I was raised as an Adventist Christian, spent some time in public, Baptist, and Adventist schools as well as a missionary in Peru. I think my journey with God started when I was pretty young, but I definitely had some challenges and obstacles I had to overcome as well as a period of stagnation when I wondered if it was worth it. I found Jesus the most in my life when I was a missionary.
Friends, if you are reading my blog then you've been a faithful subscriber and reader and thank you so much!! I am switching websites to something a little more contemporary and while I will try to write on here on occasion, I would love it if you would visit my new site.
https://www.beautiful-journey.com/ Please check it out and I hope you are blessed =)
Satan doesn't need us to give up all of our convictions, to stand on a stage and declare atheism, to murder someone, or become an addict-- in order to prove we are his.
Satan rejoices when we manipulate a little bite of sexy, share a little drink of alcohol, compromise on His Sabbath day, or tell a little white lie. Because we step in His territory, we give sin a try and we feel the shame.
Often that bite is enough to subdue us- for us to know evil, our fleshly selves, desire gratification and more. It's a trap that leads us further down the road to depression, and guilt, and isolation. It's the little things that numb the pain of sin- that make us "used to" the deeds of the flesh and the way of darkness.
It always starts small-- just a bite.
If we look back to Genesis- creation's story- and our beginning- we see the fall of mankind. It can literally be found in one chapter- one small act- one bite from a tree.
Eve was given an instruction and she failed to obey. Although it may have been just an apple-- just a blueberry-- or just a round peach..
Her choice- big or small- cursed mankind forever.
It introduced guilt and shame. Adam and Eve could no longer be naked, and tragically paragraphs later, the first murder- from Eve's own child- Cain happened. Humanity went from perfect and beautiful to cursed under the reign of Satan in just a bite.
How could it go from so pure to so evil so quickly?
And yet sometimes even as I look at myself, or the friends I've grown up with.. I have to wonder something similar.
How are we losing so many people to the church?
How are so many people falling away to sin?
How is it so easy for myself- to give away principles I have grown up with, to trade in a treasure for a "bite of sin"?
So many dear friends, with amazing families, have given up on their promise to wait until marriage to have sex, or to not get drunk, or to keep the Sabbath day holy. They have maybe married unbelievers, or began watching R rated movies.. and all of a sudden, they're working any day of the week and don't look any different than any other unbeliever in the world?
And if I sound harsh and critical, trust me, I'm currently judging myself too. Asking forgiveness, for the times I compromise on the little things, because they can bring us down so quickly. It's the little things that change us.. they make up who we are.
Maybe denying God often isn't a big moment where we say "No I reject Him" but maybe it happens in the little decisions we make that slip us up. The small things we were called to be faithful in, that we let go of. We take that little bite- and soon we've fallen captive to Satan's traps- we're now eating his appetizers at his favorite restaurant.
Friends, Satan is cunning and he is prowling like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 teaches us so, and I've also seen his power and pull in my life and in the lives of my friends.
But we can stand strong, if we choose to put on the armor of God. We have to equip in the daily battle so that we can overcome Satan in the big things.
Stand firm then, with the belt of TRUTH fastened around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace... (Ephesians 6:14).
They say the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions and I don't know about you but it scares me. It scares me in Matthew where people say "Hey Jesus I know you-- and he says wait who are you. Depart from me you can't enter into my kingdom." And maybe sometimes that's because little by little we've made decisions that take us down a different path.. a path not so straight and narrow.
I don't know about you- but I think Jesus has been convicting me that I need to be more faithful in the little things.
What little things can we do differently in order to glorify Him and show Jesus that we are followers of Him?
Though this may hurt like hell, your blessing is better then life itself so I will cling to your promises."
When is the last time you told God that you would go through whatever it takes- to rise with Him on the other side? That nothing on this earth- pain or darkness or fear- could separate your from the relationship you have.
Meet Jacob. And meet the God who writes beautiful stories- using even the hard things in life and our falling-outs to demonstrate His glory and faithfulness.
Born of Rebecca and Isaac- parents who were brought together under God's provision and providence- Jacob was the slightly younger twin of Esau. It is thought that Jacob was a quieter, momma's boy and Esau was a woodsy- hunter who Isaac adored.
Unfortunately this Christian family suffered from some major chaos, disruption, and brokenness when Jacob tricked Esau into giving him his birth right for a cup of soup and later deceived his very own father by stealing Esau's blessing. This literally split the family in two- and Esau was angry ready to kill Jacob- so Jacob ran away.
Jacob is now threatened for his very life by his brother. He has broken himself off from his family. He knows God and yet knows He has messed up yet God doesn't leave Him there a fugitive and promises to protect Him and bless Him. God leads him to a women in Paddan Aram- who he is forced to work 7 years for- and then another 7 for Rachel. It seems Rachel and Jacob are madly in love. Jacob continues to work for Rachel and Leah's father Laban for a while, and start a family, before Jacob gathers his possessions (as well as many spotted lambs) and leaves the country.
Jacob knows that He has promised Him great blessings, land, and family if he goes back to his own country. Yet He knows that he has baggage he needs to figure out. He knows that he will encounter Esau on his journey and he is terrified.
Jacob may have been walking with God, and doing the right things for a while now, many years have passed. But that doesn't take away the shame, guilt, and fear Jacob feels. He still remembers the day he deceived his family out of selfishness. Longing for God, he is deeply afraid and feels darkness all around him.
When He meets an angel in the most likely way...
While Jacob spent night in his camp alone battling the voices and lies in his head, a strange man approached him and began to fight. They wrestled til day break- so probably all night long- many hours through exhaustion and pain. And then the man touched the socket of his hip wrenching his hip bone and said "Let me go now since it's daybreak." Yet because the man had revealed divine power Jacob replied in faith "I will not let you go until you bless me." Jacob wasn't afraid anymore for he had been fighting his demons, and fears, and darkness all night long. But He hadn't been doing it alone. He'd been fighting his own battles and fighting with an angel. And He had the faith to say..
faith to say..
I won't give up now.
You've brought me this far. You've changed my life- God. You've done miracles and revealed to me who you are. So even though you've crushed my hip, I'm not letting go of you.
And Jacob is deeply rewarded for his faith for He knows God. And He is given a new name Israel and blessed. It turns out that God goes with Jacob to help heal his family and Jacob gets to watch his kids grow up raised with the promises of land and prosperity and blessing.
-- But friends Jacob isn't just a man who knew God in the good times- Jacob is someone who knew God in the war zones, in the darkness, in the hard times--
What does it mean for you and me that Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and overcame? That God rewarded Jacob's struggle and perseverence and how do we cling to God when life gets hard for us?
Look around you, at Christians after college, and you will see many compromising, many falling away from the church. And I have to question if it's because we were never taught how to wrestle. How to wrestle in those hard moments, how to stand in the face of pain or darkness, how to be conquerors not just victims.
Do we believe that whatever the enemy is tricking us with- what the enemy means for evil- God can turn into good?
Do we know how to fight our battles by claiming God's promises?
Do we grab hold of Christ even in the midst of the wrestling match?
Friends, I want to know how to wrestle with God and not lose Him. I want to learn how to live uncompromising in a world that tempts me to give up on the principles of my faith and God's holiness.
The past month it seems I've really been struggling with my attitude towards life and even God. I've found myself caught in cycles of negative thinking or depressive thoughts. Too many moments I've spent dwelling on some of the unexpected challenges of being a night nurse. I've depressed myself with dreading my job, and even began to question my life's purpose, and where the meaning lies. I found myself questioning:
Why do I not feel joy Lord?
Don't you promise joy and love in your callings?
I want to share something He's been teaching me from the book "Steps to Christ." It's a parable about a girl in the garden. And I think far too often- this happens to us as God's children- in that we lose focus of God's plan and blessings.
One day a girl went to the most beautiful garden- where there were many flowers: daisies, lilies, and roses, many vegetables: tomatoes, zuchinni, and peppers. She was enjoying the view, singing and dancing, in the beauty when she got distracted by a sole rose in a bush of thorns. Something in her began to gravitate towards the rose bush. She didn't like that bush one bit.
She looked at it up and down and tried to grab the lonely red rose in the middle. But reaching up for the rose, she cut her arm on the thorns. She yelled out in pain, cursing the garden. Trying again, she cut her finger and finally grabbing the rose itself- she found the rose to be dead.
The girl was full of anguish, pain, and frustration. She suddenly hated the garden and could only see thorns everywhere. Crying out for help, the gardener came to her side.
Bandaging her hand, he quietly reprimanded her "Let the thorns alone, for they will only wound you. Gather the roses, the lilies, and the pinks."
"Are not God's promises, like the fragrant flowers, growing beside your path on every hand? Will you not let their beauty and sweetness fill your heart with joy?"
Friends, we all go through things, we all go through struggles, but our attitudes will make the difference in the outcome day after day. Our thoughts, attitudes, and relationships with Jesus will affect our choices and choose our outcomes day after day.
And Satan wants to make us bitter. Satan wants to make us lose heart, friends, For He loves the idea of taking away our hope, taking away our joy, taking away our peace. But God says, look at the flowers- look at my blessings. Thank me. Praise me. Because I can give you joy that no one and no situation can take away. I love you and I want you to focus on that love.
Life update: I've officially finished my BSN. I am now a Pediatric nurse with 6 months of experience. And I now have my Bachelors degree in nursing (which I am quite- through the roof excited to be done)! Good vibes and feelings in the air.
Friends, I want to share with you why I've been writing a little bit less on here. My apologies!! It's because I've been working on two new blogs: one on health and wellness and a little bit nicer of a spiritual blog/portfolio. Here is the link https://www.beautiful-journey.com/
My friend and I are also working on starting up a health blog so I will be sending that link to you soon as well. I am really trying to focus more energy into yoga, health, wellness and hoping to become a wellness coach.
Anyways, lately life has been busy finishing up classes and working. Night shift is literally kicking my butt. To be totally honest with you, I never imagined nursing would be so hard. I am praying for the day when I can switch to days ;) Pray with me please. But here is my testimony about nursing/ life update. It is hard, but God is good.
My Nursing testimony - YouTube
I will write more on here soon! I definitely miss it; and thank you so much for reading! Here is a song I want to share with you that has really been blessing me lately! On days when I feel like I'm not enough or not strong enough, this song reminds me what Jesus thinks of me!
Lauren Daigle - You Say (Official Music Video) - YouTube
One of the times in the Bible I see Jesus experiencing the agony of being alone is in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus was being faced with His darkest storms. Satan was throwing at Him the worst demons, lies, and temptations. Darkness surrounded Jesus and he had to be full of fear knowing how he must die a painful death on the cross- taking a risk that humanity might reject him totally.
He was with three of his best friends and yet he felt totally alone. He said to his closest disciples "Sit here while I go and pray over there, for my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with me."
Falling on His face in despair and pain and loneliness and agony.. he pleaded to God to provide another way less painful. To provide an alternative method of salvation. To provide a comforter or a friend in this dark time..
Yearning for support, for help, for guidance, for love- he looked over to his best friends- only to find them sleeping. In the time he needed them most.. they were sleeping. In the time He needed God's spirit most, God had to watch his son suffer alone.
Alone, loneliness. Jesus went there to the depths of this feeling and this place. He went there to show us that we could go there too and that we could overcome it like He did. I think He went there to show us that people on this earth are always going to let us down. There are going to be times where even our closest friends don't seem to understand that pain we are going through or see us.
And yet it's comforting to know that we never have to experience the exact loneliness Jesus felt- of having to be pulled away from His loving heavenly Father.
I think the more we dwell close to the heart of God- the more we will no longer have to face the enemy's spell of loneliness. I don't believe God created us to have loneliness- He created us to dwell in relationships.
And when we are lonely, I believe it demonstrates a lack, that there's something missing in our lives. The heart of God is so relationally based that the trinity is made up of three not one. God has designed our hearts with a longing for belonging, with a desire to fellowship, with a desire to know others and to love them.
And I can only imagine what heaven will be when this love is truly fulfilled as we all choose to be one.
Until heaven, I believe we can overcome loneliness by drawing nearer to God's character of inclusiveness, love, and harmony while choosing to follow Jesus' footsteps and learn to serve others- everyone around us.
There is a secret path that leads to the most incredible destiny imaginable, and the way we find true joy on this earth is by getting to know our Creator.
Every human being finds himself or herself lost on this landscape of reality-- and eventually will come to realize that this life must mean something more than this. This emptiness, this brokenness, this addiction, this failed relationship, this sick child-- this ever present ache and yearning for more.
We were made for so much more than this earth. We were made for a living love-relationship with our Maker. We were made to receive all of our peace, all of our love, and all of our satisfaction from Him. The problem is quite often we've traded the joy and plans God has for us- for counterfeit idols.
As Isaiah 59:2 says "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear."
Jeremiah 2:13 says "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and they have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."
So friends, we have to choose whether or not daily we will journey towards the heart of God.
What is the heart of God? What does it mean to transform our thinking according to His? What does it mean to get to know a Savior that understands the depths of our hearts?
Journey with me as we get to know who God is- on a more relational level- to understand what His character is about and what His higher purpose is for us.
Sometimes we have to go back to basics-- where we remember to meet God as a friend and Savior, to confess our sins as someone who has fallen so short of being holy, and to let the Holy Spirit change the thoughts in our minds..
*following steps and teachings of Truth Link Bible studies
One thing I've been super convicted of lately is that Jesus commands me to love everyone. And that may not seem super surprising to you.. but the everyone part just throws me off a bit.
Because here's my thing, can you really love someone so much at a distance? Does Jesus stay distant from us? Or does He run to us, embrace, us and love us by spending His presence with us?
My point being, if we really have to love everyone, that means Jesus calls us to be friends with everyone. To be kind to everyone, to spend time with people, to always lend a hand to the broken. And again, that seems basic knowledge..
Until I met her. Until I met the girl who drives me crazy, who annoys me so much. Until I met the girl that has to look like Barbie and be so vain. Until I met her the girl who makes me feel like crap- the girl who steals away my confidence.
Jesus do I have to love her? Do I really have to love her?
Because it's hard and it's uncomfortable and it's awkward. It's frustrating, it's difficult, it would be much easier to let go.
And yet if we truly want to be like Jesus, we have to love like Him. I know that Jesus doesn't just command us to love cute people, to love nice people, to love people who love us back.
I know that the Jesus I know loved me when I was so unlovable. When I was difficult to please, when I was selfish, when I was a brat- He loved me.
And as Jesus loves me, so I must love.
And I know that Jesus loves her.
I know that Jesus loves the girl who dresses up too much and takes too many pictures. I know Jesus is crazy about the girl who is constantly sleeping with guys. I know that Jesus dances over the girl who doesn't seem to shut up to me.
And I know that if I could see her through the eyes of Jesus, I know I could love her too.
So I have to stop blaming this girl, I have to stop putting the blame on her-- as for the reason I don't love her. I have to stop naming excuses.
Instead I have to take my eyes off of her, off of myself, and I have to look up to the heavens. I have to get to know Jesus again.
Because if I really knew Jesus, I wouldn't be judging her the way I was. So I have to re-meet Jesus, re-visit His kindness and His grace... and then when I see Jesus again, I have to pray to Him.
Jesus change my heart. Jesus change my heart again. Teach me to love like you. Teach me even how to love her.
"Beloved let us love one another because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" 1 John 4:7,8
"I don't like it" I told my mom for the millionth time after completing my 12 hour shift for the night. "I hate it." "I actually hate it." I told her. And she assured me, your just tired. You need to sleep. You like the kids. You like your co workers. You like helping people.. It will get better.
(great mom ;)
I am so blessed to have a stable job. I take care of kids that I love. I help kids feel better. I get to comfort families in stressful situations. I help them get through some of the hardest part of their life. I have the opportunity to be an example of Jesus' love to each and every sick person-----
BUT that doesn't change the fact that I DON'T LIKE IT. I don't like being at work. I don't like working night shifts. And I think THAT'S OK... It's really hard sometimes. I don't want to do this for the rest of my life. But for right now I'm learning it's gonna be ok.
I never thought that I would be able to handle being a night nurse. And I say that for so many reasons. I never thought I would make it as a nurse- past the iv's, and pain, and suffering, and disgusting hospital rooms. And I never in my wildest dreams imagined working nights when the rest of the world is sleeping- having to stay up late, and readjust my sleeping schedule- and be sleep deprived and use caffeine. I am an extremely sleep sensitive individual.
I find it challenging because night shifts make me an emotional mess- I feel like a high school girl on hormones with extreme up and downs-
Sometimes I question my faith more. I struggle with being impulsive. I feel emotions that just seem one hundred times amplified.
But the thing I've found so far- I've made it through almost 6 months of nursing- and four months of night shift on my own-- is that God's light shines so much brighter in the dark. That with God I (and you) can do anything and that we don't have to be afraid of the dark.
We don't have to be afraid of night shift, or uncomfortable jobs, or even jobs we don't like.
Because when we surrender to Him, He will bless, in each and every condition.
And sometimes my prayers, at night, just become a little more desperate. "Lord help me to not fall asleep on my shift. Help me to be able to sleep right now. Help me to not kill my child because I can't focus. Help me to find joy in this when I am so angry right now. God give me patience.."
But normally at some point in the night God gives me an opportunity to read a devotional, or study the Bible, or even go to the bathroom-- and it always just makes me want to praise God. He always gives me hope- enough hope to continue through the night.
And then when I survive like 3 night nursing shifts in a row- I can just sing or dance with joy- hallelujah I don't have to do that for another 4 days!
... So I don't know if your like me, and have the natural tendency to run away from things we don't like, or that feel uncomfortable.
But if you do, remember that even those things you don't like- God can still bless. That even when you don't like it, God can still use you. God can still teach you. God can sometimes change our hearts more when we put ourselves in tough positions that make us trust Him.
And maybe someday we'll grow to like it, maybe. But maybe we won't ever.. and that's ok.. because life's not just about what we like. It's about God, His love, His grace, and His work in us and others =)
And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
How much do I want to find God- and to draw close to my Savior?
Do I want him more than adrenaline, more than any boyfriend, more than an amazing job, more than jet skiing across the island, or traveling the world?
What does it mean to search for God with all your heart?
In the parable of Matthew 13:44 a man found treasure in a field he didn't own. So he sold all that he had so that he could buy the field containing the treasure. Pretty smart right.
But I have to wonder, what if he found that treasure, but what if he liked his life- his toys- the things he had. And what if instead of buying the field he decided to just go over to the field to visit and like peak at it sometimes. Not to buy it, but to look at it, to keep it a secret, to hope it would stay waiting for him another day. What if he didn't buy that field?
What if like the rich young ruler, in Matthew 19:16-30, we didn't think Jesus- and knowing God the ultimate treasure- enough to be worth giving everything .What if we turned away because we wanted something else.
Friends, there are so many idols. There are so many temptations calling for our attention, and our envy, and our hearts. The Devil is prowling like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us, seeking to destroy us by turning our hearts to selfishness.
Father, how often I betray you. And I create idols in the form of dreams or things I view as important. Forgetting that you are the only thing that is worth living for. Help me to know that you alone are the only treasure worth pursuing. Teach me what it means to love you with my whole heart. To search for your approval, and your love, and my worth from you and you alone. That's what I want Lord Jesus- to be yours.
Teach me what it means to seek you, to run after you. To chase after you like the treasure that you are; the Savior that you are. Give me the will to want more and more of you- and less and less of anything this world has to offer.