Friday, May 31, 2013

giving an unknown future to a faithful God

***Before I begin this post, be sure to head on over to Blogs by Christian women today to see my guest post that is feautured! Click HERE to check out my post! :). And be sure to let me know what you think once you guys see it! Thanks to the wonderful women of CW bloggers for featuring me today!***

I find it ironic (or maybe just a God thing) that many of the posts I have seen on here lately have to do with letting go and giving God full control. This is primarily what this little lady has been experiencing a lot of herself lately! It is encouraging to read your guys posts and know that I am not alone in this. It is downright scary giving God full control to our lives. We don't know what is next, and we don't know what He is going to put us through. But, we know only good things are ahead. No matter what trials we are put through, we know that God is working for our GOOD.

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Romans 8:28

What am I doing this summer? What will teaching be like next year? What if I am horrible at it? Will I enjoy my living situation this summer and next year? These are just some of the questions that are running through my mind at the moment. I hear God in the background of my mind whispering: "Let my spirit control your mind, in me and me alone you will have peace. In me you will find freedom not knowing all of the answers to your questions."

"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace."
1 Corinthians 14:33

Confused? Scared? Anxious? None of those thoughts are from God, friend. I am telling you this truth, yet I so often allow myself to experience these negative thinking patterns that are not of God. When we are in God's will, we will have peace. We don't need to be anxious or afraid of what is next, because we trust that God will keep us safe no matter what.

So God, I'm sorry for trying to always figure EVERYTHING out. You know I am a major ginormous control freak, and I like to have an exact plan for everything. It couldn't be more clear that you are doing everything you can to wean me off of my desire to be in control of every little thing in my life.

What do you guys struggle with in giving God full control of your life? Does it scare you that you don't know what is next? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! :).

All I can pray for today is that the Lord would teach me to trust Him more, and teach me to stop trying to figure EVERYTHING out with my life. Please Lord, help me to rest assured that you have a plan for my life that is far better than anything I can imagine. I love that life with you is an adventure God, but sometimes I get scared of what is next. Help me to not be fearful today.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

a new commitment: praying in big ways only

First of all, how y'all diggin the new blog layout? *holler!* okay, it's obvious I am pretty excited about it. I was going through a stage of "bloggers block," and I realized is was mainly due to my desire to redesign my blog theme. It's crazy how once we enjoy the way our blogs look it inspires us that much more to write! (or is that just me?!) I don't know. I just know that when your really passionate about blogging like I am and many of you are, I want my page to look DANG good. You know what I'm sayin?!

I can't believe how good God is, guys! I am honestly so overwhelmed with His faithfulness, and how much He truly loves the each of us. I have never experienced such an intimate personal experience with God as a did a few days ago when He answered my prayer to find a roommate. All of my hope was gone, and I was beginning to think that God had forgotten me. But no, at the last minute, God answered my prayer. He heard my cry.

"But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer.
Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
or withdraw His unfailing love from me."
Psalm 66:19-20

 It got me to thinking, just how much POWER we have through prayer as followers of Christ.

No I'm not talking become an evil super hero and take over the world type of power, I'm talking power that comes straight from Jesus and Jesus alone.  This power through prayer that we have as followers of Jesus allows for God to intercede into our lives, in BIG ways. It allows for Him to do the IMPOSSIBLE in our lives, that we could never do on own.  It allows for God to show us just how powerful, almighty, and extremely real He is.

I used to doubt prayer, and I honestly thought it was straight up weird. "Ha, praying to Jesus? He isn't listening! He's at church, not anywhere near us! Your just talking to yourself out loud, God can't hear you!" Yes, I sadly would say things like that. It's because I didn't really know Jesus at all, let alone that He desired to have a relationship with me. Now that I KNOW Him and am beginning to understand just how really extremely faithful this God of the Universe is, my prayer life is beginning to change tremendously.

I want to commit to praying BIG from here on out in my life. I want to pray every day in a way that allows God to do the impossible in my life. I'm tired of praying the weak prayers, the ones where I doubt God's power and sovereignty over my life and give Him no room to work in my life miraculously. I want to be in awe of How God responds to my BIG prayers, all the time. It's time that I commit to praying in a way that recognizes God for who He REALLY is- all powerful, ever knowing, omnipotent, awesome, etc...

What is your guys prayer life like? What do you guys find the hardest thing about praying to God and giving Him the power to work in BIG ways through your life? I'd love to hear! I'm all ears, friends! :).

Ps- if you guys could be praying that my roommate and I find a place to live that is in God's will, that would be wonderful! Also, I could use some prayers that God would help me find a summer job that's in His will for me!

Love you all!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

stripped of my pride

Hey friends! I don't know about y'all, but this little lady has been going through one heck of a lot lately. Not to sound all "pity me" like, but life has just been plain stressful. I have had to wait on God's timing for major life choices, such as where I am living next year, and what I will be doing. Talk about CHAOTIC. As stressful as it has been, I have felt the Lord's guidance through the entire period. Despite the hundreds of times that I have doubted God to rescue me in my times of trouble, He has remained faithful. I am so undeserving of His grace, yet He loves me the same. I am so thankful to have this blog as an outlet, to look back on all the times with my experiences with God and how He has carried me through it.

These past few months of have been a period where God completely stripped me of my pride. Every last bit of it. There was no longer any room for me to say "God I got this whole life thing down I'll holler at yah when I need ya!" He has revealed to me my complete and utter need to depend on Him and on Him alone. He has revealed to me how completely selfish I am. He has revealed to me how negative my thoughts can easily become. He has revealed to me that without Him, I can literally do nothing. Yet, He hasn't given up on me. He has continued to renew me every day, despite the many areas of my life that need complete renewal.

In exchange of my pride for humility, God has given me so much more joy. I find so much more joy in my life knowing that it is in His hands and He is in control of who comes in and out of it and what happens to me. I find so much more peace in living for Him than I did in living for myself.

....Yet, I still often desire to go back to my prideful ways, there is still a part of me that wants to handle it all on my own, without God.

"Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

As soon as God answers a specific prayer in my life, it is crazy to see how easily it is for me to instantly go back into my prideful way of thinking. Yes I think it is important to be continuously joyful about what God blesses us with, but thankfulness and pridefulness are two completely different things, as I am learning so much about lately from God. For me to think, that "yes Jessica, you DESERVE this." No I don't deserve any of it, but God chooses to bless me despite if I deserve anything or not. He is my provider. He is my comforter. I am weak, but He is strong. Do you guys struggle with similar things such as this? Has pride ever been an issue in your walks with Christ? I'd love to hear! :). I think as Christians, its something we must always watch out for {to not become prideful}.

So friends, keep boasting in Christ, because the second you boast of anything but Him, your prideful ways have a way of creeping right back into your life.

I love you all! I hope you have a beautiful day. Thank you for all of the encouragement that you provide me with, friends! xo

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

answered prayer: even when I'm faithless He's faithful

Here is a couple of pictures from my weekend to begin my post today, I had some fun animal encounters! :) {moo + meow= <3}

Guys, I cannot believe it. I am so excited to share with you on today’s post that I have finally found my roommate for this summer and next year. God couldn’t have answered my prayer more specifically and more wonderfully. She is an awesome, lover of God kind of lady! I am SO thankful. I am seriously in awe of how God truly answers our prayers, to the T!

Before I begin my post, can I just give a ginormous thank you to everyone who commented on my post on Saturday night and was praying for me? Seriously, you guys are the best! You have no idea how much I appreciated those prayers. I instantly felt better once I started receiving all of those lovely comments from you guys, so thank you!

Anyways, The last time you guys heard from me was Saturday night. Saturday night was downright rough. I wrote that post in the midst of tears, completely overwhelmed and confused with God’s direction in my life. I had no answer from Him toward my living situation for the summer and next year, yet I knew He didn’t want me to move because I had been accepted into graduate school {another answer to my prayers awhile back}.

Saturday night was my breaking point. I knew in my heart an answer from God was right around the corner, but I was beginning to seriously doubt God. “If God really wanted to bless me with the roommate that I have been praying for, wouldn’t He have done it by now?” “Has God forgotten me?” These were some of the questions that were running through my head. Deep down, I knew none of these questions were the truth, but Saturday night was the point in waiting for God to answer my prayer where I was at my weakest, The enemy was getting at me when he knew I would be an easy hit.

I began to fight back against the enemy’s lies with scripture, more specifically one of my most favorite verses in Jeremiah:

For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Looking back on that night now, it makes sense that it was my weakest point, because the answer to my prayer was revealed to me the NEXT day. That’s how it usually goes in my tests of faith: when an answer to my prayer is right around the corner; I tend to be at my breaking point.

Anyways, the next morning I woke up super late, almost not even making it to church. My friend texted me at 10:00 am and told me she was buying me coffee, so that motivated me to wake up and quickly get ready. It had been a rough night the night before, and I was truly exhausted. God was directing me to go to church that morning as He always does, but it seemed that morning He was doing everything He could to make sure that I was for sure there at the service that morning.

After church was over, I was standing out front of the building with my friend. I looked over and saw a girl named Ashley from Young Life, who I had heard been looking for a roommate. As awesome of a roommate I knew she would be, I doubted to myself that she was still looking for a roommate. It was already so late in the year, and I was beginning to believe that I was the only person left in this town who still didn't know where she was living the next year. I was so tired of trying to control the situation myself; I had finally come to a point where I was done asking around. God at this point had already closed the door on three different living situation possibilities for me, and I was seriously losing hope.  I had done all that I could from a human aspect, through my constant prayer and letting literally everyone know that I was looking for a roommate. The rest was up to God and God alone. I figured that whomever God wanted me to live with, He would make sure to happen. I continued to talk with my friend. Then, out of nowhere, Ashley appeared in front of me and said: “Hey Jessica! So, I don’t know who I am living with next year, and Julia {one of my close friends} told me you were looking for a roommate. Do you want to live together?”

Your probably wondering how I reacted once Ashley asked me this question. After responding to her with a excited “YES!,” I surprisingly was pretty calm in my reaction, but on the inside I was mind-blown. I’m still mind blown thinking about it, let alone writing this post to you guys. Really God, you love me enough to bless me tremendously despite my continuous doubt in your goodness? I couldn’t believe it. The perfect roommate for me, placed into my hands? This whole time all I had to do was be still and let God do His thing?


“Be Still, and Know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10

Friends, even when I’m faithless, He is faithful.
That was truly the hardest trial I have been put through yet in living for Jesus. I doubted God and wavered in my faith A LOT. I had to remind myself the past times of how He had been faithful to me to get me through every day of my trial. I am so happy that I can now look back on how God was faithful to me during this trial, to encourage me in the future when I am tested again.

There were many moments where I could have stepped in through my trial of faith, and figured out the whole roommate thing for myself. But I didn’t want to plan it on my own this time; I wanted God to do it for me because I knew I would be the happiest wherever He placed me. His will for me gives me passion and PURPOSE. Giving Jesus TOTAL control to my life has not been easy, but boy friends, is it sure worth it! I am filled with joy at how God answered my prayer, and this living situation couldn’t feel more right. God is GOOD.

So friends, the next time God is silent in your lives when you are crying out to Him in prayer, know that it is only because He is waiting to give you your BEST. That beautiful resolution you could have never came up with on your own? Yeah, that is exactly what God wants to give you, if you just wait on His timing. God is never too early, but He is never too late. I didn't realize the truth in those words until Sunday morning. It seemed that God was too late on answering my prayer, but turns out He was right on time.

Just 19 days until this little lady graduates from college! I am so excited! Now, onto finding a summer job, lets do this Jesus!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

doubting God

"Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

I didn't plan on writing this post, but I'm doing it anyway. Wildcard, baby! ;).  I am so sick of letting fear steal my day to day joy right now in my life. I am tired of giving the enemy the opportunity to invade my thoughts, and tell me lies about myself that are not true. Lately, my biggest fear is not knowing where I am going to live this summer or even next year. I have prayed about it so much, and given God complete control, as every other area of my life. Yet God has been silent. I have gone through a lot of tears since all of this started. I've wavered in my faith and doubted God a million times. I just don't understand why God is so silent right now, and I desperately just wish He would give me an answer. It seems that all the Lord is telling me to do right now is just to "wait." This is so hard for me to do, because I want to have a plan, and right now I don't have one. I know the Lord wants me here because I was finally accepted into graduate school, but why does He keep closing one door after the other on living opportunities? I just don't get it, and I wish the Lord would stop being silent. I find myself at random moments throughout the day freaking out because the clock is ticking, and God still hasn't answered my urgent prayer. What exactly are you doing God? I once heard you were a God of last-minute timing, and it seems that this truth about you is being played out in my life right now VERY evidently. Please God, please answer my prayer. I trust you, but I am weak. I hope that God uses this experience to strengthen my heart, and too be less faithless in Him as I have been lately.

Less of me, more of Him.

Friday, May 24, 2013

When God Writes your Love Story: learning to be patient ❤

Good morning y'all! I really wish I was from the South and I had a southern accent, but I don't. So for now I will continue to use the phrase y'all until hopefully one day God moves me to the South and I begin to develop an authentic Southern accent. You all think I'm kidding, but I'm not, y'all. ;).

Today I will venture out into the world of job hunting. I am downright scared, but this little lady needs a summer job. I would it if you guys said some prayers for me today. This morning I have been praying to Jesus to give me confidence to speak to different employers and managers today with boldness, so that they will be more willing to hire me. I am praying that Jesus would bring favor upon me in everyone that I talk with today at different businesses. I'm just nervous because I feel that it has always been so hard for me to get a job in the past. Jesus, be with me, and make my efforts successful. That's all I ask. Also, place me in a job where I can bring the most glory to you Father.

"And may the Lord our God show us His approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful."
Psalm 90:17

Anyways my friends, I'm sad to announce to you guys that this lovely series is soon coming to a close. I normally don't post on my blog on Saturdays and Sundays, so Monday will be the conclusion of the "When God Writes Your Love Story" series for my blog. I am excited to conclude this amazing book with you guys. I am currently investing into more awesome books by this couple to read on the topic of godly relationships for the summer. I may even have a post dedicated to "suggested summer readings," what would you guys think of that?! It's summertime friends, lets get our book grind on while we have more of the opportunity! We can suggest awesome summer reads to each other and encourage one another!

So...The topic today on "When God Writes Your Love Story" is patience. Yep, that one word that nobody wants to deal with. Why is being patient so hard? Why does it make us so frustrated? Well, I'll answer that one for you. It's frustrating because I want to be living out my fairy-tail life with my future husband NOW. If I had it my way, I would already be married right now and in the process of adding a new puppy to our family.

....Since that clearly isn't the reality of my life, Jesus has taught me to be patient. In those times where the last thing in the world I want to do is wait some more, Jesus lets me know quietly in my soul that I'm just going to have to wait a little bit longer. Heck, It could be A LOT longer until this gal meets her future man.

It just gets so frustrating, you know? Sometimes I think that all of the godly men in this world are non-existent. Sometimes I doubt the fact that there really is one godly man out there, made specifically for me. It seems like the only men left out there are sleazeballs and jerk faces. Sometimes, I just let my sinful mind believe that maybe, just maybe, there are no Godly left in this world for me.

"Such a goal {to meet a real godly man} may seem unrealistic in today's world. Actually, is is unrealistic without leaning upon the Author of romance. But with His help, let's reach for something better than what our culture offers. While our society boasts of a warped and twisted perspective on true love, let's trust Him enough to sing a "sweeter song."
-Leslie Ludy "When God Writes Your Love Story"

So friends, while the rest of the world is laughing at you when you tell them that your waiting on God's perfect timing to bring your future Husband into your life, continue to trust in your savior. Seek Him. Trust Him. Allow your relationship with Jesus to reach new heights, reveal to Him everything on your heart, every day. No dream is too big for our God. He is GREATER.

"God laughs at odds. No matter how big the dream, how huge the request, how lofty the hope, or even how statistically impossible the task, He can do it--and infinitely immeasurably more. May God be seen for how great He really is!"
Ephesians 3:20

So friends, the truth revealed to me by Eric and Leslie Ludy last night was that even the times in which meeting our future man seem the most hopeless, he is still out there, waiting to meeting us. He isn't going to be that guy that you have to settle for, or that guy who you just KIND-OF like. He is going to be your prince charming, and God will blow your mind once He brings this man into your life.

The question is,

How long are you willing to wait on God?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

When God writes your love story: Guard your Heart sista ❤

First things first, I'll be completely honest with you guys, this series that I have been doing this week for you guys has inspired me to narrow down my prayer list for my future husband even more.

Here's my list: {Hate to get all gushy mushy on you guys, but sorry I couldn't help myself ;)}
passionate about His relationship with Christ
a heart to serve God {ministry}
loves me deeply as I love him

That's all I have for now. I'll be sure to let ya'll know if anything else gets added to the list ;). One more random thought, I am SUPER excited for Friday to come around because I am going to check out the Canon EOS 60D in person. I just wanted to get a feel for the camera and see what it is like in my actual hands, before I make the big purchase. I am so darn excited to have that precious camera baby in my arms. Yep, you read my words correctly, I just called my future camera my baby.

....ANYWAYS. Let's get back to this weeks series, friends! God is doing big things both through this blog and in my own life through my partaking in writing this blog series. God is teaching me how I can go about loving my future husband more and more every day, and also how I can serve the Lord more through this blog by providing you guys with as much wisdom as I possibly can on being single and waiting on Christ to write your love story.  {Okay, my attempt at sharing wisdom, I guess. I don't like to sound like I-know-more-than-all-of-you, ya know what I mean?!}

Let me begin today's post by sharing with you one of the most famous verses in the Bible, from a little book I like to call Proverbs.

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
Proverbs 4:23

Who doesn't love this verse? We as women especially are devoted to keeping our hearts free from hurt and pain, and we simply desire for our hearts to be happy and full of joy. However, I don't know about y'all, but I have had a bit of a struggle from keeping my heart free from pain and hurt. I often will say to myself: "Oh ya, Proverbs 4:23, guard your heart! I am totally living that verse out in my life! Got it down like a pro, baby!" ...Yet on the inside, I felt pain. My heart has experienced a lot of hurt.

I didn't understand why I felt this pain at first. It wasn't like I was going around throwing myself at different men continuously for physical desires or anything like that. Well, thankfully Jesus provided for me this amazing book by Eric and Leslie Ludy, because Leslie revealed to me just exactly why this heart of mine had experienced so much hurt in the past.

"Maybe you have learned the hard lesson that casually giving yourself away physically causes incredible pain--you feel dirty, guilty, and used afterward. But have you ever thought of your heart as a treasure every bit of valuable as your physical purity? Have you ever felt the pain that comes from casually giving away your heart? From pouring all of yourself into someone, only to have that precious treasure thrown to the ground and trampled on?"
-Leslie Ludy, "When God Writes Your Love Story

A light-bulb went off in my brain upon reading these words by Leslie. It was as if I had known this truth she was revealing to me through her written words the whole time, yet I was beginning to piece together how I unintentionally had been playing it out in my own life. I had not been treating my heart like the treasure it actually was. I was throwing around my heart ever so casually, thinking to myself that as long as I wasn't having sex then I was free from any kind of hurt and pain.

Well friends, reality check for Jessica over here. Turns out that you can get just as hurt emotionally without having sex as you can simply just by having it. It is so easy to overlook how we give our hearts to boys, thinking that casually flirting with them every so often will keep us from getting hurt. Well, let me just tell you from my own personal mistakes of the past, that casual flirting leads to a desire for more attention. More attention leads to a desire for more intimacy. Before we know it, we have already crossed the line emotionally with our hearts and are in danger of crossing it physically as well.

My challenge for myself (and each of you if you would like) is to take a new, much deeper look at Proverbs 4:23. It is time for Jessica to stop overestimating my weakened ability to protect my heart emotionally.  I am committed to guarding this heart and giving God full permission to be the protector of it. It is time to start REALLY guarding my heart, the right way. 

Let's learn to REALLY guard our hearts, so that way when that day comes where we meet our future man, our precious hearts will have be fully capable of loving them wholly and completely, without any lingering pain left inside of us. Let's keep our hearts beautiful and strong, full of God's love, as He always intended for them to be.

Ps- {prayer request emergency} If you guys could be praying for me that I find a place to live this summer and next year that is in God's will, that would be awesome. I could really use a lot of prayer about this, thanks!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

when God writes your love story: new blog series ❤

Hey guys!
I hope you are all having a beautiful day.
I wanted to share with you guys a couple new purchases of mine, that I am REALLY excited about.
Over the weekend on Saturday, I felt the Lord calling me to go buy a new journal here in town to write my thoughts to Him in. If y'all have been keeping up with my previous posts, I mentioned that I wanted to buy a cute new journal so that I would be more motivated to spend quiet time with the Lord.

Well, I went to TJ Maxx and bought the cutest one! What do you guys think?! :) I love the floral print.

This journal has already inspired me so much in my relationship with God. Not only is is super cute, but it just has become very special to me. It even has the phrase "Journal" written on it. Do you guys journal in your relationship with the Lord a lot? Let me tell you friends, Jesus truly wanted me to buy this journal. I can feel my relationship with Him becoming more intimate as I write my heart out to Him in it each and every day.

That same Saturday, a book that I ordered off Amazon about a week ago came in the mail, and I was THRILLED. I literally said "Thank you Jesus!" as I opened the mail box and saw that my book had arrived so soon. (lets be real, Amazon usually takes at least 2 weeks!) The book is called "When God Writes Your Love Story," By Eric and Leslie Ludy. Let me tell you friends, this book is already LIFE-CHANGING.

Yep you read my words correctly, this book is LIFE-CHANGING. I don't throw that phrase around often, friends. This book has already revealed to me several very important truths to me as a single woman of God: First, If I want to be prepared to meet my prince charming, I must fall in love with the one who created my heart first. Second, I can start loving my future husband today, RIGHT now, unconditionally. Your probably thinking: "What the?" But let me tell you friends, by doing this this we are not only preparing ourselves to meet our future prince charmings one day, but we are also guarding our hearts as well. If we as single women really believe that God has hand picked our future husbands out for us and they are out there in this world right now, then we need to start loving them TODAY. How can expect for God to bless us with our future husbands if we are running around dating different boys all the time? We can't. 

But please, don't take that the wrong way. I ain't no miss perfect over here! I have screwed up many times in the past by dating the wrong boys, and I have become emotionally involved with boys that God never intended for me to have anything to do with.  I am to the point where I am just plain tired of getting my heart hurt, and I am ready to start loving my future husband today. I'm ready to give God the permission to be the author of my love story. I trust that the Lord has hand picked out my future man for me, and that he is out there wondering when he will meet his future princess as well. God wants us to prove to Him that we are not only ready to meet our future husbands, but also that we trust Him enough in this area of our lives to give Him full and total control to write our love stories for us.
That being said, I am excited to start with you guys a new blog series this week based on my new book by Eric and Leslie Ludy. I will feature questions, thoughts, and just share with you guys the AMAZING things the Lord is teaching me through giving Him the permission to write my love story. Let's do this, single ladies! I love being single and in a relationship with Christ, but sometimes it can be lonely being single. Sometimes I just desperately wish God could insert my future husband into my life right now. Sometimes, I just want to cry about it (and then I actually do).  I can't wait to live out my real-life fairy tail with my future husband one day.

What are your guys thoughts on meeting your future husband? Do you really believe he is out there right now, waiting to meet you? and to my ladies reading this post who are already taken, I'd love to hear some of your advice to us single ladies on being single and in a relationship with Christ. This post is not just directed toward the single ladies. I would love to hear from the ladies who are taken on some godly wisdom about being single and having the patience to wait on the Lord's and His timing to bring us the godly man He has picked out for us to marry one day!

No friends, it certainly isn't going to be easy giving God the pen to write my love story. I am prepared for many tough times ahead, as God teaches me to be more patient in this area of my life. I am willing though Lord. I am ready to give you permission to write my love story.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I want to love like that

Hello friends!
Happy Monday.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, I know I did! God blessed with some wonderful moments and the opportunity to spend time with some of the people that I love.

First of all, I have exciting news. I have made the decision to purchase the Canon EOS 60D DSLR for my new camera! I am so excited! I will be purchasing the 50mm f/1.8 II lens to go with my new camera. I just wanted to say thanks to the each of you for all of your help in this decision. You guys have provided me with so much wonderful information on discovering which camera is the best fit for me! So thank you to Cassie, Kellie, and everyone else for all of your help. I am so thankful for you guys!

{a random photo I found on the internet of a canon 60D that I thought was pretty. Can't wait to have my own!}

Saturday I had an event for Young Life, and it was so much fun. My heart becomes so happy when I look back on these last couple years and see how far middle school Young Life has come. We have grown as a group in so many ways. Our interactions with our middle school kids have become more intentional, and we have become more committed to creating and designing events that we know the middle-schoolers will look forward to coming too. When I first starting serving Young Life, I wasn't close with hardly any of the leaders. This year, I have been blessed with the opportunity to become close with both my middle school girls AND the leaders who are by my side in this amazing journey. To say the least, Young Life has been one of the biggest blessings in my life and also a ministry that I have become so very passionate about. Thanks Jesus!

Here is a picture from Saturday night, at Young Life club!
{From left: Julia, Jade, me, and Rachel.}

The next day after church, my good friend Talana was in town, so her, Julia, Julia's boyfriend Kevin and I decided to all go out to breakfast together. It was so much fun. We literally talked for two hours straight. We talked about our dreams, goals, and everything else that we were looking forward to coming up in our lives. I am thankful for all of the God-centered friendships that I have been blessed with so much in the past year and a half.

Here is a picture that Kevin took of us gals took after breakfast on Sunday! {From left: Talana, Julia, and me!}

I don't know about y'all but lately I have been feeling major love from the friends I have been making through my blog! I was so happy to hand out the "Liebster" award to some of my favorite bloggers. You guys are such an encouragement to me! I pray that God would only continue to bless me in my blogging community and that He would use me as a vessel for His kingdom through this blog and the friendships that I make!

How was your guys weekend? Do anything fun? Okay, so bear with me for a moment, I have a somewhat-corny yet hopefully encouraging story to share with you guys that happened to me yesterday. Today after I did my laundry, I was using some bleach to get the stain out of my new white pants that I just purchased from Old Navy. {super cute and affordable by the way ;)}

Anyways... as I was blotting out each stain, I was getting really frustrated with how long it was taking me to get out each one. Like dang, these stains were deep. I couldn't help as this was happening to reflect on the way in which Jesus has forgiven me. My sins were many. My hurt was knee-deep, my hope was lost. But God didn't give up on me, and He has continued to work on renewing me every day.

"Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Gosh, God is so good. I have had a few very specific moments in my life that I will never forget, where I was flooded with tears by understanding how much my savior loves me. Who dies for someone? It's just unfathomable. I am overwhelmed with the love my savior gives me on a daily basis, and there is nothing more I desire in my life than living for Him alone.

"Because your steadfast love is better than life itself, my lips will praise you."
Psalm 63:3

That is right friends, I am declaring to you in this post that God's love for me is truly better than life itself. It is better than a fancy car, a coach purse, and a limitless supply of chocolate. Some of that may sound cliche, but it is so true. If I don't have God's love, I have nothing.

"If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:2

God has been so patient with me, and has demonstrated His perfect love for me in so many ways. I am so unworthy of this love He gives me, yet He loves me the same.

I want to love like Jesus did. I want to love others unconditionally and without having a reason. God, help me to love like that.

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Liebster" award to my fav bloggers!

Hello friends! Today’s post is surely an exciting post, and I can’t wait to share it with the each of you. My lovely new blogging friend Lacy was sweet enough to nominate my blog for the "Liebster" award. Before she nominated me, I honestly had never even heard of this award before.

Lacy explained what exactly this award means perfectly so I am sharing with you guys her own words in explaining the Liebster award:
 "The word "Liebster" is German for the word "sweetheart" or "dearest. This originated from a German blogger and I can't remember now when exactly the first one was posted, but it was for up-and-coming bloggers with less than 3,000 followers. Basically it is NOT an award that is given by judges and a panel of experts on the subject of blogging, rather it is an award from blogging peers who consider you worth giving an award to for your blogger personality. It is now for bloggers with less than 200 followers who have potential. The main point and why I am so excited about it, is that it is an award to share love and build community with other bloggers."

The basic procedure of the Liebster award is to do as follows:
  • Thank your nominator! Include a link back to their blog with your appreciation
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you by your nominator
  • Post 11 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 5-11 other up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers for the award--no tag backs!
  • Come up with your own set of 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Let your nominees know you nominated them so they can pass it on
    Well first things first, thank you Lacy for nominating me for this award, you are such a sweetheart! I have loved chatting with you about Jesus and getting to know you better. I love that the whole idea of this award is to encourage the building of a blogging community and to share with others what our favorite blogs are! Lacy and I recently met in the blogging world, and I already have been so blessed by our friendship. Lacy, if only you and I could meet for coffee, our chats about Jesus would probably last for hours! Her love for Jesus is so inspiring in my own faith. Lacy just started this awesome new "daily verse" section in her blog where she posts a different Bible verse each day to share with her followers. It is something I already love and look forward to reading. You can check out those posts by Lacy HERE. I highly recommend you get on over there and check out Lacy's blog, friends!  She is one heck of a Jesus-loving gal!

& now, my responses to the 11 questions Lacy came up with for me:
  1.  Why do you blog?
    Well, at first I wanted to start a healthy eating blog, based off of my weight loss story and all of my success with that. I realized though that I just didn't have enough passion to keep a blog going like that. Jesus was the one who gave me passion and purpose, and I knew that I would be able to write about what He was doing in my life on a daily basis. So I decided to create a blog to (hopefully) lead others closer to Jesus, and to encourage myself in my walk with Him. It's therapeutic writing out in my posts what I'm struggling with and what I'm learning in my walk with my savior.
  2. Is your main job blogging or do you have a "real job"?
    No, blogging isn't my real job unfortunately. Dang, that would be awesome though.  I am currently a senior in college, and I am graduating in 30 days. I was recently accepted into a full ride masters program at my University, so I will be doing that for another two years after I graduate next month. I will be getting my masters degree in English & Communication, and I will also be teaching a class at my University as part of the masters program.
  3. If you could only eat one thing forever it would be______
    I was going to say chocolate, but then I realized I would probably throw up or something with eating chocolate for the rest of my life. Hmmm but then wouldn't I just crave chocolate if I didn't have it at all? Okay never mind, chocolate is my final answer then.
  4. Describe yourself in 6 words.
    silly, clumsy, outgoing, friendly, passionate, and funny.
  5. What is your cure for "bloggers block"?
    Whenever I have "bloggers block" it is usually for two reasons: I am making an idol of my blog and not making Jesus a big enough priority, or I am hungry. The second one isn't a joke I promise. When either of these two things happen, I usually just whip out my Bible and make something to eat, and then when I feel refueled spiritually and physically, I'm good to post on my blog.
  6. What is the best book you have ever read?
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, hands down. I'm a Harry Potter nerd for life, baby! I literally hibernated in my room for two days straight when the last book came out, and I finished the entire book in that two day period because it was THAT good. Gryffindor for life!
  7. Weird question: If you were something in nature ( tree, flower, cloud, star) what would you be and why?
    I would totally be a tree, only because I used to talk to them when I was younger. Yep, I was that awkward child. I have always loved nature, and the beauty of God's hand in it amazes me. If I were a tree, it would be awesome because I would be surrounded by God's beautiful nature-filled world. Unless I were a tree in a boring location. Can I request to be a tree in a forest? thanks. ;).
  8. What is your favorite kind of music and why?
    I would say Country. I love all kinds of music, but I really really really love country. I also love hip-hop/R&B a lot too, but Country makes my heart happy.
  9. What has been your favorite trip to ever take?
    When I was in high school, my grandpa paid for my moms entire family side to go on a cruise to the Caribbean. It was seriously the best vacation I have ever been on in my life. I was super close to my cousins growing up, so it was a trip that I was able to spend with some of my best friends at the time. The Caribbean is absolutely beautiful, and there are very few things that I love more than being on a beach.
  10. Do you have a favorite lifetime memory? What is it?
    When I was younger, I used to go to San Diego all the time because a big portion of my relatives live there. Well, Sea World was right down the street from my grandparents house, and naturally I had a year-long pass to it's park. I am very passionate about whales, dolphins, and just the ocean in general. I remember so much of the joy that I received from those daily trips to sea world, petting the dolphins and checking out Shamu. God's marvelous creation.
  11. If you had one day to do whatever you wanted, money is no object, what would you do? Why?
    Dang, good question Lace! I would say that I would travel to Israel to see where Jesus walked and all the other places He went too in that area. I would also bring security guards with me during this Israel vacation because I know that it is somewhat dangerous over there right now.

    11 Facts about Me:

    1) I am TERRIFIED of Spiders. I will literally cry if I see a big one nearby me. Especially If I'm alone.
    2) When I was in the third grade, my parents moved our family to Spain to live and go to school for 3 months.
    3) Mushrooms make me want to throw up every time I smell them.
    4) I recently received my Italian citizenship to Italy.
    5) I am a big-time animal lover. I love cats, dogs, horses, whales, dolphins, all kinds.
    6) I wanted to be a Marine Biologist most of my life until I turned 15 and found out how much math was required to obtain that kind of degree.
    7) I don't watch scary movies, simply because I can't. I always have nightmares.
    8) I have been a swimmer my whole life. I joined the swim team Freshman year of High school and swam the rest of my high school years.
    9) I love to travel. I have been to Spain, Italy, France, The Caribbean, and London. I hope to travel more someday. (When I'm not a broke college student.)
    10) I love to pain Bible verses and hang them on my bedroom wall.
    11) I have always wished I could dance, but I can't.

    & now, ***DRUMROLL PLEASE*** My nominee's are......

    (& No, this isn't just a random list of bloggers I chose for the Liebster award, I intentionally picked out these wonderful blogs because they have been such an encouragement in my faith. I absolutely love the each of these bloggers and I am so thankful for the encouragement I receive from the each of them):
    1) Kellie @ Nothing Less Than Bread
    2) Miss ALK @Miss ALK
    3) Allison @ A God Fashioned Life
    4) Gennean @Loved, Not Lost
    5) Francesca @ The Happy One
    6) Cassie @ Sage
    7) Abigal @ Abigail Jasmine
    8) Julie @ An Anchor For The Soul
    9) Kiki @ Paint Chip Madness
    10) Brittany @ Happy Is A Choice
    11) Lauren @ Marked by Grace

    11 Questions from Jessica to my lovely nominees:
    1) When did you first start blogging and why did you decide to become a blogger?
    2) What is something awesome Jesus has done in your life lately?
    3) How would you describe yourself in 6 words or less?
    4) What is something you have never done that you have always wanted to do?
    5) If you could go to any concert you wanted for free, which one would you go to and why?
    6) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    7) What is your favorite place to shop at and why?
    8) If you could only eat one specific type of food (Mexican, Chinese, American, etc) for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
    9)If you could hold on to just one memory from your life forever, what would that be?
    10) Which TV show's world would you want to live?
    11) What are three things you look for in a future spouse?

    I cannot wait read your responses to my questions, blogging friends! Thank you so much for the encouragement your blogs provide me on a daily basis! So thankful for the each of you! Jesus is far too wonderful for blessing me with this blogging community!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Child-like Heart: gimme me one of those

Isn’t it crazy how every day following Jesus can be so different? One day, things can be flowing so perfectly, without a hint of doubt in God’s plan for your life, and your like “this following Jesus thing, yeah I got it down!” Then the next day, God is stretching your faith so much and He is suddenly revealing to you selfish parts of your heart that you never even knew existed.

Once God renews some area of my heart, I feel like I just conquered the world. I feel FREE-ER. It's awesome. However, I often put myself on a pedastool after my renewal process and silently tell myself: "I've made it! I've fought the good fight. Jesus, you can go work on somebody else's heart now, because mine is good." 

....and then Jesus is like: "Jessica, I just got started."

and as I'm being convicted of my sin by the holy spirit I'm like:  " bad. I forgot this whole renewal thing was a lifelong process, not a 2-week trial."

Today was just one of those days where I realized how WEAK I am. Without God, I am nothing. Without God, I have no strength, without my savior, I am dead. Every good thing inside of my heart and in my life, comes from Him and Him alone. He is my other half, my Father, my everything.

Yet as I write out all of these words to each of you about my desperate need for Jesus with 100% completely honestly, I continue to fail Him. I continue to deny my sufficient need for Him.  I’m selfish, and I waver in my faith in the Lord constantly. I wrestle with idea the that I must come to Him with a childlike heart, every second of my waking day.

I went on google and typed in “child-like heart” and I found an article talking about the characteristics in a heart like this.

Characteristics of a Childlike Heart:
1. Humility
2. Faith
3. Innocence
4. Victory
5. Revelation
6. Transformation
7. Hunger

Gosh. This list is perfect. In what other way am I supposed to be transformed into the woman God wants me to be without having a childlike heart? To have a childlike heart means that I am trusting Jesus as my savior, my hope, my everything. I am giving Him the opportunity to renew me every day by believeing He is the only one who can ever save me. I am going to start praying like crazy for a child-like heart, it is my biggest weakness in my walk with the Lord and something that I so desperately need more of in my walk with Him.
 There are areas in my my life where I don’t take my faith as seriously as I should. There are areas of pride in my heart that need to be set aside so I can truly experience what it is like to have a childlike heart.I don’t want to shrug off these little areas, I want to soak up every bit of Jesus and His goodness. Less Jessica, more JESUS.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:1-3

So Jesus, if you could please could help me come to you everyday with a childlike heart, that would be wonderful. I'll be saying this prayer every day.

Love ya'll! I hope you are having a lovely evening. :)

ps- all of your wonderful comments make me smile BIG and I look forward to responding to them every time I receive them. Make sure your email is easy to be found if you decide to write me a comment, because I will want to email you to say hello!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

quiet time with God.

I love animals. I love them so much that I realized I am currently going through dog deprivation. Yep friends, it is safe to say that college has me in I-want-a-new-puppy-more-than-ever-mode. Ever since my family’s boxer dog passed away last year, we have missed our sweet Lucy more than ever. Now that the grieving period is officially over for Lucy, my family and I can officially say that we are ready to bring another sweet Boxer pup into our family once again. Since I have the official “okay” from my parents, this means that I have already begun to do my research of course. I am on a mission to find the most adorable boxer puppy out there EVER for my family and I to adopt.

Oh, this lovely little pup is coming soon my friends. Don’t you worry, I’ll be sure to give ya’ll a heads up once the new addition to our family is right around the corner. I cannot WAIT for this lovely thing to be in my arms. (No the photo above isn’t an actual photo of the pup we are adopting, just a photo that I found and fell in love with.)

      Jesus has also revealed to me lately my sincere passion for photography. Not professional photography, but just photography in general. I decided that it is time for me to make my first big girl DSLR purchase. After researching like crazy with different camera options, I am 99% sure that my very-soon-future-camera-purchase will be a Canon Rebel T2i. What do ya'll think of this camera? I'd love to hear your thoughts! The camera is said to be great for beginners in the photography world, and I know that I am ready for a camera that actually takes GOOD pictures and is a step up from all of the mediocre digital cameras I have had in the past. I just love photography too much, and now that I love blogging as well, a new camera is pretty much a given, right? ;). My parents said this new DSLR camera could potentially be my college graduation gift, which would be a HUGE blessing. We will see though. Either way I have to be working this summer, and part of my savings will have to go to this new camera if it ends up that I have to purchase it myself. Woohoo, lots of exciting things to look forward too friends!

My quiet time with the Lord is something that has been on my mind a lot lately—what does this look like for you?

(Pictured above are some of my favorite devotionals that I read almost every morning. Starting from the left: Jesus calling by Sarah Young, Jesus lives by Sarah Young, and The Confident Women Devotional by Joyce Meyer. If you’re on the fence about a devotional to buy, I HIGHLY suggest either Jesus Calling or the Confident Women. They both have had a huge impact on my connection with God.)

Well to be honest with you guys, this is an area in my relationship with the Lord where I have been slacking A LOT lately. I have decided it is time for me to get serious about my daily quiet time with the Lord. I have made a new commitment to spending time alone with God every morning. Not because I feel like I should, not because I want to impress God, but simply because I want too. I want to feel the loving embrace of my Father in the morning. I want to read His word and feel connected with Him on an intimate level that can be easily reached when I take the time to spend alone time with Him.

"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.
Isaiah 30:15

 I have tried COUNTLESS times to convince myself that my quiet time with God every morning really doesn’t have any affect on me, and that it really isn’t  “that big of a deal at all.” Well, the thing is that for me it actually is a big deal. When I don’t spend my time with the Lord in the morning, the enemy uses it to His advantage. I try to picture it like a real-life relationship I have on earth with my actual dad to help me understand why my alone time with God is so important. Would I ever intentionally ignore my real-life dad in the morning before heading to school or work? No way. I would feel super guilty, because my dad is so important to me! Well, God deserves the same kind of dedication and adoration in my life.

So friends, here is the truth: When I spend time with the Lord each morning, my days truly begin so much better. I am more confident with God throughout the entire day, and I feel more comfortable and secure in my relationship with Him.

"For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth."
Psalm 71:5

 I guess that's how it is with most relationships anyways. If I don't intentionally make time to spend with a friend, then our relationship can really never go anywhere. God, give me the strength and discipline to spend time with you EVERY morning. Help me to understand why this is SO important to my relationship with you. Also, help me to find a super cute new journal to write in every morning. (I'm serious). It will motivate me more to write down what is on my heart. (I'm thinking Chevron pattern, what do you think?! ;))

Love ya'll so much! Have a beautiful Wednesday. Seek Him first, because He loves you more than anything. If you have any questions about knowing Jesus, feel free to email me (, I'd love to chat with you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

His presence > anything else

Hello! Happy Tuesday.
Let me just say, I went through reading all of your posts last night, and I was SO encouraged. I am thankful to have such a wonderful blog community to look forward too interacting with every day. Jesus is too good to me!

I made a Facebook fan page for my blog a couple of days ago, and there is officially a new “like” button along the right side of my blog (underneath my blog button image). I would love it if ya'll went over to the right on my page and “liked” that button for me! It would mean a lot. I am so cheesy but it is true. I love you guys and I am so thankful for the each of you!

How was each of your weekends? I hope they were wonderful! I can’t believe I have already made it to week 7 of my last term as a college undergraduate. Gimme that college degree, baby! I cannot wait until graduation day, I feel like I have been waiting for this day for SO long. I remember as a child I would think to myself about graduating college one day; I would second guess myself and wonder if I would ever actually make it that far in life. Did I ACTUALLY have that kind of potential? Well, the truth is that on my own I never would have made it this far in my life. I owe every bit of gratitude to my loving savior, who has been with me every step of the way.  Jesus has been so provisional in helping me finish college and graduate in four years. It is safe to say that I am pinching myself consistently these days to make sure that this is real and I am actually about to receive my undergraduate diploma!

I wanted to ask ya’ll something. What do you think of this red dress for my college graduation? I personally really like it, but I just wanted to get your opinions on it to see what you guys think! I honestly do not wear dresses that often, but I realized that graduating from college is obviously a super big deal, so I should probably find a dress to go along with the occasion.

Anyways, lately, my family and I have been pretty stressed out, I will not lie to you friends. Life has been pretty dang crazy over here. My parents have been trying to find a house to purchase and live in here in town, and they have not been having any luck whatsoever. My dad said to my mom and I this weekend: “this is so overwhelming at times because nothing is in our hands right now. We aren’t 100% sure if we are going to find a house to rent or buy, let alone if the appraisal on our home will even be approved.” So friends, life right now is full of uncertainties. Not the little uncertainties, the BIG ones. God is revealing to us more and more of His sovereignty over our lives, and that nothing is ever in our hands.

It makes me so sad to see my parents so stressed out and frustrated. I have been praying about this so much, and often it seems like God has been silent in responding to my prayers. I know He is listening though, and I trust Him no matter what happens. My family and I could use your prayers right now in finding a house. If you could please pray that God would be lead my family and I exactly to where He wants us to go/live, that would be Uhhhh-mazing.

Lately I have been thinking about how important it is to me to always be in the presence of the Lord, especially when life gets stressful. When things get crazy around me, my need for God becomes even more apparent. The thought of leaving His presence terrifies me. I am so guilty of instantly freaking out and thinking God has randomly decided to ditch me when something goes wrong in my life. Like, once I mess up and do bad on a test I’m like: “God must be mad at me forever.” That sounds SO bad, but it is true. I have to instantly shove away this negative thinking pattern when it occurs and replace it with God’s truth. This is clearly just another example of a lie the enemy is trying to make me believe. Thankfully God promises me one very wonderfully-amazing promise, which is:

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

So friends, as crazy as life may be over here in this gal’s life right now, I know that I have some very powerful weapons to fight back against the enemy with and his lies. These weapons are both God’s truth and prayer. When life gets crazy, I cling to the Lord and cry out in prayer. I have been praying like a madwoman lately. At first, I felt like maybe I should cut back on the million and a half prayers every day, like God is probably getting slightly overwhelmed with my millions of requests. Then I remembered one of my favorite verses in the Bible:

“Never stop praying.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Keep praying friends, God is listening. He bends down from the heavens to listen to each and every one of our prayers…which is mind blowing to me.

"Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!"
Psalm 116:2

Love ya’ll! Have a beautiful day. Focus on the good, not the bad. Trust Jesus, He is right there with you. Talk to Him, He is listening and never will ignore you. EVER.


Sunday, May 12, 2013


How was your weekend?!
I hope it was wonderful. I'm looking forward to reading your posts this week.
This weekend was a learning experience for sure. I presented my paper at my University's first communication conference, and I am so happy I did it. I was SO nervous, and honestly was making up any excuse I could to get out of going to it.

Here is a pic of one of my best friends Julia and I, who also spoke at the conference and presented her paper!
 My momma and I on mothers day! Love her.

I woke up on Friday morning and prayed to God would give me some kind of sign about the conference to comfort me and give me hope that He was there with me. My nerves were getting the best of me and my mind was all over the place.

Well, he sure answered that prayer right away! I opened up my “Jesus calling” devotional that morning, and the first sentence of it literally read:

"Do not resist or run from the difficulties of your life."

Then the second sentence read:
"These problems are not random mistakes, they are hand tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth."

That was JUST what I needed to hear. I was so thankful God provided those words for me that day in my devotional. He knew that I needed to read that.

You see, running away was exactly what I had been doing. I was letting my fear of giving my speech keep me from having the confidence to believe that I could actually do it. God is teaching me that even though my life a lot of the time gets pretty crazy, no matter what He is there with me.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."
Deuteronomy 31:8

this week, I am going to focus on being more COURAGEOUS. I am going to choose bravery over fear. I am so over letting fear get in the way of how I live my life. It is such a waste of time, and God never intended me to live that way.

Love yall! Hope you have a wonderful rest of your evening