Tuesday's With Jesus

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

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

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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

Taylor’s Tuesday

When Rachel first introduced me to the idea of Tuesdays with Jesus, I was very intrigued and decided that I had to try it for myself. Tuesdays with Jesus has made me realized that, hey, Jesus is with us everyday of the week, not just on Tuesdays. I have left Jesus many places on Tuesdays, in classrooms, in the cafeteria and yes, even in bed. I find it so strange how easy it is to forget Someone who is always there, even when you can go days without acknowledging his existence. He is still there, whether you think about it or not. He is not leaving.

This idea of accountability has proven to be something that is increasingly more important for me, especially as life gets more and more hectic. Doing Tuesday with Jesus alongside Rachel makes it easier, because I know that she will always ask me about it at the end of the day!

Until next time,

Taylor

Why Tuesday’s with Jesus?

Hi! My name is Rachel Cooper and I absolutely love Jesus and this big beautiful world He created. I love it from the top of the mountains to the bottom of the oceans and all the people on it. There is just something so incredibly wonderful about the way God created us to live in community and rely on each other for accountability. This is something I have been learning a lot of lately as I have entered a new stage in my life as a college student. I am constantly surrounded by people, as I walk around campus, go into my dorm, or even go to the cafeteria for a meal. But something I have realized, is although I am constantly surrounded by people who push me to grow and become a better person each day, I sometimes forget to constantly surround myself with Jesus. 

Last April I was at a Women’s Conference hosted by my church and Megan Fate Marshman, the Women’s Director at Hume Lake Christian Camps, spoke about living in community. She explained that we were made to live in a community because God is a community (I could probably write an entire blog post on this idea alone, but I think that can be saved for a different time or place. So don’t mind me skipping ahead a little bit here). But she also brought up the idea that Jesus had a relationship with God and when he was crucified he was actually separated from God for the first time. Then she brought up this crazy thing… called Tuesday’s With Jesus. 

It started out as an experiment to see how easy it was to keep Christ at the center of a day. Tuesday’s with Jesus were her way of living in community with Jesus, and they quickly became my way of being in community with Jesus. Now every single Tuesday, I wake up and go through my normal day while pretending to have an actual person of Jesus with me at all times. I buy him coffee, hold doors open for him and save him seats at dinner. It’s really difficult, but it is so worth it! At the end of every Tuesday, I have the chance to simply stop and reflect on how my day with Jesus was. Tuesday’s have quickly become one of my most joyful days of the week. 

So now, jumping forward to today… I sort of brought my RA into my Tuesday’s with Jesus. Taylor and I talk about our Tuesday’s, the ups and downs of trying to remember Jesus at all times. We have forgotten him around campus a handful of times. But, I thought it would be a nice idea to jot down about our days, our thoughts and the things we’ve been discovering or learning for everyone to read. Maybe it will become a movement. So yes, I spend my Tuesday’s with Jesus… do you?

Much love,

Rachel