30 Days: Bible Study

I haven't done a 30 day challenge in a while. Maybe because my last one ended pretty horribly. I ended up eating less sugar, but still had some. I might be doing better now, then I was when I actually did it. But instead of giving up altogether, I'm trying a new one. As mentioned before here and here, I wanted to do different challenges this year. So for the next 30 days I will be.... oh wait, It's in the title^^^

I'm doing 30 days of bible study. I say bible study because I don't want to just read, I want to really study. I would like to read, listen to sermons, study passages. This takes a lot more commitment than only reading everyday. But if that's where you are, then I would still love for you to join in. Even if you've never read the bible before. I would encourage you to pick it up and read. Think of it as your book of the month :) If you don't know where to start, any of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) would be great. Romans is my personal favorite book of the bible. I will be going through Acts, since that is what our church is doing.

The biggest help in the challenges is doing it with someone, having accountability. So if you're joining us this month, comment below, or email me, or just have a friend do it with you. It will make all the difference having someone ask you how you're doing.

Pray before you read, and just remember to not give up if you miss a day.

Let's do this (fist bump)!

Dealing with Trials

I think there are many ways, and different facets in dealing with trials. Even as a Christians, people deal with trials differently. Some trials are more difficult than others, but they are all, in fact, difficult. I don't think that there is a step by step solution that fits everyone, other than to look to Jesus, the perfecter of our faith. I do think, that there are some key points that the bible says in dealing with trials, some of which, I have been learning (and still am continuing to learn). 

The bible tells us a lot about what it means to go through trials, and the importance of them (1 Peter 5:10, James 1:12, John 16:33, Romans 5:3). My favorite might be the one in James that talks about, blessed is he who remains steadfast, because he will receive the crown of life. Amen! But how do we do that? What does it look like? So heres what it doesn't look like. 

It doesn't look like, happy smiles. It's foolish to believe that as a Christian we should always be happy. We should be joyful, but happy and joyful are not the same thing. No one expects you to be happy after you have lost a loved one, your house, your job, your spouse.... It's just not realistic. Someone once said, that as Christians we should have it all together for the non believing world. Really? I don't think so. It's inaccurate to portray the Christian life as a cakewalk. In fact, the bible says the complete opposite ( John 16:33, James 1:2-8). I think this is why at times we have so many people "leave" the faith. They expected their life to be perfect after coming to Christ. The bible says that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3). There is a time to be heartbroken, there is a time to cry, and there is a time to laugh. 

The best example we have for dealing with trials is Christ. One of my absolute favorite passages in the bible is when we see Jesus pray in the garden. 

"My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" "he fell on his face and prayed" (Expert from Matthew 26)

Guys, thats a trial! Jesus Christ is the perfect example, in all things. He is the perfect example in suffering, He bore the ultimate punishment, and He did it perfectly. I often wondered why Jesus had to be both, fully human and God. We are able to see human weakness, overcome by a perfect God. This entire passage is such an excellent picture of the Christian walk. He gave us a perfect example of how to handle trials. I know, I keep saying perfect, but I am overwhelmed by the God we have. What stood out to me was that He didn't "brave" through it and say, oh well, I have to do this! He didn't say,  thats life, I'll be okay. He prayed. He fell on his face and prayed.

Thats the first thing we should always do. Often times, when I have exhausted all of my other resources, I am ashamed to say, my last resort is praying. This is Jesus first thought. Not an afterthought, but a priority. He didn't pray once, he prayed three times. Not only should we pray but we should be diligent in our prayers (Romans 12:12, 1 Thess 5:16). I really hate it when people say that praying is more for you. Yes, God knows our thoughts, and yes, he knows our hearts, but He also desires to have a relationship with us. He desires for us to seek Him, and even more 
extraordinary, He hears our prayers. 

The second thing is to accept God's will. It was hard for me to imagine that Ben dying was Gods will. I wanted answers and I didn't understand why God would allowed it to happen. One thing I will say, is don't ever let anyone tell you that suffering is not from God. I let myself believe that, I questioned if I was doing something wrong, and if I was being punished. Although, there are consequences for sin, God doesn't punish Christians. He does discipline those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), but thats not the same as punishment. Just like when Jesus prayed, not my will, but your will be done. We should also pray, and accept Gods will. This again, doesn't mean that it will be easy or that we will be happy. Jesus was sorrowful unto death, I don't think that went away when He was done praying. But I think they key, in all of this, is that He was faithful. The perfect example! Reading this just gets me. Do you understand that He was going to His death? A very painful, very humiliating, and lonely death.  He did that faithfully. In the same way, I want to be faithful, because He was faithful. 

Those two things are crucial in this Christian life. I have found that being thankful and remembering that this life is not all there is, are next. When I think about how one day I will get to be in heaven with Christ, with Ben, with my family, nothing compares to that. Sometimes we just need to step back and remove ourselves from this world. We need to be reminded that this life is cruel, it will spit you out with no remorse. The only comfort I find, is in knowing, that it is but a blimp in eternity. if that wasn't true, I couldn't keep going everyday. I wouldn't encourage others to keep going. I would say yes, you live a sad and lonely existence and you should absolutely feel hopeless that you will forever be miserable. Thats life apart from Christ! What hope is there? What joy is there? Nothing. In Christ, we find all hope, all joy. In knowing that He died for our sins on the cross, that He loves us, He cares for us, He knows us. That is something to rejoice about. I think that those are the truths that women like Marie Durant, Gladys, and Esther Staines knew when they were suffering. It won't always be as simple as some good theology, but I can assure you that God is enough for every trial. I leave you with this quote by John Piper.

   "The ultimate purpose of all things, is the praise of the glory of the grace of God supremely manifest on Calvary when the Son of God laid His life down to purchase and purify His wife out of an absolutely hell-bent rebellious people. That was the apex, and that's why God created the world, and that's why He created you."

and a YouTube video

I made my first YouTube video, and hello awkward!! Even though it was really weird talking into the camera and pretending someone was there, it was kind of fun. Not sure if ill ever do it again, but I'm glad I tried it. Even though it took 12 bad videos and 3 accidental photos, I finally figured it out. I'm not exactly thrilled with the outcome, but who knows, maybe an awkward girl out there can relate.

If you guys want to check it out, you can go here. Be warned, It's two minutes on facial hair removal. I got this new thing called a spring hair removal and wanted to share it with the ladies. In case some of you hadn't heard of it, because I hadn't! Enjoy!

Oh, and the thumbnails that it picks for you, yikes!!! ^^^

This Valentine's

Hope Everyone had a very happy valentines day! I had a really great time with my bff, Mayra. Do people still say bff? Is that a term that should have been left behind in middle school? Not sure. Although, there are a few terms, that should  never be used all together. You know what I'm talking about! Bae? Twerking? Swag? Yolo? We should all just agree to never say these again.

I was pretty sad to not have RJ here this year, but i had a really great time with a really great friend! We had some excellent sushi and had some great laughs. Plus, I got to wear my new lipstick which is always fun. It reminded me of how nice it is to be able to hangout with friends. You don't always get that chance when you have kids, and specially when you're husband isn't here. I never appreciated how much RJ helped me with Jed. I definitely miss that. Even just having him around helped my spirit. Some days are tougher than others, but Saturday started off kind of hard. Being able to talk to him helped a lot. Having fun with friends helped a lot too.

Sunday, was a different story! He managed to be super sneaky and had someone bring me flowers at church. I was over the moon. I would love to say this is totally RJ, but It's not! He forgets everything, and even though he means well, he has a hard time expressing himself. Even though the flowers were beautiful, they weren't the best part. The best part, was the letter that came with it. I'm glad I waited until I got home to read it, because I cried, and cried, and cried. Ha! I was speechless. That letter stirred deep emotions in me. That is the best was I can describe how happy it made me. It also made me realize something.

I have realized how important it is to truly marry someone who is madly in love with you. This is not to say that everything will be really easy when you do, but it helps. It helps to want to fight for your relationship, to want to work at it. To be really excited about seeing them and kissing them, and spending every moment you can with them. To hold out for that person, that won't be perfect, but that will love you, and respect you. I would be lying if I said that i have never been mad at my husband or that i have never hurt him, or that he's never hurt me. Just last year alone was an incredibly trying year for our marriage. I finally understand what people mean when they say marriage is work.

In my (almost) 3 years of marriage, I have learned what it means to experience loss with someone, to go through heartache, and stress, and wonder what in the world is going to happen to your family. To have no idea where your life is headed and where you're going to be (still there). To really know what it means to forgive someone, and to be so humbled that it makes you realize how prideful we are even though God has offered up so much free Grace. The biggest lesson I have taken this Valentine's Day, is to marry someone who loves you. Someone who loves the Lord, and who is faithful to Him. Someone who will respect you, and values your opinion. Someone who is willing to fight for and protect your marriage. Because, marriage is hard enough. So to all the single ladies, wait for that guy, because It's totally worth it :)

This life...

These past few days have been very hard. Having to say goodbye to RJ for a third time was crushing, and I do mean, crushing. I in no way expected to be this sad about it. I mean, I expected to be sad, but not this sad. Not feeling completely depressed and sobbing, sad. Since then, things have been better. It helps that we're able to talk throughout the day, and we were even able to FaceTime (woop woop). I think what helped the most was the sermon this past Sunday. Part of the reason I was so sad is because I just kept thinking this is my life now. I'm going to be apart from my husband all the time, and basically have to raise Jed by myself. Loosing Ben has brought out these really crazy fears in me. On top of that, RJ being gone, can make me really anxious.

Life has just slapped me in the face. No, its been more of a drop kick. You know how when you're in high school, you just can't wait to be an adult? Then when you're in college, you think, I can't wait until I have a job and I'm married, and life is just really great. Then that age comes when you're suppose to maybe have a great job, or an awesome marriage. Maybe both? Then life is all like, no, you're getting a crap job that doesn't allow you to pay your college loans. A husband? No, you're going do die alone (or at least it feels that way). Well, not alone, with cats of course. Kids? No, you can't have kids or maybe you loose a child, or two, or three. Then you start to come to a place where you realize that life just sucks. Plain and simple, life is hard. I needed to hear that, Sunday. I think a lot of people need to hear that.

The sermon mentioned that our hope is not in a better life now, but in the next life. It doesn't mean that we have no joy, but that our joy looks different. Our joy is not in our circumstances, but in our God. It's a hard lesson for me to learn. I keep hoping that things will get easier, and maybe they will. But nothing can take back the loss of Ben, or RJ missing a year of Jed's life. Life is just brutal, relentless. I'm learning that there is no guarantee that this life will be fair, or happy, or easy. This life will be brutal, heartbreaking, and callous. But i feel joyful. I feel joyful in knowing my creator, in the salvation He has graciously given me. I take joy in my family and in our friends. I take joy in knowing that this life is not all there is, even if at times I loose track of that. I feel joy in knowing I'm not alone. I felt joy in carrying others burdens, today. It's hard to know that people are suffering, but there's great joy in knowing this life is temporary. They have salvation in Christ, and there is no greater joy than that. The afflictions of this world are temporary, and are but a blimp in eternity.