A Little More Grace

Giving yourself grace isn’t always easy.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be very hard on myself and I beat myself up a lot (metaphorically, obviously. Seeing me actually beat myself up would be a sight to see now wouldn’t it). When I mess up, feel like I’m not doing enough, or maybe even too much, I am never very kind to myself about it. I never intentionally do this, but as humans I think its common for a lot of us. We strive for perfection when in reality we will never achieve it and we try to do things all on our own which never works out, lets be real. We immediately turn to scolding ourselves rather than going to God and allowing ourselves to receive His grace.

In Mark 9, a father brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus’ disciples who are unable to cast out the demon. They fail because the disciples try to cast the demon out, without asking for God’s help. Sound familiar?  Most times this is what a lot of us do. We try so hard to cast out our own failures, our sin, and the messiness of our hearts without asking for help. Just as the disciples did, we underestimate the power of evil in the world and in ourselves. We don’t see how weak and proud we can be. Whether we want to admit it or not we need help from the Father. We need His grace. If we could all heal our own hearts and not depend on Jesus, our pride would know no end. We are all sinners and we all mess up, whether they’re things that seem huge or just a little stumble in the day. But the beautiful truth is that everything we struggle with in our lives are things that God wants us to hand over to Him. Its good for us to realize that we are broken and weak and He is strong. When you are stuck in deep waters He wants to be there to pick you up and rescue you. Jesus could have told the man in Mark 9, “I am God. Do not come to me with doubts and imperfections.  First rid yourself of all sin and impurity and then I will heal your son.”  Praise the Lord that He doesn’t come close to saying that! Instead He says “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened. Do not be dismayed, I will give you grace and healing.” Isn’t that incredible? In no way do any of us deserve Gods grace yet time and time again He still gives it to us, wholeheartedly, because He just loves us that much. True grace is being able to confess when we fail and leave it with God. Its allowing Him to change us while we simply rest in His love. To leave to God the work of making our hearts beautiful while we focus on and enjoy the sweet relationship we have with Him. That is grace.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

Truly giving yourself grace isn’t about giving yourself anything. It’s about being open to His grace and fully accepting it, not just for the big hurdles, but for the tiny every day stumbles. An important thing to remember though, is that we should not abuse Gods grace. Although we all are messy, sinful people that receive Gods grace, it is not an open invitation to keep sinning. In Romans 6:14 it says “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” That verse specifically tells us that we cannot go back to sinning again just because we have now been saved by God’s grace. His grace is sufficient and we could never earn it, but oh how blessed we are that everyday He continues to pour it out onto every single one of us. Stop dwelling on the imperfections and start giving yourself just a little more grace. Rest in the Father and realize that He made the ultimate sacrifice and died for our sins, so we could receive grace and forgiveness and have life. Stop trying to handle the problems on your own, accept His grace.

With love, H.

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Acknowledging My Heart

Recently, with the help of the Lord, I’ve come to a difficult realization. I realized that for awhile now, I have not been taking care of my own heart very well. I pretty much acted as if my heart really did not exist because I was so focused on helping others fix theirs. I absolutely love to hear peoples hearts and help them in any way that I possibly can. My favorite questions ever is “how is your heart?”… that is when I’m the one asking. Now, I know God placed these gifts inside of me for a reason. The problem is that I tend to use them in a way where I neglect the messy things in my own heart. Thats no bueno y’all. I have a lot of nasty stuff in my heart from my past that I have never fully given to God and tried to completely work through so all this time it has just sat there being something the enemy can easily use against me at any time, if I let him. I have a heart, and as I tend to others hearts I have to acknowledge and take care of my own as well.

1 John 3:20 tells us, “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” If we break this down a little, it’s telling us that God is greater than our heart, for he is the Maker of it. He has all power over our hearts and is the one searcher and trier of it. He is the only one who can fully judge our hearts and who completely knows our heart, even the messy stuff. When I realized I had been neglecting my heart, I realized I wasn’t making it a priority to talk to God about it. Once again, I was focusing on other peoples hearts and problems. Yes, the good Lord knows our hearts inside and out already but He wants to talk to us about it. He wants us to dig deeper and give it all to Him and lay it at His feet. If you’re someone like me who just wants to hear everyones heart and help however you can, thats awesome! But when was the last time you asked yourself how your heart is? In order to help all these people to our full potential, we have to be sure our heart is in a position to do so. If you have all this junk sitting in your heart, being neglected, its going to hold you back from being able to completely use those gifts God has placed in you. Think of it as if you were a fitness trainer (I’m sitting here chuckling at that thought a little). You can’t train someone and tell them all these things about how to work out and eat right without making sure you are doing it yourself first, right? I suppose you could but that wouldn’t make you a very good fitness trainer now would it? It’s the same way with our hearts. I can’t do my best job at helping someone figure out the things in their heart and working through them if I am not doing that for myself first. Of course we can still help them because if we all waited to have perfect hearts before helping others, then it’d be real hard for people to find Jesus! But in order to help others to the best of our ability, we have to be sure we know the ongoings of our own hearts.

Its not fun working through all the messy things in our hearts. For me, it’s kind of like doing laundry. Ask my mom, I do not like doing laundry and as I am typing this there is a pile of clean clothes on my bed that I have needed to put away for three days now but I continue to just sit and stare at it rather than deal with it. One of the big things I have realized while trying to get through all this messy “laundry” is that I still have a ton of self doubt and anxiety issues I haven’t dealt with and this is the reason for a lot of the communication skills I have discovered I lack. When something is wrong and I try talking to someone about it, I never know what to say or I don’t feel like I can say it. I sometimes don’t know because I am not paying full attention to my heart or I just try to push it under the rug and I sometimes feel like I can’t talk about it because I have this doubt and anxiety in myself telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about or what I have to say doesn’t matter, so therefore I just communicate my problems in my heart very, very poorly. And guess what, communication is a huge, very important thing when it comes to talking to others about their own hearts!! I think y’all get the point.

You have a heart. It might be a big pile of dirty laundry right now but God still wants it and wants to start washing that stinky stuff with you. God only knows what we’ve been through and only He can heal us from it, so let Him! Acknowledge your heart, mess or no mess, and really start asking yourself how its doing. Jesus is greater than our heart and He knows it all. So, how is your heart?

With Love, H.

Be Bold.

“She will be known by the boldness of her faith.”

I’m going to share a story with you all. This last week i had an old friend of mine on my heart for some reason. I had been thinking about her a lot and thought to myself “maybe i should see how she’s doing.” But of course i second guessed myself and felt like that would be weird considering we haven’t talked in such a long time. I pushed it off for awhile but it was like God just kept poking at my heart, telling me to do it. I wasn’t going to sit there and ignore Him so i did it. I texted her and explained that it was probably weird but i just wanted to know how she was doing. She replied with, “terrible.” We got to talking about why things weren’t going so great for her at the time and me being me, i asked if she wanted to go get coffee the next day and just talk about it all. She was all for it and we set up a time.

She then proceeds to tell me something so cool! She explained that she went into the kitchen to tell her mom i texted her and we were getting coffee and all that and her moms eyes get big and she runs into the other room. My friend chases after her and her mom holds up a folded piece of paper. This piece of paper is a note that little 5th grade me wrote to my old friend when she was having a rough time. Her mom stood in shock and says “i found that yesterday.” Now you can’t tell me the Lords timing isn’t the most perfect timing, c’mon!

So the next day we meet for coffee and talked about the problems she’s been facing. I give the best advice i possibly could and did my best to really listen to her heart. Later on she asks me about my faith so of course i more than willingly went on a huge rant about how amazing Jesus is and how he’s transformed my life and made me new. For about the last hour of us being at the coffee shop, i noticed a man sitting at a table behind us. Every once in awhile he would glance over and i could tell he was listening to our conversation. Now, this didn’t bother me because i wasn’t afraid or ashamed to talk about the good Lord in that quiet coffee shop, but i couldn’t help but wonder what exactly he was thinking. A little while later we got up to leave and he stops us. He begins telling me, “i’ve been sitting here for awhile listening to your conversation. Ive seen you here before talking with people, but have never said anything. I’m a man of my faith and to hear you speak so boldly about your faith blessed my day. Keep it up. He is good.” We stood and talked for a few minutes after that. He told me about his daughter and asked for me to talk to her if i ever got the opportunity and told me about how he wouldn’t be where he was today without the Lord. It was such a blessing.

Sitting in that coffee shop that day, it just felt normal to me. I was simply talking to somebody about Jesus and how good He is. But little did i know that man was listening to every word i said and he was really taking it in. I don’t talk about my faith as much as i do for other people to look at me and think “wow look at her.” I talk about it and am so open about it because i want people to look at me and see the light of Jesus. I want them to know just how wonderful He is and i want them to have a desire to get to know Him. I want to spread His good word and do all that i can to teach others and help them.

I used to be a little timid when it came to talking about my faith. I was so afraid of judgement. But once i fully embraced it, i became so unapologetically bold with it. It truly does not matter what anyone else thinks of me besides Jesus. As a Christian, I want to be bold not for myself, but for Him. Our Father deserves all the praise and glory, and then some. Jesus gave His life for every single one of us and it just blows my mind because none of us earned that but He did it anyways because He loves us so deeply.

If i am going to be known for anything, i don’t want it to be for how i look, what i do, or what i’m good or bad at. I want to be known by the boldness of my faith. Because at the end of the day, my faith is what has made me who I am today and it’s all thanks to Jesus. All glory to Him y’all.

“We have boldness and confident access through faith in Him” – Ephesians 3:12

“The righteous are as bold as lions” – Proverbs 28:1

With love, H.

Questioning Qualification.

Recently I have been a little hard on myself. Hard on myself because as many followers of christ at some point, I question if I am really qualified for all that God has called me to do. There have been so many cool opportunities that have been opened up to me and so much being revealed to me about the future that I can’t help but ask sometimes, “am I really equipped to do this?” But the truth is that the Lord does not call on the qualified, He qualifies the called. He does not open a door thats not supposed to be opened. Everything he places in your path has a purpose whether we get the whole picture right now or not.

I often wonder if Jesus ever looked at His disciples when they were doubting and going astray, smiled, and thought to himself “they have no idea what they are about to do for my kingdom.” And then I begin to wonder if Jesus has ever looked at me in my moments of sin and weakness, smiles, and thinks to himself “she has no idea what she is about to do for my kingdom.” There have been times in my walk where I feel helpless and question my qualification for God. Times when I’ve been asked to do things that aren’t so fun and times when I have felt like I wasn’t being asked to do anything at all. But every time I begin to have even the slightest sense of doubt, the Lord is right there to give me the peace and the strength I need. If He didn’t think I could handle the things He has placed in front of me, then He wouldn’t have put them there! The Lord knows us better than anyone else, including ourselves. Therefore He knows how strong we are and knows just how much we can handle. 2 Corinthians 3:5 directly tells us “our qualification comes from God.” Even when we feel frightened and unsure of our qualification, God looks at us and never doubts us for a second. God never asks us “are you capable?”, He simply asks “are you willing?” Thats when you have to ask yourself if you are willing to fully trust that the Lord has qualified you for what He has called for you to do and make the choice of walking that path!

Every single one of us is qualified to receive Jesus’ grace and to receive the amazing things He has in store for us (even if its hard to believe sometimes). Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” All the things God has asked you to do, and will ask you to do, He has already had it planned before it could even be a thought in your brain! So whatever door the Lord is opening for you right now, don’t go through the window and don’t just stay put staring at the open door. Have faith in yourself and the Lord that you are completely qualified to do all things with Christ and confidently walk through the door!

With love, H.

happier.

so, i’m about to get real deep with y’all. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how different my life was before i met Jesus. I always knew there was a God, i just never really chose to fulfill a relationship with Him. I’ve only been walking with the Lord for about 4 months now but the difference in my life within these past months is incredible. I am filled with so much joy and compared to two years ago, it’s a dream come true that i am where i am right now.

Two years ago i was in a very dark place. I had gone through a certain situation with a boy that completely destroyed me. I hated myself. My self esteem plummeted. I began being very depressed, to the point where i was harming myself and had no motivation to do anything. Some days i wouldn’t even eat. I cried more than I smiled. I remember my moms face every time she looked at me. It was fearful and sad because she didn’t know when and if her daughter would harm herself again or what. I lost close to all my friends and was barely at school half the time because i couldn’t take it. I was put into therapy for several months but eventually decided my mom was wasting her money. Over several, several months i learned how to cope with things and i began feeling a little less depressed but then was diagnosed with anxiety. I felt like i was never going to be happy and nothing was ever going to be okay. I thank the Lord for the support i had through all of this though. My parents (all 4 of them haha!) were the best support system i could ever ask for. As time went on and help from my family, i learned to start moving past that dark time but i still never felt like i was genuinely happy.

Fast forward to September, 2018. After 8 whole months of my best friend asking me to come to church (sorry for being stubborn Log), i finally showed up.. and then never stopped showing up. I started having a this thirst for God. I fell in love with Him. I wanted to learn so much, and still do. I began to truly feel the Lords presence in my life and with that came so much peace, joy, and love. I started being surrounded by so many amazing, Jesus loving people and less negativity. The way i started to handle situations and my attitude was so much different than before. Not only did my life change, but i changed, for the greater good. Who i am with Jesus is the most me i can be and it’s incredible.

Two weeks ago i drove to the river, sat in my car, and started crying. Nothing was wrong. I was having a great day. I went to church that morning and then had coffee with a friend and spent some time with Jesus. I wasn’t crying because something was wrong, i was crying because everything was right. I had realized that for the first time in a very long time, i am genuinely happy. I realized just how incredibly blessed i am. I realized that i am at a point in my life that i never thought i would even touch, and it’s so crazy! I am who i am and i am where im at all because of Jesus. I am happier than i ever thought i could be. Choosing to walk with the Lord was the best decision i have ever made and i wouldn’t trade this life with Him for anything. It’s not always perfect, there are still challenges, but i don’t have to face those challenges alone. God is with me through those deep waters and is going to rescue me when i begin feeling like i’m drowning. His love for us is phenomenal and it just blows my mind everyday that we did nothing to deserve this immense love from Him but He gives it to us anyway!


I’m not sharing this story to get pity. I’m sharing it because I wanted to share about just how much my faith has changed my life. I wanted to share because if anyone who is struggling right now reads this, i want them to know that they are not alone and the Lord has better things ahead for them and He will take care of you. I wanted to share because my past has been something i’ve never fully dealt with but i am ready to let the Lord heal me from it today. I went from rock bottom to sky high, all by the grace of God. The life i’ve been blessed with is more than i could ever ask for and i’m so thankful to stand here today and say that i am happier.

with love, H.

wonder in the waiting.

There is so much life to be lived in the “in-between.” There’s so much opportunity to grow, to learn, and to experience. Just because you’re in this season of waiting doesn’t mean that you can’t still live to the fullest. In the waiting, God is working. He is giving you this time to grow with Him and He is preparing you for the next season to come in His plan for you. Find the wonder in the waiting, not the worry for the future.

I am someone who will honestly say that it’s very hard for me to wait and patience is not necessarily my best friend. The Lord has had me in a season of waiting as of recently, and it can be a struggle a lot of the time. I’ve had days where I feel so lost and confused and i just need a good cry. I’ve asked God “why?” countless times and every time He responds with “wait.” Aaand then i express that i don’t like that answer, so He tells me again, and i take it anyways because He only speaks truth haha! It’s frustrating but also gives me a sense of peace and excitement. Although there are these days where I am having to ask the Lord for a little more strength, there are also days where I feel so excited. Excited for not only what God is preparing for my future right now, but also excited for what’s happening in this moment, today. God is giving me so much opportunity to grow closer to Him and to be a light and i can’t do that if i sit around every single day of this season angry and upset! There is so much to be excited and happy about right now. What’s meant to happen, will happen in Gods timing. His timing is perfect! If we try to make everything that we want to happen, happen right now, that’s when things can start to fall apart. Let God handle it. Let Him do His work. With Him, things will fall into place, not apart. There will still be hard days where we still ask “why?” and just need to be held, but as long as we rest in the Father and trust Him there is no doubt that things will turn out as perfect as possible in their time because He promises to take care of us! Isn’t that amazing? Jesus doesn’t put you through these difficult seasons to hurt you, He does it because in order to get you to where you need to be the things happening now have to happen. He sees the tears and hears the cries and is just asking you to wait on Him because God does His best work in our weakness. God doesn’t put us through things He knows we can’t handle. He has equipped you with the strength you need, so enjoy this season with everything you have. The Lord has so many blessings awaiting you, just have patience.

So, while you’re in the “in-between”, take care of you and continue falling in love with the Lord and chasing after Him. There is so much beauty and wonder to this life.. embrace it!! Waiting isn’t always easy, but one day all the waiting will be so worth it. Joseph waited 13 years, Abraham waited 25 years, Moses waited 40 years, and Jesus waited 30 years. If God is making you wait right now, you’re in pretty good company and have nothing to worry about. Live in this moment, right now, and thank the Lord for the waiting.

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word i put my hope.” -Psalm 130:5

“Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we are waiting for.” -Charles Stanley (Isaiah 64:4)

With love, H.

Let them see You in me.

I recently had a conversation with a long-time friend of mine who is a non-believer. It was definitely a new experience but we both peacefully shared our beliefs and i respectively shared as much as i could with him about the good Lord. One of the things that came up during our conversation was how Christians apply Gods word to their individual lives, how it exactly works, and why we do it. This part of our conversation helped inspire some of today entry. enjoy!!

Many of us have seen the people who walk into church to hear the message, go to the bible studies, or “amen” every point made then walk back out into the world, unchanged. They come to learn and be changed by our Almighty God but don’t always succeed at applying what they’ve been taught, to their lives. There are also many who have been shown the teachings and understand that it needs to be implemented in their lives, they just chose not to. They chose the worldly teachings and doings over Gods. When we chose the world over God, that satisfies the enemy. Satan doesn’t mind as much when we go to church or open our bible, it’s when we begin applying it to our lives that he gets a little heated and wants to attack us. The enemy can try to attack all he wants but as long as we are living with the Lord and fulfilling Him, the enemy has nothing on us.

Inspiration and information without personal application will never amount to transformation. When we look at the bible and see how our Savior wants us to live, some of it might not sound very fun or very easy all the time. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew it tells us, “You have heard that it was said “An eye for an Eye and a tooth for a tooth. But i say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” This is telling us when someone does us wrong, rather than giving them the same treatment we should act with grace and treat that person with kindness and forgiveness, not with anger. Think about all the times we have done God wrong and He still is right there every time we need Him.

God expects us to obey Him and His commands. Sometimes we aren’t going to understand it or be super thrilled, but in order to fulfill Gods purpose for our lives we have to apply His word to our lives and seek Him for guidance. Applying Gods word to our daily lives allows us to develop better attitudes towards everything and everyone. Applying His truth leads us to a more God-like and peaceful life of this Earth. Matthew 7:24 says “Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on a unshakable foundation” (shout out to the bible app for giving that wonderful verse of the day. highly suggest y’all download the app!). Living by the word of God is the best way we can live and gives us a firm, strong foundation for everything we do. Rather than hating your enemies, love them. Rather than holding that grudge, forgive that person. Rather than envying that person for all of their gifts they have, thank God for all the gifts He gave you yourself. Rather than feeling hatred for that person you may not be real fond of, pray for them and show them love. When you begin to live this way, Jesus shines through you. We were all made in Gods image and we need to act like it. We live in such a messy and dark world but as followers of Christ we need to be the lights, living by His word and spreading His good news!! We are meant to be in the world, but not of it (John 17:16), so take all of God’s truth and put it to action so that when people see you, they may also see Jesus in and through you.

With love, H.