Biscuits n’ Sunflowers! :)

Biscuitsn'Sunflowers!

Isaiah 49:5-7

And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him
(For I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
And My God is My strength),
He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One,
To the despised One,
To the One abhorred by the nation,
To the Servant of rulers,
“Kings will see and arise,
Princes will also bow down,
Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 “13. Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? 14. In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider- God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.”

 

Psalm 119:129-136

Pe.

129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul observes them.
130 The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
131 I opened my mouth wide and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
After Your manner with those who love Your name.
133 Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of water,
Because they do not keep Your law.

 

1 Samuel 16:7

“7. But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

July 26th, 2017

approximately 7:45 am…..

GOOD MORNING- GREAT MORNING! Rise and SHINE BRIGHT AND BOLD for HIM AND HIS GLORY! Blessings from THE LORD GOD JESUS CHRIST THE MESSIAH on this sunny, summer morning in July include breakfast and then…. the sunflower field! Let’s get into this goodness greatness from GOD THE LORD, shall we?!

One of my best friends, Rachel, and I decided we wanted to try Maple Street Biscuit company on this fine morning. It wasn’t new to the Chatt-town as there is already one downtown, but since they opened up at another location we decided we would give it a shot! And my oh my I’m so so glad that we did! It is now one of my FAVORITE places to eat- seriously!

The night prior I was looking at the menu- I’ve gotta have an idea before I go in there to order, right? The menu is filled with great-sounding biscuits and other treats, and even though I’ve only had one out of the many, that one was good enough that I’m willing to try the rest of the many! (Menu prices > https://www.zomato.com/chattanooga-tn/maple-street-biscuit-company-chattanooga/menu)

As I was reading reviews on this cool place (which are almost 100% positive!) I read someone’s comment about their ordering process. “Payton, what? Why?”. I know, I know. But you’ve gotta hear this, it’s some serious business. After you order your food, the cashier will ask you the question of the time being (I’m not sure how often they change this question) and use your answer to let you know your food is ready instead of yelling out your name! Isn’t that fun?! Our question was, “Who is your favorite band?” Rachel was in front of me and I hadn’t told her about their little process, so she was a bit startled by the question she had to answer on the spot. Florida-Georgia Line was her pick, and mine was good ole Crowder!

Rachel ordered the “BAM!”- “House-made vanilla bean waffle with asiago and pecanwood smoked bacon baked in.” (which looked SO GOOD by the way!)

I ordered “The Farmer”- “Flaky biscuit, all natural fried chicken, pecan wood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese topped with fresh house made apple butter” (which was VERY GOOD by the way!)….

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….and a coffee, which was a “fix it yourself” station serving Red Leaf Roasters coffee with a variety of flavors to choose from which include- Dark Bark, Maple tap, Light Amber, and decaf Light Amber.

After reading reviews, I chose the maple tap flavor, and praise God that HE willed and planned that! I’m not kidding y’all when I say that as I was pouring the coffee into my cup it smelled like sweet, hot syrup flowing into my cup (except that probably wouldn’t taste good so I’m very thankful grateful and glad and blessed that it wasn’t exactly that!)

It really tasted so good, y’all, and I’m so blessed to have had it, truly! 🙂 Thank YOU GOD! Thank you THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THE LORD GOD OF ALL!! 🙂

The atmosphere is quite chill, and since we were there so early, there weren’t that many people. We had some great conversation and catch-up time as we ate our great-tasting food, as well as me drinking my coffee, and it was a great, blessed and beloved time altogether from THE LORD! 🙂

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There was a conference-looking room with a group of people in it, and as a worker walked by with their order of food, Rachel said this great quote!

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As we left to go on our next adventure, I grabbed another cup of coffee, except this time I tried Dark bark, which is still great!!

Until next time, Maple Street. I’m looking forward to more coffee, trying the waffles and oh, yes, the sweet potato fries! 🙂

Our next stop, the oh so Chatt-town famous………..

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SUNFLOWER FIELD!! Let’s just stop and take a moment to pray and thank and praise and worship GOD THE LORD THE CREATOR AND SAVIOR for creating such beauty….. and yet, calling us even more special, unique, worthy and oh so beyond beautiful. You see, we weren’t the first thing that He, The God created. And yet, we were thought of before He, The God, created anything else, before HE, THE GOD, created light, dark, time and soil, above it all and more because we are more to HIM. We are more special, we are more unique, we are more worthy than all of these other things because WE ARE MADE IN HIS IMAGE- That’s eternally right, folks. Eternally are we created in HIS- GOD’S IMAGE! ETERNALLY! AND NO ONE AND NOTHING CAN EVER CHANGE THAT- ETERNALLY!! Do you know how loved you are? Do you know how special and unique and cherished you are, beloved?! In case you need this reminder- which, we all need this constant reminder every moment eternally– GOD DIED FOR US- AND ROSE AGAIN! HE- THE LORD GOD OF ALL THE ALMIGHTY SENT HIS SON JESUS WHO IS GOD TO DIE ON A CROSS- ON A TREE- FOR US BECAUSE HE LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE WANTS TO WASH AWAY EVERY SIN AND MAKE US WHITE AS SNOW BECAUSE HE. LOVES. US! AND HE DID! He did it! There is now no more question- because THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS THE ALMIGHTY, SOVEREIGN, ONE TRUE MESSIAH THE GOD ETERNALLY has claimed The Victory and the throne, forevermore, THE ETERNALLY!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂

Genesis 1:26-27

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Nehemiah 8:10

10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

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y’all, He is so so beyond goodness and greatness! How great is our GOD, THE GOD!!!!

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reppin’ with the coffee. #iseeyoumaplestreet

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And, y’all, these sunflower leaves that GOD created are HUGE! Like, please look, they’re bigger than our faces!! GOD is so so beyond cool!!

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Yes, girl, HAIRFLIP!!

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Bee-roll 😉

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Sometimes you’ve just gotta get that selfie!

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…. and then sometimes you’ve gotta go into defense mode in the sunflower field! Goodness gracious, Lord Jesus, God I thank YOU for these blessings called friends that YOU have given me!! 🙂

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Beeeeee happy! 🙂 Be oh so happy my beloved blessings of brothers and sisters in CHRIST in GOD!! 🙂

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Y’all, I’m gonna pause right here to tell a very much needed truth. Sometimes we feel like this sunflower- we are standing in this big field of others who seem much taller, much fuller and much more beautiful than us. All of this intimidation is around us because we have believed the lies from the enemy that “we aren’t enough”, that “we aren’t worthy”, and that “we aren’t beautiful or special”. Well, I’m gonna tell ya, none of that matters when The Creator, The Savior, Messiah, The Lord God the Almighty and All Sovereign has declared differently. For HE, GOD, THE GOD THE FATHER has DECLARED that we are made, created in HIS IMAGE, for HIM AND HIS GLORY THE ETERNALLY!!!! Then, whom and what shall we fear? For BUT GOD. BUT THE GOD OF ALL. When all else has failed, when it seems hopeless, when we feel like we can’t be used by HIM THE LORD GOD THE FATHER OF ALL THE ALMIGHTY HE says, “Watch.”. And then, HE does the impossible, HE has made it possible in with by and through only HIM. HE says, no matter what, no matter where, no matter when, that HE IS GREATER AND CAN AND WILL!!!! 🙂

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Please look at how beautiful GOD’S creation is!! 🙂

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Smiley Smiles! 🙂

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Get that sunflower field and coffee shot!

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…. and then the close-up, can’t forget that!! 🙂

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And then I attempted to get a picture of a butterfly that was far away. Stay tuned to see how well beloved blessed Rachel’s picture turned out with her camera!

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Y’all know what I’m talking about, when I say that before you get that picture, you’ll have several pictures like these in your camera roll…. 🙂

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Bright and sunshine-y with THE LORD ETERNALLY!! 🙂

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I had to get a picture of Rachel’s photography pose! 🙂

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Selfies 🙂

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God is so so beyond cool in having willed and planned this picture! I was just trying to take a picture of a spider that was crawling around on this flower BUT GOD. It’s always BUT GOD, eternally. How cool is this picture?! 🙂

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…. and then we found a ladder. At first, I thought the picture of it by itself was cool and beautiful. But God, I’m telling y’all. He is so good for showing us and giving us fun ideas to continue glorifying HIM in!!

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finger shots are still cool 🙂

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And y’all, you will find GOD THE LORD ALMIGHTY’S blessings in everything. It was so hot today. BUT GOD. BUT HIM!! You remember how I said those sunflower leaves were so big? Well, turns out they can be used as fans! 🙂 (Also notice how the ponytails were going up). 🙂

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HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY in with by and through THE GOD, THE CHRIST!!!! 🙂

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Even the backs of the sunflowers are beautiful! Thank YOU GOD, thank YOU JESUS CHRIST!! 🙂

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Also, shoutout to the people with the sunflower field, allowing people to fill up a bucket for $15. So nice and oh soo soo sweet of them! 🙂 We didn’t get any, but we were for sure thinking about it!! 🙂

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AND NOW I’m gonna share some pictures that beautiful sister/best friend Rachel took! Oh what a joy from THE LORD GOD THE ALMIGHTY!!!! Thank YOU, JESUS CHRIST THE LORD OF ALL THE ALMIGHTY!! 🙂

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Wow, GOD!! 🙂 🙂

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Here’s that ladder again! 🙂

Oh the blessed beloved willed and oh so sooooo beautifully planned day when we will see our SAVIOR CREATOR MESSIAH GOD’S FACE AND BE WITH HIM THE ETERNALLY!!!!!! 🙂

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GOD THE FATHER MY FATHER, THE SAVIOR MY SAVIOR IS SO SOOO BEYOND COOLNESS!

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Remember the butterfly picture I was talking about? 🙂 See how our GOD THE GOD works so marvelously and majestically and beautifully!!!! 🙂 🙂

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This day at the sunflower field was stunning, only because our GOD THE GOD THE ETERNALLY THE FATHER OUR FATHER THE MESSIAH SAVIOR, is even more BEYOND STUNNING THE ETERNALLY!!!! Ohhhhh my goodness gracious, BUT GOD THE GOD!!! 🙂 🙂

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And after that hot day in a sunflower field, THE LORD GOD OF ALL THE ALMIGHTY allowed us to have a refreshing beverage. Juice for Rachel and a smoothie for me, please! 🙂 (Strawberry-banana to be exact!) 🙂 🙂

As I finish up writing this blog post, and after posting all of these pictures of sunflowers, I can only think of a few blessed beloved things. The God of the universe, The Creator of all WHO IS LIFE AND THE LOVE HIMSELF, loves us enough AND MORE to call us HIS OWN. We are amazed by the sunflowers that HE has brought up from the soil and all of its beauty, when HE is looking at us with an even more loving face. HE is looking at us and SMILING SO BIG. GOD THE GOD THE ETERNALLY THE CREATOR SAIOR MESSIAH THE ETERNALLY is looking at us and smiling so so big because HE KNOWS. HE KNOWS that HE has created us in HIS IMAGE. HE KNOWS the plans that HE HAS WILLED AND PLANNED FOR US BEFORE HE CREATED TIME. HE KNOWS what we are TRULY WORTH in with by and through HIM ONL!Y!! HE knows how loved we TRULY are because HE IS THE ETERNAL TRUE  ULTIMATE LIFE AND THE ETERNAL TRUE ULTIMATE LOVE THE ETERNALLY!!! All of the lies cannot even begin to compare to the joy set before us which is HIM, because we cannot even being to comprehend HIM completely, HE IS THAT GOOD AND THAT GREAT AND BEYOND MORE- THE MOST ALMIGHTY THE ETERNALLY!!! BUT GOD. BUT THE GO THE ETERNALLY calls us HIS THE ETERNALLY!!!!!! 🙂 🙂

Psalm 139:13-18

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

 

Isaiah 55:8-11

“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.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Isaiah 40:6-8

A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.

Matthew 6:24-34

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

The Cure for Anxiety

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

GOD IS THE IMMEASURABLY MORE! :)

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Ephesians 3:20-21

20. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21. to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Romans 1:16-17

16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

A few months ago, our friend Josh invited my best friend Sarah and I to a meeting after church for a mission trip to South Dakota that was coming up in late June. I knew about this trip, the church has been going for awhile, and some of my friends had been on it. I knew about the basics- that the trip was to South Dakota, it was on an indian reservation and there were some fond memories between my friends and the children in the pictures. Obviously and very evidently God has been working through the church as they visited these people every year, making an impact and shining His Light, The Light. BUT GOD. Little did I know how much God was going to impact me, as well as use me for Him and His Glory, through this blessing of a trip. I was about to learn more about the true mission trip that THE GOD blesses us with the eternally!!!!

What does “immeasurably more” truly, purely mean? When we say the words “immeasurably more”, at least, if you’re visual like me, we see a line going around and around in our minds, neverending. Immeasurably means that there isn’t a ruler, a metric system or a number line so long that can hold its capacity of how much it truly, purely, ETERNALLY is. You see, everything in this world is temporary, it cannot ever fill the void that each of us has the desire for of a – the –  true satisfaction. We have our sights on someone or something, we attain it, thinking that it will satisfy, and then it doesn’t. Then, we search for another. And another, and another, and another, and yet, another. And guess what? It still doesn’t ever satisfy, ever. We continue to do this, searching for more, when we should be seeking for THE ONE WHO IS the Most and Beyond eternally! Only GOD truly, purely satisfies. When we experience Him, although we can’t ever begin to fully comprehend it, we are completely fulfilled, eternally satisfied by HIM and ONLY HIM ETERNALLY!! We have seen HIM go above and beyond, immeasurably more. How many times have we doubted and then seen Him do something marvelous that we can’t begin to grasp? How many times have we seen Him do these things and then try to limit HIM, GOD, trying to keep HIM in a box, recognizing HIS amazing ways and thinking that that’s where HE has to stop “because surely HE can’t do more than this, can HE?”. AND HE DOES. But HE doesn’t ever just do. Oh, no no no no no. HE ALWAYS does IMMEASURABLY MORE. But how? But why? Y’all, we’re not made to fully comprehend GOD, THE GOD. And yet. Yet. BUT GOD! BUT THE GOD THE FATHER ETERNALLY allows us, blesses us, to experience HIM AND HIS GOODNESS, GRACIOUSNESS AND GREATNESS, and does THE IMMEASURABLY MORE, because HE, THE GOD, GOD, IS THE IMMEASURABLY MORE THE ETERNALLY!!!!!!!!! HE IS THE MOST AND BEYOND THE ETERNALLY!!!!!!!!

Flash forward a few meetings, a lot of excitement and A WHOLE LOT OF JESUS and WOOHOO! It was time to leave to experience this blessing adventure and journey!! To GOD BE THE GLORY FOREVER AND EVER THE ETERNALLY! AMEN!!

JUNE 30, 2017

The day we headed out of Chatt-town on this beloved adventure. A 5:00 AM departure in a 15-seater van filled with 12 people may not sound comfy, but we sure enjoyed it! At least, I think most of us did.

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GREAT ARE YOU, LORD, THE ETERNALLY!!!!

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This was just the beginning of how we were all going to see God’s beauty in HIS beautiful creation during this adventure.

After we drove 12 hours, we stopped in Nebraska to spend the night. We were exhausted, but there was a pool….

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…. and a waterslide. Did we have our bathing suits? Nope. “Let’s go dip our feet in the hot tub.” turned into “Do you wanna go down the waterslide?”. So we did, and it was great, SO BEYOND WORTH IT!!

* HELPFUL TIP: DO NOT leave your wet pool clothes in a plastic bag for more than 4 days…. they will most likely stink when you take them out to wash them!! GOD is still beyond goodness and greatness, though :)!!

July 1st

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And then GOD continued to amaze us with HIS glorious, beautiful creation, even looking at it through a cozy van.

Getting closer and closer….

Along the way we made several stops at gas stations. Here are some interesting purchases:

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P.S. don’t know why, and don’t know exactly where, but the majority of the gas stations we stopped at were thankfully, and surprisingly, very nice.

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getting sooooo much closer!

AND THEN….

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….WE’RE HERE! Time to serve GOD THE FATHER, OUR FATHER THE ETERNALLY and to make so so many memories!

But first let’s head to an EXTREMELY beautiful and cool spot to take group pictures!

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VIEWS for daysssss I’m tellin ya!

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FIRST NIGHT! This group, yall. The work for God, serving Him for Him and His glory, furthering HIS kingdom was so so real. Matthew 6:34 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

 

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July 2nd

DAY 2!

Today was Sunday, so the camp hadn’t started yet. Before making preparations for the kiddos coming the next morning, we all had a devotional with the team going to Manderson before we went out on sightseeing adventures!

The devotionals and fellowship were by far one of my most favorite things on this trip and to be honest, in my life. Each testimony we heard, each song that we sang and each prayer that was prayed was so relatable and I know, I KNOW, that it is the same for others and not just me feeling this way. The togetherness in that room that came from God, The Holy Spirit in that room and how evident it was that He stayed with us, and continues to stay with us the eternally, His eternally fulfilling, satisfying presence blows me away as I think about, as we dwell on His goodness and greatness, His grace and HIS mercy and forgiveness and healing and miracles as He constantly reminded us of HIM every morning (His mercies are new every morning verse!) and all throughout the day and night as we served Him and focused on HIM as HE humbled and continues to humble us THE ETERNALLY!

After this phenomenal, amazing, awesome, humbling experience, we all went our ways to sightseeing. For our group Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse was on the agenda!

And on our way there….

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WE SAW A GAZELLE! Is that what they’re called in SD?

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Sweet sista-friend Sarah with the national memorial itself in the background!

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Gotta have the closeup! Ahhh my bestie is beautiful!

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SHAKA pic!

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P.S. Highly recommend the ice cream at Mount Rushmore! (A little pricey but VERY tasty!)

P.S.S. I suggest plain vanilla but I suggest plain vanilla every time for ice cream so get what you want!

And then we went to the Crazy Horse monument, which was even cooler than Mt Rushmore in my opinion! No pictures were taken of the actual memorial itself by me, but I can say that it was such a fun time and such a cool experience! The memorial isn’t near finished yet, but thankfully we all got a group picture beside the sculpture of the future completed project!

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This place not only showed the history behind the story of Crazy Horse, but included a little village-like museum with several rooms full of history, storytelling and even people selling their handmade goods such as jewelry, pottery and blankets with the indian tradition and touch that went along with them! Truly a cool experience! And there was a GIANT TEEPEE! How cool is that?!

And even though I didn’t get many pictures, I did capture a moment of fun between our group. While waiting for our whole group to meet at the front to leave, it became of interest that Noah saw what his eye would look like up really really close.

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It turns out it’s very, very blue, by the way!

Oh the moments of joy with these blessings from THE GOD THE FATHER I get to call my friends!

Back to the camp we go!

Sweet Christian and I playing- well, to be honest there were so many fun times and games I forget what this one was!

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And it’s hard to say no when he asks for the phone. Great photography skills, Christian!! 🙂

I talk more about this beloved blessing of a family towards the end of this post. 🙂

July 3rd

Good morning, great morning, rise and shine for GOD!!

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Seriously yall, the sunrise and sunset at this place is beyond amazing. God’s glory shines brightly everywhere, even in South Dakota!

Today’s the day! It’s time to get out of our bunks, into the main hall and prepare to meet and greet, love on and have oh so much fun with all of these kiddos!

[This part of the blog post is about to get more wordy, as in I didn’t take many pictures during the days at the camp itself until later on in the week, but enjoy the stories and lessons that I have to write about!]

The camp was throughout the entire Summer, each week a new group coming in as the camp counselors, so this was nothing new to the campers. But for us, we were learning all new things- what group we were with, what the agenda for our group was, how to know what to do and when to do it. We knew this, we knew that we were going to have to get into the camp mode and we thought that this was the only thing we would be adapting to- except not. The night before, a few of us (Sarah, Jacob, Alicia and I) were informed by our new musician friend Ben that we would be helping LEAD WORSHIP! Don’t get me wrong, I love worship because I love our God and I love worshipping our GOD, THE GOD THE ETERNALLY! But what surprised us was that we would be learning all new hand motions to all new songs the night before the camp! Sounds crazy, I know, but it went super well.

 

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The worship/tech/music squad! Such blessings from The Lord God!

 

And while we’re on the subject of SUPER- let’s talk about the camp theme for the week.

This week was sort of like a Vacation Bible School for the kids. Every year is a new theme for VBS, and this year the camp theme was: JESUS IS OUR SUPERHERO!

JESUS IS THE SUPERHERO! We learned about and discussed how although we may sin, and although we are not perfect, God, THE GOD, OUR FATHER THE ETERNALLY IS! And HE loves us. He even tells us that we are HIS most wonderful, special, unique and OH SO BEYOND BEYOND LOVED by LOVE HIMSELF creation!

Genesis 1:26-27

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Red and yellow, black and white, we are all truly precious, and special, in HIS – GOD THE FATHER’S sight.

Before going on stage we got to gear up- that’s right…. MASKS AND CAPES, EVERYONE!

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Bright yellow and pink for me, please! This was so much fun!

By the way, notice these plastic globes? 2 very fun things about them:

  1. As the children walked in each day, we threw them all out to get them excited. How did we get them back on the stage? A little game our friend Ben came up with called “Peg the superheroes!”
  2. Each day, as a new memory verse was learned among the children, that verse was taped onto each ball until they were filled up with GOD’S WORD- THE COMPLETE TRUTH! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

 

Side note: I just realized as I typed that, that God’s Word, The complete Truth The Eternally was literally being thrown and shown all over the room as the kids and us on stage threw the plastic globes. Again I say, HOW COOL IS THAT?!

With our awesome tech team (shoutout to Josh) and great hand-motion leaders (shoutout to the other kids in our church group for letting us watch yall most of the time), we made sure each morning was something fun and new that the kids could participate in and enjoy, having lots and loads of oh so much fun worshipping God The Father our Savior eternally!! The joy in that room every morning is beyond what I can describe, and the memories will last forever!!

P.S. I still sometimes think about doing hand motions when a familiar song comes on, no shame at all! 🙂

After the morning worship and sharing The Word with a lesson for the day corresponding to the theme of that week of camp, each group departed to their assigned stations. I will never forget taking our 11 & 12 year olds to the first station- the derby. This is where every kid at the camp would design and paint their derby racing car and at the end of the week race it at the grand prix. The reason why I won’t ever forget this is because it was an assurance and a reminder from GOD that this week was going to be great, even if it may get a little crazy. As soon as we arrived to the station I knew that these kids LOVED this activity, and it was one of the few where they actually participated the most- that and crafts… these children are CREATIVE!!

…. Flash forward some hours later and it was time for the kiddos to go home for the day. We all gathered into the same room we had our morning welcoming and worshipping GOD in, and had some fun before the children left to get on their buses for home.

Flash forward some more to after dinner with the mission crew and we were all. so. tired. Seriously. Not that we didn’t enjoy the day or that it wasn’t fun, but it was a lot of energy and we were realizing how much we were for sure going to need THE LORD AND HIS LIFE GIVING TRUE ETERNAL STRENGTH ALL WEEK LONG- ALL LIFE LONG THE ETERNALLY THE ETERNALLY!!!! SERIOUSLY!!!! 🙂

 

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shoutout to Kara for this picture!

 

We played some games with new friends, then headed to the bunks to get some SLEEP. Praise hands!! 🙂

July 4th

Happy fourth of July! Everyone was excited and oh so patriotic in their red, white and blue, and ready for another day of kiddos! We knew this day was going to be slightly different, however, because up in SD, the fourth of July is a big deal. Like, a big deal. Lots of celebrations. So, there weren’t as many kids at the camp that day. Because of that, I got the huge blessing and privilege to help with the 5 & 6 year olds. And my, my my were they oh so so much fun!! Lots of energy, I’m tellin ya, and GOD THE LORD THE ALMIGHTY was reminding me yet again of why I’m called by HIM to be a teacher for HIM AND HIS GLORY!!!!!!!!

Today also happened to be one of the hottest days during the week, so we brought everyone inside to watch a movie. (It was my first time seeing “Moana”.)

After the children left, it was time for the SD-mission-trip-story-famous-annual SOFTBALL GAME! (Wow, that’s a mouthful!) My friends and I were so excited to watch on this fun summer day. And let me tell ya, those South Dakotans can PLAY! Several of our friends played, and it was exciting to see them using the gifts that THE GOD THE FATHER THE ETERNALLY has given to them to use for HIM AND HIS GLORY ETERNALLY!!!!!!!! I didn’t know I had such talented blessings called friends!!!!

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Some pretty sights on the way to the softball game!

And then, naturally, on the way back to the ranch, our lovely blessings called friends humor us by playing patriotic colonial music while the other played eagle sounds. The normal. 🙂

July 5th

Most of the days following were a little bit of a mixture between Monday and Tuesday- We knew we were having camp but we never knew how many of the children were going to show up. But this was actually a huge blessing from GOD THE LORD, THE FATHER, as HE was showing us that we don’t have to know what’s going on- we just need and have to trust in HIM and that HE already has it willed and planned out- which is the best because HE IS THE BEST ETERNALLY!!!!

Today was the day that we found out we were able to go to the badlands. We had heard stories and seen pictures of this vast territory, had driven by it as we were going to other places, but hadn’t been to see what all of the talk was about, yet. As soon as we heard there was a signup sheet for those interested in going, our names were filling up so quickly. This was something that I was most excited for on the trip, and GOD never disappoints, ever. HE IS BEYOND FAITHFUL ETERNALLY!!!!! HE gets me so excited, yall!!!!

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Please appreciate our blessing of a stereo system on our way there….

AND THEN, YALL. Well, just appreciate and be in awe of GOD and HIS amazing, marvelous, wonderful awesome creation….

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And then we had some fun setting up spikeball….

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…. and then we watched some friends play spikeball. Fun fact: this game gets very intense!

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Our lighting for the game was quite legit!

And yall, look what our GREAT AND AMAZING GOD has done!!!!!!!! 🙂

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July 6th

Happy birthday to my sister, Shelby!! 🙂 Thank You GOD, JESUS, for her and the blessing that she is from YOU! 🙂

The second to last day on the ranch, the day I actually began taking pictures of the kiddos! 🙂

Luke 18:16

16 But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

One of the coolest crafts of the week- painting a cross!! 🙂

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By far my favorite craft/project that we did during the week. This was definitely a reminder to us from GOD of the Gospel and HIS eternal, neverending LOVE AND LOVINGKINDNESS for us!! 🙂

This bracelet and the different colored beads represent a true relationship with God, in Christ, when we are born again and made new in and through HIM only! John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

It represents what it truly means to not only be a believer but a follower of GOD, JESUS CHRIST, that we are delivered from darkness, from death, to THE LIFE which is HIM GOD!!!!

1 John 3:13-24

13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Black: Romans 3:23 ” 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Unrepented sin leads to eternal darkness

 

Red: Romans 5:8 ” But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

White: Psalm 51:7 “

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

A clean heart is a pure heart.

 

Blue: Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 

Baptism symbolizes new life in Christ.

 

Green: 2 Peter 3:18 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation!

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [c]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

 

 

Yellow: Revelation 2:10 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 

verses You were meant to live forever  🙂

As soon as the Bible station instructors began explaining this cool project for the kids, I immediately felt in my heart that I was supposed to make one too. GOD was reminding me that even during the middle of a hot, crazy camp, I, and we, are still HIS, and HE’S got us, always eternally!! 🙂

P.S. I still have the bracelet. I switched the leather tie part for a pink ribbon so that it would stay more put-together, and I’m still reminded of HIS goodness and greatness when I wear it and look at it.

P.S.S. I’m so so excited for when someone asks me about it when I’m wearing it, so that I can share The Good News, Him, and the blessed gospel of JESUS CHRIST!! Eternally 🙂

Because this was our last night spent on the ranch at the camp, we wanted to get pictures by the ranch sign, and just chill out having a lot of fun- which we did! 🙂

But first, sweet Christian. IMG_4961One of Christian’s recurring phrases was to Noah as he tells him not to take his glasses- so cute and sweet!

 

 

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Our blessed sweet friends who became family, The Llewellyns!

 

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Cute doggies that were a great addition to the many memories from THE LORD GOD!!! 🙂

(Ranger on the left and Jackie on the right)

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Some porch and yard fun!! 🙂

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Sweet Marley dog!

Soon after, the boys found a bike. Let’s put it together, shall we? Teenage boys + bike= ….

Kicking a soccer ball at the one trying to ride the bike. I promise they’re good people and blessed friends! 🙂

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More beautiful views from The Lord THE GOD THE ALMIGHTY AND THE SOVEREIGN 🙂 !!!!!!

Then it was time for…. BUBBLES!!

During the welcoming/worship for the kids during the week, we had our own “superhero” to give the devotion while interacting with the kids: Bible man!

“Bible man” always entered the room with background music and bubble guns, truly so exciting and fun for everyone!

Since this was our last night on the ranch at the camp and wouldn’t have the welcoming worship the next morning after the mission trip group devotional, the bubble guns were free to use! After we got to play with them for a bit, we handed it to Christian, and it’s safe to say he had the most fun! Thank You, Jesus, for sweet, precious moments and memories from YOU! 🙂

 

Like, c’mon, how CUTE is he?! (This even inspired Josh’s soon to be birthday gift to Christian after the mission trip!) 🙂

July 7th

The last day on the ranch, and the last day of camp (Well, for the week, at least). Bittersweet is how I can describe the night prior and the morning of. We were of course excited to get home to our family and friends but also sad about leaving- we have grown to love it here and we have grown to love the blessings of people family that GOD has blessed us with!

We knew that we would get to see the children before we left and have a lot more fun with them, but since it was only a half-day at the camp we also knew that we would be leaving soon. But before we left, GOD still had some more memories and fun that HE had planned to bless us with! PRAISE HIM! 🙂 !!

As the kids were arriving, the bike came out. No more trying to nail each other in the head with kickballs, but we did have some fun letting the kids ride it, and thankfully our friend Jacob helped.

First up was Christian!

SD bike

And then his sister, Taylor, wanted a turn!

She was VERY determined, even when it was a little wobbly!!

She did quite well, actually! Go Taylor! 🙂

After this fun bike ride, it was time for the camp “Grand Prix derby race” for the kids! This was honestly so much fun. Some of our awesome team members had put together a ramp for the cars. It ran almost the length of the main room! Everyone’s, which was all of the kids, cars were raced down the track, and the winners were narrowed down after each round. The children loved it! There was so much excitement in the room and it was such a blessing that (praise THE LORD) all of the kids were behaving!! 🙂

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As we sat behind the tech booth and watched these kids race their cars and the excitement on their faces as they watched each car go down the track, I am reminded of the little joys that are actually big joys, big, ginormous blessings from THE LORD GOD THE ALMIGHTY THE SOVEREIGN THE ETERNALLY!!!! 🙂

After the race, we all went outside to play with the kids one last time for the week before we left. Basketball or four-square, these kids are talented! So many skills and gifts and blessings around us that we got to experience while watching and playing with them. The sun was beating down but we didn’t mind. We played and played as we knew we would miss them just hours later. BUT GOD 🙂 !!

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Sweet, Precious Lupe. Always asking what your name is (even if you’ve told her five times), and then asking you what hers is. Never got tired of it. 🙂  Sweet story and memory of Lupe and I: as she rode on my back and we ran around I would sing “doo da doo da doo doo doo” to the beat of my steps and skips. When I stopped I heard, “Can you do ‘doo da doo da doooo‘?” And of course, I did. 🙂

 

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Piggyback rides are a favorite around here! 🙂

 

Throughout this blessed precious week, each one of the children warmed up to us, and these pictures only show this very partially. I have a blessing of a story from GOD to explain 🙂 .

My best friend Sarah was put with the 9 & 10 year olds, and although she was thrilled, like most of us she was about to learn the beautiful gift and blessing of patience and perseverance from GOD THE LORD 🙂 . The very first day, a girl in Sarah’s group was getting involved into all sorts of trouble. Sarah shared with us how she was truly struggling with that being the first day and trying her best to help in the situation. Fast forward to the second-to-last day of camp, while we were in crafts painting the cross, and that same girl who had previously rejected Sarah as a friend, only wanted Sarah helping her with the craft. I couldn’t help but in that moment to think of the progress that GOD had shown throughout the whole week. How many times did we doubt at the beginning of the process? AND HOW MUCH MORE DID GOD show that we can and NEED to and SHOULD trust IN HIM in every moment, the eternally. BUT GOD!!!!!!!!

The Llewellyns

I mentioned early the Llewellyn family that we met on the trip. I had known Mrs. Llewellyn, as she used to be one of the second grade teachers at the school we attended. I knew how sweet she was, and I knew that she was married, I knew that she had a little girl when I was younger (seriously, I can still remember their pregnancy announcement and the gender reveal, along with the name for their firstborn little girl, Sydney!). BUT GOD. But what GOD was about to do was beyond amazing. The very first night there, we began playing with their (4!) children, and it was truly one of the greatest blessings and joys, ever, truly, honestly, purely. These children are some of the most grateful, graceful, joyful, God-loving, faith-living and loving that I have ever met. And these are just some of the words to describe this family as a whole. The blessing from GOD that they were, as HE was showing us, reminding us that even in the crazy moments of life, even during the hot, activity-filled days, when we think that we are too tired to even function at the end, HE reminded us, and constantly reminds us that HE will always give peace. This family is truly an example of that peace. They show His Love and shine His Light so boldly and brightly, that we can’t help but feel the joy and love and perfect peace everytime we are around them. It was, and is, like a breath of fresh air each day as we got to sit down with them, whether it was having serious faith-filled encouraging conversations, eating, or playing “fishy-fishy”, and I know that we will never forget these moments of God’s grace and love and boldly bright light, and I pray and hope that yall get to meet them one day to experience the same blessing from GOD THE LORD ALMIGHTY THE SOVEREIGN THE ETERNALLY!!!!!!!!

This blessing of a mission trip from GOD was a way of HIM showing me, reminding me, reminding me of the continuous, eternal truth of what the constant, true eternal mission is. To know GOD and to make HIM known! Matthew 22:34-40 “34. But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37. And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOU HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38. This is the great and foremost commandment. 39. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 28:17-20 “17. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some were doubtful. 18. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20. teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” God didn’t promise it was going to be easy. But God- HE DID AND DOES PROMISE that it will be beyond worth it. GOD’S ETERNAL PROMISE still remains and eternally will remain- eternally 🙂

To be a disciple of GOD, of JESUS CHRIST, is not only to be a believer and a follower- but to share HIS LOVE, to shine HIS PERFECT BRIGHT AND BOLDNESS LIGHT!! To know HIM and to make HIM known. This is in every moment. We are walking, talking, breathing miracles radiating God, THE LOVE AND LIFE inside of us, shining, being a light to proclaim what HE has done. To give only HIM the glory, honor and praise, so that others see not us but HIM, GOD, in us eternally!

“Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him.” – C.S. Lewis

Matthew 5:13-18 Disciples and the World “13. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

14. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15. nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

17. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

And y’all, God doesn’t promise easy, He promises that HE KEEPS HIS PROMISE AND HE IS ETERNALLY FAITHFUL FOR- WELL, ETERNALLY!!!! He promises and shows that He is with us, that we don’t have to fear the giants or the lions or the mountains. He promises that if- when- we have complete faith and trust IN HIM- we are more than conquerors through HIM eternally 🙂 !!!!

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 “6. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord- 7.for we walk by faith, not by sight- 8.we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

Matthew 17:19-21 “19. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20. And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21. [But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]

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Will I go on this trip next year and the years to come? I pray I do, and, God-willing, I will. 🙂

HEY THERE! My best friend in this post, Sarah, created a blog! She wrote about this same mission trip experience and I’m so so beyond sure GOD is going to put loads more on her heart to write about for HIM AND HIS GLORY THE ETERNALLY! Go check it out! 🙂

https://soulsophisticated.wordpress.com/

P.S. enjoy some of these blessed beloved extra pics (which include the ever so famous sleeping pics) that were thankfully taken! 🙂

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John 3:16-17

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

John 16:33

33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

1 John 4:19

19 We love, because He first loved us.

 

 

Why I hate the word “sexy”.

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Genesis 1:26-27 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 5:1-2

Descendants of Adam

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.


We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made, we’re beautiful, we are incomparable- we’ve heard it all before and we’ll continue hearing it and believing it. But what else will we keep hearing? By the title of this blog post some may be confused, others offended, some just wanting to know why, either way I know this has to be discussed.

I’ve had this post placed on my heart for quite awhile now, it just turns out God placed it in His timing for me to write it now. And I believe- I KNOW- that God’s plan aligns like nothing else we could ever imagine, everything is perfect because HE is completely perfect. And this is why I know that it was not a coincidence that before I began writing this post, God laid it also on my heart to catch up on the past two church sermons that I had missed. The series we are in is titled “Blessed” and it is from the sermon on the mount that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ- WHO IS GOD- gave that is oh so blessedly given to us in HIS Word- The Bible. The particular sermon that God had me listen to tonight was about anger, but it isn’t anger that related to what I am going to talk about in this blog post.

“Words hurt.” This, is what relates to what I am going to talk about.

Before I even begin to get to that point, I am going to start off with a little grammar lesson that relates to the point of this whole post. Why? Well, you’ll see.

Why do we add the letter ‘y’ to the end of some words? In a simplified answer, it is primarily to emphasize and extend the, well, extent that the original word is being used. For example,

We know what it means when something is fun, but when something is funny, it is so much fun that it creates a hysterical reaction- full of fun.

We can identify a word as a word, but we know that when something is wordy, it is something that is full of words.

We don’t think enough about what words actually mean, no matter how much they are used in such a casual way, and I believe that the word “sexy” is one of them.

When you hear or read the word “sexy”, you see something you’ve seen a billion times- all over social media, magazines, television, billboards- this word is known to all, and that isn’t a good thing. We see or hear this word and think of it as “a compliment” along the lines of pretty, attractive, or even beautiful. We think of it as a way of describing someone when we see them. But little of the time, if ever, do we stop and think about what we’re saying.

Some may say I’m overthinking this, others not understanding, some calling me crazy for saying such a popular word could be that bad, but it is. The first reason I’m giving is the reason which is pretty much the basis for the others.

We don’t think about what the word truly means.

In and of itself, we don’t stop and look at the word and how it is even put together. “sexy”. When we look at the word and break it down like the previous examples that I gave, the original word sitting there is “sex”. There’s no going around it, no trying to deny it, it’s right there. Add a ‘y’ to the end of the word and you get a definition that basically says “full of sex”, “a symbol of sex”.

Some people probably just got so confused like, “woah woah woah, there’s no way that that’s what the word means, I mean, come on, we use it every day”. And some may think “Well that isn’t what I’m trying to say when I use the word, and the same is for others I hear use it.” Which is true, that is usually not the intentional meaning people have in mind when using it, reading it, hearing it. It’s just viewed as another “compliment”, “adjective” word. And that is exactly my point as I’m writing this blog post. We don’t pay attention to our words enough and what they actually mean when they are sitting RIGHT in front of us.

I realize that this word has been used for quite some time, and I mean quite some time. We see or hear it average once a week if not every other day in some way. But just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s correct or right, even okay to use. It is in fact quite disrespectful.

We are created in the image of GOD.

No denying it, it’s one of the first things HE shows and tells us and reminds us continuously of in HIS WORD. Being respectful to GOD means being respectful to HIS WAYS. Y’all, we are one of His ways- His ways of doing something marvelous and amazing- creating us…. in HIS image only. I don’t think, I hope, that we would call the image of God “sexy”, whatsoever. Whatsoever meaning even us, who are created IN HIS IMAGE.

The word is used so much.

Think about it, how many times it is used in captions on social media, in a conversation on a morning talk show, even used in storefront advertisements all over the world. There’s no stopping (anytime soon) this word being around us because to be truthful, it’s going to be in a lot of places. And this word is used so much that it has become as common as the simple word “and” or “the”, and has become a bullet point on the list of “descriptive, compliment” options in our daily vocabulary.

This word is used too much.

As I said, this word has become so common as to fall in the category of daily “descriptions” or “compliments”…Which means that there are other options. Out of all of the exquisite, wonderful words (there’s two right there) that have been given to us in God’s gift of speech, we choose “sexy”. Do not settle for words such as these when you have all of these other great words to use in your daily vocabulary. Our words go such a long way, beloved friends, they do. W are to use our speech for GOD and HIS GLORY, to glorify HIM ONLY, EVERY MOMENT. Don’t take the moments that you have the blessed opportunity to speak for granted, they are opportunities to share Grace Himself.

There are way better words to use.

BEAUTIFUL

FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

CREATED

PRETTY

LOVELY

ELEGANT

BOLD

These are just some of the words that we can use instead of the word “sexy”. There’s a reason why these words look like more, mean more and are more than the word “sexy”- because they describe not only outward appearance, but the inside, the character, the soul. You see, we are so so quick to immediately want to describe a person by their outward appearance. very rarely do we look at a person and use these words to describe their soul, their inward appearance. One of GOD’S blessings is the ability for us to do this, and like a lot of HIS BLESSINGS, we sometimes overlook it when it is so easy to see the outward and not the inward. BUT GOD- yes, here HE goes working miracles. BUT GOD. HE has given us the blessed ability, opportunity to be transformed, renewed, and when this happens, there is a change in you- a blessed, marvelous change by and through HIM that includes what? The ability to see people not as an outward structure of flesh but of a FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE SOUL- GOD’S CHILD.


We need to please GOD.

Even in our words. I am in no way saying that “If you say, hear or read the word sexy you are just horrible and you aren’t pleasing God with your life.” because that’s not true and not what I’m meaning by all of this. What I mean is that GOD calls us to be wholesome in everything- our actions, thoughts, conduct, behavior, character, everything, including our speech. So let this be a reminder that THE ONE WHO created us, IS THE SAME AND ONLY ONE WHO has blessed us with the gift of speech, to uplift one another, and has given us the ability speak wholesome words that will put wholesome thoughts into one another- the blessing to use wholesome words other than the bland, the word that’s meaning is far from the others’ wholesome meanings and thoughts- “sexy”. But don’t change your vocabulary or your thought process in a way that is to please others and make them feel good- which is a good thing, to speak and act in a way that will help others- but remember WHO WE’RE DOING IT FOR- THE GOD, THE CREATOR, THE LORD GOD THE ALMIGHTY THE FATHER, LIFE AND LOVE HIMSELF WHO LOVES US AND HAS FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY CREATED US- WHO KNOWS US INSIDE THE DEPTHS AND OUTSIDE, WHO CREATED OUR SOULS AND HEARTS AND LOVES US.

Now again, my purpose of this blog post wasn’t in any way to point fingers to anyone, but to point out a different perspective on even the most common of things in the society, in the world. And may this be a reminder that I am more, you are more, we are more than even close to “sexy”, so let’s act and speak like it. Remember, we are loved by GOD, LOVE HIMSELF, and I am, you are, we are fearfully and oh so wonderfully made by GOD THE CREATOR, LIFE HIMSELF. Focus on HIM, beloved.

Ephesians 4:29

29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

1 Timothy 4:11-12

11 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Psalm 139:13-18

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

ETERNALLY.

Spring Things!

It is well with my soul (9) Lamentations 3:21-23 “21. This I recall to my mind,

Therefore I have hope.

22. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed

never cease,

For His compassions never fail.

23. They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.”

Spring is just around the cor- OH, LOOK, Spring has sprung! That was fun! It’s still more than okay to make a post about spring-y things, though. I’m so excited about spring that I wanted to share some ideas that relate to this beautiful GOD-given season! I’ve thought about it and I’m putting together a list of things that will be most relevant- activities, food, etc., you get the picture. Some of these things I’ve done already, others are things I definitely want to do. I hope this inspires you and gets you oh so so excited for spring!

THINGS TO DO:

  • Go on a walk- but not just a walk, GO ON A HIKE! It’s always great to get some fresh air, but it’s even better when you get some exercise as well! So grab some friends, pack a snack and some water (okay, lots of water), have fun and enjoy GOD’S beautiful creation!

hiking

  • Go look at some flowers! Whether it’s at a supermarket, a flower shop or even just a field on the side of the road, step outside and go looking- and picking- some of GOD’S beautiful creation!

flower collageimage via: google images

  • Get frozen-yogurt! Grab some friends and go get some of that delicious frozen treat! My personal favorite is anything simple- like vanilla, coconut, and then maybe some cake batter. Toppings? Strawberries and coconut flakes for the win, throwing in some white chocolate chips in there. This activity can for sure go into summer, or if you’re like me, every season, but it’s definitely a good idea!

images via: http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2013/06/04/build-a-better-frozen-yogurt-sundae/

http://www.goldenspoon.com/

  • Make a floral something! Get creative, there’s tons of flowers, greenery and foliage to choose from, as well as all of the beautiful colors in GOD’S creation to make something so cute and cool! This goes for all sorts of decorations- room décor, table center pieces and even wreaths!

images via: (linked in image)

THINGS TO EAT:

  • BLT pasta salad! I love good balance- light, healthy meals that are also filling and, well, have meat on them. This recipe I found is a great example. Use this as the main course or even as a side dish, on a Friday night at home or even a picnic outdoors, enjoy!

http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/blt-pasta-salad/ blt pasta salad recipe

image via: Life in the Lofthouse

  • Chicken thighs with sweet potatoes, corn and kale bake! You can’t go wrong with chicken, plus you get all of those good-for-you vegetables in there, too (even sweet potatoes, I could eat those all day long)- ALL IN ONE!

http://www.jocooks.com/main-courses/poultry-main-courses/chicken-thighs-sweet-potatoes-corn-kale-bake/sp&crecipe2

image via: Jo Cooks

  • Strawberry pie! This is a simple yet oh so delicious treat that is not only a spring but summertime staple as well. Pie+easy+fruit= YUM!

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/cool-n-easy-strawberry-pie-53372.aspx?cm_mmc=Social-_-Pinterest-_-CPC-_-CoolNEasyStrawberryPie&pp=0

strawberry pie

image via: Kraft

  • Homemade strawberry-banana ice cream! I know I already used a strawberry dessert, but I mean, come on, it’s ice cream! Mix this simple but delicious treat up in a blender/food processor in minutes, stick it in the freezer or eat it right away! (And it’s also healthy!).

http://www.tosimplyinspire.com/2-minute-healthy-homemade-strawberry-ice-cream.htmlHealthy-Homemade-Strawberry-Ice-Cream

image via: To Simply Inspire

REFRESHMENTS:

  • FRUIT WATER! I know this is a simple one, very easy and straightforward, and is actually great all of the time, but how can you not add fruit-water to a list of great spring refreshments! Grab some water, ice-cold is preferable in this weather, and throw in some fruit and there!

fruit waterimage via: Steamed Not Fried

  • Peach green tea! If you’re looking for something soothing with that fruity, springtime feel, this tea is definitely the way to go! It’s simple enough that you can make a large quantity to last awhile and still has a great flavor, or narrow down the amount of ingredients to make one cup!

http://nourishedsimply.com/peach-green-tea/

peach-green-tea

image via: Nourished Simply

  • Iced coffee! Need I say more? You didn’t think we’d get this far in refreshments and not have coffee, did you? Here’s 3 simple but tasty recipes I found that {taste} for themselves! 🙂

http://thegirlonbloor.com/iced-coffee-recipes-caramel-vanilla-and-mocha/

Iced-Coffee-Recipes-7

image via: The Girl on Bloor

  • Lavender lemonade! Okay, I know, I know, sounds weird. But I thought about it and this actually sounds pretty decent! I don’t know if it’s the color, the sound of it or the simple ingredients but this screams (tastes?) spring! Maybe even throw in some vanilla to taste. I’m definitely willing to try it, and hey, it’s definitely one of the prettier looking drinks!

http://thenymelrosefamily.com/lavender-lemonade/

Lavender-Lemonadeimage via: The Melrose Family

THINGS TO MAKE:
  • A spring-floral wreath! I know I already mentioned making something floral, but I wanted to specify in the wreath especially. Whether you build off of an original or start from scratch, these can be a fun project! You’ll need a foam, wire, or branch wreath to start with. Grab some faux flowers, greenery decorations and glue (and a bow for a nice touch) and you’ve got yourself a cute wreath to hang on your front door!

images via: (linked in image)

  • Mason jar crafts! This is a very broad but very cute category when it comes to the topic of DIY’s! Mason jars aren’t just good for food and beverages, you know! Whether using for a vase, decoration, storage, or decorative storage, these glass containers are very useful around the home and almost everywhere!

images via: (linked in image)

  • Flower initials! I know, I know, more floral. But hey, it’s spring! These cute decorations can be placed in your bedroom, in the kitchen, living room and even outdoor space! Use for your name, initials and words/phrases! Any type of initial, some faux flowers and glue is what you’ll need for this springy diy!

images via: (linked in image)

  • Springy rustic chic! That’s right, springy rustic chic! Y’all are welcome to use that whenever and wherever you feel it is needed! 🙂 Y’all know what I’m talking about, though. You know when something’s cute and flowery but has that woodsy, rustic feel to it, as well? That’s what I’m talking about! These mason jar string art decorations are a great example of this! Wood, yarn and faux flowers (and some nails and a hammer) make this a fun, cute way to decorate your home or use as a gift to that springy rustic chic person in your life! 🙂

http://www.amazinginteriordesign.stfi.re/10-creative-diy-spring-projects-love-try/?sf=bpavklp#aa

instructions and tutorial: https://www.sugarbeecrafts.com/2016/07/mason-jar-string-art.html

string art

image via: Amazing Interior Design

mason jar string art2image via: Sugar Bee Crafts

  • With the kids! I’m currently in school studying to be an elementary teacher, so when I saw these diy craft ideas pop up on pinterest I thought I just had to share them! Whether it be for your children, cousins, nieces and nephews, students, kids you babysit or even something fun for you to do with your friends, these are great ways to add excitement about springtime and get creative as well! 🙂
  • Craft stick flower pots. When I saw this it was an immediate edition to this list because of how cute and classic yet clever it is. With all of those craft sticks lying around (Seriously, do y’all remember when we used those for everything?), and lots of creativity from the kiddos, this is a fun project that can be put to use for some pretty spring flowers!

https://typicallysimple.com/craft-stick-flower-pots/

Craft-Stick-Flower-Pots-5image via: Typically Simple

  • Paper straw tulips. Yes, you heard me! These are simple but sweet ways to let children make flowers as decorations with just a few simple supplies!

http://iheartcraftythings.com/paper-straw-tulip-craft.html

paper-straw-tulip-craftimage via: I Heart Crafty Things

  • Umbrella and Rain- paint with bubble wrap. BUBBLE WRAP. Now you’ve REALLY heard me, get it? And we can’t forget about these April Showers that bring May flowers! And who doesn’t love to play with some good ole’ bubble wrap!

http://www.123homeschool4me.com/2017/04/bubble-wrap-rain-craft.html

umbrella rain painted bubble wrap prints weather craft 8image via: 123 Homeschool 4 Me

  • Q-tip daisies. This is another simple but sweet craft for the kiddos! It takes very little time and will be a nice spring craft that they can take home to hang on the fridge! Have them make multiple flowers and use them to decorate your classroom door!

http://thepinterestedparent.com/2017/04/q-tip-daisy-craft/

qtip daisiesimage via: The Pinterested Parent

  • Cupcake liner sunflowers. Well we’re just sprinkling all of the flowers today, aren’t we? 🙂 Another cute flowery craft that is simple yet gets the kids’ creativity flowing by putting household items to good use (maybe even use the rest of the cupcake liners to bake some actual cupcakes afterwards too- and decorate with icing flowers? 🙂

http://www.playdoughandpopsicles.com/2016/08/19/fun-cupcake-liner-sunflower-craft/

sunflower cupcake liner craftimage via: Play dough & Popsicles

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar book-inspired craft. Most of us know and love the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and remember how fun reading it was. This craft is perfect to use while reading, if the students are learning about metamorphosis or if you’re just looking for a cute, simple and crafty activity for the kids!

http://whereimaginationgrows.com/caterpillar-craft-for-kids/

caterpillar-craft-paper-chain-fbimage via: Where Imagination Grows

  • Sponge-painted butterfly. And what’s a caterpillar without the butterfly?! This is a creative way to follow-up the caterpillar craft, a great springtime activity and an excellent way to emphasize to the children their specialness and uniqueness in, through and with GOD! Give them each a blank butterfly cutout, a craft stick for the body, some pipe cleaners for the antennas, paint brushes, sponges or whatever choice of painting-tool and let them choose their butterfly wing colors and voila! You get creative, unique crafts from very special, creative and unique children! 🙂

http://www.theresourcefulmama.com/sponge-painted-butterfly-craft-kids/

sponge-painted-butterfly-craft-3image via: The Resourceful Mama

I hope y’all enjoyed this long list of Spring things to do, eat, drink, and craft during this beautiful season which GOD has created! Remember that no matter what season you’re in, God has you and HE has had you since before you were in your mother’s womb, so don’t let the dead and bitter cold of winter get you down, don’t listen to satan and his lies, don’t listen to the world, and don’t be discouraged because of how dark and cold the world is. Look for the positive, the happy, the joy, seek GOD, desire HIM AND ONLY HIM ALONE, and you will see just how beautiful the colorful leaves are despite their falling, for GOD knows and has purposed and willed and planned for the best because HE IS THE BEST, AND HE WILL show, remind, tell and teach you this, so hold onto your thankfulness during each and every season that HE has willed and planned, because HE WILL show you the beauty that comes out of it! HE will grow and bloom you so so beyond beautifully, and you will be so happy, beautiful, joyful and bright in and through HIM that the various seasons won’t worry or bother you because despite the changing of all of them, HE, GOD, REMAINS, AND HE IS FOREVER, ETERNALLY CHANGELESS!!!!!!!! GOD IS LOVE AND HE LOVES US, WE ARE SO SO BEYOND LOVED BY LOVE HIMSELF, I PRAY AND HOPE THAT WE DONT EVER FORGET THIS TRUTH!!!! 🙂

Lamentations 3:24-28 “24. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“Therefore I have hope in Him.”

25. The LORD is good to those who wait for

Him,

To the person who seeks Him.

26. It is good that he waits silently

For the salvation of the LORD.

27. It is good for a man that he should bear

The yoke in his youth.

28. Let him sit alone and be silent

Since He has laid it on him.”

Psalm 51:10 “10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 30:1-5 A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House. A Psalm of David.

“1. I will extol You, O LORD, for You have

lifted me up,

And have not let my enemies rejoice

over me.

2. O LORD my God,

I cried to You for help, and You healed

me.

3. O LORD, You have brought up my soul

from Sheol;

You have kept me alive, that I would not

go down to the pit.

4. Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly

ones,

And give thanks to His holy name.

5. For His anger is but for a moment,

His favor is for a lifetime;

Weeping may last for the night,

But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”

Changing the Oil

It is well with my soul (7)

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

 

For Him.

The other week, God spoke to me, reminding me of His Truth in two events during a day that may seem completely casual and unimportant to most. These two things, though they were reminded to me in some casual ways, are far from casual and unimportant, by all means. These two things are just some of the bits of reminders that we need on a daily basis, as constant reminders in every moment. And GOD WILL remind us of these things, even in daily events.

These are the 2 things that God reminded me of:

  1. Do not worry, GOD’S got it all, and don’t forget this even when others think differently.
  2. We need God in our tanks.

 

The night before these events, I was coming home, – to be honest it’s been what feels like a long couple of weeks so I can’t remember if it was from school or work, probably work- and as I was driving in the neighborhood, almost to my house, I heard a noise that sounded near the tire. The tire pressure light didn’t come on, so I was glad about that, and I just brushed it off because I thought I could’ve just ran over a stick or something. The next afternoon as I was leaving for class, there was a very strange sound that occurred anytime my foot was on the gas. This wasn’t good. Still no tire pressure sign, though. I sent a video to my dad so that he could hear the noise as well.

After emailing my professor saying I wasn’t going to make it because I lived 30 minutes away and I wasn’t risking a flat tire (I mean it’s the truth), my dad called saying he thought it could be something with the engine and that he would take a look at it soon. I told him I still thought it could be a stick or something because of the event the night prior, but he disagreed. My mom took a look at it when she got home from work, and, lo and behold, a long branch was stuck up under the tire, funny, right?

 

Since my dad was going to check my car anyway, we went ahead and checked the oil in it. As we were standing there right outside the garage, hood lifted and all, dad proceeded to check the oil, making sure everything was alright, that there was enough in the car, and, as most dads probably do, was telling me all about it. But was I listening? Not really.

Let me put it this way, y’all. If you know me pretty well, you may have noticed me playing with my ears every once in awhile. I’ve done this since I was younger, it’s pretty much equivalent to most with sucking their thumb. I mainly do this when I’m either tired, bored, zoning out, or maybe a mixture of all of these, and let me tell ya, I was playing with my ear pretty much the whole time dad was talking.

Was it because of him? No, of course not. I mean, I do greatly appreciate that he was taking the time to check and change the oil in my car, refilling the tank and telling me information that I need to know, things that are important, and things that I can and will use. During that moment I realized how much this is like us with God.

 

  1. A lot of times in life we go through moments where, even as servants of GOD and followers of CHRIST, we may not know what GOD is doing at the moment, what just happened. Something happens and we look to the dashboard seeing if God will give us a sign of what’s going on, where the issue is or how we can fix it, or what HE wants us to do. We still have faith in GOD and HIS WORD, HIS TRUTH, and we know that HE is faithful in HIS promises, and we have this HOPE within us and this indication to be patient because we know HE, well, knows, always, eternally. But even in these moments of faith, these moments when GOD gives us indication that there really isn’t an issue, that it’s just a stick under the car, people will look at you and listen to what you have to say and wonder and ask you why you still have faith. And they wonder why you aren’t worried, they’re telling you all of the things that could be the issue and they’re doubting. But when they doubt, when others can’t see what GOD is doing, when others are worried and wondering why we’re not, when others don’t understand why we still have faith in GOD or why we’re still believing in HIM AND HIS PROMISES, we need to, and should, HOLD FAST to the promise with which we are given by HIM, ETERNALLY, THE BEYOND FAITHFUL ONE OF ALL. And others WILL see GOD and HIS WORKS. They will see why you have stayed STEADFAST in the faith in GOD and they will see why we don’t worry, because, why should we worry? Do not listen to the people of the world doubting you, listen to GOD, THE CREATOR AND SAVIOR OF ALL, no matter what others tell you to believe. Believe in HIM and HIM alone.

Hebrews 10:23-25

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

 

2. Think about it this way, if our life is like a car (bare with me, y’all, it’s 4:08 a.m. when I’m typing this). If our life is like a car, we have the engine, we have the oil, the gas, all of it. Think about it also as our walk with CHRIST like a car. When you’re driving a car, you need and want the complete assurance that the car’s engine is good, and that the oil and gas are filled up as they need to be. If you’re running out of oil, you’ll see the signs. Same with the gas, if you’re running low on gas the car won’t run as well. If you’re empty of gas, the car won’t run at all. But if the engine is bad, then, well, the car is mostly just not gonna be in good shape, because the engine is the key component to the car running properly. This is like our lives and our walk with CHRIST. We can be in our walk with Christ and everything is good, and yes we are completely saved and forgiven, and no, no one and nothing can ever take that away, but if we aren’t seeking and pursuing GOD, truly seeking and pursuing GOD, if we aren’t refueling ourselves EVERY SINGLE DAY in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT, then we’re gonna notice and we won’t run as well. If we get saved and then just go on our happy way-on a drive, if you will-, without even attempting to seek and pursue GOD, being refueled by HIM in every moment, being full of HIM, never stopping to get gas or check the oil in the car, it does very, very little. What will happen? You’ll see it and you’ll feel it. You won’t run as well. You’ll feel more emptiness, you’ll need more gas and more oil. But does GOD stay silent? Oh no no, my friends, oh no no, for my GOD, THE GOD, is THE GOD WHO speaks, even when HIS speaking is through showing us things. HE WILL light up that warning on the dashboard so quick and so bright that you will KNOW what you need: more of HIM, always, eternally. And guess what? GOD WILL do it right there- HE’S always here, even closer than just around the corner to a gas station(again, y’all, it’s late in the hours, I’m trying with this analogy). But it all comes down to the engine. If the engine isn’t good, the whole car won’t be, at all. Will the car still be a car and drive with a bad engine? Yes, but it will be miserable. You will be miserable. And with the misery and the bad engine, you know it will fail, and you know that it won’t last. And GOD WILL tell you THE TRUTH. HE tells us the information that is oh so so very important, the most important, and a lot of the time our earthly ears just hear it as some long talk about “what we need and blah blah blah”, when it is the most beautiful and most important thing that we can ever hear. But maybe you’re ignoring it. Maybe you know it’s bad but you don’t want to fix it because you’re afraid of the cost, afraid of what may happen. Y’all, when we have a bad engine, when we have a bad center of our lives, it will be EXTREMELY EVIDENT, not just to us but to everyone who sees us. The unhappiness, the un-satisfaction and the misery is evident when we don’t have the true satisfaction, completeness and assurance as the center of our lives: GOD. Because truly, if GOD isn’t the center of our lives, if HE isn’t our engine, we won’t run well at all, even if we may think we are for awhile, because all else will fail. Only HE, GOD satisfies eternally. HE is the COMPLETE ASSURANCE that we need and want and long for, because HE IS COMPLETE SATISFACTION. And when you take out that old, rusted engine that fails every time and you place GOD as the center of your life, when you completely give yourself and give it all to HIM, completely for HIM, you will finally be complete, satisfied, completely, utterly and evidently happy, joyful and radiant, and no one and nothing can take that away. So keep being refueled by GOD, because HE WILL pour into you and continue to make you ETERNALLY WHOLE AND FULL, more than anyone or anything else every could, because all else is just bad, false gasoline and oil, being put into cars but only lasting for a moment. GOD, well, HE IS ETERNALLY.

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Ephesians 3:13-21

13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Romans 8:35-39

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

BEYOND BEYOND ETERNALLY IS HE AND HIS LOVE, GOD IS LOVE AND GOD LOVES US, LOVE LOVES US BEYOND BEYOND ETERNALLY!!!!!!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

“That’s MY girl.”

It is well with my soul (5)

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.

Psalm 119:105

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

 

GOD really does speak to us, I promise. But most importantly, HE promises. This past Friday night when I got home I experienced one of the most life changing things to ever happen to me, and it is all because of the sweetest Voice that I have ever heard.

Friday, Friday night especially, I had been having a hard time. It was just a difficult night full of worry and hidden doubt, and to be honest it would’ve been easy for me to just get home, curl up and go to sleep to try to forget about things, about the pain and worry, and just tell God that I trust Him, and do nothing but lay there and wait…. but that wasn’t God’s plan. That was the worry and doubt’s idea, not the Truth. And The Truth, God, ALWAYS overcomes worry and doubt.

When I got home Friday night I knew what I had to do- something that I have honestly been doing a lot of recently, and something I highly suggest doing. I got home, went straight to my room, closed the door, took off my shoes and just hit the floor, on my knees, and started to pray. I just prayed and cried out to God, talking to Him and asking Him what I have been asking a lot of lately, that He will help me, and all of us, to just stay completely focused on Him. I told Him that I do still completely trust in Him and His promises. I felt that true peace, that True Love wash over me.

I have a habit of immediately going to social media. I know that’s a big habit heard of all over the place, but it is something that I struggle with. I have this habit of going straight to my phone before I open up The Word. I’m not saying that social media is bad, but what I am saying is that after a long day, and any day, we all truly need The Truth before we dive straight into what things in the world are going to get inside of our minds.

I remember this experience so vividly. I got up from praying, walked over to my bed, and I saw The Bible and my phone, side by side(that sounds really dramatic but I really don’t care). I heard a voice tell me to pick up The Bible and start reading, to put the phone away and open up The Truth, because HE knew I needed it. I got up on my bed, put my phone under my covers so that it would be out of sight and I picked up The Word, God’s Word, opened it up and heard the most unexplainably loving, peaceful, calming, joyful Voice say to me: “That’s MY girl.”. It was undeniably GOD. HE spoke to me. I had a feeling that I haven’t ever felt before, a chilling feeling that I can’t completely explain or describe. I immediately burst into tears and lifted my arms high, hands open, surrendering to The Lord God Almighty, The Lord Most High. I prayed to Him, talked with Him, praised Him and told Him that I still completely trusted Him, I asked Him for peace. Immediately, IMMEDIATELY, I felt a feeling, a peace that I can’t explain, the tears stopped, I felt a flood of HIS complete Love and Grace completely wash over me, covering me, as He told me, reminded me, that we need to and can trust in HIM.

Right after, I felt GOD telling me to share this experience, to share this moment of amazingness and awesomeness that I won’t ever forget. I knew I was supposed to write about it here on my blog, but I hadn’t ever felt to actually share something publicly, but there is no doubt in my heart and mind that I’m supposed to share this. I put it off for a few days, but y’all, God will continue to remind you to do something, seriously. Sunday afternoon a group of friends and I went on a hike and during our Bible study, God gave me the obvious opportunity to share this story when someone asked about my experience of God talking to me(not a coincidence), and again I still felt the need to share it all over the place.

And maybe I don’t know the whole reason that I need to share this. Maybe someone is going through something and they just want to hear about some good news. Maybe someone needs to know about a miracle. Maybe someone is hoping to see another thing that God does, how He works in our lives. Because although it seems like the simplest phrase, the simplest reminder that I am HIS girl, the truth is, it’s far beyond simple. It is far beyond just a small phrase that was spoken to me. It is way, way more than that. HE reminded me that I AM HIS, AND HIS ALONE, ALWAYS!

We are HIS when the world is pulling at us.

We are HIS when we don’t know where we belong.

We are HIS when confusion is our companion.

We are HIS when fear, doubt and worry creep into our lives.

We are HIS when the world tells us differently.

We are HIS when we are lost, afraid and lonely.

We are HIS still when we are following HIM.

We are HIS when we decide whether to pick up The Word or a cellphone

and

WE ARE STILL HIS when our sins are beyond obvious and THE PURE AND PERFECT LAMB OF GOD, THE LORD, THE CREATOR CHOOSES TO LOVE US ENOUGH TO COVER US IN HIS LOVE AND BLOOD AND NOT LOOK AT OUR SINS.

With HIM, with GOD, with CHRIST JESUS THE LORD AND SAVIOR OF ALL, we are worthy. We are made completely pure.

I am HIS girl, HE tells me so, and I know this to be completely true.

 

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

1 Peter 5:6-7

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

 

The red, white and True and the red, white and new!!

it-is-well-with-my-soul-3

As a lot of us know, the fourth of July was some months ago, the day when americans celebrate this country and the freedom that we have had since 1776. It isn’t just recognized, we celebrate with get-togethers, barbecues, and fireworks….lots and lots of fireworks. Even more recently was the fun event that happens every four years…. the um…. oh you know, what’s that thing that almost everyone hates talking about now? OH, that’s right, the election! I’m not going to talk about the election, because well, that’s not what this post is about, but this post is about something that both of these events have in common: freedom. Americans, and others around the world, love freedom. It’s an awesome thing to have, and we are so, so blessed by GOD to have it. But sometimes, and a lot of the time, we take for granted and or forget the real freedom that we have, that we have always had.: the freedom from GOD, with CHRIST!!!!!!!! GOD has given us freedom through CHRIST that didn’t and doesn’t have to be confirmed by signing a document, keeping a flag raised, or wearing three supportive colors. GOD’S freedom is FREE with CHRIST to us, because HE sacrificed for us, because HE loves us, so soooo much. And it is obviously so important to know this, for we can’t, don’t and won’t know True Freedom until we know that GOD is True Freedom, and that with HIM, through HIM, with CHRIST, through CHRIST, we are free(John 3:16-17, Romans 8:1-4, Galatians 5:1).

What I mean in the title of this blog post is completely a part of a metaphor; a beautiful, wonderful, peaceful, loving, indescribable, incomparable metaphor that has been happening for forever and ever and ever, wayyyy before 1776.

The Red:

GOD loves us so much, that HE sent HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, perfect and blameless and so much more, down to this earth, where there is hate, discrimination, hurting, sorrow, pain, evil, cruelty, etc., to walk this earth, spread Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, and so much more, and be hated and spat on, ridiculed and beaten, nail to a cross and killed. THE KING OF KINGS, THE LORD OF LORDS, THE GOD ALMIGHTY, HIS BLOOD was poured out, HIS BLOOD was spilled, oh was it poured, oh was it spilled, and it isn’t an accident, it’s THE TRUTH, HE IS THE TRUTH. And as HIS blood poured out, as it spilled, so did HIS everlasting, continuous GRACE. It kept pouring, it kept spilling, and it is still doing so to this day, and it will continue happening forever and ever and evermore, no matter what(Isaiah 53:5-6 “5. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” John 3:16-17 “16.”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.””

The White:

GOD. Oh how precious is HE, THE LORD GOD AND SAVIOR OF ALL, JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOR. Oh how precious is HIS NAME, THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES, THE KING OF KINGS, THE LORD OF LORDS. And it isn’t just His name that is so soooo precious, it is HIM. HE is the precious Lamb that was slain, THE LAMB OF GOD, whiter than white, whiter than snow, purer than pure, purer than the freshest water that one can ever drink, HE IS. For HE is perfect, HE did no wrong, none whatsoever, even in the midst of evil and wrong itself while on earth, with us, sinners. HIS pureness is so pure and more that HE has cleansed everyone, each person, each sinner, as white as snow, whiter than snow actually. And only HE can do so, for there is none more pure than HIM, none who could and or can ever be more pure, for no one can be pure without HIM, it’s just not possible, ever!! HE is beyond the purest of pure, being PURENESS HIMSELF. HE always has been, always is, and always will be!!!! Even in the midst of us, HE IS PURE, even in the trials, HE IS PURE, even when things seemed to be at their worst, HE IS PURE, even when dark actions and thoughts and a words were and are thrown at HIM, against HIM, HE IS PURE, in every moment, HE IS PURE, COMPLETE AND BEYOND PERFECT PURENESS. So pure that even when the storms came, literally and metaphorically, HE IS STILL PURE, and even when people doubted, are doubting and will doubt HIM, HE IS STILL PURE. So pure, that HE performed, continues to perform, and will perform miracles from GOD THE FATHER, PURENESS HIMSELF, that when HE died on the cross, water came out of HIS body, out of HIS side, along with HIS precious blood, that was poured out from GOD, THE LORD GOD OF ALL, in HIS plan, for us, and we can continue to see HIS pureness  even after that, oh it didn’t stop there, for HE is so pure, soooo purer than pure, whiter than white, brighter than bright, that HE rose from the grave, from the dead 3 days later, and HE still continues to remain THE PERFECT PURENESS, THE PUREST OF PURE, FOREVER AND EVER AND ALWAYS!!!!!!!! John 3:16-17 “”16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.””

The True:

GOD IS THE ONE TRUE GOD. No circumstances can ever change that, for He is the one Who knows about the circumstances in the first place. No person, even a president, and no issue, even in America, can change the fact that He is The One Who we need, Who everyone needs, and instead of relying on a person or an outcome of a situation to change us and save us, we need to look to and focus on THE SAVIOR OF ALL, GOD, Who was, is, and Who is to come, always and forever!! He is The Truth, and since He is The Truth, HE is what matters, HE AND HIS WORD. Not a constitution, not a set of freedoms and laws, for those freedoms are only temporary, but the TRUE FREEDOM that we have in GOD through CHRIST JESUS is THE TRUTH, everlasting, eternal, and just like HIM, so so amazing.

The red:

We are sinners, all of us, no questions. I could literally end this section with that sentence alone because that is the point I’m trying to make in using red to compare to us. We are sinners, we make mistakes, we always have and we will continue to do so until the day of the coming of The Lord, Christ-OH WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY- and we can’t erase anything we do by ourselves, ever. We are stained, we are just covered, completely covered by the evil, the sin, the shame, there isn’t a way out…. or so we may think.

The white:

BUT GOD. Oh, I love that sentence. BUT GOD, being so loving and gracious and merciful and forgiving, washes it all away, all of it, completely. He looks at us, even so much covered in the nastiness of sin and shame, stained with the evil that we have been a part of, and loves us. HE LOVES US, ALWAYS. No questions asked. He looks at us and smiles because He doesn’t see sinners who cannot be saved- He sees His children Who already have been. He has forgiven us and taken our place before time existed. He wants us to know that, to know Him and to run to HIM. He wants us to turn away from the mess and run to Him, LOVE.

Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The new:

WE ARE MADE COMPLETELY NEW IN CHRIST JESUS THE LORD GOD OF ALL!! Isn’t that amazing?! How can someone contain the excitement about that. The Lord God of all, THE ALMIGHTY, saves us, completely. GOD has washed away our sins, completely. We are no longer stained in sin and shame but washed new, pure and covered instead in The Love, Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness that has set us free, we at free, completely, indeed. No more shame, hurt, or pain. HE has taken everything bad and said “Forget about this, you don’t need the sin, you don’t have to feel the pain.” And HE has told us time after time after time after time, eternally, that we are HIS children, we are forgiven, we are loved, we are pure, and we are definitely made new in HIM.

Isaiah 1:18

“Let Us Reason”

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.