#FallingUpward: LADC ” The Dream Team”

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For one week of my life I was surrounded by some amazing people while staying at the LA Dream Center. Not only was the staff there welcoming, but so were the people in the community. I had the opportunity to connect with so many different people, and be a light in so many different ways.

But what I enjoyed most about the trip was that, while my team and I spent our week pouring out to others in the community, God was still faithful to fill each of us up internally through building relationships with each other.

Going into the trip I heard so many perspectives of others who had also went to the Dream Center, and how it changed their lives and what a great experience they had while in LA. Although it was nice to hear their experiences and receive encouraging words, I really couldn’t grasp the concept of it all until we were immersed in serving the community daily!

It was such an amazing opportunity to help share in the Dream Centers mission to help serve others in the community and to help be a light of truth for God’s Kingdom. Ultimately it wasn’t just about giving them food, or helping meet physical everyday needs; everything we touched was to help plant a seed. Some things we saw come to life, others we didn’t. But everything we did was with purpose.

This trip really helped me get out of my comfort zone. It was only by the grace of God and the courage of the Holy Spirit working in me that I was able to open up to my teammates, have transparent moments and also be a light to them as they were lights in my life as well. Watching all of my teammates grow in a week was such a journey. One that happened before our eyes without us even really knowing. God knew exactly who to put in our team, because we all worked very well together, and he used each and every one of us for his purpose. We all walked away changed and more on fire than when we came. We all have something we’re able to take back to Jacksonville and continue to grow in the way that the Lord is taking our lives.

If I could do it all over again, I would. I’m so glad I took a step of faith through this whole process. From the moment I walked into the room for the initial interest meeting last Fall, to going through fundraising and gathering money to go, to the actual trip and how it  made me a better person. I saw how much more I could be giving and serving in my own community and reaching for others to draw them closer to God through love. If I had to take away one thing, it would be that we can’t just keep God’s love and his faithfulness to ourselves, or to those who are already in church. But that he wants us to take what he’s given us and spread it to others who really need it. Be a light to those who don’t know about God, but are searching for hope and for love. We can’t be afraid to live a life of love that draws people to God.

Thank you to my team! You girls were amazing and each of you blessed me more than you know. I am praying that each of us continues to stay on fire for Christ. He lit the fire in all of us in LA with a renewed passion and I pray that same fire pushes us further in our walk. God has some exciting things he wants to do for each of us and I am so happy I got to meet all of you and share in this experience. We were truly a “Dream Team.”

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#FallingUpward: Standing Strong

It seemed like the week before my trip, things kept happening to throw me off. I have felt all over the place this week, and I’ve experienced some things in my personal and family life that have kind of shook me up emotionally.

All week long I’ve had to fight not to return to old habits, or to hold my emotions together so I wouldn’t try and please my fleshly desires. I’ve realized in this fight, that it takes effort to live righteous. You can’t do this out of your strength, or you will get weary. The fighting has to be done with the help of the Holy Spirit and the strength of the Lord.

I’ve been so out of it, that I almost feel like I literally have nothing to offer the people when I go on my trip to LA on Monday. I kept thinking, how can I be ready to give on my missions trip when I’m feeling spiritually empty?

All week long, God has been pushing me to not stay low in my emotions. He’s continually challenged me to pick myself up and trust him. So when I think about that, today I decided I am not going to exhaust myself any longer. Even though I still feel slightly out of wack, I am determined to get on this plane come Monday and do whatever God has for me to do.

I’m not going to think about all the stuff that’s out of my control, but I’ve decided to just give it to God and focus on what’s ahead. I don’t have any more energy left to worry anymore. No, the situations may not be perfect, I may not have clear answers, but I literally have greater things to focus on.

I literally have so many unanswered questions, that I am truly being tested to see if the Lord is my strength. Even though I’m going on this trip, I barely have money in my pocket, but if I’m supposed to be in LA it’s a reason and God will make provisions when needed. He did it for me to get this far. So truly, I have to trust him. He’s the only one with the answer, when things are unknown.

So even though I’ve been fighting all week and feeling low, I am determined to finish this battle strong! I am determined to turn my emotions around and stop thinking I’m helpless because I don’t have answers. All I have to do is follow God and he’ll let the rest fall into place as long as I’m faithful with the instructions he’s already given me.

Matthew 16: 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Writing this blog was really needed, because as I write I am strengthened. I hope you are too as you read and remember that the God we serve is not weak. We limit God to the scope of our situation, when truly he’s greater. When we want to give up, God has already won, he’s waiting on us to get up and clue in.

Being all out of whack is what the enemy wants us to feel. He wants us to feel like we’re not in control and that we don’t have answers. Because the enemy hopes that in those moments we’ll gravitate to our flesh. But if we believe God to be God, we should gravitate towards him and lean on him as our strength and trust him in all things.

Whatever you do, don’t stop fighting to stand strong in truth! I am proof, that even you fight and struggle God will bring you through. But if you just stop pushing, then you’ve allowed the enemy to win.

Falling Upward….xoxox

To be continued….

#FallingUpward: Everything & Nothing

Last night during prayer before Bible Study at my church, I found myself  realizing  I’ve reached a very interesting place in my walk with God.

I sometimes feel like I have everything, yet I have nothing. For me, I’ve found this to be both a humbling place and a place of peace and joy with God that has surpassed my understanding.

When I say I have everything, I mean that God is able to provide everything I need. He is all I need and outside of him, nothing else can fulfill me. When you live a life where you embrace God’s love and you really walk with him to please him, and to get to know his ways, your life becomes full.

When I began to focus on pleasing God and not serving him from a selfish perspective, my life began to become full. I saw myself giving to others, forgiving others, serving beyond my usual capacity, being more active in my faith. Not just sitting on the sideline with notes, but actively living a life for Christ.

My life is so full at this point, that I don’t have time to think about what I lack. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m lacking anything like that. I’m content. My life is so full, that I get joy when others around me get blessed. Especially my family because I know that me honoring God, helps bring light and truth to their lives. Even with friends, knowing God answers my prayers for them, he keeps them safe, provides for them, opens doors for them in their journeys. Seeing the faithfulness of God in other people’s lives and not just my own, fills me with so much joy!

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

My view on life is no longer circumstantial. The scripture above has come alive in my life, because there are times I have peace when I shouldn’t. There are times when my life isn’t perfect, but I’m still holding on and trusting God to provide. I know there have been many days that financially God has helped things to stretch and make ends meet. My life is not perfect by any means, but I am not lacking. Because my life is spiritually full, my life is whole. 

Having your life made whole and complete in Christ is a great gift. It’s an experience that often leaves me speechless knowing where my life was less than a year ago. Being whole doesn’t mean your life is perfect, but it does mean you know God fulfills your every need.

When I say I have nothing, I literally mean that my life is nowhere near what I envisioned. I still live at home with my grandmother, I don’t have the job I want, I drive a car that could fall apart at any moment’s notice, I don’t have a lot of money yet despite all of this I am thankful and I am at peace.

From the outside looking in, some may say I have a little, others may think I have a lot; for me I am literally just humbled. God takes all the stuff that I do have and he makes it work.  With a little bit, God has done a lot. He’s actually done more than enough. He’s taken what I have and added value to it. The value God gives, helps bring true purpose in my life; in things big and small.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

The last 8 months of my life have truly been a humbling season. In this time period I have learned to trust God like I never have before. I’ve learned that if I honor him, that he’ll always take care of me and the people I love. Even with the little I have, I’ve stopped worrying as much, and I definitely haven’t been nearly as anxious as I used to be.

When the scripture says his grace is sufficient, it’s sufficient. Through embracing God’s love he’s shown me I have nothing to fear or to worry about. My trust level has deepened from when I first started in 2009. There have been moments I wanted to cry, and moments I’ve been hurt, but I knew God was there with me and that he was my strength.

I really wouldn’t be able to say any of this unless I had truly lived it, because I am truly convinced. I am convinced that there is power in the love of God. That if we start there, the rest will fall into place. I am literally living proof. God’s love has to be the thing that keeps us full, otherwise we’ll try to go back to empty wells aka old habits.

But when I look back and I realize how God has taken my life and turned it around and given me everything I need and more, I am beyond thankful. I give all honor to him because through it all, he deserves the praise. Only God has been able to keep me with all the stuff that I have been through. God is faithful and just no matter what season of your life you’re in. He always extends his hand to meet you halfway.

Philippians 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I encourage you to take this last scripture and allow God to make it come alive in your life. No matter what’s going on in your life, trust God that he’s holding your hand the whole way through. Even when you can’t feel him, he’s there. He hasn’t left your side, or forgotten about you. He always has our best interest at heart, no matter WHAT the situation looks like. So be encouraged and be strengthened in your journey today.

#Fallingupward….to be continued….