After the Inauguration- My Thoughts

I want to start off this post first by saying that I am not trying to get into a political argument. I don’t have a desire to argue via social media. Secondly, I want to make it clear that I do not advocate for everything that Trump has ever said or done, so do not assume that. Throughout this election, I have been debating whether to write something about my thoughts or ideas and have always decided not to. However, with the recent events after the Inauguration I felt it was time for me to at least express my thoughts, so let’s get this rant started. I am twenty and I am part of a generation that feels entitled. When we were growing up everyone got a trophy. You sit on the bench for the whole game or in my case you practice ballet on the soccer field and guess what? You get a trophy. In no way did me dancing around earn me a trophy for playing soccer. This idea has followed us throughout our lives. We think we deserve freedom and justice yet we are not the ones out there fighting for it. Men and women risk their lives every single day to give us just that. We do not deserve a single bit of the freedom that we have because we have done nothing to earn it. We are so blessed to live in a country that gives us that freedom even though we are undeserving. To speak directly to what is going on in the last two days I would like to say this. I have no problem with protesting. I think protesting is a great thing. In the Constitution, we are granted freedom of speech and peaceful protesting is a great way to use that. What I do have a very big problem with is when protesting becomes riots. I do not care who you are or what political party you are a part of. This speaks to both Republicans and Democrats after any election, not just this one. Burning property, breaking windows, vandalizing, becoming violent and interfering with innocent people’s safety is not okay and it is NOT protesting. That is a riot. I also think that burning a flag that means so much to the men and women that fight and risk their lives for us to have these freedoms is wrong. I want to be clear, I am not speaking to any groups in particular, but America as a whole. That is not the right way to go about anything, and it will not accomplish anything. You can burn all the flags and limousines that you want, but at the end of the day the President of the United States will still be YOUR president as long as you are in this country. You may not agree with everything he has ever said or done. I never have agreed with everything that a president has said or done. There have been presidents that I really didn’t like, that is life. However, they were still my president because I am an American. So please, realize that violence and harsh words will not help anything, regardless of what election it is. If you don’t like who the president is, pray. Pray that they would succeed anyway. If the president fails, the whole country fails. Pray that they would make wise decisions and that they would surround themselves with wise people. There will always be elections where your candidate does not win. You can never get everything you want, but violence will not change a thing. It will only hurt and destroy. Our country is broken. A president cannot fix the mess we have created. God is the only one who can heal our nation, but we need to turn back to Him.

 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Opening Up

This is a hard blog for me to write because the only person I have ever really talked about it with is my fiancé, but as I was driving to work this morning it was something that was laid on my heart. It is always hard to talk about personal issues but I feel like sometimes it is exceptionally hard for me because I feel the need to seem as though I have it all together. Well let me let you in on a little secret. I don’t. For years, I have struggled with my self-image. I have always looked in the mirror and hated the reflection. I hide my insecurities as much as I can in any way possible. Going through middle and high school I looked around me and everyone seemed to be so much smaller, so much skinnier, so much prettier. My siblings are both very small; my friends were all skinnier than me and the devil used this to his major advantage. I always would tell myself that I needed to lose weight, and I mean a lot of weight. I wanted to lose 20-30 pounds. However, I also love food and thankfully I was never able to get myself to do anything drastic. Any time we talked about self-image at church or school I always pretended it was something other people struggled with but of course I couldn’t. After all I was a pastor’s kid. Of all people, I should know where my worth comes from, right? Wrong! High school ended and college began and with the beginning of freshman year came Alex, also known as my first boyfriend and soon to be husband. The insecure girl that I was began to look to him for my worth. Does he think I look pretty? Does he think I am fat? The devil was constantly telling me that he won’t like me anymore or someone prettier will come along and steal him away, and that never happened. The whole season of wedding planning is hard for girls. First of all, wedding dresses come 2-3 sizes smaller than normal clothes. That means that your wedding dress will be 2-3 sizes BIGGER than your normal dresses. Whose idea was that?!?!?! At a time when girls are already insecure and trying to lose a lot of weight to look like the models in the bridal magazines that they pour themselves over, they are forced to get a dress 2-3 sizes bigger than normal. That’s not an easy pill to swallow for those insecure like me. Secondly, everyone is always talking about the “wedding diet”, like it is a requirement to lose a lot of weight before the wedding. For me this is just another way to get down on myself and think that I have a lot of work to do to make Alex actually want to marry me on our wedding day. Throughout this wedding planning season, I have learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot about myself and also a lot about God’s views of me. All these years of thinking I am ugly and fat is basically telling God that he made a mistake. Whoa there. Who do I think I am to think I know better than God. Has He ever made a mistake? Nope. Did He make a mistake with me? No way! I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. I am not ugly or fat. I am perfectly beautiful in the eyes of Christ. I don’t need to go on some crazy diet to lose a ton of weight so Alex will marry me. The diamonds on my finger remind me that he already does ;). He fell in love with me. Not some picture in a magazine that I think I should look like, but the real me. Also, those pictures are fake and nothing like real life for those who do not know. Photoshop is an amazing thing. So here is what I have learned from this long story about my struggles. Everyone is made perfect. There is no mistake. To anyone reading this who has had a struggle like I have, you are beautiful! God made you in His image! You are perfect the way you are! Do not let the mean comments that others make hurt you. Those comments come from their own insecurities. Be a light in the darkness. Be confident in who Christ made you to be. Do not cower from the devil’s lies. Stand up and fight. The devil knows our weaknesses and it is important that we know them as well. My weakness is my self-image so I know that is where he will try to get me down. By knowing that is my weakness I am able to be proactive in fighting and not passive. I will not be the insecure girl I was. I am a child of the King and He made me beautiful for His glory and to do His work in this world. I don’t need to change who I am, I need to be the change!

A life is a life

It has been a while since I have taken the time to sit down and write a blog. However, with the bill in Ohio State banning abortions after the heartbeat begins and the impending backlash from pro-choice activists across the country I felt very burdened to sit and write this post. I am not naïve enough to think that I will be able to change every person’s mind through a blog. My only goal is to speak the truth and to hopefully make people think. Before I begin I want to make my views clear. I believe that life begins at conception. I know that is a very extreme view compared to what mainstream culture believes but that is my belief and conviction. This blog post however is going to focus on the new bill in Ohio and why it should make sense. When a person is on their death bed there is one thing that shows everyone that they are alive. That heartbeat on the monitor. You can see the peaks from where the heart is beating. When that line goes flat and the heart stops beating that means one thing. That person is declared dead without a heartbeat. The fact that the lack of a heartbeat results in death should mean that having a heartbeat means you are alive, right? That seems like a logical thought process to me. However, it is being fought back so hard and it hurts me to think that our world is so sick that when a baby’s heart is beating they are still not considered a person. That baby has every right to be here as do you and I yet they are not given that right. I know the big argument is “well what if the mother is raped or what is she can’t support the baby”. I believe that there is a purpose and a plan for every single life, whether that person chooses to see it or not. I know that there are thousands of families who cannot have biological children themselves and are seeking to adopt those children. I do not think that any child is a mistake. Yes, there are cases when the family cannot support a baby. I understand that, but I also know that there are so many families who would love the opportunity to support that child. I also know the argument “well what if the mother’s life is in danger?” This one caused my fiancé and I to have a pretty difficult discussion last night because it is always a possibility. What if one day we are so excited to bring a little baby into this world and something goes terribly wrong. What if the doctor goes to him and says either we kill the baby or your wife dies? What do you do in that situation? We talked for a while about what that would be like and came to a very difficult decision. I believe that it is never right to take the life of a person. That baby inside of me would be a person and it is my job to protect that person until he or she comes out of the womb. I am to put his or her best interest above my own. That is part of being a parent. A parent is called to care for that child and if that means I am to give my own life so that my child can live then that is what I would do. Of course, I pray that we never have to come to that but it is always a possibility. God makes all life sacred. Even a 6-week-old baby in the mother’s womb. It is not the mother’s body. There is a separate body inside of the mother. The mother is to protect that body not to destroy it to look out for her own best interest. When it comes to any argument about pro-life vs. pro-choice there are always a lot of scenarios thrown out. “Well what if this happens” “what about this situation”. My views remain the same. A life is a life and should always be protected. And my God never makes mistakes. He planned that life and that situation to bring glory to Him. To bring it back to the beginning. A heartbeat can’t mean life at the end if you refuse to see it as life in the beginning.

Preparing for Marriage

As many of you know by now I am getting married in 192 days (but who is counting). I knew exactly what I wanted as far as planning the wedding goes (I have had a wedding board on pinterest since middle school…..). Recently, I have been focusing more on what comes after the wedding. Our culture portrays everything as a fairytale leading up to the wedding. I am a sucker for a good Hallmark movie. Yes they are predictable, but I love the typical boy meets girl, fall and love, and get married. For me, thats pretty much how it went. I knew I wanted to marry my fiance long before he proposed. People ask how I knew and it is something that I can’t quite explain. I just did. Now I have a ring on my finger and a constantly growing pile of wedding decor in my house (I can’t stop shopping!). After spending countelss hours planning and pinning the thought occured to me. The wedding doesn’t matter. WHAT?!?! I can still get married without a wedding? You see, there is more to a marriage than a wedding in a barn with roses and lace and burlap and christmas lights and everything I have ever dreamed my wedding would be. Somewhere along the way I feel that we have lost the purpose for the wedding. A wedding is not to show off your money or to out do your friends. A wedding is about two people becoming one. You don’t need a fancy wedding for that happen (not saying I am not going to have an amazing wedding because you better believe I am going to plan something amazing!!! 🙂 ). I have been reading this book by Vicki Courtney called “Ever After”. I do not know if I have ever had a book define me so well. Everything she talks about it seems as though I have had that same thought. It’s about every girl’s dream fairytale. Prince Charming comes and proposes and you ride off into the sunset to your castle. She takes this story and makes it reality. My Prince Charming will fail me. He is human. We will never live in a castle and our lives will not be perfect. She says “our culture has made an idol out of the wedding day and a mockery out of a marriage”. This is basically the point of this blog. I get so caught up in the wedding plans that I forget about what comes after. THE MARRIAGE! That is the point of it all. Marriage is hard and it is work. My expectations will never be met. If I keep these fairytale expectations I will be nothing but disappointed. Alex will disapoint me and I will disapoint him. I will burn dinner. I will forget to clean. I will spend too much money (Whoops). I will make mistakes and so will he. We will not live like Cinderella and Prince Charming. However, we will have the foundation that will make our marriage last. We will have the foundation of Christ. He is the only Prince Charming that will never disappoint. He will never fail us. Take heart in that. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A cord of three strands is not quicly broken”.This is how I will chose to go into my marriage. I will choose to leave my perfectionist fairytale expectations and cling to Christ.

Lessons from Wedding Planning

So I have been engaged for 4 months now. As much as people try to tell you about wedding planning, you really don’t know what to expect until you are doing it yourself. I love being engaged, and I am so excited to get married, but wedding planning is not all happy moments and wedding cakes. Wedding planning is also hard. With all of that being said here are five lessons I have learned from my wedding planning experience so far.

You will cry

Tears are bound to be shed at some point or another. Good grief, if you are like me it will be an almost daily occurrence. (I wish I was kidding). There are stressful tears like when you think about everything that needs to be done. There are happy tears like when you find your wedding dress. There are tears where you have no valid experience for crying, but yet your eyes seem to have a mind of their own. Again, I wish I was kidding, but crying is normal. This is such an emotional time and you cannot help that.

Everyone will have an opinion

Everyone will have an opinion on everything, from the little things to the big things. It is important to explain early on what you want, and to decide whose opinions matter to you and whose you are just going to ignore. People will always think that you should have done something different, but what is important is that you make your wedding day about you and your fiancé. At the end of the day that is all that matters. It does not matter what people think as long as the two of you are happy.

Stress is normal

To be honest I did not expect to experience so much stress so fast. It hit me like a brick wall and I do not handle stress well. (My poor fiancé). Sometimes I feel stressed and cannot even figure out why I am stressed. Your brain will be exhausted. (This is where the emotional tears come in). It is so important to have your fiancé by your side for support when you are trying to decide how you want your day to be. It is about the two of you after all. Be prepared for stress, but be prepared for fun as well.

It is fun

Through all the stress and chaos there is so much fun in wedding planning. Everything from picking a venue, food, photographer and dress to making registries and expanding your Pinterest board. This is such an exciting time. Do not let the stress rule you. It is so important to enjoy all of the little moments that come along with wedding planning.

The little things are not that important

Yes the details play a part in the wedding, but there are some things that you just need to let slide. Some things will not go your way, I promise. It is important to think about the bigger picture. At the end of the day, you will still be getting married even if it is raining outside, or if your tablecloths are off-white instead of white. Do not let the little things take away from the fun and excitement of it all.

Obviously I do not know it all. I still have 6 months to go before I get to say “I do” to my man, but I hope that I can share what I have learned so far with someone who can learn from it.

 

College Update 4

The spring semester is coming to an end. I cannot believe that I only have 4 weeks left in my freshman year in college. This year has been challenging in ways that I never imagined. I have also experienced some exciting things that I would have never experienced had I not been at Liberty for the last two semesters. That being said, I have decided that I will not be returning to Liberty in the fall. I am thankful for the time that I spent there because it has taught me a lot and made me grow and mature in many ways. However, I feel God leading me down a different path. Starting in the fall I will be taking classes at an online university. I will be pursuing a degree in Human Development and Family Studies and I am so excited to start the classes and start learning all that I can. It has taken a lot of thought and prayer to come to this decision, but I am certain that I have made the right one. A lot is going to be changing in my life, and taking classes all online will provide me a lot more freedom to travel and work and it will provide me with a lot more flexibility with my schedule. Thank you all for your prayers and support during this time of transition. I am so excited to see what my future holds!

His Love Never Fails

If you’re human like I am, you have messed up. Some mistakes may be big and some may be little. Regardless of the mistake, you often times are left with a feeling of guiltiness and remorse. You see, I am a perfectionist, and sometimes I tend to have legalistic tendencies. I tend to think that the things that do or don’t do will make God love me more or less. It leaves me with a feeling of being in bondage and slavery. I am a slave to my own actions and thoughts. I feel trapped and stuck because I cannot achieve what I think to be the level of a “good Christian”. I feel as though I am never good enough, smart enough, or spiritual enough. I have found that I am aiming for a level of perfection that I will never achieve. Only one person has ever reached that level, and that person is Jesus. I have spent my Christian life being trapped in my own perfection. While I have been trying to make God love me He has been trying to tell me that He already does. In the midst of the storm of emotions and disappointments in this life there is a still small voice saying, “Child, in me you have freedom.” Freedom is the release from bondage. Freedom is a concept so hard for me to grasp. As a result of our sin nature, we often think that we are in control of our lives and that we have the ability to do things to make God love us. What happens when we let this result guide our lives is what I talked about above. Bondage, slavery, guiltiness, hopelessness. We have freedom in Christ because He has set us free. He has set us free from ourselves and from our sin. He has set us free from control. He has a perfect plan for each life and we need not worry about what will happen because it is in God’s hands. God loves us through our mistakes. He loves us through our imperfections because it is through them that His power and glory is shown. He uses our imperfections in ways we could never imagine. There is no need to try and make God love you more because He already loves you more than you could ever imagine. There is no need strive for an unrealistic idea of perfection because you will never reach it. We can rest in the peace and freedom that God is in control and loves us through our mistakes and failures. His love never fails.