Oceans

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“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”

Mark 4:39

The ocean is wild and unpredictable. One moment you’re standing in the water and the next you’ve been completely knocked off of your feet. When I was little, I was terrified of going out into the water above my knees. What was out there? What if I get knocked off of my feet? What if I get swept out by the current? The “what if’s” were endless.

The ocean is a great representation of life. Like the ocean, sometimes we have peace and calamity in our lives. It feels as if nothing could ever knock us down. Other times, it feels like our world is crashing down around us, sweeping away any confidence and security we’ve ever had. It’s those “other times” when the Lord is so clearly seen (at least to me). It’s like we’re sinking beneath the waves and we have nothing to grasp onto, but at the last moment, we cry out and a hand reaches down and saves us. He pulls us out of the water and assures us that everything is going to be okay.

In my daily devotional, there was this quote:

“Through the big changes in my life, God had taught me more about Himself than I could have ever learned otherwise. In the moments when I was most afraid, most unsure, and most out of control, God was there. He was there calming the waves, providing for me in the midst of my need, and showing me that, while the waves may be entirely too big for me to handle, they’ll never be too big for Him.”

-The Lipstick Gospel Devotional by Stephanie May Wilson

That really resonated with me. I’ve had many seasons in my life where I’ve felt like I would never get out. That my heart would be broken forever. That my grief would never end. That my family would never be the same. But it’s those times that the Lord has more than provided for me. He’s mended a broken heart. He’s dried my tears. He’s filled me with joy and happiness. He’s reassured me that He’s present in every situation that I’ve gone through. And I know that He’ll continue to do so until my very last breath.

I know that the Lord isn’t done sending me through trials and seasonal changes. And I know there is no reason for me to be scared of wading out into the waves. They may come crashing down around me, sweeping me off my feet and into the unknown. But the Lord is going to be beside me, holding my hand, and guiding me through whatever life throws at me.

And that, is enough for me.

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As the Seasons Change

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I love to journal. (Not the same thing as keeping a diary, trust me) Each night I sit down with my Bible, do my devotion, and then write out whatever is on my heart that day. It’s kinda like spilling out my guts to Jesus. I’ve been doing it for a few years, so you can imagine how many I’ve filled with everything under the sun. One of my favorite things to do is to go back and read my entries. I read about my day, my struggles, who and what I’m praying for, and what particular season of life I’m in. I notice something each time I do this. I change so much day-to-day, month-to-month. Not just in my spiritual maturity, but in other ways too. There are entries on one page from August 2015 and on the next page the date is November 2015 (yes, long dry spell). There are entries where I write on for 3 or 4 pages and there are some where I can just tell that my heart and my head were not 100% there. There are entries with lots of exclamation points (clearly I was excited about what I had read) and entries where I could tell my that my heart was just breaking. My point is, I change. Seasons change. Circumstances change. People change. And you know what? That’s OK.

I live in the south, and I’ve lived here my whole life. A lot of the time, seasonal changes are drastic (or just don’t exist). Seriously, my freshman and sophomore year I took my finals in a t-shirt and shorts…IN DECEMBER. Regardless if the seasonal changes are drastic or nonexistent, I always find something to look forward to in each season of the year. For example, Spring- warmer weather & flowers, Summer – vacations & no school, Fall- big sweaters & college football (!!!), and Winter- Christmas & lots of fam time. In those types of situations, I welcome change. Yet, when the seasons of my life change, I’m reluctant, defiant even. Why is that?

I actually hate change.

I don’t like the fact that things are different. I get comfortable with the season I’m in and I’m 100, Gucci, thank you Jesus, don’t need to change this, I’m good!! And then God probably looks at me, shakes his head (probs laughs a little), and then proceeds to rock my world. Wanna know why He does this? Because we aren’t supposed to be comfortable. Living a Christian life and walking with Jesus requires us to be uncomfortable and live 24/7 out of our comfort zones. In John 16:33, Jesus doesn’t say, “In this life you’ll live without a care in this world, perfectly at peace!” No. He says, “In this life you will have trouble.” In Joshua, it doesn’t say, “You can be scared of what’s next, that’s cool.” No. It says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed” (Joshua 1:9). Sometimes, we get comfortable in the season we’re in and God’s like, “Okay time to change this up a bit!” But here’s the thing: His “time to change this up a bit” NEVER comes without a “Trust me, I’ve got your back.” Ever.

So many times in the Bible God literally rocks people’s worlds to

1. Remind them He’s still there and that He’s still God;

2. Bring their focus and attention back to Him;

3. Test their faith and prove to them that He can push them through any situation or season. Gotta keep things interesting, right?

I mean think about it. Jesus went through a whole season of being mocked by everyone, betrayed by his bestie, tortured by church officials, and killed by his OWN PEOPLE. He went through it all, literally begging his Father to change the course of his season. Aren’t you so thankful that He didn’t??

In Ecclesiastes, we are reminded that there is a time for everything under the heavens. Literally everything (check out Ecc. 3:1-8 for proof). A time to be born and a time to die. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to keep and a time to throw away.

No matter the season you’re in, there is a reason for it! I’m in a season right now that is full of growth and change. And let me be totally honest with you, I was not happy about it at first. I tried to fight what God wanted me to do, literally telling Him that what I wanted was better than what He wanted for me (ok whattheheck?) Yeah, that’s not something that you can do. God’s got your story (and mine) laid out in front of Him, you’re just not allowed to skip to the back see how it ends (something I’m so guilty of wanting to do).

Look, I am totally preaching to the choir here. It is imperative to trust the Lord wholeheartedly in these times. Be uncomfortable! Enjoy and thrive in the season that you’re in. Look forward to the next one, because I promise you God’s always gonna keep you on your toes.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8-

Send me someone

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Lord, send me someone.

Send me someone who adores me.

Send me someone who cherishes me.

Someone who invites me to church.

Someone who wants to know how my day was.

Send me someone who wants to meet my family, learn where I came from, and why I am the way that I am.

Someone who doesn’t have to change me.

Send me someone who loves to take naps just as much as me.

Someone who is proud of my accomplishments.

Send me someone who prays for me.

Someone who builds me up instead of breaking me down.

Send me someone who will reassure my heart, and our relationship.

Send me someone who can love my heart just how it is.

Someone who is dying for me to meet their family and loved ones.

Send me someone who is so proud to call me theirs.

Someone who can communicate with me.

Someone…

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You are fearfully & wonderfully made. What more could you ask for?

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You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust.

You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us.

This morning as I was doing my devotion, the song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor came on my Spotify. Realizing I hadn’t heard this song in a very long time, I stopped to listen to the lyrics. In listening to those lyrics (specifically the ones above), I started thinking about what it truly meant to be beautiful and what God says about true beauty.

Being content with myself and the way that I look has been something that I have struggled with my entire life. I’ve always been the one to compare myself to other girls in magazines, on TV, walking on campus, and even in my own dorm room. Dissatisfaction is not a very attractive trait. Yet, I am filled with it. I read articles all of the time that I find on Facebook (I live for Odyssey articles people share on FB) that encourage girls to not compare yourself to other girls, that beauty stems from within and from the way you live for the Lord. When reading those articles I’m always like “Yeah! Rock on girl! So encouraging! I feel so much better!” But for some reason, those feelings are just temporary. I try to remember the words and those feelings when I’m not feeling the most confident, but it’s very difficult to be reminded of what was said.

I’m going to be blunt: society and societal pressure to be “perfect” sucks. It really does. The “perfect body” is a constantly changing image. For a while, girls were expected to have the figures of twelve-year-old boys: zero curves, skinny, twigs. Now, girls are looking at public figures like the Kardashians and are desperately trying to get that 26″ waist with a huge backside, aka over emphasized curves. These are such unrealistic expectations.

(Bear with me, I’m about to preach to the choir for a minute)

What if everyone took a step back from what society defines as beauty and focused on what God defines as beauty? 1 Peter 3:3-4 states: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Peter is not saying that outer beauty is bad, he’s just saying that it should not be our focus. If you focus too much on your outer beauty, you’ll lose sight of what’s truly important: beauty that comes from within. Solomon, the wisest king to rule Israel, said in Song of Songs, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you!” (Song of Songs 4:7). He also wrote in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Pretty good stuff, right?

I love these verses. They’re so encouraging and so full of truth. But the one verse I cling to is Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

In today’s society, it is so easy to be discouraged because you don’t have the “perfect” body, because you don’t look like the Kardashians, because you aren’t 6 ft tall and weigh 110 lbs. Hear me as I say this, God does not make junk. Everything he makes is beautiful in his eyes. Why do you think he spends so much time on you, knitting you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)? He takes the time to make you unique, caring more about your heart than the shape of your face, your skin tone, or your eye color. Don’t you think it’s an insult to call one of God’s special creations (YOU) ugly? To be dissatisfied with what he gave you? To hate yourself or your body?

If God, the Creator of the Universe, thinks you’re beautiful, why don’t you?

As I said before, this is a subject that hits very close to home. I’m writing this for myself as much as I’m writing it for others to read. If there’s anything I want to be taken from this, it’s one simple question:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made by the God of the Universe; what more could you ask for?

You Were Beautiful Before He Told You.

Enough

Being a girl is hard.

We want to feel wanted.

We want to feel worthy of someone’s love.

We care more about what a boy thinks of us than what the King of Kings thinks of us.

So we do this thing called settling. We settle for a mediocre or sometimes even awful guy because we fear being alone. We let guys walk over us constantly because we think that our worth comes from them.

Frankly, I’m over this. I’ve seen way too many girls let how a guy views them depict their self-value. I’ve seen myself care way too much over one boy. I’ve seen girls give their hearts away time after time because they think having a boy want them makes them beautiful. I’ve seen girls crave affection and validation from boys.

Newsflash girls: you were beautiful before he told you.

Maybe you have had a billion guys…

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Fearless.

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And pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Ephesians 6:19-20

Bold. Brave. Gallant. Courageous. Fearless. The word fearless means “lacking fear.” It’s a pretty simple definition but, for some, a pretty complicated word.There is a part in all of us that makes us wish that we had no fear, to live life on the edge and go wherever the wind blows us. I definitely do.

Why do we fear? Fear is something that often stems from a personal experience. For example, I was raised to never call anyone on the phone after 9 pm unless it is a dire emergency. It’s just something the Adkins’ never did. So when the phone rings late at night, fear shoots through me. What happened? Is everyone okay? Why are they calling so late? Because such calls have happened before, I hold my breath until I hear that it’s not a serious conversation. Fear is a tool that helps us escape from danger. Makes sense right? Without a little fear, we’d be getting into some seriously dangerous situations.

When it comes to our spiritual lives, God calls us to be fearless. To be bold and proclaim his name to the world. It’s a plain and simple command. So why is it so hard to do? Everyone has a “comfort zone” and oftentimes it’s hard to get out of. It’s easy to talk to other believers about your faith, but it isn’t as simple to go out of your way to talk to nonbelievers.

With fearlessly proclaiming the gospel comes three challenges. The first of those challenges is brokenness. There is brokenness in our own lives. We feel as if our own problems are overbearing and will get in the way of our goals. We feel as if the world is so broken, it is beyond repair. A second challenge to proclaiming the gospel fearlessly is fear (okay pretty self-explanatory). There is fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, and fear of getting judged or persecuted. The third challenge is apathy (lack of interest). You yourself could be apathetic, or there could be apathy in your audience (let’s face it, there is always going to be people who just don’t care).

There is good news – ways to overcome those challenges.

  1. For the broken one, refer to Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” and Isaiah 61:1: “…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
  2. For the fearful one, refer to Jeremiah 1:8: “‘Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and I will rescue you’ declares the Lord” and Isaiah 41:13: “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
  3. For the apathetic one, refer to Ephesians 4:22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Keep in mind that as Paul was writing this letter to the Ephesians, he was in jail. At that time in Rome, it was a crime to be a Christian, and to be seen associating with Paul was a death wish. Paul teaches us that there will be consequences to being a Christian. There will be consequences to proclaiming the gospel – you will be persecuted. But we are to push down that fear and be Ambassadors for Christ! I promise you that the benefits of having a relationship with Jesus far outweigh the persecution that may come from the world.

It is OKAY to have a little fear. It is OKAY to step out of your comfort zone. Declare the gospel! Live like Paul and be an Ambassador for Christ!

The Plan

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”

These are the words that I’ve heard my entire life. I’m a planner. I plan everything, and when something doesn’t go according to my plan, I freak. Let me tell you a little story about how God changed my plans for me.

Up until my senior year of high school, I had my entire life mapped out. I’d go to college (Clemson), I’d graduate, get married, have kids, blah blah blah. As my senior year began, I was pretty closed minded when it came to applying to colleges. I wanted to go to Clemson. I was going to Clemson. But against my wishes I toured  and applied to other schools, one of which was this school that no one in my hometown had even heard of -Troy University. But I was going to Clemson; I had to hate Troy.

But I didn’t.

I loved it. Everything about it. But I was still going to Clemson. I pushed all decision making to the side (because who doesn’t procrastinate amiright). Then I got word on December 22, 2014 that I had been offered a full scholarship to Troy University. Big change of plans.

I got accepted to Clemson University 2 days later.

This was so unfair. I hated making decisions, especially life changing ones. I cried over it. I prayed over it. I wrote down pros and cons of each school, but that still didn’t help much.

I’ve been at Troy for almost 9 months now and I still have the feelings of “Am I where I’m supposed to be?” I won’t lie and tell you that I haven’t had thoughts of transferring. I won’t lie and tell you that I’ve never cried because of homesickness. I don’t know my plan anymore because my plan was screwed up when I decided to go to a school that wasn’t Clemson, or even in my home state of South Carolina. That part unraveled my plan completely and it freaked me out. But the thing is, we aren’t supposed to know our plans. We aren’t supposed to know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day, ten years from now or fifty years from now. There’s no way.

‘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-

That right there is enough promise for me. There are so many times in the Bible where the Lord tells us to trust in him and to leave all of the planning to him. I think we forget that sometimes. I know I definitely do.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my time here at Troy is that my plans aren’t always God’s plans. Most of the time, actually, they aren’t his plans. That’s the beauty (and the scary part) of life and of having faith – the unknown.

I’m in a Bible study right now and one of the things that it talks about is planning. That it’s completely normal to have your life mapped out in a mental “scrapbook of life.” You picture the way your life is going to be, when you’ll get married (thank u Pinterest), how many kids you’ll have, what they’ll look like, and eventually growing old with your husband. But guess what? Life isn’t like that. We can’t control our scrapbooks. Life throws you curve balls all of the time (and we all know curve balls aren’t the easiest to hit). Those curve balls may be cancer, death, singleness, infertility, or bankruptcy. They could also be things like being called to do mission work in another country, devoting yourself to charity work, adoption, or moving away from the town you love. So what if God has other plans than the one in your scrapbook? What if he lets you suffer? What if he calls you to do something you don’t want to do? One of the things my Bible study says that really hits me is this:

And letting go? The idea that we would actually hand it all over to God and say, ‘Go. Build it. Do whatever you want with all I have’…..it is terrifying.

But

If we believe he is real, if we believe he has an eternal heart, we have to face the fact that a God like that may mess with our temporary comfort and fictional scrapbooks.

I love that. Letting go and letting God is a scary thing sometimes. I’ll admit, I am absolutely terrified of the future. 100% terrified. But that doesn’t stop me from giving my heart and my trust to God. I trust in him completely to get me where I need to go. Yeah, we may not like it, we may have to do things we never even dreamed about doing, but that’s the beauty of it. God takes our hand and leads us into the unknown. The only thing we have to do is forget our plans and let him guide us completely through the scrapbook that he made for us.

The Persecuted

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Faith means trust in the infinite mercy of God manifested in the redemptive work of Jesus.

Awakenings by Thomas Keating

My devotion for this week is titled “Faith.” Plain and simple, nothing super complicated about that, right? I thought so. When I began to read Hebrews 11 (commonly called “The Hall of Faith”) I thought I’d be reading about all of these super cool biblical figures who endured trials during their life time and how they came out on the other side with God’s help. And for the first 32 verses, that’s exactly what it is. Reading about Abel, Noah, Jacob, Abraham, Moses, and Rahab is super awesome because it condenses their stories to little snipits and you really can understand what they went through in just a few short verses.

When I was little (and actually up until this morning lol) I had never read past verse 32. I don’t know why I didn’t, I guess I just didn’t see any more names so I lost interest. I’ll get to that later. What’s so cool about the first 32 verses is that, as I said before, you get little snapshots into these figures’ lives. All my life I’ve read the entire stories, whether it be in Genesis, Exodus, the Gospels, wherever they may be. I guess I’ve never really thought about the trials they had to go through and how the Lord tested them. I just read the story, memorized the verses I needed to, and went on with my life (ouch, hate admitting that). But with it so plainly laid out for me in 32 short verses, it’s so easy to see what exactly they went through. Let me explain.

For example, most (if not all) of us have heard the story of Moses and how he was like “yo Pharaoh, let my people go.” This story is told over ten chapters in Exodus. That’s a lot of reading. (Really good story I’m so not saying don’t read it. Highly recommended) In Hebrews, it’s told (not in depth) over 5 verses:

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the first born of Israel”

-Hebrews 11:24-28-

Okay, now that I’ve gone off on that, I need to get to my point. The last 8 verses of Hebrews 11 don’t exactly talk about specific people, but rather the persecution they faced. When I read it this morning during my quiet time, I had to sit back and reflect on how good my life is and how completely blessed I am to live where I do. Let me put this into perspective for you:

There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated, the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

-Hebrews 11: 35-38-

***crickets***

Could you imagine? Being put to death because you were singing “Good, Good Father” (one of my faves) or because you walk into a church, or because you wear a t shirt that says “Jesus Freak.” (never had one of those shirts but I wanted one really bad) All these people wanted to do was worship God, and they couldn’t even do that. What’s so not cool is that people are persecuted like that every single day. We just don’t hear about it. People live in fear in order to proclaim the name of the Lord. My heart breaks for them because of that. No one should have to live in fear because of their faith.

I guess I never realize how blessed I am until something like that smacks me hard in the face. “Wake up Bailey!!” it says, “this actually is happening all over the world.” However, those who are persecuted do not go unnoticed. What’s so important to remember is stated in Hebrews 11 (again oops its awesome) verse 6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Being a Christian is not an easy task, especially in today’s society. But how cool is it that the Lord will reward us for earnestly seeking him??

Verses to Consider:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

-Hebrews 11:1-

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible.

-Hebrews 11:3-

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.

-Psalm 89:1-

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.

-Psalm 89:15-

The Chosen

 

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“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

-Colossians 3:12-13

When I was little, all I wanted to do in life was be on stage. I wanted to be a famous actress on Broadway or in the movies. I wanted to have fame and fortune. I acted in several musicals at the local theater in my hometown, but I never got a lead role. After each one of my auditions, I would look at the call back sheet and see my name under “Ensemble.” I always ended up disappointed because I thought I was never good enough to have a lead role. Why wasn’t I chosen for the part? Do the directors hate me? I didn’t sound that bad did I? But every time, I would trust my director’s judgement and end up being thankful I wasn’t on stage the whole show, with lines to memorize and songs to learn. I made the most of every situation, realizing that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I start with that story because it raises an interesting question. Have you ever wondered why you were put on this earth? Or wondered what your purpose in life is? Maybe you were that kid in gym class who always got picked last for kickball. Or the girl who never got the lead role. Or maybe you’re a college student (like me) who has no idea where your life is going to take you. (Terrible feeling let me tell you) But what is so reassuring is the fact that you were put on this Earth for a reason. Hand-picked by God. He chose you to live for him. How cool is that?

In Ephesians, Paul reminds us that “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:11-12). God chose us, individually and specifically, to live out a plan that he predetermined for us. It blows my mind just to think about how before the Earth was even formed, before life existed, God thought of me and made a plan for my life. Me, an average girl from Anderson, South Carolina. I was chosen by God for a specific purpose, out of the hundreds of billions of people who lived before me, and who will live after me.

I’m a girl (duh) and I live in the 21st century (also duh). In this day and age, it is very difficult to be a girl (I’m sure it is also difficult to be a boy, I just don’t have any experience in that department). We have to live up to certain expectations including the perfect body, pearly white teeth, legs that go on for miles, perfect glossy hair, I could go on forever. If we don’t live up to the expectations that society puts on us, it makes us feel as if we’re not wanted. That in order to be loved and noticed by your friends or the general public, we have to have those things. If not, we aren’t good enough or pretty enough. But good news!!! In Ephesians 1, Paul tells us that “In love, he predestined us for adoption to Sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (vv. 5-6). Is that not the coolest thing?? We were predestined for adoption into the Kingdom. So when it feels like no one wants you, Jesus does!

So do me a favor. Every time you feel like you aren’t wanted or you feel like you don’t have a purpose, remember that you were chosen by God to live out a specific purpose for him. As Peter says,

“But you are a CHOSEN people, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a HOLY nation, God’s SPECIAL possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

-1 Peter 2:9-

 

The Change

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“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

-Romans 12:2

People change all the time. They change their hair color. They change their hair style. They change what clothes they wear. They change their priorities, friends, commitments, and habits. Change is weird. I hate change. But change is not a bad thing.

As my first semester of college comes to a close, I reflect on my life since moving to the great state of Alabama. I’ve changed a lot. I’ve matured (some). I’ve made friends and lost friends. I’ve grown up. I’ve felt God move and work in ways that I could have never imagined.

A few days ago (while studying for finals) I looked on my wall and realized that I didn’t have any “college” pictures hung up. I only had “pre college” pictures hung up. If you’ve seen my Facebook page, you would know that I have well over 200 pictures of just this fall semester. So why did I not have any of those pictures printed out? Then it hit me. I was scared. Scared to leave my “pre college” life. Scared to replace pictures of my friends back home with new friends I’ve made in college. Scared to move on and make new friends. See, I had a really tight friend group in high school. Like we did everything together. We had all basically grown up together since elementary school and lived at each others houses on the weekends. There were 11 of us. That’s a big friend group. So when I found out that 3 of the 11 were not going to the same university as the others, I was a little shocked. Mainly because I was 1 of the 3, and the only one going out of state. Scary right? As I looked up at the wall, I realized something. Change is a good thing. I hate change, but it is a good thing. So I printed out those pictures (not all 200 that would be $$$) and I put them on my wall. Then I hated the way it looked so I completely redid the order of them. There was a perfect balance between “pre college” life and “college” life.

Then I found a quote that I really like and it says:

“Don’t be afraid of change. You may end up losing something good, but you will probably end up gaining something better.”

Since the first of August (the day I moved in) I have had a lot of change in my life. Now, 4 months later, I don’t hang out with the same people I started school with. I don’t do the same things that I did. I don’t talk to the same people. Sometimes I look back on old pictures and text messages and think, “wow I really miss how things used to be.” But then I remember Ecclesiastes 3:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”

-Ecclesiastes 3:1

See, this is the reason that change is okay. God has a plan for everyone, including me. He has a set time and place for everything to happen. Yes, I miss the people I used to hang out with. Yes, I miss talking to the same people everyday. But as the year goes on, people change. I never really thought about it this way, but maybe God is presenting my old friends with new friends so they can impact each other. He has a plan for me, so He has to have a plan for them. He takes people out of my life for a reason, and He puts people in other’s lives for that same reason.

I’ve learned so much since moving to Troy, Alabama. I have grown in knowledge and in my faith. God works in crazy ways and I am finding that out more and more every day. I’ve also changed. While I hate it, and I hate to admit it, I’ve changed. And it’s definitely been for the better.

As my first semester of college comes to a close, I reflect. I’ve laughed, loved, and cried (a lot). I’ve broken out of my shell (it was thin to begin with, but you get it). I’ve been hurt, stressed, tired, happy, sad, and every emotion in between. And I thank God every day for these experiences because they have made me into the woman that I am today. Change is good, and I can’t wait to change even more second semester.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

-Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8