I wish I could.

I wish I could tell the 8 year old girl who felt left out as the oldest sibling that her mother would one day be her best friend.

I wish I could tell the 10 year old who got made fun of for her shoes that she would look like a princess on her wedding day.

I wish I could tell the 12 year old girl that felt out of place at church that she’d someday be an assistant director at a church.

I wish I could tell the 14 year old seemingly incompetent babysitter that she’d someday teach classes to new parents how to care for their newborns and help fragile NICU babies during their earliest days.

I wish I could tell the 16 year old who was so viciously bullied and abused that she had to leave public school that she would one day heal and find more happiness than she could ever imagine.

I wish I could tell the 18 year old who failed her first college English class that she would someday write an article for a prestigious medical institute.

I wish I could tell the 20 year old with the broken, battered heart  how close she was to finding the love of her life.

IMG_7393

The trials we face only get bigger as we get older. I’m looking at the trials I face today, while they are so much bigger than some of the ones I’ve faced in the past, I know the triumphs will be even greater, too.

My prayer is that you, too, might find peace in reflection, knowing great victories are to come.

An Actively Involved God

This is a paper I wrote recently for a theology course. I received an almost perfect grade – so I figured I would share! Much more formal than my posts usually are, but hopefully this can help someone asking the questions of how God is actively involved in our lives.

—-

Part of the Christian faith foundation that we hold is the belief that God is actively involved with his creation. How does this belief, or doctrine, impact the way that those called to work with both children and adults interact with people within their vocation? Someone like me, who is called to work with young children, in the medical field with people much smarter and further educated than me, and then with parents who have never taken care of a child in their life that I am called to teach, has a very complex way of communicating with all of these types of people. How does my belief that God is actively involved in my life, as well as the lives of the children and adults that I work with, impact my everyday life while I do my job? To answer these questions we will have to first dig into scripture to see how God is actively involved in our lives.

Genesis 1:4-5 tells us that God saw the light, that it was good; God divided the light from the darkness. Got called the light day and the darkness night. What does this tell us? This tells us that our God created the world to accommodate our needs. God created our circadian rhythms and the world to work together so that we would be able to serve him and do our work during the day while it is light and rest at night while the sun is down. Our God literally tilted the earth’s axle [1] to cause seasons, giving us changes in weather and time, changes in darkness and light, to allow us to different work throughout different times of the year.

How does this passage impact the way someone called in to my vocation should go about their day to day life? I think the first thing to take into account is that God created this world with light and darkness because there are supposed to be times of rest. In my line of work, it is not always an option to rest at night, often, we are working at night, and resting during the day – if that. God meant for us to rest, we cannot serve others if we are overworking ourselves. This cannot only be applied to my job as a newborn care specialist, but also to a stay at home mom, a doctor, or a construction worker. There will be times when we are excessively tired or weary, God does not want us to lose hope, but he wants us to remember that he created this world to give us rest when we need it, and by coming to him, he can give us rest. Today society so often is portrayed as a “go, go, go” society, almost frowning upon those who rest or work shorter shifts or take a day off. It is important for us to have grace for ourselves and for those we work with. Whether they work for us or above us, or we are working for them – we need to have grace remember that everyone needs to rest.

Exodus 3:7-10 says, “And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows…So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians…Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me.” God called the people in Egypt who have not yet given their lives to him, they had not yet repented [2] of their sins, yet God still called them His people.

It is my belief that this passage is especially important when dealing with the question of how God is involved in our life. He considered us his people then, and we can be sure he considers us his people now. It does not matter what we have done or what we will do, we are his people. We are his children. This also means we should look to others as God’s children as well, in the workplace with our vocation and outside of it. Treat them as brothers and sisters in Christ and go about our daily lives with that attitude as opposed to the attitude of someone who may be irritated by a person that’s different than us or someone who doesn’t believe what we believe. It doesn’t matter what someone believes, they are still His people; His children.

The last scripture that we will look at is in 2 Chronicles 23-6. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. (4) So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. (5) Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, (6) and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” So again we ask ourselves, is God actively ruling his creation? The shows us that he is sovereign [3] over all of his creation, though we often take it for granted. It is not rare that someone would greatly discount the involvement of God in our lives and his willingness to intervene for those who live by faith. God’s activity regarding His plans should be taken into account because His Word declares to be true that He is directly involved in our lives. We know his plans are good! The events God brings about are to better shape us into his image and fulfill his plans for our lives and the lives of those around us.

This passage, I feel, deals with many different aspects of many different vocations. There will be situations in your life, and the lives of those around us, that do not go the way that we think they should. It is important to keep our mindset based on the fact that we know that our God is actively involved in our lives. So, we didn’t get that job, it went to someone we didn’t think deserved it. Clearly, having that job was not in God’s plan right now. God is actively involved in our lives and is working nonstop because there is something else in our future better for us than that job would have been. Whatever the trial may be, we can be sure God is actively working in our lives. We can be sure that God has good plans for us and they are greater than we can imagine. We can’t fathom the way that God works, because his ways are not our ways. It is not only our job as Christians to remember this and to take into account that God is actively working in our lives but also to remember that’s our responsibility to remind her brothers and sisters in Christ, the ones mentioned in the passage above (Exodus), that God is actively working in their lives, even through times of disappointments. Through financial struggles, family planning struggles, not feeling appreciated or needed in the workplace, not getting that raise, the list goes on and on; as children of the most high God we can be sure that God is actively working in our lives. It is our responsibility to remember this every day. Disappointment can wreak havoc on our productivity and effectiveness within our vocation, by keeping these truths at the forefront of our minds and and keeping our eyes on the prize, so to speak, we can do our work the best we can, to best enable God to work his plans in our lives.

These are just a small few of the passages and interpretations throughout Scripture that show us how God is actively involved in our lives. There are countless others, and they can vary from vocation to vocation. The three stated above, I believe, I can be applied to most vocations and walks of life, if not all. Whatever the vocation may be, our responsibility as Christians is to keep the mindset that our Father’s plans are good and that he is always actively working in our lives and the lives of those around us. We must continue to hold to the widely accepted, easily forgotten, belief of our Christian faith foundation that our God is actively involved with His creation.

[1] (1934-1997), Earl L. Henn. “Genesis 1: Fact or Fiction?” Bible Tools. N.p., 01 Jan. 1996. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/496/Genesis-Fact-Fiction.htm&gt;.

[2] “Unleavened Bread and Pentecost (Sermon).” Unleavened Bread and Pentecost (Sermon). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Audio.Details/ID/260/Unleavened-Bread-Pentecost.htm&gt;.

[3] Ritenbaugh, John W. “The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility: Part Eleven.” Bible Tools. N.p., 01 Aug. 2000. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/PERSONAL/k/72/The-Sovereignty-of-God-Human-Responsibility-Part-Eleven.htm&gt;.

 

A year’s difference

imageI remember the night of September 19, 2015 like it was yesterday. My heart was shattered, torn, stomped on, and left alone in a hotel room hours from where I lived. I had put all I had into something that was giving me nothing. That was the worst pain I have ever felt. I remember crying to my best friend. I remember crying to my mom. I remember the constant pain I felt for the week that followed, the kind of pain that shoots up your left arm.

Today, a year later, I’m finishing a road trip across the country with the most incredible man. A man that loves me and shows me he loves me. A man that is perfect for me; someone that is literally everything I have spent my life praying and looking for – in all the wrong places. I would pray that God would change the different “men” I dated into my dream man. Little did I know, God had everything I wanted, needed, and a little bit extra, wrapped up in a man that was halfway across the world at the time. Jesus has transformed my life in so many ways this year, and Zachary is one of the biggest and most unexpected ways.

But, kiddos, it’s not all about finding Prince Charming – no matter how sweet it may be. I started a business, finished a college degree, found passions, dropped negativity, and grew as a strong and independent woman that don’t need no man. I learned to embrace intelligence. I learned to embrace the fact that I am an introvert instead of being ashamed and forcing myself to hide it. That was one of the best things I did for my relationships and my mental health.

I went places alone that I never would have gone alone before. I learned how to get my car fixed in the shop without getting taken advantage of. I worked with doctors. I delivered a baby. (seriously) I learned how to stand up for myself. I moved furniture alone. I painted rooms alone. I traveled by myself. And I met an amazing man that loves that I can hold my own when I need to.

God can use a year to change a lot.

A letter to the struggling 14 year old

I am posting this with the hope that it helps someone else out there. There is a beautiful, non believing, young woman in my life that I have seen face some immense challenges over the past 6 months. Today, I decided to write her a letter. We will call her Jane.

Jane,

When I was 12 or 13, my mom wrote me a letter. I still have it, and even now, it has an impact on the way I think about others and the way I view myself. I’m far from perfect and I know that I have so much more wisdom to gain, but I want to talk to you. I think this is the best way to do that right now.

I don’t know if you know what I went through in my early high school days and quite frankly I don’t even want to talk about it. It was terrible. It caused me to have to leave public high school and start my online school journey. Looking back, I would not change a thing because it truly shaped who I am and set me up for the life I have today. That was the lowest point of my life. I felt alone, like no one understood, and honestly – no one truly understood how I felt. I tried to find my self-worth in girls that “had it all” or in boyfriends. Clearly, all of those fake friendships and romantic relationships failed and left me with a lot of heartbreaks. I’m thankful that at that point of my life, I had already met Jesus, but it was still so hard. I know that what I struggled with is very different than what you struggled/struggle with. I know that I will never completely understand what is in your heart and the things that you feel. I was on antidepressants, serotonin inhibitors, for 6 years. You and I are very similar in that we both struggled with the two types of depression as opposed to just one. We struggled with situational depression, but we also struggled with clinical, or chemical depression. Chemical depression is something we can either be born with or develop over time. Chemical depression runs in my family, as you may know. Serotonin is a chemical (neurotransmitter) in our brains that send messages to our body that influence our psychological health, sleep, social behavior, and moods. Some people, like the women in my family, make too much serotonin and therefore we have to take serotonin inhibitors to feel “normal”. Even after my situational depression was gone and I didn’t have any symptoms, I still needed medicine because I was actually experiencing physical pain, even though I didn’t feel “depressed”. There is nothing wrong with that. It is the same as a diabetic taking insulin. Basically, you cannot control it.

With all of that being said, there are some things you can control. You can control how you treat people, what you do, and how you help yourself. There are some things you owe to yourself.

You owe it to yourself to accept yourself the way you are. You are the way you are because that is the way you are supposed to be. I promise that there are so many people that think that is beautiful, including myself. If anyone doesn’t, they are probably pretty insecure. Or they are a 13 year old boy whose mother did not teach them the value of a woman and so he thinks all women should look like Victoria’s Secret models and keep their mouths shut.

You owe it to yourself to be kind to those who love you, because in the end, those people are the ones that will be there for you when a boy cheats on you, friends betray you, and it feels like the world is failing you.

You owe it to yourself to accept that you are right where you are meant to be. I know that you are not a Christian, but I PROMISE you, you are right where you are meant to be. You are never too much, and you are always enough.

You do not have to show anyone anything you don’t want to. I can assure you that a cute butt and flat stomach is not what real love is built on, trust me, I’ve tested that theory. Attention is not what fulfilling love is built on. That satisfaction is so temporary. Respect yourself, honor your body. Your future boyfriends and husband will thank you.

With that, I am not saying you have to wait until you are hitched to have sex. I know that is something that turns you off about Christianity; that is not what I am telling you at all. I’m telling you to honor yourself.

Find yourself. Wait for a real man, and let him come to you. I promise that as you grow, you will find that there really are REAL men in this world that want to honor, care for, and treasure a real woman and all that comes along with that. I promise you that finding yourself does not involve finding a relationship. I promise that committing to a boy before you find yourself can greatly hinder your ability to be all you are made to be.

It took me 19 years, 4 hideous, painful, scary breakups, hundreds of nights spent crying, and 32,000 milligrams of a serotonin inhibitor before I found myself. A leader, a strong woman, an educated woman, someone that finds joy in serving others, someone that doesn’t need a man at all, but loves loving one now that she’s found one that treats her the way she deserves. One that doesn’t make me worry or make me feel like I have to compete, one that loves me for so much more than my body, one that is willing to serve me and let me serve him. One that wants to put a ring on my finger even more than he wants to see my boobs. Wait for one like that; you deserve nothing less.

Pursue what you are. If you don’t know what that is, try to find it. The options are endless. You can be whoever you want to be. If there is anything at all that I can do to help in your self-discovery, I want to.

Be honest, be trustworthy, be humble, be kind, be passionate about your dreams and goals. Honesty and transparency are priceless. Your words can never be taken back once they are said, but honesty lives on forever.

If you ever want to talk about God or start that journey, I also want to help. It is so easy. I seriously pray for you every single day. I have met so many people that think they have to change themselves or clean themselves up or give their lives up and everything they want in order to come to Jesus, that is just not how it is. They think it is about a book of rules but it is not at all, it is so much greater than that. It is a relationship, that’s really all it is. A relationship with your creator, acknowledging that he has a plan for your life and that through him, we can dwell in heaven forever. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. God loves you as a father, he wants nothing less than the best for you. He loves you right now, right where you are.

You are beautiful, Jane. You really are. I love you.

“You are all together beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7

Cheyenne