2017 | A FRESH START

A new year has just begun and I'm determined to make the most of it. I don't do resolutions because I know I'm not disciplined enough to keep them, but over the last couple years, I have chosen a word. Last year that word was COURAGE and I feel as though I did a great job of living that out. My word for this year is ACTION and I can't wait to start making things happen and creating more experiences. This was kind of a no-brainer though. In 2016, I started a non-profit, Radiant Hope so it seems fitting to take things a step further, to take action and continue to bring the vision to life. However, as I've reflected on this word, I realized there are a lot of things that the word ACTION brings significance to. 

I want to take action and: 

  • Spend more quality time with Ricky, and other friends and family
  • Turn off social media, be present, and make memories
  • Practice hospitality + my love for "slow living"
  • Take Radiant Hope to the next level
  • Write/Read/Create/BLOG more
  • Continue to own my story and get free from shame
  • Love myself and others better than I ever have before
  • Be consistent in doing yoga
  • Heal from my deepest wounds 
  • Become a better photographer + storyteller
  • ....And the list goes on and on and on

In essence, I want to start living more in real life and less behind a screen. I want to grow in my creative giftings and produce beautiful things for the world to see. I want to love my family and friends well. I simply want to take action on the things that matter. Here's to a fresh start, a new year, and new opportunities to live like we've never lived before. Cheers, my friends!

 

FIGHTING THE TRUE ENEMY

I love that each season of life brings new lessons for us to learn. This season has been a difficult, but beautiful one. It’s been a season of sorrow and pain, but also a season of confidence and victory. It’s taught me much about life, faith, and how to practice what I preach. One lesson I’m learning is that I must recognize and fight the true enemy of the circumstances I find myself in.

So often, when life gets hard, we immediately start to question God – His love for us, His faithfulness, His goodness. But this time has honestly been different for me. Instead of allowing myself to question what I know to be true, I’ve held that truth up and claimed victory over my situation. I looked my circumstances in the face and said, “I will not let this situation deter me from all that God has for me.” Because truth be told, it could easily derail me. I’ve just refused to let it.

Here’s why. I know who God is and how He loves me. I know my life is found in Him. He has plans to prosper and not to harm. He works every situation for my good; He will never forsake me. And, I also know what I’m going through isn’t of Him – it’s a scheme of satan. It’s a very personal, well-executed attack from the enemy. So, that’s who I’m fighting against, not God.

This whole experience has caused me to evaluate my life and the battles I’ve fought so poorly in the past. I have been the person whining to God, feeling betrayed and forsaken, instead of recognizing the spiritual battle that’s at hand.

If we’re going to thrive in this Christian journey, we have to learn how to fight. So here’s my encouragement to you...

Go to battle with confidence, knowing you’re not on the front lines of it. God goes before and comes behind. The enemy might be able to create chaos and terrible circumstances, but He can’t touch you if you’re firmly in the hand and will of Christ.

Fight the enemy, not your Protector. Let Him be your bodyguard as you go to battle with prayer, the Word of God, and worship. He is fighting for you. He is healing you. He will get you through the storm with your joy intact.

Be bold. Be brave. Approach the throne of grace with your bleeding heart and allow the thread of His presence to bind your wounds. He will lift your weary soul and rain beauty over the ashes of your life. His promises remain true. His love reigns above our situations as a banner of victory. He’s leaning down and saying to you today, "Not even a finger of yours will be broken. You’re safe in My hands.” 

Praise Him while He fights for you.

Unclench those fists and grab onto His Word. Captivate every thought with worship. Turn your complaints into the most genuine prayers you’ve ever prayed. Fight this way and you'll experience God fighting on your behalf. He loves His kids. He's laid His life down for you once and will continue to do it over and over again as He shields you with His mercy. So remember, vengeance is for Him to have, not us.

He will give you all the strength you need to get through your situation. Let your soul find rest in the peace that surpasses all understanding. Trust in His unfailing character. He’s the God of justice and He’s already defeated the enemy you’re truly fighting.

May we be obedient to the call of trust. Let's be loyal to our Father, trusting that it's in our best interest to faithfully endure pain with Him than to fight against pain without Him. Our battles are won when we surrender ourselves to Him and to the posture of humility and grace.