Him alone, even if that means being rejected by this world. 

If you have a desire to grow closer to God, don't hold yourself back. Christmas isn't about presents. But it's about the best Gift that was given to us. Prepare your heart to receive the Gift God has given us. And if you feel that something inside of you needs to change, don't be afraid to do it, even if that means the disapproval of people. God will bless your life in ways that are totally unimaginable. But you have to be the one that wants it. You have to make the decision to let Him in. You have to take the next steps in your faith. I could type about the wonders of God's love and how amazing life with Him is until my fingers fall off; but at the end of the day, you are the one who decides whether you want that or not. This is an invitation. "God loves us just as we are, but too much to leave us that way." Don't be satisfied with the bare minimum. God has so much more in store for you than that. He has better plans in mind for you. Do you want to be a part of them? Prepare your heart for the way of the Lord and He will rock your world. Trust Him, seek Him. I promise you won't regret it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Don't settle.

Living on a college campus allows me to hear many things that I simply do not want to hear. Often times I overhear the conversations of girls talking about their latest hookups and the hottest guys that they want to get with. I've even heard the description in full detail of a male's genitalia. Again, something I really did not want to hear but inevitably heard because I was walking behind them. These conversations happen over and over again and hearing them can't help but make me think: why do girls fall into meaningless hookups? Why do they put so much time and energy into guys who don't deserve them?

It all comes down to what I talked about last week. We all want to feel wanted. When going through a break up or being broken up with, it's easy to feel unwanted. If you've been single for a while and there isn't a long list of people dying to pursue you, it's easy to feel unwanted. It's also easy to look into the future and see yourself living alone with 12 cats. You think that because one person didn't want you, no one else will. And feeling unwanted makes it so much easier to settle. We settle in our relationships (or lack thereof). So we jump into the next offer we get, in hopes of filling the holes in our heart and feeling wanted. Sometimes this includes hookups, or just getting involved in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. In the mean time, we get ourselves in a messy situations where feelings are on the line and in the end, we feel just as unsatisfied as we did in the first place. But sometimes we have to disregard how we feel and remember what we deserve. Brothers and sisters, we deserve so much more than to settle.

Sometimes our feelings guide our decisions. We feel so unwanted that all we want is one person to make us feel wanted. I'm guilty of this. There have been multiple times where I lay in bed, just aching for a guy to want me and to be there to hold me, as if this will make the feelings of being unwanted away. Those moments of vulnerability make it so tempting to take any offer I get from a guy. Since the breakup, I've been asked out on a date, and guys have told me that they find me attractive. Every time this happens, it's tempting to just give my heart to that guy in hopes that he will fill the void. Because he thinks I'm attractive, he must want me, and therefore, I'll feel wanted. I may not even be attracted to the guy. But what's attractive is that he finds me attractive. Sounds twisted, right? If I were to begin a relationship based on the fact that I got attention from a guy, then that would not be fair to myself or the guy. Settling doesn't do anyone good. It's easy to think that because someone wants us, we should jump at that opportunity regardless of what we want in a partner. In the mean time, we forget what we want and what we deserve in a partner. Thus, we settle. Then we get so afraid that no one else will want us, so we don't end things with that person out of fear. Then a vicious cycle of unhappiness, hurt, and guilt starts. Doesn't sound like a healthy relationship, does it? That's why we must avoid settling in the first place.

To avoid settling, we must first remember who we are in the first place. We are children of God. We are loved beyond measure. And God wants nothing but the best for us. God has amazing plans for each of us. If you believe this, then wouldn't you believe that God also has an amazing plan for your love life? Don't you think that He would have you be with the most amazing person for you? Do you really think He would have you be with a partner just because that person was attracted to you? NO! He would have you be with a person who is everything you deserve and beyond. He would have you be with a person who builds you up, not brings you down. He would have you be with a person who leads you to Him and who challenges you to be a better person. He would have you be with a person who will fight for you, love you, and accept you no matter what. He would have you be with a person who made you feel wanted, special, loved, and like you are the most important person in their life. He would never wish for you to spend the rest of your life with a person you settled for. Hopefully you would never wish to spend the rest of your life with a person you settled for either.

Don't you want the love story that God had planned for you? Well to get that, we must not settle. That first starts with hookups. My advice to you would be to not hookup. I learned this the hard way in high school. Think about it, when you are physically intimate with a person, you are giving them the benefits of dating without demanding that they commit to you. You may hope that hooking up with a guy will lead to him committing to you. But in reality, you are probably turning him away. When you hookup with a guy, what's left for them to chase? Where's the challenge? Guys love a challenge. And by allowing a guy to be physically intimate without calling him to rise up and commit to you, you are telling him that you aren't taking this seriously and that you don't think you're worth being a challenge. Respect yourself. Don't let a guy have the benefits of dating with you without demanding that he commits to you. You deserve so much more than that. As my grandma used to say, "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" A guy isn't going to want to go through all of the hard work of committing to a girl when he can get the physical pleasure for free. So if you expect to get a guy by hooking up with him, you're out of luck. A real man wouldn't want a girl who would be so quick to give her body away. A real man wants to be respected too. Not hooking up with guys allows you to find a real man. It allows you to weed out the guys who only want you for your body. Not hooking up makes a statement and shows guys that you take yourself seriously and that you will not allow your body to be used for the sake of his pleasure. Protect your kisses. Set standards. Maybe they could be to not make with someone unless they are officially your boyfriend/girlfriend. Or if you want to go even further, do not even kiss someone unless they are officially your boyfriend/girlfriend. It will save yourself a lot of frustration and hurt in the mean time.

My next advice is to be picky when it comes to dating. Don't date someone unless they have the qualities you would want in a future spouse. We date to marry. Dating is not a game. Dating is a time to learn about yourself and your partner and to determine the kind of person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It's not about being with a person for the sake of being with them. It's about being with a person to see if they're compatible for you. So be with someone who you think could be potentially compatible with you for the rest of your life. Come up with a list of qualities that you want in your future spouse. Use them as a guideline for dating. Only date people who have those qualities. This list will serve as a constant reminder to not settle for anyone less than what you deserve. Do not change your list for anyone. It can be hard when you feel lonely and that you will never find anyone with those qualities. But God is the author of your love story. Trust Him. The person He has in mind for you will be the person of your dreams. This list will show the deepest desires of your heart when it comes to your future spouse and I can assure that God will see it.

Your future spouse is out there and God has hand made that person specifically for you and you for that person. Keep them in mind. When you are tempted to settle, think of them. Start respecting them now. Would you want your future spouse settling for other people for the sake of feeling wanted? I sure hope not. So don't do the same. You deserve so much more than to settle. Be patient. God will send you the right person for you in His time.
"Do not arouse, do not stir up love before its own time." - Song of Solomon 8:4 
Start praying for your future spouse. Pray for their hearts. While doing so, God will prepare your heart for them.

Respect yourself. Do not let society get the best of you. Society may be telling you to hookup with a bunch of people, base your worth off others and your looks, or to settle; but please, do not do it. Do not conform. Respect yourself and know that you are a child of God. You are loved beyond measure. And in Christ, you can find more than what society or a meaningless hookup can give you. Do not settle.

Friday, November 30, 2012

We all want to feel wanted.

Feelings. They can be the most beautiful thing ever while being your worst enemy at the same time. And unfortunately, they've been a bit of an enemy lately. This post is going to be personal and I'm putting myself out there. So here's the inside scoop to my heart as of late.

So as you know, I was broken up with about a month an a half ago. This breakup has been one of the biggest blessings in disguise. However, the days where it's a disguise are the days that are the challenge. Now, I'm over that I was broken up with. That part doesn't hurt more. I don't want to be in a relationship with anyone anytime soon. But what hurts is the aftermath of the breakup: feeling unwanted. This person knew my heart inside and out for two years and didn't want me. Can you say ouch? And the feeling of being unwanted is the worst feeling in the world. It makes you feel like you're not good enough, that you have nothing to offer, or that no one will want you. This person was supposed to be the person who wanted you and the one person who wouldn't walk away. Yet you're left there, in the dust, alone. And guess what? It hurts. I've been battling with this feeling of being unwanted this past week. Last night, I broke down. New flash for you, I'm really not that strong. In the midst of tears, I prayed non stop. I felt so desperate for something. I knew I was desperate for God, but to be honest, I couldn't feel Him at that moment. I searched my bible frantically hoping to find a verse that says: "GOD LOVES YOU. GOD WANTS YOU." And, well, I came across nothing. I kept telling myself over and over again, "you are wanted. You are enough. You are loved." However, just knowing it was not enough. This was playing on repeat in my head, but it was no where in my heart. My heart did not believe that I am wanted, enough, or loved. There's a very big difference between knowing something in your head and having it in your heart. And there I was, crying on my bed, beating myself up all because a boy doesn't want me. I know, it sounds so lame to me as I type it. Then at that moment, I decided to text a friend of mine. He's a friend that has walked me through every step of this breakup and a friend that I am forever grateful for. He called me and with my broken, tear saturated voice, I opened up to how I felt. Then boom. God answered my prayers. You know those moments where God just uses someone to say exactly everything you need to hear? Well, that happened. He said everything my head knew, but everything that my heart needed to hear. I was comforted in the fact that it's okay to be weak and that it's normal to hurt. And that I am wanted and that I have a lot to offer. If this boy couldn't see this, well that's his loss. With a phone call, my confidence returned and a smile was on my face. Heck, I was even laughing. Ah, God is good!

Now, of course the feelings of being unwanted didn't go away completely over night. I went to mass this morning. And after mass, I stayed in the chapel for a good 45 min. During these 45 min, I had a good, stern heart to heart with God. And well, lets just say that God gave me a good and loving kick in the pants. I started at the cross, pouring out my frustrations into His hands. My feelings of being unwanted, my desires to have one person to chase Him with, someone to pick me up with I'm down, the feelings of loneliness, all the aftermath that breakups bring. I gave it all to Him. I gave Him my dreams of my future husband, which have been quite reoccurring as of late. I've been looking forward to that one person who I'm going to share my life with. And in my future husband, someone I don't even know yet, I've been looking for the love my heart has been longing for. I've been longing to feel wanted by the man who I will give my life to. That right there is the problem. I have been trying to fill the hole in my heart with the desires of earthly love instead of the author of love. Once I came to this realization, I heard Jesus say: "You have been desiring of a person what only I can give you. No human on this earth wants you as much as I do. I love you infinitely more than anyone on this earth could. You're feeling this way because some boy doesn't want you. That boy cannot compare to Me. I died on this cross because I want you. I love you." And right there, my heart believed it. Right there, I was at peace and I felt wanted and loved.

I realize that the moments where I feel unwanted and I don't feel God that I'm doing something wrong. I'm not giving Him my all. Or I'm getting caught up in the world. I don't open my heart to Him. I end up being in the way of myself. As soon as I feel this, I know God is telling me that something needs to change. I need to turn to Him without holding back.

It's amazing how caught up I can get in basing my worth off of things in this world. But dear brothers and sisters, we are SO much more than what this world says we are! We are more than what we do. We're more than how we look, or the clothes we wear. We're more than the amount of or lack of people pursuing us. We are children of the King of Kings. And even when people don't want us or even like us, we are wanted and we are loved by a God who is so much greater and a God who can do so much more for us than anything or anyone can. "God doesn't want something from us. He simply wants us." He wants us and He loves us. There are going to be moments where you feel like nothing. You may feel unwanted. You may hurt. As I've been learning, there is nothing wrong with feeling this way. It's okay to hurt and to let yourself hurt. Because sometimes life just sucks. Life can suck really, really bad. Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Even life with God isn't always happy happy joy joy. But there is hope. "Christians are like glow sticks, they have to break in order to shine." Through your hurt, trials, and weakness, strength will come.
"Affliction produces endurance, and endurance proven character, and proven character, hope and hope does not disappoint, because the Love God has poured out into our hearts." Romans 5:3-6
How ever your may feel, or whatever it is that you are going through, know that you are not alone. You are loved and you are wanted by the Creator of the Universe. Don't just know it in your head. Believe it in your heart. You are worth more than anything on this earth. You are precious. You are loved. Don't lose that and don't lose hope. God will put people in your life for a reason. He gives the people you need. And sometimes, He takes away people too for a better reason. We may not be able to see it, but trust in His ways.

"God will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you
after you have suffered a little." - 1 Peter 5:10

"Live in love as Christ loves us." - Ephesians 5:2

Friday, November 16, 2012

Single girl swag.

Single. That's a word that most girls dread. It seems so cold and so lonely, as if no one would even want to date us. It's a word that describes a torturous, harsh, sad time in one's life. Single is the opposite of  love and the opposite of what women desire. We all want that one person to love us and cherish us. We want that one person who is going to care about us in that special way and make us feel wanted and special. We all want that one man who proves to us that all guys are not the same. We want that man who will fight for us and prove to us that there is no one he would rather be with. We want that partner in life who will walk by our sides and love us through the ups and downs. Yes, single, is a word that is just plain awful and it's a world that is even worse.

But what if I told you that there is another definition of single? That single doesn't mean sad, unlovable, unwanted and that you're going to end up all alone with 12 cats. What if I told you that single can be statement rather than a definition? Don't let single define you. Don't let single say to the world that you are in need of a relationship and that you can't survive without one. Instead, let single say to the world that you are a strong, independent woman and that you don't need a man to complete you!

Believe it or not, being single can be such a blessing. But it's your attitude about it that determines it. Singleness isn't a torture sentence. Singleness is an opportunity for growth and preparation. Your future spouse is out there and they are going to be someone SO amazing. This person is going to be the best thing that has ever happening to you. So don't you want to be the best thing that has happening to them?

Being single gives you the time to work on yourself. It allows you to prepare and become the person of God that you are called to be. You don't have to focus on another person and invest all of your time, energy, and emotions into them. Instead, you are investing your time into yourself. This is not selfish. We need to be the best people we can be for ourselves in order to be the best for someone else. We need to be happy and complete single before giving yourself to another person. Say you're a gardener and you know that your vegetables are the best veggies in town. You take pride in your veggies and you give the best veggies you can to your costumers. And by doing so, you make a great difference in the lives of your costumers. You bring them satisfaction and in turn, this brings you satisfaction. If they weren't satisfied, then that would be incredibly disheartening. So you wait for the veggies to grow and become the biggest and best veggies they can be. You would never sell unripened veggies; that would bring dissatisfaction. They aren't ready to be given out yet. They have to work on themselves before become ripe. The same goes for you. Why give yourself to someone if you are not ripe yet? If you are called to marriage and to be in a relationship, you would want to give that person the best you can. Just as a gardener wouldn't give their costumers unripened veggies, do not give your potential partner an unripened person. Don't jump into a relationship for the sake of having a relationship. Begin a relationship when you are ready to. But it is necessary to take the time to be single and work on yourself. Being single allows for us to mature and become the best we can be. Without distractions and without the love-fog of a relationship, you can truly see the areas in yourself that need work on. Take the time for you. Learn to love yourself and be completely happy with yourself. If you don't love yourself, then how can you love someone else?

Singleness is an incredible opportunity to grow in faith. For me, it has brought a whole new meaning to trusting God and chasing Him. I trust God. I know that my future husband is out there and I know that in His time, He will lead me to that person. I do not need to go out looking for that person. When the time is right, God will put that person into my life. Instead of chasing guys and looking for a boyfriend, I'm left to chase God and look for Him. Granted, it's not easy. There are cute boys everywhere--especially Jesus-loving boys. However, I'm learning self discipline. I thank God for making great, attractive brother in Christ, and then continue to look at Him. Although I desire marriage one day, and it's completely natural for me to be looking for a mate, it's a gift to have time to look at Christ and Christ alone. Only Christ can satisfy, and I am learning this on a daily basis. Women tend to think that once we find that nice guy, all of our problems will go away and our thirst for love will be quenched. But this isn't true. The only One who can quench that thirst for love is Love Himself. Only God can fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts. Having this in my mind makes it easier to deal with the attractive distractions. Even when I'm married, only Christ will satisfy and be the true giver of joy in my life. I am learning to love Him in a way that I never have before. Being single has allowed this. Instead of looking for a boyfriend or looking to please a boyfriend, I look at Him and I am at peace. By learning to love Him more than anything and anyone will allow me to better love my future husband someday. But right now, I'm focusing on become the woman that God has created me to be. I am focusing on my relationship with my Best Friend. He is the only Man I desire in my life right now. Because of this, my faith is growing day by day.

Because of being single and having no desire to date at this time of my life right now, so much pressure is relieved. When I meet a new guy, I don't have to worry about whether or not he's someone I can date. Instead, my intentions are pure and I seek only a friendship. This brings so much freedom. It allows me to be independent and to not be defined by a relationship. It allows me to have true brothers in Christ without the pressure of dating or thinking that something more has to come out of it. That in and of itself is such a blessing. It also says to the world what I think about myself.
"After all, independent women are the most alluring to men. When a woman looks like she's waiting to be asked out, it makes you wonder why she hasn't been. On the other hand, if she's happy with her independence, she doesn't appear to be accessible. She's a challenge. It's as if she's saying, 'I don't need you to complete me, but you're free to try.' She seems content with herself. Such a positive demeanor naturally draws others in. But this happiness must be authentic joy. It cannot be a happy mask worn to become more likeable." - Jason Evert

Now, singleness isn't always going to be easy. You aren't always going to feel like a strong, independent woman. It's hard to be single in such a dating-obsessed culture. Lets face it, every movie you watch, there's an adorable, romantic love story. Commercials, magazines, books, media; there is always some sort of connection to love and relationships. On a college campus, it seems as if everywhere you turn, there's an adorable couple holding hands or kissing. It's everywhere. There will be days when you do feel lonely and you do long for someone else. But rise above it and trust God. Trust that He is writing your love story. He's a pretty great author, so there is no denying that is it going to be an amazing story. Your future husband is out there. I don't know who my future husband is, but he gives me so much hope. Just knowing that one day, I will be able to experience the most amazing love brings me so much joy and hope. But for now, I need to work on become the woman he deserves and I need to work on become the woman God is calling me to be. The same goes for you. We need to work on being the best women and sisters in Christ we can be.

So enjoy your singleness! Let it be a time of growth and exploration! Enjoy great friendships. Have fun! Enjoy having a time of your life not tied down to another person. Plain and simple, just do you! Love will come your way when the time is right. Don't go looking for love. Let it look for you. "Do no arouse, do not stir up love before it's own time." -Song of Songs 2:7. Go become the woman God has made you to be! You are stronger than you think and you don't need a man to complete you! The perfect Man already completes you; and He died on the cross for you. With Christ, you have all you need! So enjoy being single and trust and love God with all you have!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hate is never the answer.

Election day took place yesterday. Obama was re-elected president of the United States of America. And as was expected, the social media world blew up. Statuses were being posted left and right, for red and blue. But what got me, was the amount of hateful statuses that a great amount of Christian Facebook friends were posting.

I am fully aware at their anger and why they were posting; I understand. A big part of this was the pro-life issue. I am pro-life. But I would like to remind you that pro-life is not just about abortion. Pro-life means defending and respecting ALL life; from womb to tomb. That means loving your neighbor, NO MATTER WHAT. That means loving thy gay neighbor, straight neighbor, addicted neighbor, homeless neighbor, incarcerated neighbor, republican neighbor, democrat neighbor, sick neighbor, poor neighbor, EVERY neighbor. That means loving the kid who sits alone at lunch, or the girl that everyone loves to hate. That means loving the person who broke your heart or made your life a living hell. That means loving and forgiving those who have wronged you. "Love your neighbor as yourself." - Luke 10:27. This neighbor also includes the neighbor who is the president. I am not saying that you need to agree with or support his policies, but you do need to love him. And responding to him with hate and posting hateful statues in not pro-life. Actually, it's not very Christian. 

A Christian is a person in whom and through whom Christ lives. By claiming that you are a Christian, you are claiming that you follow and strive to imitate Christ. Posting statuses and speaking out of hate is the exact opposite of what Christ would do. It does not matter who the person is or what the person believes in, we are not to hate. We are called to love no matter what. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:37-40

I understand that people are trying to share the truth of the church with others. Quite frankly, I am too. But what makes the difference is how we do it. It comes down to love. People may question my view on love, but this is what love is.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 
Yes, it says that love rejoices with the truth. But that means rejoice; not shove the truth into someone's face or criticize them because of their beliefs. It is not up to us to criticize or condemn them. Actually, we have absolutely no right to do so. We are in no place to judge or criticize others because of their believes or because they may not agree with something that the church says. We are called to lead others to Christ; not the church. Yes, Christ instituted the church, but the church it meant to lead others to Christ. So we are meant to do the same. And when we criticize and condemn people and shove "the truth" into their faces, that turns people away. To be honest, there have been many instances where, on behalf of the people who do not agree, I have felt hurt and criticized due to what they have had to say about someone disagreeing with the church. Our faith is meant to be an invitation. We can propose the idea to someone, but only they can choose to accept it. Instead of going about throwing the truth into people's faces, we must be an example of the truth. Live as Christ would have lived. Jesus may have gnashed teeth and reprimanded people; but keep in mind that only He is meant to do that. Only God can judge others. And Jesus did it in a loving way. Not once did He force His word onto someone. By forcing your word on someone, you are turning them away. Too many times have I felt turned away because of this. Yes, there has to be tough love sometimes, but tough love does not include criticizing, judging, and condemning people. Criticizing, judging and condemning people turns them away. Therefore, you are turning them away from Christ. We are called to preach the gospel. We are called to preach love and forgiveness and the goodness of God while trying to better other people. Better other people with love. Let your words and actions be soaked with love, only then will you be able to touch someone's heart with the truth. We are not here to change lives or hearts. God doesn't need us for that because only He can do that and only He can change hearts. We are called to invite people to faith in a loving manner and to plant seeds without imposing. We are called to meet people where they are at; then God will take care of the rest. Leave the judging up to Him, because it gets us no where. It just makes us look like hypocrites. Let us be an example of love, then others will follow. We must approach people with open hearts and open minds. As my friend Stephanie said: "its about being wise enough to know that the world was never saved by a strong opinion - only saved with love. Spend your energy where it creates not destroys." So next time you go to convict or reprimand someone for their actions or belief, I ask you to please ask yourself: "How am I going to lead this person closer to Christ?" Meet people where they're at and give them nothing but love.

No matter who is the president, Jesus is King. Have faith and trust in Him. Pray for those leading our country and have hope. Do not waste your breath on words of hate towards the president of anyone else for that matter. Doing such while claiming to be a Christian would make you a hypocrite. Strive to be Christ like and love others no matter what. Do not act out of anger. Act out of love.

"Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger." - James 1:19.

"But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire." Matthew 5:22

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The p word.

If there is one thing that our society loves to hate, it is purity. Yes, not having sex until marriage. As one who has made the promise to stay pure until marriage 5 years ago, I can attest to this. I can't tell you how many times I've been poked fun of for my decision or doubted because of it. My decision to be pure, along with the most decisions that Christians make, does not conform to society. And society doesn't like that. But I can tell you now, after getting out of a 2 year relationship, staying pure until marriage is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Although it is one of the best decisions, it is also one of the hardest. God placed sexual desire into our hearts. We were made to physically become one with another person. As someone once said: "we were not made to stop." Wanting sex is completely natural. However, sex is made for marriage and that is how God intends it. I know people say that if you really love someone, you should be able to show them that love physically. But if they love you enough, they would be willing to wait for you. That is why waiting for your future spouse is the ultimate way to show them that you love them. That wait certainly is not easy. Hormones and emotions get in the way. But I know that it will be worth it.

It has already been proven to me that it is worth it. As I leave this 2 year relationship, I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that I made decision to not have sex until marriage. As this boy walks away, I am at such peace knowing that he is not walking away with something that didn't belong to him in the first place. Because I didn't give him myself physically, it is that much easier to let go of and move on from the relationship. The hurt has gone away and I am over it. I'm sure that had I given him all of me, I would have such a hard time letting him go. He may have a part of my heart, but he does not have my body. And I thank God for that. Making this promise to Him and my future husband has saved me tremendous heartache.

God's plan of sex only being in marriage serves a great purpose. It helps us guard our hearts. And for women, it helps weed out the jerks who only want you for your body. Keeping this standard will prove which men are willing to wait for you. These are the kind of men that deserve to be with a princess of the King of Kings. Why be with someone who isn't willing to wait for you? You deserve someone who will not only wait, but someone who will help you stay pure in the wait. If they pressure you and tempt you to to further, run away. They are not in it for the right reasons. Stay strong and keep God and your future spouse in mind. Purity is impossible without a relationship with God. The strength that is needed to be pure is strength than cannot come from us alone. Purity is also a way to show your love for Him and to show that you will and trust His plan. But how much should you sacrifice to show that? How far is too far? Well, a good way to judge that is to think of your future spouse. How far would you want them going with someone other than you? If you don't want them going that far, then why go that far with someone else's future spouse? It's also not just about being a physical virgin. It's about being a heart virgin. You cannot go lusting after the opposite sex. Strive to be pure in your heart and mind. That includes not watching pornography. You're future spouse deserves more than that. God deserves more than that. You deserve more than that.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." - Matthew 5:8

I know there are some of you thinking "it's too late for me" or "I'm damaged goods." But let me make this clear, it is not too late. God is the giver of second chances (and third and fourth and fifth chances and so on). We are human. We make mistakes. We fall time and time again. Maybe you're not a virgin. Maybe your virginity was taken from you. But know this, who you are is not what you do. "You are more than the choices that you made. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are more than the problems you create. You've been remade." Whatever your past may be does not mean you cannot be pure. You can choose today to start waiting for your future spouse. You deserve to be loved and you ARE loved.

"For anyone who is in Christ
is a new creation."
2 Corinthians 5:17

Purity is so freeing. And it is fun. It forces you to be creative and to show someone you love them without getting physical. And showing someone you love them without getting physical really does go a long way. You may ask: how can I do that? Well here are a few ideas:
· send flowers or surprise gifts
· write letters
· send a cute card
· take them on a surprise date
· go on a picnic
· make them a craft
· cook or bake them something
· make a list of reasons why you love them
· do their favorite activity with them
· come up with your own list of ways to show your significant other you love them without getting physical!

I know I would prefer any of these things than a steamy makeout session. But maybe that's just me. ;)

My future husband is out there. I don't know who he is, but he gives me so much hope. I love him already. And because of that, I will respect him and I will wait for him. I will be the woman he deserves. Regardless of what society says, I will not have sex until the night of my wedding because the gift of my body belongs to him and only him.