Patience in the Waiting (Part 2)

Patience isn’t waiting. It’s what you do while you wait.

One of my very first posts when I started my blog back in the fall of last year was called Patience in the Waiting. It can be found HERE. In the post, I talk about what it looks like to wait for the next big thing in life, why it’s important to live in the “now,” how to focus on what’s in front of you, etc. I wrote it in October, so about 8 months ago. It’s crazy to think about how much has happened since then, and just how much I continue to learn about waiting and what that looks like. So here’s a follow up post, or sequel, if you will, building upon what I am learning even since then.

At that time, when I thought about what “patience” looks like, I thought of “waiting.” However, it’s deeper than that. Patience isn’t waiting. It’s what you do while you wait. It’s not the concept of waiting, but it’s how you wait. I touched on this idea briefly in the first post, but at that time, I think it was just a concept I knew to be true. Now, I feel as though God has showed me how to live this out and the kinds of things I need to be doing while I wait. And that’s why there had to be a sequel, of course.

Since my blog is more on the personal side of things, let’s get personal. I’ll just be honest—I’m waiting on a few things. First of all, I’m waiting on my future husband to arrive (that’s a journey all on it’s own). Marriage is something I have dreamed of and been looking forward to for as long as I can remember. One of the biggest desires that God placed inside of me from the time I could read and write was to be a wife and a mother. So at age 23, with a career, independence, and goals in front of me, you could definitely say I feel like I’m ready to meet him and for our journey to begin. Another thing I’m waiting on is direction with my career path, as well as direction on further schooling. I have desires for where I want to end up in my career, but I’m unsure what steps I need to take to get there, and that’s something I’ve been praying over consistently. The third big thing I feel like I am waiting for is healing of the mind. The last year or so has brought on a lot of anxiety and tendencies that cause fear and the opportunity for Satan to interfere with my mind. I’ve been praying for healing and for God to do His work there. Those are probably the three biggest things that I am patiently awaiting.

So what am I doing in the meantime, and why is this important? Well, first and foremost, I’m keeping my hope and my focus. I’m remaining anchored to what I know to be true and what God tells me to do in His word:

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I keep this on the dash of my car. A dear friend gave this to me last summer and it’s sat there ever since. It’s a daily reminder of what I need to be doing in the waiting: be STRONG, take COURAGE! In addition, I’m clinging to His promises and what He tells me He will do. If you have a relationship with God, you know that He always keeps His promises. Not sure what He actually promises you? Hit up the scriptures, or Google it even. It’s there.

Another thing I’m doing more of is asking God what He wants me to be doing in the waiting. What does He want me to focus on and pour into while He’s molding me into who He wants me to be before it comes? A couple mornings ago on a 45-minute commute at 7am to a meeting, God laid on my heart so strongly to pour into the youth more – specifically high school aged girls. Whether that means leading a Bible study, mentoring, or volunteering somehow, I’m about to spend the next few weeks or so figuring out what that needs to look like. There’s a reason He’s pushing me in that direction.

I could go on but I should probably wrap this up. Basically, what I’m saying is to use your thoughts and time wisely in the waiting. As I mentioned earlier, patience is not about waiting. It’s about what you do in the waiting, who you become in the waiting, and Who you are trusting in the waiting. Have you ever thought that maybe what you’re waiting for hasn’t come, not because of anyone or anything else, but maybe because you’re not ready? Dive deeper into this waiting period. I promise, there is more in this season for you to discover.

–LC

Like a Child Again

We could all use that naivety, that peace, that innocent joy that children carry around with them.

This week, it’s really hit me hard that I’ve grown up. As I sit here in my brand new apartment in the middle of the city thinking about the groceries I need to get, the meals I need to plan, setting up automatic payments for my monthly rent, assembling my new coffee table for my living room, and the meeting I need to prepare for next week, reality has sunk in: I’ve grown up (actually grown up). I turn 23 this weekend, and as I think about all of these things, I am realizing how simple times were as a child, and how complicated times can be as an adult.

Do you ever sit and think about how innocent a child’s life is? They are so unaware of everything going on in the world around them. They are naive to what people are capable of. They are oblivious to the struggles they will face when they are older and the hardships they will endure. Things are easy and simple. So simple. They really are in such a blissful state. And as I sit here thinking about busy I am, how many things I am constantly having to do, situations I am having to handle, etc., I miss that innocence. I miss that time of life where nothing carried a ton of weight and all I really worried about was remembering to feed my pet frogs and trying to keep a secret that Santa wasn’t real (this was actually really hard for me to do in elementary school. I know, I was terrible).

Don’t get me wrong – I am extremely happy in this stage of my life. I am proud of where I have gotten to and the blessings God has bestowed on me. What I am saying is that we could all use that mentality that children naturally have. We could all use that naivety, that peace, that innocent joy that children carry around with them. And I have found that the place to find it is at the feet of Jesus.

I was curling my hair one morning this week getting ready for work and I immediately felt overwhelmed by the stress of everything I had to do as well as all the things going on around me. I felt so small all of the sudden and incapable of handling the pressures lying in front of me this week. And just like that, all at once before I’d even been able to have my breakfast, the stressors and anxieties of life hit me like a brick wall. I felt weary and my soul was tired. I let myself feel these heavy emotions for a minute when finally I paid attention to the words of the music playing in the background (I have a specific worship playlist I’ve made that I listen to EVERY morning as part of my routine – you can find it here!). I took a second to breathe in, and I pictured myself resting at the feet of Jesus – literally lying at his feet – and suddenly I felt like a child again. I felt safe, secure, and like nothing could grab a hold of me or rip me from that spot.

It’s moments like these that are reminders of how small we are and how much is going on around us. Life is overwhelming – growing up and taking on responsibility is hard. And it’s in these moments that it is important to re-center, go to The Lord, and rest at His feet. He can fill you up when your cup is empty. He can revive your soul. He can give you what is needed to make it through the day or whatever you are facing. God wants us to come to Him. It’s His desire, and He wants it to be ours as well. He tells us this in His words below.

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3

Find Him today. Find him, stay there, and rest at His feet.

-LC

When It’s Hard to Forgive

Forgiveness, even when they don’t deserve it, is the beginning of walking in freedom

It’s Easter weekend, and although I love all the Easter Reese’s candy and Cadbury eggs that are around during this time (seriously, I look forward to it ever year), there is a theme that is lulling around in by brain as I reflect on what this weekend means. Even though most of the focus of this weekend is directed toward Sunday, the part where Jesus raises from the dead and defeats the grave, I have been reflecting on what exactly went down in history on Good Friday. And the theme that is resonating the most in my heart this year on Easter weekend is FORGIVENESS.

Most of us are familiar with the gruesome, cruel, and harsh process of a crucifixion. If you aren’t, I encourage you research it. It’s tough to read and think about exactly what was being done to our Jesus, the Jesus who was blameless and Holy. The Jesus that performed miracles, healed the blind, and raised the dead. He was forced to wear a crown of thorns. He was brutally whipped. He was mocked. He was nailed to a tree. His side was pierced. And he was left there to die a gruesome death, not deserving any of it. But as I reflect this year on his crucifixion, what hits me the hardest is the line that came from his mouth as he hung there, moments away from his death. These words are found in Luke 23:34 – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Wow. As Jesus hung there on the cross, having been betrayed, mocked, beaten, crucified, and left to die, he asks God to forgive those crucifying him. Wait whattttt? This shows the character of Jesus and how much he really loves his people. And he does this for us again and again, every single day. We betray him, we put other things/people before him, we live in sin, and he constantly forgives us every day. His mercies are new every morning.

Reflecting on this one line so deeply this year has caused me to reflect on my inability to forgive. There are a few situations that have caused a hardening of my heart towards some and a bitterness that has made forgiving very difficult. I have pushed it off and pushed it off, not finding the place in my heart to forgive. Because they don’t deserve it! But wait, if Jesus can hang on a cross and in THAT VERY MOMENT forgive the ones BRUTALLY KILLING HIM, how can I not forgive anyone and everyone, no matter what harm they have caused me? No matter what pain they have caused me? How can I expect the Lord to forgive me and wipe my slate clean every day when I can’t do the same for those around me?

I challenge you today to dig deeper into your heart. Ask yourself who needs your forgiveness. Ask yourself who the person is that deserves it the least, and find it in your heart to forgive them. To release them from that place of bitterness. Think about who Jesus forgave, and maybe that will give you a better perspective. I’ve had to do that recently, and it was the most freeing thing I have done in a while. Forgiveness, even when they don’t deserve it, is the beginning of walking in freedom. Ephesians 4:31-32 says:

 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, I encourage you to do some reflecting on what exactly Jesus went through, who he forgave for it, and what his resurrection means for your life. He is risen – spread the good news! And Happy Easter!

-LC

What is the King of Your Heart?

If you truly want Him there, that’s where He’ll stay.

What do I think the most about? What consumes my mind and thoughts more than anything else? What seems to take up the most brain space as well as emotion? These are questions that I have felt challenged by lately. I think it’s important to consider these questions regularly as you walk through life to keep yourself in check and make sure you’re focused on the right things. For me, I feel like God has been challenging me with these thoughts so that I could get to the bottom of this question: What, or who, is the king of my heart?

You might be thinking, “What do you mean the “king” of your heart?! That sounds silly!” A better way to put this is what/who seems to take a front seat in my priorities, my goals, and my energies? This could be a person – a relationship, a friendship, etc. It could be a desire or want – finding your future spouse, getting your dream job, or making more money. It could even be an item – your cell phone, social media, etc. It could be a plethora of things, but what I’ve learned is that if it is any of these things, it’s unhealthy.

For me, I’ve been focusing more and more on making The Lord the King of my heart. Why? Because that spot was created only to be occupied by Him. Because in reality, He’s everything we could want or need. Nothing or no one will ever be able to fill us with as much joy, make us feel as much peace, and love us the way we need to be loved, like He can. Also, God wants that spot. He is a jealous God. He wants all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind. He wants all of your attention and all of your focus. He just wants our eyes to be fixated on Him and all that He has to offer us. And if you love Him but begin to put someone or something else into that spot, He will fight His way to get your attention again and will push whatever He needs to out of the way to get there. I’ve experienced that myself, and God did what He needed to do. And it was the best thing for me.

I want to challenge you today to consider what (or who) is the king of your heart. I also want to challenge you to change that, if the answer is not Christ. He is the only One that should sit on the throne in your heart. And He is the only One that can fully satisfy you and give you what you need – no person or thing on this planet can do that, no matter how much you want to believe they can. Psalms 73:26 says:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Let Him be your strength. Let Him be your portion. And let Him hold that place in your heart that no one else can enter into. If you truly want Him there, that’s where He’ll stay.

-LC

Behind the Name: What “Everlasting” Means to Me

When the world fails you, His love comes through.

JourneyEverlasting: What does that even mean? Why did I choose this name for my blog? That’s actually a loaded question. In fact, the word “Everlasting” holds more meaning to me than probably any other word in the dictionary. I can’t pass that word in scripture or hear it in a worship song without getting emotional. I have always found it to be meaningful to me, and I’ve always felt that it resonates close to my heart based on my experiences. However, as I’ve gotten older and reached adulthood, especially in the more recent times of my life, it’s taken on an even deeper meaning to me. So, I’m using this post to explain why I tied “Everlasting” into my blog title (and why I got it tattooed 6 months ago).

Okay, so here’s a little bit of background info. Growing up, I had a pretty steady childhood followed by a similar teenage experience. I never had to go through something traumatic or overly tough for a kid, and I had a strong family that supported me while I just played my sports and went to an excellent private school. Basically, I would say that I was naïve to the world and what people were capable of. And I feel extremely blessed for that. But as I continued to get older, especially as I got to college, my eyes were opened to the depravity of man. I saw, like everyone eventually sees, how easily people will fail you. How easily someone can walk out on you, turn on you, quit you, stop loving you, and basically not turn out to be who you trusted them to be. Sometimes, with the snap of a finger. And through the continual letdowns I faced, betrayals I experienced, and disappoints, the word Everlasting continued to stick out to me.

Now, I am not trying to throw a pity party here—I know that these are things that everyone figures out at some point or another. I feel like I figured it out a lot later than some, however. Through all of these experiences, the theme of God’s Everlasting love repeatedly stood out in black and white through all of the blurred lines. Someone walked out of my life? Cool, God will never do that. Someone misled me and lied to me in a way that hurt me? Cool, God will never do that. Someone’s love for me ran out? Cool, God’s love will never run out. It’s Everlasting. His love, His promises, His truths, His companionship, His comfort, His peace. It’s all Everlasting, and that’s guaranteed.

When it comes down to it, we’re all human. We’re all going to hurt people and fail them at some point or another. But, what has been made clear to me and what I hold on to so dearly, is the idea that God will never leave me, He’ll never walk out, He’ll never change His mind about what He has spoken. He holds true to His promises, and He will never change. He’s Everlasting. In every way, shape, and form. Recent events in my life have caused this truth to mean even more to me than ever before. It has become the truth I cling to and the root of the new perspective I’ve taken on. It means so much to me that yes, I got it permanently engraved on my body as a constant reminder of God’s Everlasting love. And this theme is where the name JourneyEverlasting came from.

jour·ney : verb
-travel somewhere.

ev·er·last·ing : noun
-(literary) eternity.

I put the two together. I’m on my journey to Everlasting hope, peace and joy. I’m on my journey here on earth with God’s Everlasting love at my right hand, leading me toward my Everlasting eternity in Heaven. It really is comforting to think about. When the world fails you, His love comes through.

Jeremiah 31:3
“The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”

Psalm 103:17
“But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him”

Isaiah 26:4
“Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”

Psalm 100:5
“For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.”

-LC

Are You Bearing Fruit?

Make sure you are letting the seeds fall in the right soil.

I recently began a study on the Gospel of Mark. What better way to try and learn how to live like Jesus than by reading about his life here on Earth? Anyway, I came across one of Jesus’ parables in Mark 4 that really struck me and opened my eyes up to some things I felt called to share. So, naturally, here’s a blog post about it.

In case you want to read the full text of the parable, it can be found in Mark 4:1-20, and if you aren’t familiar with the Parable of the Sower, I encourage you to read it thoroughly. In summary, Jesus describes a farmer who was scattering his seed, and some of the seed fell in different places along the way. Some fell in rocky places without much soil, some fell in thorns, and some fell in good soil. The seed that landed in rocky places sprouted up quickly but died fast because there was no root. The seed that fell in the thorns grew up but was choked by the thorns and couldn’t produce crops. The seed that fell in good soil grew and produced crops that continued to multiply. Jesus then goes on to explain how each of these scenarios is a representation of how we perceive scripture/God’s word, and how it affects our life.

What resonated the most with me from this parable was Jesus’ explanation of the seed that fell in the thorns and the parallel analogy. In verses 18-19, he says: “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.PAUSE! Red light! Whoa. What’s he saying here? He is saying that we may receive the word and know the truth, but the worries of our life, the desires for earthly things, pride, selfishness, etc. come in and choke the word, making us unable to bear fruit. I had to read this verse about five times to really let that sink in.

When we are caught up in ourselves and the things of this world, we aren’t able to bear fruit or be a light to those around us. I have found myself falling victim to this lately. I just spent a week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and had a lot of time to relax and reflect. I was reminded of how beautiful and precious life is. And if you are a believer, you know that this world is not your home. You are just passing through temporarily until you reach eternity in Heaven with our Father. This parable revealed to me that I get so worried about this or that, situations I’m facing, and struggles I’m dealing with that I forget what I’m here to do: be a light to others and point them to Jesus.

The last verse of the parable highlights what happens when you hold true to the word of God and allow it to bear fruit in your life. Verse 20 says:

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Don’t let your current situation or whatever you’re dealing with distract you from growing in your faith and bearing fruit. Someone around you needs that fruit. Make sure you are letting the seeds fall in the right soil.

-LC

No Pain, No Gain: A Look Back on 2017

God was propping me up for what would be the greatest victories of all time

(Warning: this post is vulnerable) Looking back on 2017, this year was the hardest year I have faced so far. There was a lot of change, a lot of inner battles, pain, and loss. I transitioned from what was up to this point a life consisting solely of being an athlete and a student to the workforce in Nashville without school and soccer, my two most familiar, consistent elements since I was 4 years old. I lost relationships and people in my life that I counted on being there until the very end. I faced a lot of walls I didn’t think would come down, mountains I didn’t know could be moved, hurt that I didn’t know I could feel, disappointment, and fear that would creep in at my lowest points. However, through all of it, I see more gain than loss.

Growing up in a Christian household, faith was something I never questioned having. However, I hadn’t faced much adversity to prove just how strong my faith was. This year showed me the magnitude of faith’s role in life here on earth. My relationship with God reached levels I didn’t know were possible, and my reliance on Him in “uncomfortable” situations produced a hope and strength that is hard to put to words. Another aspect of my life that grew stronger was my relationships with multiple friends and family members. The love and care that was poured out to me throughout this year by so many people is unreal, to say the least (you know who you are). When you yourself grow stronger, your relationship with Christ grows stronger, and your relationships with others grow stronger, you feel pretty darn invincible. You see, through all of these dark pits I felt I was stuck in and battles I didn’t think I could win, God was propping me up for what would be the greatest victories of all time: unshakable faith, unwavering strength, and unstoppable hope. And for that, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

There has been so much growth and self-discovery emerge this year that I feel like I’m entering 2018 a completely different person than at this point last year, ready to take on 2017 (I mean, who would’ve thought that I would end up developing a love for running, much less start a blog!?) I’ve also excelled with my job, gotten even closer to friends that would walk the world for me, joined a new church, gotten involved with a couple organizations, started reading again, started a girls ministry, and formed a confidence in myself I never knew I could have. It really is crazy for me to think about. And God was orchestrating all of these things along the way.

2017 has showed me that no matter what comes my way in this life, adversity produces hope, wisdom, joy, and a different perspective of life here on earth. 2017 is a year I will forever be grateful for. Even though I feel like my journey has just begun, I feel confident walking into 2018. No matter what comes my way, I’m ready to face the challenges, learn the lessons that come with them, and continue to grow. Roman’s 5:3-5 says:

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

No matter what you’ve faced this year, use it as ammunition as we enter a new year. Everyone faces trials and tribulations in this life, and you will go through harder years than others. It’s the strength you gain from those years that will propel you into the following ones ready and confident. And the way I see it is, no pain, no gain!

-LC