christ

Post Post-Grad

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    Some posts ago I said I was finishing up grad school in less than one week, however things have changed! Now, a few blog posts later and grad school has been over for the last 3 weeks (No matter how many times I say that out loud or in my head, realizations like that make me squeel like a little girl who was just hugged by Harry Styles). 

      Given that, I’m sure everybody wants to know what my future plans are (and by everybody I mean probably just my parents, siblings, and a few relatives who have invested a lot of time, words of wisdom, prayers, money, extra bedrooms for me to crash in, and effort into any part of my educational career). Well let me tell you, my plans post post-grad go as follows:

1. Live life. 
2. Repeat step one while doing so in Sydney, Australia. 

      Yep, 12 years of grade school, 4 years of secondary eduction and a one-and-half-year post-graduate degree later the best answer I can come up with is to live life. I’m aware of the fact that my answer doesn’t sound too thorough or stable but still… Isn’t that the best answer any of us can come up with?
      The year before I graduated college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Truth be told, that was a grand part of the reason why I decided to go to get my master’s degree. Everyone around me at the time had some sense of what they wanted, what they were good at (Maybe I missed the memo about that meeting). So I did what I usually do in situations like that, I prayed. Afterwards I sent in my application for grad school and that was that. 
      While my  time spent in school  did help me figure out more of  what I was interested in it didn’t help me figure out what exactly I could and would do. That part was all God. He helped me realize that the years I spent stuck having a one-track mind were actually limiting me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to make a general goal of where you’d like to be in x-amount of years but we can never successfully devise the actual  steps to get there (Proverbs 16:9 || Jeremiah 29:11). That part, again is all God.
      “Be open to new, to the unknown and the unexperienced”, He said. “That’s where unexpected opportunities and trust in who I Am have the best chance of thriving.” He constantly had to remind me that He knows the desires of my heart - of all of ours - the depths of my mind, and the ability of my hands. He would not have given such things to all of us us if were supposed to stay glued to one thing  for the rest of our lives. 
      So here goes nothing everything. Here is to taking time to design more stuff, starting a  business of my own, volunteering, blogging more, growing roots, listening to people’s stories, taking pride in how far we all have come, late nights followed by late mornings or early mornings preceded by early nights, helping others, sharing my love of Christ with the world, strengthening relationships, travelling, more photos, getting blown away by God’s unconditional and unending grace, new connections, roads less traveled, new customs, old traditions, family, friends, strangers, peers, co-workers, love, never stopping my education long after school has ended, unplanned moments, meticulously planned schedules,
living, imagination, faith, and excitement. 

We Pray Too Much

Just a few moments ago in the middle a talk to God I realised something, I think I pray too much. Weird right? How does one pray too much? Aren’t we supposed to in fact go to Him without ceasing, day and night? I mean that’s what the Bible tells us to do. 

However, in the midst of my constant mind babbling God interjected and said you’ve got it all wrong. It’s not that you pray too much but that you either waste your time praying about all the wrong things, spending too much time on one thing or sometimes you even do both. You pray for such things like strength to continue your day or wisdom to go about certain situations but you do it so constantly. It is as if you’re reminding me like I’m going to forget. Either that or you yourself have forgotten that I have already given you all the things you need to go forth. I love the fact that you come to me and that you trust in me to deliver you need to trust more. Pray with honest faith in my abilities to be your God. Once you are standing in the midst of the situation you have prayed for, go and complete the task as if nothing can stop you because you know what, nothing can. Stop asking for my presence when I never left you (Deut. 31:8).  Stop seeking out   strength when I’ve already given it (Psalm 73:26). Instead ask for something that will always help you to remember all the things I have promised you with. Ask that you never forget who am and who I have made you to to be.

Guest Blogger: August

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Here are a few random things I enjoy: I love waterfalls because the very presence of them says “peace”. My favorite flowers are sunflowers not only because they are bright, bold and beautiful but also because they also have purpose, their seeds are used for food and for oils. I truly adore being at the beach at night; ocean waves overwhelm and bewilder me because of their depth and captivating ferociousness. I’m not a huge wilderness person but I truly enjoy walks in the park or mountain top views. I am constantly asking myself the same question whenever I am surrounded or in the midst of nature. What is it about nature that we are just enthralled with? We can sit for hours and talk about the colors in a sunset or sunrise, the beauty of the way the stars trickle themselves like freckles across a sky, and compliment over and over on the various types of flowers that we see. But when someone asks us what our favorite physical attribute is about ourselves we take forever to answer them back. This baffles me, even though I do it all the time. I am a huge advocate for “beauty”, I think I have secretly made it my personal goal to make sure that every women I come in counter with will know that they are beautiful inside and out, created so intricately and with a purpose. But when it comes to myself, I sometimes come up short in this area. I am quick to compliment one of my friends or affirm someone in their physical attributes but once it comes back to me I shut it down or deny it. I know I can’t be alone in this, why do we do it? Nature astounds us because the beauty we find there is simple yet breathtaking, it is not tainted by everything around it trying to compare beauties, it just is beautiful and that’s that. Nature reminds us that we are small and maybe sometimes a seeming insignificant part of a big story. Nature seems not only bigger but also better than us. But it’s not. All things have purpose; I would dare to say that we as human beings have one of the biggest purposes. We were created to bear the image of Christ here on earth… good gosh THAT’S HUGE.

Let’s take a quick look back through the creation story, shall we?

Genesis 1:9 says, “And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:12 says, “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:21 says, “So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:25 says, “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

Lastly Genesis 1:27-31 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

Do we not realize that God created the ENTIRE WORLD, universes, galaxies, waters and dry lands, animals, insects and us, the human race. It was good, it was good, it was good and then finally it was VERY good. WE are the very good. These creations that he created are so minuscule in comparison to US who were made in the IMAGE OF HIM. We are the only creation made in the image of God WHAT?! How awesome is that?! We as human beings are majestic; we were created with set aside and diligent time, and the breath life from our very creator. We stare in awe of his creations; waterfalls, flowers, beaches, mountains and forget that we too are his beautiful, handcrafted, breathtaking creation. Let us rejoice in that today.

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Every last Thursday of the month I invite different bloggers to write their own pieces specifically for you guys, my readers! This month I have the incredible honor to host guest blogger, Arielle Estoria Wilburn. She runs the blog Chronicles of a Lioness so after you read her heart-warming post here, go check out her page for even more amazing stuff.

According to Plan

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I didn’t read my bible today, oh no…not. More like big whoop.

Faced with getting into a new routine this morning I underestimated the time it would take for me to get a “its a school day so I want to look casual and still remain put together” look. Although I had a general idea of what I wanted to wear the night before I think that only added to my stress of actually getting dressed. Besides that plan - which failed - I had also mentally written out how my morning was going to go:

-530 Wake up and take a few minutes to grudgingly get out of bed
-540 Shower and the be dressed and ready by 630.
-630 I knew I had to be out of the house by 7 so that meant 30 good, solid minutes to spend in the word with the Big Guy upstairs.

Reality:
530 My alarm rings
545 Let’s see how many more times I can hit snooze today
550-605 Man, the warmth of that shower was too hard to depart
605 Five minutes behind schedule but I can make up for it because I know what I want to wear.
610 Outfit is on, now to hair and face. Wait a minute… ew. Who died and made me stylist of the year? This outfit is not cute. Safe to say that multiple shoe changes and shirt alterations later it is now 635 and I still have not done my hair or makeup.
640 Ahhhh God Im so sorry. Ill be with you in just a second. All I have to do is a simple ‘do and apply eyeliner. Ill be right there.
645 and that “right there moment” is finally here… Only to have my cousin tell me that we need to leave earlier than expected.

Long story story short, my day is a few moments away from being done and I have yet complete my daily devotionals.

If my situation sounds familiar it’s probably because you’ve been through something like it yourself. However the point of this is not to sit around and reminisce with each other on how we’ve failed to put God first but to remind us that mistakes happen but grace abounds.

We are humans, yes. We will make mistakes but don’t let that stop you from coming back to the heart of worship. God knows our hearts - each and every one of them personally. He knows that it’s not intentional when we slip up and fall down. With that said, come tomorrow and I will get right back at it and continue doing my daily devos.

This is how we should address every situation. It may be difficult to grasp because no other being has ever been -or will ever be- as forgiving as He is but once we understand God’s unyielding and unconditional love for us it also becomes a humbling experience. Just looking back on today I noticed how He was still with me in every single moment - bible study or not.

Don’t allow room for your slip-ups to continually slip you up. Know that He has already forgiven you. All He wants you to do with your mistakes is to grow from them.

Spoken Word

My new-found love for spoken word brought me to these videos. The words were gorgeously and articulately written and I commend them for having the boldness to stand before so many viewers to speak on their truth, stories, and views.
Take a few moments to watch them. They may not be your exact story but maybe you can relate to one or get advice from another. Anyway, here they are.

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Spoken Word Testimony - Sheena Starks

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I Love You More - Lance Devore

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31 To Be Exact - 31 Status

Got That Mad Luv.

  I have so much love for my church. I love the fact that you can come in and put a name to every face you see. I love the fact that church members have such a strong relationship with the pastors that asking them for a ride home is never considered out of the question. I love that while there are distinct areas and ministries in the church no one is ever too proud to help out or unwilling to lend a hand in an area they’ve never dealt with before. With all that said, what I love the most about my church is the commitment every single person puts into making the church what it is – it’s a commitment that is unfailing and unwavering.
    While we may not have a large building or even up to 200 people, one would think otherwise with all the love, time, and consideration put into our services. Every Sunday and even on the days between I see a work ethic that is nothing short of inspiring. You yourself cannot help but be impacted by it. Members, pastors, and volunteers make an effort to put on something that will personally touch the lives of the people who make it out each weekend.
    What I have learned over the last seven months of being here is that fame does not matter, and neither does size. I have been a part of bigger churches - churches that have their own CDs, stations, and PR team. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely root for those churches too because I believe in spreading the gospel in any and all ways possible. However, the church I go to does not have that, they are of a modest size but one with the heart of ten giants. They believe that even if only four people show up those four people are everything.  Those four people ought to be cared for and shown that no matter who they are,  no matter where they come from or what denomination they are a part of that they matter to the church and to God. I believe that that right there is the epitome of attention to detail. It is no gimmick, rouse, facade or embellishment on who they are -what you see is honestly what you get.
    Which reminds me, I was at a business seminar a few weeks back and the keynote speaker brought up church. He said, whatever church you go to surely you must consider it to be the best one out there otherwise you wouldn’t go to it. How true is that? If I didn’t think my church was the best I would have looked for another one already. I must say, because of the work and care put into this church so much light shines out  and that light is what draws me close.  I am so blessed by the people that make up this body of Christ-followers and so grateful that God has continued to bless me with their company and presence in my life.

I love you God for that and love you church for you are and what you do.

*I’m not here to advertise to or persuade anyone on religion, that’s a choice you have to make yourself.  Nonetheless, if you ever do find yourself questioning or considering, in need of a prayer, or just wanna talk, come to Every Nation. Our doors are always open.

Red Bottoms, Sports, and Jesus

Jesus is like your favorite sports team in the midst of a winning season. For every point they scored you would probably post about it; for every game you attended you would instagram it; and when they finally make it to the championships and win, I bet your twitter feed would be longer than Dick Vitale’s. Your love for the team would probably cause a few of your social media followers to be slightly annoyed but you still wouldn’t care what other people think.

Or maybe Jesus is like buying a pair of Louboutins that were on half-off. Wouldn’t you be so excited you would want  to tell everyone about it? You too would be instagraming and tweeting about those red bottoms as much as possible to the point where anyone that didn’t have a pair would probably find it a bit excessive.

For me, there is no other way to best describe Jesus. I love Him so much that I can’t stop talking about Him. Only this time the chatter is not limited to a good sale or the on-season for whatever team, it expands to all areas of life. Whether I’m catching the train to class; hanging out with my friends; spending time by myself; eating breakfast; watching TV with my family; finding the perfect outfit for the day; whatever have you, I find God’s grace in everything. So it is with everything that I will bring my attention to glorify His name. I am so thankful for my life and all that lies within it because I know that none of it would be possible without Him. Too much good has happened for it to be a mere coincidence. As for the bad, I still find myself rejoicing because I know it’s not the end but a glorious beginning (James 1: 2-4).

So I leave you all with this: Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to praise Him, to thank Him, or to talk about Him. Doing that is the most normal and natural thing to do to anything or anyone has done you good - it should be no different when it comes to Jesus.

blessed to be broken

magazines won’t do it. merits won’t connect you. even your friends and family won’t fulfill you. it’s that connection. in that grace it’s Him connecting with you! saying hey! i’m here no matter what you’ve done -no matter what you are doing. you push me away but I sent my Son to die on that cross that connects you to me. connect with me. identify with me. allow yourself to be with me. it’s the most natural thing to do.

so blessed to be broken and yet I still get to be a part of amazing things like this!!! Yes Lord.

I need you so much closer...

In these past two weeks my life has become a messy puzzle of spontaneous meetings, never-ending projects, poorly-planned itineraries and things of the sort. All that withstanding, I do not think I would have it any other way. In all of it I have learned to turn to God in everything - and I mean everything. When it was me who procrastinated on an assignment and had one hour to get it together, God was there to give me the ideas to execute it; because I chose to take the later bus I missed my connecting train, but God was there to help me find an alternative and shorter route to class. There were just so many little things that turned into bigger problems but He was there to guide me through it all.  It’s amazing when and how grace abounds.

Oh how He loves us. Through all that self-inflicted stress He was still there to remove it all for me. It’s love like that that makes me need and want Him all the more. It’s love like that that makes it so incredibly difficult to wrap my head around.

So, with that said, I just want to share this with you all:

"The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads" Psalm 7:16.

However, Psalm 8: 4-6 later says, "What is mankind that you are mindful of them? Human beings that you care for them?"

Oh how He loves.

You are not alone

How many times have you heard someone say, “You are not alone?” Whether it was directed at you or to someone else, it’s probably been quite a few times right? However, no matter how many times you have heard it please don’t ever become desensitized to that truth. Don’t ever forget that it is truth.

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Last week I attended a Hillsong album recording with a few friends. Although admission was free it was still sold out. By that I mean that everyone there was sold out for Jesus. It wasn’t about watching a show, showing up to meet friends, or showing off your religiosity. As the pastor said, that night was about “your spirit identifying with its creator”. That’s exactly what happened. I loved being in the midst of so many people who were so on fire for God.

It was such a humbling experience because it reminded me of how far God has brought me. My entire life I have always grown up in or around the church. As I grew older and moved away from home for college my relationship with Christ became stagnant. I allowed the things around to affect me negatively. In my eyes it seemed as though no one else was going through the same things I was. I invited people to youth group but most of the time they were too busy; I stayed in some weekends while others went out because God was calling me to be different; not to mention the ride to church was a lonely one because again, like most times my friends had other plans. After a while I found myself questioning my beliefs and asking if this was really a life worth living. It was a difficult time in my life because this new road God was calling me to walk left me feeling abandoned. Even though I had grown up in the church I seriously considered leaving it for a while (Man, let me just take a moment to say that doubt, lies, and cloudy thoughts will have you feeling every emotion God never desired for your life).

Moving on to my senior year, God brought me the most amazing set of friends. Friends that understood the lifestyle God was calling me to lead, friends that I could pray with, and most of all these same people were asking me to join in on their youth group! I remember one service I found myself crying during the praise and worship. At that moment God reminded me: “This is what you prayed for freshman year. A group of girls - and some guys - that you could grow close to so you would not feel alone as you grew up in me.” Funny how I had forgotten that prayer until then. Looking back though, I’m glad I did because it made me appreciate those God-given friendships all the more.

Long story short, this is why I urge you Christians to remember that you are not alone. The world will have you feel like you’re a crazy Christian; too religious; uncool; and amongst a bevy of other things, unwanted. There are other people out there just like you who want more people like YOU as a friend, just patiently wait on God for them. Although, even when you are waiting you still aren’t alone - you have Jesus.

Lastly, I just want to share this with you:

Romans 5: 3-5 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Designed this little fun finder for the kiddos at my church today as a surprise. Can’t wait to give it to them! However, for the rest of yas, I put up a special link here just so you could download one for your kiddo (or inner-child) to complete.

Designed by Teniola Komolafe

Designed this little fun finder for the kiddos at my church today as a surprise. Can’t wait to give it to them! However, for the rest of yas, I put up a special link here just so you could download one for your kiddo (or inner-child) to complete.

Designed by Teniola Komolafe

Designed this little fun finder for the kiddos at my church today as a surprise. Can’t wait to give it to them! However, for the rest of yas, I put up a special link here just so you could download one for your kiddo (or inner-child) to complete.

Designed by Teniola Komolafe

Designed this little fun finder for the kiddos at my church today as a surprise. Can’t wait to give it to them! However, for the rest of yas, I put up a special link here just so you could download one for your kiddo (or inner-child) to complete.

Designed by Teniola Komolafe

Easter Sunday

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Happy Easter everyone!

To say that I love Easter would be an understatement. I saw a quote last night that said, 

"Friday taught us to love. Sunday taught us to rejoice. But Saturday, a cold tomb, no angels, no answers, His silence taught us to trust."                           Wise words said by Jack Sitorus.

Yes, chocolate -especially 70% dark cacao - is good and all but what’s even greater is knowing all the things my Savior completed during his 30-some years on Earth. All that He did, it still amazes me even until today. At my age He traveled far to see the masses, healed the sick and fed the hungry. Then He unselfishly died for me and many others. His life was short but it sure was powerful. Thank you Jesus.

 

* The Three Crosses is an image taken from Google.