Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm going to be a teacher...what?!

To begin this post and to get you all even more excited for this new season of Fall, here is a picture of literally my favorite candle right now! I have had this thing burning like crazy, YUM! :) (I love all things pumpkin).

Goodness gracious my blog friends. How are the all of you doing?! I am so sorry I have been absent for so long, but now that graduate school orientation has started my life has suddenly become a lot busier. But don't you worry, this blog has a special place in my heart and I still plan to blog as often as I can even in the midst of my newly hectic life. 

I can't even describe to you how much of a blessing it is to be preparing for teaching my college students next week. It truly doesn't even feel real that it's actually going to happen. Soon enough I'll actually be a real life teacher, and I will also eventually have to speak in front of a mess lecture of over 300 students. My nerves are going crazy just imagining what is in store for me throughout this next year, but I know that it will be good for me to venture out of my comfort zone and rely on God's strength even more. 

One of my best friends, Julia who blogs over at Living Through His Lens, is in the same graduate program that I am in! It is a huge blessing. She told me she had been praying for some graduate students to come into the program who loved Jesus, and I guess God answered her prayers! :) I can't tell you how nice it is to end a long day of school and have a Christian friend right there by your side to talk with about what God is doing in your life and how powerful He is. I am so thankful for that, and all I can do is simply praise the Lord for His goodness to me.  Jules is newly engaged, and her ring is absolutely beautiful! Her fiance is perfect for her, and their love story is a true testimony to God's faithfulness. Head on over to her blog to read more about her engagement story. :)
Below: Jules and I on our first day of orientation for graduate teaching together!

Many people keep asking me if I'm nervous for whats ahead for me this year. They have good reason to ask this question, because throughout the next year I will have to begin writing my thesis, learn how to become a real-life teacher and plan out my lectures, maintain my status as a graduate student by getting A's and B's in all of my classes, and even attempt to speak in front of over 300 people one or two times. Whenever I am asked this question, I immediately feel comfort instead of fear. Sure I am scared to do a lot of the things that I will have to do this year, but I know that having courage isn't the absence of fear. The fear will be there, but when I choose to turn to Jesus instead of what I'm afraid of, I will be more than a conqueror.  I am reminded that this program I am in was given to me directly through the hands of God, and I don't have to rely on one ounce of my strength to get through it. I trust that God sincerely wanted me in this program, and I have no doubt that He is going to give me the strength to get through the entire thing, along with the happiness and joy of enjoying every moment of it. 

"The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exalt Him. 
Exodus 15:2
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My fear of being alone

Hey friends! How are the each of you doing? I am enjoying my last days of summer until I begin training for graduate school in a couple of weeks.

Today I woke up and began thinking about this blog of mine that I love so much. I love how I have grown through my relationship with God by making this blog and writing out different posts. I don't know why though, but for some reason lately I haven't had much of a desire to write posts for my blog. It's been driving me crazy that I've been feeling this way, so today I decided today to ask the Lord to reignite the flame in my heart to start writing blog posts again. So here I am now, writing a post to my lovely blog friends and updating y'all on my life. 

A couple of weeks ago, I found out that I was going to be alone in my new house for about a month until school started. This initially made me very upset, because I was so used to having at least one of my roommates around.  I was angry at God when this news came, and I selfishly questioned why He would want me to be alone. "Why are you DOING this to me God?!" "Don't you want me to be around other Christians?!" Although I did have a big community of other Christians in town who I could hang out with for the remainder of the summer, I felt that it was more important for me to at least be living with other people. I didn't want to be by myself, and I didn't understand why God, who knew me better than anyone else, would want me to be living by myself for the remainder of the summer. 

Up until the very moment where I was officially alone in our house, I was scared to death of what it would feel like to be alone. God had given me the clear answer in my heart by letting me know that He indeed did want me to stay where I was for the rest of the summer, but what I wanted to know was WHY  He wanted me to be all by myself. I didn't understand what God was doing, so I did what I guess any normal human being would do: worry. What would I do by myself? Was God doing this to me because He was mad at me? I was an emotional wreck and my mind was all over the place, and I wasn't giving God any chance whatsoever to let in His perspective on the situation.

When I was finally alone and living by myself, at first I felt very uncomfortable, and also pretty lonely. I didn't like not having someone to talk to when I came home at random times throughout the day, or having someone to watch TV with. But as time went on, I was beginning to notice that I really didn't feel alone, even though technically I was. During this whole period of living by myself, I've felt as if God has been right next to me the entire time, talking with me and laughing with me all throughout the day (yes, God certainly does have a sense of humor! After all, He created humor!). I don't feel alone at all, and I have no doubt that I am exactly where God wants me to be. Instead of feeling lonely as I feared I would, I have only felt God cover me with His love, joy, and peace the entire time.

"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 

 Although I am looking forward to having my roommates back here with me in my house soon, I am thankful that God allowed for me to live alone for a period of time. I learned so much more about who God truly is through this experience. It doesn't matter if I'm by myself or with a million people, as long as I reflect on the truth that God is with me, all my fears wash away. I can either waste my time worrying about the future, or instead  choose to keep my focus set on God and His presence that is always with me. 

I am thankful for God's grace, because I needed a heck of a lot of it to get to where I am now. I wasted a lot of time complaining to God about my circumstances, when instead I should have been praising Him for all that He has blessed me with. I also wasted a lot of time worrying about the future, when I really had nothing to worry about all along. God truly is the best teacher, and I love the fact that I am able to come into His presence every day and seek to know Him more intimately. 

Love always, Jess