Overdraft

Saturday morning I woke up and immediately headed to the kitchen to find the waffle iron and get cooking. There is nothing better than fresh waffles on a Saturday morning!

While I cooked, my older brother called (the one who used to add up multiple charges from his debit card and subtract that one sum out of his check register..), and told my mom and I that last night when he looked at his Regions app, we both had negative balances…

I knew it couldn’t be right. I keep up with my credits, debits, deposits, everything on my Regions mobile app.. I had just checked it the day before and everything was fine.

After checking into it further, he was right. A check I wrote in February was just deposited, in April. My lack of writing in my check register came back to bite me! I had, in fact, overdrafted. Ughh- Now I was so frustrated at myself… If I had just written everything down, this would not have happened.

But, I called regions, told them my story and even went on to say, “I know it is really due to my lack of keeping track..” The sweet guy I talked to credited back $18 of the $35 I was charged. I was so glad.. although I did selfishly think that getting the entire $35 back would have been better!

Romans 6:14

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

As I calmed down, I started to think of the grace, although partial, the bank had shown me. It reminded me of the amazing grace God shows us say in and day out.

We “overdraft” our “accounts” every single day.

We are naturally sinners.

But our “bank”, God, credits us back the fee, over and over. 

He doesn’t credit us back partially, but always fully.

He forgives and wipes our slate clean.

via pinterest

via pinterest

I couldn’t be more thankful for our forgiving God, and practical metaphors that show us clearly how he loves us fully and consistently shows us grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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Lies

Cleaning my room is no fun and a lot of fun at the same time. I love some of the stuff I find; and even end up thinking “who is this girl?” about things long forgotten. It actually cracks me up.

But Thursday night, I found a notebook with notes from a bible study Lauren and I led last semester. I want to share a few things with you just to spur your thinking, if nothing more.

3 big lies women believe:

{1} Who I am and What I Struggle With are the same thing.     Isn’t that an easy trap to fall into? It makes me think of the AA thing.. “I am Billy, and I am an alcoholic.”

{2} Who I Am and What I Do are the same thing.    This is similar yet different. It is more about letting your job, sorority, or hobby define you. Yes, they are apart of you, but not who you are.

{3} Who I Am is not good enough.     Can I get an amen? As women, it can be a constant battle to fight against Satan whispering this in our ears.

Let’s no longer believe these lies. What if we let Jesus Christ’s identity truly affect ours. Would that impact our behavior and daily lives? Would we let it impact more than our words, actions, and the bumper stickers on our car, but our thoughts too?!

Our behavior and thoughts represent our beliefs. But I would go further to say our behavior and thoughts reveal our beliefs.

This shocked me.. it was so spot on. It was so convicting. I hope to throw off these lies and run without abandon into the arms of the Man who speaks only truth- life giving truth- as I enter my twenties.

Truths to replace these lies: 

{1} What you struggle with does not define you.

{2} What you do does not dictate who you are.

{3} We, YOU, are good enough. You were made in the hands of the Almighty carpenter.

Carry these truths with you and have a sweet, relaxing weekend. xoxo

Where is your mind set?

This morning, I woke up feeling just kind of BLAH… Not for any particular reason, just out of it sort of. My back aches a lot when I wake up (mild scoliosis + addiction to stomach sleeping)… so that didn’t help.

I reached for my Bible and journal **after checking twitter, facebook, instagram, and email– {nobody’s perfect}. After prayer journaling a bit, I wasn’t feeling into that either. I was praying specifically, “I feel sad for some reason, would You lift my head?”

I decided to open the Word and look up a couple verses Rachel sent this morning.

-Ephesians 6:19

&

-Colossians 3:1-4

which says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Ok God, I hear You. My funk is due to where my mind is. Class, back aches, my birthday, and the number on the scale are of this earth. They are worthless compared to the things of your Kingdom.

I think Colossians 3:5 needs to be repeated in my mind throughout everyday:

 Put to death what is earthly in you.

Easier said than done, right? But let’s all do it today, with the help of the one who is above all things. He is even above the tragedy in Boston yesterday. We were surprised/saddened/hurt by it. But to our God, it was no surprise at all. Let’s find peace in that.

Completely unrelated but while you’re here, check this out.

I know that full well

Lately, I feel easily overwhelmed with certain things. Sometimes, the blog feels that way.. so I just push it off for a rainy day. I was attempting to type my latest post when this whole blog thing started to feel incredibly incomplete.

You see, there’s more to the story than you know. With blogging, it is easy to only share the fun stuff. Unfortunately, this can make the author seem “perfect,” simply because I am more likely to post on good days than to share the not so pretty areas of my life on the world wide web. Today, I want to share something with you that will be hard to write down, to catch you all up. But I think it must be done in order for this to be genuine, to build a trust between us. I am a filthy sinner, with a past. I also think it might be less overwhelming for me if it’s on paper and not just swirling in my head. My memory is spotty, but I think it all started around 13.

I wouldn’t call it bullying, but a few comments in the lunchroom to the tune of “ever heard of the Subway diet?” have affected me more than I realized at the time. It was 6th grade, I was 5’2″ and remember wearing a size 6.. Now I know that is not big. AT ALL. But being bigger than most of the other girls was the worst part of all. The most important thing at that age was fitting in. I didn’t make the dance team my sixth grade year, which didn’t help.

By seventh grade, I had naturally grown up and slimmed out some. I got interested in working out, going to spin classes with one of my best friends and the “baby fat” that stayed way to long dropped off without to much effort.

I don’t know where it began, but I think around 9th grade, I became obsessed with my weight and exercise. Self comparison. Numbers. I honestly don’t even remember this time at all… I’ve just found notebooks covered in weights and calorie counts I didn’t even realize I had been keeping track of for so long. I knew, and still know, calorie amounts of almost everything. It’s like a terrible talent.

I remember eating until I was so overly full I couldn’t think of anything else, throwing up just to relieve some of the guilt. No one knew I struggled. I was never out of a normal weight range, so it was an internal battle… between what I knew deep down was right and I let other people, the media, and modern ideals tell me would make me happy. If I wasn’t 120, I wasn’t perfect.

Baby food diet, Drop10, Weight Watchers, Weigh down workshop, calorie counting, bite counting, all fruit, no carbs, all protein, all liquid, you name it, I’ve tried it. For a few hours at least. I am one of the lucky ones. I was able to avoid the worst. I was never determined enough to take any of these extreme ideas for more than a test drive I quickly got out of. I always drifted back to eating normally until the next great idea came along. My weight really never shifted more than a couple pounds.

This post is more for me than for you. It feels like a weight lifted off my chest to get this craziness out of my head. Maybe, sometime, I can help someone escape the harsh reality of how hard eating and body image can be for girls. It was never a topic that was spoken about in my middle and high school years… yet tons of girls around me were all suffering from the same thing.

I don’t have any explanation for you as to why I’m writing this, other than to give you my full history and to get it out of my head. I should be writing my speech on artificial sweeteners, but here I sit, words flowing from my fingers.
I know there is a reason I’m okay with pushing the publish button.

My God is healer. He has removed me so much from this time of my life that the memories, are just that. 

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 

your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

Psalm 139:14

sweet gratitude, III

Trying to slow down more and remember to smell the roses. Sometimes it can be hard to really live in the present, without looking forward with “I can’t wait”s… for me, being thankful for what is going on right now helps.

Loving lately:

warmer weather, eno time,

warmer weather, eno time,

pinterest ideas,

pinterest ideas,

oatmeal and coffee to start my days,

oatmeal and coffee to start my days,

verses God shows me just at the right time,

verses God shows me just at the right time,

fresh picked flowers, walks with friends,

fresh picked flowers, walks with friends,

of course sweet snuggles,

of course sweet snuggles,

and spring wishes!

and spring wishes!

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you..”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

From The Happiness Project: Gratitude is important to happiness. Studies show that consistently grateful people are happier and more satisfied with their lives; they even feel more physically healthy and spend more time exercising. Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you are grateful for what you have, you are not consumed with wanting something different or something more. That, in turn, makes it easier to live within your means and also to be generous to others.

What are you grateful for this week? Something amazing? Just getting through?

Early Mornings

Ever wake up before the sun?

I know… it stinks, you’re tired, your eyes won’t open, it is cold, you can’t even see… just. one. more. minute. I almost always beg.

When I fight the urge to stay under the abundance of fluffy white linens, I end up thanking myself God for it.

My ideal morning has me arising in the darkness, quietly tip toe ing around the house to get just ready enough, grabbing every belonging in my house it seems and heading across town to a coffeehouse. My living room will work too, but that never requires more than PJs which means my eyes are more likely to assume they can slack off on the job.

Preferably, Starbucks would not be my destination, although it absolutely suffices.

For early, quiet mornings, it has got to be the town’s best kept secret… A “hipster” atmosphere makes it that much better.

I have fallen in love with the ease of parking with only 3 other cars in the lot… the way the barista’s whisper before 9 am.. the clicking of the keyboard or turning of old wrinkled pages.. the way my pen runs across a blank page… the promise of new mercies, not yet tainted… It’s warms my soul. It is when I start my day early, in communication with my great God (in all truth, coffee is of no importance) that my storm of a day is less tragic. I am aware of my fresh start, that my sins of yesterday are forgiven, thrown to the side. For this, I keep coming back for more.

Image

via Pinterest

Starkville’s newest addition called 929… hits my idea of morning perfection on the head. It is located on Main Street, adding to the unmatchable atmosphere. You use unmatching mugs and check out at a counter made of old wood, beautifully battered. I just love their details.

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

I’d relate the hours of say 6-9 am to the calm before the storm. You can check your email, but there will hardly ever be more than the 3 am LOFT, Banana Republic, and Coach sale notifications. No teachers asking for homework assignments, yet. But when I close my Bible, leave that place, get in my car, and venture out into the world, onto campus, wherever my day takes me, I will never be in the same state I was in, until tomorrow morning.

Double Time

I have noticed in studying the Word recently that many verses are repeated, almost word for word. I love to find them; specifically because I feel that anything recurring must be important!

One passage I recall is Luke 6:46-49 says, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Matthew 7: 24-27 states, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man building a house on rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall. But everyone who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built a house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Whether it is an actual recurring verse or just seeing something twice, I cannot ignore it after the second time!! 

Today, it was Ephesians 2. Rachel at bible study asked what we would say if someone asked us why we are Christians/what the Gospel is? and I was convicted. I can give you a “sunday school” answer, or phrase it in my own, lacking words. But I can hardly think of an exact scripture to share. I am nothing without God!

She encouraged us to memorize Ephesians 2, a condensed passage laid out perfectly for explaining to someone who didn’t grow up in church or has no knowledge of our Lord and Savior. I made note of this and planned to look back later…

Once I got home, I started to look at Multiplymovement.com, a study focused on making disciples from a book by Francis Chan. Not two paragraphs from the beginning it says EPHESIANS 2. 

Okay, Okay, I cannot ignore it. 

I encourage you to read Ephesians 2 as well. Would you be ready if someone approached you about the word of God today? I know I am unprepared. Luckily, I think God would intercede and speak through me, but I must memorize scripture so that I am able to speak His words, not mine. 

We are called to memorize. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Image

from Pinterest

Our only way to fight satan is with scripture. 

“…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” EPHESIANS 6:16

Are You Happy?

Have you ever met that lovely new invention called one click check out on Amazon.com? Its terribly amazing. As well as amazing terrible for my checking account.

While I was on campus today, I found a green slip in my PO box meaning I had received a package! yay! I assumed it was a book I ordered on Amazon. Moments later I had the following between my hands:

via google mages

Yes, it is a book. It is indeed from Amazon. But remember that one click checkout thing? I had no recollection of ordering… (although I do remember considering it). I probably couldn’t have even jogged my memory with an interrogation from my mom sounding somewhat like, “What did you spend $4.63 on?”

I was incredibly excited though! And I think Buddha was right (on one thing) in saying, When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

I feel like I am just in a learning stage in my life. I am learning a lot about myself. I learn constantly in Mrs. Knight’s Intro to Communication class; even learned I may want to minor in Communication. I’m learning more about God, how incredible He is, and all that that encompasses. I’m learning to cook more. I’m learning to love vegetables. And as soon as I started reading the cover of this book, I knew I was going to learn  a lot more.

Just a few small excerpts/phrases from what I read today as soon as I cracked the spine. [The Happiness Project by: Gretchen Rubin] Take a second with each of these to just let them sink in:

  • –“there is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
  • –I find greater value in what specific individuals tell me worked for them than in any other kind of argument- and that’s true even when we seem to have nothing in common.
  • –I was in danger of wasting my life.
  • –I had everything I could possibly want- yet I was failing to appreciate it. Bogged down in petty complaints and passing crises, weary of struggling with my own nature, I too often failed to comprehend the splendor of what I had.
  • –people teach what they need to learn
  • –the opposite of happiness, is unhappiness, not depression
  • –what you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while (this was all to convicting!!)

Can you relate to this? To not being as happy as you should be or want to be? For some maybe not happy at all?

Especially as she says,”One of my worst qualities is my insatiable need for credit; I always want the gold star, the recognition,” Gretchen Rubin encompasses so perfectly my search for thank yous after giving gifts, my love of the oohs and ahhhs when I redecorate.

In all of this, I am simply saying that “I am happy- but I’m not as happy as I should be. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more- and live up to it better. It is hard to explain. I complain to much, I get annoyed more than I should.” I haven’t been living to my full potential or being happy in my day to day, seemingly pointless routine. Through reading this I hope to find that something extra… enjoyment in the little things. But, of course, I will never reach that without keeping my focus wholeheartedly on the Giver of true happiness.

HAPPY ARE THOSE WHO LIVE PURE LIVES, WHO FOLLOW THE LORD’S TEACHINGS. HAPPY ARE THOSE WHO KEEP HIS RULES, WHO OBEY HIM WITH THEIR WHOLE HEARTS.

psalm 119:1-2

For a little happy in your day check this out….

What an incredible thing.. that not only is He constant, but He promises to never forsake us. Forsake meaning to give up. He will never give up on us, no matter what. He is only good. Oh to bask in that realization.

COMING NEXT IS A FASHION POST!

Living and Active

I read the NIV Bible and I’ve never had a problem with that version. But I do love to see the way the same verse is displayed differently from version to version. Some seem really different, some you can hardly notice a change. 

Today I’m referring to Psalm 46:10. A verse most people would say, “yeah, I’ve heard that all my life.” “I have that hanging on my wall at home”… but a friend reminded me recently that even when it seems we have heard verses more times than we can count, God makes them fresh every time, perfectly conveying what He needs you to see that day. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

NIV: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

NASB: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Here is what stuck out to me like a sore thumb: Cease Striving.

CEASE

[sees]  ceased, ceas·ing, noun

1. to stop; discontinue: Not all medieval beliefs have ceased to exist.
2. to come to an end: At last the war has ceased.
3. Obsolete . to pass away; die out.
4. to put a stop or end to; discontinue: He begged them to cease their quarreling

STRIVE 

[strahyv] striv·en, striv·ing.

1. to exert oneself vigorously; try hard: He strove to make himself understood.
2. to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to strive for success.
3. to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete.
4. to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance: to strive against fate.
5. to rival; vie.
 
Stop making strenuous efforts towards goals that are not for Me. This was the message I was supposed to see today as I read this verse for the trillionth time (okay- that was an exaggeration!) 
Usually when I think of this verse I take it to mean I should sit still, without words, trying to chase away any thoughts that enter and wait for God. And I have attempted to do this many times. I still see that we should wait at the feet of Jesus being quiet, giving no input, just listening sometimes. But WOW! for Him to blatantly put before me “Stop making strenuous efforts towards goals that are not of Me or for Me.” 
 
What a message for my heart this morning. I pray it is good for yours too. 
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“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12