Living Every Little Moment: Experiencing A Full Life Right Here and Now

Living Every Little Moment Experiencing A Full Life Right Here and Now.png

As I learn to live, as I grow, as I experience life – I’m realizing that sometimes, life isn’t what it seems.

 

It’s hard, sure. It’s messy. Problems arise, we hurt and things break us, and it’s not easy to deal with all of it, oftentimes.

 

But truly…life can be simple.

 

I often overthink. Overplan. Overworry. Overdo everything, because I feel like I might mess things up if I don’t.

 

You know?

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A Spark of Hope

A Spark of Hope

 

We all know the feeling of utter hopelessness. Dark situations surround us in so many times of our lives, and sometimes, it feels like there’s no way out.

 

I get it.

 

Hope is a spark. Sometimes it’s like a burning ember: so subtle, almost invisible, but still there. Yet other times, it’s a stick of dynamite that can make a world of difference in our lives.

 

Hope is a spark, and what we do with that spark is important.

 

I understand the feeling of hopelessness. That inner nagging that nothing will ever get better. Those lies in our heads that say no one cares. You’re stuck with this life. Trust in God all you want, but nothing will improve.

 

I hate it, because almost every single time, I believe those lies. It’s such a sickening feeling to believe that nothing will ever be bright again. I have to remind myself of all the times that God has never left me – namely, my entire life.

 

But I think that behind the smiles, we all can have feelings of doubt inside our hearts. Not necessarily Is God real? but more like Will God really never leave me? Is His best really being worked out in my life? Because I know I’ve felt those things at times.

 

Hope is a spark. But that hope can only grow from the light we find through trust in God.

 

Psalm 31:14-15

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!”

 

God is our God no matter what. Our times are in His hand no matter how we feel about the situation. God is our deliverer, and the only One we can find true hope in.

 

Psalm 9:10

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

 

God doesn’t guarantee us a pain-free life, but He does promise never to forsake us. I love Psalm 9:10 so much because of that promise – that in the midst of our doubts and worries, we can know with absolute assurance that GOD DOES NOT FORSAKE US. HE NEVER HAS, AND HE NEVER WILL.

 

Psalm 61:1-3

“Hear my cry, O God,

listen to my prayer;

from the end of the earth I call to you

when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock

that is higher than I,

for you have been my refuge,

a strong tower against the enemy.”

 

If you know me, or you know about my love for books and movies, you’ll know that I am an extreme fangirl. (Morgan, Kendra, Leah, Gabriela, Jaye, you guys know. My word, how you know.) I tend to flip out over quotes and passages and emotional scenes, and over things that I can relate to. It’s like breathing for me. When I find a quote that is so sweet or perfect for my situation…I jump up and down and squeal “YESSSSS!”

 

Psalm 61 is one of my favorite Psalms because it is so ME. Maybe it’s weird to say this about the Bible, but these first few verses have me shouting “YESSSSS!” to them because I can relate so much.

 

My heart is faint sometimes. I’m pretty sure I’ve admitted that before. This passage encourages me so much because I get to say, “God, YOU are the only One who I can run to. YOU are higher than me. YOU are my refuge. When I encounter enemies, YOU are the only one that can rescue me. I cannot do this on my own, but YOU can.”

 

This spark of hope is what we need. We need to trust God, regardless of whether it’s easy or not.

 

I was thinking the other day (yep, that’s what I do) and I figured something out.

 

Trusting God is easy when life is straightforward and simple, because it requires NO TRUST WHATSOEVER.

 

In other words, trust is easy when it’s not actually trust.

 

Interesting concept, right?

 

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”

 

We aren’t hopeless. We just need to ignite that spark with trust in God through all circumstances. By no means is it easy. Haha, it’s not easy at all.

 

But that trust will combat the greatest of doubts and fears. It’ll ignite the spark of hope in our hearts to press on, even when it feels like life is crumbling. No, trust isn’t easy. But hope, oh beautiful hope, is so worth it.

 

*aj

Confusion in Doctrine: I Can Handle That.

Confusion in Doctrine- I Can Handle That.

It’s crazy how many things go around as universally acknowledged truths when in actuality, they’re just some random person’s thoughts that people think sounds good.

In Christian circles, quotes become doctrine, and people get…confused.

A lot of people say, “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

Okay…well, if this is true, then why does cancer happen? Why do loved ones die without being saved? Why do disabilities happen? Why do thousands of casualties happen when fighting for freedom? Why do school shootings happen? Tsunamis? Hurricanes that wipe out entire cities?

So apparently, I can just “handle” all these bad things? Um, no, I can’t.

I can’t handle these things because I’m human. God never meant for us to handle these things alone, because welcome to the universe, we’re fragile.

However, it doesn’t stop there.

When bad things happen that we cannot handle, we are forced to rely on God.

Hard times come – trust me, I know – and in them we have a choice. We can either say, “I’m going to do this by myself,” or “God, the only way I’m going to get through this is by trusting You to help me.”

I can either rely on my strength, or God’s.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Romans 8:37

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

We are more than conquerors because Jesus is the conqueror. We weren’t the ones who did the conquering. He is, and gives that victory to us.

I read a blog post recently on a favorite blog of mine by Phylicia Masonheimer. It got me thinking, because I’ve thought this way for a while now.

I love how she phrases this point.

God gives us more than we can handle because what we can’t handle drives us to dependence on Him.” – Phylicia Masonheimer, Why God WILL Give You More Than You Can Handle. http://phyliciadelta.com/why-god-will-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/

When we depend on Him, our relationship with our loving Heavenly Father is strengthened. It’s not because He wants to control us. He loves us, and wants us to know Him.

He created us, and saved our souls.

Life throws us more than we can handle all the time. He’s not the One who tempts us (as it says in James 1:13-15).

He has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Hebrews 13:5-6

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

Deuteronomy 31:8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

It all comes down to this. Are we going to rely on ourselves, or on God?

Are we going to trust ourselves, or God?

Are we going to depend on ourselves, or on the only One who can handle our troubles?

*aj

Truths To Help You Handle Change

Water Splashing on Rocks

It’s not like I want to accept the fact that change is inevitable.

I really don’t.

Change is hard, but it’s a major part of life.

Unless you’re a part of the 1% of the population that likes having a ridiculously unpredictable life, no stability, and enjoys being freaked out by new and scary things…

Then you’ll agree with me that CHANGE IS REALLY HARD. *insert lots of exclamation points here*

Change is hard because it is 1) uncomfortable, 2) different, and 3) scary.

And a lot of times, it seems impossible to handle.

But lucky for you, and me too, handling change doesn’t have to freak us out and make us go into turtle-mode. (Although, sometimes I’d like to.)

We have something that the rest of the world does not.

And that, my friends, is Truth.

Believe the promises of God.

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The Bible is filled with promises from God for us to believe. They’re absolutely true. God is with us. He has a purpose in everything, and all things will work together for good. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand.

Never EVER neglect the truth written in the Bible.

Don’t ever stop trusting God.

 

Psalm 9:10

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 31:14-15

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!”

He is worthy of our full trust! He does not forsake us, and ‘our time is in His hand’!

God does not change.

Malachi 3:6

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

When it feels like our world is crashing down, caving in, and just plain ol’ collapsing, God does not change. We can always count in Him to to stay the same. He is our stability. There is nothing to be afraid of when He is on our side.

So, how do we handle change?

  1. Listen to God’s promises.
  2. Always trust him.
  3. Count on Him for stability in the crazy days.

 

No, it’s not easy. It’s a lot easier to say than to do, and even I know that firsthand.

But it doesn’t have to be scary either, for if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

It’s really okay to sit back and trust. Wait on God. For He is faithful, true, and perfect.

Change is big, but God is bigger.

*aj

Knowledge and Belief: From The Head To The Heart

Waves in Ocean

My head knows, but my heart doesn’t always accept it.

Yes, oh yes, that’s how a lot of my life goes.

I know the truth. I know it.

But sometimes, I have a hard time believing.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “The eighteen inches between the head and the heart are the most dangerous eighteen inches in the world.”

Or something.

The point being, it’s not enough to just know something. It’s imperative that it’s also believed.

See, in my head, I know that God is good. Great, in fact. I know that He has great plans for me, and that He will never leave me or forsake me, and that I’m never alone, and that He has everything under control, and that I don’t need to worry.

I know all this. I really do.

But do I actually believe it?

Now here, I’m not trying to second-guess myself or anything like that. I’m not trying to “prove” that I believe and not just know, or “try to be better,” or whatever.

But it’s definitely more reassuring when I can believe something and not just know it.

For example, I can spout out facts all day long about how strong a trapeze is, and how there’s a totally-safe net under it, and how I have a tight harness, and how 105% secure I am on that trapeze. But it’s not very reassuring if I’m asked to get up there and don’t believe that I’m actually safe.

Right?

Because unless I believe something in my heart, pure and raw knowledge alone won’t get me to trust God with my life.

See, I know that God is good. Like I said. Like it says in the Bible. I know that He will take care of me, and I don’t need to worry.

But when the pressure turns on, and I have to trust God and trust Him alone, it’s hard. It’s hard to bring what I know in my head to be what I believe in my heart.

And every day I have a choice.

Because hard things happen, and life breaks us, and tears jump out of our eyes, and Satan stabs away our joy, we have a choice.

Do we jump on the trapeze in surrender and trust, or shrink back and spout out facts that we’ll never put into practice?

I’m going with the former.

I heard another quote, and it’s like this.

“Surrendering to God isn’t losing or giving up. It’s winning, because once we surrender to God, we have transferred to the ‘right’ side and we have already won.”

God has fought for our souls, and we have proof that He is good.

The Cross has proven to us that the love of God is great enough for us, that the grace of God is enough to carry us through it all, that the forgiveness of God is enough to change us from the inside out, that the peace of God is great enough to comfort us in terrible times of despair, and that the mercy of God was made manifest in the torture of His own Son – because of His compassionate and loving heart.

Doubts will creep in, and waves will crash down on me, and despair will plague me, and there will be times when I question if God is really enough. Times will come when I can’t see God past the cloud of worldliness. There are going to be days when I can’t feel the goodness of God, and it feels like Satan is winning.

But when I look at the Cross, it is the most powerful thing. The Cross is greater than all my doubts, insecurities, faithlessness, and hopelessness, for death itself has been defeated by what Jesus has done on the Cross for me.

The step of getting what I know from my head to my heart is a mere eighteen inches, albeit a very important eighteen inches.

The Cross is where knowledge turns to belief. There is proof.

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loved us from the very beginning, but He proved it by sending His Son to save us.

Once we accept the Cross, there is a bridge between the head and the heart.

I pray that we would all accept the bridge, for it’s never worth it to live in unbelief!

*aj

Bits of Advice to Turn Over Your Worry Into Trust

Girl on Lake

Lately, I’ve been thinking.

Not about anything in particular, really, but just about the future.

Everything from the coming school year to my life career, from my future marriage to my future kids, and all that. (If I told you that I also think about retirement on occasion, you’d think me mad. But to quote Alice – from Wonderland of course – all the best people are. We’re all mad here.)

What if I “fail” school this year?

What exactly am I going to do when I graduate?

What if I’m still single at 30?

What if I can’t have kids?

What if I lose my friends?

What if…what if…what if…And on and on.

Though I don’t completely consider myself an anxious person, I do sometimes get caught up too much in my thoughts. You must know, that as an introvert, I spend way too much time thinking about things and less time talking them through. This, in turn, leads to stressing over things that are completely implausible and ridiculous, but you couldn’t tell me that then if you tried.

So, as a reference for myself in the days to come and everyone else who has ever struggled with stress or anxiety (let’s face it – we all have), I’ve compiled some hopefully-helpful advice for the life ahead.

  1. No matter how many self-help books we read, or conferences we attend, or sermons we stream online, or any other resource we gather information from, there’s no better truth than the Bible.

No matter how stressed, depressed, anxious, or afraid I feel, I can always – I repeat, ALWAYS – find strength and encouragement in the Bible. Here are some of my top verses that encourage me when I’m going crazy.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Psalm 55:22

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 118:5-6

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

  1. God is always near to us. He has never left, and never will, and will deliver us.

Psalm 34:17-18

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 143:7-8

Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Isaiah 41:13

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

It’s crazy to think of how many times we don’t pray and trust God through each aspect of our lives. Even in hardships, a lot of times, I forget that my all-powerful and all-loving Creator is on my side.

For example, I read a random fact that the average person will spend two weeks of their life sitting at a stoplight. Think about that. Can you imagine if we spent that same amount of time in prayer, turning our worries over to God? Can you imagine if we spent that same amount of time every day getting to know God better?

For me, that really puts things in perspective, because I know that I spend more time of my life all stressed out than I spend sitting at a red light. Whoa. I’m going to change that.

  1. We don’t need to trust in ourselves.

Most of my stress comes from my forgetting that I’m not the one in control. So often I think about how “I’m not going to be able to ______” or “I don’t know how ______ is going to come together” or whatever. It’s really crazy to think like this, because this burden is not for me to carry.

Read this and believe it along with me.

I’m not the one in control of my life, but I know the One who is. He loves me, and has a perfect plan all laid out for me.

It’s not all up to me.

I just need to trust, for His ways are best.

1 John 3:20

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

  1. Worry Time doesn’t do any good. Trust Time does.

Matthew 6:27

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

All the time we spend in stress could be turned over into time trusting in God. Trust is soooooo much more beneficial than stress…because all of this isn’t in our hands anyway.

For me, I know that having the security of God’s promises is enough.

When we don’t trust, we are essentially saying, “God, I don’t believe that you are strong enough to handle my problems.” Ouch, right? Of course He has everything under control, even as out-of-control as it may seem.

But He’s never going to let us down or disappoint us. I find it to be such a beautiful and awe-inspiring thing that God cares so much about us to hold our lives so carefully. He can do anything, and nothing is too hard for Him!

Jeremiah 32:17

‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

So let’s all do something together. Let’s trust in the One who has it all under control. As hard as that is, I’m surrendering my stress, worries, and anxiety to my Maker, who holds me so tightly in the palm of His hand. ❤

*aj

Lead Me When I’m Blind

Rocks and Waterfall

Do you ever just feel blind?

Sometimes I feel really blind. And… I feel like I’m lost.

Or alone.

Or afraid, because I’m dancing really close to the edge of a cliff.

Or I’m fighting for my life, blindfolded, in a gladiatorial arena. (Um… never mind.)

Sometimes I feel like my life is a mystery. Like what, I’m going to have to figure out what to do? On my own? By myself? I’m going to have to guess how to live my life, and hopefully not mess up? That’s sure what it feels like sometimes.

I feel inadequate. Do you want to know why?

I feel inadequate because I am inadequate.

By myself, I am exactly how I feel. I am blind. Lost. Alone. Afraid (and rightly so). Fighting blindfolded.

I’m never gonna make it anywhere in this life if I try to do life by myself. See, we were made for more. God made us to love Him, glorify Him, and live for Him. In doing these things, we are satisfied in Him.

He has a plan for us all. No matter what we are going through, He is with us. By our side. Fighting for us. He is our Father.

We are blind, but He is leading us. And that’s really hard for me, because I’m a visual person. I want to see it to believe it. Don’t just tell me, show me! But God doesn’t always work like that.

There’s a few verses that have really encouraged me when I feel blind.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

 

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Isaiah 42:16

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

 

I’m learning more and more to trust God with everything. He has a good plan for us. No matter how powerless and insecure we feel being blind, God really is leading us. He works out our lives for good, no matter how hard and horrible it may seem. Our understanding is flawed, but His is perfect. He straightens our paths. He guides us in paths we have not known. He does not ever forsake us. And He is always with us.

It’s so hard to wrap my mind around.

I mean, I’m not speaking from a bubble in happiness land. No, I’m right here, and life is hard.

It is extremely hard to trust God.

But once we give up trying to be the leaders and orchestrating our own lives, and give God the keys, it’s wonderful. Nothing we do can be done by ourselves alone.

It is God who empowers us to do the things He has planned for us, and not just what we can humanly do.

So maybe being blind is okay.

By letting God lead us, we will be so much better off.

He knows the plans He has for us. Plans for welfare and not for evil. Plans to give us a future, and a hope.

We can be strong and courageous because He is with us.

He will never leave; He is always going to be right here.

He guides us in paths we do not know.

We need Him more than ever, and He wants us to lean on Him.

God, please lead me when I’m blind.

*aj