Excuses Never Prosper

I have been disobedient to God lately. That doesn’t sound like the happy clappy missionary I know y’all think I am, but it’s the truth! How have I been disobedient? My confession entails a sheer lack of willingness to step out into the aspects of ministry I know God has been giving me vision for.

Ever since I arrived in Australia I’ve known that I am here to serve at YWAM. Lately I’ve been asking myself what that means and what it looks like, because I’m fully aware that my season here most likely won’t be forever. I’ve been asking myself how to maximize my time here to take advantage of every opportunity that has been given to me. I’ve been stressing about finances (although I’m super grateful for a church that supports me back home and pays my staff fees to have the ability to serve on base), my purpose, and sometimes even what my ministry even looks like. I feel as if God has been speaking “more” into my life, but it has just recently occurred to me that maybe I should actually talk to Him about it instead of speculating it all on my own (novel idea, hey? HA!)

This vision for my ministry that I’ve had, has been on my heart, my mind, and frankly God just won’t leave me alone about it. When I see myself in ten years I see myself having the ability to give to people to release them into their calling, whether it be ministry or missions. I so desperately see myself wanting to pour into others the way others have poured into me. In a YWAM community I see first hand the way staff and students alike struggle. I’d love nothing more than to be a vessel of which I may bless others and build a life to bring that blessing to the nations.

In September, I signed up to be a consultant for Arbonne. Little did I know that this not only was a job opportunity, but a ministry opportunity that God would have on my heart day in and day out, that eventually I would become disobedient to by ignoring. I have felt strong conviction because I’ve been too afraid to step out because of the bad name network marketing in general is given (though Arbonne is unlike any other network marketing company in the industry) and the fear of rejection and laziness and every other excuse in the book have overwhelmed my knowledge that God is greater and makes a way if HE is the one directing you in the direction He calls you to.

Arbonne is a 37 year old vegan skincare, nutrition, and makeup company. We sell everything from foundation, to diaper cream, to deodorant and toothpaste. Established, and truly living up to its slogan “Pure, safe, and beneficial.” In fact, 4 days before hearing about Arbonne I was making fun of network marketing companies because of the bad rep they get for shoving products down people’s throats. It wasn’t until my now uplines Sabrina, Tess, and Cathy explained it in a way that really resonated with me. Not only that, but upon trying things myself I realized that this was something I could be passionate about because I see the difference in it. That it’s not just a gimmick to make personal gain, but it’s people investing in YOU as a small business owner instead of huge corporations that are selling you cheap products containing highly refined black crude oil, dead animal fat (gross), and other horrendous things most people have no idea they are putting on and in their body. Not only that but also with inflated prices where the CEO is probably on his or her third holiday home. And guess what else? Even if you don’t want to buy anything, or become a consultant, I still want you!! Valuing the individual is critical because this isn’t a cutthroat business. Everyone has something to offer, whether it be you knowing someone who might want to know more, or you want to host! There are a plethora of options for everyone beyond just buying and selling.

Fast forward 7 months. I’m still an independent consultant, and I haven’t promoted to the first level of management yet. Why? I haven’t done anything towards it! I have this grand vision of being able to educate people on what they put on and in their bodies and giving them an alternative that not only benefits me financially, but benefits in building relationships, and eventually having a sustainable business that supports others to grow in what God is calling them towards. That the financial freedom isn’t to be something that is greedy but another open door because unfortunately to do anything in this world you have to have money. Jesus has shown me perseverance, commitment, and what it looks like to bear fruit for the sake of His kingdom because of this company. Because I desire to see people healthy, and being good stewards of themselves, each other and this world. I want to build connections and relationships with people who I otherwise wouldn’t have a reason to get connected with. I want more than anything to have the financial freedom to see ministries flourish because of the financial blessing God is entrusting to me and others to further His kingdom. I want to see other men, women, and families have this same ability.

I could sit around and complain that I’m not getting anywhere, but isn’t it like that with most things we do in life? Sometimes God so desperately wants to move, but I know what He won’t do is spoon feed His children when He knows that with Him they are capable of so much more. The things we pursue so long as they are for the glory of God will be blessed and He will direct our steps. As a missionary, I have no money. Like, none….but, instead of letting my pride get the best of me, God has given me this avenue to be able to not only create an income, but to do something so much more valuable with it that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

If you’ve read this far, I appreciate you for bearing with me in love and seeing my vision of what God has been speaking to me. Please, I LOVE when people ask me questions and if this post has sparked anything in you feel free to reach out! Feel free to follow my journey as I will be updating more about this business turned ministry opportunity and I would love to have people partner with me in this endeavor.

Blessings,
Alexa

xoxo

Love is Patient, Love is Kind, Love is SIMPLE

With all the busyness of senior year winding down I find myself making things extremely complicated, more so than they need to be. Not sure if you guys are the same, but the ever constant need to stress, to over think, and to be overwhelmed becomes normal and pours out into aspects of our life like our faith. Our capacity to understand things in their simplest form becomes nearly impossible. Specifically my intention to convey is how we live out our faith. Do we simply love, or are we conforming to our earthly need to follow a set of rules over-complicating to condemn others and recording rights and wrongs where no love is to be found?

By way of human nature we’re bound to feel the need to achieve justice when wronged or internally being judgmental to the point where our own sin feels non-existent compared to what we mentally rank as which wrongdoing is worse. “Well they wronged me so it’s worse than anything I’ve ever done,” or “they make different choices than I do and scripturally it’s wrong so I’m going to become angry and mentally condemn them because I’m morally better.” We never stop to think that we’re exactly on the same level. Personally, I’ve been battling a lot of bitterness towards people so I understand and can relate to those self-gratifying thoughts of the fact that they’re wrong and I’m right. Maybe for that situation, but guess what? I have always been and always will be wrong in different ways. My daily sins put me in full dependence on Jesus and the fact that I know this washes every rule of right and wrong and legalistic views down the drain. I realize that in that bitterness of figuring out good and evil it takes the focus off of Jesus and onto religion. This is EXACTLY why He calls us to love Him, others and leave the rest to Him. We need to SIMPLIFY.

Honestly though, who are we to sit here and judge others? This is part of why we live in such a world that’s so against Christianity. It’s ok to not support and encourage something, but what’s not ok is becoming intolerant, angry, and judgmental. Homosexuality, divorce, murder, gossip, lying, cheating, impure thoughts, they’re all the same. God has already taken that wrath and placed it on Jesus so instead of getting so worked up about matters that Jesus has in His hands, have grace and love them. How can someone possibly even desire to change if they aren’t shown the light? How can a person possibly experience who Jesus is if some of His followers are hell bent on being angry that homosexuality is becoming more normalized, divorce rates are skyrocketing or that these people aren’t following scripture word for word. I get it; it’s easy to do and to be perfectly transparent, judgmental thoughts run rampant in my mind everyday about the minutest of things. I’ve found that in all this anger, all this bitterness, and all this uproar about the way Satan works, God’s purpose for us is being lost. His love is being displaced by an over complicated set of rules that drive people away from Jesus and into the secular world they feel accepts them. Since when is it ok to make people feel like they can’t acquire that unconditional love no matter who they are or what they’ve done?

My task from this point forth is to pray that we can all become Christians who can set aside legalistic motives and put our focus back on what truly matters. Simplify the way that we love and use Scripture as a tool to strengthen our relationship with God instead of picking and choosing verses to argue with someone about why they’re one step closer to hell. I want everyone to know how dearly loved they are despite the intolerances of others. If you’ve had sex before marriage, if you’re divorced, gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, if you’ve lied about someone or gossiped, if you’ve ever hurt someone emotionally and physically, if you’ve had impure thoughts or anything of the like (which all of us fall into some category), know that you are FIERCELY loved and nothing can ever change that regardless of the hard heartedness of those around you. Jesus sees you and wants to embrace you. He’s not angry and He’s not condemning you. His grace will consume you and I pray you come to see that, and for the fellow Christians out there I pray that His grace may consume us as well to clearly see His vision of love in order to soften our hearts. We all have one thing in common and that is the fact that we are all equally in need of that purely simple, all consuming love.

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Why Dating is Called Dating and Not Marriage

Wow! It’s been awhile since my last post and I’ve been so busy and overwhelmed with life and fully intended to post this sooner, but got preoccupied with a million other things. Oops!:) Anyways, this is something that has been on my mind quite frequently and with Valentine’s Day come and gone I thought, “Well isn’t this just a perfect opportunity?” Soooo I’m taking it.

Relationships can be wonderful. They’re something most high-schoolers will be in while they’re trying to navigate who they are, especially as a young Christian. Someone to share in the struggles, grow with, and spend time with can be so uplifting and amazing. To have that special person who makes you feel like you’re a million bucks, heck sometimes even a billion is something many strive for. However, among all the affirmation, affection, and attention, it’s all too easy to become consumed with your significant other. It’s so common to see posts or people saying “my everything,” “forever and always,” or “my one and only.” A big reason why I feel this is such a prevalent issue especially in Christian dating (specifically high school) relationships is that we have this idea that dating is for a higher purpose, which it is, but instead of dating to see how things work out and giving it to Jesus by scoping out traits you want in a future spouse, the relationship itself is treated as a marriage which can be incredibly dangerous. We have a jealous God who fully wants our hearts and minds on Him before He can give us that forever love. With that being said these are the reasons why I feel dating is called dating and not marriage.

1. There’s a reason why scripture doesn’t talk much about dating: it didn’t really happen.

In biblical times, the marriages were arranged. No, I’m not saying that we should have arranged marriages, but my point is that by human design we were not created to grow so close to someone romantically without those covenantal vows soon after. Mark 10:8 says, “The two shall become one flesh,” referring to a union between man and wife. So when dating and a break up happens, the bond that has formed between two people is now broken apart causing it to hurt that much more. Nowadays we spend years dating starting in high school and things become hard when the possibility of marriage isn’t near that can create a strain that breaks apart the relationship or prolongs the temptations that occur before vows.

2. Sacrificing friendships for the sake of a relationship in high school isn’t worth it.

Quality time is a crucial part of any relationship, and that includes the preexisting friendships that were there long before that bf/gf came into the picture. Yes it’s fun to spend so much time with them, but it is so not worth becoming consumed and shutting people, activities, and other aspects of life out. Just because a relationship goes into effect does not mean it goes above anything else. That in itself becomes idolatry since the only One meant to go above anything else in your life is The Lord. When we’re married is when that one person is meant to be with us in all that we do, even then it’s ok to be individuals and independent with our friends and the things we enjoy. There’s no guarantees that a relationship through high school will be lasting and forever, but building friendships and memories are what we will want to be telling our kids about. Not how we didn’t have a life in high school because we wasted it all on something that may not have lasted.

3. Purity, purity, purity.

Obviously as Christians we are full aware of how sex is for marriage and that staying pure is what The Lord intended. On both ends for the guy and the girl, dating creates so many temptations that just grow stronger as the relationship goes on, even longer so by dating in high school. By living intentionally with likeminded boundaries and the understanding that the relationship does not have the same standard as a marriage keeping things casual and fun (within reason people), it takes the pressure off of growing intimate and regretting things later.

4. Don’t miss long run opportunities that The Lord may have for you to fit it around your boyfriend or girlfriend.

This goes along with a generalized idea of not planning the future. James 4:13-17 says, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Every time I read this verse I get hit like a ton of bricks because it applies to everything I hold near and dear to me. We aren’t even promised another day left on this planet so what makes us think we’re promised a lifetime with our high school sweetie? By realizing this it puts things in perspective that we’re supposed to live in the moment with our eyes fixed on God, and living each day in grateful humbleness that we get to do life with that special someone. They’re not guaranteed until the day you say “I do.”

5. Security in marriage is not the same as security in dating.

Security in marriage means that you made vows on your wedding day to work through it all, thick and thin. Frequently, (and I’ve found myself doing this in the relationships I’ve been in), a common misconception in a dating relationship is that if things just aren’t working out that things need to be fixed. If it’s not working out that is OKAY. Working to fix things to a point where you just need something different than what they can give you just means it’s not working out. It doesn’t make them a bad person, your person is just elsewhere. If there is a conflict then I’m not saying don’t try to solve them, relationships grow from two people trying to make it work. Just don’t compromise who you are as a person for anyone else! Security in dating simply means that you’re aware of the mutual feelings and are content in that. If anything changes, it’s time to move on. Time and Jesus heal everything (but mostly Jesus) 🙂

As a senior in high school I am fully aware of our constant need for Jesus, especially in this season of life in high school. If you’re reading this and aren’t in high school anymore my prayer is that you just encourage those that you know as they navigate this time. Relationships are a prominent want in these years preconceived to be a need. We’re young and trying to figure ourselves out in more ways than one, myself included. Again, my intention for this post was not to belittle high school relationships, but instead to build them up in a healthy way by pointing out that they should be beautiful and wonderful because of so many fun filled memories that are being created as a blessing from The Lord instead of placing a pressure to create something that consumes/bears the weight of marriage that we won’t be ready for until The Lord brings us there. Enjoy high school friends, and make a firm foundation of your love for Christ and yourself before adding anyone else. Always remember that a relationship is an addition, not a completion. You are infinitely loved and don’t need a significant other to heal you, complete you, or make you happy. Live intentionally and guard your hearts. Your self-worth can only be defined by The Most High and my prayer is that you or that those in high school that you may know may know that.

PS- Being single ROCKS by the way if you find this post unrelatable because you’re single. Preparing myself to be a wife someday and waiting patiently for God to put that man in my life is so rewarding and if anything one of the most amazingly free feelings I could ever experience. Loving God with my whole heart and allowing him to mold me overfills my very being. Relationships are not bad, singleness is not bad. Just put Daddy first peeps!

XOXO

Alexa

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Fighting for Our Faith

Our walk with Jesus is something glorious. In fact, it’s the most beautiful relationship we can ever encounter. Saying yes to Jesus means saying yes to a lifetime of love, joy, faith and peacefulness: a lifetime that lasts an eternity. By knowing Him, it’s impossible to be unchanged which I find myself experiencing everyday 4 years later. What I’ve also found out is that by coming Home, we become warriors. Soldiers. We are literally fighting the evil one daily for our faith. The road to eternity was never promised to be easy, but it was promised to be abundant. It seems a bit strange, maybe a bit exaggerated, but friends I tell you that it’s wholeheartedly the truth. The things we wrestle with, our temptations, and our daily failures are all part of being human. They’re part of a realization God wants us to find which is our dependence on Him and that to follow Jesus, we begin a battle that tells Satan that the war is already won.

Four short years ago, in 8th grade (literally can’t even. That long ago already???) I came to Christ. The years leading up to my salvation were filled with brokenness and suffering. In 6th/7th grade my parents were in the process of a divorce and things at home were shaken, they were broken and all I knew is that we weren’t a family anymore. All my friends parents were together and I couldn’t understand why of all people, here I sat at home with parents who couldn’t stand to be in the same building as one another. School was a challenge all it’s own. I was horrendously immature. Like so bad, everyone at bush probably remembers so if you’re reading this and recall my dark times, I am so deeply sorry, HA! No, but really I had no friends because of the way I acted and felt isolated out of my own actions. What can I say I guess? Natural consequences? Quickly I resorted to self harming thinking that I deserved it. That I wasn’t worthy. Satan told me I was ugly, fat, stupid, hopeless, worthless, disgusting, and that between my home life and school life it would destroy me and that I’d never amount to anything. In reality, God was protecting me, because while in my sin of self harm, it was consolation to the fact that though I wanted to, I was too afraid to take my own life. Something inside me kept me from having the willpower and I owe it all to God. He saved me. He had a plan for me and continues to have a plan for me. I know what He says about me and that I am His beloved, treasured by Him far more than anything else in this world. And friends, I’m not the only one. By society’s standards, I was the kid who easily should’ve been the one to seek attention from the wrong sources and I should’ve been the one who turned to drugs, alcohol, even sex but I was too scared for any of it (still am!). But don’t you see, this isn’t meant to be a story of pity, or a story of how bad my life was. This is a story of redemption and how God has transformed my life and guess what? He’s transforming yours too, wherever your walk with Him is.

Fast forward to 8th grade. One year later, I’m not self harming anymore, and I found a group of friends. Granted they weren’t the greatest influence, but still I had people around me that helped me through things and to sum up that year thanks be to God, I was saved. Since then it’s been a constant fight to preserve my faith. And it’s been a battle that I’ve been blessed to wage. Though the road has been laden with suffering, Christ has shared in that suffering with us.

You see, now that Satan sees that we have come to Jesus, he hates us more than ever before. His whole intent leading up to our salvation was to keep it from happening and his whole intent after is to distract us from it. He comes at what he feels are the most opportune times. He knows what pushes our buttons and what causes us to squirm. However, the beauty of our freedom gives us the option to catch onto his ploys and turn from them, making the enemy squirm. To turn the tables on him. We have the power because our Papa Bear is standing right behind us to send Satan running, we just have to catch onto his schemes before they gain a foothold.

With our God having our backs eternally, we can sometimes stray when times are easier thinking that we can just lay back and take matters into our own hands now that the load has been lightened. Little do we realize that the load will never be light enough to bear without Christ because just when we least expect it, the enemy will attack and we’ll be right back down to square one. Even in the vulnerability of the moment when we’re falling asleep is when we’re most susceptible. We all have a choice as in with all situations. Are we going to let our minds be filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit or the draining negativity of the enemy? By clinging to Jesus every moment of every day, and saturating ourselves with His constant presence we no longer see the enemy’s attacks on a plane of overwhelmingness over our heads, but instead from God’s view which is that Satan is dirt beneath our feet; clothing ourselves with a cloak of righteousness that we’ve been born into.

Brothers and sisters we are not fighting for our salvation, nor are we fighting for our Daddy to love us more. He loves us so much that we’re worth more than anything else in the history of the world. He died for us and paid with something worth far more than silver and gold so it’s already finished and it is won, so our battle is to keep sight of that in the brokenness of this world and to throw the enemy back where he belongs.

Finding Out God’s Will for Our Lives

With the busyness of our lives and society seemingly becoming more and more fast paced to “figure life out”, most of us have this idea to achieve a life of perfection. We all strive for particular goals whatever they may be to create a legacy worthwhile and it all circles back to the same thought/question: what am I going to do with my life? Or as Christians we say, what is God’s will for my life?

All too often we get confused or have certain emotions we try to process towards something whether it be school, a relationship, a job, something we want, etc. we take those feelings and emotions and mistake them for God’s will. Sometimes it’s easy to think of God as a magic 8 ball (S/O to my pastor Rhyan Smith since this came from one of his amazing sermons) where we ask a question and hope we’ll get this divine yes or no answer with the clouds parted and angels singing in the background. He’s not though. He’s the God of the universe and He clearly states in Scripture what His will is for us.

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭14-24‬ NIV)

The 4 aspects of God’s will to sum it up are simple.

1). Sanctification- Meaning we are to be set apart from the world in our actions and our faith for we’ve become set apart for our new lives in Christ.

2). Staying Joyful Always- This is a challenging one. (ok, maybe not so simple, oops!) no matter what trials may come we must always stay joyful. People often mistake happiness and joy as being identical. They go hand in hand, but they’re not the same. Happiness is the product of joy. We may not always be happy with a circumstance, but we can always find joy in even the direst suffering by having faith in our Lord. Through constant joy emerges happiness and a humble heart.

3). Pray, Pray, Pray- Sometimes we forget that God can see every little action and thought and though He knows what we need and will intercede, how do we expect Him to answer a prayer if we don’t first ask Him? He wants us to come before Him and lay down our struggles as well as our praises. We need to stay persistent in prayer because it produces in us a heart for relationship for Jesus. He doesn’t need the prayer, but He knows we do.

4). Give Thanks- Not just for the good, but for the bad and the ugly as well. Praises for the good works He’s done for us are wonderful, but we mustn’t forget that in times of heartache, anger, sadness, and grief, those are also times of praise as well. We don’t yet understand what The Lord is doing in our most painful times, but soon we will so better to thank Him now instead of looking back and regretting how you got mad at Him in the heat of the moment later.

Nowhere in Scripture does it say that you can or cannot get that job, you can or cannot put your kids in this activity, or the seemingly popular high school topics (in my observations at least), you can or cannot go to this college, or you can or cannot pursue that relationship (assuming that all these things are being pursued for the right reasons). The beautiful thing about God is that when we’re living for Him, and living to glorify Him, our dreams and His become one. We don’t have to stress out about what we’re going to do because:

1). Whatever God wants for our lives He’ll make happen.

2). We have to keep in mind that what we do isn’t for salvation, to do what’ll make us look like the best person and try to make God love us more since that ain’t happenin’, but to do what will glorify Him.

God gives us these hopes for our lives in our hearts. He WANTS us to dream, that’s why He put them there. If whatever you’re striving for is ultimately for the glory of God, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t pursue it. Just live with an open hand and realize that no matter, what, his will, will be done.

Problems arise when while trying to pursue what we think God wants for us, we end up trying to control the situation. We get so caught up in thinking about the future that we aren’t even promised tomorrow and NEWSFLASH: that’s called idolatry. Looking at James 4:13-17 it says, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

What really hit home for me was when it says, “anyone then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” God calls us to love others and to love Him above all. He’s given us His will and that should give us peace. The goal is to become more like Jesus every single day and if what we want is a reflection of that, He’ll make it happen either way in His own time.

These are things I totally find myself working through everyday. It’s a balance of making sure we’re keeping Christ at the center and having our dreams left open with an open hand and being open to the fact that God could have something completely different, which, lemme tell ya friends, it almost always is but it’s always so much better. Two questions I ask myself and would like to leave you asking yourselves are (another Rhyan Smith sermon shoutout):

1). Does what you want to do line up with scripture, in other words, is it honoring to God?

2). What are other, wiser Christians saying about it? Are they in support or do they oppose it because of reasonably valid temptations leading to sin?

Why Everything We Could Ever Need is Met by Trusting in Jesus

I’m just a follower of Christ who is desperately passionate about her Lord and Savior. I have a fire in my heart to live for Him and talk about Him (it’s like word vomit really) and what He’s doing in our lives. This is a way for me to “do life” with people and encourage those the way I’ve been encouraged by relating to others in experiences to let y’all know, you’re not alone in your walk! I’d call it a way to let The Lord use me, for I take no credit whatsoever in the things I say, but instead allow Him to work through me. SO, we’ll see how this goes.:) (PS- not really a writer, more of a thinker, so if my thoughts are a bit scatterbrained, #sorryboutit.)

So lately, God’s really been hammering this little thing called trust in my head. Ok, not so little. Probably one of the hugest things The Lord could beat into one’s head.

For example, the past few weeks have been pretty challenging, sacrificing things I didn’t want to sacrifice, trying to make sense of how He’s working in my life and why He’s doing what He’s doing when things already seemed so perfect. It was difficult and obviously seeds of doubt, uncertainty and worry filled my head, but then something amazing happened. I trusted Him. Fully surrendered. He knows how we hurt and how we yearn for things. Little do we know that the yearning is for Him. By placing my trust in Him and stopping to listen, He revealed to me through His word what He needs from me in this new season of life. Through Scripture He told me, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (‭Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭30-31‬ NIV) That in itself has been the greatest blessing; to have Jesus speak to me personally, and I’m sure you all can vouch for me on that. And if you can’t that’s ok! My prayer then for you is that you can stop to listen. Listen and hear the most beautiful voice one can ever experience. Forget all the noise, forget all the distractions and dysfunctions of this world and just hear out Jesus. It’s worth it, I promise.

I suppose it makes total sense that the God of the universe who created you and loves you more than anything would want you to trust Him. And I don’t mean, “ok God I trust You, BUT…” I mean, “Lord, I have NO IDEA what You’re doing in my life, but I’m going to trust what You’re doing regardless of what’s going on.” I’m probably the first one guilty of doing option número uno so trust me, I know easier said than done, but after awhile you feel this weight on your shoulders. A weight that, guess what? You’re not meant to bear. Don’t you see friends, our Daddy CREATED us to trust Him and be wholly dependent. He created us to unload all our pain, suffering, and difficulties before Him so we don’t have to deal with it on our own anymore because He already dealt with it on the cross. Can I get an amen?;) Now that doesn’t mean the pain and suffering goes away and everything is all peaches and daisies. Jesus never told us the road with Him would be easy, but He did promise Himself to walk it with us.

Trials come in all shapes and sizes. They beat us down and make us feel discouraged. We wear ourselves out thinking about all the possible scenarios of the outcome and run ourselves ragged until the enemy swoops in to get just what he came after us for. Then there comes a point where we must decide that enough is enough. Time and time again I’m sure God has given us signs of His constant presence, but we get so wrapped up in the enemy’s plot we fail to see it until much later, if at all. The Lord is probably face palming like, “HELLO DO YOU SEE ME NOW????” Ok, maybe not, who knows, but that’s a rather amusing visual isn’t it? See, the thing is, amidst the adversity trust is ever so crucial, but as humans we tend to lose sight of the big picture. We get focused and hone in on the situation at hand. We’re all human, we all do it. The real question is, how do I get through it? Not to sound cliché or Sunday school teacher-ish, but Jesus is indeed the answer! I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes the fundamentals need to be refreshed since on occasion they get muddled over time. When in doubt, the answer is Jesus (I always tell my preschoolers that anyways:)). But what about Jesus gets us through these hard times? In Revelation Jesus speaks to John and says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (‭Revelation‬ ‭22‬:‭13‬ NIV). The impact of reassurance that that verse has is absolutely mind blowing. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus is telling us that HE is the first and the last and that HE is the beginning and the end. This means that He knew what you would be dealing with before it happened, He knows what you’re dealing with now, and He knows the outcome of what you’re dealing with! Not only that, God has repeatedly told us in scripture that He works for our good:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28‬ NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ NIV)

“For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”” (‭Acts‬ ‭18‬:‭10‬ NIV)

We have a God that is constantly by our side, friends. Really and truly we do. Now that we’ve accepted through hardship that we can fully trust in Christ, we can better start to see things through His eyes. He begins to reveal to us His plan for us all along since I mean, He knows EVERYTHING. We can begin to realize that the pain and suffering is all part of our good. It produces faithfulness, perseverance, and a dependence on our Lord. All He wants is for us to turn to Him and when we don’t, it breaks His heart. When He takes everything away, we realize that He’s all we need because God is creating in us something bigger than ourselves. Our situation transforms into something greater than what we could’ve ever imagined. By human nature when we first encountered our trial at hand it was everything to us, we thought “this is never going to get better” or my personal favorite, “this sucks. A lot….” But then by trusting Jesus we see that there’s so much more depth to the situation than we originally thought. That this whole time it was a plan. Masterfully crafted by the One who knows us and loves us more than anyone else. He knew the devil was going to try to get us down in the process, and He knew how the devil would try. Personally, I don’t even understand why Satan tries because guess what? He’s already lost and God along with all His people (that’s us guys!!!!) have already prevailed.

So friends, if you’re in the face of adversity start looking into the face of Jesus. My hope and my prayer for you all is that you can take your circumstance and just take the time to praise God for it and TRUST Him. You don’t know why, and you don’t know how, but just do it. Trust that He will carry you through it all. He’s already carried the burden, you just need to lay it down. Lay it down knowing that He has everything under control, taken care of, and finished. He’s eternally working for our good, don’t forget it!