Tag Archives: christian

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

I have decided to title this post after Lorelai Gilmore’s famous line, “Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!” Because I find myself saying this a lot more lately. Moving, living in a city, taking Grad School classes, working in a new environment…it’s exhausting y’all! I am so thankful that there is good coffee out there to give my brain that little extra boost it needs to get going in the morning.

And you know where you get really good coffee? At really good Coffee Shops. Coffee Shops are my favorite places on earth. A good Coffee Shop with have the following:

  • A friendly, inviting atmosphere – because really, who wants to be surrounded by negativity at 8am? That is no way to start the day and the world has enough negativity to go around!
  • A unique style that says a little something about the owners of the shop/cafe. Plus, this kind of environment encourages you to be comfortable with your own uniqueness.
  • A safe space that allows you to be real with the people you are with. In my opinion, it’s where honesty can shine through and where the hard conversations can take place.
  • And of course, a good coffee shop with have a variety of coffee (and tea for you tea drinkers out there) selections that will have your taste buds singing.

I have secretly always wanted to own a coffee shop. There is just something to be said about being able to create a space where people can be themselves. If you are having a bad day, please, please, please text or call a friend and tell them to meet you at your local cafe. We are not meant to face this hard life alone. I will let you in on a little secret: I am not perfect – shocking I know. And I will dare to say that you are not perfect either (I hope this doesn’t offend you). So we are going to make mistakes. We are going to make a wrong choice. We are going to do the wrong thing. And we make life harder than it has to be. And one thing we tend to tell ourselves is that we don’t want to involve other people in our messes. We would rather wallow or suffer in silence. I can tell you from experience that this just makes the situation worse.

I would dare you to invite someone into your mess of life. Let them help you, encourage you, carry the weight for you. Some of my most memorable breakthroughs have happened within the walls of a coffee shop. I am learning that our worst days met with the love of a friend can create a whole different outcome than the one we are talking ourselves through in our head. And one day, you will be able to do this for someone else.

So grab a friend, go to that trendy little coffee shop that everyone is posting about on Instagram, order your favorite drink and share your heart.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I’ve felt a bit like an Israelite this week. That’s definitely a weird statement to make but let me explain.

First, I don’t know if you have ever had the experience where a word, phrase or verse keeps popping up and it takes like the tenth time of seeing it before you really SEE it – but that is exactly what is happening to me this week. I said “Okay God I get it!” and then I started to pay attention.

The verses that keep popping up for me this week are Exodus 14:13-14: “Moses answered the people, do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see what the deliverance of the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

I saw these verses first in a book I was reading, then I was having a rough Monday, so I opened the envelope my mom gave me that read “open when you are doubting yourself” and these verses were written out on index cards AND THEN I was going back through some of my old notes and there they were written out on November 2, 2016.

So now you have a bit of context and I can explain to you why I relate so much to these verses right now. The Israelites had just been set free from the Egyptians, Pharoah finally had let them go. They could taste the freedom, relief, joy, excitement when suddenly they saw behind them that Pharoah had changed his mind. They were being chased down by the Egyptians! They probably began to walk with bit more vigor in their step only to see that in front of them was the Red Sea so there was nowhere for them to turn. Their freedom, relief, joy, and excitement vanished with the snap of a finger and the panic very quickly set in. They were trapped! How could God have brought them this far only to abandon them? I know exactly how they must have felt – I am so quick to look at my circumstances and immediately lose faith and doubt God. I also begin to doubt myself, “Did I do this wrong?”

Moses bravely clings on to his faith. He tells the Israelites to “Not be afraid” and to “Stand firm.” What great faith he had in God! Instead of looking to the chaos that was surrounding him, Moses clung to the one thing he knew would never change. Moses knew that God had brought them this far, and He knew that God had promised to deliver them. Moses stood by his faith and reminded the Israelites of this.

When we feel trapped like the Israelites, it is in these moments that we have to choose if we are going to let God grow our faith. We will either give into despair or choose to keep believing. I am currently reading The Broken Way by Ann VosKamp and she writes, “It takes courage to listen with our whole hearts to the tick of God’s timing rather than march to the loud beat of our fears.” Fear is loud. It is like the pounding of a drum that makes our heart beat a little faster. But underneath that, is the soft melody of God’s plan for our lives and if we begin to consciously listen for it, we gain the ability to hear it everywhere we go.

So what do we do when we feel trapped? First, pray and call out to God. Then move forward knowing that God is with you even in the chaos. He has not abandoned you. Verses 15-16 give us a hint of what this looks like: “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry out to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.” We have to continue to takes steps FORWARD. There is no turning back to what once was. This is probably one of the hardest things you can do. It means depending completely, totally, absolutely on God. But that persistence gives God the room to pave the path when we cannot see the path for ourselves.

One last thing I want to share. My love language (if you know what I am talking about, if not you should look it up ) is “Words of Affirmation” and someone wrote these words to me a few weeks ago and they spoke directly to my heart and I’ve been carrying them around ever since: “God has an amazing plan for your life, and in the midst of craziness and chaos and confusion, He is right there by your side walking each step with you, lifting you up, and whispering promises in your ear. You were made for more, and I pray that you pursue what brings you real joy and satisfaction. You are loved and cherished and I pray you remember that every day.” I would say the same things to you at this very moment if you are feeling confused, trapped, lost or just plain tired. God does have an amazing plan for your life, so don’t be like the Israelites and give in to the panic quicksand. Instead don’t be afraid. Stand firm. Be still. Be ready for God to part the Red Sea for you.

 

Fight the Good Fight

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I am in love with Lecrae’s new single featuring Tori Kelly, any one else out there? If you haven’t listened to it yet, here is the youtube link.

The chorus goes like this:

Just fight a little longer my friend
It’s all worth it in the end
But when you got nobody to turn to
Just hold on, and I’ll find you
I’ll find you
I’ll find you
Just hold on, and I’ll find you

Change is like having a rug ripped out from underneath your feet. You wobble, you sway from side to side, you wonder if you are going to keep your balance or if you’re going to fall flat on your face. I feel like most of us end up on the ground – the instability of our circumstances becoming too much for us to bear and we cave in, no longer able to keep our balance.

And you know what? It hurts to fall! There’s this sinking feeling in your stomach right before you hit the ground when you know that you won’t be able to catch yourself and that it is going to hurt. You scrape your knees and bruise your elbow (and probably your ego as well). Once you hit the floor, you sit there for a moment stunned – it wasn’t supposed to happen like this, it wasn’t supposed to hurt this badly.

This is where most of us give up. I know that I have so many times in the past. If things get a little too hard or a little too unknown, instead of getting back up, I crawl away. I don’t even get back up, I just hobble away on my hands and knees. This time, I have been determined to give it all I have got. Being in DC has not been easy. Things have not gone as planned, I’m not sure how I’m going to pay for it all and I don’t know anyone here. But I’m going to fight a little harder. I am not giving up my dreams without a fight.

There’s another part of Lecrae’s song that I really like:

They say fear haunts
And pain hates
I say pain strengthens
And fear drives faith
And I don’t know all of the outcomes
Don’t know what happens tomorrow
But when that ocean of doubt comes
Don’t let me drown in my sorrow
And don’t let me stay at the bottom
I feel like this hole is too deep to climb
I’ve been lookin’ for a way out
But I’ll settle for a peace of mind
Picking up the pieces of my life and hopin’ that I’ll put together something right
Tell me all I got is all I need
Tell me you gon’ help me stand and fight

You and I – we have to keep pushing forward. We have to keep getting back up. We have to show people what we are made of. This is how people are going to see that our love is real and our faith is strong. It’s time for us to stop giving up so easily and show the world that we are stronger than what it throws our way. We are stronger than the voices of hate and our inward insecurities.

YOU ARE STRONG and YOU CAN DO THIS. I believe in you.

 

 

Songwriters: Daniel Majic / John Mitchell / Justin Franks / Lecrae Moore / Natalie Sims / Sasha Sloan / Victoria Kelly
I’ll Find You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC