Comfort Zone

You know when you are so busy that you just go and go and go and when you finally sit down, your exhaustion hits you like a wall of bricks? Yes? That feeling is descriptive of this semester of school so far. Sure, between the schoolwork seven days a week, bible study twice a week, trying to squeeze in time to actually sit back and relax, trying to plan next semester’s classes already, and wanting to spend time with family and friends, I have a bit going on. But these things aren’t the main sources of exhaustion.

I think my main source of exhaustion is coming from myself and solely myself. If the title of this blog told you anything, you could probably guess I am going to talk about comfort zones. No brainer, right!? That is exactly where my exhaustion is coming from: trying to cement my feet in my comfort zone and not move an inch. In fact, I have been trying to stay inside my “circle of comfort” for as long as I can remember. Lately, however, I have been feeling a tug on my arm. At first, the tug was gentle and soft, but the more I resist and try to ignore the tug, the stronger and stronger it has become. I am spending increasingly more energy fighting back from the pull, using all my will and strength to be still as a rock and not move. I know, eventually, I will be fighting back so hard, the pull will stop and I will go falling backward onto the cold, hard ground with a loud and heavy thud. I should just give in, right!?

Okay, maybe that was a complicated analogy. Long story short, I am stuck in my comfort zone. God is trying to take my hand and gently lead me where I need to go, but little old Jessica who likes her comfort zone is fighting back. As God starts to pull harder and harder at my heart and hand, I spend more and more energy trying to stay where I am. That is where my exhaustion is coming from, my continuous fight against God. Thinking of it in this way really puts it into perspective for me. I don’t know where He wants to lead me, and what lies ahead, so I try to resist the pull. But, there is a reason He is pulling me that way. He is leading me somewhere bigger and better. Somewhere I can better do His will. He doesn’t want me left behind on the cold, hard ground as much as I don’t like the idea of falling down on the cold, hard ground. But, yet, I resist His pull.

I think it is human nature to have some fear and doubt when it comes to new situations. Sure, we like adventure and fun every once in a while, but going into those things completely blind isn’t as exciting and invigorating. Obviously, as I have just revealed, this is something I struggle with. The thing is, the Bible is literally filled to the brim with verses encouraging us to trust God and to trust that where He is leading us, there is only great things ahead.

“I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear or be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

“It s the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

These are two of my favorites among all the verses on comfort zones the Bible has to offer. Imagine this: You are a little kid at a huge carnival with hundreds of people and things going on all around you. If you try to explore by yourself, you will get distracted by the cotton candy over that way, the games this way, the inflatables the other way. You will turn the other direction when a scary clown comes into view. The large moving crowd will push you and send you in all different directions. You will get lost so easily.

Of course, another analogy, but hear me out. Us, the small children, can be so distracted by our own wants and desires. We can be scared away by issues popping up in our lives. We can get lost in this crazy hectic life. That’s where God comes in. As the loving Father He is, He takes our hand in His and tries to lead us where we need to go. Away from our selfish distractions, away from danger, away from the craziness, and toward the place we need to be. Sometimes this won’t be easy on us. It will test us and challenge us and force us outside of our comfort zone. But, in the end, we will be better for it. We will never be lost when we hold on to our incredible Father’s hand and follow Him wherever He leads.

Sometimes, especially now, I need that encouragement to stop wasting energy telling God “no” and start saying yes. It is scary, it is new, is is something I am not used to, but it is God’s will, and He will never fail us or forsake us. I may not be sure what I am saying “yes” to at the moment, but only time will tell. God’s mighty hand is holding mine, the path is unclear, but I can trust that God knows what He is doing and knows where He is leading me.

God’s got dis.

:)

Jessica<3

Life.

I find it so interesting that every time I face a difficulty in my day or week, my first instinct is to blog. It’s not like blogging makes me escape the issue, but rather, it brings me hope and kind of snaps me back into reality. However, this time, I am actually writing about the little “bump” in my day. Mixin’ it up. :) You see, I am the type of person who gets lost in their own mind. Maybe it is my love for psychology, maybe it is just my personality, but I could literally sit in silence and just let my mind run wild. Tonight, I was thinking about how in about a month, I will be headed back to school. My summer is almost over. I cannot believe it! As I was thinking about this, I realized that my summer has been, how do I put this, boring. I didn’t get a summer job to bring home some extra bacon, I didn’t go on any crazy trips or vacations, I didn’t really do anything extraordinary. Everyone dreams of having the best summer of their lives and having all these incredible memories, but honestly, this summer is kind of low on my list of “best summers.” It’s not fair, right? I am not the only one dealing with this, right!? Watching other people have the summers of their lives while I sit at home watching Food Network trying to beat 2048? It’s not a news flash, but we don’t always get what we want in life. Sometimes we get thrown some curve balls. Life. is. not. fair.

If that isn’t a Debbie downer, I don’t know what is. What do I do when I am feeling down (besides praying about it, of course)? I get on Pinterest. Yep, you guessed it, the quotes section. There is usually always one quote that gets stuck in my head for the rest of my day. Tonight’s quote: The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for. Wow, eye opening, especially after my complaining about a boring summer. I am lucky for my health this summer, even if I didn’t go on an incredible vacation. I am blessed with parents who support me, despite the fact that I didn’t get a job. I was able to spend a whole summer with my family, the people who mean the most to me. These are things I am taking for granted, yet other people are praying for. But, you know what? This quote led me to the same conclusion that my earlier thought did. Life. is. not. fair. The fact that some people are better off than others? Not fair. The fact that not everyone gets to be equal in what they have? Not fair.

The fact of the matter is yes, life is not fair. There will be incredible high moments we will never forget and heartbreaking low moments that will stick out in our minds just as much. We will never all be equal in this life, and yes, that is discouraging. We must look for the good in our lives and not take it for granted; always focus on the highs and be grateful for all we have. I am starting to sound like a walking motivational speaker, but you get the idea. Once you can accept that life isn’t fair, you can then accept that God is the only way to cope with this unfairness. He has our backs, and although we may struggle, we can pour our hearts out to Him and know that He will bless us incredibly in this life. His grace is enough. God can sustain us through this unfair life, and once we put our faith in that, we can look at life in a whole new way.

And you know what is the best part? This life is only temporary. This life may be unfair, but I can guarantee that an eternal life with God will make up for it. The only thing we can do in this temporary life is to live it to the fullest, following God faithfully, and falling in love with our lives along the way. Seek out positivity and God, and life becomes that much more bearable. Just because life isn’t fair, doesn’t mean we can’t do something incredible. Life is a complicated, crazy thing. But, it is beautiful at the same time. It just all depends how you face it.

God Bless!
<3 Jessica

The Impossible

I was looking for some inspiration for a new blog post, so I decided to use one of my favorite websites, Pinterest. It always amazes me how much time I can spend on Pinterest scrolling through the quotes section! Seriously, if you ever feel overwhelmed/sad/angry/whatever, go on Pinterest. Well, after you open your bible, of course!

Anywhoos! As I was scrolling through Pinterest, I found the perfect quote to blog about.

Don’t just pray about what seems logical and possible. Pray HARD about the impossible; God will show you that NOTHING, nothing, nothing, nothing, is impossible with Him. Ever. Period. End of Story.”

I remember being told this a lot when I was growing up; to pray for the impossible, because you never know. I miss the childhood innocence I had when I was first told this. I remember never understanding “the impossible.” At that age, I thought praying for the impossible was something along the lines of praying to be able to fly or praying that dinosaurs still existed. To me, these things were the closest things I could think of that were impossible. But, as I grew up, that innocence dissipated. My list of “impossible” things grew and grew and started to include things like being good at a sport or being accepted by a certain group of people, and so on. It seemed new things were always being added as I faced new challenges. Even now, my “impossible” list keeps expanding.

A few years back I saw on a website somewhere the suggestion to make something called an impossible list. It is exactly what it sounds like, a list of the things you think are impossible. After you make the list, you are to put it somewhere and look at it again one year later, two years later, and so on. I made the list, but of course I have no idea where it is. :P However, I remember a few of the things. One was as simple as being fit. We all have had our chubby stage, but when your chubby stage is in junior high, it’s rough. At that time, I felt that I would never be able to live a healthy, fit life. But now, I am running 5ks four to five times a week and have gotten rid of a lot of the bad habits I used to have. I remember my list containing so many little things like that, which today are no longer impossible. The major one that was probably number one on my list? Being worry-free. I used to be so stressed that I would literally give myself stomach ulcers. I thought it would never end. But, you know what? It did. I haven’t had stress that bad in over a year now. That thing that seemed so impossible, well, it turned out to be possible. You know how that worry eventually faded? You guessed it. Prayer. Even at the beginning of the school year, I was praying everyday for God to take away my nerves about college and classes and meeting people, and He did just that. He made the impossible possible.

That is just one example of so many. The thing with prayer is that you gotta ask for it! If you aren’t praying about it, how do expect anything to happen? Yes, God is all-knowing, but when we don’t put it in His hands, we are showing doubt in His power or saying that “thing” we aren’t praying for isn’t that important anyways. How do you know it is impossible if you have never asked? Sure, praying that God will clean your room for you may be “impossible” but hey, He just might give you the motivation to clean it yourself! Silly example, I know, but you get the point. When we pray about something that seems so unlikely and far-fetched, God can find a way. It may not be exactly the way we were thinking, but He will find a way. Never limit God.The second you limit God, He will find a way to blow your mind in a whole new way. He is God for Pete’s sake, give the Man some credit.

You want something? Pray about it. It seems impossible? Pray harder. The only way to find out if something is truly impossible is to ask God. You probably won’t be ready for His incredible answer. You wanna push it even further? Make an impossible list. Give it to a friend to give you in a year or put it in your winter clothes storage (these are the things I think of..) Everything on your list won’t be checked off in a few months time or even a few years time, but trust me, slowly but surely, that list will diminish. Once you realize that anything is possible, you can view life in a whole new, positive way.

God Bless!

<3 Jessica

 

 

Transformation

I probably have written a similar blog post before, but I can never help to share what is on my mind. I remember in high school, I had a terrible toothache. I seriously think toothaches are the worst pain in the world (I told my sister this and she confirmed that she thinks toothaches are worse than childbirth, so there is that). I like to think I handle pain well, but in all reality, I compain. A lot. So, of course, all my friends were hearing about my toothache all day, and I was walking through the halls begging anyone and everyone for some ibuprofen. Anyways, I walked into this cool room we had at my school, plopped down on a couch, and groaned. Our priest was in there, and being the nice guy he is, asked me what was wrong. I blabbed on forever about this agonizing toothache as he just nodded with a concerning look. I will always remember him looking at me with such a quizzical look and asking me “Well, why don’t you offer it up?” I had never even heard of this idea before, offering up pain to God. It happened to be the week my school had all kinds of pro-life activities, so he suggested offering up my pain to God for all the unborn babies who had been victims of abortion. He told me for the rest of the day, anytime I wanted to complain, to just remember that the pain was being used in a form of prayer for those babies.

The pain didn’t get any better just because I began to use it as a prayer, but I did notice a lot more happiness in my attitude just from “offering it up.” Anytime I get a headache or toothache or anything now, I think of what he told me, and it really is a great mentality to have in those moments. However, just recently I read more about this idea in a book. It is all about a transformation of our mentality, and it can go far beyond just pain. It can be with anything.

One of my biggest pet peeves is negativity. I just can never understand how negativity helps anything. So, when I get on Facebook to see people complaining about jobs or school or anything, I get quite annoyed, I admit. I mean, I am in the position where I am looking for a job with no luck, so it bugs me to see someone else complaining about having a job! Although I get so annoyed by the negative mentality of others, my mentality of being so annoyed by them is no good either. That is why this transformation of mentality I read about stuck out to me so much, so I will try to sum it up as well as possible. :)

I think everyone has this natural tendency to have a mentality of “what’s in it for me?” When it comes to a job, it is money. When it comes to school, it is a degree. When it comes to just everyday tasks, we constantly think of the long-term, the fruits of our labor, what we will get. However, this mentality causes us to lose the value and purpose of the things we are doing. When we only focus on the fruits, we get stuck in this dead-end, dull routine. However, once we transform the things we are doing into prayer, our mentality shifts into something so much healthier.

For example, for me, it was the simply transformation of pain into prayer. In the book, it mentions offering up one hour of whatever job you do to someone or something that needs prayers, the next hour offered up as a way to thank God for family, the next for friends, and so on. I know for me, I sometimes limit my communication with God to my prayer times and other moments where I feel his presence, not every single moment and every single thing I do. God can be in every single second of our lives, whether it be using the chore of taking out the trash to pray for those who have no food containers to throw away or using a workout as a reminder of how truly healthy and fortunate you are to be able to do this exercise. This simple shift takes everyday, normal activities and transforms them into acts that cause you to grow spiritually and become closer to God.

As the author, Matthew Kelly, mentions in his book Rediscover Catholicism, “Whether your work in this life is as a street cleaner or as a senator, remember that the interior effect that the work we do has on our soul is infinitely more important than the exterior fruits of out work.” Such a simple shift from focusing outward to focusing inward may make all the difference, who knows! :) In a period of my life where I can feel that some of the things I am doing have no purpose, this is an incredible reminder of how everything and anything is purposeful and important.

 

God Bless!

Jessica<3

What Kind of Christian Am I?

Good afternoon all! I am actually writing a blog post in the middle of the day for once, what a surprise! :P Today’s topic actually came to me through a Catholic book that I was reading last night, but applies to Christianity in general. I felt so convicted as I was falling asleep and I knew I had to write a post about it. It may be a short post, but hopefully it ends up being a good one!

Growing up, I have always been taught to spread the Good News, shout from the mountains the glory of God and how Jesus is my savior. However, I never really knew how to do this. How do I spread this? Do I just walk up to random people and start spewing off Bible verses? How is all of this supposed to work? As I have grown, I can honestly admit that I have become pretty passionate on my beliefs and opinions, whether they are religion or not. When it come to abortion, gun rights, feminism, and so on, I have strong feelings, and when approached, would gladly have a friendly discussion about them. Even more honestly, I can say that I do a lot of tweeting and posting on social media about my opinions as well, whether I am asked for my opinion or not. I love having my voice heard, from spreading how God has blessed me to how I feel about the most recent tragedy in the news. On the other hand, it is hard not to become that person who starts shoving their beliefs down other peoples throats. It is hard for me to see or talk to someone who thinks differently than me and not start throwing Bible verses at them or trying to convince them they are wrong.

Like I said, I love having my voice heard. I love talking to people about how I became the Christian/Catholic I am today, I love sharing my new favorite song from Tenth Avenue North or this awesome article I read online, and so on. I love trying to show people my faith in these ways, especially if they are questioning their faith. Although I don’t exactly just walk up to strangers and ask them if they are interested in talking about God as I grew up believing I needed to do, I still try to spread the message as best as I can.

But, I have to ask myself, how is that working for you? How is this working for everyone who is out spreading the Gospel in whatever way they choose to do it? The answer is: it’s not. The book I am reading, “Rediscovering Catholicism,” really opened up this tough answer to me. People are tired of hearing the same messages over and over again. Yes, sharing your testimony is great, Christian books are great, all these amazing preachers and evangelists are great, but the people we want to speak to don’t want to hear these things, they want to see them. They want to see us live out Christianity, not spew it out in our words. They need the example, they need to see it for themselves. It reminds me of a church hymn sung all the time, “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” Not by our incredible testimony, not by our memorization of bible verses, but by our love, by the way we live, by the example we set.

Am I this person? Am I this example? Reading this (and the book puts it in such better words) really got me thinking. I deeply and truly want to be this Christian leading this authentic life that others can look up to. I want to respond to the cry of help these people are sending out, a cry in search of a living example, not just words being spoken. I know I need to follow this longing and make it a reality. I get so easily caught up in whether or not I know the Bible cover to cover or if I know all the greatest Christian artists or if I have seen the latest popular sermon, but do I get caught up in how I am living, the example I am setting, whether or not people see God living in me, outside of the words I speak?

“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

I know some people may disagree with me on this, and that is totally okay! Just my personal opinion and thoughts I wanted to share!

God Bless!

Jessica <3

Pleasing Others.

I know my posts so far this summer are quite random in timing and in topic, and trust me I am working on it, but at the same time here I am writing another random post. My “strategy” for this post is just to start typing and see where I go, because honestly, there has been a lot racing through my mind lately. One thing I love about summer is the time I have completely by myself, but also with the Lord. I learn so much about myself, both the good and the bad. This post is just about one thing I have learned about myself lately, and about one change I have already decided to make within myself. (I will try to not get too rant-y in this post, but bear with me).

As a psychology major, I really do enjoy analyzing pretty much everything. The downside to this, however, is the fact that I analyze myself, sometimes waaaaay too harshly. On the upside, when I am upset about something, I find it pretty easy to find the root of the issue. I guess I have been feeling a little off lately, and by lately, this has been the past few months. There have been no huge, significant changes in my life, so I have been quite confused about what has been making me feel so strange. It hasn’t been a huge change, but something that just seems a little off, like when you leave the house and you know that you are forgetting something but you don’t quite know what. However, these past few days, God has truly blessed me with a few different situations where He has really spoken to me to allow me to see the issue.

To cut straight to the point, the issue I have been dealing with is pleasing others. Although this is something I have only been struggling with these past few months, I recognize that this has pretty much always been an issue for me. Like I said before, I am very hard on myself, so often times, I seek approval from others, rather than being truly happy with myself. All throughout junior high and high school, I really became the person that other people wanted me to be or the person I knew other people would accept. Last summer, however, I really had this whole new experience of breaking out of my shell and “finding myself.” The idea of finding yourself may be so cliche, but in all reality, it was an incredible experience for me. Last summer was incredible and I truly felt free and closer to God than ever before. I felt as though I had discovered who I really wanted to be, and that was an optimistic, joyful, confident, daughter of the Lord. But, of course, all things come to an end, including summer, and I was off to this whole new experience, college. I was nervous, yet hopeful in the new experience. Looking back on my first year of college, it was an absolute blast! But trying to hold your own identity on a campus of whatever-thousand is quite the feat. God put me in a challenging sink-or-swim situation, and to be honest, I doggie paddled. I had good days and bad days, and often times, that depended on the people I was with and the situations I was in. That confident, happy girl peeked through every now and then, but there were always those times where I felt I was sinking under the pressure, the fear of acceptance, and the confusion of what would please others.

Whoa, Jessica, getting deep here, are we!? Well, yeah, but a girl has got to vent every once in a while! So yeah, there is the issue. But hey! You know what the best thing about finding issues is!? Figuring out a solution. No more Mr. Nice Girl (that didn’t make sense, but you get the idea). My happiest moments in college were when I was surrounded by the people who accepted me as I truly am (You know who you are :) ), those moments where that girl who I found last summer was shining through, laughing and smiling. In those moments, I felt closest to God and the most alive. I want my entire life to be made up of those moments. And who is stopping me? Only myself. We are not here on this earth to please others, and I have no room in my life for pleasing others. No one has the right to tell me who I am, what I ought to be doing, what I should be wearing, how I should be acting, and so on. No one has the right to influence anything I do, say, believe, and so on. Well, except God, but we will touch on that later. We can’t allow people to walk all over us and think they are bigger and better than us. This may seem like kind of a depressing post, and I am sorry, but trust me, I am jumping for joy. Jessica, the real Jessica, is here to stay and no one is standing in my way.

Self-empowerment, YEAH! :P So pretty much, so far this post has been a ramble about me, blah blah blah, but honestly, it is a realization I made that I felt needed to be shared. God constantly amazes me with how He speaks to us through others, but He amazes me even more in how He is always within us, in our thoughts. I feel so loved for God guiding me through this strange funk I have been in and for bringing me to a solution which has already brought me peace and happiness. Sure, there are some changes I will need to make in my life, some easy and others hard, and I will have to keep adjusting to be sure I stay on track. However, I know God is beside me, and He knows what is is best for me every step of the way.

The story doesn’t end here. Just from having this seemingly simple realization, I have felt so much more empowered. I may only be one tiny person on this Earth, but I am a part of God’s plan and will. He is working through me. In the past, I have been quiet about my faith and beliefs, but after this crazy journey of empowerment, I realize my power. Who cares if someone else doesn’t agree with what I think, faith-related or not? I am not here to please others. (Even if it just about my favorite hockey team!). To be serious, God has blessed me with a voice to be heard, a heart that is open to others, and the platforms to spread both my thoughts and His word. I cannot, and will not, be silenced or put down anymore.

So yeah, this post has been all about me. But, I am hoping the few people who read it can take something, anything from it. This may be all over the place and crazy, but hey, hopefully something speaks to you. :) Once you take the vow to not conform, not be pressured, and not allow anything or anyone besides God to define you, trust me, you will be free. 

God Bless!

Jessica <3

 

“Your Body is a Temple.”

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” -1 Corinthians 3: 16-17

Those last four words have been on my mind lately. “You are that temple.”

Just imagine it. God has this beautiful temple. He loves this temple. The temple has the Holy Spirit dwelling among it, it is a holy temple. God loves this temple so much. If anyone were to destroy it, He will destroy that person, that is how protective He is of this temple. The thing is, this isn’t talking about some large, stone, temple. You are that temple. We are these temples.

Well, gosh, if that kind of love doesn’t make you blush, you may be incapable of blushing, because that is just straight up amazing. Sometimes it absolutely awes me how much God loves, protects, and cares for us. We are His temple. The Holy Spirit dwells in us. God treasures and protects us, and no one is to harm us. Let’s emphasize that last part. No one is to harm us. You know who that includes? Ourselves. We can be the worst enemy to God’s treasured temple that He loves and protects so strongly. Are we living in a way that glorifies this temple, or in a way that is destroying this temple?

I think of this in a few different aspects. First, we can think of how we treat this temple emotionally. Do we look at ourselves in the mirror and love ourselves? Do we speak of ourselves with respect? Are we thankful for this body God has placed us in? God didn’t create us for us to trash talk ourselves. He didn’t make us so that we could say how much uglier, dumber, fatter, whatever-er than everyone else. He didn’t make us so that we could look in the mirror and sigh. He didn’t make us so we could expect perfection in our looks, personality, actions, and so on. When we are hard on ourselves, that is pretty much an insult to God. He created us in His perfect image, breathed his own breath into us, and carefully made us. I can only imagine how sad we make Him feel when we start trash talking and disrespecting this precious creation of His. 

We can look at this temple from the physical perspective as well. Are we treating our bodies as temples? Are we doing everything in our power to glorify God in our bodies? The common discussion is all about modesty. Especially for teenagers, modesty can be a touchy issue. Long story short, in the way we dress, act, walk, whatever, we should be treating our bodies as God’s temples. Rather than blabbing on about modesty, I think we should also look at the other ways we destroy God’s temple; through eating disorders, self-harm, and so on. Just as we discussed earlier, I can only imagine the way God feels when He sees His beautiful temples tearing ourselves down. He worked so hard and carefully to build us up, and then we go tearing ourselves down because we are not “good enough.” It is a tough topic to address, but in the end, I don’t think anyone would protect and love a temple as much as God loves us if that temple was not “good enough.” We are enough, end of story. Read that opening verse again. We are enough.

After reading this verse, my heart felt so challenged by it. I have never been the most confident girl. I have my struggles and insecurities, my little things I always point out in the mirror, and those things I always compare to others. I have my bouts of going on crazy ab-workout, all lettuce diet fads, and my bouts of eating everything in sight because God will love me no matter what. I go from wearing no makeup one day, to a face full the next day. I go from extreme to extreme. Truly, it is exhausting. However, I am working to find balance. I want to treat my body as a temple. I want to eat healthy, go on long runs, but indulge in a brownie now and then. I want to feel beautiful in my own skin, but still get dressed up every once in a while, in a modest way of course. In the end, I want to do whatever it takes to make my body a temple. I am blessed with one body, one that is beautiful, and I want to treat it that way. Sure, it will take a shift in my mindset. I want to rid myself of those negative, controlling thoughts and fill myself with the words of God reminding me I am a temple. I am holy. I am enough.

This post may have seemed more like a rant than anything, but hey, it is my blog and these are my thoughts, the things running through my mind late at night. :) I think we all need a reminder every now again of the beautiful temples we are. I mean, you can look out a window in a big city and see so many beautiful buildings. Some are older, some are newer, some have Gothic architecture, some are super modern. some are tall, some are short, some are odd shaped, some are colorful, I think you get the idea. These buildings all have their purpose, their reason to be standing there. They were planned and built with care, so they could withstand this world and show off their beauty. Maybe you are the Empire State Building, heck, you could even be the Statue of Liberty. No matter what, your builder is proud of you and is so happy with the way you turned out.

God Bless!

Jessica <3

Confession Time.

we never knew as children, what the meaning behind most of these quotes meant. but looking back i learned so many lessons about love from this chubby teddy and his piggy friend.

As I sit here on a rainy summer night just me, myself, and I, I am coming to the realization I have a problem. The hockey games are over for the night, I have no new videos in my subscription box on Youtube, and no one is available to text. So, what am I doing? Reading and watching proposal stories and videos. Pathetic, I know.

Oh gosh, Jessica, here we go again. I swear I am just going to read or watch one, and hours later I am crying by myself as if I just watched the Notebook. The root of this problem is my obsession with love. Yep. I am such a girl, I just love love. Whether it be a boyfriend and girlfriend, mother and daughter, two best friends, or whatever, I just love seeing people who love each other. I am a huge believer in the idea that love is what makes this world go round, and love is what we need a whole lot more of in our lives. So, when I see love, my heart warms up so much.

Love is even better when it is experienced. Yes, I may be that hopeless romantic who watches proposal videos and secretly hopes one day I will be in that same position, but that is besides the point. The love we give and feel on a daily basis is incredible, to say the least. Doesn’t it feel incredible to just love someone? To do a good deed or say something nice and see someone’s face light up? Or what about feeling the love of another? Hugging a friend you haven’t seen in ages or receiving a meaningful gift? I seriously just love love! Even when you have nothing else, you can have love. It is a great gift.

As 1 John 4:8 tells us, “God is love.” God not only gave us the gift of love, but He Himself is love. He gave His only son to cover for our sins. He provides for us, protects us, nurtures us, teaches us, cares for us, pursues us, the list goes on and on. God is love. God loves. God gets to experience that greatness of showering others in love and seeing their faces light up, and He also gets to be glorified by those who love Him. How awesome is that!? God experiences love just like us.

However, just like us, God experiences the not-so-fun side of love. Yes, I am obsessed with love, but only the warm, fuzzy side, not the cold, lonely side. We can give love and experience that happiness, but not be loved in return. We can love something or someone so dearly, only for them to leave our side, maybe through death, or just abandonment. In those moments, we feel so alone. But we’re not. God experiences this too. He constantly showers His creation with gifts, blessings, and love, only to see us sin against Him. He sees people turn away from Him and walking the other way all the time. He craves to pull us into His embrace, but sometimes, we just run the other way. He is the greatest example of “if you love something, let it go.” He loves us enough to allow us to turn the other way, no matter how bad it hurts Him. But, when we return, He feels a burst of love once again.

I don’t know why, but this is something that just randomly came to me as a little nudge of a reminder. It may seem silly to others, but it was laying heavy on my heart. God shares in the love behind random acts of kindness, two best friends reuniting, or two lovers getting engaged. But, He also shares in the emptiness behind the loneliness of a single person, a relationship coming to an end, and violence occurring everyday. He knows both feelings, shares in both the joy and the sorrow. But, in the end, God is love. Even when we have nothing else, we have God’s love, and what is greater than that? He is always there, loving us in His perfect way, in a way we can never deserve. I think sometimes I get too caught up in this ideal of having the perfect friendships, the perfect marriage one day, and just being surround by love. In all reality, I am already surrounded by the most perfect love by the heavenly Father.

So, all in all, yes, I am obsessed with love. I am obsessed not only with the love I experience through people in my life, but also through my Father. Love is seriously an incredible thing that I think everyone deserves. Once we realize how much we are truly loved, I think the only thing we can do is make sure that love is being spread everywhere. Like I said, I think our world needs more love. Not trying to go all hippie, but hey, sometimes you just gotta preach it. We are all human and all just need a little love in our lives. We are already so incredibly blessed by God’s love, so now we just gotta get that love flowing everywhere.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”- 1 Peter 4:8

We may never deserve the love given to us by our Father, but we can always just simply try to love one another deeper.

Now, if anyone needs me, the first place you might want to check is my room with a box of tissues and some proposal videos. But shhh, don’t tell anyone. :)

God Bless!

Jessica<3

Sweet, Sweet Summertime.

It is finally here. I never thought it would get here, but it finally has. After finals on finals and endless hours of studying while listening to my summer playlists and imagining that first dip in the pool, summer has officially arrived. Thank the Lord! And of course, with the summer arriving, more blog posts will be arriving as well. Who is excited!? I am.

Over the past week, I have had the same conversation over and over again. “What are you doing this summer?” or “Do you have any plans this summer?” The range of responses I have heard include internships, vacations, summer jobs, sleeping and eating (my personal favorite), and the list goes on and on. My responses to these questions, however, are quite different. I have no plans for summer, no idea what I will be doing, completely clueless on where it will bring me. And I love it.

Wait, love it?! Huh? You see, there is something just so freeing about not having any plans. I get to sit back and let God be the author. I have 3 months of free space on my calendar and God can pencil in whatever He would like. How cool is that!? I’m sure there will be some not so fun parts, but I can only imagine all the fun, great plans God has in store for me! It has only been a few days into the summer and I have already seen wild animals I never even knew existed, won tickets to a concert, and took a nice dip in some 65 degree water (I felt like a human ice cube). If all this has already happened, what else is in store for me!?

Don’t get me wrong, having plans is great, but I think sometimes we can let our plans stand in the way of God’s plans. Do we open our hands and give God our time, or do we hog all the time to ourselves and not let God touch any of it? I can definitely be the queen of plans. If I have free time, I love to set up a schedule of how I will use that time. It usually consists of something along the lines of wake up, check twitter, check Facebook, check Instagram, eat breakfast, do something productive, go on Youtube, and so on. Pathetic, I know, but I love have time frames dedicated to one thing and I hate having nothing to do. But, I always wonder how I am limiting my opportunities and blessings when I take so much control in my life. So to actually have months of free time with no plans is so different to me, so challenging, but so exciting.

I have to admit, I have already started a mini-routine for this summer. I told myself I am going to wake up early every morning (or most mornings), go for a run, eat, shower, and get ready for the day. The change for me, though, is that the rest of my day is completely free and up for grabs. I am super excited, a little bit nervous, but completely content in putting my trust and time in God’s hands. I will definitely have to keep the blog updated on all the things placed in front of me in these next few months! The suspense is already killing me.

God Bless!

<3 Jessica

P.S. I am a little rusty on my blogging skills, so I may need a few short warmup posts before getting back into the swing of things. :)

Springtime!

"No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." hopefully soon as I'm ready to take a flamethrower to all of this snow and ice....

It is (almost) my favorite time of the year: spring! Only a few more days of cold to survive, and spring will officially be here to stay (I hope)! Especially after this long, cold, tundra-like winter, I am pumped for spring. There is just something about spring. The flowers blooming, the birds chirping, the sun shining; there is just so much change. The dead is brought back to life and everything seems so balanced and good again. I don’t know about anyone else, but once spring comes, I cannot help but be happy and so joyful! The depressing, seemingly endless cold has gone. No more dreariness, no more dullness, no more runny noses and red cheeks, and no more layers of leggings underneath pants and multiple socks inside boots. Spring brings a new beginning, new opportunities, and new experiences.

I know for me, personally, this change is so refreshing. Sometimes in life we need a little change of pace, something a little new in the routine. These little changes renew us and give us a whole new attitude and sense of motivation and determination. Spring comes at the middle of my school semester and gives me this new, happier attitude to get things done and push through to the end of the semester. It renews me and brings my laziness and dullness to life, energizing me and putting a little pep in my step.

Don’t we all wish we could have this renewal year-round!? Good news. We can. God provides for us this renewal anytime we want, we just have to ask for it. Everyone goes through plateaus or valleys in their spiritual life. In those times, we need some renewal, some new life, a little pep in our step. God has already brought our dead selves to life, just as the spring does for all the flowers, but now we have to continuously grow, bloom, and bear fruit. This is no easy job. There are days with no sunshine. There are days with too much sunshine, and not enough rain.  We get stuck, dull, and weary, without bloom. We feel defeated and need something, anything.

This is where God comes in. He has the power to be the spring to our winter. If we want that help, we simply have to ask. It is always hard asking for help in areas of difficulty, I mean no one likes to admit their faults. But, it happens to everyone. God is more than happy to help us! He will bless us abundantly to help us grow closer to him and bloom into the flowers we want to be. He will take away the cold, the wind, the darkness, and bring us sunshine, spring showers, and a cool breeze. If we put trust in God that He will bless us with these things, we need not have any doubt or worry, because we will grow and bear fruit.

My favorite part of this whole idea is the fact that we can see it firsthand. As I look outside right now, I know the cold is out there waiting for me and my multiple layers of clothing, but I also know that the forecast calls for some spring weather in a few days. I am so looking forward to those days, and I am so grateful to see such a great example of what God can do in our own lives! He has the power to push out the winter, and bring in the spring, not only outside, but in our hearts also.

God Bless!

<3 Jessica