Friday, June 27, 2014

The book of Ruth - God's name for me defines me , not my circumstances in this world #shereadstruth

s there a discrepancy between the names by which Jesus calls you and the names you give yourself? Are there circumstances in your life to which you are giving undue power, power that rightfully—and in reality!—belongs to our sovereign God alone?  Sister, who names you today—your God or your circumstances?

Funny how this book of Ruth has so unbelievably & completely matched to my thoughts & wonders these past few weeks. God reassured me greatly in this devotion ,which has focused on this beautiful woman. I fell in love with this lady of audacious faith, love, & obedience. A lot of my previous writings focus on this topic as well because it has bothered me & so many other teenage girls, especially, I have come to find. We are so wrapped up in what this world expects of us. I am guilty of this. We follow these worldly so called "expectations" of what we are to act like or become. So often, I feel so small. I feel so desperately tiny compared to this oh so massive world. I am just one of seven billion people. I feel like my little steps don't matter to anybody, but in this woman of God it just showed me just how a faith & obedience can truly affect the world immensely. A move based on solid faith can truly matter. We feel like our story isn't great because we haven't been a superhero or won a gold medal. We buy this lie of statistics. That if you have a broken family, you are broken. You are immediately doomed to this stereotype of rebellion. I honestly bought into it. I blamed my decisions on feeling unimportant because I felt my importance laid in the attention being placed on me by this world. Ruth took a step of leaving her homeland. She didn't have anything but Naomi. She looked up to this woman of God & declared to follow her God. This made me think, Naomi was so strong in her faith that she made a woman step out in faith to a God she didn't even know. Ruth just saw the woman Naomi was & cherished it. I believe she craved to be that kind of woman. I hope to be a woman who draws people to such a graceful & perfect lover who makes tiny steps into such a gorgeous story. Now Ruth and Naomi travel to Bethlehem. When these women get there the people questioned if it was Naomi. They did this because there was an obvious struggle to her life, that she was tired & worn. Naomi had lost her husband plus her sons. That would be the worst feeling I think I could imagine, to lose all the men in my life. She told these people to call her Mara, which meant bitter. She was drained. I see her because I have been so drained where I literally just take on the title of "depressed", " lonely", "unimportant", & "bitter." This is so true though in so many of us. That we take on these identities of our circumstances. We look at our life & think, I just can't keep it up. The thing is that to our Great God, we are not forgotten. We are not our circumstances. I am forgiven. I am blessed. I am free. I am free to be God's daughter, his beloved child. Just like Naomi, we are called to be redeemed. I have hidden for so long under my struggles. I have thought so many times, God where are you ? The truth is that he is always here. He is our storywriter. A great storywriter knows how to pan it out. Naomi and Ruth sought his face still through this time of hurt & confusion.  Then God let the right man, at the right time step in to take care of them both. They waited. They believed in God's favor coming. Their faith was built up because before they reached their high points because they had to believe in their valleys of what seemed like death, that their God who is so faithful would provide. Ruth's great faith led to the journey of the birth of Christ. Jesus Christ who is our savior & is my very hope on this Earth. What if Ruth had let her circumstances name her instead of God? If Ruth had hash-tagged herself as " forgotten" ? The thing is that Ruth named herself a daughter who is blessed. I am blessed. You are blessed. Our small steps through faith, in the dark, are a huge part in God's extraordinary story of forgiveness, grace, and redemption.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

love that will never walk away

Love. The word that the basis of our human lives seems to revolve around. It is this need. This need of being wanted, of affection. No matter who you are there is a part of you that craves this feeling of being adored. About a year ago, when somebody said the word love I would automatically jump on the scene of when Noah and Allie die in a hospital bed, holding hands into an eternal love. Man, that's love. Isn't that the scene America loves to show as love. But what about love that isn't a romantic relationship like the ones we constantly are shown. What about the love of a father or mother? Or the love of a dear friend? Recently God has opened my eyes to the forms of love. That just as bad as I want this love, that I can never be satisfied until I believe I am loved. We feel as if these mistakes are now a part of our past .  On the days I feel like nobody cares, that I have just disappointed everyone to a point where they just cant love me. So many of us have this hole it seems of where we know we should feel love. We see it around us. We see this little girl who is being so tenderly loved by both parents. Or these bestfriends who are laughing until they cry. These couples who are holding hands and telling eachother " forever." Why can't I have that? Why am I feeling like everyone is so loved but me? This lie has haunted me. I didn't feel cared about. Sure I can put on a smile and say I'm fine, but the truth is that I just felt like I needed to feel this hole before I completely caved in. This led to lust. Anything that would just make me feel loved. This led to anger, so that I could just feel something, anything. I was numb. The thing is that I was missing my foundation of love. That I had strayed from the one who never leaves and never forsakes. He is there when I need to cry. He is never too busy. He thinks I am beautiful. He forgives. He is my rock. His name is Jesus. Let me tell you that Jesus sets free. Jesus is love.  Through Jesus , I am a beloved daughter. I am a child. I am a friend. This has filled that hole. Yes, I need human love, but I learned that I can't love others until I believe I am even worth loving. Jesus is my portion. oh, how he loves us. me and you. My prayer is that you would open your hearts to see that he is the only one who can satisfy fully. He heals your broken heart. The scars that boy left who you gave yourself to, he heals. The feeling of abandonment from family, he heals and revives your soul. The friend who you feel you can't talk to about your problems anymore, but you feel like you just have to vent to, he heals. He is the best listener. I have cried to him. I have yelled and screamed. I have laughed and smiled. He never leaves. He knows your heart, he wants you to get to know him. True love is the love in which gave up his life on a cross for you and me when we so don't deserve it. Open your heart to this everlasting love to renew your soul. His love never fails. I promise and so does he.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Big Stuf

I walked into last week with doubt. I walked into it with regret and insecurities that made me feel like I wasn't good enough. I walked into it feeling alone and abandoned in so many ways. I didn't understand why God hadn't stepped in to save the day yet. Had he forgotten about me ? Did he see that my life was falling apart? Where had my faith gone? I didn't feel good about my position in him or my life. I felt heavy in a sense, like I was carrying bags and bags of hurt along with me for the trip. I felt as if I didn't put them down, I was going to crash into a hole that was impossible to get out of. For goodness sakes, all I wanted was a put together family and to graduate to get an amazing job with a huge white house that I could watch my perfect kids run around with a husband who was straight out of the notebook. On the first night, Jon Acuff used the verse ," hallowed be your name, your kingdom come (Luke 6:9). This verse was an invitation to stop being so concerned and worried about why God wasn't stepping up in my story and to transfer my story for his . Kalyn, why are you not stepping up in God's story ? This struck me. It struck me because I immediately felt sorry. I immediately cried out " I am so sorry I have been running God." The truth is that I have turned my back on God's calling on my life because it wasn't the life I had planned as a 16 year old girl who stayed watching and reading these love novels and movies. It wasn't the life my parents would want for their little girl to be away from them in such a dangerous situation. It didn't include a pinterest house or an incredible salary-wise job. It honestly scared the daylights out of me. For the past few months, I had ignored it. I decided that I couldn't see it and not ignite my passion so I literally cut it out. I didn't get on facebook so I couldn't see the news. I scrolled as fast as I could through twitter when I saw the organizations. Whenever I thought about it, I'd throw on some kind of music to drown it out. I had these thoughts of , " Kalyn you'll never make it." I had made mistakes and let myself plus countless others down. I didn't feel called. I didn't feel qualified. I didn't wanna fail honestly. Us as teenagers never want to fail, plus to fail in God's story is just devasting to even think about. In Exodus 3, Moses is called, but he is scared and worried about what the people will say as they see him doing God's works. I feel like Moses when he says , " who am I?" In that three worded statement is the lies I've built up in my life. It is the enemy in everyway telling me that I just can't do it because God doesn't want somebody like me. God's response is , " I am has sent you." yes! yes in that statement I realized I AM CALLED. I AM QUALIFIED. I AM BEAUTIFUL. I AM SMART. I AM SPECIAL. I AM UNIQUE. so many of us teenagers feel alone because we just don't seem to fit in. This week I learned that " In the valleys, I will not be shaken because my faith is in God's identity not my circumstance." In the book I bought at camp, Let Hope In, Pete Wilson points out that in so many verses (Psalms 76:3, Matthew 19:26, Acts 13:29-30) that "BUT GOD" is used to change that circumstance. God wins, God overcomes the world. He is greater and bigger and stronger than anything the enemy could ever put in my life. I want to be used. Everything in me said ," God please use me in your story, I give up my selfish desires and dreams for your plan which is so much greater than mine ever could be." Well that night, our youth sat outside under the patio and stood up to share these incredible testimonies as to just how God has moved in their lives. It was powerful to see God move the way he did. Well I have always struggled with knowing if God really was talking to me or if I was just imagining this feeling of God urging me to do something. But, I felt this urge that if I didn't pray and talk to this girl in our group that I was giving up God's using of me. So I asked to take her down and sit in the sand. She immediately told me of how she didn't feel good enough and she felt abandoned. I knew that feeling. I knew it with every fiber of my being. That night God let me be used in his story. His story of restoration in a girl who needed to hear that God is a father. He is a father who's love never fails nor forsakes. She needed her identity to be switched to God's not a middle school girl's definition of good enough or beautiful. I saw these walls break as she decided that she was a daughter and that she would never lose God. The next day I looked over during worship and she had her hands high singing with everything she had. Thank you God, is all I could say. well wait for it, that morning after worship was when God hit me straight on my heart, again. The message entitled, " stories that shouldn't be." I felt that message. The evil I had ignored for so long that I knew is God's sole purpose for me rose up. My eyes filled with tears, my arms looked like I had been locked in a freezer." But God why can't you fix it ?",  Pastor Brooklyn asked ( I was thinking the exact same) . A God so powerful and so loving, why is this even happening? She told of the story of the bread and fish. " YOU give them something to eat." ( Mark 6:37). You. Jesus said you. He meant me and he means you. These disciples didn't have enough food for thousands of starving people, but they gave thanks for the opportunity given and they fed thousands upon thousands of people with that bread and fish. AND THE PEOPLE WERE SATISFIED.  You are the body of Christ ( I Corinthians 12:27). Jesus lives in us. His presence is with us at all times for he promises to never leave. Jesus is hope and love. We are called to be that reflection. To show this world that with Jesus all things are possible. That even though this story that he wants us to be in is as big as a mountain, and I am just a 5'3 teenage girl, that faith can move the mountains. Within the last 10 minutes of the message, she said the three words in which I had been running from, Human Sex Trafficking. That when she as 17 years old, which is my age, that she had known it was her calling. Now, how crazy is that? I'm telling you, I get this invite all the time. Any conference I have attended, it gets me. I feel God just saying GO. I feel the resistance of me as I try to say well I'll just donate some money and move on. That is not my calling though. When you feel something, you feel it. It is a scary feeling. but there are 2.7 million people are enslaved in this world as of this minute. More than any other point of slavery in the history of this world. It occurs everyday. Children, young beautiful children, being sold for $72. This bother me. It stirs my soul. If I can save one, by the grace of God, I will. God called me into this story of restoration, this story of hope, this story of love, this story of salvation, he called me to bring hope to this injustice in his great glory. That even though I am small, with him, I am qualified. This week I learned that. I feel that. These past few days since I have been home, I feel lighter. I'm not believing the lies. Like my good friend Sara said, " deny the world's definition on our lives." The world expects us to fail. Prove them wrong. I have had so many people, even some very close people, tell me that it isn't possible. The thing is that BUT WITH GOD ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. That is the truth. and I am so thankful for this trip and being able to grow with such an amazing group of young people and all of our loving leaders.

Monday, June 9, 2014

First Love

             "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love." (Revelation 2:4)

Remember your first boyfriend or girlfriend? How you gave your full heart to them because you fully trusted them? Your every move revolved around them. When they wanted to talk, you were all ears. That feeling of telling them how your day went just made each day easier. You woulda gave your life for them. I know I would have . There is something about feeling wanted and cared for. It pulls you in like a tide. It gives a dark day some light. Love lifts your mood. I remember staying up all night just talking to my boyfriend ,who I thought I was going to be together with forever. I trusted him, I believed what he said. I gave my heart to him. I was 16. He broke my heart in a moment. I remember the feeling in my chest as I got a text saying, " I think we should break up." I sat in my mom's bedroom floor and just about flooded that room along with everyone in the house. I didn't understand why he didn't want me. I didn't understand why I ended up not being enough. I had gave up family time and lost friends to be with him. I was so upset with him. The thing is that a 16 year old boy doesn't contain the perfect love in which I needed. Every teenager, or most, has these dreams of a high school relationship. The boys with cars and flowers for no reason. young love. I understand this because I live it, the thing is priorities. My first love has become Jesus. He is the one who will never leave me or fail me. He wants me, even when I'm having a bad day. Jesus comes first. Jesus is my bestfriend. Jesus cares about me. He cares if I am upset for no reason. He holds my intimate secrets. Jesus died for me. He gave his life for me, for my wrong doing. Jesus doesn't break up with you. He never fails because his love is perfect.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why Write ?

I started writing a lot about a year ago. Things in my life seemed to begin falling down around August of last year and I felt I couldn't talk to anybody because ,as I said, I am just a really stubborn person. I was suppose to be the one giving advice and helping people out of their troubles, not vice versa. I didn't want to drown my friends and family with my problems, because 1. I didn't know how to express my feelings and 2. I didn't wanna be a bother. So, I decided to begin journaling. I knew some people who did it and I loved writing so I began literally writing these letters in this book to God. I shared my joys and falls. I found it easier to write down my feelings then to verbally explain them. It hurt to talk about the problem of feeling abandoned and just being under so much stress. I am notorious for holding everything in ,which then eventually turns to dramatics of anger and sadness. I needed to get it out in a way I wouldn't blow up like a bomb. So I took it to my book. You know when you have this secret and you are absolutely bursting to not tell anyone, so you end up telling your mom and you feel about 120% better? Well writing these notes to God, I felt that relief. It was like removing a burden I had from that day. It was a fresh renewal like a cold shower after running in the humid Georgia weather. Writing has gotten me closer to God. Writing is what the writers of the bible did. Writing is what we base our life around.,The word of God. When anybody tells me they are going through a problem or are confused, write it down. Throughout the last few weeks, I learned that spoken word declares it over your life. Write your prayer down with intimate details then shut yourself in your room, throw on some Jesus Culture and just say it out loud. Tears are expected, because that is God softening your heart for his works. "Then Jesus came to them and said," All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matthew 28:18) Jesus died on the cross for us. He lives in each and every one of us. That job you want, Jesus has the authority. That university that you want to attend, Jesus has the authority. Trust in him, talk it out with him. He cares and wants you to indulge in him because you recognize that " He saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his mercy" (Titus 3:5)  You and I cannot do it by ourselves, every good thing comes from God by his mercy. Believe in his writing. Use his writings in  your writings to him. Write down a scripture and say it out loud in your prayers. Write it down and pray over it. Don't worry about letting out some secrets to God because he already knows. He knew the secret before it happened. When you put that confliction on paper or in a computer document, it stays. Those words are there, you leave them right there with God because you gave it up to him to have. Jesus has it under control. Turn to him and not the desires of this world which can never fulfill the way Jesus can. He has the answer, he just wants you to trust him.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

#shereadstruth/jesus calling ~ trained by Grace

" These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority" Titus 2:15

" What right turn in  your character is God training you to make so that you might be more like Jesus"

I believe that I get so wrapped up in the future and accomplishing everything in the perfect manner to achieve the future I have planned for myself, that I do not seek his face at all times. I seek an email from a college or a friend or a boy. I seek something to do or I sit on pinterest to plan a house of dreams. The truth is that we must " seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you" (Luke 12:31). The passage of Luke 12: 22-31 explains not to worry that the Lord has you and sees you. Sometimes I feel as if I think I'm too small to be recognized. There are all these plans constantly buzzing through my head which leave me stressed. Now, those of  you who know me can second this, but when I am stressed, the wrath comes blazing out. My mind just can't take anymore. The simplest task will turn into a full on rage of anger and complaining. I feel as if I have to do it now and by myself. I am a pretty independent person. I feel like I can do anything by myself, the truth is self-reliance only works for a little while. Eventually, you run out of steam. Running out of steam, at least to me, is the worst feeling because all of a sudden my emotions blast out of this world. This is when I become farther from "like Jesus," because ,as my mom would say, " I get my worry on." The thing is that grace covers the worry. Deciding that Jesus has my college, car, boy, and friend situation in the palm of his hand and truly believing it, is where the amazing peace comes flooding in. "I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. but take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD" (John 16:33) Remembering that as Christians following Christ, we have him with us. We have the winner and conqueror if we just seek his face and decide to take advantage of the grace he gives us and allows us to give other people. My future Is so much bigger than anything I can imagine. Worrying about not getting exactly what  I want and when I feel I should get it is where I think God is trying to change me. That I'll tune into his signs and turn to his word in worry instead of tweeting in frustration or hurting people with my words through my anger. Grace covers.

Friday, June 6, 2014

#shereadstruth ~ a peculiar people

The scripture tagged along with the #shereadstruth devo today is Titus 2:6-10.

"..So that in everything they may adom the doctrine of God our Savior" Titus 2:10

This section of Titus is explain doing good works in everything you do. That is the hardest part of being a Christian I believe. It is relatively easy to say a prayer in which you declare God the Lord of your life. I think the problem is that after the prayer, we stop. We said the prayer and now we are done. The thing is that God's treasures require giving up your life. You literally give up your old self and become a new person. I have a hard time with this because I get irritated so easily. Being a teenage girl, my hormones are raging about 99.999999% of the time. I snap at people and don't show the love I need to show to people. I yell and scream about the tiniest things then end up crying my eyes out later on. I let the world get the best of me. I've learned that you chose how you act. You chose to wake up in a good mood or not. You chose to yell at your brother and call him stupid for leaving cheetohs in between the couch cushions or you learn to show him love while showing him the correct way to do things. We are so quick to find something to complain about. Our weight, our house, our school, our friends, and so on. I'm entirely guilty of this. We make the world a hard place to live in a lot of the time without even acknowledging that we just aren't living up to the word of God. This question today in my email sparked a unique thought to me :

" Do you think of yourself as an adornment to the gospel, as something that makes the gospel beautiful to the world ? "

I immediately thought of this amazing woman at my church. Something draws me in about someone who is so joyful about life. This woman made the gospel beautiful to me by the way she lived. She lived forgivingly and faithfully. She explained her happiness as a symptom of Jesus in her life. Ah how beautiful is that ? The way she talked and the way she gave glory to God for everything she had was mesmerizing. It was what I wanted. Her smile was true and never faded. Ya know when you travel and see all these amazing places, these vast mountains and clear, blue water that stretches thousand of miles? I just stand in awe that God made this beautiful place and it just draws me more in to explore deeper and deeper into it. THAT is what I think we need to be for Jesus. Be so beautiful a reflection that we draw people into this journey with Christ. Of course, my Jesus Calling devo went right along with my #shereadstruth. God is amazing in that way. "my world is full of beautiful things; they are meant to be pointers to me, reminders of my abiding presence" Isn't that true, that the ocean reminds you of his presence. The roaring waves remind me of him overturning my sins into grace. The calm after the storm reminds me of his healing. Wouldn't it be awesome if we reminded people of his presence just like the ocean does ?

" The heavens declare the glory of God
the skies proclaim the work of his hands
Day after day they pour forth speech
night after night they display knowledge"  Psalms 19: 1-2

My prayer is to be like the skies. That I will proclaim his work everyday and have the knowledge to share Jesus with anyone I meet. I'm not saying that I twill happen instantly because I am human. I do have days when it is hard to change my selfish attitude or it is hard to not flick my brother in the head. The key is trying. Simply start trying to make the gospel beautiful to the world. The world is a dark place needing light. Even a small flicker of light attracts.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

#shereadstruth ~ Spiritual mother

I am doing a devotional from #shereadstruth studying the small book of Titus. This organization sends daily email devotionals and often leaves you with a writing assignment. 

"How is spiritual mothering already taking place in your community? Has a godly woman influenced you in your growth in the Gospel, or has mentoring a young believer impacted your life? How would you like to see Titus 2 shape your relationships moving forward?"

As some of you may know, I love teaching kids about Jesus. About a year and a half ago, I was given the opportunity to serve in the children's church at my church. I know, kids? volunteer? a lot of me was scared. I knew I loved kids and that I could wrestle with them. I have a little brother and sister in elementary school, so I knew some of the basics. I assumed I would take some kids to the bathroom and wipe some noses. Never did I know the impact these kids would have on me. I never took into account that there would be relationships. These kids clung to me. I didn't understand why these children could just love me without knowing me. I soon discovered that they clung so tight because they needed love. They needed a smile. They needed a hug. They needed to see Jesus. Children don't get technical, well not all. They believe you and they believe in you 100%. You don't have to be perfect, just show them you care. Oh my, did I care. You have to be open. Sometimes these kids just talk about their cats or how they found a penny yesterday. It is simple, seems irrelevant, kinda stuff a lot of times. At first I was like okay, okay, okay. I soon realized that these beautiful kids were telling me these stories because I was the only person they could talk to . Some of these children don't have a mother speaking encouragement or grace and forgiveness to them. Some are hurt more than I could even comprehend, but they have that childlike faith. What an amazingly incredible thing it is. I learned that being a "spiritual mother" is loving unconditional. It is giving a Christ like love to someone. It is teaching kindness and encouraging them. Taking the time for them.

In my life I have been so very blessed to have spiritual mothers. One being my own mother. I remember that her answer to any problem is prayer. She is a prayer warrior. When she is upset, she prays. I've heard her so many times in the car, just declaring Jesus' name over every situation. I admire her for replacing tears with prayer. I'll always remember running in her room with tears just streaming down my face and her just saying lets pray about it. I also have been given the blessing of other "spiritual mothers". These women have encouraged me. They have listened to me. Sometimes that is exactly what you need, a verbal affirmation followed with a big hug. Sometimes you just need to tell someone what is going on with your life over a grande Starbucks. Or a person to text and say " please pray for me" and later in the day feel a weight lifted. I could not thank God enough for the women in my life.

Lastly, I find my "spiritual sisters" to be some of my biggest blessings. These girls both older, younger, and my age are so amazing. I find myself with sweet devotional texts so many mornings. Their hugs and caring astonishes me. In Christ, we have a bond much like Paul and Titus. These men were so close due to common faith which includes common hope. These women and girls create a hope in me. A safety. They show Christ's love even if they do not always realize it. They create opportunities and mentor me in everyway. We all are united by OUR savior which picks us up together and allows us to lead others to Christ.

" They are to teach what is good and to train the young women" Titus 2: 4

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The feeling of being lost is lonely. You're just all alone with these thoughts. These thoughts that attack like mosquitoes on a hot summer Georgia night. They have tiny mouths to bite us with, but their mark is deep. It swells. It turns your skin rough with bright red patches from irritation. It itches to no end. This bite refuses to let you forget it. You can try to cover it up with medicine, but that itch is ruthless. We know that itching it only make it worse, but wouldn't ya know the majority of us, especially me, are gonna pick at it anyway. Why ? because I find myself scared, bored, or nervous at something and itch away at it. It is almost suddenly that it starts to bleed and bust open because you don't even realize you're doing it when it happens. It then scabs back over, usually to only last about an hour until my hand goes messing with it again. The amount of mosquito bites on my legs is impossible to count. These bites remind me of my journey the past few months. These bites are these thoughts that keep me from living a fulfilled life. These bites are the lies I chose to believe about myself. These bites are the pestering bitterness of mistakes.

Because of my sins, I decided that Jesus didn't love me. I decided that I wasn't good enough to teach kids about Jesus because Jesus didn't want me. I decided that I had already messed up and disappointed enough people that I couldn't tell somebody about their father in heaven. I decided that I wasn't loved, wanted, and I chose anger and bitterness. I chose to believe that I could never talk to a young girl who had been sold and bought into the world of sex trafficking that she was beautiful because I myself believed I wasn't. How could I tell someone something I couldn't even make myself believe? I didn't feel loved. I didn't feel needed. I didn't feel worthy. I didn't feel special or unique. I felt like just another piece of this broken world. I felt forgotten. I decided that my writing on a paper meant nothing and that I might as well just give up. I decided that a relationship couldn't work because I was incapable of loving. So I stopped.

I dropped God's plan for my life. I developed a lust and infatuation of people instead of a real love. I didn't care about my life or where it was going. I stopped like a sports car going 90 to nothing. Suddenly I just let the scars be there. I felt I couldn't even pick them anymore. People kept leaving my life, so I just cut everyone out before they could leave me. This included God. I was angry with him for "allowing" me to feel this hurt. I thought I was free ? I thought I got happiness? I stopped listening to worship music. I stopped journaling. I prayed some, but it was half hearted. I felt nothing so it quickly diminished. It hurt. I ran from God, full on sprinted. I lost love. I lost life. I lost joy. I lost hope. I lost people. I lost faith. Everyday was endless. It dragged on. I found myself asleep to get away from the emptiness I felt which literally felt like I was eating myself just to provide me with some willingness to keep going. I was just a 5'3 girl who was caving into her own selfish flesh. The walls I had built in such little time had gotten so tall. I questioned life. I questioned if God really was here with me. I questioned my experiences and my faith.

Last week, I was lounging in my beach chair with the water flooding my feet. I decided to pray. I needed something. I was pushing everyone away. I felt the hurt I kept leaving due to my own hurt. I asked God to please show me that he is here with me. I needed to just know that he hears me crying out. About ten minutes later, three girls came up to me randomly. They asked If they could ask me some questions so I was just like okay whatever I'll be nice. So they asked me what "wages" meant? "earnings" What does "sin" mean ? " things you shouldn't do" What does "death" mean ( two types)? " physical is dead, and spiritual is emptiness and nothing" What does "gift" mean? "something given to you" What is "eternal life"? "heaven" Lastly, what does "Jesus" mean to you? "savior" - isn't that what everybody says? He died on the cross for us, yes, but he is SO much more I quickly realized. She then made a chart separating man from God with a cross( obviously Jesus) in between. Above the cross was an arrow saying " Transfer trust to God" Those four words was my answer. In that moment I realized that Jesus is a savior, he didn't just save us from our sins on a cross. He saved us from ourselves, from our own human flesh. He is love. He is life. He is joy. I remembered standing in the sanctuary three years ago crying from happiness as I rededicated my life to God. Why had I even been able to walk away from this ? The bites. The mosquito bites that were enemy created, but I allowed myself to fall into the habit of picking them. I fed them. Jesus takes these away, not a temporary fix of some itchbites gel. Jesus loves me. Jesus heals the scars. If you trust him, he is what feels that hole I felt. That hole that made me bitter. He is what intercedes and fills even the deepest hurts. He showed me that he is there. He has a plan for me and everyone. Walking the next day in a small boutique I happened to come across a little stand selling bracelets to support these beautiful kids who have been trafficked. God is here. God has plans bigger than my understanding. God is not to be understood is what I've learned. He is to be trusted. He is to be trusted above the circumstances. Faith moves mountains. Faith is what has me writing again. Faith in Jesus is what has given me my joy back. Faith in the bible is what allows me to know Jesus loves me and forgives me. Jesus finds the lost and makes them found. Take this world and Give me Jesus.