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!


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.


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.”


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.


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!


10 Things I Learned From Giving Up Social Media for 30 Days

It was causing me to feel things I didn’t want to feel and see things I didn’t want to see.

If you have any form of social media, you can probably admit to yourself that you spend too much time on it. You can probably also admit that there’s not a ton of good that comes from it, except maybe seeing news updates, sports scores, and who got engaged. A month ago, I came to the realization that I was spending way too much time on my social media, and worst of all, it was stealing my joy. Stealing my joy?! Okay, I know that’s a little extreme. But it’s true. It was causing me to feel things I didn’t want to feel and see things I didn’t want to see. So, I gave it up for 30 days. I decided to cleanse myself from all things Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Yesterday was the 30th day. I want to share with you 10 things that I discovered from staying off these sites for a whole month.

  1. You save phone battery and data
  • First and foremost, I have to state the obvious. Without social media apps on my phone, I was shocked at how much data and phone battery I saved. I would normally make it to the end of the day and still have 60-70% of my phone battery left. I also used a whopping 1GB of data… this was a huge improvement!
  1. You become less attached to your phone
  • Now for the real stuff. This is something I noticed right off the bat. I grew accustomed to not feeling like I needed my phone on my person. I’m not sure why social media contributed to me being attached to having it around 24/7, but without it, I didn’t feel like I needed it as much.
  1. You shed the addictive behavior that comes with social media
  • Before the cleanse, I constantly felt the need to check my social media – way more than necessary. It became addictive. If I would go long periods of time without checking it, I would feel behind. Now, I see how I can go days without checking it and not miss anything worth seeing.
  1. You become less distracted
  • I definitely felt less distracted during the cleanse. Instead of burying my face in my phone all the time, I found myself focusing on things that are actually important. And I can tell you this—what Jane Smith made for her post-workout meal isn’t important.
  1. You lose the desire to feel the need to post about everything
  • Without the opportunity to post about your life, you will realize how little posting on social media actually matters. Do all your followers care that you went to the pool today? Nope. Do they really care that you got a pumpkin spice latte this morning? Probably not. That might be harsh, but it’s true.
  1. You learn to stop comparing yourself
  • This is huge! Here’s the deal. Everyone puts their best self on social media. The moments that are worth bragging about, the fun things they get to do, etc. Do people post about feeling anxious or depressed? Or about their financial issues? Nope (most of the time). You’re only going to see the absolute best part of people’s lives, and then it becomes easy to compare your life to theirs.
  1. You weaken the desire to want to know what others are doing
  • If you delete your social media channels for just a month, I promise you, you will learn to stop caring what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself. You won’t have the option to check in and see what movie Sally Joe watched last night, and you won’t really care either.
  1. You learn to take in what’s around you
  • This is another important truth. When you don’t have social media to take up your time as the days go on, you are able to really focus on the moment you’re in and what’s around you. You will take in every minute, you’ll concentrate on who you’re with, and you’ll just be present.
  1. You grow closer to God
  • One goal I made at the beginning of the process was to pray or read the Bible every time I reached for my phone to check social media. You could imagine this happened a lot at the beginning—so yeah, God and I had some good talks.
  1. You grow farther away from matters that steal your joy
  • No matter what, you’re going to see things you don’t want to see on social media. Things that will disappoint you (like friends hanging out without you) or things that make you angry or upset. Staying away from social media will keep you away from these things, and you will be happier.

Honestly, after 30 days off of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, I don’t feel like I missed a thing. I don’t really care for it as much anymore. Here’s the thing: if someone needs to reach you or is going to tell you something important, they’ll pick up the phone and call or text you. I would encourage a social media cleanse for everyone. Trust me, it’ll be the best thing you’ve done in a long time, and you will feel more present and focused on what’s really important.


Just Be Still

Busyness is a loud noise – a distracting noise.

Do you ever feel like from the time your alarm goes off in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night you are just going, going, going nonstop? Life can be chaotic at times. For me, my routine looks a lot like this: I wake up around 7, get ready, inhale some breakfast, and rush out the door to work where I will be for the next 8 or 9 hours. After work, I come home, eat dinner, and move on to the next item. Whether that’s getting a workout in, going to see friends, going to small group, cleaning, playing in my soccer league, etc., there’s always SOMETHING. And before I know it, it’s 10:30pm and it’s time to go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. Nowhere in that schedule is a time to simply rest, whether it’s resting my mind and spirit or physically resting. Lately I’ve noticed that I am always constantly on the go, and there isn’t much time to just be still.

Well you might be thinking, “Lindsay, that’s how it goes once you’re in the real world. You have to ‘adult.’ No more binge watching Netflix shows like you did in between classes in college.” This is very accurate. I have quickly found that the adult life is taxing and strenuous. So, what does it mean to “be still?” What does that look like? What is the benefit of taking some time every day to relax and focus on being still?

For you, being still could mean you need to physically take 30 or so minutes a day to literally be still. To relax. To breathe. To think. My favorite part of my day is when I get home from work. I go into my bedroom, shut the door, turn the lights off, crawl into bed, and for ten minutes I just lay there in silence. I regroup. I have found this is necessary for me. Physically being still a little bit every day is one way to quiet the chaos.

Another way to be still is to slow down. Personally, I am always striving. I’m always looking for something new to get involved in, new friends to make, a new recipe I want to try, and so on to the point where I fill up all of my days and I don’t get much time to rest. Also, I find myself constantly wanting to move on to the next big thing in life. For example, lately, I’ve been looking into purchasing/moving into a condo in downtown Nashville. This would be a big decision for me, a huge investment, and something that would bring about a lot of change. However, instead of just making the plunge, I hear God’s voice whispering to me to just be still and give it time. To not make any quick rash decisions or rush. Why? I’m not sure, but there’s a reason I am hearing that.

You see, if your life continues to be chaotic day after day, you’re going to be so distracted by the noise that you won’t be able to hear God’s voice speaking into your life. You won’t be able to hear direction on which way to go or what decisions to make, because you’re just flat out busy. Busyness is a loud noise – a distracting noise. This is the biggest message I hear from God right now in my life. Instead of trying to make quick decisions, do a million things at once, stay busy from dusk until dawn, and look so far ahead, He wants me to just be still and listen. My favorite verse, Exodus 14:14, says:

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

What would change in your life if you decided to slow things down a bit, to rest, and to drown out the noise of busyness and chaos with stillness and peace?