Forgiving yourself

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f o r g i v e   y o u r s e l f   f i r s t.
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Hebrews 10:17 says that he will remember our sins no more. So why should we cling to our faults and failures when he has already forgiven them? Forgive yourself. It’s OK. And it is necessary for you to grow in your life. // #acaptivatedheart #Captivated #Handlettering #brushink #watercolor #peace #forgiveness #Jesus

Things to do/Remember

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Well we have made it a little over a month for 2016! How have you done with your resolutions? Have no fear, it is never too late to begin again as the lovely Joyce Meyer will tell you. But here are some things we can strive to do to be a better “us” this year as well as many years to come!

  1. Stop comparing. – wow this is a big one isn’t it? We have always heard that comparison is the thief of joy. Then why do we continue to do it? Well, I think we live in a world that likes to complain and get upset over things. We tend to get offended very easily, like we are entitled or something. There is always going to be someone who is “prettier” or “smarter” or whatever you can think of based on the worldly scale of acceptance. But no one is you and that is your power. 
  2. Celebrate others. – Sometimes this can be hard because we are back at #1 which is comparison. It can be hard to celebrate and honor others when you are eat up with jealously and envy. You ultimately compare yourself and get in this state of mind to where it is basically impossible to celebrate someone. I mean I have been there, too. But it is so important to know where your worth lies and who God says that you are. I believe once you know where your skills and talents lie, once you can celebrate who you are, it’s easier to celebrate others for who they are.
  3. Be grateful for who I am. – Basically covered this one in #2 but yes; it can not be stressed enough! You would not even exist if you had no purpose or place in this world or in other people’s lives.
  4. Trust God always (not just sometimes) -Absolutely! It is hard to do so when you feel like you are trapped in this labyrinth that you cannot get out of… I know. But that is the whole point of faith! I see super intelligent people who struggle to grasp the concept of trusting in a greater being. But maybe that is the point… We are never really supposed to get caught up with the ways of God and how he works all the time and trying to figure him out. We are his children who are supposed to have the simple child-like faith to just… trust.
  5. Having more does not equal happiness. – Don’t get caught up with the materialistic things. We are so much more than the newest and brightest thing. I have seen people who supposedly “have it all” and are still not happy. Why? Because we are created for more. Not more things, but the more of God. Only he can fill that God-shaped void within each of us.
  6. “Happiness” is a choice. -Each day we must wake up and decide who we want to be. Do we want to be Pessimistic Polly or Optimistic Opera. (lol Opera was not what I was going for but hey I mean it works and was the first ‘O’ name that popped up…) anyway. But yeah! Sometimes we have to be responsible for our happiness. Do not let other people and their negativity and depressing vibes bring you down. Stand firm in the overflowing joy of the Lord.
  7. You are one of a kind. -I love that “I’m the Man” song that says, “God made my mold different from the rest, then he broke that mold so I know I’m blessed.”  Embrace your mold. As my Papacharlie says, “God don’t make junk.”
  8. Envy. – don’t let this stop you from being the person God meant for you to be. Envy kills. Learn to love you!
  9. We all have a choice. -God has given us free will. We make our own decisions and choices. But remember, it is our choices that define us- they make us who we are whether that be the music we listen to, the people we hang out with, the stuff we watch, anything.
  10. God first, the rest will follow. -If you will always put him first and believe that your path is directed and guided by a good Father, you cannot fail. You will not lose because we have a Savior who has never lost a battle. If that battle you’re facing is depression, anxiety, worry, fear, comparison, envy, or whatever it may be, just trust in HIM. Put him first and allow him to send you peace and heal you from these things. He wants to if you will surrender yourself to his authority in your life. The rest will follow. 

 

Coming Alive

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“IN THE RIVER” By: Jesus Culture //

There is a river where goodness flows
There is a fountain that drowns sorrows
There is an ocean deeper than fear
The tide is rising, rising

There is a current stirring deep inside
It’s overflowing from the heart of God
The flood of heaven crashing over us
The tide is rising, rising

Bursting, bursting
Up from the ground
we feel it now
Bursting, bursting
Up from the ground
we feel it now

We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river

There is a current stirring deep inside
It’s overflowing from the heart of God
The flood of heaven crashing over us
The tide is rising, rising

Bursting, bursting
Up from the ground
we feel it now
Bursting, bursting
Up from the ground
we feel it now

We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river

Break open prison doors
Set all the
captives free
Spring up a well, spring up a well
Spring up the well in me

We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river

Break open prison doors
Set all the
captives free
Spring up a well, spring up a well
Spring up the well in me

We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river
We come alive in the river

This song by Jesus Culture is so joyful! I just loveeee this song! I have seriously had it on repeat all day. But it’s lyrics are so true.

A couple of years ago one of my friends had this vision of me standing near a river. In the vision, I was just barely sticking my foot in the river. And that was the end of the vision. But the Lord spoke to my friend through that scene and it was an illustration of my walk with God and just how far I was allowing myself to go in my relationship with Him. This was such a revelation for me. I was in this little “Christian” box I had made for myself that went only so deep. I only worshipped as far as I was willing to go. (P.S. worship doesn’t only have to be in a church, Sunday morning atmosphere…) Anything that glorifies God is worship. My lifestyle was “Christian” but I had not allowed myself to fully jump into the river.

My encouragement to you is this: Don’t be afraid to go deeper with God. Sometimes it can be intimidating or make you anxious because you won’t alway know what to expect. But that is the beauty of it. Some people may label Godly-living as “boring” or “not fun.” What I have to say to that is that they have never truly experienced an intimate relationship. Once you give yourself freely unto Him and jump in the river, there is absolutely no telling where the Lord will take you.

You are Beautiful

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Do you ever find yourself looking in the mirror, unsatisfied with your appearance? Well I know I have. It is important to believe your worth and identity is not found in the clothes you wear or your physical appearance.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling. There is no flaw in you. -Song of Sol. 4:7

We need to stop quoting this verse all the time and start believing it. Me included.  It is almost like yeah of course God thinks all of his creation is beautiful and lovely and what not, but it takes on a whole new meaning for someone to tell you that you’re beautiful from a worldly perspective. Right? I mean it’s like when your parents will tell you something and you don’t believe them half of the time because you think they are biased toward you. But oh how we take things to heart when our friends or peers will tell us something. Even if it is a stranger through Twitter, Instagram, etc. We tend to believe what they say over our families who know us best, over God who knows us better than anyone. Yes, this scripture applies to everyone who wants to believe it, but that is the key- to believe it. The picture above talks about how it is our different little quirks, personalities, habits, and looks that all make us uniquely beautiful. Being you is enough. It is not how well you can apply makeup, how well you can style your hair, or what you wear. It is that sincere smile, kind eyes, pure heart, loving personality, that make you beautiful. It is you when you’re crying laughing so hard, the way your eyes light up when you talk about your passions, and all the things that make you, you. These are just to name a few examples of true beauty. It is not how you look that defines how beautiful you are, but a beauty that is more than skin deep.

The world can be cruel sometimes. People think they have the right to label you as “pretty” or “alright” or  “ugly.” Only the maker of something has the ability to define it’s creation. Just like the person who makes the diamond can establish it’s price, only God, our Father, can establish ours. Our price was paid with Jesus. He must have thought we were beautiful enough to save. Not beautiful in a sense or looks but beauty in a sense of our worth and value. All of which ultimately comes from Him. So do not ever let someone else define you, pick apart your flaws, or make you feel less than.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” -Ecc. 3:11

Perspective

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Okay well I did not really have a cutesy picture relating to perspective and all that, but I did have a coolish looking picture of me in “deep thought” taken a couple summers ago that looks all philosophical and what not. Also, I have this quote by Harvey Fierstein that says, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow you yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”  

So this is me: I tend to be a little bit pessimistic, or negative sometimes, I obsess over the dumbest of things, my work ethic could definitely improve, I could be cleaner, I could be a lot of things. But I am me. Take it or leave it.

We come up with all these labels in society. Just tonight my “introvertive-ness” was brought up in a conversation. Extroverts, Introverts, INFPs, ENFJs, so on and so forth… Yes, people are different. God created us all to be so different. What keeps the balance here? We have to choose to see through the other person’s eyes; get on their level. There is a fine line between different perspectives and head strong beliefs. I mean it all could correlate in some form or fashion- what I am saying is that we need to stop once in a while and have a change of, not only heart, but also perspective.

It’s hard, I know. I don’t do it as much as I should but it really helps to create a shift in perspective and expand or broaden your view from time to time. (Generally speaking) Whether that is with your best friend that you got into an argument, why some people might make the destructive decisions, anything.

I listed some more negative things about me earlier, but there are good things too: I am very passionate about what I do and what I am involved with, I work hard for what I believe in. I am a Christian, daughter, friend, student, etc. I would like to believe that I have a lot of morals, values, creative mind, and aspire to do more with my life. I know I have potential.

I could pick the bad things about myself to focus and dwell on, or I could choose the good things about myself. It’s all about what we choose to see or believe-our perspective.

It is really late right now while I am typing this so I apologize in advance if I fail to communicate what message I am trying to convey here.

I read this book a few months ago called, The Noticer. It was a very eye opening novel that portrayed different scenarios of people who were in a certain situation until they met this man, Jones, who helped them change their perspectives. One circumstance was that of a homeless young man who didn’t believe in himself. Jones helped the young man see his potential and reach his dreams. Despite his situation, the young man was able to be successful since he changed the way he saw himself. It was all about his perspective. People could say that man was a bum, he didn’t have a chance of succeeding in life, that the odds weren’t in his favor, (hah Hunger Games reference…) but he was able to define himself. All thanks to Jones. (I like to think of Jones as a symbolism of Jesus but that might just be me…) Anyway, read the book. It’s a good book.

In conclusion, learn how to see the world around you, the people around you from a different perspective. You’ll be better off for it, too.

** I haven’t been posting lately due to lack of inspiration or time. If anyone would like to comment some suggestions for future/potential topics then please feel free!**

Happy New Year!

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 Somewhere between what she survived, and who she was becoming, was exactly where she was meant to BE. She was starting to Love the journey. And find the comfort in the quiet corners of her Wildest dreams. They say people don’t change.. Well, she wasn’t always this way. Even if she didn’t change the entire world, she would change her part of it. And she would affect the people she shared it with. A butterfly whose wings have been touched, can indeed still fly. Whether something was meant to be, or meant to leave, didn’t matter as much anymore. She would soak up the Sun, kiss the breeze and she would fly regardless.

 

— J. Raymond.

 

Right now I am sitting in the center of my room. I am surrounded by all of the books I currently possess. I am overcome with the excitement and anticipation of this new year, this new season of my life. All of these books are stories, possibilities, encouragement for my own adventures, dreams, advice, life lessons, and inspiration. We live in a wonderful world. There are endless possibilities awaiting us. May we venture into the unknown this year. May we dare to dream this year. Let us reflect on all we have not only survived or overcome in 2015, but also all we have experienced. Embrace every bit of it. The quote above amazes me. It inspires me and gives me confidence in what I have been through and hope for what I strive to do. Change your part of the world. Create your own dreams, go on wild adventures. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. God has amazing things in store for you this year. Believe it. Get outside of your box. Discover those unique parts of yourself this year. It is a journey, and not always an easy one. I have heard happiness is not found in the destination, it is found in the journey. And I could not possibly agree more.

2016 is a fresh start. It is the peaking sunrise on the horizon. Let’s not just marvel at the beauty of it’s purity, but let’s run into it with full force. Here’s to 2016.

Selfish Prayers


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Let me tell you about a man named Jabez.

1 Chronicles chapter 4 can seem very boring at first glance. I mean the chapter title is called, Descendants of Judah. So here is the geneology and history of all these people when all of a sudden, we are introduced to Jabez.

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers…” V. 9 (and here is why)

It then goes on to say, “Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked.” V. 10

…and that is literally all it says concerning Jabez.

But how powerful of a message! Jabez is an example that it is OK to pray for yourself! God doesn’t want us to hold anything back. He knows our thoughts and wants anyways, so if you are wanting better financial stability or more job opportunities or whatever it may be, pray about it and ask! The Lord says we have not because we ask not. He desires to bless us. All we have to do is believe in faith and receive! Some people may believe that a relationship with the Father is hard, but only if you make it. Often times we are what stands in the way of a true, genuine relationship with Him…

I just love the end of verse 10 because it says, “God granted what he asked.”So do not be intimidated or guilty to pray for yourself! God wants to hear from you. He wants to bless you and grant your requests, too!

Here is your challenge: wake up every morning and say the Jabez Prayer; that God would bless you, expand your territory, and keep you from harm! I know stories of people who have prayed this prayer with amazing results. I have even seen great things happen in my own life from this simple yet miraculous prayer. If it worked for Jabez, it will work for you. Have faith in these words, believe it, and get ready to receive God’s blessings in your life! 🙂

You are Enough

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You are not created to be perfection but to be a reflection of Him. 

 People are opinionated creatures. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes they don’t always agree with the opinions of others. Go figure.

I used to get very offended whenever someone would criticize me. The Lord has really forced me to grow up over the years. I used to be so sensitive and touchy about certain things to the point where it would really affect my emotional state. I would dwell on a comment and replay something in my mind over and over of where I could have done better. That is… better in another person’s eyes atleast.

But what about God’s eyes? He sees you as valued, worthy, enough, and so much more.

Some people might think blondes are prettier. Some people might think brunettes are. You might have the whitest smile, but maybe someone points out how your teeth aren’t straight enough. Maybe you have worked so hard on a paper. You think it’s some of your best work and all of your family thinks so, too. When your best friend reads it, she has nothing good to say about it. These are just made up scenarios of how people can be critical. We have all probably experienced some form or fashion in our lifetime.

 I have thankfully gotten to a point in my life where I’m like, “So and so doesn’t like me? Eh, oh well.” I am confident in my “peachiness” so to speak. So when someone doesn’t like peaches it’s their loss! Be confident in who you are. Embrace your peachiness.

The good news is that we are enough in God’s eyes and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

Stop being so hard on yourself. I am preaching to myself, too. No ones opinion should have such a devastating effect on you. It is benficial to take constructive criticism in the right way, but it is also important to discern the difference of criticism to help you and criticism to hurt you. Take it, learn from it, grow, and move on.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” // Colossians 3:15-17

Today we celebrate all the things we are thankful for and the many blessings we have.

If you’re like me, one of the things I look forward to during Thanksgiving is the food! Sure the food may be wonderful and we love having those full bellies, but don’t forget what Thanksgiving is all about.

It is important to take time to reflect on just how blessed we really are. I am super blessed and thankful for such an amazing family and great friends. I am thankful for my health, a home to live in… The list could go on and on. Take time to really think about everything you’re thankful for. Thank God for it all. Without Him, we would have nothing and would be nothing. I owe it all to Him! He deserves my praise forever and ever.

Hallelujah 

 

Spoken Word Poem

Spoken Word by Isaac Wimberley in Kari Jobe’s “Forever”

If there are words for Him then I don’t have them.

See my brain has not yet reached the point where it could form a thought that could adequately describe the greatness of my God.

And my lungs have not yet developed the ability to release a breath with enough agility to breathe out the greatness of His Love.

And my voice, see my voice is so inhibited , restrained by human limits that it’s hard to even sing the praise up, you see, if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

My God, His Grace is remarkable, mercies are innumerable, strength is impenetrable, He is honorable, accountable, favorable.

He’s unsearchable yet knowable, indefinable, yet approachable, indescribable, yet personal

He is beyond comprehension, further than imagination, constant through generations, King of every nation, but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them

You see my words are few to try and capture the ONE TRUE GOD, using my vocabulary will never do, but I use words as an expression, an expression of worship to a Savior, a Savior who is both worthy and deserving of my praise, so I use words.

My heart extols the Lord, blesses His Name forever. He has won my heart, captured my mind, and has bound them both together. He has defeated me in my rebellion, conquered me in my sin, He has welcomed me into His presence, completely invited me in. He has made Himself the object of my sight, flooding me with mercies in the morning, drowning me with Grace in the night, but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

But what I do have is GOOD NEWS, for my God knew that manmade words would never do, for words are just tools that we use to point to the truth.

So He sent His Son Jesus Christ as THE WORD, LIVING PROOF, He is THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, THE FIRST BORN OF ALL CREATION, FOR BY HIM ALL THINGS WERE CREATED, GIVING NOTHINGNESS, FORMATION.

AND BY HIS WORD HE SUSTAINS IN THE POWER OF HIS NAME. FOR HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS AND ABOVE ALL THINGS HE REIGNS. HOLY IS HIS NAME!

SO PRAISE HIM FOR HIS LIFE! THE WAY HE PERSERVERED IN STRIFE. THE HUMBLE SON OF GOD BECOMING THE PERFECT SACRIFICE.

PRAISE HIM FOR HIS DEATH! THAT HE WILLINGLY STOOD IN OUR PLACE THAT HE LOVINGLY ENDURED THE GRAVE THAT HE BATTLED OUR ENEMY, AND ON THE THIRD DAY ROSE IN VICTORY.

HE IS EVEYTHING THAT WAS PROMISED.

PRAISE HIM AS THE RISEN KING.

LIFT YOUR VOICE AND SING, FOR ONE DAY HE WILL RETURN FOR US, AND WE WILL FINALLY BE UNITED WITH OUR SAVIOR FOR ENTERNITY! ETERNITY!

SO IT IS NOT JUST WORDS THAT I PROCLAIM, FOR MY WORDS POINT TO THE WORD, AND THE WORD HAS A NAME, HOPE HAS A NAME, JOY HAS A NAME, PEACE HAS A NAME, LOVE HAS A NAME, AND THAT NAME IS JESUS CHRIST!

PRAISE HIS NAME FOREVER!!!!!!!!”