Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 Intentional

As I wake up to realize that today is the last day of 2015 ( eeeppp, how in the world did this happen), I am flooded with such great moments. 2015 was the year I waited for 12 years to finally get here, the year I graduated from Ola High School. 2015 was the year I finished high school with 26 college credits when I thought I wasn't going to even graduate several times during spring semester due to grades. 2015 was the year I moved to Valdosta ,even when it seemed nearly impossible. I was blessed to have a job at home and receive another at my new home. 2015 was the year both my bestfriends got married and I got the honor of being in their weddings. 2015 was the year I went months without seeing my besties because we all are all out pursuing our dreams. 2015 brought on the distance of high school friends, but the blessing of new friends as I moved to VSU. I found an awesome church in Valdosta and joined an organization to mentor teens that I love. I was exceedingly blessed this year. But, 2015 also brought challeneges and heartbreaks from school to boys to my parent's divorce, and it was hard especially being three hours away from home. There were many tears in 2015.
 As I was taking a look back, I realized that 2015 was a year that went by too quick. I missed moments because I was racing the clock to get everything done to move on to the next thing on my to-do list. I missed opportunities because I was too busy focusing on myself and the challenges I was facing. I didn't pause quite enough. I'm bad about trying to fill up my time whether it be netflix or a job or school or sleep, I feel like I always have something to do. I get stressed out and end up with that famous hair in a bun , homeless, just rolled out of bed look pretty often because I feel like I just can't function anymore. The thing is that when I look back on 2015, I see that I wasn't thankful like I should of been. I took for granted that I got to be at Valdosta and that was a serious miracle considering I was told a few times it looked impossible. I took for granted that I had a car to get me there. I took for granted that when I was there, I didn't have to work my first semester because I was provided for. I took for granted my new church and organization that God had so obviously allowed me to stumble upon. But mostly, I took for granted people. God has really laid on my heart recently that I need to humble myself among my others. I need to be a light, not just a passing girl. I need to be open and caring. I need to love them intentionally. Now, if you know me, you would know that I am not miss outgoing or miss talkative or miss let's all take about feelings, ( funny considering my major of choice) , but God is breaking down those walls in me. It takes an intention for me to walk over and ask if I can help someone get through scomething. It takes intention to refrain from gossiping with my friends when you live with 80 girls. It takes an intention to lower my judgements on people and give them a chance. The thing I have realized is that everyone has something going on and everyone needs a friend ( even when we say we don't, we do). We need hugs. We need tears. and we just need someone to love us intentionally. In 2016, I want to pause more. I want to stop and thank God for every opportunity he has so willingly given me. I don't want to waste precious time on simply checking off a list. I want to use my time loving others and caring after his people. I want to be thankful for the things I take for granted like the stars and air to breathe. I want to be intentional about who I talk to and how I talk. I want to be intentional about showing Jesus in everything I do and doing everything to my very best ability. ( I also want to be intentional about getting on that treadmill if ya know what I mean, freshman 15 is no joke kids). This year I noticed that I took for granted my family and my friends at home before I moved ( I came home pretty often because my heart missed them so much) and I want to be intentionally thankful for each person that crosses my path next year. 2016 I am going to be intentional about making stuff happen, not just letting those moments go by. Life is so crazy short and being a young, college student is even shorter. Use where you are and who you are to the best of your ability and make 2016 intentional. Happy New Years, stay safe !
lots of love,

Thursday, December 24, 2015

oh what a wonderful world

Merry Christmas Eve ! It is finally here, Christmas. Mistletoes and Christmas trees and presents under the tree.. shopping is done ( well, hopefully) and many families and friends begin getting ready for a Christmas Eve celebration. We can finally take a deep breathe.. but
The reality is that today, all around the country, there is sorrow, grief, confusion, hurt, and loneliness. There are empty seats at tables that were once filled with grandparents, fathers, mothers, or dear friends. Many families are having their first split Christmas, such as mine. The emptiness in our hearts is real and it hurts. People feel forgotten and unloved. December has more suicides than all the other 11 months combined.. it is because of this emptiness in hearts during this time of year. We compare our lives to those who's lives seem complete. Circumstances overcome us. We cry, instead of laugh. We worry, instead of trusting.  We feel incomplete.. and most unfortunately, we are ungrateful instead of being thankful for all the good that is in our lives.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Young Life camp in beautiful Jasper, Georgia . After club (service), YL camps do something very unique that I will always remember. It is quite simple, but so important. The teenagers and leaders are instructed to find a place outside and have a quiet time. All the lights from the camp are shut off and the only light is from the millions of stars above me. I layed down where I was and just gazed at the stars. I was in awe. I had so many complaints about life... divorce, unhappiness, loneliness, school, etc. But in that moment, I was grateful. I was thankful for the stars I had taken for granted. I was thankful for the favor to go to Valdosta State. I was thankful for the opportunity to be serving at a camp for teens. I was thamkful for the family God had given me, even if things weren't perfect by any means. I was thankful that I had breathe and could breath. I was thankful for a God who loves me and cherishes me and wraps me up in grace that fills the emptiness in my heart. I am thankful. This Christmas, let us take a step back. Let us look past the phones and social media.. let us look past the presents under the tree... let us look past the terrible circumstance that has its grip on you.. and look to Jesus. The one who was born for us. The one who takes away our pain and wounds. The one who loves you and cares for you enough to take on the form of a slave for you.. The one who wants to bring you joy in him. The one who we celebrate this Christmas.. Jesus. You, whoever you are reading this little blog, are special. You are so so loved by a Savior. I  know it hurts and I know it is hard to be positive during what seems like the end of the world, but Jesus came to fill that hole in your heart. Let us be people of thanks today & sing oh, what a wonderful world & celebrate thankfulness for Jesus' birth today .