Go Back

We seem to be a future-driven society. I’ve talked about this before in past posts. From a young age we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. In jr. high we start taking personality tests that lead to career results. In high school all the focus seems to be on college, degrees and careers. Future, future, future.

Planning for the future isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we lose a lot when we are only focused on the future.

BUT, I’m not writing today to talk about how we need to be focused on the present. I’m writing to take a step back, look on the past and see how far we’ve come.

Think back to this time last year. Think of how much you have grown, learned and changed in just the past year. Pull out an old journal if necessary, and read about what problems surrounded you a year ago. Walk through all of your familiar places, and find the differences in your world today.

Although I think dwelling in the past can sometimes be discouraging, I do think that reflection is valuable.

There is something to be said about progress.

A year ago, I had only been back from my three months in Honduras for a couple weeks and was still in a foggy, reverse-culture-shock state. I’m pretty sure it was around this time that I went to the grocery store to buy orange juice and was completely overwhelmed by the wall of options, as opposed to the big or small sizes available in Honduras, that I left the store without buying anything.

I hadn’t started with youth ministry yet, and now it is the highlight of my week. There is no other form of ministry that I would rather be doing right now.

I’ve learned so much academically and in my spiritual walk that it makes me giddy!

God is so good!

So, take a moment to step back, reflect on the past year and think about how far you have come. Think about all the positive changes that have happened to you or that you have made. Think about your growth in Christ. Think about the sour or unhealthy relationships that you walked through and away from.

It is far too easy to only look back and see all of the trials, and miss all the triumphs. God is more than the valleys, He is the victory on the mountaintops. 

If you look back and you’re disappointed, then this is just as valuable for you. Look back and see the things you missed, the problems you wished were different. And do something about it. Reflection is only valuable when we use it for improvement and growth.

It won’t all be good, because we are broken people living in a broken world, but pray that God would reveal to you the progress you have made!

Look back, reflect and move forward!

Have a blessed day,

-Sadie

To Change One Person

 — It has been over a month since I’ve posted! A later post will explain why 🙂 —

I don’t write this to brag, or in search of affirmation. I write this to prove the goodness, love and incredible grace of our King.

Life has been rough. I’ve been overloading my plate of responsibility with substances that aren’t nutrient-giving. Of course there are days, even weeks, that work is going to feel like more of a chore than a blessing. There are times that school, no matter how much I love to learn, will be the most complicated and monotonous thing. There are moments that I will push myself way too hard and run out of energy. That’s where I’ve gotten to. I’m running on empty, and yet somehow still going. Many things have began happening to help me realize the emotional and physical drain my schedule has taken on me.

Several weeks ago, I had a meltdown. Between several pieces of hard news that I had recently received, and the chaos of life, I couldn’t hold myself together anymore. God came and held me together. He listened as I prayed, begged, for help. He collected all the tears that fell. He was glorified in my time of desperate worship. He wrapped me in His love and reminded me of who I am because of Him.

My prayer became, that in all the pain I’ve walked through, in the many challenging experiences I’ve gotten through by God’s grace,  in all the chaos that is my life, that God would use me to touch one person. That all of this would not be in vain.

That person showed up on my doorstep two days later. A beautiful young woman that went through an extremely challenging time during her 9th grade year of high school, while I was a senior, was sitting in my living room. Her older brother, the person she admired most, passed away. He was my brother’s best friend, and I decided to make her a priority in my life after all that had happened. I tried my best to stay in touch and made a point of stopping to talk if I saw her in the halls. My heart went out to her, because although I could stand and talk to her, I could not relate to the emotions and thoughts she had. All I could do was pray for and love her.

She came for a surprise visit with a mutual friend and it was such a blessing to catch up. She is doing so well, and is graduating high school in two weeks and headed off to University in the fall. She has so much life and adventure ahead of her. So many new things to discover and challenges to overcome. Nearing the end of the conversation, she said some words that hit me harder than I could have ever imagined.

She told me how much she appreciated that I checked in on her in high school and kept an eye on her, and let me know how much that helped her.

I was, and still am, blown away. Here I had felt like I was not relevant at all, like I couldn’t offer her enough giant hugs or listening ears to make up for the heartache she was battling with.

God knew that I needed that. He knew that I needed to be reminded that all the challenges and struggle I face in my faith walk is not in vain, but is completely, 100% worth it. A common question I have when making decision or facing strong emotions is “Is it worth it?” Is the struggle and the fight worth it. God once again has reminded me that it most definitely is, no doubt about it!

I’m writing all of this for the sake of it being a reminder of God’s character. This isn’t an ego boost or a prideful moment, it’s a time of me to reflect on how glorious and incredible our God is! Sometimes, God chooses to gift us with things we don’t deserve, but He freely, and loving gives, regardless. What an amazing God we serve.

In times of desperation, times that it may not feel worth it or like you’re changing anything. Remember that even though you may not realize it, there are plenty of people whose lives you have touched, you may just not know it yet.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

 

New Year

Last night, I sat in a room with some of my closest friends, bringing in the New Year with laughter. As we sat and read the texts, tweets and FB posts that appeared on the screen, it continued to be people wishing for world peace, health and wealth, and to break bad habits. These are all great things, but what are these people doing to actually get there, to encourage world peace or to find wealth?

Why is it that we wait until December 31st to make goals or decide to break unhealthy patterns?

Each year, I come up against this, and each year it seems to hit a little harder.

Shouldn’t we be spending each day working towards goals and dreams that we have set for ourselves? Why does it take a specific, and for some a special day to make goals and even decide the steps it will take to get there?

I’m not saying that New Years resolutions are a bad thing, but we all know how often they are not kept or pursued. Often times, we get to the end of the year, and can’t even remember what we decided for the year before. It seems that we’ve set up this system that wants greatness, wants betterment, and yet there is nothing there to support it. These things don’t simply happen, they take effort, work and ultimately drive.

I remember when I was quite a bit younger, and was babysitting with a friend a couple nights before New Years Eve. I told her that my biggest New Years resolution was to stop gossiping. Her response to me was that it was impossible not to. That challenged me, in many ways, because the Bible warns us of gossip and what sort of character that builds (Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 6:16-19, Psalm 101:5). Gossip ultimately destroys relationships, and even at the age of twelve, I saw that and wanted no part in it.

Here my friend was, telling me that my biggest goal, was unattainable. That automatically set a low standard for me and my resolution changed from stopping gossip, to gossping less.

If you made resolutions this year, I strongly encourage you to have an accountability partner. Someone who can keep you to what you decided against or for. Not someone who will tell you it isn’t possible, or that when you fall and mess up, to just give up.

This year, I didn’t set any goals. The past two months of this year, have proven to be very promising and I have set goals months ago that I will continue to work on throughout this year. It didn’t start today, and it doesn’t end tomorrow, it is continuous.

I had an extremely challenging 2013, yet I would do it all over again, given the chance. I grew in ways I didn’t know possible and changed in very positive ways that completely God’s doing. I do not want that to be something I let go of, ever. I don’t want to get to the end of 2014, and not be able to say the exact same thing.

I believe that having a successful year, involves challenging the very core of your being. It means putting yourself in places that you have the opportunity to be used by God, and to grow. Be with the friends that challenge and encourage you. Let go of the relationships that draw you to take steps backwards. Make attainable goals, long and short term, and have someone keep you accountable.

There is an amazing Saviour that offers us a new beginning each and every day (Lamentations 3:22-23). That is the biggest encouragement to me, to know that the same One who knows all my faults, screw ups and mistakes, gives me a fresh start every day. Just as He offers me a clean slate, so I should offer myself that same new beginning. It shouldn’t be a yearly decision, but a daily decision to start anew every morning!

Don’t let this be another year of missed, forgotten or given-up resolutions. Instead take every day as a chance to be a better version of yesterdays shadow.

Have a blessed day, and a Happy New Year!
-Sadie