Less Us, More Jesus

In two weeks I will be traveling overseas to Haiti on a mission trip. I’m very nervous, to say the least. As I start to prepare for this trip, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.

Mission trips provide opportunities for us as Christians to share the love of Jesus that we are so fortunate to know. I think it’s awesome how so many young people are blessed with the opportunity to participate in mission trips.

But… here’s my “unpopular opinion.”

Mission trips are glamorized.

I think that sometimes people forget the REAL purpose of  these trips. It’s not to vacation, it’s not to kick back and relax. Mission trips aren’t meant to make yourself look heroic. Mission trips aren’t meant for photo opportunities to update your social media accounts. I’m not saying don’t take pictures, but be mindful when taking them.

You’re there to be a servant of God, and that’s not something to take lightly. Of course, I’m not saying you can’t have fun on these trips. I just think the situations these places are in, the conditions these people live in is so heartbreaking. The time you’re there is limited, it’s precious. Don’t waste a second of it.

The places we travel to are filled with people in devastating situations. Whether the country be struggling politically, environmentally, religiously, whatever it may be… these people need help in so many ways. If we’re so fortunate to be able to physically be in that country, we need to be willing and ready to help in any way possible.

Most mission trips not only give us the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but it can be an eyeopener for us as well. Let God show through you, let God open your heart and eyes.

Focus less on you, focus more on sharing Jesus and helping others.

*This post is 110% not meant to offend anyone, just some thoughts I had*

-Abz ♥

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8 

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Forgive Others, Forgive Yourself

Being able to go to church these past couple of weeks has been the most relieving thing. I never really understood just how much I would miss going to church until I began working every Sunday. 

Yesterday the question “What kind of Christian are you?” was brought up during the message.

So, I began thinking. 

What kind of Christian AM I? 

What kind of Christian do I WANT to be? 

Basically here’s what I figured out… 

I am not the Christian I desire to be, nor am I the Christian I need to be. I want to be able to find God in every moment, I want to be able to find myself in situations where I can share my relationship with Jesus, and I want to be a forgiving Christian. Which brings me to my next point.

I am a Christian, however; I am not a perfect Christian. No one I know is a perfect Christian, because we’re human. And being human means we’re all going make mistakes. There’s no way around it, we all make mistakes.

⇒We. All. Make. Mistakes.⇐

I’ve made big mistakes, I’ve made little mistakes. And guess what? I’m going to continue to make mistakes. You’re going to continue to make mistakes. Just because we make mistakes DOESN’T mean we have to dwell on them, it doesn’t mean we have to let them haunt us for the rest of our lives. It doesn’t mean we have to continuously feel shame for the mistakes you’ve made. Your mistakes do not define you, and don’t you let anyone ever tell you differently. 

I think often times we forget that we are ALL human, we are all allowed to make mistakes. With making mistakes comes forgiveness. You have to learn to forgive, not just for those you’re forgiving, but for yourself as well.

Forgive others. Forgive yourself. 

I, along with just about anyone reading this, have made quite a few mistakes in life. But, guess what? That’s OKAY. Why?? Because we have an AWESOME God who forgives us. If God can forgive us, don’t we need to forgive? (Surprise the answer is yes) 

If you’ve read my previous blog posts (which if you haven’t you should totally think about checking them out) you’ll know I’m on this journey of growing closer to God, finding who I am as a person, and simply just trying to figure out this life thing. In this, I’ve learned just how important forgiveness is… forgive, always. 

And if you’re someone working on any aspect of your life, whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually; then I’m proud of you. Don’t you e v e r let anyone make you feel bad for working on YOU.

And if someone you know is working on themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc whatever it may be… LET THEM. Don’t judge them, talk about them, ridicule them. Build them up, it’s a hard journey to take on no matter who you are.

-Abz ♥

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32

Focus on YOU

Life is good. And I mean it when I say that life is good. These past couple of months I have made huge strides in being who I am, and focusing on myself. I turned to God and gave Him every broken piece of me, and here I am… happy.

I think a lot of times we get caught up in the whirlwind of life and forget that we have to take care of ourselves. Not only do we NEED to take care of ourselves, but it’s OKAY to take care of ourselves. I feel like so many times it’s looked down upon to put yourself before others. I’ve been told that it’s selfish of me to want to put myself before someone else’s needs. BUT IT’S OKAY TO DO THAT. And that’s something I’m so thankful I learned. You don’t have to say yes to everything, you don’t have to make plans that you don’t want to, you don’t have to bend over backwards for someone who wouldn’t turn around and do the same for you. Don’t get me wrong it’s OKAY to say yes, it’s okay to make those plans, it’s OKAY to bend over backwards for someone.

My point is… take care of yourself. Take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally.  And never e v e r let someone make you feel guilty for putting yourself first. You are human, you are important, you are YOU. And that my friends, is such a wonderful thing. Love yourself, take care of yourself, and don’t you dare feel guilty for it.

 

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He Heals the Brokenhearted

As I was driving to work this morning I was listening to the song “Great Are You Lord.” A particular lyric stuck out to me, “You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken.” 

This line really hit me hard and as I drove I couldn’t stop the overflow of tears, but at the same time God plastered a super cheesy smile on my face. No matter what has caused your heart to break, God restores EVERY heart that is broken. Let me say that again… no matter how much it hurts now God restores E V E R Y single heart that is broken. How amazing is it to know that this pain you’re feeling right now, it’s not forever, it won’t always be this way. You won’t always feel this seemingly unbearable pain, you will feel joy again.

God is using whatever storm you’re going through to help shape you into the person He has called you to be. The trials and tribulations we endure help make us stronger, they open our eyes, they bring us closer to Him. Personally, I have a bad habit of neglecting God when life is “good” then all of a sudden, BAM, my whole world seems shifted. That’s when I run scared back to God, and you know what? He waits with open arms, because no matter how far I run He is right there when I need Him.

You are so special in God’s eyes, and He wants to help us be all who we are called to be. Which is why He NEVER gives more than we can handle. As it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.” In this life we will face so many challenges, but as long as we lean on God, we can overcome it all.

The pain of having your heart broken can be immense, trust me I get it. However, I find comfort and relief in knowing that God will fix my heart again. He will make me whole again, I just have to lean on Him and trust Him.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

Lydia and Abigail–A Tale of Two Sisters

This blog brought tears and many thoughts to my head. I’ve always wondered, what if Lydia was born? Would I still be here? Thinking about my unborn sister, and that I came along not long after, makes me really realize that God placed me here with a purpose.

When I was younger, I use to BEG God to bring Lydia into our lives, I wanted to have a sister. For some reason I thought that one day she would just walk through the door like it was completely normal, and that I would have a sister. At the time I didn’t quite realize how crazy that would’ve been for it to happen, I just knew I wanted it to happen.

I often wonder how different Lydia would have been from me, sometimes I feel as if maybe life would’ve been better for everyone had she been the one to be around. I haven’t been the easiest person to have around. Again though, I remind myself God’s got me here for a reason.

I absolutely love my Mimi’s take on the relationship that Lydia and I share. Of course, I’ve never met her, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t right beside me every step of my journey through life.

Braking Points

Let me tell you a story, part truth, part fiction, because my mind tends to imaginings.

It was the worst of times followed by the best of times.  There was death and then there was life.  For there are  two sisters, one who died before she was born and one born ten months after the first one died. On November 10, 1997 I had lunch with my daughter Brandee at Wendy’s in Madisonville, KY just before her scheduled OB appointment. She was expecting our first granddaughter, who already had a name, Lydia Elizabeth. Just the weekend before our son Scott and daughter in law, Martha had been to visit with our grandson Jonathan, so we had had both grandsons Jordan [Brandee’s] and Jonathan. It had been great to have them together. Still the idea that a girl would soon brighten our lives thrilled us.

At lunch, Brandee confided that she…

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A Girl & Her Grandparents

When thinking of my grandparents there’s one word that comes to mind: blessed. Throughout my nineteen years of living I’ve ALWAYS had my grandparents in my life. Looking back, I can’t imagine it any other way. My grandparents are my biggest supporters, my rocks, my shoulders to cry on. I know that no matter what, I can turn to any of them and they’ll welcome me with open arms. I don’t think I can ever express just how much all four of them mean to me. So here is a little peek into just how great they are in my eyes.

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 11.29.59 PMMy Papa is one of the greatest men I know. He’s got a HUGE heart, and a great love for God. My Papa has had to put up with me since day one, which I’m sure wasn’t an easy task. When my Mom went back to work, he was the official babysitter, and he took me everywhere that he had to go. My Papa has always been one to support me in any way that he can. He’s taken me to countless places, taken me to guitar lessons (which usually involved food), and so much more. I’m so, so thankful for his love, support, and advice that he gives me.

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 11.28.33 PM        My Papaw is also one of the greatest men I know. Here recently my Papaw’s health has really declined, and it has taken quite a toll on him. He isn’t able to live life the way he desires to anymore, and it’s heartbreaking to watch. He might not be able to remember everything, he might not be able to hear correctly, and he might get confused sometimes, but my Papaw that I know and love is still here. He’s still here to push me to do the right thing, to be the bigger person, and most of all to love me. He has given me a lot of laughs throughout the years, and never once has closed his door to me, and he makes sure I know that he always has my back.

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 11.27.10 PM.pngMy Mimi is one of the most talented women I know. She can paint, she can write, and she’s one of my biggest inspirations. (Although she fails to see just how talented she is.) My Mimi is always urging me to do the right thing, to make the right decision, to be kind to everyone. My Mimi is the kind of person I strive to live like. She’s got a huge heart and always sees the good in everyone. I can’t imagine growing up without her and all the adventures… from shopping trips to building forts in her living room to Florida trips. I’m definitely thankful for all she’s done for me… all the love, support, and advice.

24131155_712461545622573_4651237751154844410_nAnd last, but certainly not least… my Nana. My Nana is one of the strongest women I know. She’s been through a lot in her life, and she’s going through a lot in her life now. She’s become one of my best friends, and I can’t imagine how life would be if I didn’t have her to talk to. My Nana is my go-to, she’s always there to listen to my rants whether they’re angry or happy. She pushes me to better myself, and to do what’s right for me. I don’t quite know where I’d be without my Nana having my back here recently, she’s definitely one special lady. I’m so thankful God brought her into my Papaw’s life, and giving me the best Nana a girl could ask for.

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My grandparents are four of my absolute favorite people. I know no matter what is going on in life they’ll be there when I need them, and I can’t thank them enough for being here through everything. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I sure am one blessed girl to have four of the best grandparents in my life.

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Accepting Change… Not an Easy Task

I’ve never been a fan of change within my life and around me. I don’t like having to adjust to new things, in fact I’d prefer to keep everything generally the same. My mom has always been quick to call me out when I’m speaking negatively about something that is changing in my life. I couldn’t tell you how many times she has said to me, “Abigail you just don’t like change, you never have.” Of course I always responded with a roll of the eye and a huff, because I never wanted to admit that she was right. The truth of the matter is, my mom is right, I really don’t like change. However, I’m starting to come to the realization that maybe, just MAYBE I might have to be more accepting to change.

How do I learn to accept change? That’s the first thing I had to figure out when I realized that I had to CHANGE my mindset. (Ironic, right?) The first thing I needed to address was the fact that I cannot control every aspect of my life, no matter how hard I try to. It’s hard for me to accept that sometimes things happen and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. For some reason I’ve had this idea that even though I am just as human as the person next to me, I could still be in control of everything (Spoiler: I can’t.)

When I was younger I use to make a seating arrangement for Thanksgiving dinner. I would sit down and decorate cards with everyone’s names on them. I’d then take the cards and place them exactly where I wanted that person to sit. Let me just tell ya, if you decided you wanted to sit somewhere other than where I placed you (of course this was typically one of my brothers because they knew I’d flip)… you’d have to face the wrath of angry Abigail. It was not a pretty sight, and definitely not my proudest moments. As the years have gone by I’ve since stopped making seating charts for family gatherings, I’ve learned to become a little more easy going, a little less controlling, and more accepting to the fact I don’t get to be the “boss” in every situation.

As I sat thinking about how to accept change and learn to accept I don’t always get to be in control. I figured out that I needed to let go and let God. Accepting change isn’t going to be an easy task, and I 110% know that I can’t do it on my own. I constantly have to remind myself that God has a plan for me and that it WILL involve change within my life. I have to stop settling for less and I have to stop getting comfortable. I get comfortable with the way my life is, and it’s like my whole world tilts upside down when something is different.

I’ve gotten better at accepting change, but it’s still not something that I’m a huge fan of. I still get that same feeling in my stomach when something is changing, but I’ve gotten a lot better about expressing the emotion that tags along with that feeling. Which isn’t an easy task for me, so I’m definitely chalking it up as progress. Change will occur in my life, and I’m eventually going to welcome it with open arms. I just have to let it go and let God take it.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

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It Starts Now

 

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 3:13

I’m not a very open person, I don’t like to express my feelings. I don’t mean the general emotions that people feel on a daily basis. I mean the deep feelings, the really dark ones. The ones that never feel appropriate to express no matter how much you’re hurting. Yeah, those are the ones that I don’t like to talk about. Being unable to express, being unable to talk about these kinds of feelings hasn’t always been a good thing. It has caused some rifts in relationships, and even loss of relationships.

These past few months haven’t been the easiest for me, to say the least. I made some pretty big life changes, I’ve lost important relationships, I’ve been hurt, and I’ve hurt others. Overall I’ve been struggling recently to really live my life. So as I sat waiting anxiously for my plane (It was my first time flying, and I had to fly alone… can you say terrified???) yesterday morning, I thought. A lot. What did I want to change about my life? What did I need to do differently? Well, let me tell ya… I had a lot to address.

Overall I knew that I really wasn’t happy with myself. When I really looked at WHO I was, I found myself unhappy. I didn’t recognize the girl I saw. Now, I don’t like to be vulnerable, I don’t like to appear “weak”, but God has really been tugging on my heart here recently to be open about what’s going on with me. I’ve spent many sleepless nights just pouring out what was on my mind onto paper, and so here I am to share some of what I’ve been dealing with.

I knew I was living life all wrong. I was making bad decisions, I hadn’t been to church, I was hurting people around me. All of this was weighing me down, I was hurting, I was miserable. I suddenly realized just how broken I was. I was broken for many reasons, and I had never taken the time to put my pieces back together. Then I realized I can’t put me back together, there’s only one thing that can mend my brokenness… Jesus. I was neglecting my relationship with Christ and it was majorly taking a toll on my personality, and my overall happiness. I feel as Christians we tend to turn to God when things aren’t going our way, but we tend to neglect Him when things are “good.” I’ll be the first to say that I am majorly guilty of this, there’s no doubt about it.

I began to lose myself after I made the decision to transfer from Campbellsville to Madisonville Community College. No, I didn’t lose myself because I made the wrong decision. (Sorry everyone, I’m happy with my decision) I began to lose myself when I realized how many people I had disappointed. Dealing with knowing I had disappointed so many people by trying to do what is right for me, it took quite a toll on me. I let myself get so caught up in the pain of people being mad at me, for hurting people with my decision, that I lost sight of why I did it. I have a slight problem with letting people around me influence my decisions, my thoughts, my actions. It’s not something I am proud of, and it is definitely something I am working on.

After thinking of when I began to lose myself, I had to figure out… WHO am I? What do I want to accomplish? Of course I knew I was nowhere near who I wanted to be, and I won’t be  for a while. It’s a journey, but it’s a journey I’m ready to take. So here I am. I’m lost, broken, and hurt. But there’s one thing I am… I’m hopeful. I’m ready to find myself and be happy with who I am. Most of all I’m ready to be the Abigail that God created me to be. So my journey starts now.

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