(in)courage

I’ve been meeting with a few ladies lately and there seems to be a consistent need–REST. We are worried people who need to find rest in the Lord. God desires us to come to Him and find rest. It’s just a matter of creating space. God wants you to be with Him. But what I see across the board, and even in my own life, is life getting busy and full and that leaves little space for us to find rest. Sometimes it’s just a lack of unwillingness to be still before God. However, the times we do find rest in Him, we actually get to see God be God over our lives and we leave feelings encouraged.

The question–are you willing?

Can I please just beg you to be willing? I promise the freedom you will experience in Christ is well worth it all. He provides you with rest when everything else seems to be bogging your down. Coming to the feet of Jesus and recognizing just how weak I really am is the only place I find peace and strength.


There are plenty of great resources out there for you to get invested into God’s Word. I want you to feel equipped so I try to share different resources with you. If you aren’t quite sure where to start with the whole Bible reading, click on this link and it will give you some insight.

I want to share with you another resource that I’ve come across. Quite honestly, this one is different than several other Bibles I’ve come in contact with. In fact, I would say if you’re looking for a Bible that includes devotions that help you rest in God, this is the PERFECT Bible resource for you.

The (in)courage Devotional Bible is more or less an aid in helping you create that space to find rest and as the title suggests–encouragement.img_6023

img_6025The Bible begins with a place for you to commit yourself to studying God’s Word and finding people to study with. Community is a key part of finding rest in God. We do it independently, but there’s something that happens in our hearts when we get to share what God is teaching us with others. I love that the Bible even gives you an opportunity to write out those people.

Not only does this Bible offer the Word, but it has built in devotions. There are ten different devotional themes to guide you through your reading. What is unique about these devotions is that they are color coordinated (if you’re anything like me, you will love that), and the devotions give you questions you can journal through.img_6030

Speaking of journalling, I think one of my favorite parts of the Bible other than that it’s super colorful, there is space for you to journal. I write in my Bible so much, so the fact there’s space to actual write out what God is teaching me as I rest in Him is a great feature. It combines the Journal Bible to this Devotional Bible.

The other neat feature in this Bible that sticks out before the others is the highlights of the different females throughout the Bible. As you come across different women in the Bible, there’s this little extra devotional to help further your study. It’s a great feature to really help you see God’s faithfulness in every season whether it be in blessing or a time of repentance. img_6029

Regardless of where you are in your walk with the Lord, it is my encouragement to you to get in the Word. It really is the food for our hearts and the air we need to survive. It is the only thing that keeps me going. It’s not by accident that the publishers of this Bible title it (in)courage because the only way I ever feel encouraged is by getting IN the Word.

If you’re looking for those people to help you commit to reading, let me know! There’s nothing I love doing more than reading through Scripture!

img_5654

Check Out More Information on this Bible

Looking for a chance to get a free one? Click Here to Enter the Giveaway

This. Is. War.

“in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him, who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

I was scared (quite possibly terrified) about what the new year would bring simply because 2017 was a sweet year. Sure there were struggles, but overall, God did some really big things in my life (Ecuador) that I would have never imagined, and I wasn’t ready to be done with that. For me personally, 2017 was peaceful. There weren’t big changes, nothing really blew up; sure I still battled my own personal idols and sinfulness, but overall there was peace–it didn’t feel like a battle. It was a season of rest. A season where I got to see God as gentle, loving, and caring. So when I was finally Brutally Honest with God about my fear for 2018, He spoke Romans 8:37. Right then, it provided peace. And it still does today–just in a different way.

Over the last month, I have read this verse so many times because I find myself creeping back into a place of doubting “Did God really say…”, a place of “I can do it all” mentality, a place of “is this really worth it”, or even a place of caring more about what people think instead of what God says about me.

And I bring these thoughts before the Lord and He reminds me of Romans 8:37.

And He reminds me of the word conqueror.

And then it hit me.

Conqueror is a battle word.

God reminded me of one simple truth:

This. Is. War.

Paul says it like this in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

This war that we are fighting is not against the flesh. This is spiritual war against a very real darkness–Satan and all his little followers.

When 2018 came, those places I was telling you about are the darkness. Doubting God, thinking I can handle everything, questioning whether or not it’s all worth it, or even caring about what others say–those are lies from Satan. Jesus declared that Satan “is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). This battle is real. This war is real.

I would talk to God about this during my quiet time. I would pray asking God to take away the darkness. I asked the Lord to fight for me–again, I don’t feel strong enough to do anything. And those four thoughts continued running through my head and they were (and can be still) so loud. Because the darkness was so overwhelmingly loud, I found myself starting to believe these lies.

At church, we are going through Matthew, and of course, just like God, He timed everything just perfectly. The darkness was particularly loud this day, and we just so happened to be reading Matthew 4 where Jesus was tempted.

See Jesus was at the starting place of His ministry. Within three years, He would conquer death, save people, heal the sick, provide the way for sinners, and so much more. Jesus was just beginning. And yet the darkness came. The darkness tried to stop Jesus from what He came to do.

Here I am in the midst of my own ministry, expecting God to do big things this year. I want to see Him do more things in the students I disciple, I want to see 30 people saved, I want to have more gospel conversations, I want to look more like Jesus this year than I did last year. And right in the midst of my ministry, in the midst of my walk with Jesus, the darkness arrived.

Just like Jesus, I had a choice–will I believe the lies of Satan or believe the truth of God?

If Jesus had believed the lies of Satan, then His ministry would have been gone. People would be dying and going to Hell–which is exactly what Satan wants. Satan does not want people to experience freedom; Satan wants people to remain in bondage. But if Satan stopped Jesus, then Jesus’ ministry would have been stopped.

Jesus didn’t succumb to Satan’s lies. Instead Jesus fought back the darkness with the Truth of God’s Word. Jesus’ ministry continued and Jesus did make the way to life for every person.

So what about me? What about you?

In the midst of our ministry, if we choose to believe the lies of Satan, then our personal ministries will be gone. We will stop sharing the gospel, we won’t see people’s lives changed from death to life, and we won’t see the kingdom of God expand.

Isn’t this why Satan tries so hard to destroy us?

Satan knows if he can convince us to doubt God’s character (the very loving, gentle, and caring God that I just met in 2017), then we will doubt our purpose and we will stop fighting back the darkness. Satan has one mission: “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). And chances are, Satan is not going to come after the people who are already being destroyed, but those of us who are actively fighting against the destruction. He’s going to come against those proclaiming the way to freedom.

Just since the start of January, I’ve had some really great conversations with some really great friends who are actively fighting back the darkness in their spaces. Each space looks different–some are youth leaders, pastors, baristas, teachers, college students, and so on–and Satan is doing everything he can to convince these Jesus loving people to stop fighting the darkness. Satan is speaking the very lies he speaks to me, to them as well.

And there are days, where my friends and I sit around the table and we ask each other “What’s the point? Darkness keeps winning. When is it going to change? When will we see Jesus as victorious?” In the midst of these questions, we look each other in the eye and remind each other of the Truth of the Gospel. We remember the hope we have in Christ. We remember Romans 8:37 when we are called conquerors.

In this season, it may feel like I’m being destroyed. It may feel like everything I have is being stolen. It may feel like I’m at times being killed. But the truth is found in God’s Word–not in what I feel.

My prayer for my friends and the prayer I have for even myself is found in Psalm 40:1-3:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

Right now, some of my friends and I are in this waiting period. We feel as if we have been defeated and we are in this pit of destruction. And we are anxiously awaiting the day for God to set us upon the rock and make our steps secure.

But the truth is, Satan is trying to convince my friends and I that we are never going to be rescued from the pit. And if we actually believe that we won’t be rescued, then many will never see and many will never put their trust in the Lord.

Isn’t that why Satan is trying to get us to believe his lies?

We are in war.

We are fighting a battle of life and death–not of flesh and blood. And the army of God is out fighting against the darkness. And when the darkness presses in, we have to gather and remind each other of the truth of God’s Word.

God’s promise are true! The last half of John 10:10 brings life–it doesn’t bring death. Jesus says, “I came that they [that’s you and me] may have life and have it abundantly.” While Satan is trying to kill us, Jesus brings a message of life.

Let’s stand together. Let’s fight together.

Yes, the darkness is real. Yes, the darkness will come.

But NO.

The darkness does not have to define us.

We are conquerors through Christ.

Jesus even equips us to stand firm against the darkness. If we look back to Ephesians 6, God gives us our battle clothes:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

So we gather together so we can stand firm together. We remind each other of the gospel. We encourage each other in faith so Satan cannot throw flaming arrows our way. We worship together. We pray together. We do life together.

We are not alone in this war.

Satan is going to do everything he can to convince us otherwise, but let’s be ready to stand firm together. Let’s remember the truth of God’s Word instead of hearing the lies of the darkness.

Let’s stand firm on the truth we know. Let’s disciple each other, sharpening each other in the faith. Let’s fight for those who do not know Jesus yet. Let’s boldly proclaim the good news so many will come to know Jesus. Let’s be conquerors. Let’s hold fast to Jesus because only He can make our steps secure; only He can pick us up from the pit of destruction.

This. Is. War.

But I am a conqueror through Him and I will stand firm.

Brutally Honest

I don’t want you to ever think my life is perfect. I especially don’t want you to be deceived by my posts on social media that I have everything figured out. If we are being completely real, brutally honest, I do not live a perfect life and I definitely do not have everything figured out.

Over the last month or so, God has been showing me just how weak I am. For whatever reason, the idea that I am strong enough and can do it all started to creep into my life. I have no clue when the “I can do it all” mindset set in, but I am very much aware NOW that I cannot do it all.

This whole shift started one night at the coffee shop. I was talking with one of my best friends and just encouraging her through a tough time. During the midst of the conversation, I could see she had bought into the lie that she was supposed to handle everything perfectly, and be strong enough to do it all. I could see her fighting back the tears the whole time, afraid to show some sort of weakness to me. I looked at her and said, “It’s okay to admit that you’re not strong enough.” I reminded her that even though we are weak individuals, God is the Almighty. He has the ultimate strength.

I went home that night thinking about our conversation and praying for my friend, but then I felt God pressing on my heart the same words I had just spoken to her. God was telling me: Rachel, it’s okay to admit that you’re not strong enough. But instead of admitting to God I was weak and I needed Him to carry me, I continued to carry life with my own strength.

This is a constant battle for me, just so you know. I have seasons of life where I recognized my weaknesses and my need for God’s strength, but overtime somewhere along the journey I start to believe that I can handle it.

A few nights later, God pressed that same statement onto my heart again. And this time, I was angry. I remember that night well, and it was for sure not posted on Instagram or Facebook. It was one of those nights where I was just so angry and sad and hurt–BROKEN–so there was LOTS of ugly crying. In my anger, I asked the question WHY a whole bunch. I demanded (not a joke) answers from the Lord. If you’re at all familiar with Job when He is asking God for his day in court wanting answers from God, that was me.

But then, I was able to admit that I can’t. I was broken–still am broken. Because I can’t do it. I can’t be who everyone wants me to be because it’s too much pressure. I can’t be patient on my own because I want things now. I can’t control outcomes because that’s not my power. I can’t do it.

Through lots of tears, I finally admitted to God, “I need you. I am not strong enough to keep going on my own.”

So with that statement, I opened up my Bible to the book of Esther to hear from God. I was still angry. I was more broken now than I was when I started praying. I was hurting. And I still wanted answers.

Immediately, I started reading through that portion of Esther, and God started to speak, but it was not what I wanted to hear. It wasn’t providing the answers I was looking for. So as I read through God’s Word, I continued praying the same way–demanding answers, admitting my lack of ability to do anything on my own, begging God to speak something else. I was working through Beth Moore’s study on Esther at the time, and it got to this point where she referenced Philippians 4:13. I’m really familiar with this verse, so I kind of quickly reread it, but she had another verse to reference–Romans 8:37. I wasn’t as familiar with this one, so I went into it with fresh eyes.

“in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

The Holy Spirit used this verse to speak directly into my heart:

Did you see that part about in all these things? Everything you just prayed for is included in the word ALL.

You’re right. You can’t do it all. But did you notice what it says next? You are a conqueror through Him–that’s Me. You are a conqueror in all these things because of Me. Because of My love for You.

You will never be able to do anything on your own. But My love carries you. 

In that moment, a wave of peace flooded my heart to where I can’t even explain it. Through my absolute surrender that I can’t do it, God provided me with peace because He reminded me that it’s THROUGH HIM not through Rachel.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without the strength of God.

When you see these pictures below, on Instagram, or on Facebook, do not be deceived. I am not strong. I am weak. And I will gladly proclaim that brutally honest truth until the day I die because it’s not through me. It’s through Him.

Walk in Love

I can still hear my principal from Castle High School saying, “If you are wearing a Castle shirt of any kind, you are a representation of a Castle Knight wherever you are. Be a good representative of us.”

Who or what do you represent?

My answers consist of my school, my church, my family, my friends in some sense; but most importantly, I represent Christ.

Back in November, our school put on a Veterans Day Program for our Veterans and community. It’s a school led program, so some students greet Veterans, play in the band, or sing in the choir; and the majority of our students sit with their homeroom classes. Now remember, I teach 8th graders (13-14 year olds) so it’s extremely important to go over rules and expectations especially for a community event like this. I found myself saying things to my homeroom like, “Be on your best behavior”, “We want to honor our Veterans”, or “Your behavior during this event represents me as your teacher, but also the school–don’t forget that.” Long story short, my kids were great!

Fast forward a few weeks, and the students who were awesome during the program are now doing the complete opposite. I remember talking to a couple of different students in the hall to just see what was going on with them. I told them I knew they could be awesome because I just saw it at the program. I hear them out, but then I remind them regardless of where they are–whether it’s as fancy as an official program or as mundane as walking in the hallways–they represent me, their teacher.

Then it hit me.

I. Represent. Christ.

I am no different than this kid I’m talking to in the hallway.

Quite the wake-up call if you ask me.

See I think it’s easy for us to be good representatives when we’ve just been reminded of the expectation, but what if a few days pass, or weeks pass? I know I forget, what about you?

The idea of representing Christ is so easily forgotten. It’s typical for me to go to church on Sunday and feel convicted to not gossip anymore, but as soon as the final “Amen” has been said, I’m back to talking about people in a way that’s not building up the kingdom.

In the middle of the church service (or in the midst of the “Veterans Day Program” for my students), it’s easy to represent Christ, especially when He’s at the forefront of my mind. But when the program has come to a close and reality sets in; just like my students forgot, I forget I still am representing Christ whether I’m at church or walking down the halls of my school.

We all represent something and we all imitate something.

Remember what my high school principal said? He said, “If you are wearing a Castle shirt of any kind, you are a representation of a Castle Knight wherever you are. Be a good representative of us.”

The same is true for believers, but it’s not just a shirt we get to throw into the laundry basket at the end of the day. Bur rather when we come to Christ, we are always representing who He is to the world around us.

In 3 John verse 11, it says, “Behold, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not see God.”

Change the shirt from a “Castle” shirt to a “God” shirt. You are wearing Him. Displaying His goodness wherever you go. God is good, and through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you, you can be good–whether you’re in church or walking down a hallway. But when we aren’t clothing ourselves in the goodness of God, we are representing evil, or the world.

I was talking to one of my friends about this, and she shared with me a quote (not sure where it’s from), but check this out: You are a visible representation of an invisible God.

I love that. We are called to represent Christ wherever and whenever. We don’t take the shirt off, it’s there. When we came to know Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we chose to take off our old self and put on a new self in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Even right now, as I’m writing this, it’s easy for me to remember I represent Christ. But how can I represent Him daily, whether I’m at church or at school? I imitate Him. What did Jesus do when He was here living on Earth?

Paul says in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.”

We see Jesus walking in love and giving himself up for others (that’s me and that’s you).

So right now, if you proclaim Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are wearing God’s goodness and the way you can demonstrate that to the world around you is doing what Jesus did–walk in love and give yourself up for others.

For me, when the final “Amen” is said at church, I don’t want to be gossiping, but rather I want to walk in love. I should filter everything I say and do through the lens of Jesus’ love. I can ask myself questions like: Is this conversation walking in love? Is doing (fill in the blank) walking in love? Am I thinking more about myself or others? Who is being lifted up: God or myself?

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am just like my middle school students. They forget who they represent and so do I. But just like I’m there to remind my students who they represent, God is there for me. He takes me into the hallway (AKA my quiet time), and says, “Rachel, what’s going on? Remember whatever you’re doing or even saying, you’re representing me?

If a camera recorded your actions/words just for a day, what kind of a representation would be found? One that’s imitating what is good, or one that’s imitating what is evil?

He is Mighty–A Year in Review

My top nine images of 2017 have really sparked this whole “year in review” thing. It got me thinking about the word remember.

What does remembering really mean?

According to Google’s dictionary the word remember means “have in or be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of (someone or something that one has seen, known, or experienced in the past).” I love that part about bringing to mind the things we have seen, known, or experienced because that pretty much includes remembering the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s whatever has happened in the past.

For me personally, there have been years where there has been immense pain. I didn’t want to look back because all I saw was pain and darkness. Even the thought of a specific circumstance would cause almost immediate tears to form in my eyes. However, there have also been years where the look back on life has been one of adventure, fun, and complete happiness.

But what if, the year in review wasn’t just about our life’s circumstances but about what God did? What would a year in review be like then?

It is a Biblical truth for us to remember what God has done in and through our lives. All throughout the Bible, God calls His people to remember all that He has done. It’s actually mentioned in the Bible 168 times (can be more or less depending on your version). There is clearly something powerful about remembering.

So why is remembering such an important thing?

There’s a story in Joshua 3-4 where the Israelites cross the Jordan River. This is an incredible story. If you aren’t familiar with it, take the time to go read both of these chapters–right now! It seriously is incredible! But the basic concept of the story, is the Israelites cross a really powerful river because of God. He stopped the river from flowing simply to show that He cared for the Israelites. After the Israelites passed through, God tells them to set 12 stones aside “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

We see here just in one example, God used a physical object (the stones) to show the world who He is, to show the world He is mighty.

Remembering what God has done for you, helps you remember God is mighty–even in the midst of seasons of sorrow.

Your remembrance could allow the world to see He is mighty!

When we direct our focus on what God has done for us and who He is instead of life’s circumstances, it’s going to produce joy simply because we can rest on the promise that God is working all things for good (Romans 8:28). So whatever situation you are personally in, I would like to challenge you not to just look back at the circumstances that have occurred in your life this year, but rather all that God has done.

Personally, I would love to sit and have coffee with each of you and hear all about what God has done in your life this year! It’s encouraging to me to see God’s hand at work in the lives of others. If you want to share what God has done in your life this year, leave me a comment or send me a message here. But I would love to share with you, my “stones” of what God has done in, around, and through my life this year.


Friends and Community

One of the greatest things God has done this year, has been blessing me with some pretty great friends. It literally dates back to January when things started to all come together. It’s weird because I had just prayed asking God to give me some good community (people I could have deep conversations with and who challenged me). This group of friends does exactly that. I have learned about myself in some pretty crazy ways. My friends are most certainly not afraid to call me out, but they do it in love. They sharpen me when it comes to what I believe. It’s really just incredible. We’ve prayed together. We’ve cried and laughed together. We’ve celebrated together. We’ve even traveled to many different places together. I’ve seen God use my friends to share the gospel with tons of people. I’ve watched my friends disciple people who have been in their lives for years and have watched others start discipling and meeting with others. God’s hand is at work with this great group of people! I’m thankful for y’all in so many ways!

Nothing to Prove

At the end of 2016, Jennie Allen wrote Nothing to Prove and I had the privilege of being on her launch team (which basically means I got to help promote the book before it was released). I read it in November of 2016, and started wrestling with the idea of starting a book club at my school for some of the teachers there for us to go through the book. I didn’t really take a chance on sending out an invite until mid-January. To me it was this great risk and moderately big time commitment, but I knew I wanted to see God work at school, so I sent an email.

img_0943With about twelve women signed up to participate in the book club, I was so impressed at God. I was only expecting like 4-8 people and God totally kept them coming. I don’t remember exactly, but I think around 20 women ended up buying the book! God used the book club in so many ways! I remember each Wednesday, I would just listen to these women talk about God’s movement in their own lives and all God did was use them to tell me the risk was worth it. It was through this book club that I learned when God impresses something upon your heart, it’s 100% worth it. God was there and I watched Him move. It was the coolest thing to be apart of!

Totally fan-girling as well because I got to meet Jennie Allen at the beginning of February and just thank her for her obedience to the Lord in her ministry! God has used her books to remind me I was worth dying for and I have nothing to prove because Christ finished the work on the cross.

Quiet Moments

I think so often times we busy ourselves so much, we don’t really know how to just be still and see God. But for me, the quiet, still moments is when I see God clearly for myself. In these moments, God speaks to me. There are so many things I could write about how God has used the quiet moments to speak truth into my life, but the one recently God has been teaching me through Esther is His timing is perfect. It’s never late, and it’s never early. He is in control of all things, so He is ALWAYS on time.

God has spoken truth into my heart this year through the books of Esther, 1 & 2 Samuel, Nehemiah, Isaiah, John, and 1 & 2 Corinthians. It’s been a great journey through the Word! I’m grateful God speaks when we quiet our hearts before Him.

These quiet moments are usually processed through different people in my life, but two that are absolutely foundational to my walk with Jesus are Alysia and Barbara. I’m not quite sure I would be where I am if it weren’t for these two great ladies! They are a shoulder to cry on, a listener, and an encourager on my journey with Christ! They invite me into their homes and allow me to live life with them. Thank you for helping me BEHOLD Jesus each and every day.

My Church

For starters, I was transitioning between churches at the beginning of the year. I wasn’t quite looking to get involved anywhere, but really just wanted to soak in, but God had other plans (and His plans were way better). At some point in March, our Family Discipleship Pastor found out I had worked in student ministry in my old church and wanted to see if I would be interested in serving.

img_5490We meet for coffee; and at the beginning, I felt pretty standoffish because I had my own plans of not being involved, but the more we talked the more our hearts for ministry aligned. I could tell God was placing me here for a specific purpose. By the end of that conversation, an opportunity to go to Ecuador had opened as well as an internship, which is funny because remember I had no intentions of getting involved. Thankfully, God knows best!

img_2479God has used my church to reach the lost, make disciples of all nations, and minister into my heart. The leadership God has placed over my life has been a huge encouragement into my personal walk with Jesus. They have challenged me to literally go places I was scared to go. They walked with me through some really difficult times. And through it all, God was there. He was and continues to use my church as way to draw me nearer to Him.

The Internship

I would just like to remind you, I had no intentions of getting involved at my church and God had other plans. The internship was an awesome experience, one that I am so thankful for! I had the opportunity to hang out with students and serve all summer long!  We had VBS and as much as I’m not good with little kids, I got to see these sweet kids come to know Jesus. Watching them pray to receive Christ and watch their hearts be made alive was clearly the work of the Holy Spirit. It was awesome to see God take something dead and breathe life into it! It’s only something He can do!

img_3883I also got to go to camp with our middle school and high school students! At this point, I didn’t really know them, but by the end of the week, they were just a bunch of little brother and sisters! I got to watch God breathe more life into two of our students that came with us. The excitement a new believer has because the joy of the Lord is literally now inside of them is a miracle–each salvation is a miracle.

Just for the record, at the end of 2016 I had been praying about switching careers. I felt this pull from God to seek something in publishing, writing, or editing books. I wasn’t sure where this was going to go, but I just started looking at different jobs in that field to see what it would take to one day work in the writing field. One of the things that was recommended was a Masters in English (which I start in January), but it was also looking for previous experience in ministry. Outside of volunteering in churches for 10 years, I didn’t have “official” experience. I just prayed God would provide opportunities to serve Him so I could do whatever He called me into. I prayed that in January, and then in March when I met with our Family Discipleship Pastor, the internship was available. God is just too cool!

img_5152

Ecuador

img_3036There’s so much that I could say about Ecuador and what God did there and you can read that by clicking on this link. But what I simply want to share is something that isn’t included in that blog post which is God used this trip (from the time in the airport to my quiet time in Ecuador) to tell me it was time to talk. For a period of time, God had silenced me when it came to an area of my life, but God specifically spoke reconciliation into my heart during this trip. It really had nothing to do with Ecuador, but just what happened because of Ecuador. It was pretty awesome that God would use a conversation with my pastor and then my quiet time to speak so clearly into my heart. Now was the time to speak.

Salvations

This is probably the coolest thing I get to talk about simply because I get to talk about the new brothers and sisters we have in the family of Christ! I had prayed at the beginning of the year, I wanted to see God save (here is what I mean by “save”) more people. But then at the beginning of the summer, I prayed more specially telling God I wanted to see Him save 5 people before the end of the summer. Well, God taught me this year He is capable of doing more than we think or imagine. Apparently 5 was just too small for God, because even at camp I saw hundreds of students profess faith for the first time, so then I prayed that God would either directly use me in 5 different people’s salvation or that they would be in my life for a period of time. What you see here, are simply the six people God has placed in my life this year who I have had the honor of seeing God take them from death into life!

I know I’ve already said it before, but salvation is a miracle! The fact that I have gotten to see so many salvations this year is just pure evidence God is real. He is alive and He is working.

Discipling and Small Group

img_4297

img_5512Discipling is one of my favorite things to do! I love meeting with students and talking about what Jesus is doing in their lives! I love walking through books of the Bible and being able to just be apart of watching them grow in their faith. Through discipleship I was able to meet with about 6 different girls! I wanted to be consistent with them and I’m definitely thankful for the time we have had together! Small group is the same way! At the beginning of small group, I was only anticipating about 4-5 girls, but we have about 10 that come regularly!

img_5247So what has God done through discipleship and small group? Well, I have seen God open the eyes and hearts of these girls to reading God’s Word. Several girls have grown in just their desire to reading His Word. According to my small group girls, they come and when we discuss God’s Word they leave “shook” or “in the feels,” which I think is a good thing. We also have tons of fun together just because the laughter never stops!

But for me God has used these girls to speak to me. There are times I will be teaching something to them, but it’s really to me. A good example of what God taught me through teaching them was when we walked through John 2 earlier this semester. God taught me what it is like to have Faith Like the Servants.

img_5189


Again, I would so love to have coffee and discuss all the intricate details that I know are missing from this list of what God has done in this season, but I would also just like to tell you there are things in my life that I have prayed all year (and some for years) for God to move. For whatever reason, God hasn’t moved there yet, but again, I know His timing is perfect. This year is evidence of that.

And if you are in a season of sorrow, it’s a season. I don’t know when it will be over, but I do know there’s a season of celebration around the corner. When it comes, you celebrate. The sorrow you have experienced in life, makes you appreciate the celebration so much more!

So if you find yourself struggling to remember what God has done this year in you, think about your salvation–that alone is a miracle. Think about what God has taught you–the discipline teachings as well as the gentle reminders. Did anything good happen? Because that’s God too, and that deserves to be celebrated even if it’s simple!

God loves it when we remember what He did.

Your remembrance could allow the world to see He is mighty!