God is greater than the highs and lows

I’m really excited this post is finally written because it’s taken me a while to get this one finished. You might have noticed it’s been a lot longer than normal since I last posted. Typically, I write a blog post a month and it’s been about two months. I’ve been going through some things- a lot of just life stuff happening. I’ve also been in a bit of a creative funk, but this post is straight from the heart. It’s a bit of what I’ve been experiencing, and so I want to share it with you in hopes that it can encourage you with whatever valley you’re trudging, mountain your climbing, or mountain top you’re relishing.

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This rock was one of the crafts that I did with my kiddos this week during VBS. I was super excited when they said they we’re letting the teachers do one. lolll

What I wrote on it though has been something I’ve really clung to lately. It stands for “God is greater than the highs and the lows.” You might have heard it before, but when I  heard it for the first time a few weeks ago, I resonated with it so much. I started writing it on my wrist with a Sharpie.

Since I first heard it, I’ve heard “highs and lows” a lot. Lauren Daigle’s song You Say has those words in it and another really good song by Hillsong is entitled Highs and Lows.

I think I resonate so much with it because life has a way of feeling like a bunch of ups and downs. One moment things are going great and in the matter of seconds everything can fall apart. It’s like a roller coaster except this one is the roller coaster of life, and you can’t get off when you want to.

I, however, am not a glass half empty kind of person. In fact, I’d like to say I’m working on being a glass overflowing kind of person. It’s hard for me to settle with this mentality of  “life will just always be hard.” Because 1. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light, so 2. I don’t want to live my life resisting every hard thing I go through; I want to figure out what God is trying to do by allowing the highs and lows in my life, even if they don’t always make perfect sense.

I will say this, and say it, and keep on saying it. God promises to work everything for our good IF we allow Him to. This means there is a reason for all the highs and lows.

So here are a few things the highs and lows I’ve experienced in my life have taught me.

First, high points and low points in life are inevitable, which we’ve already sorta established, but this isn’t God’s fault. It’s Satan’s fault. It’s the direct result of sin. The Bible says God has pleasure in the prosperity of his servants. YA’LL THE LORD LITERALLY DELIGHTS IN OUR SUCCESS. That is so overwhelming to me, but it means that He doesn’t find some sick pleasure in the pain we endure. He is cheering us when we climb the mountain, and He’s ready to rejoice with us when we reach the top.

Second, while highs teach us the joy of the Lord, the lows teach us joyful trust. The truth is if we only experienced highs, we would stray from God, just like the Israelite’s did. It’s because we’re human. Israel would turn to God when things got tough, but after they we’re over the mercy of God for their sins, they would turn right back to old ways and old sins. And they did this over and over and over for centuries. Did you catch that. CENTURIES. God knows us, and He knows that if things we’re always easy, we would stray too. The lows teach us to depend more on God. They keep us close to Him.

Third, lows not only teach us something, they help blaze trails for others. 
Sometimes I have a tendency to get so caught up in my problems that I forget to look up and look around me. Life is not all about “me.” I’ve been so thankful for the mentors in my life that have been generous and vulnerable enough to share with me their hard and painful experiences because it was in those moments that I connected with them the most. So maybe our trials are also to help the person or people behind us- to help them through the trials their facing that we’ve already walked through- to encourage them that things do get better despite the heartache- to help them avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made. Had the mentors in my life not walked through some hard stuff, they wouldn’t have been able to tell me their stories and encourage me. So let your lows not be in vain. Use them to help people.

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All of these things I’ve learned take a shift in perspective. You have to fight to not let Satan win the battle in your mind. He will grind you into the ground and make you believe there is no purpose for the lows and convince you that the highs are only temporary tricks of happiness, but it takes a brave person to choose to see God in the highs and lows and trust that He has a purpose for them like His Word promises.

So if you’ve experienced this or are experiencing this, these are some good reminders to help you through them:

  1. Keep moving forward ➡️
    Don’t stop because you don’t understand. Some day God may give you an answer. Maybe he won’t. But you have to keep going. You can’t let Satan keep you stagnant and stuck.
  2. Grow through what you go through
    As you move forward, choose to learn from what you went through. Try to see what God wants to show you or teach you. You don’t have to let this be just another low, just another trial. You can maximize your lows by growing through them and learning from them.
  3. But most importantly, focus the most on God
    – And not just who God is in the middle of your circumstances, but just who God is. If you know Him truly, you don’t have to worry if His plans for you are good or if He’s got your back. Focusing most importantly on God is the best way soothe your mind. After all, He is greater than all we go through! He is greater than all the highs and lows!!!

 

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”

 

 

sweet potato toast:: brekky heaven

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Today’s post is a yummy one! Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables. I actually prefer them over white potatoes, but I never thought of them as a brekky idea until I tried this sweet potato toast. I fell in LOVE!

Not only is it a yummy idea for breakfast, but it’s also quick, easy, nutritious, and filling! The nut butter and avocado help keep you nice and filled up all morning.

So without further ado, here is the fabuloous breakfast idea that you’ll be making erremorning!

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Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Salt (I use Himalayan Pink salt)
  • Coconut oil

For sweet:

  • Cinnamon
  • Nut butter of choice
  • Granola
  • Honey or agave
  • Banana and/or other fruit

For Savory:
(my personal faavorite version 😉 )

  • Garlic and/or onion salt
  • Avocado
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Goat cheese or other cheese of choice *optional- it’s great without it 

The directions:

  1. Pre-heat yo’ oven to 350° and then cut your potato length-wise into several long slices.
  2. Then put your potato slices on a pan and brush a thin coat of coconut oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and either cinnamon or garlic salt.
  3. Next, place your slices in the oven for 15-20 minutes. It’s best to set a timer for 15 mins. and then poke with a fork and check periodically until the slices are soft and tender.
  4. After your potato slices are nice and cooked just spread and sprinkle your favorite toppings! For the avocado I just mash it up, add some salt and onion salt and spread it over the slices. Then I sprinkle on the goat cheese. With the nut butter I just spread it on and then layer and drizzle all the toppings.

Alll I an say is enjoooy! This is definitely one of my most faavorite brekky ideas right now!

 

STAY CLOSE TO THINGS THAT FEEL LIKE SUNSHINE

 

I’m realizing that yellow is a pretty cool color. I love how vibrant and happy it is. Yellow doesn’t try to blend in or camouflage, it exists loudly. I think everyone should embrace the things that make their soul full of happiness and joy.

Sometimes I use caution when I say happiness because happiness is usually a feeling we have based off circumstances and temporal, materialistic things. Joy, on the other hand, is something we choose and is not based off circumstances or things necessarily. I think both have their place.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the things that you like if they’re pleasing to the Lord– God has given you things to enjoy and just because you do, it doesn’t mean you’re materialistic or off focused even.

Before really committing my life completely to the Lord, I lived my life as a Christian on the line. I thought I had to choose between the world or Jesus- my kinda music or hymns, fun or serious, ect. Everything was like a tug-of-war. But through some hard struggles the Lord pulled me closer to Him, and my love for him grew to the point that none of it felt like a choice. I desired do the right thing (most of the time) and felt a sense of peace when I did.

BUUTTTTT I also realized something important. God and being close to Him is NOT a boring, solemn, reserved-life kinda thing. God is all about fun, and He wants you to enjoy your life. I believe God has even given us the likes and dislikes we have for a reason.

So the point of this blog post? Stick close to the things that feel sunshine- the things that make you smile, that make you really happy, the things that are YOU.

The people that know me best know that I love coffee, indie music, healthy food, and so many other things because I tend to have lots of favorites… What can I say, I like a lot of things 🙂 Things like painting, going to really cute restaurants, talking about the Burnadoodle I’m going to own one day, going to grocery stores and farmers markets, letters in the mail, flowers- all these little things are what make my soul really really happy.

So what makes your soul really happy? What things feel like sunshine to you? And do you like the color yellow? Because honestly i used to think it was pretty ugly, but it’s growing on me 🙂

On a last note- like what YOU like. Do not change what you like or who you are because it’s not what everyone else likes. If everyone liked the exact same things, we’d live in a suuper boring world 🌎 So don’t be afraid to stand out. #actconfidentandnoonewillquestionyou

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It’s almost summer:: what God’s teaching me right now

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Helloo friends 🙂

I wanted to hop on and write a quick post for you guys!

First off, I am so excited for summer to get here, and more importantly, I am soo excited for school to wrap up (**speaking on behalf of students everywhere).

One reason I’m so excited is because I can’t wait to write more on my blog. I have a lot of ideas for upcoming posts, and I really want to do more lifestyle posts. I absolutely LOVE devotionals, but I also love to read and write things that inspire everyday life. So hopefully that happens soon 😉

I think I’ve restarted this post probably 10x. I kept tossing up different ideas and trying to figure out what to type. God has been speaking to me lately on an idea that brings SO much freedom, and it’s too good not to share with you! Sooo keep oon readin’ ⬇️

Recently, as in this whole second semester, I’ve been pretty tired and worn out. Two words that have really characterized my actions have been “striving/trying”. I’ve constantly been striving to get school done, get my workouts in, do my devotions, choose the healthy option, get my to-do list done, write something encouraging on my blog, post the right things, be a Godly example, ect. And most days my efforts have fallen flat on their face. I either don’t get all my school done, or I workout but then binge chocolate, or I barely touch my to-do list– you know how it is. It’s impossible to do it all and remain sain… or at least for me it is. lol

What’s worse is that I’ve allowed my successes and failures/mess-ups to define me. It’s a “good” day when I do it all right, but if I mess up it’s a “bad” day. All of this striving started to effect me negatively. I found myself easily-irritated, overwhelmed, exhausted, and even sad. Those feelings do NOT represent the person I want to be. My family was even beginning to notice my tenseness and moodiness.

Then the other day I broke down. I had had enough of striving for perfection, which by the way, perfection is an illusion. Because what’s the definition of perfection? We can’t know what’s perfect except for knowing that Jesus is the ONLY One who is!

What I realized after my breakdown was something God had showed me a few days ago out of Psalm 91. One particular verse talks about how God gives His angels charge over us. This is really interesting because you would think God’s protection would be enough, but what that demonstrated to me is just how much God loves us. He knows His protection is enough, but He ALWAYS goes the extra mile for His children.

What I further realized is that because of who God is and how much He loves us, We don’t have to keep striving. Through the verses in Psalm 91, God was telling me, “Sophie, you are who I say you are ALWAYS, regardless of your successes or failures. They don’t define you; I do. Therefore, you can know that you are completely loved, valued, adored, beautiful, smart, lovely, and so much more. Stop striving and start resting!”

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I can’t tell you what a relief that was. It made me realize how heavily I have defined myself based on my performance. Take it from me, performance will get you no where but exhausted quickly. It is NOT your performance, but your position in Christ!

 

  • Psalm 46:10
    “Be still and know that I am God.”
  • Psalm 90:17
    “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.”
  • Psalm 91:11
    “For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

How is God speaking to you? Are you tired of striving for perfection too? XO I hope your day is blessed ❤

Don’t just bloom, THRIVE where you’re planted

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Have you ever felt that there is more in this life, that there is something more to it than just high school, college, work, and retirement? Like maybe, just maybe there’s a greater purpose, a deeper meaning, or something beyond the typical.

I definitely feel this way often. One of my greatest fears is looking back on my life with regret, not for all the things I did, but for all the things I didn’t do.

Take a minute and think about where you’re at in your life right at this moment.

Really consider it for just a second.

What are your dreams? What is something you aspire to do that seems daunting or even impossible? Now how are you right now in your life preparing yourself to achieve your God-given dreams and passions?

At different times in my life I’ve reflected and felt different things. I’ve been both satisfied and frustrated.

Right now I’m caught somewhere in the middle. I have no reason to complain. God has blessed me immeasurably, but I also feel this frustration that I want to do more.

I’m a dreamer, a planner, and I aspire to do big things. I have so many ideas and dreams. I’m also an all or nothing person. So if I’m in, I’m going to be all in. When it comes to life, I easily get frustrated trying to do it “perfectly”. Buuttt as we all know, life is not perfect 🙂 And that’s ok.

In this life I am coming to realize that it’s really not about me. It’s about Jesus. And when I’m weak, He is strong. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. AMEEEN, enough said.

But I’ll keep going because maybe you’re struggling with where your life is at too, and maybe you have big plans, dreams, and aspirations too.

Guess what? They are gifts from God! He wants you and me to shoot big. I mean Jesus sent it pretty hard by defeating death and raising from the dead!!

So here is an idea to grapple with. What if we didn’t just bloom, but we THRIVED right where God has planted us. Sometimes I get so caught up in all the doing that I forget that I am in high school and I’m where I’m at for a reason. I believe that instead of just accepting where you’re at and simply being, thriving where God has planted you is the idea of embracing where God has you and making the most of it.

I believe it begins with accepting where you’re at right now because God truly has you where you’re at for a reason. The next step is asking God for help and guidance for where you’re wanting to move and improve. Tell him your desires, tell him your frustrations, and ask for His will to be carried out in your life. Because in the heart of God’s will is his very best for you. So if in doubt of where you need to go, just pray for His will, and if you know where you want to be, then continue to pray for God’s will!

❤ I want you to know that you can thrive and you can do colossal things in this life for the glory of God in His strength! Don’t settle with just blooming. A flower can bloom and then wilt and die if not properly watered, fed, and nourished. Be a flower that blooms and thrives by nourishing and feeding your soul with God, His Word, and the people He places in your life. He has given you passions and dreams for a reason! Don’t settle with a mundane life or being told that you can’t. There are no limits to what you can do or how you can be used with God equipping you.

So pray for the right open doors and opportunities, and then share your aspirations with other like-minded believers! If you don’t have any, pray for the right people to be put in your path.

I mainly want you to understand and take away the idea that you can use right where you’re at as a breeding ground for your dreams and goals. Whatever you want to do, if God is calling you to it, go for it! Don’t just wait until you “get older”. If you have a knack for photography, use it! If your niche is graphic design, do it! If you’re a leader- then lead, if you’re a baker- then bake, a musician- then play, a blogger- then blog! You get the idea.

God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, especially when it’s in the details and plans He has for our lives. So aim high, dream big, trust the Lord and watch Him work in your life.

Here is a quote that is so true. I love it and I hope it encourages you!

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You are Understood and Adored.

 

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So I’ve been trying to write something to post for about a month now and between not having the time to work on it and not being able to put into words exactly what I wanted to say, it just hasn’t happened. I wanted to talk about the difference between joy and happiness, which will hopefully come in a later post, but I decided to instead go with what’s on my heart and what’s relevant in my life right now.

This year started off great. I was pumped for a fresh start, and I was on fire for the Lord. I’m still pumped actually, but with this year has also come a roller coaster of emotions.

Honestly, junior year has proved to be by far my hardest year and not just because the courses are harder but because of how time consuming it’s been. It also hasn’t helped that I started second semester behind on taking tests. Plus, being a junior or a senior means that every college wants to send you information and tell you why you should come to their college instead of the other hundred colleges that are mailing and emailing you. So the pressure is on to make lots of significant decisions for the future.

Beyond school there are so many other things day in and day out that can cause and create so many emotions: stress, sadness, frustration, loneliness, disappointment, hurt, worry, anxiety, anger, ect. And if you’re like me, sometimes you don’t even know what or why you feel the way you do.

So today, as you’re reading this, I want you to be encouraged. Whether you have been in God’s Word consistently or haven’t opened It in months, whether you have a burden you’re bearing or you’re at peace, whether your holding it together or falling apart-whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re feeling, whatever decisions or problems you have to make or deal with, know one thing.

He is enough.

God is enough to handle your exact situation.

Last year I struggled through some of the hardest things in my life. No one knew. But the confusion and pain was real. I couldn’t understand where God was at through it all. How could He “leave” me here? How could He allow me to go through this? Even as I sought God, I questioned His goodness. But that is just how good God is. God had proven Himself to me before, but I still questioned Him,and yet He never left me. He was right their pulling me through the whole time, even if I didn’t feel like it.

Folks, feelings lie. They can be nasty sometimes, convincing us of things that aren’t true.

So if your feelings aren’t reliable, what can you rely on? Your Heavenly Father!

One thing confusing emotions and frustrating situations have taught me is that the only thing I can rely on 100% is my Jesus. Hardship has taught me to focus and seek my Father, and what I’ve found is that He is enough. He has a purpose and a plan not only for me, but for YOU, and He promises to work all situations for your good. If He has your highest good in mind, then even hard trials have a purpose, and He will always be by your side.

My favorite lyrics right now come from Broken Prayers by Riley Clemmons.

Her song says,

I’ve been taught how to talk to you
Hold it together, make the bad look better
Say all the words that I’m supposed to
Bow my head, say, “amen”
Yeah, that’ll do
Making every dead end look like heaven
Like being okay is the way to reach you
But you’re not afraid of all the things I feel
So why am I afraid of being real?
You want my tears, every messy word
Every scar and every fear
You want all I have
With no holding back
When I’m hurt, at my worst
You meet me there
‘Cause you see the beauty
In my broken prayers
In my broken prayers
You don’t care if it ain’t poetry
‘Cause all of my edges
They’re a little rough
But that’s all I got to bring
‘Cause you’re not afraid of all the things I feel
Don’t have to hide the scars that still aren’t healed

 

You can take comfort today that God understands when no one else does, and He cares no matter how bad your situation might be. God isn’t asking you to get it together and come to Him, He’s asking You to come with your broken prayers, hurts, feelings… because God isn’t afraid. He delights in helping you.

One thing I read from this past week that really spoke to me came from a post by Mary Kate Robertson:

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I hope that this post spoke to your heart or at least encouraged your soul. Sometimes we think that because we feel something it must be true or that we will never be understood (or frustration that we don’t even understand ourselves). But that’s Satan’s lies. God cares about our feelings and emotions.

I have found that when I put Jesus at the center of my focus, God gives me a peace that somehow everything will be ok. I say somehow because you may not feel it, but it’s a trust in God that it will.

You are so incredibly loved and adored by your Heavenly Father! Everything will be ok. Jesus understands, so invite Him into your messy feelings and problems and open your heart to the One who created it and adores it.

 

 

Citation:
Robertson, Mary Kate. Picture of James 1:5. Instagram, photographed by Mary Kate Robertson, 23 February 2018, http://www.instagram.com/p/BfjMmdQHtDY/?hl=en&taken-by=marykaterob

Success in 2018: Finding Quietness with Jesus

Hopefully your new year is off to a great start! I hope you’re conquering and slaying and all that good stuff! I wanted to send some encouragement your way with this post. It’s honestly a simple reminder of something you can do to kick start a successful 2018.

So often our lives resume after New Year’s and the busyness distracts us from any of the resolutions or goals we had. I feel this way when I start my second semester of school. I get frustrated because all of the good stuff I wanted to do gets lost in the insanity called my brain.

But you know what? I’ve found that there is only one way to cure this “disease.” It’s called quietness with Jesus.

When my head is full of thoughts and aspirations, when I’m drowning in commitments, when I’m overwhelmed by school, when I’m disappointed, anxious, or feel that I’m a disappointment to Him, sitting in His presence is the only way to find peace.

Most of the time, Jesus really doesn’t have to say much to me. It’s honestly just the reminder of who is in control and who cares for me more than anyone else on the planet, that helps me.

If this is not something you’re regularly doing, then I encourage you to start! It’s something truly amazing. God, the creator of the universe, yearns to spend time with YOU. How amazing is that? And he wants to whisper to your soul unexplained peace!

I’ve found that some of these tips are super helpful when spending time with the Lord:

  1. Use a journal

Using a journal helps me record victories, struggles, ect. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something that you like to write in! I fill mine with written prayers, scripture, quotes, and drawings.

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2.) Making it a ritual

So I love to drink something while I sit and do my devotions. I don’t always do this, but when I do, it makes my time with the Lord more special. It’s basically the same as a date- you sit down and you enjoy time with someone else, learning more and more about them. I personally love coffee, tea, or kombucha… it’s just somethings that for me makes my quiet time more special and something I look forward to. I also like to burn candles and play music. My favorite music to play is here.

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3.) Fun writing utensils

Making your pens, pencils, and highlighters your style helps with making your Bible and your journal your own. I think it makes writing and note-taking a lot more fun and creative. If you’re like me and love calligraphy, you can get an inexpensive calligraphy pen from Michaels and script your quotes and scripture.

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4. Use a devotional

I want to reiterate that nothing should take the place of God’s Word. Even if you struggle to understand it, there are plenty of versions of the Bible available to help you with that. However, I do think that using a devotional as a supplement is great! My personal favorite is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. This devotional is written as if Jesus is speaking to you. I’ve had mine for about four years, and I love using it.

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If you want direction and peace in your life, definitely at any age, but especially when you’re young, start with this simple step of just sitting with Jesus. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will do it when you’re less busy or when you’re older. Life will always in some way or another be busy, but if you want a truly successful life, then begin today with building the foundation of your life on Jesus. In 2018 choose to slow down in this area of our life. Life will go on, but Jesus is the only one who will always be by your side.

Success in 2018 begins with Jesus! ❤