Good to be Alive

Are you an optimistic person, or are you one that tends to be pessimistic about life?

In the world we live in, it is so easy to be quick in finding the negative in everything. Whether it’s always finding something wrong with the food we eat at restaurants, focusing on all the little bad things that went on in a single day, or finding the worst in others, our human minds are focused on human things that fulfill or satisfy us.

After doing a devotional with a dear friend of mine, he was talking about how we shouldn’t worry or fear because God has everything under His control…not ours. He said that we should enjoy every day and not spend it throwing a pity party for ourselves and feeling bad for ourselves.

It got me thinking about how I’ve been viewing my life lately. I’ve let little things get me down, making me dread my day to day tasks. Instead of looking at the positive, I’ve let the negativity of others and the negativity of my circumstances to over-rule the many positive things in my life.

If you really think about it, we have sooo much going for us…so much positive things around us. Every single thing that is around us is a gift and a blessing. Your family, friends, pets, jobs, vehicles, food, water, clothing, shelter. These are the big, obvious things. We also have A/C, hair brushes, electronics, and so much more. That’s what I’m talking about…getting down to the detailed things. Just pause and sit there and think about it for a minute or two. Oh, and there’s one little detail I left out. You’re ALIVE! That may just be a super small thing, but I just thought I’d throw that in there too ūüėČ

There is so much to be grateful for.

If you are that kind of person who tends to be pessimistic, it’s okay. It really is, but it isn’t a bad thing to look at things from a happy, positive perspective too.

If you’re worrying about something, Jesus said if we have faith just as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. Why does it have to be that small? Because He already has everything in control anyways. If He tells us not to worry and to have faith and find joy in Him, shouldn’t we take Him at His Word for that? I believe so.

Be joyful. Be positive. Enjoy life, because it’s too short to be an unhappy, miserable, worrisome, human being.

Be…ALIVE!

Read: 

  • Matthew 17:20
  • Romans 15:13
  • Galatians 5:22-23
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16

 

Snatched

Have you ever seen a bird fly into a window, making a sudden landing, and not being able to get back up?

Yeah, well, I had the privilege of witnessing that a couple of days ago at work.

I heard a thump and saw something fly into the window, and I looked down to see a stunned bird flapping around on the ground, struggling to get back up and functioning like normal.

The bird had eventually disappeared, and the next day, it was there again, looking stunned and stuck and lying still on the hard, hot sidewalk. As I kept watching the bird, a buzzard flew down, inched up to the bird, snatched it, and flew away with it.

More than anything, I was shocked at what had just happened, and I thought about the bird and what it had experienced for the last 24 hours of what it had left of its life.

Not only did I think about the bird, but I thought about us, as human beings…

So often, we run ourselves down. We take a big hit, fall, and end up paralyzed, not knowing how to get back up and live life to its fullest again. That’s where our enemy wants us. Stuck. On the ground. Looking around, lifeless.

Whether you have made a mistake (big or small, they’re all the same), dragged yourself into an addiction (drugs, alcohol, pills, sex, porn, etc.), were just diagnosed with something you wish you could get rid of, or are struggling with fear, anxiety, depression, etc., you don’t have to stay in the state you’re in. It’s when we stay where we are that the devil will come up and snatch us, just like the buzzard did to the little bird. When we’re snatched up, we’re allowing the devil to let the world take full control over our lives.

Yes, you took a wrong path that ran you into the ground, but you can have a renewed life. You can look up versus looking around. You can have feeling and life again when you look up to God and give Him everything you are going through. He will pull you up and make you new. He will make a way to get you out, far away from where you are now.

1 Peter 5:8 says we are to be sober minded because of the enemy who is on prowl, waiting to snatch you up and take you away. We are to be alert. The bird became alert right before it was snatched. After that, it was too late. It is never too late, however, for your life to be turned around for the better.

Keep your eyes fixed on Christ and you won’t run yourself down. You won’t become paralyzed, and you won’t be snatched up. Even if you think you’ve already blown it, though, it’s never too late to get back on the right flight path.

Holding the Rock

Have you ever held a rock in your hand, gripping it so tight that it can’t fall out? Or, on another thought, have you ever scooped up sand in your hand, watching it fall through your fingers to quickly be left empty-handed?

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus spoke about a parable of a wise man whose house was built on a firm foundation. When all aspects of nature occurred, the house never fell or was moved. Jesus also spoke about a foolish man whose house was built on dirt, or sand. When the floods and rains came and when the winds blew, the house fell and crumbled to the ground. Its foundation wasn’t strong, leaving the property barren.

The parable was told in order to teach a lesson.

Our lives are either built on a solid foundation (Jesus Christ), or they are built on a foundation that washes out fast (Reliance on ourselves and others).

What is the first thing you do when something doesn’t go your way, or when you are struck with something that is completely different than what you intended or wanted to happen?

For a lot of people, including myself, our automatic reaction is to panic, worry, fear, and doubt. Another task is added to your list and pile of endless work, and you get anxious, trying to figure out how everything will get done.¬† The job of your dreams turns you down, and you’re left wandering in an empty desert that goes on for miles and miles. You applied to the college that you’ve always wanted to get accepted to, but they cut you short by informing you that you didn’t get in. A family member is sick, you get in a car accident, or you lose a family member or close loved one. The possibilities are endless.

There is so much that goes wrong in our eyes in life, and instead of reaching out and grasping the Rock (God), we take hold on things that leaves us empty, barren, worn out, burnt out, stressed out, and dry. We have our lives set out in front of us, and when one thing takes us off of that track we’ve made, it’s like our whole being is falling apart.

As a result, we look to our friends, family, drugs, pills, alcohol, food, money, etc. to fill in the spaces in order for us to cope, still feeling the need for more and more. We play a broken record in our minds, trying to figure out how to fix things on our own.

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist was in prison, feeling discouraged and in need of a reminder of hope. He had two of his disciples go to Jesus after hearing of His works, and Jesus told John’s disciples to go back to him and tell him the things which they saw Jesus do. Jesus wanted them to show John that there was evidence of who He was by what He did and that there is hope in Him through His power and of that in which He did miraculously for others.

Just like John was in prison, a lot of you may feel like you are being chained down in shackles. You are barred in by prison walls, and you feel like there is nothing left for you. The fear and worry haunts you day in and day out, and you don’t know what to expect next because you’re so afraid.

Jesus offers hope.

In Psalm 62, David said his soul waited upon God. He didn’t find peace in gold or in any other thing. His hope was rooted and anchored in the Rock and only the Rock. Though odds were against him, David never let his faith waiver or move.

Cling to the Rock and not to anything else in this world.

When fear tries to cripple you, make it a priority and habit to automatically fix your eyes back on Jesus. When things don’t go your way, know that God has something far greater in store, and in the waiting, your faith will be strengthened all the more while you are at peace.

Be like David. Be like John. Be the one who doesn’t let the grains of failure, rejection, fear, worry, stress, anxiety, insecurity, etc. seep through, leaving you empty. Be the one who holds to the Rock and never lets go because when you do that, your hand can’t hold onto anything else. The Rock is steadfast and fixed. It is never shaken, and neither will you be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant, Grow, Bloom

Hey guys!

Wow. Where has the time gone?

It has been five long months since I have posted anything on my blogging site, and here we are in a new year: 2019.

To say that from August to January I had it easy would not necessarily be correct, but in the season that I was planted in came growth and experience.

The Back Story:

I started a new semester in a new environment and college at Jacksonville University after graduating high school in May of last year. The doors were wide open for me to attend the university, and I wanted to stay obedient to God by going where He was leading me. I grew a lot musically in so many ways, but along the way, I hit some rough patches that led me into a very dry and stressful season at JU.

Through prayer, seeking wise counsel, and weighing every option, I felt like it was right for me to complete the one semester I had there and allow God to close the door.

In making those decisions, I had to decide what I felt led to do next, as well as where I felt led to go next.

My dream was to move to Nashville and get established there in order to attend Belmont University and get my feet in the water with the music industry. After about two or three times of second guessing myself really hard, I felt like it was right to stay home, pray some more, and really seek God in order to grow more in Him and come out of the dry season in a healthy way in order to be planted in a new season and chapter.

I researched, researched some more, and researched a little more than that, looking with an open heart and mind at several other colleges that I could be a potential student at.

After much thought, I decided it would be right for me to enroll with Liberty University’s online program in order to study Business Administration with a focus in Digital Marketing and Advertising.

The same day I enrolled, I also was blessed with the opportunity of starting my very first job that will begin this month.

The Lesson:

The journey to get where I am now on this date, January 3rd, 2019, has not been easy, and I am finally seeing the light of day and finding joy and peace again.

There have been many tears shed, many doubts and questions, much confusion, and lots of decision making.

What I have learned, though, is that God plants us in both short seasons and long seasons of life.

Obvious, right?

But in those seasons of planting comes some sort of growth. From that growth comes blooming.

It is so easy to want to rush life.

Whether you are specifically a high school graduate or you are about to graduate, it’s easy to want everything now. We want to know what we are going to do with the rest of our lives. We want to move away, go off to college, get married, and so much more, but often times the rush often rushes us into the ground.

Maybe you have been out of school for some time, and you are trying to rush things along with a job opportunity, a relationship, or wanting to move to a new place.

A plant doesn’t grow over night. The seed has to be planted first, and after the seed is planted, there are so many steps that have to be taken in order for the plant to fully bloom in an effective and healthy way. The plant goes through each step one by one and doesn’t skip and jump around.

In order for us to be successful in fully blooming, we have to go through certain stages to get there. It takes patience, but instead of going from step one to step five and skipping steps two, three, and four, we have to slow down.

For me, the goal and dream is to move to Nashville or at least move somewhere in order to get plugged into the music industry or get plugged into whatever God calls me to do, as I stated previously. At the age of 19, I didn’t feel ready for that big leap yet. I’m learning that there are other ways to get to big things, and it’s by taking small steps as I put my faith and trust in God with where He is calling me to go.

Wherever you are in life, whether or not you’re trying to take big leaps when instead you need to take small steps, enjoy the process. Grow through the pain and joy. Let God open the doors for you because whether it takes a day or a year or even more than that, He will always get you to where He is calling you to go as long as you remain obedient and faithful.

Be planted. Grow through each individual step. Bloom.

READ:

  • Psalm 119:133 – “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” (KJV)
  • Proverbs 16:9 – “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” (KJV)
  • Acts 9:1-20 – In this passage, we see the steps it took for Saul to be transformed into a new man — one who went from persecuting Christians to spreading the gospel to as many as he could. He journeyed to Damascus, and along the way he was blinded by the Lord. He had to be led the rest of the way to Damascus in order to receive the next step of what he needed to do. He gained his sight back, repented, and followed Christ the rest of his days. (KJV)
  • Genesis 22:1-19 – In this passage, we see the steps taken for Abraham to be obedient to God by showing him how much he loved him. He was to take his son, Isaac, up to Moriah in order to be sacrificed. Abraham and Isaac journeyed, set the altar up, and before Abraham was to kill his son, the angel of the Lord stopped him. These steps were taken in order for God to show that one day, in the place of man, He would send his one and only Son to spare us of having to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Through Abraham’s obedience of the steps and measures he took, God blessed him. (KJV)

It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

Have you ever just had one of “those days?”

…Days that seem to never end. Ones that are filled with reminders of your failures, insecurities, busyness, etc…

I’ve been there. In fact, today was one of “those days.”

The day started off with complete exhaustion, which caused me to have no motivation to go to my third day of college classes. From there, I couldn’t focus in class, I felt alone, overwhelmed, and flustered, and by the end of the day, I ended up having a big meltdown.

Sounds like a great day, right?

Instead, it was the complete opposite of a great day.

One thing I have been learning over the last several weeks is that even in the chaos of life, it’s okay to not be okay.

Meltdowns show the beauty of the ice breaking and the numbness of life turning back into feeling.

Venting and talking to people leads to you both helping each other with differing problems that end up leaving you encouraged and renewed again.

It’s okay to not be okay.

We all want an easier life, and we all wish that things would go smoothly rather than go through an absolute mess to get to the finished product of what God has in store for our lives.

We must reach out in community, and we must also look up and seek our Creator in every aspect of life. He knows our deepest hurts and desires. He feels our pain, sees our tears, and wipes them away, giving us the strength, courage, confidence, etc. we need to get through our hard times.

God is our shepherd, and as being the “dumb” sheep we are, we need to rely on Him and follow Him because He knows the best way to go in every path of life.

Psalm 23 is a well-known passage that talks about this very thing. He gives us rest. He restores our soul.

Meditate on that today. Check up on a friend and see if they are doing okay. Check with your own self and see what is bothering you or hurting you.

Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. In reality, we are all struggling with something in some way, shape, or form. We need each other to get through those difficult times, and most importantly, we need our Shepherd as well.

 

Out of Control

Out of Control: no longer possible to manage…

Above is the term or phrase, “out of control,” as well as the meaning of it according to the dictionary.

If I had to describe my life in three words, “out of control” would be a valid description of how things have been for a while now. You could even almost say that it has become the “norm.”

So, what does “out of control” look or sound like?

For me, it’s been four years of travelling up hills and down through valleys. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, it’s been the journey of being diagnosed with a disease at a young age after having no answers until two years after the symptoms of the disease started. Twelve surgeries later, life still throws me curve balls every day, every month, and every year. I’ve lost four family members in the last four years, I’ve moved to a new house with my family, and I have graduated with both my high school diploma and my AA degree.

I could keep going on with other detailed things that have happened to better define “out of control” even more, but I think you get the point.

When we were born, the doctors never looked at our tiny cute faces or to our new, panicked parents and said that life would be easy from there on out. Teachers have never said that once we graduate high school after 13 years of education, everything would be simple and things would just unfold for us with hundreds of doors of opportunity. Most importantly, God, our Creator, in all of the promises He has made, never said or promised that our journey in this short life would be smooth sailing. Rather though, He gave us other promises as a solution when life gets out of control.

One of my favorite verses, which happens to be my life verse, states, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Furthermore, Luke 12:22-31 says, “And he said unto his disciples,¬†Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.¬†The life is more than meat, and the body¬†is more¬†than raiment.¬†Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?¬†And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?¬†If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?¬†Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.¬†If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more¬†will he clothe¬†you, O ye of little faith?And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.¬†But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Finally, Psalm 23:4 states, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

The phrase or term of “fearing not” is used in the Bible 365 times. These verses/passages point to the fact that there is no reason to fear because God is with us and He gives us what we need because He knows what is best.

So often, we try to take control of our own situations because we think that we have the strength, the confidence, and the ability to fix things on our own. Instead though, because of our imperfections and sinful nature, we tend to make matters worse in some way, shape, or form. It may not directly affect the situation we are in, but it can affect our own selves by adding more stress, impatience, and anger to our list of problems.

The reason why God tells us to not fear is because He means it. He knows we aren’t capable of taking matters into our own hands, and that is why He tells us to place them in His instead. 1 Peter 5:7 (“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”) is in the Bible for a reason. God wants us to cast our care, our burdens, and our problems on Him because He has the strength and the power to help and guide us through. He created us to not be independent beings who have it all together, but rather to be dependent beings who rely on Him because He does have it all together.

Even though God may not fix our problems right away, He promises to shepherd us and lead us through our difficulties to ultimately get to the light at the end of the tunnel. He promises to give us strength in our weaknesses and to ultimately BE our strength when we are weak. He’s already standing at the end of our problems. All He wants is for us to allow Him to carry us to the other side.

When everything is out of control, He is in control. He sees your deepest hurt and need. Don’t take your pain out on someone else or on yourself. Instead, take your pain to God and watch Him work. With Him, all things are possible. He’s working in the hardships of your life, shaping and molding you along the way as He walks with you as you go step by step.

Give Him FULL control. It belongs to Him anyways. In His timing, you’ll make it through.

***Attached below is a link to a poem entitled “Footprints in the Sand.” It is a very encouraging poem, and I pray it will encourage you as much as it has for me. ***

https://www.onlythebible.com/Poems/Footprints-in-the-Sand-Poem.html

Freedom

Freedom…

It’s the word that comes in many forms for many different people.

It’s the idea of being set free from something or someone that holds bondage on a life.

It’s the action of forgiving someone in order to be set free from an unhealthy circumstance full of grudges, hate, misunderstanding, etc., in order to reconcile a relationship/friendship.

It’s found in a prison cell when the doors are unlocked and a prisoner is set free.

It’s the title of a person when they become sober from drugs and alcohol and finally realize that for the first time in a long time, they are free again to live life to the fullest in a way that they will never regret when they get away from the substances that held them down for so long.

It’s the result of men and women fighting in some of the darkest places in order for their American brothers and sisters to live independently in a nation.

Most importantly, it’s what is found in the life of someone who surrenders to Christ in order to obtain freedom for eternity from the bondage of sin, death, and hell…

Freedom.

What does this word mean to you?

So many of us experience freedom in several different aspects of our lives, but still so many of us have something that is chaining us down.

On the outside, we show a mask of happiness and a life that is at ease, but inwardly we are at war with ourselves and with others, fighting to reach the light at the end of the tunnel and fighting to have victory over something that we feel is conquering every piece of our lives minute by minute.

Maybe you’re trying to find freedom in a marriage that is holding you down in misery.

Maybe you’re looking for freedom from an addiction that you thought would help your problems, but instead it’s made your life even worse than it was.

Some of you are trying to find freedom from something as simple, yet so complex as putting for cell phone down for twenty minutes just to spend time with your family.

Many of you may feel helpless and hopeless. You feel chained down to this world, and all it’s left you with is a life full of insecurity, doubt, and shame. You feel a void of emptiness deep down, and you’re grasping for something to fill the gap.

Whatever you are facing, there is freedom. There is a Chain Breaker who is breaking chains day by day in people’s lives, leading them to liberty for all eternity. He is Light. He is Hope. His name is Jesus.

John 8:32 says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This verse lines up with John 14:6 in which Jesus states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Jesus is the truth that makes people free. Through Him, you can have a relationship with the Father (God) that will set you free from the captivity of whatever it is that is holding you down in bondage.

Jesus says again in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

The word “indeed” means: in fact; in reality; in truth; truly. It backs up Jesus’ statement and assures that what He said about being set free will come to pass in a person’s life if they seek Him for freedom.

If you are in need of eternal freedom, run to Jesus.

If you need to apologize or forgive someone in order to be set free from the bondage of grudges and bitterness, run to Jesus, ask Him to mend the relationship, and go to the person that you need to make amends with.

Jesus’ death on the cross, his burial in the tomb, and His resurrection three days later is perfect proof that freedom abounds and is alive today. He forgave humanity when He nailed our sins to the cross in His body.

Whatever it is that you need freedom from today, run to Jesus and be set free.

 

To the Graduate…

Class of 2018,

We finally made it!

After all of the long days, short nights, and everything in between, we are officially finished with a big chapter of our lives, and we are moving on to the next.

So, what really is next in this new big chapter?

Maybe you got accepted to that dream college that you will start at this summer or in the fall. You know exactly what you are going to major in, and now you’re reaching toward the goal of getting your college diploma in the degree of your choice.

Maybe you didn’t get into the college you wanted to get in, but you are settling for second best. You think you know what you want to do, but you aren’t quite sure yet.

If neither of those options sounds like you, maybe your situation is a combination of different things. You are in your dream college, but don’t know what to do, or you are not in your dream college and you know exactly what you want to do. Perhaps you aren’t going to college at all and have something else in mind.

Whatever the status is of where you are at in the beginning of this new chapter, you are going to make decisions that will take you somewhere.

In Psalm 23:1, it says, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

As human beings, we are often classified as sheep. Why? Because sheep are simply dumb. They follow after what their fellow sheep are doing rather than making decisions for themselves to do what they want and what they know is right for them. If you’ve ever seen a herd of sheep together, you will know exactly what I’m talking about, and that is why we are considered to be just like one of them.

When someone coaxes us to do something, what do we do? We do it. Depending on the situation that we take part in, we often times end up regretting doing what we were coaxed to do.

The verse says that the LORD is our shepherd. A shepherd guides animals to go into the right direction, and that is exactly what God does with us.

This is vitally important because in life, we will have to make decisions. We’ve already had to make decisions and are continuing to make decisions that will set up the path for our future. The decisions we make will either take us to a place of good or a place of bad.

Cling to the Lord and follow His lead.

When someone tempts you to drink alcohol or have that “one night stand,” refuse to do it. When drugs are put right in front of your eyes, and you are tempted to utilize it for pleasure, DON’T. Get away from the people who will tear you down and lead you astray from where God wants you to go, and hold fast to God.

Surround yourself with people who will encourage you along the way and who want to do what is right in life in order to get to the destination that they are called to by God for their future here on earth.

One decision can alter your future forever. Make the right choice. Wrong things may be appeasing and look cool since everyone else is doing them, but in the end, they lead to destruction.

Wherever you are at in life, it’s never too late to turn around and head in the right direction if you got off track. It’s never too late to trust God and ask Him to guide you and lead you to where He wants you.

We are dumb, but God knows everything about us because He created us. He knows what is best.

So, class of 2018, what are you going to do with your life?

Ask yourself that question and be honest with yourself. I pray you will have a life full of success in the things that please God and glorify Him, and I pray you will enjoy the journey ahead.

For those of you who are Christians, remember this: When you graduate from high school, you don’t graduate from your faith.

Congratulations! You are off to a start for bigger and greater things. Stay the course.

From “Nobody” to “Somebody”

I used to hate reading. It was my least favorite thing to do, and all throughout my years in school, I dreaded having to do summer reading assignments, etc. Now, as a writer, reading is something I try to do as often as I can to learn, grow, and be inspired. It is something I enjoy doing, and it is a way of “escape” as I dive into stories and the lives of others in book form.

I just finished reading¬†I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard, the lead singer of the band Mercyme (By the way, if you have not read the book or seen the movie, you NEED to!), and I am a couple chapters shy from finishing another book titled¬†Hello My Name Is¬†(by Christian artist Matthew West) that I have been reading long before I even started reading Bart’s book.

In Chapter 13 of Hello My Name Is, these verses were used:

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” – 1 Corinthians 1:27-28

If you told me when I was younger that my life was going to be a complicated mess starting at the age of 14, I would have either been terrified for my life or would have not believed you.

I have gone through ten surgeries, which will add up to eleven surgeries tomorrow, as a Crohn’s Disease patient, and I have lost four family members all since 2014. If you have read my other blog posts, you know how messy my life has been, but you also know how much God has been at work through it all.

The same goes for you.

These two verses in 1 Corinthians 1 have so much value to them. There are so many people these days who are mistreated on many different levels for several different reasons. Some have been bullied, others have been neglected, lied to, abused, etc., but God wants those broken people. He wants the hurting. He wants the suffering. He wants the weak. He wants YOU.

It is in our weakest areas where God makes us strong and shows us who we really are in Him. He uses our pain to be someone else’s healing. He uses our insecurities to help someone with their self-esteem. He uses the unpopular to show others that they are of great value. He uses people right where they are and takes them to places they never thought they’d go.

Through my disease, God has allowed me to grow as a writer, and He uses my writing talent in such ways as writing songs, blogs, etc. in order to encourage and help others who are struggling. He allowed me to start a non-profit organization to help young surgery patients. I’ve been able to share my testimony both in-person and on my social media pages, and it has been so encouraging to myself to see God at work in people’s lives through my pain.

Whatever you are struggling with, God wants your struggle. Back in the Old Testament, it talks about Moses, a man who struggled with his speech, but God used him to be one of the greatest leaders in Bible history for His glory.

Maybe you feel like a nobody, but God will turn you into a somebody. He wants the things that people think are foolish even though you may think they are not. He wants the weak things in order to prove His power over your life in order to make you strong.

Hand over your situation to Him today, and watch Him work in ways that you could never imagine.

In His eyes, YOU are not a nobody, but rather, you are a somebody. Your story matters, and YOU matter.

A Fork in the Road

Over the past several months, I have been faced with the choice of what college I am going to go to and what I want to major in since I will be graduating with my AA degree in two months.

I had planned on applying to about five or six colleges and only ended up completing the application for two: Belmont University and Jacksonville University.

Back in December, my parents and I went up to Nashville and visited Belmont. In a perfect world, I was wanting to go to Belmont, get my foot in the door, and have everything work out perfectly so I could get right into working in the music industry once I got out of college.

My WANTS got in the way of what God was ultimately wanting for my life…

After much thought, prayer, and words of wisdom from several people that I am close to, God opened my eyes to the fact that Belmont was not the right place for me to go to right now, due to a number of reasons.

He showed me through several people that I look up to (parents, music teachers, etc.) that He had so many doors already opened for me at JU, and that is where He ultimately wants me to be starting in the fall.

When I first started band, I wanted to play percussion, but for the fact of me making lots of noise and banging around on things in the house, I ended up playing the clarinet. Last year, God opened the doors for me to play in the pit in marching band, and after countless hours of hard work, sweat, and many tears, I fell in love with playing in pit and playing on the keyboard instruments (xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, etc.). From there, He opened some doors for me to meet some very special people from JU in the percussion department as well as the music business department (which is what I was hoping and wanting to major in), and over time I realized that God’s plan for me was laid out as plain as day right before my eyes. I just didn’t want to accept His desires and wanted to do what I wanted to do and what I felt was right to do.

With that said, I enrolled with JU, and this Friday I will be auditioning to get into the music college.

For those of you still trying to decide what to do for your future, especially my fellow seniors, ask God to open your eyes in order to see the doors that He has opened for you.

The waiting process may be long, or it may just be a few weeks. The key is surrender. Surrender your WANTS in order for God to show you what you NEED.

Maybe you are super talented in music, or perhaps you are a math wiz. A lot of times, God will take your talent or a gift He has given you and open doors that way. We all have different gifts, but we all work together — even though it may not seem that way — to edify one Savior. Evaluate yourself. Search your heart. Think about the things you enjoy doing and what you know that you do best, and ask God to show you what He wants you to do in and through those things.

There is a reason for everything, and God can and will use you to do extraordinary things.

Proverbs 16:9 – “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the¬†Lord¬†directeth his steps.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the¬†Lord¬†with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.¬†In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”¬†

1 Corinthians 12:12-31″For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.¬†For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.¬†For the body is not one member, but many.If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?¬†And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?¬†If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?¬†But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.¬†And if they were all one member, where were the body?¬†But now are they many members, yet but one body.¬†And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.¬†Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:¬†And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.¬†For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.¬†That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.¬†And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.¬†Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.¬†And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.¬†Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?¬†Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?¬†But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”¬†