You Were Created to be Loved

You weren’t made to be handled or tolerated, you were you made to be enjoyed and celebrated.

I recently told someone that they handle me well. Their response was that it wasn’t a matter of handling me, but that they genuinely enjoyed me.

It was difficult for me to understand, and it still is at times. How can we truly understand that we weren’t created to simply be put up with.

1 John 5:16 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (ESV).

Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (ESV).

So, if God created us in His image and He is love, doesn’t that lead to the idea that He created us in love and to be loved?

You are made to be loved, cherished, enjoyed, celebrated and appreciated.

In fact, in Christ, you already are.

Too often we look for the validation and approval of others, to remind us that we are enjoyed. I think that once we understand that our value lies in Christ and Him alone, it gives us a confidence, peace and joy that radiates from us. People are fascinated and attracted to those qualities, and tend to be put off by insecurity, unhappiness and negativity.

Oftentimes, this idea that we are handled and not enjoyed is self-developed. We have this idea planted in our minds that we are a challenge, annoying or difficult to tolerate. Whether it’s from words we once heard, or actions done to us, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s there.

I used to feel like I was the only one that felt this way, but the more I have this conversation with others the more I realized that I don’t stand alone.

This is a sad realization for me, because that means we aren’t fulfilling our calling as Christians. We aren’t loving our neighbor as fully as we could be. We aren’t spreading God’s love as frequently as we could be. We aren’t showing others that they were created to be enjoyed and celebrated as much as we could be.

I’m not saying we all need to pack our bags and head overseas, because the mission field is all around you. Ask a stranger how they’re doing. Talk to the cashier who never seems to smile. Pay for the coffee of the customer behind you. Smile and actually, yes I’m going there, make eye contact with people you pass by.

It doesn’t take much to make people feel noticed, and you truly can’t understand the impact you could be making.

Show people that they have been created to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Know that you were created to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Have a blessed day,

-Sadie

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Speak Life

“I’m not as smart as him.”

“I probably can’t do it.”

“I’m not as pretty as her.”

“She’s a better mother than I could ever be.”

“I always mess things up.”

“I’m so stupid.”

“I’m not good enough.”

These are all thoughts that we’ve had, myself included. The last one especially. Philippians 4:8 says, “Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.” This verse is often used in reference to thinking purely, but the more I read it, the more I realize how broad it is. True, pure, good, beautiful. Those are a few of the words that really stand out to me when I think about negative thoughts.

God has really been putting a burden on my heart for speaking truth into the lies that others have bought into. This morning as I was looking to Scripture to find direction for my thoughts, I kept coming to the words “encourage”, “lift up”, and “life”. I’ve written about the significance of words in previous posts, because as a writer I have been able to directly see the weight of them.

Today, I want to focus on Ephesians 4:29. There are so many verses that state our obligation to encourage and lift others up. I use such a strong word, because the Bible doesn’t say, “It’d be kinda cool if you could…” it just says to do it! Not to do it only if you’re having a good day, or your mood allows for it. This verse says, “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.”

I was recently talking to a friend on the phone who is nearing graduation and beginning to have plans for her future come together. Others have been starting to recognize in her the insecurity she holds and how that impacts her thought cycle. While we were goofing of and enjoying each other, she said a comment, that she probably figured was in passing. All I could hear in her words were lies, negativity and insecurity. I called her on it. She tried to move on, but I just could not let it go. In that moment, I could feel God speaking life into her. It was not my own thoughts, words or heart being spoken to her in that time, but rather God using me to reach her.

I’m not sure why this passion and burden has been set so strongly on my heart recently, but what is so beautiful about it is that I can actually do something with it! I can confront those words when they are spoken by others.

I want to challenge you to do the same. I believe that’s one of the best parts of relationships, is the ability to build others up! When you hear someone speak down on themselves, whether clearly or in passing, don’t just idly hear it and continue on. Stop the conversation, call them on it, and speak life into the negativity. Honestly, it is a challenging thing to do, it’s much easier to just let it slide, but I think this is one small aspect of what it looks like to love others as yourself. If I were to say things about myself that were flat-out lies, I would want someone to attack it and encourage me.

Just a thought to roll around in your mind!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

An Old Love Letter

I found this written in a word document from when I was 18. Every once in a while, when cleaning out documents, I rediscover it. It was a small note I wrote during a quiet time. Some simple words I felt God speaking into me. When I was 18, I had no idea I would have done and seen all the things that i have. I see this small love letter from God, and am amazed every time.

It reads:

“You are my daughter, and I love you. There is nothing you can do or say to change my love for you. The worst you could do is to walk away from this love. I have formed your heart, but I have so much to teach you. You are only at the peak of your learning time. Remember to hold tight to the words I speak into your life, and the words others speak into your life. When people say those words of acceptance to you, they aren’t just throwing those words around; they came from their hearts which are full of the Holy Spirit. You have come so far over the last 18 years, but you are also just beginning. Never become closed off to being teachable and open-minded. Keep on moving, and remember, you have been faithful.”

Each time that I find this, I am not only encouraged, but challenged by it. I truly hope that you can be too!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Single Yet Loved

Being single at twenty can be challenging at times.

I know, I’m young…I have all the time in the world.

I’m reminded of this all the time, and if you’re single, I’m sure you are too.

There is nothing wrong with being single at this age.

It doesn’t make you less valuable, and it certainly doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

At my age, my parents knew they were going to marry each other and both of my brothers knew they were going to marry their, now, wives.

At times I feel the pressure to hurry up and meet the person I will marry. Not that I’m less-than or slow, but just that I should be there, you know?

I then look at all that I’ve experienced to-date and what the next few years entails for me. I see the places I’ve gone and the opportunities I’ve taken, and I’ve realized all the amazing freedoms that come with singleness.

I’m not saying that there is no reason to sit in bed with a tub of ice cream and a cheesy romance and cry (for that is perfectly acceptable). What I am saying is that there are perks to being single that we should take advantage of while we can!

Have you always wanted to travel? Then travel!

Have you ever wanted to teach English in a different country? Then teach!

Have you ever wanted to go on a date, just to go on a date? Then date!

Why is there a rush? Why has our society put this horrible expectation on twenty-somethings to find “the one”?

I get that women have an innate desire to be loved, but we also have an innate desire to love and be loved by God.

Why then, is the Christian population not pushing singles to simply fall in love with God, rather than making them feel less-than because we don’t have someone to hold hands with, or to bring us flowers “just because”.

Every girl wants that, but what every girl truly needs is more of Jesus.

This isn’t anything new. It doesn’t change things. It is simply a reminder that the only love we really need in our lives is God. We don’t need a man, because even the best of men cannot fill this God-shaped hole in our hearts.

Don’t stop watching those chick-flicks, because I get it, they can be addictive. Don’t stop praying for your future husband, because prayer is a powerful thing. Don’t stop desiring to be loved, because, well…you can’t. Don’t stop reading those Christian singles books, because they may come in handy some day!

But do start loving God more.

Start letting Him love you more! Start reading the Bible more, it is His love letter to you! Start basking in His presence as often as possible, and letting Him fill you up!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

You Are Unconditionally Loved

It is true: You are unconditionally loved. Take a second to let that soak in.

From the Inside Out by Hillsong United starts with these lyrics:

“A thousand times I’ve failed,
Still your mercy remains.
Should I stumble again,
Still I’m caught in Your grace.”

It is such a great thing to be reminded that God’s grace and mercy is constantly wrapped around us when we haven’t quite measured up. Or at least when we feel we haven’t quite measured up. How often do you find yourself feeling less-than or unlovable?

My devotional this morning got my mind spinning on just how huge God’s love is. My devotionals said this:

How it grieves Me to see my children working for love: trying harder and harder, yet never feeling good enough to be loved. Be careful that your devotion to me does not become another form of works. I want you to come into my presence joyfully and confidently.

Wow!

How beautiful is this reminder! We don’t have to work for God’s love. We don’t have to earn it. He already loves us! 

How often do you catch yourself working and doing things to please others, with the hopes of earning their love and praise? How many times do you become discouraged when you feel that it isn’t enough, or you aren’t enough?

It is amazing to me that we serve this God who doesn’t ask us to work for His love, but who gives it to us freely every day.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful over you. 

Double wow!

love that! It reminds me of a proud parent, who discovers her child is on the honor roll. Or the proud teacher who watches her students finally understand something and succeed. Those two people are completely rejoicing over their children! That is what God does, every single day!

To know that He, the God of the Universe, is rejoicing over you, wow! You are as a spec of dust compared to the Universe and all the creations in it, and yet God is joyful over you!

I simply cannot fathom the vastness of His love, and the pride He feels for each of His children. You don’t have to work to please people, in fact you shouldn’t work to please people (Galations 1:10, Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:5). Why? Mostly because we are called to work for God alone, but also because you have the biggest, greatest and most powerful Man on your side who is absolutely in love with you! 

Take some time today to truly breathe that in, to truly let God remind you of this simple truth. You are enough, exactly where you are and you will always be enough! Stop working to please people, because you will never get there. Stop trying to earn God’s love, because you are already there. God is rejoicing over you, He is proud of you and he is completely in love with you, forever and always.

Have an extremely blessed day,

-Sadie

Letting God Define You

For many years, I have let a lot of things define who I am: the opinions of others, what society counts as enough or not enough, my health, and my abilities are just the start.  The worst part is that I didn’t even realize it. I have come to understand that none of it actually does define me.

My talents and my short-comings do not define me.

My mistakes and screw-ups do not define me.

My victories and wins do not define me.

Because in Christ, I am made new and with that statement come so many promises.

I’m learning to let God define me.

He defines me as beautiful, precious, righteous, whole and loved.

He defines you as beautiful, precious, righteous, whole and loved. 

Dwell in that for a moment.

The God of the universe. That same God who created the waters, the sun and the moon. That same God who put all the stars in the sky and knows every single one by name. The God who provides for the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea. He calls you His! That is just incredible.

The other morning, I woke up to this song playing on my phone. It was such a blessing to wake up to such truth landing among my thoughts. Over the previous few days, God had slowly been revealing to me the many things that I have let define me.

The first part of the chorus goes, “You are making all things new, and we are free.” I love that these lyrics show God making us new as a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it shouldn’t happen overnight. I have to give up these things, give up my heart and my thoughts to God each morning in exchange for His grace and love.

I am free of all of those things that once defined me and God is making me new.

So stop buying into and believing the lies of how the world defines you. Start letting God define you. There is some serious freedom in allowing God to transform you. I have always heard and used Romans 12:2 in reference to sin or to thinking godly thoughts but as I read it now, I see it much differently. “Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” This is what God has been doing in me. I have been clearing my head of worldy things (such as it defining me) and learning to let Him define me and turn my thoughts towards Him. In that I truly am learning what is good and pleasing to Him. I feel joy and my soul rejoices when I am doing and thinking things of Christ. It truly is an amazing process!

Hope you have an incredibly blessed day!

-Sadie

Completely in Love with Jesus

There are a lot of Christian women out there, including myself, who are settling for less than what God desires for them. I know some of them, I am one of them, therefore I am sure there are plenty more.

We settle for a boy, who has chosen not to grow up and become a man, but to become stationary. We settle for a man who has a relationship with God, but is not willing to lead spiritually. We settle for a guy who doesn’t even love Jesus, because we think he’ll be the only guy to come around and appreciate who we truly are (which is a lie). We settle for a boy who has promised us change, who has “given” his heart to Jesus because of us.

I’ve been there, in every one of those situations, and I understand that it’s not easy to stop settling.

My favorite quote from the Boy Meets Girl series by Louie Giglio is this: “You can’t be united with someone who doesn’t share your heartbeat for the most important thing in the world.” My heart jumps every time I hear those words. It is far to easy to become comfortable with a man who isn’t completely in love with Jesus.

Women were created for relationships, we were created to crave deep, meaningful relationships. It is sewn into the very stitches of our soul. We want to be loved and to feel wanted, by someone, anyone.

So when a handsome “man”, or even a not-so-handsome one, waltzes into your life and attempts to sweep you off your feet, you let them, regardless of where they stand with Jesus.

But how can you build a relationship with someone who doesn’t desire Jesus in the same way that you do? What do you build a relationship like that on?

I’m making a declaration tonight, and my prayer is that others would along with me.

I’m declaring that I will not give my heart to any man who isn’t 100%, completely in love with Jesus, and who is not prepared and willing to lead spiritually. 

I’m done settling for less, not because I deserve more, but because I’m worth more. I’m beginning to understand that waiting on God is not about all of the times He says no, but to those incredible times that He says yes. Those blessings are sure to be far more fulfilling and godly than following after what we desire.

I don’t want a man to sweep me off my feet anymore, but instead one that will seek God in order to find his way to my heart. I want a relationship with God as its foundation, because seriously, if you find someone who is completely in love with Jesus everything else fades into the background. I want that. I want a man that is so wrapped up in Christ, that I can’t see him without first seeing Christ.

Anyways, enough rambling about my wants.

I have made this declaration, to God, to myself and also to any of you who read this.

I want to be held accountable for this because our relationships are some of the most important decisions we make in life. They largely affect who we become, and what we bring into future relationships and all other aspects of our lives.

I truly hope to have inspired you in some way, whether it be about your current relationship or future relationships.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Quite Honestly: Relearning

I’m relearning everything.

In high school, I had a great fire inside of my heart for God. It was one of very few constants in my life, and I loved it.

In the past couple of weeks, I have begun to realize that this fire has died down…a lot…and that scared me.

Over the past year, Honduras had become my passion, which wasn’t a bad thing, but in this case it wasn’t the best. My passion for Honduras became to overtake my passion for Christ. I spent more time fueling that fire and putting energy into Honduras than I did into my relationship with God.

That relationship was always there, but it was changing. My heart was slowly pulling away from Christ and the tight relationship that had once existed.

I’m not exactly sure when my God-fire started fading, or when I stopped fueling it. It was one of those things that happened so slowly that I didn’t even notice (which is something else that scares me).

This trip has most definitely been the most challenging thing I have done in my life. As a 20-year-old, who still lives with her parents, there were so many new things for me to experience. Some of them have been great, and others not so great (I love mac n’ cheese, but sometimes that low-budget meal just doesn’t cut it). I have had to depend on God in ways I never did before. I’ve needed to depend on Him for comfort, strength, courage and most often, grace. Fortunately, we serve a God who is ever-ready to provide for our needs The problem is when we stop depending on Him first, and still expect Him to provide in everything.

This has been such a humbling experience for me, relearning the basics of my faith. I am learning the many places in which I need growth in my life, and have been taking steps in that. I feel like I have been truly growing up, truly maturing in ways I wouldn’t be able to without this experience. I still have so far to go.

This week, the biggest thing I have learned is God’s desire for us to be with him. I can feel it so often. Him just calling me to be with Him. Just to sit in his presence, soak in His truth. So many times I ignore it, thinking I have better things to do or whatever excuse I have at the time. Those times I do listen, God does huge things. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to listen. I’m sure you’ve done the same thing. Sometimes, you just know God is calling to you, and yet, it’s so easy to pretend you can’t hear it. I’m learning how to tune my heart to His when He is calling me.

In the midst of all this growing and learning, I’m reliving my life again. I’m shedding all the lies that I began to buy into, and soaking up all the truths God has for me. It’s a process and not always successful, but it’s happening. I’m finding the joy and peace in which my life used to exist inside of and learning to live it out again.

I want a complete stranger to look at me, and see Christ.

Not just think that I have something different, or that my smile is full of joy, but that Christ is actually inside of me and leaking out.

I want Him to be undeniable.

The only way this is possible, is by soaking Him in.

It is such a challenge, it’s such a battle between the heart and mind. I am constantly having to choose Christ over worldly things, and I can’t say that is easy. It is incredibly difficult. Yet, the more often I choose Christ, the easier that choice gets. I believe that someday, it will not be a choice, but rather a habit. It will not be a chore (as it feels sometimes), but a delight. It will sincerely feel like something is missing if I haven’t had my time with Him. Why? Because that is how my life used to be. I used to dread having extremely full days, because I wouldn’t have time to just sit and be present with Him.

I could keep writing. I could talk about the challenges and triumphs I am walking through, but that isn’t my goal tonight.

My goal tonight is to be completely honest about where God has me, because I realized something today.

Here I am, at 20, living in a foreign country (supposedly the most dangerous country in the world) by myself, teaching English as a second language, and I am a missionary.

And yet, my priorities in life are completely off-balance.

In my heart, I am not a missionary, that is just a word. I don’t want that to be the case. I want missionary to be a heart-thing for me. I want to say I’m a missionary and feel that ring in my heart, in a way that makes God proud.

This is part of my testimony. No, I didn’t do stupid stuff in high school. I didn’t get into drugs or partying. I didn’t rebel against everything my parents raised me to be.

I don’t really have a past to run away from, and yet, I do.

Mistakes are mistakes, sin is sin. Turning from God looks the same to Him, even if it looks different to us. Planning life around what you want and what you think is best, is dishonoring to God if you aren’t first seeking Him. Dishonoring is something I never want to be, and yet it was something I was slowly becoming.

I lost sight of who I was, and was beginning to lost sight of who God is.

This blog, from the very beginning has been about two things: to keep my friends and family updated on life and to share what God is teaching me (in hopes of inspiring others). Those are the two things I always want it to be about. I can’t see the ways God has used this blog, I don’t know the people it has reached or not reached. All I know, is that God has put this passion and love of writing in my heart, and I am going to follow that endlessly.

This is where it starts. Honesty, relearning, grace, rebuilding and faith all start here. I don’t know where they will end, but I do know that God will be walking along-side me in all of this. At times, I’m sure he will be carrying me, but He will be present regardless.

Opening my heart in this way has always been scary for me, but it is part of the process.

So that is where I am, and I humbly ask you to be praying for me. God is so much bigger than my little brain can wrap around, and that excites me. I’m so glad to know that following Him is endless, that there is not a stopping point in my relationship with Him! He isn’t going to suddenly decide He is finished, and stop working in me.

So I’m going to keep walking towards Him and continue to relearn the basics of my faith.

A special thanks to everyone who has been supporting me on this journey. I cannot tell you how incredibly blessed I feel to have all of you around me, lifting me up in prayer and encouraging words.

Have a very blessed day,

-Sadie

Seeking the Kingdom

“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well” (NCV, Matthew 6:33).

In small decisions, seek Him.
In significant decisions, seek Him.
In wins,
In losses,
Seek Him.
When life is completely dark, seek Him.
When life is full of light, seek Him.
In times of confusion, seek Him.
In times of wisdom, seek Him.
In trials,
In triumphs,
Seek Him.
When you feel weak, seek Him.
When you feel strong, seek Him.

God always has something new to show us. No matter where you find yourself in this year, in this day, in this minute, God wants to teach you something. He wants to teach you how great His love is. He wants to teach you just how precious you are to Him. He wants to help you grow in ways you never thought possible. Our God is not a God of small people or small things, He is magnificent and He created you in His image! What does that make you?! Magnificent!

He created you for a reason, and He has a purpose for you. Not just for your life as a whole, but for your life in this very moment!

Don’t go one more minute without first seeking Christ; without first acknowledging who He is. Train yourself to seek Him first. It is our tendency to depend on the advice, opinions and emotions of others, but God has so much more for us!

Without a doubt, having a circle of friends, a support group, is so important in our spiritual walk, yet they cannot be our sole dependence in these moments. Even when life is at its best, God still has something new to show you.

Train your mind to seek first the Kingdom!

This is what I’m learning and working on right now. God is reminding me to be reaching for Him first – always! It is extremely challenging, sometimes even frustrating, but never is it disappointing. Since I have been truly training my mind and heart to do this, I have grown in immeasurable ways! I have so much ahead of me in this, and sometimes that scares me, but God reminds me that this is necessary. It is necessary for me to stop depending on human beings, and instead depend solely on Him! It is necessary for me to strip away my desire to please others, and instead work to please Him alone!

As I seek Him, these old, poor habits are slowly fading away and being replaced with new ones. These new habits are full of God-given joy, peace, grace and love. He is creating in me a new spirit, and I am slowly shedding my past hurts, wounds and frustrations. It is painful, oh so painful, but God never fails me. Exactly when I think I can’t keep working through this, God reminds me of His many promises for me.

Isaiah 40:28-31 says:

“Surely you know.
Surely you have heard.
The Lord is the God who lives forever,
who created all the world.
He does not become tired or need to rest.
No one can understand how great his wisdom is.
He gives strength to those who are tired
and more power to those who are weak.
Even children become tired and need to rest,
and young people trip and fall.
But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up as an eagle in the sky;
they will run and not need rest;
they will walk and not become tired.”

We cannot even begin to understand the blessings God has in store for those who follow Him. I’m learning what it means to rest in Him; to receive His strength and to depend on Him in every moment.

All I can say to complete this, is that we serve one wildly-amazing God!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie