HAPPY NEW YEAR

It’s a new day and a new year. You’re the same you you were yesterday, but your goals are slightly different (at least mine are). I was told a goal isn’t a goal until you write it down. I’ve written 30 goals down for this year, and to inspire you, I’m going to share a few of mine.
1. Graduate Veritas and WCBCS with flying colors
5. Make 36 new pals
9. Sing out loud, no holding back, just bold and confident
11. YouTube video every Monday
12. Blog weekly
14. Learn to bake
17. Road trip to Tennessee
25. Do something crazy
26. Have fun at the weddings
Last, but certainly not least, 30. I challenge you to make 30 your goal for the year, in every situation.  So here it is:
30. Do what you love. Don’t let anyone tell you to stop (keeping in mind situations where respect is germane and doing certain things are not)! Keep dreaming, speaking, reading, writing, singing, teaching, dancing, believing, making friends, blogging, traveling, making money, making a difference, photographing, running, reaching, sharing, baking, growing, learning, discipling, loving, living, laughing, hoping, joking, finding, and most of all, being you!
Of course, what I love to do may not be what you love to do, so adjust 30 to you accordingly. The challenge is to be you and love doing so! God bless you in this year of 2015.

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DON’T Give Up

Recently, God has shown me I truly struggle with relenting. I am a “giver-upper” because I’m terrified. I don’t feel confident in what he’s placed on my heart, yet He keeps saying, “Well, duh, daughter! Get your brain back into the mindset I gave you. Clearly it’s not going to be you, but me using you do these things I’ve called you to. Don’t you ever give up!”
It’s been more apparent that Jesus is pretty much slapping me upside the head to send me this message after the young adults conference I went to this past weekend. God really used the speaker to get this whole “Don’t give up” message into my heart and mind. They all said basically the same thing about not letting our self-doubt get in the way of what God wants, because God always gets his way. It’s our choice to let that happen now or later. The dream God placed on my heart, as I’ve said before, is to use my voice to reach the nations. I’ve been terrified to do this, so I have kept from saying what He wants me to say.
I say all this to say, HE wants me to share certain words placed on my heart.
DON’T GIVE UP!
You’re afraid and that makes sense. At the same time, I’m wondering if you even know what makes you so afraid. I’m curious to see what you’ll be like at your fullest potential, but you’re constantly in fear. Of what? Do you fear rejection; people laughing at what you have to say; that they will walk straight out of your life because you told them the truth and they didn’t like it? I’ll let you in on a little secret. No one is ever going to agree with you all the time on what you have to say. I’m saying this to ENcourage not DIScourage you. God is relentless for your love, for your heart, and for everyone, in fact. Be as relentless as God. Don’t give up on Him, He didn’t give up on you! Keep seeking Him as He has sought you Keep sharing Him-in love, words, actions, in everything! Give Him your all because you mean everything to Him. Don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of this most perfect love that is unrelenting for you. Know full well where your strength comes from! Nothing in this life is greater than what eternity has in store for us, so what do you have to lose, really? If you’ve thought of a list, think about where your priorities are-do you trust God first or do you have little faith in Him but much faith in the things of this life? Don’t give up!

A Change in Heart

I love to write songs. In fact, I competed in a Fine Arts Festival with one of my songs and came very close to making it to nationals with my most powerful song thus far.
The song was about being bullied for beliefs and how words stick. One of the most memorable lyrics says, “stick and stones have broken down my bones but your words still hurt me. Because a broken heart hurts more than a broken arm, and your words still got me hurting.” Words are powerful, and I’ve said this before , but I find it’s necessary to repeat this point with a different set of circumstances.

You’re ugly. You’re stupid. You’ll never make a difference. You can’t sing. The songs you write are dumb. Why do you think you can sing? You’ll probably never be known. You’re fat. You’re average.

These are some of the cruel and destructive words that I mistakenly let stick for too many years. I let these words break me, break my heart, and keep me from being all I need to be just because who said them. If these words had been said by complete strangers, I feel they wouldn’t have had such a lasting impact, but because they came from a personal place, they broke me all the more.
This last week, I realized I still hadn’t fully let go of these words and I have been hindering my faith in all I do. So, I decided there needs to be a change in my heart. I need to believe the uplifting words that come from God. I need to remember that the bridge in my song say, “words did hurt, but they’ll cease to make me a mess. Now they won’t, because HIS LOVE FOR ME IS RELENTLESS.

You’re beautiful. You are smart. Your words make an impact. You sing good [well]. The songs you write are really meaningful. You make a joyful noise to God. You’re going to see a world change, and be a part of it. You have the body God designed specifically for you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

These are the kind of words that I will let stick from here on out, words that positively influence me and my heart. These are the kind of words you should let stick. I hope this helps you have a change of heart.

Words and Their #Power

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Four years ago, a prophetic word was spoken into my life. Very few people knew about this word, because I personally struggled with believing it could ever happen. I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t want to seem boastful of something even I was unsure of. However, this afternoon as I was checking the stats for my blog, I realized this word had come to be.

“And your voice will reach the nations (world).” This was spoken to me by 5 unrelated persons at 3 separate locations and at 5 different times. By the third time I heard it, I was only 14, and I knew it was confirmation. With a word so broad, I didn’t know quite how to take it-seriously this could have meant anything from me going on international missions trips to being an international speaker. I never imagined that my writing-which I am most passionate about- would be my voice’s representative when it came to reaching the world. I am ecstatic that God answered my prayers and showed me I am able to reach those I may never meet. My words are powerful because God gave them to me, and I don’t know why I shouldn’t be as excited as I am.

This made me think about how much words have power. Not only have my words affected those who have read my blog, but the words spoken by God through several persons in a prophetic way had an enormous impact on me. I could have shrugged off what was repeatedly spoken into my life or not believed and gone on with what I thought was best for me. Instead, I prayed that God showed me how this was going to happen and what He wanted me to do to make it happen. I asked he guide my steps before I made a choice that wasn’t according to his plan. I did it because I know those words were life and not lies; I did it because I had faith in God; I did it because I knew God’s words have power and He is able to bring me to it.

I wanted to share this not only because I am happy for myself, but God revealed more to me in writing this blog than in a lot of things in my life. This is a reminder that words are powerful! You can speak life or death; you can hear God’s word and share it or brush it off; you can listen to the words you heard or move past them-but, it’s all up to you. You’re voice may reach the nations one day, are you prepared to handle that?

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

 
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
 

Knowing You’re Beautiful & Actually Feeling It Are Different

For most of my life I never really thought I was pretty. Then one day, God used someone incredibly close to me so that I could finally understand that I was. After that day, I walked knowing I am beautiful. But to be perfectly honest, it didn’t always feel that way. I didn’t wake up every morning thinking, “Wow, you look incredible, just as God intended it!” However, when I got to Veritas I remembered that God made me to be good and beautiful and I am perfect to him.

Last Wednesday, I didn’t feel that way at all. I changed my outfit eight times because I felt disgusting in everything I put on. I decided not to wear make-up because “I’m too ugly, so what’s the point?” I pulled my hair back, threw on my tennis shoes and hoped I wouldn’t run into anyone before I put on my make-up  for Wednesday night service. I felt ugly and I hated the feeling because I knew (and I KNOW) I’m not. I did all I know to do, which is pray.

I prayed for God to speak to me and he has been since then. That day, he gave my four amazing verses. If you don’t know, I tend to use these a lot because they speak to me in so many ways. But Wednesday, they spoke volumes like never before.

  1.  Jeremiah 17:9- The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?My heart was deceiving me on that day. My heart was telling me I was ugly, when in my head I knew I am not. It broke me to know my heart was being broken by these lies, so I prayed again.
  2. Psalm 147:3 He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds. God has healed me many times, both physically and emotionally, so I trust and believe this Psalm tremendously. I knew he would let me cry as long as I needed to, and so long as I knew he would help me get through it when I finished crying. I trust God, but I still needed peace about this sickening feeling I had been experiencing.
  3. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. I was thankful for the peace he gave me with this verse. He gave me himself, in such an unfamiliar way too. It overwhelmed me to no longer feel the shame and ugliness that I had earlier. It was like he was hugging me, and still is. It was a beautiful peace.
  4. John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. The way my heart felt reflected in the way I carried myself. I went in wearing my hair back, my huge Navy sweatshirt on, and slouched all day. My flesh was no help at all-my flesh is no help at all! My flesh is as good as I make it, and sometimes that’s not entirely the greatest. In my flesh, I give the enemy a foothold. If I feel ugly, you may just be able to see it, and what help is that? None. God gives me life, God makes me feel beautiful, God loves me and makes me joyful with my spirits high, not my flesh.

I felt like sharing this because I know I have beautiful friends, and a lot of you know that you are beautiful (or handsome), but it’s not necessarily a daily feeling/thought. But this should be your reminder that you are beautiful. Also, God told me something more when I was taking a vow of silence in the middle of nature (aka Santa Rosa Plateau).

I prayed, “God, I can’t sit here in the quiet and have you tell me something at the very last moment. You know that so please just speak to me now.” He did. This was what he said:

Look around you. This is the beauty I have created. I take the mud and add it to the dry grass. I put those things with disregarded plants, feared bacteria, and discolored water. There are things here that no one has ever seen. Most of these creatures are misunderstood, but I put them here. I created them, aren’t they wonderful? When I put these things together, don’t you see them as beautiful? So, if I can take dirt and mud, add what you don’t want, and put it on display for you to see its beauty, then why can’t I do the same to you? You’re right, I have! The things living in these waters, amongst the overlooked plants, praise my name for they have been made aware of me, their creator. Why don’t you also lift me high? Praising my holy name is not above you; knowing me as your maker is not beneath you. Take in the beauty around you that I have made. Once you do this, breathe. My last instruction is to take in your beauty, take in my beauty that I have given you, and praise my name so the rocks don’t have to.

I AM beautiful. I know it, and now I can feel it! I hope and pray I can only feel it forever. This was a reminder to me and I hope it is a reminder to you. YOU are beautiful, feel it! Pass this one on, I won’t mind. Keep it forever, and remember it every time.

Yes I did steal his picture. (Originally from http://brettshoemaker.me/2014/02/04/to-my-future-wife/)

Yes I did steal his picture. (Originally from http://brettshoemaker.me/2014/02/04/to-my-future-wife/)

 

The Beauty of Pain

Let us go over this title, “The Beauty of Pain”. It seems entirely deceitful, right? Pain is painful, something we don’t want to experience, a hurt we want to forget. However, letting go of the pain makes it seem unreal.

Today, it’s kind of a hard day. I have  good memories and a flood of memories I’d honestly rather bury. My head is hurting immensely, I feel uncomfortable, and I wish I could just forget today’s date and move forward because I don’t want the pain to be real. But it’s not a matter of what I want, I know I experienced what I did because God wanted me to. Yes, it broke my heart and I wish things could have been different, but out of what happened, I grew. The pain I felt 4 years ago was real, the pain I feel today is real, and the heart ache I will endure is also real.

Pain is real, and it’s not something we can just ignore, because without pain, we are not experiencing life. No one ever said our walk with God was going to be easy! In fact, Jesus reiterated that it would be costly and painful, so why ignore pain if it’s just going to happen. I’m learning that what I go through will always help me grow. It will always make me a bigger person than I was before the hardships. I’ve learned it’s actually pretty healthy to cry, so stop pretending to not be hurt. There is the biggest lesson about pain that I’ve learned above all.

Be strong in the Lord, know he is able to take the pain away at the right time. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Then let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” My time of need right now is in my pain, so I want to go to God with the confidence that he will give me mercy and grace. To know that he will help me through this, that’s part of what he’s here for. Do I expect God to take it away right at once, no. The beauty of this pain is just knowing that he CAN take it away and be my comfort.

Lastly, I know that if I’m not doing anything worthwhile to the kingdom, I’ll face no struggle. If life seems all dandy and perfect, I’m not standing in the gap that I have been called to. The devil is trying to take me down from whatever good God has in store for me, and so I will endure pain. It’s only a matter of whether or not I will let the devil have a foothold and take me down, or cry, be comforted by God, then get back up and do what he wants me to.
So the beauty of pain is this: it makes me human; I know God can help me through it; I know God will make me grow because of it; and I know the enemy is just trying to keep me at a plateau instead of rising to God’s plan. The beauty of pain is that it does NOT last forever.

To My Future Wife

#STANDARDS Praise Jesus I am seeing this now 🙂

Brett E. Shoemaker

Photo on 3-11-12 at 9.36 PM #2 How’s it lookin, good-lookin?

I don’t know who you are yet.  I don’t know what you look like.  I don’t know the color of your eyes.  I don’t know the color of your skin.  I don’t know your name.  There are a lot of things that I don’t know about you, but there are a couple of things that I want you to know.

You’re Already Beautiful.  Congratulations, babe, you did it.  You are already beautiful.  Seriously.  If beauty is a game, you’re a pro.  You are perfect already.  You were beautifully and wonderfully made.  You have nothing to fix.  Let me say that again, you have nothing to fix.  God did not mess-up on you.  I know what society is telling you.  “You have to look like this, wear this, and have this in order to be beautiful.” Nope.  You’re already beautiful.  Beauty is more than what…

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Get Up, Stand Up!

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Get up, don’t stay down

Stand up, Stand your ground

Get up, lift your head

Stand up, get ahead

Get up, keep yourself

Stand up, give some help

Get up, don’t stay down

Stand up, stand your ground

Stand your ground, the enemy will come with a strong force. Stay where you are. Stay heart strong, not head strong. Keep your focus on God, even if your heart is breaking. Don’t be blown away by the lies-they’re just lies. Don’t let a situation drag you down. You declare you will never BE the same; prove it now. Don’t let the bad that came crashing down after hold you down. Get up, don’t stay down. STAND UP! Stand your ground! Show the love, show the joy, show Jesus! Show the peace, show the strength, show the SOURCE!  Get up! Stand up! You will stand in the gap! Get up, lift your head. Stand up! Get ahead. Don’t let this get you behind. Lift your head to God in this; lift your eyes to the source, to your everything. Get ahead-move forward in your spiritual walk. Keep following the path you’re on, the path you built just last week. Don’t get stuck. Get up, keep yourself. Stand up! GIVE some help. Keep what God is doing in you, keep what God has done in you, & don’t change unless HE tells you to! Maybe if we looked a little deeper, we’d know others’ reason to live, so give them a reason to live! Give them a positive attitude. Give them love, give them what God gave you, but give them some help! Get up, don’t stay down. Stand up, stand your ground.

GET UP, STAND UP!

Las Cruces, New Mexico

las cruces

A couple of weeks ago, when I was at Bishop I was taking care of a little boy. He was running, and I chased after him, of course. However, I ended up running into a pew. The result was a contusion (deep bruise, to the bone) on my ankle & an annoying pair of crutches. People would say I was exaggerating, being too stubborn and independent, or being reasonable. It got to the point where I got severely irritated and I tried to walk around, though it was extremely painful.

This past Saturday, we began our road trip to Louisiana with our first stop being at a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We were welcomed with open arms and kindly spoiled by the congregation members and staff.

Sunday morning we got ready for service and met more staff and church members. After we met Pastor Joel, we were invited to the intercessory prayer. One of the last things prayed for was us-Veritas. A kind lady grabbed my hand and started praying for my back. Mind you, she was completely unaware of my scoliosis issue or anything having to do with my past back problems, so this was a total God-thing.

When the group intercessory prayer ended, Pastor Joel came up to me. He asked how I ended up in the crutches and what was actually wrong with my ankle, he simply said, “Awesome! I mean not awesome that you’re hurt, but it’s only a bruise.” He asked Ryan to pray alongside him for my ankle, and so they did. Long story short-my ankle was healed. By the end of the night I was jumping up and down on it at the evangelist youth service!

Other GREAT things that happened there:

  • They welcomed all their guests with flowers (I got a rose!) and a sweet little welcome bag.
  • They gave Veritas a shout out in the main service and allowed us to have a small booth.
  • We experienced an evangelist youth service, which got really intense.
  • The thug and I were told we both have really beautiful eyes-#tops.
  • We experienced their main service, Spanish worship in the Spanish service, and their youth study group meeting.
  • Pastor Joel sang like a stinking angel, and he was sincerely humble about it with us-#tops.

Why I Don’t Love My Fiance

This is the RIGHT kind of love. #thisiswhyihavemycovenant

Michael J. Pittman

In 130 days I’m getting married, and a friend recently asked me why I love my fiancé. I wanted to share a deeper perspective on Amanda and I’s relationship, so before I answered why I love her, I had to first explain to him the reasons I don’t love my future bride to be.

I came to two conclusions:
First is, I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the outside. I know. It sounds cheesy, it sounds sappy. This perspective is not a novel idea by any means. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t love you for what’s on the outside. I love you for what’s on the inside.” But that brings me to my second conclusion.

I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the inside either.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things on the inside and outside that I love about

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