What Defines me?

 I’ve read plenty of books dating and read too many blogs on dating, dressing modest, and purity rings. There are so many perspectives and for a young Christian woman and these opinions can be overwhelming. The one thing I have rested on is that loving Jesus gives me fulfillment.

When I get anxious about being single I have realized one thing:

My feelings are fleeting and cannot be trusted. 

Some days I feel like I can change the world
Some days I wonder why I am single
Somedays I compare my life with others
Some days I feel disconnected from some of my peers
Somedays I am full of passion and drive

What I am learning is, my feelings will change and somedays betray me and somedays tear me away from my destiny. If I buy into the lie that my dreams or goals can’t happen unless I am married then I what am I really living for? Who am I living for-my imaginary husband?

I ask myself often, “Can I really trust Jesus and his plan? Can I just do that?” Someday’s it is challenging especially when you are sitting at yet another wedding or bridal shower but I have quickly realized that I love my life and I am so blessed. I am right where I need to be and although, it is not where I thought I would be; I am thankful for where I am right now. I am so enriched by the people that make everyday better.

Let’s just face it, I am having so much fun.

 

You my friend are so dear and have made life so fun.
You my friend are so dear and have made life so fun.
Bachelorette Party for Amy!
Bachelorette Party for Amy!

 

Culture says I should be defined by my relationship status and I beg to differ.

Some of the most precious souls on earth. I love every second with them.
Some of the most precious souls on earth. I love every second with them.
Coffee times.
Coffee times.

I think that instead of debating whether or not getting married before you’re 23 or staying single till 25 is better, we just celebrate each other. Instead of comparing our journey’s lets learn from each other. Some people get married early, some people get married late, some people have kids, some people don’t, some people stay single because they WANT to. Everyone’s path is different. There is no right or wrong.

Life gets tough but one thing I have learned is living in community is life giving. My relationships with my family, my married friends, my single friends, and mentors enriches my life.

Every stage of life is valuable and so priceless.

She is my biggest cheerleader and friend. She believes I can do anything and I believe her.
She is my biggest cheerleader and friend. She believes I can do anything and tells me everyday. I am a dreamer because of her faith in me.
Everyone needs people to laugh with and lay on the grass at Discovery green.
Everyone needs people to laugh with and lay on the grass at Discovery green.
The greatest story of redemption and Christ's love is shown through the way Arnie and Jenna Cazares love each other. Getting to be apart of their wedding was such an honor.
The greatest story of redemption and Christ’s love is shown through the way Arnie and Jenna Cazares love each other. Getting to be apart of their wedding was such an honor.
These two. They keep me laughing.
These two. They keep me laughing.
Buddies. Not sure why people confused us for sisters but you all really made college amusing!
Buddies. Not sure why people confused us for sisters but you all really made college memorable.
My favorite engaged couple.
My favorite engaged couple.
My High School lifegroup- these ladies are so fun and keep me on my toes!
My High School lifegroup- these ladies are so fun and keep me on my toes!

 

I love that I can keep it real with you, laugh often, and  you are always a listening ear. <3
I love that I can keep it real with you, laugh often, and you are always a listening ear. ❤
Below is the definition of single.
 
sin·gle
adjective
1.only one; not one of several.
 
Here are the synonyms:
alone, companionless, lone, lonely, lonesome, solitary,unaccompanied.
None of that sounds interesting, exciting, or fun.
I think it’s time we changed our view of
happiness.
Let’s be honest,
life will not be perfect when you get married.
You can’t base your happiness on a person.
Learning how to be truly happy with yourself
and who you are is a gift.
Many people are still trying to figure that out.
Sitting on the lawn care-free. Those were the days. College was good to me.
Sitting on the lawn care-free. Those were the days. College was good to me.

 

I love making new friends. This picture is from a few years ago, I just met these people and starting taking pictures with them!
I love making new friends. This picture is from a few years ago, I just met these people and starting taking pictures with them!
Paid for my first all inclusive vacation to Cancun a year ago and as you can tell, I was "soaking up the sun." Can't wait for my next vacay.
Paid for my first all inclusive vacation to Cancun a year ago and as you can tell, I was “soaking up the sun.” Can’t wait for my next vacay.
This guy. I love my Dad.
This guy. I love my Dad.

Enjoy life.

Laugh often.

Dream Big.

Live out those dreams.

And Like My brother says, “Just love Jesus.”

Somehow we think that loving Jesus won’t be enough because

we want a relationship with someone “in the flesh.”

No matter how hard we try

NO ONE 

can fill the God shaped hole we were all born with.

Only God can.

Until we understand that

nothing and no one will satisfy those desires.

 

My ACE. Best brother ever.
My ACE. Best brother ever.
I've gotten to travel the world just a little and I am not done yet. #Rwanda
I’ve gotten to travel the world just a little and I am not done yet. #Rwanda
Doesn't Logan look lovely? Such a precious wedding. Childhood friends ;)
Doesn’t Logan look lovely? Such a precious wedding. Childhood friends 😉
My first time hiking in the wilderness, senior year of college.
My first time hiking in the wilderness, senior year of college.

 

This is when LizBeth got hitched;)
This is when LizBeth got hitched;)
These two keep me laughing with our group text messages and random conversations. I love living life with you two.
These two keep me laughing with our group text messages and random conversations. I love living life with you two.

 

Of course these pictures represent a fraction of the people that enrich my life but they make life fun. These people strengthen me, encourage me, and laugh with me. Guess what, some of them are married, single, dating, or engaged, sharing life with them brings me joy.

So when your feelings try to take over and put you down, remember that every day we GET to enjoy this life we have been given and that is worth living for.

 

XOXO

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P.S.

I am working on launching Hannah’s Hope that non-profit I told you all about. Stay tuned for more details. #KeepDreaming #AwakenTheDreamer

Every Day Counts

If you are feeling discouraged about life or your dreams and feel like you aren’t going anywhere, remember that every single day that you are alive and well counts. You are taking steps towards your destiny; that is worth being thankful for & fighting for. You are worth fighting for.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.– Martin Luther King Jr.

I have those days of weariness when I’m full of questions, and in those moments I wonder if I am moving forward or standing still? Will my current situation be the same in 2 years or 5 years? (Especially when my free-spirited self is tied down to a desk.)

What will my life look like?

Great question.

I don’t know, chances are what you and I think life will look like a few months or years from now could drastically change.

So my thoughts to all of us over thinkers and planners:

Lets enjoy life but not get comfortable with where we are. 

Dream big and not fear.

Jump when there is an open door 

or one worth knocking down.

Believe we can change the world because we can.

Fight for what we believe in.

Stand up for truth and justice.

Live out Micah 6:8.

Trust.

& Wait.

& Wait more if we have to.

May our impatience not lead us further from where we need to be.

Nothing good comes out of building our own idols

and worshipping our own desires.

 

One day at a time,

XOXO

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Taking My Shoes Off

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As a young professionals, we have days where we wake up and think, yes I am looking good. That was me today, pencil skirt to my knees nice black shirt. I was looking right. Until I finished my 10 minute walk from my parking garage to my building and realized that my skirt had completely turned and the split was now on the side of my thigh instead of behind me (like it started). So imagine me trying to fix my skirt in horror and hope that no one is in the stair well so I can fix it, only to have a man graciously come out of the stairwell as I am entering it in utter distress. He leaves; I attempt to straighten my skirt. Then I think “okay I will fix the rest when I get to my office.” As I am walking to my office I see my reflection in the windows and realized the 10 minute walk also destroyed my hair and of course, humidity has permission to take hold of any hairdo and mess it up.

Needless to say I thought I looked cute until I got work and had to “get dressed” all over again.

Today with my outfit all messed up, I was reminded that life happens. Skirts get turned around and your hair gets messed up. Nothing is perfect. I have wrestled with trying to be the perfect in my relationship with God, it was tiring and stressful. I’ve spent a lot of time dressing up for church and “dressing” up as a Christian. All the while, I was feeling like I was in a box and had to love and serve Jesus a certain way. Recently, Romans 14:22-23 has helped me a lot in this area.

I graduated from college with bachelors in social work and an associate’s degree in Biblical Studies- and I still had questions about God. I wondered if that was allowed, but inwardly I wondered if all of the things I had been told growing up truly reflected the heart of God.

I’ll admit I have had moments of real unbalance where I was just angry with Christians and really did not want to be associated with the callus words that were brought to life through their fb status. I just did not want to be a part of showing hatred to people with different views than me. I really wondered if this was who we have become as Christians. Do we really treat people this way? Do I treat people this way?

I was wrestling with why I believed what I believed but I wasn’t talking about it.

RELIGION NEVER BECKONED ME TO TAKE MY SHOES OFF and get dirty.

I watched this TED talk with Brene Brown about vulnerability.

I realized that I was not a vulnerable person. Am I honest with people, like really honest? No. Remember I am the one trying to put myself together in the stairwell before I get to my desk. I have not been really vulnerable with anyone except my family and two friends.

I talked with my “brother” Jerome and Shonda and they gave me some life changing advice. 

They gave me the Permission to Wrestle and did not condemn me.

That changed everything.

The permission to wrestle led me through a deep season of self-evaluation.

Earlier this year in a matter of months, everything I had in place and all my plans had been stripped away. It was me and Jesus and that was when the work began.  During this time I never heard the audible voice of God but through these books 7 by Jen Hatmaker and Love Does by Bob Goff, reading my Bible, worship, and prayer I put myself in the position to ask some hard questions. How was I behaving? Was any of my behavior reflecting the heart of Jesus? How long had I been missing the main point of my whole existence on this earth- to love people and lead them to Jesus? Not lead them to believe they had to do all this STUFF to stay right with Him. I was worn out from being regimented in my faith.

I have spent more time in the past two months digging deep and addressing real issues of my heart than I have in my whole life. Granted I am young, but it’s so easy to use age as an excuse. I refuse to use age as a reason to not address my mess and my issues. Yes I said mess and issues because guess what, we all have STUFF. Everyone’s stuff looks different. For me lately is has been defining who Jesus is to me. It has been about dissecting everything I was taught and searching out the heart of God. It’s been about me truly finding him and him wrecking me and changing my view of this world.

So here is what I have found out over the past months:

  • My desire to love Jesus and please him has increased
  • My longing to love people like Jesus has caused me to be more compassionate and less judgmental
  • I used to be awful with talking about people, it was easy, now I barely do it (I am not going to lie and say I don’t do it all because that is not the truth however it’s greatly improved and I am really growing in this area.)
  • I spend less time trying to figure out why people do what they do, and more time loving them
  • I am even more passionate about justice, the orphan, and teen mothers
  • I haven’t invited someone to church since I was in junior high (because all my friends were Christians) until yesterday when I invited a co-worker who said they would think about it.
  • I have found freedom in defining my relationship with Christ and not feeling like it needs to look like someone else’s relationship.
  • I need the Bible. I tried to go without it for a while but that did not work out too well. I need to read the Bible in order to learn how to live more like Jesus. I do not have a regimented “quiet time” but I make time to read my bible and pray through out my day. No day looks the same. Sometimes I miss days reading my Bible. That is okay too. 
  • Having a body of believers to fellowship with is essential and it is great to be plugged into a church. Also, you also won’t be stoned if you don’t get to church on a Sunday morning or if you watched online. It is important to connect with people that can encourage you.
  • I’ve found that being honest with myself has allowed me to embrace who I am and to really love myself.
  • Keep Jesus Simple.

 

 It’s in the moments where I am not rushing to “fix” myself and keep it together that I can actually take my shoes off and give them away to a homeless woman with gladness. It’s in those moments where Jesus works on me the most, when I am tangibly living how he lived and not just reading it and memorizing it. 

 

XoXo,

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