Throwback Thursday

#Tbt to When I Discovered My Worth

Three years ago, God taught me a beautiful lesson when I went on a walk around where I used to live:

Apart from Christ, I can do nothing.  But through Christ, I can do everything.

You see, I was walking around my old house when I saw a shiny penny on the ground.  At the time, I was unemployed and had to pay student loans, so I saved every penny (literally) that I could find.  I thanked God profusely for providing this tiny little miracle, the proof that God could take care of my needs in any way He chose to do so…even make money fall out of the sky.

But it gets better.  I turned the corner and looked down again.  This time, I saw a beat-up penny, and next to it was a shiny quarter.  God had provided twenty-seven whole cents to provide for my needs.  It may not seem like a lot to you, but when you have no source of income, any amount of money is a lot.

God used this small little blessing to teach me to always remember that I need God every minute of my life.  No matter what blessings come my way, no matter how successful I become, no matter how much “I got it,” I still need God.  Apart from Him, I don’t have blessings.  Apart from Him, I don’t have success.  Apart from Him…I’m lost and confused.

But with Him…even twenty-seven cents can be used in a mighty way for His glory.  With Him…even my life, a small blip on the spectrum of all of humanity, can be used in a might way for His glory.

Now that I’m #blessed with a job, a husband, and an apartment, it is so tempting to forget that I still need God.  Just as easily as God blessed me with these provisions, He can also take them away for whatever reason.  God is fully in control of my life because I’ve surrendered to Him.

Knowing that God is in control has helped me tremendously with my anxiety.  People have anxiety for multiple reasons, but my anxiety really stemmed from not feeling in control.  Growing up, I didn’t feel secure.  I didn’t feel safe.  I woke up every day, knowing that anything could happen, but not sure what that “anything” involved.

When I surrendered my life to God, I learned to trust the One who was now completely in control of my life.  I’ve learned that He’s in control, but He’s not an evil tyrant who wants to make my life miserable.  Rather, He’s a loving father who loves His creation and knows what’s best, not just for me, but for the whole world.  Since He knows what’s best, and since He loves me…I feel secure.  I feel safe.  I wake up every day, knowing that anything could happen, and that “anything” would be a new, exciting adventure.

Every day with Jesus is a beautiful adventure.

Sometimes I feel like that beat-up penny.  Sometimes I feel like I’m worth close to nothing.  Sometimes I feel like no one will notice me if they’re walking past me on the side of the road.

But then I realize that I’m standing with Christ by my side, who is worth much more than a quarter.  As Christ strengthens me, I have confidence to conquer any trial that comes my way.  As Christ affirms my identity in Him, I have the courage to dispel any insecurity that wells up within me.  I am free to live the life that God has created me to live.

If you’re doubting your worth today, know that God is not finished with you yet.  Trusting in God is not always easy, but it is worth it.  God will provide what you need when you need it, and He will accomplish mighty things through you if you let Him.

Photo by Jay Castor on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday

#ThrowbackThursday to the Desires of My Heart

I wrote this blog on my previous blog five years ago.  I was going to put the site on here, but it looks like my Blogspot account was deleted! Thank God I copied and pasted it before I lost all of the other content.  Enjoy the musings of a single young woman, a yearning college student with her whole life ahead of her!

The Desires of Your Heart
(Originally posted on August 9, 2012 on Blogspot)

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.-Psalm 37:4, NIV

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.-Matthew 6:33, AMP

Did you ever wonder if you were completely following God’s plan?  Being a college student, I see people constantly asking themselves if God actually wanted them to major in such and such.  Students change their major numerous times to find that perfect plan that God has for them.  Although it is great to seek God’s counsel in your life, while considering what God wanted you to do with your life, did you ever consider what you wanted to do with your life?

For the past two days, God has been waking me up with the desire to study Psalm 37:4.  The first time that God woke me up with this verse, I had a dream that I was talking to one of my friends about the calling on his life.  He was really worried that he had chosen a major in college because it was what he wanted to do, not what God wanted him to do.  He felt that he had wasted his time in college studying at an expensive school instead of pursuing a degree at a Bible college or seminary.  In my dream, I was telling him that God gives us the desires of our hearts.  Although God has a plan for us, He gives us interests and uses those interests in His plan.

I have mentioned before that I am studying TESOL in a small Christian college.  Before I started going to this school, I had wanted to be a writer.  I had a passion for writing.  Writing was what I wanted to share with the world; I wanted to write books that children would enjoy.  I loved reading, and I wanted to give children something to read so that they could be entertained just like I was by books. Although I had felt that writing was in my future, when I went on my first missions trip, I felt God calling me to be a missionary.  As a result of this call, I completely threw away my desire to be a writer.

Over time, I realized that I still loved writing.  During my first semester at college, my friends would constantly complain about writing papers.  I could not relate; even if it was a research paper about the long history of the Baptist church, I loved getting my ideas written out in words.  I had no problems helping my friends write their papers for classes.

When I transferred to my current school, I learned that many missionaries are now pursuing a degree in teaching English abroad.  When I first heard of TESOL, I ran from it.  I had stuffed my desires deep into my heart, hoping never to have them touched again.  God had given me the desire to be a missionary, and that should supersede my desire to be a writer.  That semester, I was required to take a class about starting a transforming spiritual journey with God.  My professor confessed that he had liked art as a kid, but he had suppressed his love for arts.  Later in life, he had explained, God had told him to start writing, singing, playing music, and painting again.  God had given him the desires of his heart; He had given him the desire to creatively express himself and share his emotions with the world.

When my professor said that to us, it spoke to me.  God asked me, “Why are you hiding your love for writing?  I gave you that love.”  I did not want to start writing yet.  I wrestled with what God was saying to me for about a year.  As I have posted before, after starting a job at the Writing Center, I realized that I could use my love for writing to help students who did not like writing.  I could still use my ideas to inspire others to have a voice.  Nothing made me happier than knowing that I could please God and still enjoy life.

The second time God woke me up with Psalm 37:4, I was wondering when my husband was going to come into my life.  About two months ago, I broke off a relationship that I had had with my boyfriend for two years, and I feel that God wants me to wait before I go back into another relationship.  God has taught me that being in a relationship takes time and energy that I do not have as a college student.  However, the yearnings for a husband are still there.

During my quiet time, I desired to know the meaning of the verse.  I looked in my study Bible for answers, but it had almost nothing to say about Psalm 37:4.  Finally, I asked the Holy Spirit to bring light to the words I was reading.  As I started saying the words to the verse out loud, I thought of Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  These words from Jesus are like the New Testament version of Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  As I started thinking of this, I felt the sense that desires are not wrong.  To act on that desire and choosing to ignore God’s plan for me right now would be a sin, but the hope that I will be married in the future is not a sin.

It amazes me that something could be a sin just because it is not what God has for you at that time.  For example, it is simply showing love if you have sex with your spouse, but it is sexual immorality if you have sex with a stranger.

As Jesus said, we need to seek first God’s interests.  Your love for God should shine in everything you do.  Obviously, because of your sinful nature, you have desires that go against God’s will for your life.  However, by surrendering your desires to God, you can discover that the wants that you have actually stem from a necessity to know God more.  Instead of praying for that perfect man or woman to come into your life, acknowledge your desire to be loved and to show love to someone else in return, and be encouraged that the Creator of the universe loves you enough to listen to your prayers and to forgive you.

After I meditated on my desire for a husband, I gave it over to God.  I declared that, even if I did not get a husband, I would still serve Him and honor Him in everything that I did.  When I meet someone, I proclaimed to God, I would love him with God’s love and I would honor God in our relationship.  Later that day, I went to my church and I saw two couples that are truly in love with each other.  Instead of being grouchy and asking God where my Prince Charming was, I stopped and admired what these two couples had.  I had hope that, if God had someone for me, we would love each other like the members of these couples did.  Instead of lusting for a husband to come into my life immediately, I had hope for the future.  I had hope that God had given me the desire to love someone unconditionally, and that in the future I will have the opportunity to do so.

Think about the desires you have and surrender them to God.  You do not have to stop doing what you love, but you do have to let God take control of those desires.  God knows that you want things for the future, and He loves you.  In His timing, if you put Him first in everything you do, He will give you more than anything you could ever imagine having on your own.


Photo by Jade on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday

Like a Wife (#tbt to Preparing for Marriage)

Last year, I shared what I learned while preparing for my wedding.  Well, my husband and I have enjoyed nine months of wedded bliss since I posted this.  Honestly, we’re still waiting for it to become true that “it goes by fast.”  We feel like we’ve been married for our entire lives, even though it’s only been a few months.  I’m not sure what that means, but we’re loving it!

The post I wrote last year showed up on my Facebook memories about a week ago.  Right around that time, my husband and I had started a Bible plan on YouVersion called “Your Home Matters.”  Up until the very end of the plan (where they used the wrong verse to make a point), my husband and I appreciated the encouragement that this plan offers to have a more intentional view of marriage.  God has a bigger plan for us as a couple, and that plan is much bigger than ourselves.

On our wedding day, we made a vow to love each other and be faithful to each other until death separates us.  Just as Christ is faithful to us, we are called to be faithful to one another.  Just as Christ sacrificed His life for us, we are to consider each other more important than ourselves.  Just as the Holy Spirit helps us live as God wants us to live, we are called to help each other and guide each other to the Truth.

And although I say “just as,” God is way more faithful than we can ever be; when we fall short, God does not.  We can praise God when our spouses show us faithfulness, and we can praise God when our spouses miss the mark.

I challenged you to put just as much effort into preparing for the second coming of Christ as you do into planning for a wedding (obviously, you should put more effort into preparing for the second coming of Christ, but we have to start somewhere!).  My new challenge is to put just as much effort, if not more, into your relationship with Christ as you do in investing in your marriage.  In addition to this, we should aim to emulate our love for Christ in our marriage.

Here’s how my husband and I invest in our marriage:

  • Dedicated date time: We make time together an absolute priority.  No matter what we do together, we make sure our phones are off, our minds are focused, and our conversations are centered around improving our relationship.
  • Praying together: Every night before bed, we turn to each other and say a prayer for our marriage, our jobs, and our walks with Christ.  Hearing my husband’s heart for me and his desire for my well-being grows me closer to him.
  • Open communication: Whenever we have a problem, we talk about it right away.  We constantly work to make communication more open and understandable between the two of us.

Unfortunately, when my husband and I die, our marriage will be over.  However, my relationship with Jesus will always be.  Jesus is forever faithful to me, and He has granted me eternal life with Him.  So, considering I’m going to be spending the rest of forever with Jesus, I should be constantly trying to learn more about Him.

Here are some ways that we can grow closer to Christ in our daily lives:

  • Dedicated devotional time: I have to admit, marriage makes it more difficult to find a set time to spend with the Lord.  I usually listen to worship music on my drive to work, or I’ll read the Bible for a few minutes in the morning before I leave. Whatever amount of time you can give to God will be fruitful.
  • Prayer: Prayer is open communication to God.  Be honest with Him.  Even if you’re struggling to get out of bed, wishing you didn’t have work…share your heart with God.  Then, listen to what He says.  Read the Bible (which records what God has said and continues to speak to us today).  Be still and wait patiently for His peace.
  • Community: We were never meant to do life alone.  God created us for community.  When we spend time with people who have surrendered their lives to Christ and seek to encourage us, we can appreciate how God works in and through them as well.  This allows us to give glory to God for His power to redeem.

The Bible says that in the last days, the Church will be presented to Christ as a bride in fine linen (Revelation 19:7-8).  Are you ready for the ultimate marriage ceremony?

Photo by Thomas Curryer on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday

#ThrowbackThursday to When I Wanted to Give Up

I remember when I wanted to quit my retail job three years ago.

Let’s just say, my calling was definitely not folding clothes and handling money all day.  I had a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate and a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies under my belt, and I was itching to travel, teaching English and writing for God’s glory.  If I could do the exact opposite of that, I felt like it would have been something similar to folding clothes and handling money!

Eventually, my time at the mall came to a close, and I was on to bigger and better things.  I started working at a bookstore, and then at my current job as an Administrative Assistant.  Despite my disgust at the minimum wage jobs that I had in the past (except for my job as a Consultant at the Writing Center!) I thank God that He used each of those transitional jobs to bring me one step closer to the person that He has called me to be.

I feel like we are trained to always wait for the next best thing.  From an early age, we go from preschool to kindergarten, then prepare for elementary school in kindergarten, then prepare for middle school in elementary school, then prepare for high school in middle school, then prepare for college in high school, then prepare for grad school in your undergrad, and then prepare for your full-time career in college.  We’re always preparing, but what are we preparing for?

The point of the article I wrote a few years ago was that no matter what season we are in, we should always give our best.  If you have senioritis and just want to graduate, take a deep breath and pause.  You only get to be a high school/college senior once; live it up!  If you are single and just want to find someone, take a deep breath and pause.  Once you are married, you have a long life ahead of you with that person; learn to take advantage of your free time and wholehearted devotion to God. If you are in an in-between job and just want to quit, take a deep breath and pause.  God has given you a unique opportunity right where you are, and He is training you through it!

So, how can we give our best in the season we are in, even if we don’t feel our best?

Be thankful.  God is sovereign and God is faithful.  He has allowed you to have this job/relationship status/apartment/time at school for a reason.  Think about what blessings can come out of the situation.

Be honest.  It may be difficult for you to praise God for this season.  Let Him know that!  He loves you.  He would rather have an honestly angry person than a fake happy person.  Plus, sharing your struggles with God brings you closer to Him.  Continue to stay connected with God, even when you don’t understand where He’s leading you.

Be surrounded.  As a woman in my mid-20s, I know I’m not alone in my struggle to find contentment.  People my age are all in different stages of life.  Some are single, while others are married with kids.  Some are stuck in part-time jobs, while others are well into their careers.  Some can travel, while others are trying to budget.  When I surround myself with Christian women who are fighting the same fight as me, it encourages me not to give up.

Be joyful.  Even in the midst of trials, we are called to be joyful.  Joy, I’ve learned, is meant to be shared.  If you’re at a job that isn’t exactly your calling, it might be a challenge to always have a smile on your face.  However, joy changes the atmosphere.  As God changes your perspective, others will notice, and they will be encouraged to find joy as well.

All of these points focus on becoming.  Through trials and transitions, we become more thankful, we become more honest, we become more encouraged, and we become more joyful.  God is more focused on changing our hearts than changing our circumstances.  Let Him grow you through these uncomfortable times.


Thank you to Unsplash for always providing great stock photos for me to use for my Featured Image.  This one was by Dhruva Reddy on Unsplash


Throwback Thursday

#ThrowbackThursday to my #FirstWorldProblems

Looking at my memories this past week, I had to laugh at my article on first world problems.  The problems I had then were a walk in the park compared to what I deal with now.  Nevertheless, the message behind my article was important for me to remember, and for you to be encouraged.

Although I define first world problems in the article I mentioned, plainly put, they’re problems that greatly affect the outcome of our days, but put in perspective, they’re not that bad.

You can read about the first world problems I dealt with as a recent college graduate.  My greatest first world problem as an employee is the commute to and from work.  I’ve found that my commute to work is the deciding factor of how nice I’m going to behave at work.  Now that school is out of session and there are less cars on the road, my commute to work is only fifteen minutes.  I’ve noticed that I’ve definitely been more calm at work now, even cheerful. But during the school year, my commute can range from twenty to thirty-five minutes.  Although it does not sound like a long time, the fact that there is a fifteen-minute window of time (where I can be fifteen minutes early or fifteen minutes late) can make it very difficult to plan my morning schedule.

This, in essence, is a first world problem, but it’s even beyond a first world problem.  Some people in this country have to take the train, which could be a solid hour each way–as long as there are no delays.  All of you who have to commute via the train must be cracking up at my so-called misfortune of my fifteen-minute drive to work.

First world problems are entirely based on perspective.  What is a total nightmare to me, could be a wonderful opportunity for you.  Maybe a longer commute to work could mean more time to listen to your audio book. Maybe your phone charger not working could yield an opportunity to catch up with your friend face-to-face.  Maybe the fact that it’s raining when you’re about to fill up your gas tank could remind you not to run your car to the ground.

All in all, I’m thankful for my job.  I’m thankful for my husband.  I’m thankful for my family.  I’m thankful for all the things that aren’t perfect, but have made my life better.

What things in your life have you taken for granted lately?  Take some time to thank God for all the blessings He has given you.  It says in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift is from above.  To us, our circumstances may not be perfect, but in God’s perfect plan, He has you exactly where you need to be.  And He will provide what you need, when you need it.  Through every circumstance, you can find contentment in Him.

Life as a college graduate for me was such a struggle at first.  My first twenty-something years of life had been preparing me for this moment, and yet I still had no clue what I was doing.  If I could go back three years and tell myself one thing, it would be this: it gets better.  Life takes some time to figure out, and while I can’t say I’ve completely mastered it, it seems to make a little more sense now.  I pray if you are in a transitional period of your life, you would be encouraged by the process.  You’ll get through this, and you’ll become stronger through the trials and confusions that life throws at you.  God has a plan for you, and you have plenty of time and plenty of grace to navigate through it!

Throwback Thursday

#ThrowbackThursday to My Trip to Spain

This past week, we had Vacation Bible School at our church.  On my Facebook memories, I found out that I posted an article about Vacation Bible School, Escuela Biblica de Verano, when I went to Spain four years ago.  It was a beautiful eye-opener to see how God has taken my life and brought me on this interesting detour.

You see, I started this blog with a five-year plan.  My plan was to get my TESOL certification, go to South Korea for two years and teach English (to pay off my loans), get my Masters in Intercultural Studies/TESOL, meet my husband in seminary, get married, and go back to Spain!  It’s almost been five years since I made this plan, and let me tell you: I’m nowhere near where I would have been today if God had not thrown me a curveball.

It all started with a text message.  On a Sunday.

I came home from a meeting at church to find a text message on my cell phone from my Bible study leader.  She said that the church was looking to hire an Administrative Assistant that basically fit everything I did in college (working with Publisher, editing, writing, answering phone calls, and basically being nice to people).  I told the staff up front that I wanted to go to South Korea, but I would come in for an interview.

Little did I know that accepting that job would literally change the course of my life.

I got hired in December, then met my husband in February.  Do you know how I met him?  I wrote about our college-age Bible study in the church’s bulletin.  His aunt read about our upcoming meeting and told him to check it out.  Then I answered the phone when his mother just happened to be calling about the Bible study.  I probably would have stayed home that day, because I was so tired, if I hadn’t gotten the call that someone new would be coming to the group.  My would-be husband fell in love with me instantly (graciously accepts all applause with a humble curtsy) and continued to come to Bible study because he wanted to meet me, and he eventually made friends with the other attendees of the group as well.

I want to point out that while marrying my husband was one of the best blessings I’ve gotten from God, this is not the only blessing that came out of being in the United States as opposed to overseas.  You see, my husband was going to church and had been a believer for most of his life, but he wasn’t taking his faith seriously.  God used me and the other people at the Bible study to encourage him to get more into the Word.  Now, he’s doing the same for others at the same Bible study.

In addition to the growth I’ve seen in my husband, I’ve seen so many blessings come out of working at a church.  The way I met my husband gives you an idea of how something as simple as answering the phone or printing out the church bulletin could alter my life in some way.  I’ve seen a pamphlet that I’ve printed, data that I entered in our database, and even speaking nicely to someone who comes into the office, make a difference in others’ lives.  I also see a change in my own life, as I’ve learned to love others more fully and to forgive and be forgiven by those with whom I thought I had burned bridges.

As much as I want to be in Spain, ministering to the family I met that is so close to trusting in Jesus, I have a ministry field here.  God loves the people in Spain much more than I do, and He has a plan to speak to them in a way that only He can.  As a matter of fact, my friend from Spain is working on becoming a missionary in her own country.   Instead of God sending me over there to do the work, He is leading me to encourage her and my other Spanish friends to be His instrument in their native land.

God is growing me and shaping me into the woman He wants me to be, but ultimately, it is for His glory.  He has a plan for this world, and as much as I think I know what’s best for me, God knows a plan even better than that.  I’m not on my schedule at all, but I’m right on time when I follow God’s will for my life.

I say this all not to build me up (as much as I need to hear this encouragement sometimes!).  I say this to hopefully encourage you to trust God’s plan for your life.  You may be single and wonder when God is going to bring that special someone.  You may be in a dead-end job and you’re looking for a way to your dream career.  You may be scrolling through social media and you see people doing exactly what you want to do.  You may be a missionary in one country, but your heart is in another.  You may have a five-year plan and God is throwing you a curveball.

At the restroom at Trader Joe’s (of all places!), I saw a sign that had the words that captured my heart: “Life takes us to unexpected places, but love takes us home.”  God knows what is best for us, and what is best for His creation.  We may only see what is right in front of us, but God can see an aerial view of everything in the universe, throughout all time.  He is concerned with growing our character more than making us feel good.  God has brought me home by surrounding me with love, encouragement, and accountability.  Who knows what life would’ve given me?  All I know is that my life is now in God’s hands.