Posted in Christian

Storms of Life…

Well, this Small Town Girl is back at it.  Before I get started I want to thank Cheyenne for writing my blog while I was out.  She did a great job.  I am so proud of her. She has such a heart for God and is a great example to me.

The last several months have been a huge struggle for me.  The end of February I fell and injured my hand and shoulder.  In the last 3 months, I have had 2 major surgeries and one minor surgery.  There have been times when I have felt as if I was being tossed around on the waves and whipped around in the wind and yet I felt God’s calming presence in the chaos.  Even though I was in the midst of the storm and most often after a moment (days) of panic and struggle God calmed me and I knew it would be ok.   Then there were times when the chaos died down and things didn’t seem to be so bad.  God would calm the storm and although, I knew the struggle wasn’t over, I knew it was God who was in charge of the storm.

storm

I’m still in the midst of the storm and have a very long road ahead.  Through it all, there were ups and downs and there are many more to come. So many days, I struggled with depression and being overwhelmed by the current life I was living.  “This isn’t how my life was supposed to go!  Life isn’t supposed to be this hard”.  I already overcame that struggle and yet, here I am struggling with many of the same feelings I have fought so hard to move past.  Life is supposed to be easier with God.  Right?

I don’t think God ever promised anything would be easy.  Actually, if you read the Bible, most of the people in the Bible that God used had a very hard and difficult road.  People like Jonah, Gideon, Moses, David, Rahab, Rachel, Paul, they all had very hard situations they had to work through.  Their situations required God’s guidance and direction.

God had great plans for their lives.  Their struggles and hardships are documented in the greatest book of all time.  God had a purpose for their struggle.  I don’t think Jonah ever thought “I bet I’m going down in the history books for being swallowed by a whale”!  He didn’t want to go through the struggle but in the end, he did what God wanted and God used his struggle to help others and we get to read about Jonah in the Bible.  Life isn’t supposed to be easy especially when we do things on our own.

Recently, I had a very important but difficult situation I had to confront.  The outcome of this situation would be life altering. I was so anxious and nervous.  Consumed with my own expectations in life and how limited I was in the situation.  I had no control.  I knew in the situation I was in there was absolutely nothing that I could do to affect the outcome.  And honestly, I was unsure of what I wanted the outcome to be.  As I was waiting for this situation to resolve its self, Danny Gokey’s song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” came on the radio and I broke down in tears.  I felt it was God saying to me, “I know things have been hard.  I know you are grieving and hurt, but you are going to be ok.  I have great things for you”.

song

My life has been altered by this whole experience and it will never be the same.  I still have a long road ahead but today is a new beginning for me.  The situation I discussed above is still unresolved.  I still have a long road for recovery.  There is a lot of unknown in my world but the one thing I know for certain is that God is in control of my future and He has bigger and better plans for me than I can ever have for myself.

Every day I still struggle with the overwhelming feelings, I fight the depression and the desire to stay in bed and hide from the world.  But when I take time to talk to God and remember He is the one who is writing the script to my life, it makes it a little easier.  I’m so glad to be back writing my blog and I’m looking forward to where this new path will lead. I hope you all will be patient and willing to continue to ride through this storm with me.

peace

I’m Just a Small Town Girl… Living in a Stormy World.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4rRCjrAyCs&spfreload=10

Posted in Christian

Tag Backs

Hey everyone!  I have some great news!  My mom will be returning to her blog next week, so unfortunately this is my last blog.  However, I am thinking about starting my own blog.  I haven’t decided yet, but I will make sure my mom keeps you all updated.  If I do start one it won’t be until school starts back up again.

This week I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about.  I was thinking about just writing about some of the awesome things God has done in my life.  Then yesterday I was listening to Klove on the way home from work and “Prodigal” by Sidewalk Prophets came on.  Instantly I knew that’s what God wanted me to write about.

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This song comes from the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.  The son of a wealthy man takes his inheritance and squanders it all on partying and worldly things.  Then he comes back, hoping he can at least work in his father’s fields.  But his father welcomes him home with open arms and throws him a huge feast.  That’s how God sees us.  He wants nothing more than for all His prodigal sons and daughters to come home and He will welcome us all home with open arms.  No matter what you’ve done, all He wants is for you to come home.  “Where ever you are, whatever you did, it’s a page in your book but it isn’t the end.  Your Father will meet you with arms open wide.  This is where your heart belongs.  So come running like a prodigal.”

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This song seems to be more targeted at an audience that thinks there is too much bad in their past for God to love them, but I think it also has a meaning for believers.  There are no lost causes.  In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 it says, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” God wants everyone to come to know Him, no matter what they’ve done.  I see this song as not only a message saying God loves me and wants me no matter what, but also a reminder that there are no lost causes.  You never know how much a single prayer or word can change someone.  The simplest things can move mountains.  So don’t think that the extreme atheist or the most devout of other religions can’t be saved.  God wants ALL of His children to come home.  Everyone can be saved.  So go out and help them get there! Show them the love of God!

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No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve come from, God wants you to come running into His arms.  It’s our job as believer to help others find their way home too!  So, I leave you with this; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19.

I’m Just the daughter of a small town girl…living in a prodigal world.

Posted in Christian

There’s a place for everyone

Hey everyone.  Sorry I missed last week.  I got my wisdom teeth out and with everything that followed I forgot to write.  But now I am pretty much healed up and excited to continue!

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about people in the Bible and how God was able to use them no matter what circumstances they were in.  He uses us the same way.  No matter our circumstances, no matter how broken we think we are, God has a plan for each and every one of us that will use our skills and gifts He has given us to the fullest and further His kingdom.

god uses peop;e

God uses all sorts of people to witness and disciple to others; people from all walks of life.  Jesus himself used sinners and tax collectors to help spread the Gospel.  Think of Paul.  He was one of the biggest persecutors of Jesus’s followers until God changed his heart.  After that Paul helped the church grow so much and helped write a large portion of the New Testament.  God chose David, the smallest and youngest of his family, to defeat Goliath and become king.  He also used David to do so many more amazing things even though he was an adulterer and did a lot of other bad things. God can use you, no matter how broken, no matter what we’ve done.  God has a plan for each and every one of us.  He is going to use you to do amazing things!

I never thought God was going to use me for outreach.  I’m an introvert.  I don’t like talking to people I don’t know.  I won’t talk to anyone I’m not super close to unless they talk to me first.  I always thought God would use me to build up other Christians that I already knew.  I thought He would use me to help my friends and family grow in Christ and maybe bring some of my non-Christian friends to Christ.  But God had other plans.  I’m going to be a Chi Alpha leader, which means I have to go out and talk to people I don’t know a lot of the time, as well as building up my friends, old and new.  He is going to be using me in ways I never imagined, but He knows I have the skills I’m going to need in order to do my job as a student leader.

god can use you

God has a plan for all of us.  He has a way to use everyone.  And with that we need to remember the lesson taught by Balaam.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Balaam.  In Numbers chapter 22, Balak son of Zippor sent a message to Balaam asking him to place a curse on Israel, but God said, “You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed.” In response to Balak’s persistence, Balaam said, “Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord my God.”  Balaam is so dedicated to God.  He refuses to do anything that is not God’s will.  So whatever God’s plan is for us, we need to listen.

gifts

I didn’t want to be a Chi Alpha leader.  I thought there was too much wrong in my past and that I couldn’t do it because of my introvertedness.  But, like Balaam, I chose to follow God’s plan for me, no matter what doubts or fears I had.  God has a great plan for you.  He will use you in the best way possible.  And it’s your job to follow that plan no matter what.

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… following God’s will.

Images taken from Google.

Posted in Christian

Even If

“I know the sorrow and I know the hurt would all go away of you’d just say the word.  But even if you don’t, my hope is you alone.”  So many people turn away from God when things get hard.  When the going gets tough we can get angry at God and blame Him for our pain because we know He can take it away.  This song by MercyMe should be our prayer in times of hurting.

even if

We all have been hurt.  We have all had times in our lives where we are at our absolute worst and have no hope at all.  There is so much pain and sorrow and we wish it would go away.  Most of the time we curse God and beg for Him to take away whatever is causing us so much hurt, most of the time believing He won’t.  So instead people turn to drinking or drugs or self-harm or something else to take away their pain.  We put our hope into materialistic things that in reality won’t help at all.  Instead of getting angry at God for not helping us in times of great sorrow, we need to put our trust and hope in Him.

hope

Once again we’re going to go back to when I was in middle school and high school.  I was in so much pain during those few years.  I turned away from God thinking He couldn’t help me.  I was one of those people that turned to self-harm.  I had so much heartache from feeling so alone that I thought the physical pain would help and take it all away.  But it didn’t.  Finally, when I was completely at breaking point, God saved me.  I put my hope in Him and He was able to bring me away from all of that and showed me I wasn’t alone.  If I had put my hope in Him from the beginning I would have saved myself a lot of pain and trouble.

Now for a story where I did put my hope in God.  Going to college is a really scary thing at first.  You are alone, without friends, and expected to do a lot of things for yourself because you’re an adult.  You have to completely start over.  After my first day of classes my first semester I completely broke down.  I cried for hours.  I felt so alone and had no idea what I was doing.  I was convinced I wasn’t going to make any friends because of how introverted I was.  I had my roommates but I knew I wasn’t going to be good friends with them because they were all into the party scene.  I had so much sorrow and hurt, but instead of just letting it consume me, I turned to God.  I prayed and asked for peace and comfort.  I asked Him to give me complete contentment in Him.  I put all my hope in Him.  I knew that God would provide me with friends.  Maybe not right away but I knew he would provide for me.  The very next day I met one of my best friends completely by chance.  We had two classes together and ended up being paired up for a short class project.  Ever since we have been best friends and I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives.

psalm 62.5

It is so important that we put our hope in God in the midst of all our hurt and fear.  I know it’s hard, but even when He doesn’t give us an answer right away or doesn’t take away our sorrow right away; we still need to completely trust and rely on Him.  He will provide for us, just like I talked about last week.  Even the sparrow knows He holds tomorrow.  Put your hope in God even in your darkest times.

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… putting my hope in God alone.

images taken from Google.

Posted in Christian, LDS

Even the Sparrow

I am a worrier.  I always have been.  I worry about everything from having enough time to get everything done with my busy schedule, to my future and everything in between.  For me, it’s worry, worry, worry and go, go, go and sometimes I barely have time to catch a breath.

From the moment I first heard it, “Sparrows” by Jason Grey, has been one of my favorite songs because it is the perfect reminder that God has everything in control and I need to let go of my worry.  When I feel overwhelmed and like everything is spiraling out of control with no hope, this is my go to song.  This song is the perfect reminder that we are always in God’s sight and He is in control. He will make sure everything turns out exactly the way it should.

Worry

A few weeks ago my boyfriend, who is LDS, got his mission call.  This was a moment I had been dreading and worrying about for months.  When he opened his call and read that he was going to Ghana, Africa, the whole world seemed to turn upside down.  As I walked out to my car afterwards I was a mess.  I couldn’t help but think of all the things that could happen to him while he is gone and worrying he would never come to a relationship with Jesus if he left.  We had already spent many months arguing about our differing beliefs and all hope seemed lost.  But God always know exactly what I need to hear.  As soon as I turned on my car I heard the words I needed.  “If He can hold the world He can hold this moment.  Not a field or flower escapes His notice.  Oh, even the sparrow knows, He holds tomorrow.”  When I heard that song I knew God was telling me I needed to let go of my worry and that everything was going to work out.

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“If He can hold the world He can hold this moment.”  God holds the entire world in His hands.  He is in control of everything.  If He can carry the weight of the world, He can definitely hold you in the moments your worry gets the best of you.  Trust Him to hold your worry. Let it go and give it to the God of the universe.  “Not a field or flower escapes His notice.”  God’s eye is on everything.  He takes care of even the smallest plant, so why would He not take care of you? He will provide for your every need.  Sometimes you may think your problems are too small for God to handle, but nothing is too small for Him to notice.  “Even the sparrow knows He holds tomorrow.”  This is my favorite part of the song.  God holds our future.  He holds tomorrow in His hands.  The sparrows know that.  So why don’t we understand it?  Matthew 6: 25-27 says “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds.  They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  Jesus said it himself; we are God’s favorite creation, His pride and joy.  He made us in His image.  He cares and provides for all the plants and animals on the earth, so why would He not take care of you, too?  God wants to take care of you in every way.  He wants to take your worries and fears away.  Worrying will only stop you from living life to the fullest.  So give your worries to God!

sparrow

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… who’s smallest worry doesn’t escape God’s notice.

Posted in Christian, mormonism

Devotion, Community, Responsibility.

In Chi Alpha we have three pillars that we are challenged to live by.  To be devoted, to live in community, and to take responsibility.  Today I want to offer that challenge up to you, because these should be things prominent in every believer’s life.

The first pillar is to be devoted.  Now, what does that mean?  We need to be devoted to Christ, not just on Sundays when we go to church, but in every aspect of our lives.  We need to show our devotion to God in the way we live.  Devoting our time by reading our Bible and spending time in prayer.  Devoting our finances by giving tithing.  Devoting our lives by striving to live like Jesus every day.  This shows that we are trusting God.  Everyone is busy.  You may be reading this thinking you don’t have time in your day to dedicate to reading your Bible or spending meaningful time in prayer.  By taking that time and setting it aside to specifically devote it to God shows that you trust Him with your time and you know He will provide enough time in your day to get everything you need done.

devotion

When I get up in the morning the first thing I do is read my Bible.  If I end up sleeping in, I make sure to do it that night.  I try to read 4 chapters every day, two from the Old Testament and two from the New.  I also take 15 minutes to just talk to God, no matter what it’s about.  Whether it’s sitting docile for Him to speak to me or going through a prayer list, I talk to God for 15 minutes.  I also set aside time to write this blog because I know this is something that God wants me to do.  I try to show my devotion through the way I live, the way I talk to others and interact with people.  Jesus said to, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and trying to do that in your everyday life is a great way to show your devotion to God.

The second pillar is, to live in community.  This means spending time with other believers.  God wants us to go out and spread the gospel, but it’s also important to grow in your own relationship with Christ and spending time in fellowship with other believers is one of the best ways to do that.  Join a Bible study.  Take some time and have lunch with a friend from church.  Even just taking the time to chat with some people after church instead of rushing home can do amazing things for your relationship with God.  I’ve experienced this first hand.

communitiy

Growing up, I didn’t really have any Christian friends.  We didn’t start going to our home church until I was in 6th grade.  The majority of my friends were Mormon and I only had a couple of friends from church.  When I started college things changed a lot.  I started going to Chi Alpha and met some of my very best friends there.  Being surrounded by Christians grew my relationship with God enormously! I finally had people I could talk to about what God was doing in my life that were my age!  The impact that living in community and fellowship with those Christians had on my life has been amazing.  I have grown, in God, so much in the last year.  I don’t even think I would recognize the person I was a year ago! Spending time living in community with other believers is life changing and gives you someone to live life with.

The last pillar is, to take responsibility.  This one is a bit harder for all you introverts out there like me.  Taking responsibility means to pour the love of God into others.  God told us to, “go out and make disciples of all nations.”  So go out and do it!  Pick someone (or more than one person) in your life that you’re going to pour into this next week or even the next month or year.  Talk to people about God and pour the love of Jesus into their lives.  Take responsibility for helping God’s kingdom grow!

responsibility

At the end of Chi Alpha this year they gave us a little card for the summer.  On it we were supposed to write three things; a believer, a non-believer, and a residence hall floor at ISU.  Those two people and the residence hall floor were what we were supposed to take responsibility for this summer.  I prayed and God gave me more than just those three and I’ve been praying and doing my best to pour love into those people that God put on my heart.  Sometimes it’s hard because a couple of them I don’t know very well.  Luckily, all I have to do is trust God and He will give me the courage to start up a conversation and give me the words that will speak to their hearts!

The Chi Alpha pillars are what a believer’s life should look like.  We need to be devoted to God, to live in community with other believers, and take responsibility for the job God gave us.  My challenge to you this week is to think about how you are living out the pillars in your life and take time to live them out.  Take time to read your Bible every day and pray.  Spend some time with a fellow believer.  Pray and ask God to point someone out in your life that you can take responsibility for.  I would love to hear about how doing this impacts your life. Let me know in the comments.

diciples

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… standing on the pillars God gave me.

Images taken from Google.

Posted in Christian

Putting life in Perspective

“On the mountain I will bow my life to the one who set me there.  In the valley I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there.  When I’m standing on the mountain I didn’t get there on my own.  When I’m walking through the valley I know I am not alone.”  I love this song, “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells.  I think it puts life into perspective perfectly.

ups and downs

Life is full of hills and valleys; ups and downs.  Sometimes we are on a mountain top and things are going absolutely perfect.  You feel like nothing can bring you down and nothing can go wrong.  You also have your low points.  Days when you think nothing is ever going to get better and you’ll never be happy again.  When we get to these high or low points it is important to keep life in perspective and remember that God is still here and is still the Lord of our lives.

We’ve all had good times and bad times.  I’ve already talked about my younger years in middle school and high school when I was feeling so alone and abandoned by God.  Most of the time I didn’t turn to Him.  I didn’t ask Him for help or to make me feel better.  More often than not I buried my feelings deep down inside and continued to pretend to be happy.  I hid behind books and writing to make myself feel better.  It only would work for a little bit before I was once again drowning in a pit of depression.  Finally I realized God’s love for me and turned to Him to fix my broken spirit.  He fixed me permanently, unlike my books or writing ever could.  I still get in sad slumps, but I know where to turn to now, and I know I’m never alone.

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I’ve also had a lot of high points in my life.  One of those was my first semester of college.  Things were going great for me.  I had easy classes, was making lots of new friends.  I didn’t think anything could bring me down.  I forgot who had brought me to that place.  I forgot that God was the reason for my success and the new friends I had made.  Second semester I was still feeling on top of the world and still didn’t give God the thanks and glory He deserved.  Second semester turned out to be a lot harder without God by my side.  I had to turn to Him in order to get out of the slump I had sunk into because I wasn’t relying on Him.

“On the mountain I will bow my life to the one who set me there.”  When we are at our high points and loving life, we need to remember to thank God and acknowledge that He is the one that got us to where we are, not us. “When I’m standing on the mountain, I didn’t get there on my own.”  We are not the ones who make our lives great.  God is.  When you get that pay raise you’ve been waiting for, yes you may have earned it, but remember that God is the one who gave it to you.  He blesses us with so many things.  When things are going well we tend to step away from God and think we don’t need Him anymore.  This couldn’t be further from the truth! God gives us everything we have in our lives.  Even when things are going well, we still need to pray and ask God to help us continue on the path He wants us to live.  When we live for ourselves, and not for God, that’s usually when things start to head downhill.

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The other thing we need to remember is that God is always there for us.  “In the valley I will life my eyes to the one who sees me there.”  When things are tough and it seems like there’s no end in sight, God is still there!  He’s watching us and taking care of us!  He sees us in our struggle and when we reach out to Him, He will always help us.  One of my favorite poems of all time is “Footprints” by Mary Stevenson.  “One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.””

I love the last line. “When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” God is always watching out for us.  He is always there and would never leave us alone, even in our darkest times.  “When I’m walking through the valley I know I am not alone.”  If you’re in a valley right now I promise you are not alone!

It’s hard to remember that God is always watching out for us when we’re feeling depressed and lonely.  It’s hard to remember to give God the glory when things are going well.  We need to put life in perspective and remember that no matter what is going on, God is there and is helping us get to where He wants us to be.

god is greater

I’m just the daughter of a small down girl… living in a roller coaster of a world.

Images taken from Google.