FOOD FOR THOUGHT

When you think of Christians, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Is it something positive, like people who radiate an inexplicable love and make anyone feel validated and welcome?

Because a lot more of the time, we are thought of as harsh, judgemental, and closed-minded.

The question is – when did Christianity become something to fear, something to avoid?

In Jesus’ time, people were not joining the church (the body of Christ, not the physical building of a church) because of the type of Christianity that is seen today. They were joining because of the overwhelming love that was bursting out of those members. A Christian would walk down the street and there was something inexplicably different about them, they weren’t afraid to share the gospel, but weren’t shoving it down the throats of non-believers either. They were simply vessels of God’s will. In Acts 2:47, it tells of the Lord’s church growing daily. People flocked to the church, craving the joy that those in it radiated.

It was their own choice to join and grow in this love.

So why do we not continue to try and be this church of overwhelming love, making anyone and everyone feel welcome and compelled to join? It is our job, to learn and grow in love.

Like it says in Hebrews 10:24

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

Quite frankly, we have one job as a body of christ, and that isn’t to attract people to the church with rock walls and bouncy castles and new buildings and a good coffee bar. Our job is to radiate so much love that people are drawn to us enough to ask,“How are you so kind to everyone? How are you so joyful? How do you possess this much love?”

We should be living as the body of christ, unashamed. Because we truly have one aim that we should be pushing towards…

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a good faith (1 Timothy 1:5)

THE AIM IS LOVE, PEOPLE!!!

as always,

With love,

Elle

 

ps – thank you to Johnno for this inspo (my camp girlies will know what I mean)

 

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The Light

Okay pals, time to get to know more about me than ever before on this lil blog of mine. Posting this literally terrifies me but I’m sharing my testimony in front of tons of people in two weeks so now isn’t the time to be scared about being open. So here we go.

I have struggled with depression for a while now. It’s gotten more in control – sure – but it also still is this heavy force that sometimes makes me feel like I’m drowning. It still sometimes makes me feel guilty for having a good time and it still sometimes goes on and on and doesn’t seem like it’ll ever end. Most times, I feel helpless at best.

I shake.

I can’t see straight.

I feel entirely not myself.

When I get into those little episodes, everything becomes way too real. Anything I think of, any fears or worries or bad thoughts, feel like they’re happening at that very moment. The worst part is, a lot of the time I’m too far into that horrible day dream to realize that’s all it is. And somehow, if I manage to get calm enough to pray, everything realigns.

Most of those prayers go something like,

“Hey God, I don’t really understand what’s happening in my head right now but if you could help remind me to walk in the light, Your light, that’d be awesome. Amen.”

It’s a lot easier to get caught up in that kind of a feeling than to rest in prayer, to rest in something that is actually there.

When I actually calm myself down enough to pray – here are some things that I realized:

⁃ none of it is real

⁃ this overwhelming sadness isn’t something that comes from God

⁃ Satan shouldn’t be able to grip so easily

⁃ there are people who love me, people who want to see me happy — and I shouldn’t feel guilty for that

⁃ there are so many better things to do than be sad

Maybe this isn’t that relatable, and I’m sorry if it isn’t – but there are so many beautiful things to love about life, and getting caught up in these walls of sadness and lack of faith in God’s plan isn’t worth it. So here’s a few verses I come back to when I’m trying to get out of those feelings.

Matthew 6:34

Philippians 4:6

Luke 1:45

Psalm 33:18

Job 33:28

If you’ve somehow stayed on this long enough to get to this point, I’m going to leave ya with this,

Jesus works. 
Even when it 100% feels like your life is falling into a million pieces and you don’t know what the heck you’re doing with it – there’s someone who knows exactly what you need (& that someone is God. Hah!).This quote has been hanging on my bedroom wall for years now and it’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. Things can get sad, I’m not going to lie and say that everything will always feel okay when you have a God this great. There are trials and darkness and a lot of fear and worry – but He is so much greater than all of that.

“Worry implies that we don’t quite trust God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.

Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives are brief … and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.”-Francis C.

Always with love,

Elle

The Now

Wow long time no blog post (seriously it’s been way too long)Anyways, in these past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of ~self reflection~.

And I mean A LOT.

So much of my life has been built around a schedule and a structure, but what purpose does a structure hold when it’s the driving factor in my life? Let me tell you, none. It has no purpose. I spent a large majority of this summer and especially this past week asking myself all of the what ifs

What if I had changed one thing? What if I hadn’t shown up that day? What if I hadn’t gotten a direct message about joining a new Christian movement?(shoutout HTL, love you people) What if I had said no?

What ifs trip you up. They get tangled and confusing until you’re sitting at the mess of what your life could be if you had changed one little thing. 

I was sitting shotgun in my best friends Jeep today thinking all of these what ifs out loud, thinking about how different my life was a year ago today and how I never would have thought I was going to be where I am now. He asked me if what if I have now is better than the life I thought I would be living a year ago – I’m not quite sure if I know that yet – but for the first time in what I can remember, I’m okay with not knowing what is coming. I’m okay with enjoying the beautiful people I meet and places I get to see in this new adventure of my life. I’m okay with living in the new and now because that’s the moment I’ve been given

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things;   do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Take a minute and look around at your life. Is it where you thought you were going to be? Is it the perfect moment that you are terrified is about to shatter? Are you taking this moment to forget about something you regret or one of your what ifs? I find myself doing that a lot. 
We were talking about this at church on Sunday and it’s been stuck in my head ever since, 

You are free from the burdens of yesterday’s mistakes

Think about the beautiful life we’ve been given (even though it doesn’t always feel that great) and think about all the moments you fill with regret. 

Why do we waste what could be an entirely new and perfect day worrying about how to fix our past? 

What’s past is past and it’s time to live in the now that’s been created for us. 

It’s taken a lot to get to this point of realizing that and it’s going to take a whole lot more to keep realizing it. But for now, in this moment, it’s more than enough to be grateful for the now that I’ve been given. 
With love,
Elle 

WHEN LIFE IS THE WORST

Sometimes life gets you in a rut.And when I say rut, I mean a huge, beneath the surface, feeling like everything is going wrong kind of rut. Picture this, me running into my best friends house, mascara-streaked tears streaming down my face.

*Record scratch*

Now you’re probably wondering how I ended up here.

Let’s start at the beginning. 

First it was a concussion that knocked me out of school for a week, scratch that, FIVE weeks.
Then it was the inability to cheer.

Or design.

Or read.

Or write.

Or do anything that I had spent my entire year doing.

Then it was having what seemed like my entire life flipping upside down without any warning or time to stop it.

In a nutshell, everything in my life was (and is) changing and I could do absolutely nothing about it. Life is rough like that sometimes I guess.

*Record scratch*

We back.

I’m dancing around a bedroom to bad country music and show tunes while downing ice cream with people that make me feel like life is worth every single bad day. And we’re squeezing three people into a one person hammock. And I’m sitting on a rooftop writing for the first time in a month. And just for now, in this moment, life feels a little bit better than it has for the past few days.

And I know that a lot of days feel like they aren’t going to stop and a lot of days you want to get in the car and drive as far away as possible because why the heck not. Except for every one of those days that turn into crying yourself to sleep, there’s another weekend filled with the people you love most reminding you of your own beautiful, wonderful spot on this planet.

And to my wonderful, radiant balls of light that I get to call my friends,

Thank you, I love you more than words can express.

With love always, Elle

Where You Are (the right place)

It feels like I’ve been doing so many seemingly pointless things with my life recently. I want to do something with my life that I know will benefit people. I want to be able to show what His light looks like through what I do, through how I live. Through all of this, it’s really hard to tell myself that doing the simple, day-to-day tasks of life will mean anything in the end. It’s hard to be okay with where you are RIGHT NOW.
So, if you feel like the way you are spreading the message of God’s love is the “wrong” way, if you feel like your testimony is not as strong or moving as someone else’s, if you feel as if where you are right now is not where you were meant to be, stop. Take a moment to remember that sometimes it doesn’t take a world-wide movement to draw someone to Christ, sometimes, it’s a small offering to read about Him with someone you love.

It’s hard to feel like you’re in the right place when all you want to do is be able to show everyone jus how amazing He can truly be. It’s hard to show His love when people will openly laugh at the idea of a God who loves unconditionally and formed each of us by hand. It’s hard to feel motivated to continue to live a life honoring the Lord when the places that you could once turn to for reassurance in His love now fill you with fear and worry. It’s extremely hard to trust that everything is where it should be when nothing feels right. It’s hard to keep pushing and showing what God’s love should look like. We were never told it would be easy, we were told that it was what we were born to do.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earthand does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ [Acts 17]

We are called to reach out and find Him, not to shy away from His beautiful love. He is the reason we have hearts that beat and hands to write and mouths to speak and all of them should be used to bring Him glory.

He knows the challenges it will take to live a life wholly devoted to Him. He knows that sometimes giving up feels a lot better than continuous moments of doubt. But in Him, we can find assurance that life is about living for Him.

From friend to friend, you are exactly where you need to be right now. Stop questioning if you are doing “enough” to live in the light. No matter if your life is wonderful or horrible right now, you are called to show other’s what loving the Lord is like.
With love,

Elle

Will I Be Missed?

As I was scrolling through my Pintrest feed this morning, a neon blue sign with the words, “Will I be missed” popped up. This got me thinking, if I were to die today, what would my lasting impact on other people’s lives be? What would I be missed for?

And – do I want to be missed for that?

But on the top of the list is, “Have I made an impression of Jesus on the lives of people who have met me?”

If we are being honest, I don’t really care if people remember that I loved coffee or was happy when it rained or even if I wrote. 

I just want to leave a lasting mark of His light. 

I want to look around and see people looking happier than I have ever seen them because they are SO FULL of His overwhelming grace.

Something I have been struggling with lately is attempting to fill myself in worldly things. I over-promise myself in attempts to do things bigger and better than I could possibly imagine, only to find myself worn out and failing miserably at the things I so desperately want to succeed at.

This isn’t what we were made for.

We were made to live the beautiful life around us to the fullest. We were made to book the plane ticket and hop on the next day. We were made for spontaneous road trips and dancing to Christmas music and watching the snow fall.

We weren’t made to work ourselves to the point of forgetting all the life happening around us.

In 1 Peter, it says we are a,

“chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

FRIENDS!!!

We were pulled out of the darkness. Not to throw ourselves right back into all the pain and worry and doubts but to tell anyone we can get to listen about our Heavenly Father.

If we begin to live our lives just wholeheartedly sharing His love to anyone around us, I don’t think we are going to be disappointed in what we are missed for. So let’s get started living life with full intention of being missed for Him.

With Love,

Elle

The Best & The Worst

“But more importantly, surround yourself with people who you like and make cool stuff with them. In the end, what you do isn’t going to be nearly as interesting or important as who you do it with.”
Last year was full of some of the best and worst days I have ever experienced. In those 365 days I laughed more and cried more than I have ever before. I went to wonderful places & met wonderful wonderful people. Most importantly, I felt what complete dependence on the Lord is like and wouldn’t trade any part of this past year for the world. I learned what it felt like to forgive yourself and forgive others. Three houses later, I have realized that home isn’t what is in a place, but the people inside it. So here’s a thank you to the people who stuck around and showed me what home was like and what a beautiful place this world can be. (ily dinner club/Cas/Dasha/my varsity cheer bbs/komo 5/Ethan & Antonio/Nikki & Jake/hauberk nugs/sunshine/ a whole lot more of you sweet people)

Here’s to the beautiful human beings that I get to start 2017 with. Here’s to our adventures over the last year and to the ones that will happen in the future. Here’s to the good days that will be filled with memories. And here’s to the bad days that we stuck together through.

2017 might not be “our year”. There will still be struggles and uncertainty and worry and confusion but there also will be days filled with laughter and ice cream and bad movies.

With love & the best of luck,

Elle

A Prayer for 2017

In the middle of everything I won’t understand, I pray for faith in the good that will come. I pray to remain thankful for the people and good things in my life despite the circumstances. Most of all, thank you for giving me this clean slate to start over on.