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//What people don’t want you to know\\ Be authentic 

Scrolling through Instagram, scrolling past the usual coffee photos or photos of that friend you haven’t seen since 10th grade eating a fancy dessert, or maybe a photo of a college friend getting engaged.

Facebook isn’t that far off, what with all the posts about people getting promotions or engaged or even expecting a baby.

Sometimes you might think everyone seems to have a perfect life.

So, what’s the truth?

The truth is: nobody has a perfect life. Nobody.

You can post as many photos that have been perfectly edited, you can post the most positive statuses and tweets. 

It still won’t change the fact that none of us are perfect.
We are all imperfect and flawed.
We all have something we’re dealing with.
There are moments where we all just feel like wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt and drinking hot tea. Or maybe we just want to unwind with a bath and a good book.

Heck, I get that way.

I still get zits and use toothpaste on them.
Most days I don’t wear matching socks.
I’m probably the most organized disirganized person-ever(I have a system to my disprganization).
When I watch tv I have to have something to drink or nibble on.
I strongly hate mushrooms.
If I could, I would wear flip flops all year.

It’s okay to be real and not try to act like everything is perfect.
We don’t live in a fairytale guys.
It’s okay to put a photo of yourself up that isn’t staged.
It’s okay to admit you’ve just had a crappy day.
It’s okay to admit you don’t understand something.
It’s okay to ask for help.
It’s okay to be different.
It’s okay to be authentic.
It’s okay to be you.

It’s okay if your path in life looks a little different than someone else’s. God is writing your story, trust Him and His plans for your life.

In a world where too many people try to be someone they aren’t, be yourself.

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3 Truths about God

Christmas season is in full swing.
Truth be told it probably began weeks before Thanksgiving, what with the all too familiar commercialism of Christmas.
Stores began putting out Christmas decorations and toys, Starbucks released their annual red cups, radio stations started playing Christmas songs, and even before we had a moment to digest our Thanksgiving meals people were lining up for Black Friday deals.

But, what if money is tight?
What if you just lost your job?
What if you are struggling to buy all those extravagant gifts your relatives have on their lists?
What if you are struggling to find joy?
What if you are struggling to see God?
What if you are completely stressed out?

You aren’t alone.


So many people feel this way.
So many people are left burdened and stressed by the commercialization of Christmas.

Truth be told I’m one of these people. I feel so overwhelmed by the season already. I’m already thinking of how I’m going to buy all those gifts for loved ones, and coming to the realization that it won’t be possible.

Today I want to remind you of 3 simple truths.

  1. God is Immanuel : Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive  and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).God is with us, never forsakes us, never leaves us, and understands us. Whatever you may be going through know that God sees you, understands and is with you through it all.
  2. Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” : Isaiah 9:6 says “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Man! What a verse! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Through the blood of Jesus we are able to be reconciled with God and with one another. Through Jesus we are able to find peace.
  3. God is “I am”: In Exodus 3:14 God it states, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.” God claimed the title of I AM and in that moment He took away the ability to be boxed or defined, as well as defining all the things He was. How often are we defining ourselves or others by human standards? When you begin to struggle with trusting God, remember all the things He is. Remember not to box Him in with human definition.

God is not boxed in by human definition.

Sometimes we are so blinded by our own definitions we fail to see HOW God will work in a situation or in our daily lives.

We fail to remember just WHO God is. We fail to remember all He is and has done.

If you just lost your job……..God is with you.

If you’re struggling to find peace with someone from your past……… God is not only with you, but is for reconciliation.
If you can’t afford fancy Christmas gifts……Know that Jesus is the greatest gift of all(I know that sounds cheesy). It’s not the price of gifts or the size. Give from the heart.

Whatever you’re going through friends, you aren’t alone.

God sees you and is with you.
God provides peace when Satan tries to flood you with fear and doubt.
God is not limited to human 
definition, He is not defined or boxed in by our labels.
He surpasses all human understanding.

 

Keep trusting.
Keep looking to God.
Keep asking God questions even when you don’t understand or feel like giving up.

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Shhh! Don’t say the “S” word

submission.

This word carries a lot of baggage with it.
often the weight of the word makes it scary and seem like it’s towering over us ready to pounce

as a teenager when I first started attending youth groups and Bible studies within the church, I would often hear that women were to submit themselves to men.

and honestly? It made me shiver. More so because of the context of how I was viewing submission.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary submission can be defined as:

  1. To yield oneself to the authority or will of another.
  2. To permit oneself to be subjected to something 

When you are submitting yourself to another person you are basically allowing them to have authority over you.

For the longest time I viewed submission as letting men control me or I saw it as giving up my voice and making myself weak. how wrong I was.

 Nonetheless it’s scary, right? To give someone that much power in your life….

Let’s look at Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Notice that last part friend, “as you do to the Lord“.

We are to submit ourselves to our husbands as we do to the Lord. We submit ourselves to God’s will daily. We ask Him to have His will be done in our lives. 

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 

Yes, we are called to submit to our husbands out of love and respect for them, but husbands are called to love their wives as Christ does. 

Submission is not a reason to allow someone to ever abuse you or hurt you. Submission doesn’t mean you are any less valued or treasured. 

For the longest time I was really scared and I didn’t like the thought of having to submit myself to men. It made me feel inferior or like I had no worth. So dear friend, I understand if you are struggling with that.

My prayer for you is that you see submission not in negative light but as something that you do out of love and respect for that person. I pray that most of all we learn to submit ourselves to Christ daily so that His will may be done in our lives.

-Elizabeth Louise 

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Not enough time in your day?

Wake up, hit the alarm and sleep in a bit longer, finally wake up, get your kids up and dressed and fed, drop them off at daycare or school.

…….maybe if you are lucky you get to grab a coffee before you need to be at work

You get off work exhausted and either pick the kids up if they haven’t been picked up already and then remember that you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning, get groceries, and make that long overdue dentist appointment.

If this isn’t your daily routine then I’m pretty sure yours is similarly filled with countless daily to do’s and chores that often leaves you feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

YIKES!!!!!!!

No wonder we get stressed and overwhelmed….
We often feel like we have to get everything done and all at once.

Take a deep breathe and relax.
Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

Are you ready?

We have been given 24 hours in the day to get done what we need to.
How much time are you spending on Facebook?
How much time are you spending on your phone?
How much time are you spending watching Netflix or Hulu?
How much time are you spending on Snapchat or Instagram?
How much time did you spend sleeping in when you could have been up early? 

That time that you spent on Facebook for 30 minutes could have been spent doing your laundry.
That time you spent on your phone for an hour and a half could have been spent finishing that book report that is due on Monday(hopefully you don’t actually have a book report due on Monday since it’s still summer!)
That time you spent sitting on the couch all day watching tv, you could have made that doctors appointment or picked up your dry cleaning.

 

Some things that we can do to better manage our time:
1. Use a daily planner: If you are anything like me, free, disorganized, lives for the random and unexpected then you really need a daily planner to manage your schedule. You can write down all of your events so that you don’t end up attending that birthday party two days earlier….
2. Use your calendar on the iphone: Technology is cool, right? We have the ability to plug our events into our calendar, and ask Siri to set reminders for us.
3. Use an alarm: On any given day, I have about ten different alarms going off. My iphone alarm, my Doctor Who alarm, oh and this alarm that will literally run around the room until you get out of bed to turn it off….. really fun to do in the morning.

Even with all of this….
What I’ve come to realize is that we are often the harshest judges of ourselves.
We overthink, we panic, we beat ourselves up and feel bad for not getting everything done.

You. Are. Going.To. Mess. Up
You.Are.Going.To.Make.Mistakes.Daily.

Give yourself a little grace.
You aren’t supposed to try doing everything on your own.
You aren’t perfect.
Nobody is. 

That’s the beauty of needing Jesus.
Where we are broken, and flawed and dirty from our sin that separates us from God
Jesus is beautiful, flawless, whole, and He overcame death on the cross.
Because of Him we have been redeemed and made new.

With Jesus we can overcome what we may not have been able to overcome before on our own.

The next time you get stressed out that you overslept by 5 minutes, didn’t pick up your dry cleaning, get the eggs or toilet paper from the store, forgot to make that dentist appointment and forgot to pick up your grandma Esther from the airport(hopefully you haven’t actually forgotten to pick up your grandma at the airport…) take a deep breathe and realize that you aren’t a superhero.

The next time you or someone else messes up or forgets to do something, stop and take a deep breath and extend grace to others as well as yourself.

 

I would love to hear what ways/tools you use to manage your time better? Feel free to leave a comment below!

 

Elizabeth Louise

 

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A Christian response to the events in Charlottesville 

I don’t know about you guys but after watching the news this weekend and seeing the photos from Charlottesville 

I’m devastated by seeing such hate.

I’m disgusted that these so called “white-supremist, nazis” actually think that just because they are a certain color that they’re better than those who aren’t.

I’m fed up from hearing and seeing such rhetoric and hate. 

As the child of parents who worked with the government, I moved to different countries, traveled to others on vacation and went to several other countries for mission trips.

I’ve seen and met people of all colors, of all religions, and of all backgrounds. 

Each person on this earth is created by God and is known by God. Each person on this earth was created in the image of God and has immense value and worth.

Each person holds such beauty and worth.

Nobody is “better” than someone else because of their skin color or ethnicity or because they are a male/female. We are all sinners, broken and in need of redemption and the grace of God. 

Friends, let’s not brush off this weekends events and go on with our lives a few days later. We should acknowledge that black lives do matter. We should be reaching the hurting people and acknowledging their pain. We should speak out against this type of hate that we saw this weekend. Hear the concerns of others, don’t diminish their hurt just because it’s different than yours. Speak out and stand up for the oppressed. 

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In Jesus we have a safe place

whether you are feeling alone, scared, struggling to find worth, hopeless and worn out, dealing with depression or anxiety.

I want to remind you. Jesus is for you.

He is standing on the sideline even when you’ve given up. He is your biggest fan encouraging you to not give up. He is your biggest fan even when you make mistakes. 

there will be times when you face trials and moments that will try and tear you down. there will be people that you come across that will be against you.

Jesus is with us through it all. Never leaving our side even when we leave His

Continue to look to Jesus for direction and comfort. In Jesus we will always find a safe place. In Jesus we find hope for our weary souls. In Jesus there is peace. In Jesus, all of our fears are washed away.

The next time you become overwhelmed by guilt, fear, hopelessness, worry, and  loneliness, etc 

breathe.

and remember these truths. Remember to cling to Jesus. 

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God doesn’t need you.

One of my absolute favorite books to go through is Exodus. There is so much truth to soak up. I remember leading a Bible study that did an in depth study of Exodus.

In Exodus 3:7-12 God and Moses are having a conversation after Moses has come across a burning bush. 

So I’m going to paraphrase the interaction, but I want to encourage you all to read these verses. So God is telling Moses, “Look, I’ve seen the pain and suffering of my people and I’m going to take them out of Egypt and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. I’m going to use you and send you to ask Pharoah for freedom”. 

Moses is listening to all this and his question to God ends up being found in vs. 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” And I LOVE the response God gives in vs 12. He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Who is Moses that God should use him?

Who
am I that God should use me?

Who
are you that God should use you?

Nobody.

We are like ants compared to the magnitude of who God is and what He can do.
We are here one minute and the next we are gone.
Even the most well known person on the planet right now, I can guarantee there are people in villages with no internet or phones who know of them.
We can be so well known but in the end we cease to exist, and someone else comes along.

See. God doesn’t need us in order to do great things… If you say no to Him, God can still make His plan happen without you.

The thing is though. 

  1. HE. Loves. You. 
  2. HE. Desires. You.
  3. HE. Is. Constantly. Pursuing. You

I don’t know what you are struggling with today. If it’s feeling so alone like nobody is there or like nobody wants you.

I don’t know if you are looking to drugs, or alcohol or porn or money to solve your problems or to find happiness.

Or maybe your anxiety and depression are telling you that you aren’t worth it.

I’ve been there. I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights feeling so alone and doubting my worth. I’ve looked for answers in places, people and things that only God could ever solve or answer for me.

If there is something that I can leave you with right now it’s that, you are so loved by the Creator of the universe, world, and every single plant, person and animal. 

The Creator of the Universe even created you. He knew you before you were born and has given you immense worth.

So yeah, compared to God we are ants on the spectrum. Ants with immense worth and value and who God desires to love so intimately.

-Elizabeth Louise