Be still.

final 12I’ve struggled over the past couple of days to find the right words to write. There’s so much on my mind and I just couldn’t seem to put it into words. I feel like I’ve been falling. These past couple of months have been one giant leap of faith, a step off of the ledge of surrender, and I’ve been tested like never before. Strong emotions and fears that have been building up over the past year piled so high, that I felt crushed under the weight. But tonight, I no longer felt like I was being overcome by these emotions and fears. Rather, I felt caught up in the arms of Jesus. I felt held. Secure. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve woken up with the choice to either succumb to fear or trust that God would hold me. Some days, I would walk into my school and feel immense anxiety over the “what ifs.” Other days, I would feel joy in my heart, knowing that God is walking beside me. I’ve been confronted with questions that I still don’t have the answers to and old fears that I thought had gone away.

But then Jesus lifted me out from under my fears and held me.

There is honestly no possible way that I would be standing here proclaiming hope in the midst of chaos and pain without Christ. No way. I’ve been broken down to the point where the only thing I can do is surrender everything to God. Let me tell you, there is peace in chaos and hope in midst of circumstances that are unthinkable. I was never meant to walk through the trials of life without the one who created me. He knows me and loves me deeper than anyone ever could. He provides hope needed to keep moving forward and wisdom to try and navigate hard questions.

He provides LIFE over death.

I have been trying to fix my problems on my own, covered with the statement, “But I’m surrendering this to God.” In reality, I still held control over my problems. Realizing this has brought me to my knees. It has provided a breathe of fresh air because as I have tried to fix everything, I found that I just couldn’t. That was so frustrating for me. I’m the type of person who likes to have control of situations. I always want others to have the perception of me that I am “put together.” This thought process was draining rather than life-giving as I thought it would be.

Recently, I was able to take a weekend to realign my heart and surrender to Jesus and I realized that all he has wanted me to do these past few weeks is to just sit and be still before him. Psalm 37:7 says this:

 Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

That’s a hard thing for me to do but it was so needed. As I have begun to be still before God, I feel refreshed and alive in Christ. My heart is starting to feel whole again, starting to heal. My trust has increased. I feel fully surrendered. I feel content. I’m still trying to process through complex thoughts and emotions but as I bring them before God asking for wisdom and discernment, I feel things start to become clearer. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Everything won’t make sense all at once but I trust in my creator to complete what he started. I can boldly come before my father and lay down my worries and fears. I can boldly ask for wisdom in the areas I still need clarity, increased trust in those areas that lack faith, and increased surrender of those things that I cling tightly to.

On a side note, when I started writing this post, I felt like I hadn’t quite figured out the ending. It felt incomplete, like there was still something I still needed to learn. Not even a day later, I was at a leader retreat and was asked to read through Psalm 37. As I came upon verse 7, I knew that God was telling me to just be still before him, to let him fix my problems. I had found my ending. It felt complete. I always find that when I write something, it never happens in just one sitting. I usually have an idea but still be processing through it. Then I will be hit hard with the conclusion or the ending that God was trying to teach me. Writing these posts has allowed me to process through a lot of really confusing things that I’ve dealt with. I always feel like my life is still being written. Each new phase will take a while to complete but God will complete the work he has started. So if you’re reading this, thank you for taking the time to listen to just a small part of my heart. I hope that you feel encourage by these words.

Lizzie

 

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Just sit at His Feet.

 

Just sit at His feet. These words have echoed through my mind a lot recently.

The past couple of days have felt like a whirlwind. On Monday, I interviewed for a teaching job in my ideal grade level. I was so nervous leading up to it but felt so much peace during the interview. I came out satisfied with the way I answered each question and felt good. I also felt so much fear. What if I actually did get this job? I would be in charge of setting up my whole classroom and preparing instruction for the first couple of weeks in less than a week and a half. I think it terrified me more to think about the what-if-this-actually-happens scenario than to think about the interview. I had come to find peace in substituting this year. The thought of doing something increasingly more difficult like have my own classroom kind of freaked me out. I sure didn’t want to take the “easy” way out (because let’s be real, substituting is not easy) but worry clouded my thoughts.

I kept hearing God say, “Sit at my feet.”

I didn’t know what that meant for me until after my interview when I got a call from another principal saying that I was recommended for a long-term substitute position she had open. My first thought was, “Oh I didn’t get the other job,” but to be honest, I felt some relief. That afternoon, God was in the middle of working in my life in a huge way. I still had no idea what He was going to do but kept hearing, “Sit at my feet.” The feet of Jesus is such an overwhelm and sweet place to be. There is so much peace, joy, and trust. I cried because even in the moment of my uncertainty, God was working in a way only He could. I felt trust that God would work things out for my good and His glory. I felt so loved and so much peace.

Thinking back over this past year, one of the hardest of my life, I can see God’s hand working. In the moments that I felt so alone, confused, and overwhelmed by my pain, He was beside me. In the moments where all I could do was weep and cry out to God, He held me. In the moments of confusion and doubt, He still called me His and never once let go. Even just thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes because I see now how God can use suffering to work in our lives. When I was walking through this past year, I told myself over and over that God would use it for His glory, but it was so hard to believe this deep in my heart. A renewed sense of God’s presence settled in my soul.

But back to the story.

God was still working in this job situation. The very next day, I had another interview that didn’t go as I had planned. I left feeling unsure. Thirty minutes later, I was on my way to see the school where I could potentially be long-term subbing for. I loved it. The principal and staff were super nice and it just felt right, however I could not commit because I wanted to hear back to be sure that I didn’t not get the other full-time job. The next 24 hours, I found myself kind of a nervous wreck, not wanting to get my hopes up but also kind of just wanting to commit to the sub position. I kept feeling like God was saying over and over, “Just sit at my feet.” So I did. I’ve never been good with decision making, mostly because I’m afraid that I’ll choose wrong.

On Wednesday, it came to the point where I had not heard back from one school about their full-time position but the other school wanted to know if I was in to long-term sub. I realized that no matter what I chose, it would be okay. I felt peace knowing that God was working and moving in this sub position. He knows my heart so well! I was feeling so overwhelmed by the possibility of having to start my own classroom in two weeks but also wanted stability in where I was teaching. I wasn’t feeling peace in either substituting full-time or having my own classroom for the whole year. This long-term sub position honestly felt like the best place for me to be (not to mention the best of both worlds) and I’m super excited to get to teach some awesome 6th graders for part of the year!

The emotional rollercoaster that I’ve been on since last Wednesday has been crazy. I’ve felt excitement, nervousness, relief, joy, peace, and every emotion in between. I also think that I was trying to please the different people in my life. There came a point where I just needed to choose and be excited for the outcome. I’ve always been under the impression that God has everything planned out for us, which in a way, He does. He knows everything that we will do before we do it but also gives us the freedom to make our own choices. I’m so grateful for that because I often feel pressure to pick the “right” choice. If I am surrendered to God’s will, I can be confident in what I choose, knowing that God has given me to opportunity to do so.

Today, I encourage you to take a break and just sit at the feet of Jesus. There really is no better place to be!

Lizzie

The long summer.

It’s been a really long summer. Despite the fact that I’ve been on vacation and experienced so many new things with my family (things which I am SO thankful for!), I’ve felt like this summer has dragged on. I just want it to end. You see, I’m a routine person. I like having things to do that are planned out and routine each week and in the summer, I lack that. I honestly can’t remember which day I’m on. They all seem to blend together. Not having a routine has caused me to come a little bit undone. I crave daily and weekly routine. (My little introverted, planning heart can’t take much more of this haha) In this loss of routine, I’ve also felt a loss of purpose this summer in a big way that I’ve never felt before.

Since each day is open to endless possibilities, it has caused me to loose the sense of purpose I had throughout college and this might be some peoples’ idea of a dream life. It felt great the first couple of weeks to just sit around and do nothing or go out on a whim and hang out with friends, but after a couple of weeks of this, it had me questioning my purpose and abilities. We were made to work, to complete tasks during a day. To fall out of the routine of doing this threw me for a loop.

In June, right after graduation, I had it in my head that I would find a part-time job for the summer and then go right into substituting this fall. Well, it’s August and I still don’t have a part-time job, not for lack of trying. I’ve sent out dozens of applications to various jobs but have yet to find one. The same thing has happened with teaching jobs. I have sat at my computer for hours filling out applications, bettering my resume, and finding the right things to say on a cover letter but have been met with rejection after rejection. It has been so hard feeling so much rejection this summer and it has caused me to feel so much insecurity about my worth and abilities. Do I even have what it takes to be a teacher?

The other day, I’d had enough. I was driving back from a weekend serving middle school students at summer camp (so I was already emotionally tired) and found myself questioning whether or not God had a plan for me. It has been really hard for me to see Jesus working in my life throughout this entire summer. So I asked God to give me purpose again, I asked Him to provide for me, and I asked for Him to be enough. I wanted to feel free from the constant desire to be in a relationship. After months of praying this prayer over and over, I kind of just gave up. And that’s when it hit me. I had been trying to do things on my own strength but I convinced myself that since I was praying about it, I was giving it up to God. In my heart though, I still held on tightly. During that moment, when I was physically and mentally exhausted and I just couldn’t anymore, I realized how much I was trying to fix things on my own strength. Being able to say, “God, I can’t anymore so you have to,” lifted the burden of trying to figure things out and placed my trust where it needed to be.

I’m honestly still trying to figure out why after months of praying that Jesus would be enough in my life and that God would take away this huge desire to not be single, He still hasn’t taken it away. However, I am confident of this: my heartache is not because He loves me any less, but because He wants to use my life for His glory. I’m also trying to figure out what God’s plan for this next season of my life is but I trust that He will provide.

Even through this difficult summer, I’ve learned to trust in God more and more. When I think back over these past few months, I’ve never once lacked peace and the knowledge that God is working in my life each day. My identity still remains in Jesus, knowing that I am enough in Him, no matter where I work or how long I am single.

Jesus died for me. That’s enough to find life in Him and trust in His faithfulness.

And He has been so faithful. This past week, I got calls for not one, but TWO interviews for teaching jobs. Yay!

I am constantly amazed by God’s goodness and am so ready to start this new season in my life. Here’s to the season of FALL, the changing of seasons, flannel, pumpkin spice, falling leaves, scarves, sweaters, boots, new jobs, cold weather, and endless possibilities.

I. LOVE. fall.

Lizzie

 

 

 

 

Trust and patience.

This has been such a stretching season for me. The past several months have been me preparing to transition into a new season of life. I if could sum up what I have learned through this season it would be these two words: trust and patience.

It all started four months ago when I had to make a split second decision about where to live. Did I want to move to be closer to potential jobs or stay in small town Cheney and be surrounded by friends? I choose the latter but in the coming months, God would use this decision to adjust my trust from myself and my own strength to God and His mighty power. A couple months after I made my decision to stay, put down my deposit for my new place, my roommates and I found out that we were not guaranteed an apartment until September. Unfortunately for us, we had to be out of our current place by July 1st. Cue the panicked, frustrated phone calls (and moments that weren’t my best yelling at the poor woman on the other end of the phone). I prayed for guidance but just felt like God was asking me to fall further onto His strength and trust His timing. After my first major freak out over our living situation, I never once felt anxious or afraid that we wouldn’t have a place to live in over the summer. And you know what? God did provide, more than I could even have asked for and Friday marks the day we move into our new place.

While this whole apartment fiasco was transpiring, I had also just entered into my final quarter of college, student teaching in a third grade classroom. My students were awesome and so sweet but I always came home exhausted and drained from the amount of work I was putting in. My friendships began to suffer because of it. I no longer wanted to go to Bible study or weekly meetings. It was a struggle for me to say yes to showing up and connecting with friends. I remember each Tuesday, I would drive home and convince myself that I had too much work to do and that I couldn’t go to Bible study that night. But, I would always feel God’s small voice telling me that I should go, that it would be worth it and it was. I certainly felt lonely this past quarter but I knew I wasn’t alone. I think the enemy tried to convince me that I could do life on my own when in reality, I needed people in my life to grow in community with. These past months have felt like the hardest and most rewarding. I felt alone but that caused me to lean into Jesus even more. God used my loneliness to produce patience and trust in who He is and what He was doing in my life. As I think about how all I could do was press further into Jesus for strength these past months, I’m amazed at how God really was my strength.

During this time, I also felt God calling me to step out of the community of believers that I had been in the past couple of years and into a new community. This terrified me because I am super introverted with new people. I tend to put on a front and have a hard time allowing people to step into my life. I remember one night as I was crying out to God asking Him to allow me to have favor in finding a new community, I remember hearing so clearly, “Lizzie, I will bless you with community.” With only this to hold onto, I plunged into serving at my church. It was intimidating and I dreaded going the first couple of weeks because I was new, didn’t know anyone, and felt out of place. But I kept showing up and it certainly wasn’t on my own strength that I was able to walk through those doors each Wednesday. God was so merciful in allowing me to find strength in Him. I saw that community didn’t develop overnight and that it would take time but I trusted that God would provide.

Throughout this past quarter, I also started to look for jobs. At first, I had it in my brain that I would get a full-time teaching position right away and things would be great and exciting. God had different plans. I put so much effort into filling out applications, arranging for supervisors to come in and observe me, and getting the right letters of recommendation. I’ve applied to so many jobs I’ve lost count. But week after week, I got rejection after rejection. I had an interview that left me feeling inadequate for the profession that I had chosen. Each new rejection dashed my hopes of ever becoming a full-time teacher. I felt lost and unsure. I applied to become a substitute teacher, just thinking that it would be my fall-back plan, that I would surely get a full-time job. Well, it’s almost the end of June and I’m still without one. I’ve struggled over the past couple of weeks with feelings of rejections, inadequacy, and lack of trust. Throughout this whole process, I’ve prayed that God would lead me in the direction that would put me in a position to be used for His glory. More and more, I’ve been feeling like He wants me in this substituting position. This has been a hard pill to swallow because it doesn’t match up to the expectations I had for my life. I began to pray that God would give my joyfulness in being a substitute if that was where He wanted me to be. He totally has. I’ve been humbled by the place in which God has chosen for me to work in the fall but I also never imagined that I would feel excitement and joy too. Yesterday, I went and picked up my badge and I was overwhelmed with joy that God provided a job for me, even though it wasn’t what I had expected. I’ve leaned more and more into Jesus because I didn’t know what the outcome would be. I think of the verse:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

This couldn’t be more true and evident in my life. I’ve asked for God to change my heart about substituting and He did. What a gracious God He is!

I’ve also felt the weight of broken relationships be lifted from me. A year ago, my family went through a major upheaval. I didn’t know how to respond. In the months that followed, I wept and cried out to God to fix what was broken. I felt anger and resentment. This went on for months. I pushed my emotions down, removed myself from that life, and plunged deeper into the life that I was living in the present. But every time I entered into this relationship, I felt anger and resentment. I felt like I had lost one of the most important relationships in my life. Then one day, I got tired of feeling this way. I was done and I didn’t want to feel anger. So I asked God to take away those feelings. I didn’t happen right away like I had thought but I kept praying, kept leaning on God’s strength rather than my own. Then one day, I felt God prompting me to extend forgiveness and so I did. Something changed. Each new day after that, I asked God to allow me to live in light of that forgiveness. My heart changed. This relationship that had caused so much pain was finally starting to feel right again and I no longer felt pain and anger towards this person. I’ve found more healing in the power of forgiveness than I have before. What a sweet Father I get to serve that would take away my pain and die for me so that He could carry the weight of my brokenness.

The final thing that has allowed me to press further into trust and patience in Christ is singleness (you’re probably rolling your eyes but yes I’m going to talk about this again). My prayer over the last few months had been for God to provide in this area, whether it be through a man that I could enter into relationship with or through finding complete joy, happiness, and contentedness through Him. Each day it feels like I would pray this prayer and not feel a difference in the way I felt. I still so desire to get married and have a family; that has not gone away nor have I felt like it has diminished. This was hard for me because I’ve seen how prayer for God to change my heart has come to fruition, as mentioned above but I still felt the same day after day. In all honesty, I don’t think the desire to be out of this season of singleness has diminished but what has changed is my trust and patience. Because I feel helpless, I have given up control in this area. I cannot on my own strength have enough patience and trust that God will provide but God in His power does. The other day, when I once again prayed that God would be enough, I felt Him saying, “Lizzie, do you trust me? Be patient.” Oh friends, what a sweet thing it is to feel completely powerless but to find strength in Jesus. He is enough and has proven that to me over and over again not only throughout these past months but through my entire life.

Yes this season of transition has been hard and yes I’m still in the midst of it but God has shown me that He is greater. He wanted to teach me to rely on His strength rather than my own. I think back to several months ago when I prayed a dangerous prayer. I asked God to be my everything and I put my yes on the table, meaning that I would do whatever He asked of me, wherever He called me. What followed was this crazy hard quarter. He has taught me that I can trust Him and that He will provide what I need and that’s where the patience comes in. Things don’t always happen when we want them to but Jesus loves me so much that He would not leave me half-way finished. He will carry out all that He has begun in me.

Sweet Father, thank you for your grace, kindness, and love. Thank you for your strength and that as I lean into you, you will provide and you will walk with me through every hill and valley.

Friends, I love sharing my heart with you! Any connections, comments, or wisdom you have is appreciated. Thanks for being willing to read this blog written by someone who’s still a work in progress.

Lizzie

Memories.

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Memories are a funny thing. Some memories bring back that sweet, warm your heart feeling, while others make you want to crawl in a corner. And then there’s some memories that can make you feel both happy and sad at the same time. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been experiencing the latter. It has suddenly hit me hard that I will be graduating from college and starting real life. I’ll be leaving behind sweet memories and it’s both exciting and sad. I think I’ve been pushing aside all of these sad, mushy feelings because I’ve convinced myself that things will not be that different next year because I’m staying in the same place and my environment will look very similar to what it is now. But next year will be different. I’ll actually be a teacher instead of learning how to be one. I won’t be in the college environment, which has been such a blessing these past couple of years. In light of all these feelings coming to light, here are some things that I will miss about college.

I will miss walking through campus. I was driving by campus the other day and suddenly had the urge to walk around it. It’s so beautiful this time of year with all the flowers and trees in bloom and I will miss walking through it on my way to class, and literally stopping to smell the roses along the way.

I will miss walking from the dorms to eat terrible campus food and seeing so many different friends, stopping to talk and ask how they are. I will miss the quick trips late at night to the market to pick up junk food so that we could have a movie marathon.

I will miss living in a dorm because it meant that I was never sitting alone on a Friday night because I could open my door, and hear music and voices drifting from my next door neighbors.

I will miss going to class (yes really!) and being challenged to think deeper. I will miss those strange gaps I had during the day that allowed for conversations with friends in the student union building. I will miss getting to meet so many people each year as new freshman rolled in.

I will miss those way too hot days in September and May where the only place to cool off from the air condition-less dorms was outside. I will miss seeing the people who shaped me throughout college. I will miss laying on my dorm room floor, talking until late about God with different people I had met. I will miss being able to get up, roll out of bed, and be where I needed to be in 15 min.

There are so many more things that I will miss about college but there are also many things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I figured out how to be independent. My first semester away at school, I was so homesick. Somehow, I figured it out and ended up moving 5 hours away to finish up my degree. I learned how to make friends and do life on my own.

I’m thankful that I began my Gilmore Girls and Parenthood obsessions and spent time with friends while doing so.

I’m thankful for the group of wonderful women who decided enter into friendship with me. Also thankful that they liked watching The Bachelor as much as I did.

I’m thankful that God brought me to the shores of Lake Tahoe last summer, when He knew that I needed community and banished every fear and doubt I ever had about going. I’m thankful that I said yes to allowing God to use my life for His purpose.

I’m thankful that I learned Jesus is everything. No matter what. Even when you’re panicking about your major. Even when you feel like you have no friends. Even when life feels hard and hurts, Jesus heals.

I’m thankful that I did not settle for less than God’s best even when temptation seemed unbearable. I’m thankful for the people who poured into me and pointed me back to Jesus when I strayed. I’m thankful that I learned how to love myself, flaws and all.

Mostly, I’m thankful that my college years set a trajectory for my life that has made me come alive and feel freedom and wholeness. I feel more in love with Jesus than I ever have before and it’s because of all the things that I listed above.

As I move out of this season, I’m trusting that God will provide in so many different ways. A job, community, and friends. He has always provided in the past and will continue to provide for the future. Only through transitioning out of one season to the next have I been able to completely trust that God will provide for me because my own human strength has not been enough. You guys, I’ve literally felt no stress this quarter even though I have so many different things that should cause me stress. It’s because Jesus is bigger and those stressors seem so small in compared to God’s greatness. I’m so thankful that I can trust God’s promises because He who began a good work in me will indeed cary it on to completion.

ONE MORE WEEK LEFT.

Lizzie

Identity issues.

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I have identity issues.

For a majority of my life, I’ve struggled with where to place my identity.

People’s approval.

Status.

Relationships.

Guys.

Success

Happiness.

These are just a few of the things that I have put my identity in. And you know what? Each and every one of these things has let me down.

I’m not saying any of these things are inherently bad, but what happens when they become everything that we are, when we place our identity in what was meant to be filled by Christ?

Let’s define identity, for the purpose of this, as:

“Condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing.”

People’s approval. The more I have sought to gain the approval of my peers, the lonelier I’ve felt. When I place my identity in what others think of me, my self-confidence and identity stem from how many friends I have in real life (and on Facebook) and the amount of followers I have on Instagram. How fickle that can be. I have seen that in these times when the approval of people matters the most, I develop surface level relationships in order to be well liked and neglect those relationships that matter the most. And because I placed my identity in whether people liked me, it caused ups and downs, and it was exhausting.

Status. This one goes right along with the approval of other people. When I thought it was more important to be elevated to the highest position, to be regarded as highly spiritual and a leader, I felt the furthest away from Christ. My relationship with Him was not authentic, it felt more like a show. As my time as a leader came to a close, I felt lost because I determined that I wasn’t needed anymore and I felt neglected. The result of both of these things was loss of purpose. And because I placed my identity in whether or not I was needed and had status, it caused ups and downs, and it was exhausting.

Relationships. This is not referring to romantic relationships (I’ll get to that one next). What I’m referring to is placing your identity in having deep friendships, having a best friend. I’ve always envied those people who have that one person in their lives that they do everything with. I never had that until recently (shoutout to my roomie!). But when I placed my identity in striving to find that one person whom I could become best friends with, I denied God the chance to enter my heart in that capacity. Growing up, I was shy and introverted. All I wanted was to be someone’s best friend but rarely left the walls of my home. I remember being rejected by people growing up and this led to me closing myself off. In middle school I was lonely. In high school I was lonely. For the first part of college, I felt awfully lonely as well. And because I placed my identity in friendships, it caused ups and downs, and it was exhausting.

Guys. For much of my life, I have dreamed of the man I am going to marry. I have prayed for him and longed for him to be in my life. But he still hasn’t come. Because I placed my identity in guys, a gaping hole was formed. I would pine after guys, often times new guys I met would instantly capture my attention. My emotions went up. Then, nothing would happen. My emotions would plummet. I was faced with a question I’m still wrestling through: would I still have faith and trust in God if He told me that I was called to be single the rest of my life? Because I placed my identity in my relationship status, it caused ups and downs and it was exhausting.

Success. School has always come easy to me. I really didn’t have to put too much effort into getting good grades throughout high school and even into the first few years of college. Then I started teaching. While I knew the book smarts of teaching, I struggled with the balance of multitasking, solving disputes, and providing students with interactive and engaging activities. I was way outside of my comfort zone and because I had placed my identity in success, as it became harder, and my self-worth and confidence were hard to come by. I struggled with believing that this was where God had called me and began to question His plan for my life. And because I placed me identity in success, it caused ups and downs. And it was exhausting.

Happiness. There have been two major times in my life when I have felt the joy and happiness sucked out of me. First, in middle school and even into the beginning of high school, I was so lonely. I was the subject of gossip and teasing by girls in my classes. I felt anything but joy. In order to break away from the hurt, I turned to watching copious amounts of TV. I would immerse myself in fake reality because the lives of those on TV seemed so much happier than mine. Happiness was failing me. Second, this past year, my family unit fell apart. I took so much pride and happiness in my family and how strong we were. But there were cracks that no one perceived as ready to break open. There was very little happiness amidst so much hurt and pain. And because I placed my identity in how happy I was and whether or not life was great, I felt emotional ups and downs.

It was exhausting. Draining. Life-sucking.

But then, Jesus entered. Well actually, He was always there, just waiting for me to say, “Yes. Jesus, be my identity.” So then, my identity became Jesus and things changed drastically.

People’s approval. Jesus. Approval.

Status. Jesus. Daughter of a King.

Relationships. Jesus. Close relationships.

Guys. Jesus. Content in singleness.

Success. Jesus. Self-worth.

Happiness. Jesus. JOY.

The ups and downs were replaced with constant love. My self-confidence and worth were no longer rooted in the things that sucked the life from me.

They were found in the giver of life. That is something to rejoice in!

If you find yourself placing your identity in things that are life-taking, turn to the One who promises a well that will never run dry. Don’t believe the lies. Jesus died for you and me, He is enough. Trust in that today.

Lizzie

 

 

Feeling discontent.

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Lately, I’ve been feeling really discontent. Yesterday, I yelled and screamed and slammed my hands against the steering wheel.

My heart felt heavy.

I felt so alone. And I’m going to be honest with you, I felt so discontent in my singleness.

But, I keep being reminded that God calls people in and out of singleness. I know that God has asked me to be content with where He has me right now but I’ve found myself asking God to take away this calling that has felt more like a burden lately.

But, I’ve also asked God for provision to be content for however long this season lasts.

And He has been so faithful.

The other day, I came across this article about how marriage is not the mission. Rather, the mission is to run passionately towards Christ, build intimacy with Him, and live as people who have been sent to carry the call of the Great Commission.

God’s original intent was for us to live so intimately with Him, that nothing else would matter. He created us in His image, we were supposed to live in partnership with Him. But that partnership was broken when sin entered the world. Now, we have to fight to have the level of intimacy with Christ that was meant for us all along. And I don’t mean fight in a bad way. I just mean that sin moves our focus from God so it becomes harder to keep our hearts turned towards God.

This past weekend, I also had the opportunity to attend a conference through my church. I didn’t know what to expect but I felt excited and expectant of what God was going to do. The second day of the conference, I heard from a speaker who talked about something that is so relevant to me: singleness. Her perspective was so refreshing. Often times, in the church, singleness is looked down upon and marriage is celebrated.

But the truth is, both should be equally celebrated!

Marriage is good but so is singleness (Can I get an amen?). People are called in and out of seasons of singleness.

That calling should be celebrated.

That season should be cherished.

Singleness provides opportunity to put all your focus on God, instead of trying to also please another person. And don’t get me wrong, marriage is still wonderful and something I hope to enter into in the future. But these words are so refreshing. The perspective I’ve had of my singleness has overwhelmingly been one of disgust, sadness, and jealousy. But now, I look towards this season with joy, excitement, and thankfulness (Though some days, I need more encouragement than others).

I think back to the day that I cried out to Jesus, so desperate for Him to take away the pain and burden of singleness. Instead, He provided, oh so faithfully. He has given me so much more than I ever asked for. The past few weeks, I have experienced deeper relationship with Christ than I ever before.

The deep void that I thought needed to be filled with relationship really needed to be filled with Jesus.

More and more of Jesus.

My human tendencies tell me that I need another person to make me complete, but Jesus tells me I need Him. I believe this with my whole heart but it’s easy to forget as I go about my daily life. Sometimes, Jesus feels distant. He feels so far away in fact, that my own desires cloud the truth: that He will never leave me. I’ve come to learn that even in those seasons of doubts and restlessness, God is working, even more mightily. If I run after Him, I will find Him. He will be enough.

I hope I haven’t come across as spewing the Christian answer of, “God is all you need and everything else will fix itself.” I know it’s hard. I struggle everyday to overcome the desire of my sinful nature. There are many days that I fail. I end up feeling sorry for myself and become overwhelmed with jealousy. But I’ve learned that Jesus is bigger than that. Even if each day isn’t perfect, I can rest in the knowledge that I am sill loved deeply by my Father, the one who created me in His image.

On a side note, I graduate in six weeks and that is both equally terrifying and exciting. Who thought I would ever get to this point in my life so quickly? Certainly not me. Here’s to passionately pursuing Jesus and serving the kiddos I get to work with everyday for the next 42 days.

I hope you feel encouraged today!

Lizzie

 

 

Trusting in God’s timing.

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~Photo taken by my incredibly talented friend, Emily~

Life has been a bit overwhelming lately. I have found myself feeling more and more overwhelmed by lies that the enemy is feeding me.

I’m not good enough.

I’m not confident enough.

I don’t have enough skill.

I’m not ready.

I graduate from college in three months. It feels like I have three months to figure out the direction of my life. Three months to get a stable job to support myself. Three months to finish this little thing called college I started four years ago, as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed freshman.

My, how times have changed.

I wish I could go back and tell that young, bright girl to enjoy the moment, to not be so afraid of what others think of you. Be confident in your heavenly Father and who He created you to be. My time in college would have been so different if I hadn’t been consumed by trying to gain the approval of my peers and focus on pursuing the plan I had for my life. But I’m also thankful for the growth that has come from these insecurities. I’m grateful that God allowed me to experience these trials and that He was always walking through each new growing experience with me. There have been times when I’ve felt distant and far from God, but I’ve never felt abandoned, I’ve never felt alone.

I also wish I could tell that young girl not to get caught in her owns plans but to live expectant of what God could do. I remember many nights where I would sit on my dorm room floor and cry because life wasn’t going the way had planned it. I would yell and scream at God for allowing things to be the way they were. I felt overwhelmed by the things that I didn’t yet have but my heart wanted so badly.

How do you reconcile the loss of your plans with the plan that God has for you?

This is the question I’ve asked myself over and over as I saw my plans become obsolete and God’s plans become greater. I saw what God had planned was so much greater than I could ever imagine, even if it meant giving up some of the ideas for my life that I held onto so tightly.

This is something I still struggle with. There are parts of my life plan that I so dearly want and have yet to see come to fruition. Many days, I feel sad and disappointed. I question God and His great plan but then I hear Him whisper,

“Lizzie, trust me. Just trust me.”

I hear those words and my hearts becomes stilled.

I stop and think, am I really trusting God? How can I trust Him more? For the most part, my heart desire has transformed from what I want in life, my plans, my hopes and dreams into a desire to serve the Lord and chase after Him.

Everyday is a new chance to trust. I’m still processing through what this looks like in my life today, with graduation just a few months away. I am far from perfect at trusting and serving with a grateful heart. I still feel overwhelmed by where the next part of my journey will take me.

I don’t feel like I’m skilled enough, good enough, or brave enough. But God sees me differently. Throughout the Bible, God uses the least likely people to be ambassadors. Moses, Zacchaeus, Rehab, the list goes on. He uses the weak to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth so that we may not boast in ourselves, but in Christ.  In 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 it says:

4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but out competence comes from God.

This is the hope that I cling to. Even when I don’t feel like I am good enough, God asks me to be willing, not perfect. So when I start to feel overwhelmed by the lies that I revert back to and believe, I remember that the God of the universe is there, and He knows what He’s doing.

Where does your confidence lie? Is it in your ability and your plan? Or is your confidence rooted in Christ and dependent on what He can do through you?

Lord, show me how I can do this in my life today, not when I’m graduated or when I have a stable job or when I’m married. Show me how I can serve and trust with all that I am today instead of waiting for tomorrow.

I hope you feel encouraged today!

Lizzie

When God says no.

tahoe-2What happens when God says no?

I’ve been struggling with this lately. There are so many areas in my life where I want God to say, “Yes,” and provide in a real, tangible way. I want Him to provide reconciliation, my dream job, and my dream man. I am pretty impatient most of the time and I find myself wanting to see God provide these things right now. But sometimes He says no. Sometimes He says wait, be patient.

Those are my least favorite words.

“Be patient.”

“But, God, why not now? Why do I have to wait”

This is usually how the conversation goes.

It ends with me asking why and God saying wait.

This makes me wonder, is my tendency to doubt God and base my faith on feelings? Is my faith based on whether or not God moves in tough situations or provides when I ask? Or, is my faith placed in knowing that God is good and faithful, even when I don’t feel like He is answering me?

I think I tend to base my faith on feelings rather than simply because God is sovereign. When things are going well in life, my faith soars but when I walk through valleys, I feel distant from God, lacking trust and faith that He’s still there.

But recently, I’ve seen my attitude towards faith change radically.

Even though I’ve felt God in real, tangible ways throughout my life, it’s easy to forget those moments when life is hard. I’ve realized that my faith have very much been tied to what I am feeling and that’s a dangerous place for me to dwell in. My faith has not always been accompanied by God’s presence and the feeling of walking down a perfect, easy road. My faith journey has been scattered with brokenness and suffering. I have walked through valleys that have seemed long and filled with the word no. If I had let my feelings dictate my faith, I would not be the woman I am today and I would not have faith that is rooted in who God is rather than what I am feeling. I think that I would have turned from my faith long ago, because I just didn’t feel that God was there.

Each of those valleys, though, has caused me to put more and more faith in who God is, rather than if I am feeling God at that moment. But I also haven’t be passive during those moments. I have cried out to God, asking Him to move in the situation, to speak to me, to fix whatever is wrong. In crying out to God, He has mercifully answered in ways I could have never imagined but that are also not in line with what I had hoped for. He often times says, “No,” to what I have imagined the fix to be but has answered in ways that are so much better. Knowing that He is sovereign, holy, and good gives me the ability to trust in the plan He has ordained, knowing ultimately that He will never leave me.

So what does happen when God says no?

I think it’s important to remember that even though God may not be moving in the way you had hoped, He’s still moving. He may have a better plan than you could ever have imagined. If God says no to giving you your self-chosen “dream job,” He has a better plan in mind. If God says no to healing, trust that He will use it for His glory and that good will still prevail. If God says no, rest in the knowledge that He is good and works everything out for the good.

It says in Romans 8:26-28 (MSG):

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

The God who created the universe knows and loves us. He has called us to faith that is not dependent on feeling, but rather trust that He is good and sovereign. He knows our prayers, even when we have no words left to say. He knows every detail, desire, and hope we have far better than we know and allows us to stay present before God. He works in our lives to produce something good, even in the mess and suffering.

And especially when He says no.

Friend, I don’t know what struggles you have, the path that you are on, and the condition of your faith but I do know what it’s like to be in those places. Don’t loose faith because God says know. Have hope because He is working on something far greater than you could ever dream of.

Have faith. Trust that He is God. Trust even when you don’t feel like God is there. He’s still moving.

Just wait.

It’s going to be awesome.

Lizzie

P.S. This MercyMe song has been on repeat the last couple of days for me and I’ve had to ask myself, will my hope still be in God even if He says no? If you’re needing encouragement, give it a listen!

 

Hope in suffering.

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I sometimes think about how Eve ate the apple and get frustrated. No, actually, I get angry. I’m angry that because of temptation and evil, there has to be pain and suffering in the world. I’m angry that because of disobedience, there is poverty, inequality, and starvation afflicting so many around the world. I’m angry that there is conflict and war devastating people’s livelihoods, forcing them to flee to foreign places, not even knowing the language spoken in those countries. Mostly, I’m angry that God has given us free will and choice to do what we please because we usually run in the opposite direction.

But, when I think about it, I’m also glad. I’m glad that God gives us the choice to either walk in truth or reject it and He never forces us to submit. I’m glad that He loves me enough to give me free will, even if it means that I might walk away from Him. I’m glad that even through suffering, there is goodness and faithfulness.

Over the summer, I got the opportunity to live in South Lake Tahoe on a summer mission. I was there for ten weeks and experienced community in ways I never could have imagined. That summer has changed the way I view my relationship with Christ. I am more in love with Him now than ever before. I also experienced hard things that summer. I remember one Sunday, I was at church. The music and preaching was mediocre, I felt overwhelmed by the pain that I was going through, and I was pretty apathetic toward the whole church thing. The worship band began playing the last song and I stood there, halfheartedly singing the lyrics. Suddenly, I felt the weight of God’s goodness and faithfulness on my life. I recalled several times in my life where God had come through, when He was good to me and most importantly, when He was faithful. I had to sit down because I was so overwhelmed. I had never experienced God in this way before. I felt as if God was saying,

“Lizzie, look what I have done in your life. I will continue to move just like I have in the past.”

That was the most intense encounter I’ve had with God. You see, just weeks prior, I had cried out to God in desperation and it felt like He was not listening.

But He was.

Why do I ever doubt that God is good?

With so much pain and suffering in the world, my tendency is feel overwhelmed and doubt that God is good. I can’t explain why there are children dying of starvation and lack of medical care simply because that’s where they were born. I can’t explain why I was given the opportunity to grow up in a loving home, free from worry about where our next meal would come from while children are born into poverty and hate. This is something I have struggled with throughout my walk with God and during this summer. I couldn’t answer the “why” questions. I had doubts, fears, and anger about why God would allow things to happen that were painful and out of my control. I felt so much anger towards God. It simply couldn’t be that pain and suffering was in His plan.

I remember so many nights when I wept, screamed, and cried out to God.

And it felt like He was silent.

Up until that one morning when He showed me He was still good, He was still God, and He was still faithful. I am so grateful that amidst my pain, God showed up, like He always has and always will. I’m grateful that He choose the perfect time to remind me of this, a time when I was at my lowest.

Friends, I don’t know what you’re going through right now or how hopeless your situation feels, but I do know that I’ve been there. It’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to ask God why, it’s okay to just sit in your grief.

But don’t stop there.

Ask God for clarity, ask Him for faith, even it when it seems hopeless, and ask Him for joy in the midst of pain and suffering. Ask Him to just be with you. Even when it feels like life is falling apart, there is hope. Even when you’re experiencing deep hurt and pain, there is joy. And even when you feel alone, God is still there.

This is the hope that I choose to cling to. Romans 15:13 says,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

He is the God of hope and He will fill us with joy and peace as we trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I hope you feel encouraged today!

Lizzie