Monday, February 12, 2018

Oh the Seasons!

The idea of “seasons” has been on my mind a lot recently. In Michigan, metro Detroit had its big #snowmageddon this weekend, and I'm pretty sure all of life stopped on Friday as we had snow non-stop for 16 hours? Maybe more. The Detroit metro airport shut down and all incoming flights couldn't land. It was bad.

Anyway, as I sit here now and look out at the beautiful snow, I can’t help but think about how gorgeous it is but also how destructive it can be. From inside a warm home, looking at the snow is beautiful, serene, and calm, but to those who have to get up and drive in it or don’t have heat- it is stressful, dangerous, and even life threatening.
Seasons can be a double edged sword.

The great thing about seasons is, they are just that, seasons- meaning temporary. And there’s a specific purpose & point in each one- sometimes bringing both beauty & pain. Seasons can be really exciting, but they also bring change, which is scary to many of us. Sometimes we never want our season to end (hello college), and other times we can’t wait for them to be over. I remember partially dreading graduation from college, because I thought the best part of my life was coming to an end and I would never see my friends again. Was college an amazing & life changing experience? Yes, but it was just a season and the beginning of an incredible life full of opportunities! In the words of High School Musical (slightly edited), "[College] wasn't made to last forever." The same goes for any season you might be walking through right now - it wasn't made to last forever.

SO whether you’re in a really wonderful season right now, OR things are really stressful & hard- remember life isn’t necessarily ALWAYS going to be this way. Seasons change. Literally and figuratively. The thing that keeps us grounded no matter what season or transition we are in is to keep our eyes on God, who never, ever changes, and who has promised to protect & guide us in any upcoming snow storm or hurricane that may be lurking in the next season.

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven." Ecc. 3:1

Monday, October 9, 2017

Paradoxical Love

“Then I will heal you of your faithLESSness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever." -Hosea 14:4 (emphasis added)

I love the book of Hosea because it's about God's relentless pursuit of an unfaithful people...it's a beautifully humbling picture of Him and us. //

Have you fully grasped that? Do you really know what that means?

Think about this: It's easy to pursue a friendship or relationship with someone who's nice to you- someone who talks to you, respects you, and WANTS to mutually get to know you, right?  But can you imagine pursuing a relationship (friendship or otherwise) where the other person constantly ignores you, blatantly disrespects you, and turns away completely away from you? Most of us wouldn't put up with that for very long- and rightfully so. 

Moreover, the picture portrayed in Hosea takes that idea to a whole new level. Listen to this, Hosea was a prophet who was a godly, upright, and righteous man whom God instructed to.... intentionally pursue and marry a prostitute. 


She continued to be unfaithful....yet Hosea was always faithful. In our mind that sounds crazy- like who would do that? I can only imagine if this was a chick flick, we would be frantically yelling at the screen "HOSEA WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER! REALLY!?" 
We may even be dissatisfied with the ending (kind of like La La Land), thinking that He should of ended up with the girl who was truly better for Him.....anyone but the prostitute.

But you guys. That's the point. 

We are the prostitute.

It's a beautiful story because it helps us wrap our mind around Gods love for us. We don't deserve it one bit. We are rebels. We are constantly unfaithful. YET amidst all that, God chooses to chase us down while we are in that place of rebellion, because of His deep, deep love for us. He wants us. While we are hating Him and wanting nothing to do with Him, His love is constant. 

It doesn't make sense. Yet it's true- for all of us. So today, know that no matter what you've done in your past, no matter how stained you feel you are, you are fiercely loved by the King of Universe who deeply treasures your heart and wants to know you intimately. There is nothing you could ever DO that would change His love for you. It is constant, and it is relentless, and He is constantly calling you to come to Him. As you go about your day and this week, may you walk in that truth! 💕

p.s. If you want to read a REALLY great fiction story based on the book of Hosea, check out "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers- it's a super great read and helps to better understand this story in a whole new way. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Do It Scared

I recently heard a young mom talking about how when her toddler-aged daughter tells her, "Mom, I'm scared!" She replies, "That's okay, do it scared!"

Fear is paralyzing, and even when we acknowledge it, it can STILL be paralyzing. But I love this response because it completely eliminates all excuses and teaches that yes, it's OKAY to be afraid, but it's NOT okay to let that fear stop you from doing it anyway.

If you think the bravest and most courageous people throughout history (George Washington, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, etc.) were never afraid, I think you are mistaken, as I'm willing to bet that they were JUST as afraid as anyone else would have been in their situations. The difference is that they chose to "do it scared."

I give so much credit to this young mom and love how she was teaching her daughter this from such a young age. I'm not a parent, but this is definitely one of those words of wisdom cards that I want to keep tucked away for the future.

So friends, from now on, I encourage you that whenever you're in a situation and you think to yourself "I'm scared," to give yourself the best three word pep-talk ever and say "do it scared."

Then do it.



It's worth it. :)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Glimmer in Grief


Have you ever found yourself in a situation where there are no words? You hear news that completely stops you in your tracks, and there is absolutely nothing you could say that would make it better. Nothing that would encourage. Nothing that would change a thing, because the pain is too deep.

I had a situation like this last week when I found out that a family whom I have learned so much from and admire greatly lost their young child very suddenly and unexpectedly.  I'm not here to write something that is intended to attempt to make you feel happy right now, because honestly,  I don't think even the nicest, sweetest, most heartfelt words could make anyone feel better in this situation. Nor do I feel particularly "qualified" to encourage someone in this situation, as I myself have never experienced the sort of pain that comes with the loss of a child. My stomach is in knots thinking about her parents and sweet siblings whose lives will forever be changed. 

Still, I found myself pondering the situation and asking the question that we all seem to ask: 

"Why? Why someone so innocent, so young, with such a passion for life? Why were they taken so quickly? Why were her years cut short?"

As I was asking these questions, the Holy Spirit immediately comforted me with this thought:

"The pain this family is experiencing right now is giving them a tiny tiny glimpse of the pain I experienced when I, too, lost a child...."

Thankfully, many people don't experience the intense pain of losing a child in this life. I can only imagine that is is one of the hardest losses a person could go through. While I certainly never wish it upon anyone and I pray I never have to experience it myself, I believe there is something incredibly comforting to those who experience this when they realize that God the Father experienced the same thing. It gives them another way which they can relate to the Lord, and connect with Him on a deeper level. 

When God the Father sent Jesus, His ONLY Son, to be crucified and killed- sacrificed for a people that rejected Him- God felt the loss of a child. Jesus was innocent, completely guilt-free, and did not deserve death. Even though God knew that He would see Jesus again, He still experienced that pain of separation, that deep, deep, darkness and grief.

So, dear family who is experiencing grief beyond my own comprehension, 

I do want to encourage you in this, not based on my words, but rather in pointing you to the one who experienced the ultimate grief. I do not at all want to undermine the grief you are experiencing and the sheer darkness you feel right now. But know this: The Father knows the pain you are feeling, because He's experienced it too. I pray that you will cling to Him and Him alone in this time, as that is where your hope lies. He will carry you, and He will never let you down. Ever.

To the rest of us, 

Let us pray. Hard. Because sometimes that is the only thing we can do.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Vulnerability Paradox

The paradox of being “perfect” to be “liked” is quickly changing.
Everyone “likes” the girl that seems to “have it all together,” but does anyone really connect to her? And what matters more?


Let me ask you something, what is one thing that draws human beings together in no other way- something that cultivates the deepest of relationships?


Vulnerability.


Can I propose a thought to you? That vulnerability, though scary at the thought, is one of the keys to deep relationships and drawing people together. The problem is, we live in a society that runs from it. We want our lives to look “perfect” on social media so people “like” us, and think great things about us, but ultimately deep down, we know that’s not reality.  May I propose to you that some of the most engaged social media posts are those that are real. The posts that make you tear up. That make you FEEL something on a deeper level. Some of my friends are really good this, and I so admire their courage to be so vulnerable. Because the reality is, when we’re vulnerable, it opens us up to potential hurt too- that’s why it’s scary. Dictionary.com gives 3 main definitions for Vulnerability: 1). capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon, 2). Open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc., and 3). (of a place) open to assault, difficult to defend.
Ouch. There's a reason we think it's scary, right? And we'd be crazy to think it isn't, but at the same time, it’s kind of like love in some ways (I’m laughing at myself for typing the previous sentence, and bringing ‘love’ into this, as I know it sounds so cliche, but reader, it’s TRUE). Vulnerability is risky, and with it you have the potential for great hurt…..but you also have the potential for great, great gain.


I wouldn’t be honest if I told you that every day was perfect, because it’s not, and you know that just as much as I do. Our imperfections make us vulnerable, yes, but they also make us human. There is something extremely comforting when another soul looks at you and says: “I get that. I’ve been there too, I’m just like you. You are not alone in this.” Sometimes we don’t want to share our burdens because we think we will be a burden, but is it not commanded in Scripture to do so with those we trust and love (See Galatians 6:2)? Or maybe we keep things in because we don’t want the attention and sympathy. We think we can handle it ourselves, or worse, we don’t want to become “attention seeking” so we’d rather just not tell anyone completely- OR we don’t want to appear “weak” so we pretend everything is fine.  Maybe it’s just me.


But here’s the thing, if we don’t share our weaknesses and vulnerability, we become unrelatable and fake. As a leader of a team, I need to be vulnerable and share my struggles, because otherwise my team will think that what I’ve done is unattainable (which it’s not), and they’ll think they’ll never be “good enough” to lead a team of their own- and I never, ever, want anyone to think that about themselves based on my public projection of myself. I am fully human, and I make mistakes. I doubt myself, and I have insecurities too. I am just like you. We are all more alike than we are different (it is literally true, as science has show that all humans are genetically 99.9% identical to each other. Sorry, that was my inner nerd ;) ).


Does this all make sense? Moreover, if we don’t share, we’re like a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode. We NEED each other, yes, NEED. We were not created to be solitary creatures and we need community, with deep, connecting relationships where we can feel safe to share burdens without judgement. It’s how we were created, and it’s how we will thrive. If we fight against it, we are only hurting ourselves.


So, dear sweet reader (by the way, thanks for reading this far and sticking through this post, you’ve nearly made it to the end), I propose a challenge to you (and to me):

Let’s be more vulnerable and share our burdens with one another. Life is not easy, and we will all experience hard things in our lives, but burdens are not meant to be carried alone. They are meant to be upheld and supported by the community and body of Christ. You matter, and your situation matters.


On the flip side, If someone shares a burden with you, support them, and love them through it. Don’t judge others based on a situation they’re going through. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and none of us are above the line of perfection.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Easy DIY Natural Make-Up Remover Pads

Hello friends!
So I'm all about convenience, even when it comes to the little things like taking your make-up off at the end of the day....scratch that, ESPECIALLY when it comes to taking off your make-up at the end of the day. After a long day, the last thing I want to do is scrub by eyes to try to remove every bit of mascara in an effort to do what's "healthy" for my skin. Can anyone else relate?  To prevent this, I used to buy the make-up remover pads from the store. They just stayed in their little container and I could just pull one out, swoop, and bam! Make-up gone. 
However, when I got involved with Young Living, I quickly learned that these conventional make-up removers are NOT so good to be putting on your skin....take a look at the ingredient list. Go ahead and check in your bathroom right now, I'll wait for you.

As you can see, it's FULL of chemicals and words I can't even pronounce. Eeek! Am I really putting that on my eyes?! Thus started the search for a natural make-up remover. Instead of paying $6-8 for a small pack in the store, I learned I can make my own at a fraction of the cost, AND it's actually GOOD for your skin! Win-win!

You can watch the video of me making it here if you're more of an audio/visual person. :) 




Easy DIY Make-Up Remover Pads

Ingredients:
- 1/4 to 1/2 c distilled water
- 1 tsp. unscented castille soap (I like to use Dr. Bronner's brand)
- 1 tsp. witch hazel
- 1 tsp. fractionated coconut oil
- 5-6 drops each Young Living Frankincense and Young Living Lavender Essential Oil (click here to learn why the quality of your oil matters)
- Premium quality cotton rounds

Directions:

Add all ingredients except the cotton rounds to a 4oz mason jar. Put the lid on and gently shake the jar. Then, add a stack of cotton rounds. There is no set "number" of cotton rounds that you need- add them until all of the fluid is absorbed. If you find that there are still rounds that are dry, you can add additional coconut oil and water and shake things up a bit. It does take a bit of playing around with to get the right balance!

Get some of the oils that I use (the BEST oils on the planet) here (you'll want to do the member option- quickly explained here- so you can get in on the discounts and freebies)!

Monday, December 26, 2016

When God Seems Silent

Hi friend!



I was reminded of this verse today after spending some time with a new coloring book I had received as a gift for Christmas. I was really excited about this book in particular because it is full of Scripture coloring pages, which means you're really able to mediate on the verse as your coloring it, and then you can even tear out the pages and give them to people or hang them up (found here on Amazon, if you want to check it out).

Anyway, I love this verse in particular in the NKJV version, which says, "To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)."

Sometimes God may seem silent, and it may seem like He's not working, but He is. Always. I think of the 400 years of silence between Malachi and Matthew. During this time, there were no new prophets or words from the Lord. Can you imagine what some of the people were thinking during this time? "Where is God? He has not sent any prophets in ages! Has He left us?!?" God appeared silent, REALLY silent. But friends, the silence of God does not indicate a lack of His working. In fact, God was working during this time. He was preparing the way for the Savior to come! Better yet, when the time did come for the Savior to be born, He was better than anything the people could have planned or imagined for themselves.

So if you're in a season of what may seem like "silence" from God, let me encourage you with this short note: God is always working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). And because He knows us better than we know ourselves, His plan is always far greater for us than anything we could come up with on our own. Your level of feeling towards God  is not an indicator of His level of working in your life. :)

May this be an encouragement and reminder to you as you enter this new year!
 
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