Tuesday's With Jesus

I like to spend my Tuesday's with Jesus, what about you?

drink you up like coffee

I’m obsessed with vanilla latte’s. I can’t help it. I love the way they taste on the tip of my tongue, and on weeks like this when it’s well over a hundred degrees and I can’t survive in my non-air conditioned home, Starbucks welcomes me back daily.

As I sit in the back corner of this starbucks, I think about all of the people who have met up with someone in this place. The conversations had, the gazes held by either two strangers or by two people who have known each other forever. Starbucks is lucky. It’s gotten to experience so many life changing moments inside one little place and each one matters.

This morning I woke up with a set of lungs that breathe. For that I am thankful. I also woke up with a set of legs that actually work, and a year ago they weren’t working so well so I guess I’m pretty grateful for that too. But as I look around me, and I see all these people in here who also woke up this morning with a set of lungs that work… all I can think about is how they should utilize this life they have been given and I should do the same.

God blessed me with a life beyond measure. And the days when it’s not enough, I just stop and think about the fact that he will forever pour into me because he did not die on the cross for himself, I can look at things a little better. So today, I have life. What am I going to do with it?

I want to drink it up the way I drink vanilla latte’s. I want to live deeply and experience things that break my heart and show me that there is more to life than whether or not starbucks makes my drink right. God gave me these lungs, I am going to use them and I am going to drink up the entire earth with these lungs so that I may love the world he created in the way that he so dearly loves us.

Go drink it up; the world, the people and this life God gave you with the set of lungs you woke up with this morning.

good news comes in the form of what?

For me, good news always seems to come in the form of In-N-Out burger. I’m not entirely sure why it tends to end up that way. I can tell you this; one of the best first dates I ever went on was at In-N-Out with the first boy I ever loved, when I found out I was going to Africa the summer before college I was in the drive-thru and when I needed a milkshake to cheer me up they always came in a palm tree striped cup. For some reason, this place always did the trick. It was almost like it was secretly full of magic. This is always the first thing I remember when I think about my story or my testimony and what I have learned in this past year, is that good news always comes in the form of In-N-Out. That’s exactly how I’m going to start this story tonight while I fly the last stretch of the way home from Dallas, Texas.

It was a day in January, or it could’ve been February. Either way, it was one of the very few cold months in the central valley. I had just finished up at the doctors office, oddly enough, and to cheer me up my first stop was of course In-N-Out for the delicious Neapolitan milkshake. The milkshake ended up not being the best part of the day. While I was in the drive-thru, I got a phone call from the college pastor at my church informing me that I was officially accepted to go on the missions trip to Kenya, Africa the upcoming summer. I could’ve cried tears of joy, for Africa had been a dream of mine for such a long time. Ever since I was a young girl, I wanted to see Africa. I received a drawing of a fish that the sponsor child my family sent money to every month once. It was just a small stick figure style fish, with the French word “poisson” scratched next to it in some graphite. That moment was the moment I knew I desperately wanted to touch, and taste, and smell the place that this beautiful boy lived. I could tell in every photograph we received that this boy, he knew joy better than any American I had ever met in my entire life. I wanted to learn from people like him. So the fact that in July, I was going to get to board a plane and fly my way across the world and see a part of Africa where these kinds of people live made me so filled with excitement, it struck down to the deepest parts of my heart.

$3500 seemed like a million dollars to me. Yet, that was exactly how much it was going to take to get myself from California to the Maasai Mara, Kenya, Africa. I had such little faith. I had no idea how I was going to get the money to be honest. I sent out letters to friends and family, in the hopes that someone, anyone would feel kind enough to give me even so much as twenty bucks. I should’ve known, that God is bigger, because within two months I had every single dollar I needed to go on my trip. It was like he was laughing at me, saying “ye of little faith… don’t you know what I can do?” Yeah, I know now God.

All that was left, was to graduate high school and get my last immunizations for my trip and I was set. I don’t think I could talk about my plans for the summer with no less than the biggest grin imaginable on my face. Everything looked so optimistic from my point of view, because I felt as though I had the world at my finger tips. June 11, 2013 at 8 pm I walked across the stage in my gold cap and gown and got myself a high school diploma. I felt so free, and then two days later… that was the day I got my last shot in preparation for Africa. Bring it on, was exactly what I thought at the time. Some silly little shot didn’t bother me one bit.

The afternoon I got my shot, they had me sign some silly paperwork about the really rare and adverse reactions one could have from getting this yellow fever shot. To be honest, at the time I really didn’t care. It was a one in a million chance of getting something like that so I pretty much just signed the paper without really paying attention to the document or what the guy said to me. In retrospect, I probably should’ve paid more attention, but I had no idea at the time.

I had no idea that would become the day that served as the beginning of the most difficult time in my life. June 13, would change my life as I knew it. It started out as a simple fever, and then some vomiting, and then a continued fever that wouldn’t go down. Then it was one trip to the doctors, and a visit to the emergency room. I thought it would stop, the reaction to the shot. I honestly believed it would end, and the sickness would end. It had been five days of what I thought was misery. I would wake up at five A.M. with a 103 degree fever and vomiting like no other, but by noon I would feel completely fine so every day I thought it was over.

Then, Tuesday June eighteenth I woke up with a shock. First of all, this is where some details might be a little raw so my apologies if you learn more about me than you ever intended to but the story can’t be told without the details. I hadn’t been able to pee for three days. Three whole days of not being able to pee, should have probably been a little more concerning to me than it was but honestly, I was more annoyed with the whole five o’clock fever and then twelve o’clock healthy as can be act my body seemed to have. So that Tuesday, I woke up and I needed to pee because I thought that I might just burst. As soon as I tried to swing my legs up over the bed, that was the moment I knew something was wrong. My legs wouldn’t move. I don’t really remember being able to tell that I had legs still attached to my body, aside from the fact that I could feel them tingling all over as though they were asleep. So I was kind of hoping that the more I tried to move them, the more they would wake up. But I realized that nothing was making them move other than me grabbing them and swinging them over the side of my bed physically. That’s when I called for my mom. It only took about three hours, maybe four, before my doctor had sent me to Children’s Hospital because I might have a serious disorder. Just before I went to the hospital, my mom and I drove through In-N-Out so I could try and enjoy a milkshake. I probably took three sips, because I was fighting so hard to keep back tears. All I wanted was to get to go to Africa… but at that point, I wasn’t so sure I was gonna get to do it.

By eleven o’clock that night, I had five vile’s of blood taken out, been poked and prodded with various needles and catheters, and had a drill in my spine for a spinal tap. I didn’t have enough energy to know or care what was happening to me, and I couldn’t feel much of anything at all. What I felt was as though I was all alone in the world, and I had a lack of understanding as to why this needed to happen now. My nurse, though he was absolutely adorable, refused to give me a blanket because of my fever and it was the only thing I wanted. I think I wanted that blanket more than I have ever wanted ice cream and that is saying something. Unfortunately… I never got that blanket and that night was the start to a hard road.

I had to relearn how to walk, and go to the bathroom and I think for a moment I might have had to relearn how to smile. There were few moments I was alone, but in those moments all I could do was cry out to God how desperately I just wanted the pain to be gone, and I really could care less as to how he decided he was gonna do that. But whenever people ask me what the hardest part was, I don’t comment on the migraines or the physical therapy or the fact that I looked like an old lady when I took some of my first steps. The hardest part was going from being an independent seventeen year old who could completely take care of herself (aside from needing money from mom and dad here and there), to being completely dependent on other people for everything. After I had the catheter taken out, because my bladder was paralyzed, I couldn’t even control that. Half of the time, I needed someone to come change a diaper for me, and the other half it was a ten minute excursion to get to the restroom. Talk about feeling like losing your dignity. I didn’t even get to take a shower on my own for three weeks.

I spent two weeks in that hospital. Two weeks of learning how to depend on others, and most importantly how to depend on God. I thought I was in charge of all my plans, and my life. I was so wrong. I didn’t have control over anything, not even something as small as getting a full night’s sleep. That was the moment that I became acutely aware of how much we take for granted in life. Even still, I sometimes relearn the same exact lessons that I learned a year ago. I’ll catch myself complaining about something stupid and then put into perspective that my legs actually work now, and that should be enough good news for me. I still have to lose a lot of pride on an almost daily basis. But I have learned that God is more than enough. In the trials, and the joys of life, God always finds a way to provide. Even when it doesn’t seem like his plan is the greatest, he always comes through in the end. People try and talk to me about disappointment, and I have a deep understanding. I lost my dream, and everything I stood for in my independence. Sometimes, we don’t know the answers and that’s okay. It isn’t our job to know why… it is our job to simply hold on the the truth we know and trust in God’s ability to be God. I read a book a couple days ago, and something that stuck out to me was this quote about God, “He says, ‘I’m here. Waiting. When you’re ready to trust what you know… and not what you feel.’” Even if it feels like the world is falling apart and you are falling apart, and trust me I know what that feels like, just sit back and trust what you know. He is right there waiting.

I think I could write twenty different life lessons, and fifty stories about my summer. But for some reason, one year later, this is the one that always comes back to my heart. God is waiting for me, every single day. And I can depend on him for the rest of my life… that is truly good news.

love,

Rachel

Lessons for my Someday Daughter (by Taylor)

I recently celebrated my 20th birthday and I have been reflecting lately on all that I have learned in my short 20 years on this Earth. Although I know that I have a lot more learning and growing to do, I hope that my someday daughter would be encouraged by these words of mine.

Sometimes that the moments that seem the hardest are the times when you will grow the most. You will be able to look back in 5 or 10 or maybe even 20 years and finally realize how God was working in your life during those hard moments. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20.

Take the time to figure out who your true friends are. It took me 20 years to get that figured out and I hope that it doesn’t have to take you that long. Simply put, true friends are people who know all of you and have seen you at your worst, yet still choose to love you unconditionally. Find those people and love them with all of your being.

Just because someone isn’t in your life anymore doesn’t mean that they served no purpose. Every person comes into your life for a reason. There will be people that you will clearly be able to determine the reason that they were in your life because they were such a positive light, but there will oftentimes be people that come into your life and maybe leave a path of pain and sadness. You might find yourself asking God, “Okay, so why did you even bother letting me meet them?” Let me tell you…if anything, He placed them in your life to teach you something. Whether it be about perseverance or loving the unlovable or what you DON’T want in a future husband.

Life is messy. There’s no way around it. Trust me, if there was a shortcut around this, I would have found it by now. In the midst of the mess, don’t push your emotions to the side. A wise woman once told me that if we don’t accept and fully experience our emotions, we cannot give them up to God. So, dear daughter, embrace every emotion and tell God everything. Every feeling. Every thought. He already knows it all anyway.

Always speak truth, not only to those around you, but also to yourself. It is so easy to believe the lies. That you’re not good enough. That you’re alone. That you are not loved. But, the greatest gift that you will be given on this Earth is the gift of grace, which is poured on you to overflowing. Never forget the incredible gift that was given to you. Because of this gift, you can be free from the lies that plague your mind and be reminded of the truth. You are loved more than you could ever know. You are more than adequate. You are covered in grace. You never walk alone.

You are not defined by anything except by Jesus. Not by any numbers, whether it be your age, your weight or your GPA. Not by your status, whether it be your relationship status, your Facebook status or your social status. The only thing that defines you is your lineage as a child of God.

I hope that you learn from my mistakes and experiences, but most importantly, I hope that you make your own memories and learn from your own mistakes. Glean all that you can from this life of yours and cherish every moment. I hope to meet you someday.

Love,

Your Someday Mommy

the truth about my heart

I’m messy. More than just messy hair in the mornings when I wake up, and more than a messy room I’m living in. There is mess hidden deep inside my heart, and it comes from the messy things I get myself into.

I get jealous, and I get angry. I harbor bitterness. I let dirty words come out of my usually clean lips. I allow my heart to get covered in a thick muddy layer of mess as I let the unkindness in. It walks right in sometimes, without even knocking, and stomps the mud right out of it’s heavy boots and into my heart. Unkindness lounges on the couch and puts its feet up on the coffee table leaving stains on the once clean glass top.

I try to go back through with the windex, and the 409 and a broom. I sweep out the cobwebs, the dry and cakey dirt on the floorboards of my soft little heart. But there’s always a lot left in the cracks, and there is nothing I can do about it. 

So I cover it up. I take all of the makeup I own and cover up the muddy mess and then put on a smile for the world so that others may think that I have it all under control. I walk down the sidewalk with purpose and a spring in my step, and I always answer “great!” when asked how I am doing.

Tonight, I’m here to take off the makeup that’s covering up my messy self. I’m not clean cut, and my life is not a beautiful, graceful thing like so many Christian girls will make their lives look like. There are days where I don’t want to get out of bed, and it’s not because I’m just tired. Most importantly, there are moments where I screw up and the unkindness sometimes seems to be a permanent resident in my heart, and that’s the hardest part to admit.

The other day, I was thinking about Easter and my messy, messy heart.

Jesus Christ died on a cross for me.

Just in case that didn’t sink in enough, I’ll tell you again.

Jesus Christ died on a cross for me, and he died for YOU.

And when he died, he carried all of the mess of every single person in himself. He let all of the unkindness, and the hate, and the bitterness, and the sorrow, and the tragedy, and the suffering inside his own heart. He let them all come in without knocking, and he let them all sleep on the couch and in the spare bedroom. He let them trudge in with their muddy boots and leave their tracks all over the smooth floorboards. He let his perfectly clean heart become tarnished by all of that mess, and he did it so that you and I would never have to be ashamed of the mess we carry. 

As I thought of this, I cried. Tears streamed down my face and I lifted my hands as I realized how victorious this made me. I wasn’t defined by my mess, but I am defined by Jesus Christ and what he has done for me.

I am new, I am clean and I am whole because of Jesus.

There is no picture beautiful enough to show how incredible that fact of life is.

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.”

love,

Rach

on messy hearts and speaking truth

I have tried to write this post three times now within the past two weeks. Not necessarily because of lack of motivation or writer’s block, but because I can’t even articulate into words what is going through my heart. I have spent the last two weeks trying to figure out what in the world is going on in this little heart of mine and I still haven’t quite figured it out. Sometimes it feels like a mess inside. And I’m learning that it is totally okay. Hearts weren’t created to sit still inside of us and do nothing. They were created to beat so that we could feel fear, joy, pain, envy, and most importantly love. If our hearts didn’t do what they do and let us feel emotion, then life would be pretty boring.

What I’ve been learning is that no matter what your heart is feeling, the most important thing that you can do is speak truth to yourself. It is easy to believe the lies that Satan tries to tell you. That you’re not good enough. That you’re inadequate. That you are not beautiful. That you’ll never succeed. That you’re not loved. That you need _____ in order to be content. When you start to believe – truly believe – that you are loved, cared for, desired, adequate, enough, and beautiful in the eyes of Jesus, that is where true and utter contentment and joy can come from, no matter the circumstances around you.

I’m not saying that the path to banishing the lies will be easy, because it sure hasn’t been easy for me and I constantly find myself in the trap. But, what I’ve found that can make it a little easier is surrounding yourself with people who will remind you of what is true, especially when all you can believe are lies. And finally, always be running to the One who is an expert at mending hearts.

xoxo Taylor

endless grace

I looked at the time on my phone and cringed as a dirty word came out of my mouth. My paper that was due at five online was officially eight minutes late. I had worked hard on this paper, written forty one pages, and edited and revised so many pieces until everything fit together in a way that made sense. And now, because of my stupid asthma attack… I might jeopardize my grade because my paper was eight minutes late and counting. 

After I finally submitted my paper, a full fourteen minutes late, I curled up on the floor in my boyfriends room and allowed myself to be filled with shame. I had messed up, and made a mistake. I didn’t keep track of time, I couldn’t get my body to breathe and it had cost me. So I was going to wallow in my shame for my Monday had held itself to the highest standard of a crappy Monday. 

“Get off the floor, stop pitying yourself. Live and learn.” 

I didn’t want to hear the words come out of his mouth. Why couldn’t I just wallow? 

I made a mistake.” I felt the shame on my lips as the words came out of my mouth and were left hanging in the air like fog. 

“Yeah you did. Now stop pitying yourself, because it’s gonna be fine. You aren’t going to fail your class.” I knew he was right, but I could still feel the failure inside my bones. 

Live and learn is my life philosophy. You can’t spend your whole life thinking you aren’t ready for something because honestly, you probably are never ready. And when you make mistakes, and when you fail… usually you will learn from what went wrong and do things better next time. But even though I am a firm believer in the phrase “ya live and ya learn!” I sometimes can’t help but become consumed by the feeling of being not good enough by my failures. When I was thinking about this as I wallowed in self-pity, a thought struck my brain that a friend told me this weekend. It wasn’t even a thought, as much as just a verse. 

John 1:16 “For of his fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” 

God already gave me grace, but then when I mess up he is right there ready to give me more. Because he is saying, “you live and you learn. You’re gonna make mistakes, and you’re gonna mess up. But I am always right here with my arms open saying that it’s okay… you are still enough and it will be okay in the end.” 

So yeah, my boyfriend was right. I lived through my lesson, and I learned. Next time I finish a paper a few days before it’s due, I should just do myself a favor and turn it in the same day I finish it. That way the next time I have an asthma attack at the time a paper is due, I won’t have to worry. And realistically, it’ll probably end up being okay. 

But it was also a nice reminder that even if I mess up really big, Jesus is still gonna be waiting right there for me to lavish more grace on me. At this point, I’m already drowning in his endless grace. What a blessing to know that there will always be more where that came from. 

only a taste

Eight months ago, if you had asked me what I thought about love I would have laughed in your face. Then I might have scoffed and said “No way Jose.” It wouldn’t be because I don’t think love is a great thing or pretty or full of rainbows and happiness. Because it definitely has all of those things, there’s lots of work involved in loving others, but man is it a beautiful thing. 

I’m a sucker for a good wedding. Watching the bride walk down the aisle, and seeing the look on his face as he watches the woman he loves walk towards being his wife. I am guaranteed a good cry every single time I go to a wedding. I know it’s only going to get worse considering I’m approaching the age where I will begin to have friends get married all the time. 

Despite the fact that I love love, and I love weddings, and I have my entire wedding planned out on Pinterest, eight months ago I didn’t believe it was suited for me. In fact, I was convinced I would remain single for life. I had this thought that I could simply bust out and conquer the world on my own because I obviously was blessed with superpowers, unlike the rest of humanity. I could handle school, a job, a gigantic social circle, church, volunteering, hobbies, and pretty much anything else I felt like adding to my plate. Since I was going to stay single, I stopped caring about what I looked like for a guy. I still wore makeup sometimes and dressed decently for the rest of humanity to not suffer, but all in all I really was just in a mindset that I would conquer my world as the fiercely independent woman that I was. So there was no way I would need to know about love, because I would never be in love. 

Let me be the first to tell you that was the stupidest thought process I could have ever had. Because first of all, I am not God. I have no idea if I will get married or be single and I have no idea when I will know full well the answer to that. And second of all, I am completely and fully incapable of conquering my own world by myself. Truth be told, I’m not fierce like I think I am. I mean, I can’t even kill a spider by myself. I am no superwoman, no matter how much I wish I was one. 

Today, when I asked myself about love I laughed again. Instead of laughing because I didn’t think love was for me, it was because I for the first time ever in my entire life find myself in a relationship with a man whom I dearly love and cherish with my whole heart. He has been one of the biggest blessings in my life the last several months, and I would have never imagined that independent little me could have been okay with letting another individual into my life. And I think I am beginning to see the idea of love in a very new light. 

Love bears all. Love triumphs and shares in joy, and it suffers and shares burdens. It takes the pain and the happiness and carries it all and works through it because in the end, love bears it all and lasts. Love assures fears. But the best part is that when you’re 15 and you think you know all there is to know about love and that your love has tested the toughest waters out there, you’ll realize when you’re 22 that you suddenly know more about love than you did before and you were a silly teenager. And then you’ll understand that when you’re 50 you will know more about love than you do now, but it still won’t be all of the knowledge of what love is. 

That’s the picture of Christ. He showed us first how great love is. It’s just that: it is great. It is vast and expansive, it covers all of the waters of the earth and goes deeper than the oceans and higher than the mountains. We can spend our whole lives thinking we know exactly what love is, and that we have it all down but the truth is that we will never know. God is too grand for that, and he loves us more than we will ever even be able to tell! You can say you love a person on this earth with every fiber in your being, and it still won’t be remotely close to the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. 

What a blessing. Not only does it make me feel special, and adequate knowing that my God loves me more than I can imagine and so deeply and that he calls me his daughter. But I feel blessed to know that the relationships I pursue on this earth, both romantically and non-romantically, can be a tiny little taste of what God’s love is for me and others. Because I know that God loves me so deeply, I can turn right around and pour out that love in my relationships with others. The love we get to show each other is the biggest gift because it comes from God and it brings us all back to God.

So yeah, I guess you could say I’ve learned a little bit about love the last few months. When I decided I was going to be single for a while there, I learned to fall deeply in love with my Creator. And now that I am in a relationship, I pour that love out into another human and he does the same to me. And at the end of the day he can turn to me and say “how is your time with Jesus going?” and I am encouraged to continue to fall in love with God over and over and over again every single day as I experience only a taste of his love through our relationship.

Praise the Lord for the love he so deeply has for me, and you and everyone else. 

with love,

Rachel

The Cross

The message of the cross has been weighing on my heart heavily. The past couple of weeks have been wonderful, yes, but absolutely jam packed with a lot of stuff. Some stuff was awful and some stuff was way cool. But overall, I was beginning to wear myself thin at the cracks. To be honest, I’m not entirely un-thinned yet… I have a mess of stuff to finish up the next couple of weeks.

At the heart of my stress and business, there was a quiet voice that constantly was creeping up in my head. Almost daily I would hear the voice tell me “it’s all going to be okay, you don’t have to be superwoman and you aren’t in charge of saving the world.”

I think sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to act a certain way or do certain things because they look good or that’s what other people would want to see in us. People develop an idea of who you are and so you try to maintain that idea or reject it. Either way you are working towards a specific kind of person. I know because I do it all the time. I think that I can fit 27 hours into my day, and in the midst of being a full time college student with two jobs that I can also manage to be the worlds hero. People think I’m capable of taking care of things or being a good friend and so in my mind I have decided that it is absolutely necessary for me to do this in the best way possible. So if it means I never say no because I can literally take care of everything, I’ll do it.

What a sad way to live life! No wonder I am constantly losing sleep and feeling anxious and like I’m failing. It is legitimately impossible for me to do every single thing and for me to do every single thing with greatness.
A few weeks ago a friend told me this phrase and it has been resonating in my mind ever since. She said, “Jesus didn’t die on the cross for himself.” For some reason, that clicked in my brain. Of course he didn’t die for himself. If he did, there would be no point to the cross or the message of the gospel. Isn’t the whole point that no matter how good I do, or how many things I do or how well I do them, it will never be enough? I am still a sinner. It’s lodged deep into the crevices of my heart, and I’m never going to be rid of it no matter how many righteous things I do or how I act.

The point is that Jesus died for me, so that I could live without trying to make up for my lack of perfection. He took the same weight I carry around every single day, but he took it on with every other persons weight and died for me. What a beautiful truth! This means that my life, the ability for me to live is all a gift. I don’t have to do good to receive life or to make it to Heaven. I have to accept the love that God has for me.

I don’t know why it’s such a hard concept for me to grasp. I don’t have to meet anyone’s standards. If I don’t finish all fifty five projects I have going on, or three of them don’t turn out the way I want, I am still loved in Gods eyes.

Since this has been sticking in my heart lately, the last few days have felt infinitely better. Even though I’ve been just as busy and just as worn, I have been able to enjoy every second of my business and look at it as a blessing. And when projects aren’t finished I have been able to say to myself, “hey, it’s okay. People fail sometimes.” I know that I am not going to do a good job of remembering this much and tomorrow I’ll probably be stressing about some mundane task again, but at least I figured this concept out! I wish I had sooner. Jesus is wonderful!

-Rachel

Panic

If there is anything I will be completely vulnerable and honest about on this blog, with whomever reads this, it is that I struggle with panic attacks and sometimes really serious anxiety. It isn’t exactly a common anxiety. I shared a couple of weeks ago about my perfectionism problems, and that is part of it. All too often, I try to focus so hard on being perfect that I put enormous stress on myself and then when I feel a little bit like a failure, I start to panic. But recently, the source of my anxiety and my panicking and my desire to simply run far away has been a different reason.
Have you ever lost something that you had never thought twice about on any normal day, and then the moment you lose it you suddenly realize how often you need it or use it? For example, cell phones, laptops, an article of clothing, anything. Well, I had that happen to me this last summer. Only it wasn’t something as trivial as a cell phone. I woke up one morning after being ill for about four or five days, and I had completely lost the use of my legs. Now, because it was morning and I had just woken up I needed to go to the bathroom. All of a sudden, I had no way to get across my hallway and I realized how desperately I depended on my legs to just keep functioning like they always had. I spent time in the hospital, and actually had an unusually quick recovery. Praise the Lord for that! However, six months later my panic attacks have increased in size and number. The longest I’ve gone in between an episode for the last month was five days. I have had to undergo a lot of doctors appointments, and I finally got my blood work results back yesterday. Nothing was wrong. That kind of news should normally excite a person, but instead it led to me sitting on my bathroom floor for two hours in a panic (there were a few other reasons on top of it, but that was the basis of it all) because God gave me the body I have. A body with medical mysteries beyond compare. Every day I think about my legs, I think about my time in the hospital, and I think about how far from perfect I was. And then I start to think I’m not worth anyones time, because I barely had working legs.
It’s New Year’s Eve, (happy New Year to everyone by the way!) and I am sitting in bed with what I presume to be the stomach flu but also what I presume to be some anxiety. As my heart started pounding an hour ago, my hands started shaking, tears coming down from my eyes I suddenly thought to myself “I need Jesus, and I have forgotten that.” I realized how quickly I had forgotten his presence in my life. I spent time praying, reading sections of my Bible. All of a sudden my mind calmed down and I felt like I could conquer and face the world again instead of hiding under the covers. So as I welcome 2014, and reflect on 2013 tonight I have come to the conclusion that when I start to panic and start to hide or run, it is an even more perfect opportunity for me to run or hide out in Jesus because he will provide all of the comfort, protection, and love I could possibly ever want or need on this earth. Yeah, maybe I feel a little worthless because of how far from perfect I have become, but when I have Jesus I feel a lot closer to perfect than every before. My thought was right, I need Jesus. But I don’t just need him when I panic, I need him every single second of every day. And as I finish writing this, it just occurred to me… it’s Tuesday. Go figure.

lots of love,
Rachel

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Recently, the topic of guarding one’s heart has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. The Bible commands us to guard our heart, but what does that actually look like? For most of us, when we think of guarding our heart, we think of protecting ourself from heartbreak, by staying away from anything and anyone that could potentially wound our hearts. This can cause us to keep others at arms length, not letting them past our walls.

As I have been contemplating and talking with Rachel about this whole “guard your heart” thing, I came to one conclusion: ultimately, the only One who can truly guard your heart is Jesus. And the only way that He can guard your heart is if you fully surrender it to Him. We must trust him with our fragile, easily broken hearts, because let’s be real…He knows what’s best for them anyway. If we were to guard our own hearts, we would lock them up forever, but Jesus wants our hearts to be broken so that he can mold them and shape them to what He wants them to be. It’s in the wounds and the scars that we grow and change.

Now, this definitely doesn’t provide a lot of answers for what it looks like to guard one’s heart, but it’s just one step closer to figuring things out a little bit more.

xoxo Taylor

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