Refusing To Acknowledge Doesn’t Make It Untrue

prayer

It has been awhile, but I have finally come to an understanding. God has been faithful to me even though I refused to acknowledge it.

I prayed every day that He would bring Bailey home quickly, safely, and in good condition. I don’t think I have ever prayed so hard, so often, and so passionately for something. God answered that prayer. Bailey came back the last week of October and was generally fine.

God answered this prayer knowing the outcome. He knew it was not going to turn out like I hoped. He knew how I was going to be affected by Bailey’s inactions. But still He answered my prayer and my pleas to show me the power of prayer.

I now have this specific answered prayer to hold on to when I feel like God is far. He didn’t ignore me then to save me from the hurt and heartache He knew was coming, so now I can have faith and know that God will come through in all situations.

❤ a girl

Red Cup Ridiculousness

red cup

For the past week, every time I would log into Facebook, I would see all of these images of Starbucks cups and all of this nonsense about how offensive they are toward Christian people. To be honest, I have read a few memes, some images, an article or two, and watched a CNN video, but I don’t really understand what the big deal is.

I didn’t really want to join in on the nonsense of the whole thing, but then I decided this would be a good opportunity to express my thoughts about Christmas and why not incorporate this red cup phenomenon.

My understanding is that some Christians are upset that Starbucks changed their cups from having designs on them to being plain red and somehow this change means Starbucks is against Christmas. Ummm what?!

I am a Christian and I believe that the point of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less. The trees, the cute animals, the decorations, the presents, the red and green… that is all extra stuff that adds to the season of celebrating Christ, but that is not what Christmas is about.

So by Starbucks taking the ornaments, reindeer, and snowmen off of their cups is not an act against celebrating Christmas. Those images are winter images, they don’t define Christmas. There was never a baby Jesus or nativity scene or Merry Christmas on the cups, so why are so many so upset? Last time I checked, red was still a holiday color… it isn’t like they changed their cups to black, but even if they did, who cares? Starbucks does not define the season or the holiday.

In a CNN video that I watched, a man was upset, because Starbucks employees are not allowed to say Merry Christmas. This is not uncommon; many places including public schools, are not allowed to say that phrase. It has become Happy Holidays, but why does this have to destroy your season? They can’t ban YOU from saying anything, so why not just respond with Merry Christmas and a smile. You get to choose how you react to these changes.

Yes, 70% of people in America identify as Christians and our country was founded on Christian beliefs, but we also pride ourselves in allowing freedom of religion. People have the right not to celebrate Christmas and we cannot force them to, but we can still show love throughout the season and not let the actions of companies and other people ruin the example that Christ set. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was all about showing grace and love toward all people, including ourselves, who don’t deserve it, so why can we not show that same love and grace toward Starbucks employees and everyone else who disagrees with us?

I think this all comes down to what Christmas really means to you. Is your Christmas defined by the design of a coffee cup? Is your Christmas defined by the words someone uses to greet you? Or is your Christmas defined by an amazing savior’s birth?

❤ a girl

1 Step Forward. 1 Step Stronger.

leaping

Rollercoaster. The one word that describes my emotions, my thoughts, and my choices. I have been up and down, back and forth to end up where I started.

I have had a rough time for awhile now, but it mainly started falling apart back in February. Some things happened that I didn’t understand and just completely gave up. I was angry with God, so I decided to ditch the Christian life altogether. I stopped praying, reading my Bible, and going to church; by summer I considered myself a Deist who basically believed God created me, but wanted nothing to do with me.

At first this lifestyle seemed so great. I felt so light and airy with no expectations, but eventually the light and airy feeling changed to empty. I had nothing to believe in and no accountability system, but I was too proud to admit this to anyone. Little by little my negative feelings and thoughts got worse until I was a big ball of anger and hate. I didn’t know what to do and when the good things in my life started going downhill, I completely broke.

Over the past few weeks, I have decided that God isn’t dead to me and that I am not done with my faith. I have chosen to pursue the Lord again. Through so much love and encouragement, I am on the right track. A friend invited me to a homegroup that meets on Wednesdays nights that I have attended twice and now look forward to as well as having the opportunity to go on a retreat with that group that gave me ample time to spend alone with the Lord, listening to others stories of how He has worked in their lives,  and some powerful worship.

I am excited about this new journey. Although, I feel like I am back where I started, I am most definitely not. Before February I was going through the motions. I was under the impression that I had to do all of these things to be right with God and to have a relationship with him, but it wasn’t true and by believing that I had all of these expectations that couldn’t be met and I started to become frustrated with myself. Now, I have a much healthier outlook and I am actively pursuing the Lord and learning what He actually means to me. I feel so much stronger in myself now knowing that I am not fighting my battles alone.

❤ a girl

I Have The Power To Choose

choice 1

When people talk about having courage and exploring the unknown, I immediately think of traveling or beginning a new phase in life. Today, I read this phrase and had a completely different thought; I’m not traveling or starting a new phase, but I have decided to take a different path than the one originally set for me and it is going to be a scary road.

I have been wrestling with my faith and what it means to believe for awhile. I grew up Christian, non-denominational Baptist to be exact, and I worked really hard at being perfect at it. As I got older, I realized this was just a facade for me. I played the part so well and on the outside, I was the part to a T. I went to church, participated in Bible studies, and attended church camp. I volunteered, prayed, and was extremely active in my youth group. I didn’t do things that were deemed bad such as smoke, drink, party, or cuss. I was one of the good ones.

What I learned was that you can’t be a perfect Christian. But you can feel like you are doing something wrong. In the past six years or so, I have worked so hard at doing what I have been taught to do in order to have a strong relationship with God. Be in continuous prayer. Have a quiet time every morning. Talk to God like a father or a friend. Be patient. Listen for what God has to tell you. Read your Bible. Memorize verses. Surround yourself with good Christian friends. Be honest. (That is not all they tell you, but those are the ones that stand out to me at the moment.)

I did these things day in and day out. As much as I tried to enjoy it; make it something I wanted to do and not something I had to do, I failed. It always seemed like so much work and effort with no results. I still felt empty. I listened, but never heard anything. I prayed, but never got answers. I studied, but never learned. I surrounded myself, but felt judged. All of it didn’t seem worth it to me. I became bitter, because I would hear stories and see others who seemed to be living the life and having the relationship I was supposed to have. Although I understand they might be putting on a facade too, it didn’t change the negativity that surrounded me.

A few months back, I decided to take a break from striving so hard to be successful in my religion and creating this relationship that seems to be nonexistent. I stopped reading my Bible, praying, going to church regularly; I started to dabble in activities that were frowned upon. I didn’t like everything and being “bad” isn’t really me, because of my morals and personality, but I found that I was so much happier not worrying so much about being perfect. That who I was and who I wanted to be didn’t have to be dictated by my religion. I could still be a good person and not be a Christian.

I realized that I did not have a problem with everything I had been taught. I believe there is a greater power/being (aka God) and I believe that he created the world and everything in it, but from my experiences I do not believe that he is striving for a relationship with me. From the research that I have done, I am taking a leap and calling myself a Deist. I don’t necessarily think that a label for what I believe is needed, but it helps to classify myself somewhere.

Making the decision to step out of what I was taught and have always known and to swim against the grain of most of the people in my life is extremely frightening for me. I have not told my family about my change of heart, but to be able to post it here and recognize my current beliefs is a big step!

As hesitant as I am to move forward, I want to bring on the unknown and test my courage!

❤ a girl

Taste The Rainbow

gay rights

 

Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. – Hillary Clinton

This morning I slept in, I watched an episode of So You Think You Can Dance, and took a shower all before I found out that gay marriage had been legalized. I woke up this morning thinking it would be just a regular day, but instead I got to be alive during one of most monumental days in history.

I am so excited that gay marriage is now legal. I have so many friends that can now be married and I feel like so many other people who have been afraid can finally be comfortable with who they are.

Growing up a Christian, I was always told that homosexuality was wrong, but I never really agreed with this. In church, we are taught that there is no sin that is worse than another. Therefore, I never understood why they were so against gay people. No one says anything about alcoholics getting married and that is a sin, no one says anything about people who had premarital sex getting married and that is a sin; I just never understood why it was such a big deal. If you feel that being homosexual is a sin then allow those people to sin the way they want to and you sin the way you want to.

Another reason I never understood why it wasn’t legal is because the only argument against it was that it was wrong, but isn’t there supposed to be a separation of church and state… so when you strip away the religion, why is it so wrong?

I have been amazed and proud at how the country has responded to this news. It is such an incredible celebration!

I was at work earlier and I realized that sometimes people can really surprise you. One of the servers that used to work there was openly gay, but had never really found a partner. He is one of the sweetest people ever and everyone really adores him. Well three of his good friends (a guy/girl couple and another straight guy) decided to go with him to a gay bar for the first time in celebration! I thought this was so sweet!

I have high hopes that we continue this uphill battle! That Americans continue to be encouraging in helping fight for gay rights! It is incredible how far we have come!

❤ a girl