Every Day

Being with and talking to people is one of my favorite things to do. I am in my element and at my happiest when I get to engage others. Not only that, but talking with people is one of the ways I process my thoughts and feelings. It is not unusual for me to walk away from a conversation with a better understanding of my own mind. Often God works through my conversations by speaking encouragement or conviction through people.

In the last 3.5 months I’ve had many of those energizing, perspective-shifting conversations. I am genuinely amazed at the number of people God chose to invest into my life and how much their investment made an impact on me.

A friend encouraged me to change how I approached life by focusing on the strength of the Holy Spirit and to remember that every day is an opportunity to become more like Christ.

Two of my mentors challenged me to accept my identity in Christ, and to trust that He is using me as long as I choose to trust him.

A cousin forced me to confront fears and worries that were causing me to doubt God’s ability to use me.

A couple encouraged me to have an open heart about going wherever it might be that God calls me, be it here in San Diego, or somewhere else in the world.

My coach reminded me to pursue my vision of encouraging and inspiring others to dig deep into their personal relationships with God.

Multiple couples advised me to continually and purposefully invest time into being in the Word of God, hiding it away in my heart.

After each of those conversations I tried for hours (literally) to write about it, to share what it was that God had done in my heart through those people. Every writing session ended with me frustrated and hitting “delete” a billion times. I didn’t get it.

Well, now I do.

Two weeks ago my parents and a friend convinced me to apply for a two month Marketing Content internship with my school. I was excited to give it a shot, but honestly, I did not expect anything to come from it, but I had an interview. Then I had a second interview. Tuesday afternoon, they offered me the position. I’ll be temporarily moving to Texas in a little over one week.

3.5 months ago I would not have been emotionally or spiritually ready to move out of state to write and study full time. Today I am ready, because God used the people in my life to reveal things about both Him and me that I needed to see, to understand, to act upon.

This opportunity showed me that while those seemingly random conversations with random friends and family did not have an obvious pattern, they did build on one another and served an even greater purpose of preparing me for the next step. The reason I couldn’t write about each of those individual conversations was because the story wasn’t ready to be told yet.

The really cool thing is that I only just realized this in the last two days. Imagine how this will all piece together when I get back to San Diego in November, or in two years from now when I have walked farther and grown more!?

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded. Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 

1 Peter 1:13-16

He has given us an adventure that we get to live…every day.

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Girl on the Beach

Friday night I stood with my back to a fire pit, keeping warm in the cool breeze coming off of the ocean. The crackle of burning wood and the powerful waves hitting the shore provided a calming soundtrack. As the sun left the realm of sight people began to empty the beach. Light from the lampposts along the wooden pier reflected off the dark water.

That night, as I stared at all of the beauty around me, I had no intention but to think through the thoughts of my heart and try and get my worries “sorted.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a young woman standing alone on the wet sand, clutching a cup of coffee and letting the water wash over her feet. Almost instantly after noticing her presence I felt the Spirit give me the urge to go talk to her. contentment-praying-woman-ocean-465x300

Not now, Lord, please?! You know I’ve got so much on my heart right now. 

Exactly. Get over yourself and focus on someone else. Go. Now. 

My legs started moving away from the comfortable, warm fire and towards the ocean. Instead of approaching the girl directly, however, I ended up about 10-15 feet away from her––up to my calves in sea water trying to come up with a good conversation starter.

I tried about 20, but my personal favorite was, “Hey! I noticed You’re drinking coffee! Funny thing because I drink coffee too! So have you ever heard of Jesus?” Yeah, no.

Eventually I decided to wing it, and stepped towards with my hands shoved nervously in my hoodie pocket. “Hi! So, um, I know this a awkward [nervous smile], but I noticed you were standing by yourself and looked a little lonely. I just felt like I should come over and say, um…something. Are you okay?”

The girl laughed and replied with a, “Oh, do I really look lonely? No, I was just looking. It’s all so beautiful. I love to simply stare and pray.”

She prays, God…she prays! 

Yes, I know. 

The girl had a lovely smile and an even lovelier heart––full of praise and worship for our mutual Lord and Savior. Our conversation led us to share our (condensed) life stories, our dreams for the future and how the Lord was moving in our lives. We discovered that we were in the same relative period of life––discerning how God would use our gifts to bring him glory.

Not 5 minutes into our talk she pulled her well-worn Bible from her purse in order to share a passage of scripture to encourage me as I wait for the Lord. I could not stop smiling and I struggled to keep down tears of joy at what a blessing the whole meeting was becoming.

I believe that the two of us probably would have talked for hours, but it grew late and my family called me away to leave. The girl and I exchanged contact information and left each other with a hug and the promise of meeting again––if not in this life, then in the next.

I had expected it to be a short and awkward interaction where I would try and pass along a few words of truth to a lonely girl and then leave not knowing whether or not I had touched her. Instead, I received much more than I gave. I had the blessing of meeting a sister, the encouragement of her insight, and the knowledge that the Lord knew that I needed that meeting.

Earlier on that evening, around the fire pit, I prayed that God would reveal himself to me in multiple ways, that he would show me how much he loved me and give me something to smile about and hold on to.

He did just that, but first, I had to trust and obey.

Erasing Hell

This is a post I just wrote for Books|Cuppas. 🙂 Comment with thoughts!

FC2I do not like talking about Hell. Really, I don’t…does anyone? The topic of Hell is not a discussions we relish; it is avoided as much as possible. Truly, it is hard to blame us. Hell is not a happy subject;however, in an effort to understand better what I profess to believe as a Christian I read Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle’s Erasing Hell: what God said a out eternity, and the things we’ve made up.

Over the course of reading this book I found myself enlightened, convicted and inspired.

Enlightened: While Chan and Sprinkle did not say anything that was the antithesis of what I already believed about Hell, I gained a solid understanding of what Scripture actually says of Hell. The authors provide specific passages and excellent analysis on the meaning of the verses. Erasing Hell’s birth was partly inspired by “Christian” leaders who are teaching that Hell does not exist. So, within this book’s pages are clear responses to these teachings–using the firm foundation of The Word. As a result of this specific information, I am better equipped to explain to others my beliefs, as well as defend attacks on my faith.

Convicted/Inspired: As the authors write, “We cannot afford to to be wrong on this issue.” What I believe about Hell, as a Christian, is serious–I believe that people who do not become reconciled to God though faith in Jesus Christ are destined to an eternity in Hell. My life should reflect that in EVERY WAY. I do not like to think about it, but people in this world have one of two destinations, and my purpose in life is to bring the message of HOPE in Jesus Christ to those who are headed in the wrong direction.

Hear me. You may not like the idea of Hell, but you need to be pretty darn sure of what you believe about it. This book is 200 pages and an easy (although challenging in thought) read–I read it 3 days between intense school, basketball and other activities. Please, get a hold of this book.