Thursday, March 28, 2013

one-hundred percent you.

I often feel like I don't have many "strong" opinions. I have my opinion and I know it's mine but I don't always vocalize it. I can be pretty go-with-the-flow in most circumstances and if people have strong ideas about a subject or about what we should do, I listen. If I get the opportunity to share my own side I do and if I don't, then I don't. 

Lately I've been feeling like there are so many strong opinions around me. So many people telling me what they think is right. Sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. Whether its about how I should spend my money, what I should wear, what/who I should vote for, the right age to start a family, I realize I've allowed myself to absorb a lot of opinions without really understanding my own. 

Most recently I've allowed other people's ideas on family really shake me up. Last night I had this beautiful moment when I burst into happy tears and started declaring that I didn't agree with any of those people and I didn't care what they thought! :) I know who I am. I know who the Lord has made me to be and that is exactly who I will be. 

Take some quiet time to ask the Lord who He says you are. Hold those words close to your heart. You're always going to be surrounded by other people's opinions, just remember to keep who you are insight.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

a best friend

Going into college I understood the foundation of who I was but I really became "me" over those four years. When I started my art school adventure I knew what it meant to come from a loving and encouraging family, I knew that Jesus was alive and I knew I loved talking to people. The first week of school I met lots of wonderful individuals (including my husband:) but it was a few months later I officially met Ginger in drawing class. I was on the hunt for a roommate and Ginger just happened to be looking to move on campus. It was a match made in Heaven! Becoming Ginger's friend just.. happened so naturally. She moved in and we were best friends :) 

(**side note for the picture above** You have no idea how amazing this photo is. We took like six photos on our computer together, not looking at each other, and made the SAME FACE every time. We're awesome and totally weird that way)

Best friends are so important. A real girl friend that you can be totally honest with and who will be totally honest with you, even when you don't want to hear it. A huge part of figuring out who I was and who I wanted to be has been through my friendship with Ginger. Getting to know her heart for people, being surrounded by her love, seeing her strengths, hearing about her weaknesses, every late night adventure has brought me where I am today. I'm a better person because of her.

I want to encourage you today to look around at the friends you've had + the friends you have and ask yourself these questions.

- Whose caused a positive change in my life?
- How did they do it?
- What did they do that made me feel loved?
- What do I wish they did differently?

And most importantly
 - How can I become that life-changing-kinda friend to others?

We need to use our experiences, whether good or bad, to help us reach out to the people around us. You have been made to change lives. You can help people become the person they've been called to be. It doesn't matter where you are or how you feel, the truth is you are a light where ever you go. Don't let fear or bitterness from the past keep you from becoming the very best friend you can be.

I'm so thankful for Ginger. For her patience with me, her never ending forgiveness and her constant presence in my life, even when we're so far apart. I'm excited to love on people the way she loves on me.

Happy birthday my Gingy :) I love you forever and always.

Photo Credit Kristen Marie

Friday, March 15, 2013

no fear here.

Last week I went in for a haircut. And not just my normal tiny trim but like a real haircut. To some people that's no big deal but if you understood my crazy hair mindset you'd see it was a big deal. Tenth grade was my last real haircut and I cried for days. I felt so ugly I avoided mirrors for weeks and promised myself I would never cut my hair like that again. Through college I began to picture myself in the future, welcoming in my grandchildren with long flowing gray hair that hung past my waist (they would probably all braid it for me as we enjoyed a picnic in a field of butterflies.. :). I've always enjoyed consistency, so my master hair plan was perfect. Why change something that kept me feeling so comfortable?

In February Stan was asked to go to Hawaii to teach a week long class at the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base in Kona. It was a wonderful reason to go and it couldn't have come at a better time. I realize now that Hawaii is one of those over played places to go because it's BEAUTIFUL and everyone should go! The beaches and tropical weather were soothing but really made the trip was all the people we were able to met. I've never spent time in such a warm and loving community. Being able to unwind in the prayer room and spending the week surrounded by so much love changed us. It wasn't instant, but I can still see and feel how much of a difference it made. The trip woke us up from our comfortable winter slumber and challenged us to change.

When we got back I began to see our lives differently. It was as if a veil had been pulled away from my eyes and everything seemed so clear. I saw how much fear and condemnation I was living in. I even realized how it got in. Over two years ago I was dealing with a few health issues and began to fear death and sickness. When I moved to California it stuck around and I was afraid to go out by myself, afraid of what people would think of me, afraid of messing up, afraid of making people angry, afraid of not hearing for God or making Him angry. It was everywhere. It had changed the way I was living. The way I saw life, the way I made decisions. And I realized I didn't have to keep living that way.

Getting a haircut had been on my to-do list for awhile. It had been over a year (whoops!) since my last cut and with my thyroid slacking off a little my ends were not looking so hot. I was just about to make an appointment when I began thinking about how much value I put on my hair. I loved long hair. I envied people with long hair, even though I had it. My long hair was apart of who I was. It made me feel beautiful, it gave me confidence. My reality had been that if I ever lost it or had a terrible hair cut I would totally loose any beauty I had.

I've never totally understood what people meant when they would say "I need to do this for myself" but in that moment it made perfect sense. I needed to do this. For myself. To prove to myself, to the Lord, to the devil, that I wasn't afraid. And I wasn't going to be afraid anymore.

I gave Stanley my big speech on no more fear, not being so stuck on physical beauty and having a more heavenly mindset. When I finished my passionate rant he said he had felt afraid of cutting his hair too and was excited to jump into our new no-fear-here lifestyle. So last week we chopped off all our hair. The day it happened I felt so peaceful. The last few months have had their ups and downs but that day I felt like I had been restored back to myself.

I'm excited to be entering into this new season of no fear. Fearful thoughts still come, but they are not allowed to stay. I'm girl filled with freedom and I'm excited to start living each day that way.

I sought the Lord and He heard me
and He delivered me from all my fears.
- Psalm 34:4