When God’s Timing Doesn’t Match Yours

“So. Are you finally going to graduate this year? I mean, you’ve been in school for how long?”

“Wait, you’ve seriously never even been on a date?”

“Do you ever plan on moving out?”

Or to those who are married: “So…. are you ever going to have kids?” 

These are real questions people ask. Though they are not always meant to be harsh, you suddenly find yourself scrambling to make excuses as if you’ve done something wrong. You feel guilty. Ashamed. Even if it is something you have no control over, you find yourself wishing you could change things.

And you feel like you’re running out of time.


 

pocket-watch-3156771_1920

 


 If you had asked me 10 years ago where I would be in my mid twenties, my answer would have looked nothing like the actuality. I would have pictured myself graduated from college, married, and living in a cute little house of my own.

Instead, I’ve been watching other people my age (and even may people younger than me) do these things. No matter what you do to try to convince yourself that you are not a failure, it is still easy to feel like you’ve been left behind.

Those who were in your class in high school are now married and have kids while you are still fighting for that degree.

It’s not easy….


….But it’s not a Race

No one’s lives are the same. God’s timing for you might not match His timing for your best friend. For whatever reason, it is possible that God wants you in this place for some time to learn an important lesson. Pushing to stay on track with society’s idea of what your life “should” be like at a certain age is probably a bad idea.

It’s easy for me to look back at my “wasted” semester in college with regret. I catch myself thinking If only I had been able to take a full load of classes, I’d be finished with college by now. I’d possibly be out of debt and a lot closer to moving out…. If only I had done things differently….” 

But that wasn’t the path that God gave me. If it wasn’t for that “awful” semester, I would have missed out on some incredibly important life lessons. (Check out a previous blog post if you’re curious) — Thankfulness and my “Wasted Semester”

It is NOT a race.

It doesn’t matter if that other guy or girl from high school already has a house and you don’t. What matters is that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and that you are content in that place, knowing that you are in God’s will.

This is why it is so important to stay focused on God and the Christian race that we’re running. If you try to keep up with those around you, you might lose sight of your end goal.

As a Christian, I would rather be in line with God’s timing–not my own, or that of those around me. For whatever reason, He has me in this specific place at this specific time.


 

free-spring-printable-small

 


Don’t Forget to Live in the Present

It’s easy to focus on what you want for the future and let it ruin your present. If I only focus on the fact that I should have had my degree a couple semesters ago, I would be awfully depressed. But I’m learning to enjoy every experience I’m having along the way.

Suppose you are wanting to buy a new car and one of your friends sends you a picture of a shiny new vehicle they just purchased. You have two options. You can either be bitter, longing to have one of your own, or you can celebrate with them and enjoy the rest of your day.

I must confess, I’ve definitely prayed for the right attitude in these matters many times. I don’t understand why I’m where I am sometimes, but I want to still be able to enjoy every day that God has given me to live, and I want to be happy with my friends who are experiencing things I have yet to experience.

Enjoy every moment now. Enjoy the blessings God has given you in this part of your life.  ❤ You’ll find them if you look hard enough ❤


If you’re constantly wishing for tomorrow’s sunshine, you’ll miss the beauty of today.


“Wow, you’ve been in school forever.” 

I’ve learned to just smile and laugh it off. I know for certain that I am 100% in the center of God’s will for my life because of the assurance He gives me day by day. To me, this is more important than when I get my degree.

If I follow my own plans for my life, I know I’d make a huge mess of things. Instead, I choose to trust God and His perfect timing. He might be saving me from a lot of heartache, and I trust that He will continue to guide me according to His plan. It’s not just a one time decision, it is an every day choice that I must make.


 

be-thankful-for-the-closed-doors-detours-and-roadblocks-they-26788630

unknown source

 


Final Thoughts

I know this is a huge topic and I have barely even scratched the surface. There is so much more that could be written, but maybe I could touch on it in future blog posts.

I don’t know about my future. I don’t know why I’m still in college, why I’m still living at home, or why I’ve never been on a date. But this I do know. I am trusting God to lead me exactly where He wants me to be, therefore I can peacefully rest in Him and accept my present situation.

Thanks so much for reading! If  you have any thoughts you would like to add, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email! I’d love to hear from you. 

Until next time!


God’s Timing is Perfect 


 

Advertisements

5 Tips for Surviving a Tough Semester

Spring Semester 2019- Too Much

I have a real knack for getting myself into things way over my head, and I’m pretty sure that’s why this past semester was so difficult for me. Since I had dropped out of a few classes during the previous semester for numerous reasons, I was attempting to make up for lost time and enrolled in 5 classes, 3 credit hours each. I know this is a fairly normal load, but the problem was that four of them were upper-division English courses–and I was in the honors section for one.

On top of this, I was waitressing as much as possible in order to pay off my student loans and my other bills, while also tutoring on the side for a little extra income. This made my schedule extremely tight and made it difficult for me to get all of the heavy reading and writing assignments done for all of my classes.

Since this was a lot to handle, I realized I would have to make some major changes if I wanted to succeed. Here are a few things I found really helped me get through the hardest semester I’ve had yet.


1. Planning Ahead

I have been known in the past to be a procrastinator. Knowing I would have several 15-20 page papers along with all my other work, I knew that I would have to change that about myself. I bought a bullet journal on Amazon for about $10 and made myself a custom planner before the semester even began. For each week, I wrote down all of my assignments and my work schedule. This helped me to see what was coming up and which weeks would be busier than others. I used the extra spaces for things like keeping  track of my daily habits,  a positive thought for the week, and a weekly Bible verse.

Bullet Journal Planner

I definitely would not have made it without this planner. Organization is a must when juggling work schedules, school assignments, and everything else in life.

2. Self-Care

This is another thing I had to constantly keep in mind. A few semesters prior to Spring 2019, I was a disorganized mess and ended up coming into finals week completely unprepared. I was writing 12-page papers in a single day, and I did 3 all-nighters in one week (and only took a couple short naps on a few of the other days). Needless to say, it was very bad for my health and I was sick for nearly a month after that and I lost a lot of weight (not in a good way).

I knew that with all of the long papers scheduled for that semester, I would need to make sure that this would not happen again, so I was very careful to always get enough sleep. I was usually in bed by 10 PM and I only stayed up until midnight twice. In the mornings, I woke up pretty early to have my devotions right away and eat breakfast.

I tried to avoid junk food that would make me tired and I always made sure to take plenty of water on campus with me. Staying in good health helped me to be able to focus and think clearly while writing papers.

3. Motivation

Staying motivated was extremely important, but it was often very hard. No one ever feels like writing a 15-20 page paper, no matter how much they love the subject. In these moments, I would often remind myself why I was writing that paper and why I was in college to begin with.

On some particularly rough weeks, I would reward myself in small ways. I would schedule a ice cream trip to look forward to, a fun night playing Uno with my family, or even something as simple as a cheap face mask from Walmart (seriously–they’re only 2 for $5.00!)

To Do Lists also really inspire me, since I love being able to cross something off that has been completed. I got a bit creative with this in my bullet journal for the last 3 weeks of the semester, which involved a LOT of short papers and several really long papers. I basically just doodled on two pages, making one thing to color in for each assignment. For the larger papers, I made something that could be split into multiple parts. Coloring was a nice stress-reliever for me, and the feeling of completion after it was done was extremely satisfying.

first

second

As silly as it seems, these small rewards kept me going sometimes and were a nice break from all the stress of my schoolwork. Staying positive helps tremendously!

Also. Coffee. It’s like a hug in a mug.

Enough said.

4. Music

I’ve said before how important music is to me. Good music has the power to uplift my entire mood and change my day around for the better. As I drove to class, I would often sing along with my Southern Gospel music, which  was a fantastic stress-reliever that brought a smile to my face while also reminding me of important Christian truths.

While writing papers, I almost always played soft music in the background. In order to concentrate better, I avoided anything with vocals and usually just chose some soft guitar music. I know a lot of people cannot focus with music playing, but it was important to me in order to stay upbeat and on track.

5. Time with God

Although everything listed above was incredibly helpful, I could not have made it through that semester alone. There were days I thought I was never going to make it. Life threw a few curve-balls at me right in the middle of the semester that I was certain I would never make it through.

I somehow did it though–with God’s help. Every struggle, every tough day… I had to remember to turn to Him. Sometimes I just outright told him, “This is going to be a hard day, and I cannot do it without You,” and I know He was with me every step of the way.

Next semester already looks difficult and its easy for me to get overwhelmed and worry about how I will ever do it. Then I remember its not just me. I have a Heavenly Father who will be there to help me through every day.

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”

-1 Peter 5:7


Final Thoughts

I plan to continue doing all of these and look for more ways to improve my life this coming semester. Right now, I am enjoying my summer and working as much as I possibly can while I have time.

I know I haven’t written in a few months, but I did so much writing during the semester, I was just totally drained for a while and needed a break. This summer has been gloriously rejuvenating so far, and I hope to post several times before going back to school this fall. I know this post was a bit different from my other ones, but I have more ideas that I am currently working on that I will post later. Thanks for reading!

Until next time!


 

My Struggle With Devotions & 10 Things To Improve Devotional Time

Burden or Blessing?

Devotions. Ugh.

Yes, I have thought that many times in the past. I am not afraid to admit that devotions have been a continuous struggle for me all of my life. Many, many times in the past I would start a new year by saying “This is the year I will do it. I’ll do devotions every day and fix my relationship with God.”

Yeah, it was a good thought, but it normally did not last more than 2 weeks. I think the longest time I consistently did devotions growing up was probably a couple months. This was because of many things, but mostly a lack of desire and discipline. That, and the fact that I was not even a Christian during most of those times.

Fast forward to the beginning of last year. I had been a Christian for about half a year, but still had no solid devotional life. Having never started the habit in the past, devotions were hit or miss. I would simply forget, or just wake up with absolutely no motivation. For a long time, devotions felt like a burden. A trial. Something I just didn’t want to do because it wasn’t fun. I would read quickly and recite a prayer that I’d prayed many times.

It was not because I didn’t want to grow in my relationship with God. It was more a lack of discipline and even a lack of understanding. I didn’t know how to have meaningful devotions. Yes, I grew up in church, but I still felt I had no idea what I was doing in my devotions. “Read your Bible and pray” isn’t good enough. It is so much more than that.

I remember feeling so confused. “Aren’t devotions supposed to be good for you? Why can’t I feel the “blessing” that I am supposed to get by doing this?

Changing My View

One of my main problems was that my view of what devotions should be was completely wrong. I saw them as a “duty.” A task I had to complete to be a Christian.

If this is how you view devotions, you are probably not going to get anywhere. 

I remember getting so frustrated that one day I finally said, “God, I don’t know how to pray. You’re going to have to teach me.” I talked to other people about my struggle. Someone told me that I should talk to God just as if I were having a conversation with a friend.

“Just talk to Him about anything. Even your waitressing stories, or your long day of classes.”

Sure I had heard the “talk to God like a friend” before, but for some reason, a light bulb came on in my head. I realized I had been trying so hard to sound like the people I hear praying at church. I had not been making it personal. It was rough at first. But I began learning.

My view changed from “devotions are a required duty” to “devotions are about relationship.” As an illustration, think of first meeting a friend. You probably did not have a close relationship right away. That closeness comes through getting to know the other person through conversation and shared experiences.

Mind-blowing thought: it is the same with God. This is why daily devotions are so very important. As you share your experiences with God, He becomes more and more a part of your life. As this happens, Bible reading gradually becomes easier as well, because it will be less out of habit and more because you have a genuine desire to learn more about Jesus and how to live life better as His Child.

Through this new outlook, devotions became more meaningful. I found myself surprisingly excited to wake up and chat with God about the events of the previous day. 23 years into my life, and I can finally say that I do have consistent devotions. Sure, I miss a day here and there. Life happens. But overall, I have made talking to God and reading His Word a part of my everyday life.

What Can I Do To Improve My Devotions?

1. Desire

You cannot improve your devotions unless you truly have the desire. Reading more, praying more often, etc….. will not help you unless you truly have the desire to improve. (This may be obvious but I had tried in the past to have devotions more often without a desire to actually draw closer to God. It doesn’t work.).

This desire will grow as you become closer to God.

2. Discipline

Devotions, even when they are going well, still demand a high level of discipline. Some mornings, I would get up too late and run out of time. “I’ll just do them later” did not work for me. I have found that if I do not do devotions in the morning, they will probably not happen at all. Therefore, I began setting my alarm an hour earlier to allow for more time. I began cutting out things of less importance (video games/YouTube videos, etc) to allow for what was truly important.

I won’t say it will get easier. It does in a way. But even today, I woke up and badly wanted to hit the snooze button. But my life is extremely busy now that classes have begun. I knew I had to force myself to get out of bed and begin my day with God.

You will not always feel motivated. This is where the discipline is important.

3. Conversational Outlook 

This was mentioned above. Talking to God shouldn’t be a recitation of requests that you say every day. It doesn’t have to be eloquent and sound like the preacher or someone at church. It should be YOU.

Being real. Saying, “I had a really bad day today” or “my classes went really well today! I got an A on my test!”— these are totally okay. God wants to hear you.

“Doesn’t He already know this stuff? He knows everything.” Yes. He does. But He wants to talk to you. Sharing your life with Him will help you to form a close relationship with Him.

4. Concerns and Requests

While I am totally against “reciting” the same prayer every day, we always have those daily requests of people we’re praying for or something in our lives. Yes, that’s fine. We have to ask God for help in these situations. I just have to be careful to think about what I’m saying and not just repeat a list of requests without any meaning.

5. Praise and Worship

Devotional time should never be “all about you.” God is certainly our rock and our refuge and we are meant to bring our requests to Him. But do not forget that you are talking to the King of Kings. He deserves our praise.

My pastor just preached a sermon about this. In my notes from the service, I jotted down, “God is holy. He needs to be worshiped. He wants to give Himself for us to enjoy and we need to give ourselves back to Him. Ourselves. Our Worship. Our Love.” (Pastor Grabill, January 13).

6. Bible Reading

Bible reading is sometimes the tough part. Especially if you are wading through genealogies. You may not always feel like you are “getting something out of your reading.” I have been working on reading straight through my Bible and what I have been doing is reading a Psalm every day alongside my other reading, especially when the other text is really heavy. Do what you need to in order to stay focused on the real reason you are reading–not because you have to, but because you want to learn more about God.

7. Shut Out Distractions

This cannot be emphasized enough. Close your door. Turn off your phone. Devotions will not be a profitable time if you keep interrupting your time with God to check Facebook or reply to texts. I turn my sound off and put my phone somewhere on the other side of the room so I cannot even be tempted by its presence. Not only does it blow your focus, but it is also extremely disrespectful to God.

Just as you should not be texting while your friend is talking to you, using your phone during devotions is rude. God may be trying to talk to you, and if you are constantly going back and forth between your Bible and your phone, you are wasting your time.

Do yourself a favor and make sure that you use your devotional time carefully, designating that time to listen and talk with your Heavenly Father.

8. Keep A Notebook Handy

This is not necessary for everyone, but for me, I find that I do better with a notebook nearby. I think much better when I write, so I always keep a notebook beside me while having devotions. I write down things that jump out at me while reading, answers to prayer, things that I may be struggling with, etc. I feel like it keeps me on track just a little better.

I started this habit last June, and it is also really encouraging to go back and read the things I previously scribbled down. The things I struggled with back then are not even a concern to me now. It shows how much I have grown, and has many instances documented of answered prayers. Just flipping through it quickly on a day I’m feeling down can cheer me up easily.

9. Don’t Make A Science Out Of It

Devotions are a special time with God. Over-analyzing what you should be doing could throw you off track. Focus on just being there with God and talking to Him. As you do this, things will fall into place.

10. You Do You

Not everyone is the same. Find what works for you. As long as you are having that special time with God, and it is helping you grow, you will stay on track. Recently, I have started listening to good Christian music at the end of my devotional time, normally after prayer. Since I am musically inclined, this has helped me a lot. Is it necessary for everyone? Definitely not. Nor is keeping that notebook handy. Find out what makes your time with God special and do it.

Conclusion

This blog post definitely got away from me and was much longer than intended, but I definitely felt like sharing my struggle and what I did to improve. Devotions are so incredibly important and feel difficult sometimes, but its a struggle many people have. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them or email/pm me! I’d be happy to chat with you about my experience.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time!

 


“Discipline is being able to force yourself to do something, in spite of how you feel, over and over until it becomes a habit.”

— Kim Brenneman


 

The Dangers of “I Can’t”

“I Can’t Do This.”

How often we say this little phrase. Sometimes we grumble it in frustration. Other times, we cry it out, burdened by the stress of life. Or perhaps we sob out a weak, “I just can’t do it anymore” in the midst of heartache we think is too great to handle.

It’s normal. Everyone has moments in which life seems too difficult. There are times in which the next step in life looks like a mountain much too big to face. “I can’t!” is our easiest escape. When we are too broken, stressed, or depressed to see a remedy to our situation, the quickest “solution” is to simply say “I can’t.”

“Can’t Never Did Anything”

I had a teacher in high school that told me this often and I hated it–mainly because I knew she was right. I was definitely guilty of often saying “can’t,” especially when it came to writing papers or getting good grades. As much as I despised the saying at the time, there is certainly truth to it. When we say “can’t,” we are immediately setting ourselves up for failure. If we have a task before us, and we look at it with an “I can’t” attitude, we have already given in. Even if we begin and then suddenly feel overwhelmed and back away, have we really done our best?

While there are some things we just cannot do, often, the case is simply that we do not truly give it our best. Saying “I can’t” before we have finished a task immediately lowers the likelihood of its completion, because we are doubting ourselves. With this mindset, we will tend to not push ourselves to do our best and we will often give up faster.

I have seen this tendency in myself as a student. If I begin a project with an attitude of self-doubt, I don’t always work as hard as I should. It takes longer, and the feelings of doubt snowball until I’m a mess of emotions. On the contrary, I could begin by saying, “yes, this is going to be tough, but I’m going to do my best.” The attitude makes all the difference here. We often don’t realize what we are capable of–and if we stop doubting ourselves, we can accomplish things we never thought possible.

Pity Party

Again. I am guilty of this. ” I can’t” is sometimes us just feeling sorry for ourselves. “I can’t” comes out in its whiniest form when really, what we mean is that we either don’t want to do something, or we are just having ourselves a little pity party about how unfair life is.

These are the times we have to just grow up and push through it. We have to stop acting like children and realize life isn’t fair. So maybe you’ve hit a rainstorm in life. That’s no reason to sit down in a mud puddle and cry. Put up your umbrella and start walking.

Emotional Struggles and “I Can’t”

Hurt. Heartache. Depression.

“I can’t” shows up in all of these situations. When our hearts are broken, and we feel like we cannot go on with life, we cry out again, “I can’t.” It’s easy to do. It can be hard to put one foot in front of the other sometimes. But each small step forward will bring you closer to the sunshine again. If we have made it this far in our lives, surely we can make it another day. And then another after that.

But instead of saying “can’t,” reach out to someone. Maybe it’s true… you can’t. Not alone, anyways. But there is a way for you somehow. I don’t want to get into this topic too deep,  (perhaps in a future blog), but as one who has experienced some levels of depression in the past, I can definitely say there are times in which I’ve felt like I absolutely could not live one more day and handle it.

But somehow I did. It wasn’t by staring up at a mountain, wondering how on earth I’d climb it. It was by taking one small step. And then another. Friends helped me climb, and I suddenly realized I had reached the top. I had conquered my mountain. We all can.

Spiritual “I Can’t”

A little over a year and a half ago, I hit a low spot in my spiritual journey. I had only been saved for a couple months, and old temptations were popping up. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I was slipping. I remember sitting in my room crying out to God, “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough.”

Well. What I’ve learned is… I was right. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t good enough.

Wait, what?

That’s right. The truth is, we can’t do it. We aren’t good enough–not by ourselves. The key here is with God, we can. My problem was that I was relying too much on my own strength. Jesus said, “Without me, ye can do nothing” (John 15:5 KJV). We cannot do it alone. Without God, we are nothing. But, “by the grace of God, I am what I am” (I Corinthians 15:10 KJV).

One of my very favorite verses is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I’ve had plenty of situations in life I didn’t think I could handle. But somehow, I am still alive. I made it through days that I thought were too horrible to bear. And now I know that it is by God’s strength alone that I can survive.

The most comforting thing is that no matter how awful things seem–no matter how bleak the future looks, God is not going to allow more testing than we are capable of handling. (I Corinthians 10:13), and He is there as our strength and shield.

Final Thoughts

Whatever you’re struggling with… don’t give up. You can survive. Turn to friends, talk to God, let the tears flow, do whatever you need to… just don’t say “I can’t,” and underestimate yourself. Don’t set yourself up for failure when you have the potential to rise up above your circumstances and shine. Don’t stare up at the mountain and worry about how hard it looks. Take a deep breath. Smile. And take one small step forward.

If you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments or send me a message using the link on my contact info! Thanks for reading!

Until next time!


“With men, this is impossible; but with God, all things are possible.” -Matthew 19:26


 

Thankfulness and my “Wasted Semester”

Being Thankful

It’s easy to be thankful. While some may have more than others, we can all probably easily list 10 things we are thankful for without hesitation. I’m very blessed. I have a wonderful family, a warm house to live in, a job, a relationship with God, and so much more. It’s not hard to be thankful for the good things I’ve been given in life.

One thing I have been learning in my Christian walk, however, is to also be grateful for things that don’t seem as inherently good. I was listening to the song “Blessings” by Laura Story recently, and it really made me start to think about life differently. The song talks about how sometimes the things we see as bad things are actually blessings sent from heaven. We seldom realize these trials are actually benefiting us in some way while they are occurring, but upon looking back, we often find that it was for the best.

Fall 2018: A Wasted Semester?

I’ll confess, this semester has been a real struggle for me. I had switched majors right before scheduling classes, and everything felt chaotic from the very start. Switching majors put me at a different campus than the one I had previously attended, which was nearly triple the cost from what I had been paying in tuition. About a third of the way through the semester, I nearly had a breakdown. Nothing was going right. Two of the classes I was enrolled in felt totally “off” to me. I was getting fine grades, and the workload was not too heavy for me, but every time I went to those classes, I just felt out of place and like something was really wrong. It was as if there was a wall blocking me from praying on occasion as well.

I dropped both of those classes. I had never dropped a class before in my entire life, especially not mid-semester. It really messed with me for a while. I felt like I had done something wrong. Had I somehow failed at following God’s directions for me back when I registered for classes? I didn’t think so. But those thoughts tormented me for some time.

With all my spare time, having dropped a total of 6 credit hours, I worked a lot more, which allowed me to pay off some debt. Not only this, but I also had more time in the mornings to spend in my personal devotions. I still had a 45 minute drive to campus, but I also tried to use that as extra prayer time or to listen to uplifting music. All the while, I was battling thoughts of failure; thoughts about how this would set me back. I would graduate later now for sure, and I was already behind after changing my major. I wondered what people would think if they knew I had dropped out of two classes in the middle of a semester and if they would assume I was failing the courses. So much money and time was spent, only to withdraw halfway through. It all felt like a waste.

Finding Good in the Bad

More recently, God has been showing me a different way to look at things. I firmly believe I did not go astray, but rather, everything that happened was all part of God’s plan for me. After dropping those classes, I had long conversations with God that might not have happened otherwise. I overcame my doubts and fears about whether I was still on track or not, and I fought battles that I might not have fought if it wasn’t for going through that particular situation. It was a tremendously frustrating and confusing situation to me at the time, but it pushed me closer to God.

One of my favorite lines in the previously mentioned song is “What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?”  I know that it is difficult to see the blessings while going through dark times, but God always has a reason, even if it is simply to bring us closer to Himself. Through the battles we face, we can learn and become stronger. Though it has only been a few short months since all of this took place, I know that I am much closer to God because of it. This, and other painful situations make us appreciate the good times even more. More importantly though, they give us a chance to ground ourselves even more firmly in the love of God and to experience His grace in new ways.

No matter how rough the Fall 2018 semester has been, I am grateful for everything that happened. All those times I shut myself in my room, crying out to God were worth it because of the deeper relationship I now have with Him.

Bible Verses about Always Giving Thanks

There are so many Bible verses about thankfulness, but I wanted to share two verses that specifically speak of giving thanks always and in everything.

Psalm 31:1 – “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

I Thessalonians 5:18 – “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Final Thoughts

It isn’t always easy to praise the Lord while going through horrible circumstances, but it is certainly a good thing to do, and quite essential to living a healthy Christian life. I still struggle with this myself on occasion (as I’m sure we all do), but I am grateful for how God is helping me to view life differently.

Hopefully everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.

Until next time!


“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.”

         — E.P. Powell


 

Why I Stopped Hating Snow

Winter Depression

There’s something about a snow day that is absolutely magical to a child. Waking up to an unexpected day off school and a beautiful blanket of sparkling, white snow on the ground was something I always loved during my school years. As I grew, however, I began to dislike snow and winter. I didn’t like always being cold, having to wear a heavy winter coat, and being stuck inside for what felt like an eternity while anxiously awaiting spring.

After graduating high school, that dislike quickly grew to an intense hatred. I began to dread every time I had to venture out into the cold and snowy world, and I despised driving on bad roads. I believe I was about 18 or 19 years old at the time, and I really began to go too far with this. I let that hatred fill me up so much that I could not enjoy anything. I walked around campus so gloomy and depressed that I imagine everyone probably thought something was horribly wrong with me. Being that I live in northeast Ohio, this cold weather can last anywhere from late October to early April. That’s about 4-5 months depending on the year. I still regret most things about that particular winter, because I wasted it moping around.

Changing my Outlook

Sometime after I became a Christian a couple years ago, I decided I could no longer live like that. I knew I wasn’t having the right attitude, for one thing, and I also wanted God to help me to find moments to actually enjoy during what I thought was the worst part of the year. I remember venturing out behind campus one day and wandering beyond the normal paths of student traffic. My breath nearly caught in my throat when I saw an untouched stretch of land covered in the most sparkly snow I had ever seen, and beyond that, a pond completely iced over. The sun was shining brightly, and it looked like a million diamonds were dancing before me with every step I took. I knelt down right where I was and ended up having a really good time of prayer right there, alone in the snow.

My attitude was horribly wrong before, but I am very grateful I’ve been able to move beyond that. Do I love winter and snow now? Definitely not. My favorite season is summer, without a doubt. I still don’t like being cold, and I still don’t like driving on icy roads. But the correct attitude has made all the difference for me. I no longer spend every moment of winter moping around and hating every step I take outside. I ask God regularly to help me see the good in everything instead. On top of this, I have sunshine in my heart that allows me to at least have peace during unpleasant situations. No, I don’t bubble over with joy while sliding around on icy roads, but there’s a sweet calmness within me.


“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

–Albert Camus


What Does the Bible Say About Snow?

I looked this up recently just for fun. There are not many verses in the Bible that are about snow, but here are a few that I like:

Job 37:6 “For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.”

Psalm 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

What I believe I can take from these verses is that 1) God is the one that commands the snow to fall to the earth, 2) snow is used as a symbol of purity and cleanliness. What’s more is that God can wash our sins even whiter than that seemingly perfect blanket of fresh-fallen whiteness that glistens outside our windows.

Winter 2018

All this has been to say, this winter, I will do my best to appreciate the beauty of the snow, knowing that spring will be here before I know it. Do I think people are wrong for disliking winter? No. I just want to be careful with my own attitude about it and try to find joy in everything. I hope to be able to find “in whatever state I am in, to be content” (Philippians 4:11). So here are some pictures of things I found to be quite delightful while walking around my yard after a terrifying drive home on slippery roads with bald tires.


That post ended up being longer than I had intended, but thank you for reading. Try to stay warm out there and enjoy the beauty of our winter wonderland!

Until next time!


“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”

-Aristotle


 

 

A Fresh Start

Why I Decided to Start Blogging Again

Yes, again. I did have a blog, once upon a time. But that one is now long lost in the deep, deep archives of the internet. I remember very little of what I had posted on it, but I would not want to dig it up now and try to salvage an already dead piece of history anyways–reason being simply that I am not the person I used to be. I’m ready for a fresh start. (Also, I couldn’t even remember my previous blog’s title).      

I think the main reason I decided to begin blogging again is just that I love writing. I think better while writing, and I find it soothing and stress-relieving. I plan to share things I am learning in this crazy life I’m living , how I’ve grown through past situations, and probably a good bit of randomness as well. Perhaps other people will be able to relate to some of these and share their own thoughts/advice. Or perhaps it will be of help to someone facing a similar problem or situation. Regardless, I hope that something I write will end up touching someone in some way.

I also like the idea of having my own voice. I have finally begun to figure out who I am in the last couple years. I have been shaped by situations I’ve been through, people I’ve met, place I’ve been to, and most importantly, by my walk with God.

So here I am again. Starting over, just like I did with my life nearly two years ago. But that’s another story for another time. I personally hate introductory blog posts, so I’m going to bring this one to a close so I can move into more unique topics soon.

Until next time!


“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” 

-E. L. Doctorow