I Want More

Short & sweet summary of Tahoe thus far

So, so many words on my heart tonight. 

I’ve had Set a Fire by Will Reagan stuck in my head all day. And there is so so so much truth that song speaks into my life. 

Tahoe has given me an immense love for people and their stories. I want to know people deeply, and love them well.

One piece of the song says:

“No place I would rather be, than here in Your love.” 

God has been so incredibly faithful to me here in Tahoe. I wouldn’t change this summer for a single thing on earth. He has taken every broken and hurting piece of my heart and made it new in His Son. Waking up each day knowing I get to go serve others and love others a little more like Jesus everyday has given me a new outlook on life. 

Even better- my favorite part of the song is: 

“I want more. I want more, I want more. More of You. Pour it out.” 

This is exactly where my heart is. I strive to learn and grow in my faith moment by moment. I want more of Jesus and less of me. I want to be so full of the Spirit that people look at me and see a reflection of Jesus. I pray that I never lose the desire to pursue Him wholeheartedly. He’s such a tenderly loving God, and I want to live in His presence always. 

The moments I see the Lord at work in my life make me so excited to live missionally and be taught under His wing. Everyday I learn how to go therefore and make disciples of all nations. For as the Father sent Him, He is sending me and that is such a gift. 

I desire for the Lord to set a fire deep in my soul that’s uncontainable towards His people. To strive to know Him and make Him known. My God is a loving God and I want all to know Him the way I do. 

This summer isn’t even halfway over for me, and I’m eager to see where Jesus will lead me during the rest of this mission trip.

It’s Not What I Thought

Thanks be to God for His glory is within me!

I was going to try to start this post all catchy and stuff but then I realized I don’t need a tag-line to talk about Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t anything like I ever anticipated. 

I found the Truth in high school and called myself a Christian. But honestly, I wasn’t saved. I truly came to Christ on my own terms in September. Here’s the reality I’ve come to face these past few months: being a Christian is the most painful thing you’ll experience. 

I have lost so many people in my life whom I thought were good friends until I saw what a true, Godly friendship was through a girl I met in Cru named Joanna. After meeting and bonding with her, I stepped back to look at everyone in my life and realized I wouldn’t settle for friends who came to me when they needed something or only when my friendship eased their burdens. I wanted friends who sought me out when I was drowning from fear and faithlessness. But also friends who joyfully celebrated the big milestones. I wanted to be unconditionally, genuinely, and faithfully loved. 

I hurt my family. My nasty tongue and painful actions tore my relationships apart. I didn’t talk to the majority of my family for months at one point. And if you know me, you know how important my family is to me. Seeing how Jesus loved all people made me want to love my family better and be a better sister/daughter/cousin/niece. 

I have also had to face the reality of who I was before coming to the foot of the Cross. I was a liar, I used manipulation to get everything I wanted in life, I partied, and worst of all I hated who I was. Everyday. I struggled to look in the mirror so I hid myself in desperate attempts to get attention from anyone anywhere. And that hurt. Oh my, it was the most painful process to work through. To look at every aspect of my life and let Jesus change me bit by bit was so incredibly tough. 

Thankfully, God’s grace isn’t based on me. 

The “Christian lifestyle” looked happy-go-lucky from the outside. I thought being a Christian meant I’d always be satisfied and life would just work itself out. That I wouldn’t face anything too terrible and everything would be easier. But that’s not the reality of following Jesus. The mountains and the valleys grow us every single day. Everything the Lord places in our path is intentional, and the pain we feel is never in vain. 

He took this angry, hateful girl and turned me into who I’m still growing into today. I begged for change from the inside out, and I got it. I’ve learned to surrender, but not quit. All I had to do was take my hand off the doorknob, allowing doors to close so He could open others. Even my “bad” days aren’t that bad, because I know I’m loved and things can still be good. 

These changes have brought about a lot of joy and faithfulness in every outlook of my mind. I face challenges with an optimistic perception and laugh in the face of fear. I’m growing into this shell of a loving heart and soul that I’ve always had and it feels good. I’m thriving, not merely surviving. 

I mean, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son for a reason. No matter what we’ve done, we can still come home because we are wrapped in loving,

         boundless,

                        endless,

                                      grace.

If You Give A Girl Some Brothers

Life without them would be so boring…

My family started small- just my mom, dad, older brother, and myself. A tiny family of four doing the best we could with what we had. 

A few years later, out popped not one, but two tiny toe headed little boys. Instantly our family grew, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

When you give a girl an older brother, you give her a best friend for life. A-1-From-Day-1 (or something like that). We played together and had some intense rounds of barbies vs bionicles. Countless hours of getting in trouble together and playing hackie sack when we were grounded to our rooms filled our childhood. We even had to share our first cell phone, which drove me crazy. But one thing I will hold onto is that even on the days you wanted to strangle me, you were the only one allowed to. You guarded us when our family fell apart and made the bad days a little more bearable. You are protective and loving (even though to this day you suck at showing affection) and aren’t afraid to honestly share what’s on your mind. You taught me how to be tough and to take on challenge, and you gave me someone to gossip with at family functions. You have been my worst enemy yet always my biggest ally.

When you give a girl some younger brothers, you give her a new way of life. I’m pretty sure I wanted to return my brothers at first (BUT I didn’t) because they cried a lot and I definitely hit Kayden’s head on a chair when I held him for the first time. “House” was no longer a make-believe game when there were two literal babies in front of me. I used to scare you both so you wouldn’t come into the basement to mess up my room, and tricked you into drinking vinegar because you thought it was water. I fought for you guys in school when you weren’t being treated right and the parents wrote it off as atypical school drama. I missed your first homecoming dance because I was away at college and literally cried for an hour that night. Having little brothers gave me a role, and has taught me what motherly instincts are. I never had someone looking up to me until I had them, and I’ve become very overprotective of my little brothers even though I know they’re strong enough to take care of themselves.

As a girl who has spent most of her life with her brothers, I am so thankful they have taught me to laugh at the most inappropriate times and to just have fun no matter what’s happening in life. The jokes and goofing off never ends when we’re all together and I love that about my family.

But as time has gone on, I’ve come to notice some things that make my heart so very sad. My little brothers are bigger than me now and don’t need my help anymore. They don’t need me to show them how to use the buses or make a meal. They don’t need me to show them how to work the washing machine or change their sheets because they’re turning into little men. My older brother has his own life. He doesn’t need me to pester him to to take a shower or do the dishes because he’s already succeeding on his own. He’s even about to start his own family anyday when his son is born. Regardless, we’re definitely growing up, but never growing apart. 

God blessed this girl with three amazing brothers who mean everything me. I love all of them more than the stars in the sky and I am so thankful for all the times they’ve been my therapists, saving grace, or my goofballs to laugh with. I really cannot fathom anything greater than having a brother — or in my case, three.