Coffee Chat: The Many Facets of Love

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Get your Monday cups of coffee ready & sit down with a blanket, because no Monday is complete without it! This morning, I opened up my Flourish devotional, and today’s topic was about love. Margaret asked, “What does love look like?”, and she came up with the following answer:

“Love moves. Love rejoices. Love protects. Love trusts. Love forgives. Love hopes. Love perseveres. Love leads. Love keeps. Love abounds.”

I read about how love is like a liquid; always splattering everywhere, splashing, and spilling over. I asked myself, “Do I love like that?”

I know God’s love looks like that.

His love looks like paint thrown on a canvas. Carefree. Always giving, giving, giving. Never tiring. His love looks like a diamond- it looks different when shown in different lights. Always helping us grow. He goes with us.

And this love fills us with love that we’re inspired to give to others. We overflow with it, and then He gives us a refill. We never run dry! I wonder if He could do the same with our coffee cups if we asked…ask & you shall receive, right? (I’m kidding! I wish it worked that way though.)

As I read on, I discovered that love challenges us to engage, embrace, and serve each other, even in the tiniest ways! Here’s a story of the time someone blessed me with small gestures of love (warning- tmi alert):

It was shark week (scandalous), and I was in the most unimaginable pain I’ve ever felt. As I lay on the couch almost in tears, the person I was with that day offered to go out in the pouring rain to buy a hot water bottle because they didn’t have one in their home. So they fed me my medication, covered me with a blanket, turned the TV on, and ran out the door. When they came back shortly after, they made me soup, and filled that hot water bottle to the top. I’ve never felt so loved.

It made me want to love that person in a better way.

I am definitely not perfect when it comes to loving people. I get impatient with people when they don’t understand me, I get upset over tiny inconveniences, and I can be unkind on my worst days. But I definitely do try. And when I hear of God’s crazy love for me, it makes me want to be a better servant. I want to love someone so much that they would describe it as “splattered paint on a canvas”.

How can you love someone today?

 

Rejection (Great Title, Robin)

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Happy New Year, my friends! It has been a pretty relaxing holiday for my family & I, despite the touristy things & endless shopping trips we did in Florida. We went to the beach, met some online friends in Disney Springs, went to Universal Studios, and celebrated my birthday (21, wassup!!). For my birthday, we went to IHOP for dinner (those strawberry banana pancakes were something amazing), had some red velvet cupcakes for dessert, went minigolfing, and went to the bookstore! I added to my library quite a bit. Here are a few purchases I made: Daily Gratitudes by Amelia Riedler,  a beautiful journal, Pride & Predjudice (thanks mom & Vic), a new bible, Flourish by Maragaret Feinburg, and Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst.

Uninvited is a book that seems to focus on the topic of rejection, such a hard subject to talk about. I don’t think of myself as someone who is prone to rejection, but maybe that’s because I don’t put myself in a position where I could be rejected.

I began reading this book last night, with my new journal next to me- oh, how I went into this endeavor completely unaware of how this book would affect me from the get go. The second sentence had me writing. This is  what it said:

“Honesty wants me to speak to the least tidy version of the woman I’ve become.”

I can make try to make myself as beautiful as I can from the outside, starting from the clothes I choose to wear in the morning, to the make up I put on my face. But who am I before all of that?

Who am I really, once I expose myself to the light of day first thing in the morning, & face myself in the mirror?

From the outside, we are who we want to present to the world. With my pretty, made up face & tidy clothes, I am seen as put together, at least to those who don’t know me. To those who DO know me, and once I’m by myself, I can see that I’m messed up in all sorts of ways. I have deep cuts on my heart from bad memories that have shaped me into who I am now: afraid of love, always anxious, and tired of living, especially on my worst days.

I’m afraid that everyone will see this part of me & leave me rejected and alone. Is this what God thinks of me? Does He think of me as unworthy of the breath in my lungs? Is He afraid to love me because I’m sometimes afraid to love Him & give in to the lies of the devil instead of His peaceful Word? 

No, never

“26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” -Ezekiel 36:26

Even though I see the worst of myself & fear rejection more than anyone will ever know, He has made me new. He has made you new. We don’t have to fear anymore.

“18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” -1 John 4:18

I might continue sharing about what I’ve been learning from this book, as I read. But I just felt like sharing this with you. Have a great week!

Advent: Season of Comfort & Hope

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Though winter is a beautiful season, there’s so much beneath the sparkly tinsel, the effortless table-gatherings, food, lights, Christmas carols, and traditions. But behind it all, there’s a lot of depression, pain, and sadness. Maybe because of negative memories, or just because of the grayness of the season. I mean, it’s dark all the time, and where there’s no light, there’s an evident lack of hope, & joy.

I endure my share of seasonal & non seasonal depression. You are not alone in what you’re facing. It seems hopeless, bland, and as if joy will never be felt again. It’s gloomy. And even though I’m all for a nice, gray day, chilly enough for me to curl up with peppermint hot chocolate & Christmas movies, I do miss the sun. The absence of light. I know God is the light of the world (John 8:12).  But it’s so dark during this season. So where is God?

The Beginning (Genesis 1:1-2)

“1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Even though the world was dark, God was still there. He was there at the very beginning. Just because it feels like God isn’t around, doesn’t mean He’s not present, and that He isn’t getting ready to carry out His next step. The next verse says the following:

“3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

The darkness was still there. But now there was light. There was hope. The depression & dark times might not be entirely gone, but there’s now hope. When the world was at it’s darkest, God sent Jesus to be born. God could have chosen any time to send Jesus to earth as a baby; He knew what He was doing. Jesus was born for such a time as this. The world was hopeless, and suddenly a Light appeared in the world, and that Light was Jesus. He’s the Counselor, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He comforts those who hurt & feel weary. He restores hope to those who have none.

If you remember anything from this post, please remember that Jesus is ever present in your suffering. Rest in the comfort that He is here to change your life & provide you with a hope so strong, you will always feel Him nearby.

Know Us, Know You: A Prayer

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“Jesus loves you”, we say, but how often do we gloss over those three words? Let us remember those words like air, and study them thoroughly. Your love is not something to just skim over, like we do when we read books, so that we can get to the good part. Your love is the good part. You look on us with compassion, and care, and love. You really take the time to look at us, and you really want to spend time with us.

“Jesus loves you”, we say, but not out of routine. Don’t let us use those words out of routine. We really need to take the time to remember what those words mean, because they are powerful. Your name is powerful. Your precious name is life changing. Don’t let us become desensitized to those lovely three words. They are true. They are not to be taken lightly. These words demand to be reflected upon. Help us to deeply understand them.

There’s so much care, so much sweet softness in your character. Don’t let us forget this, because the moment we do, all light goes dim, and our lives becomes darker. Your name has the power to save. We don’t know how many minutes we have left in our lifetime to experience the love you have to give. Let us accept it, let us reflect, and think upon it every second. Please, give us the courage to share that lovely news to people who don’t yet know this:

“Jesus loves you.”

“Wherever You Go, I Will Go Too”

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My dream is to have a nice house to host my friends one day, whether it’s for Christmastime, thanksgiving, just stopping by, hanging out, you name it. I want to have a space where I can always have a pot of coffee brewing, ready for anyone who waltzes in. I want to learn to cook an actual meal so I can serve it to those who would step foot into my home one day. I want to be surrounded by people I love, and have a place where we can all be together happily. I want a place where I can hang up twinkly lights & candles year round & make it so normal that people don’t question why my house smells like cinnamon or peppermint even though it’s the middle of summertime. I want my future home to be so inviting to people. If my home isn’t a safe space full of grace to the people I care about, then it’s a place I don’t want to inhabit.

There’s some things that I learned about what home is over the last little while. Home is a place of comfort, rest, and acceptance- sometimes you find home in people. You should definitely keep those people around. Home is where those people are found.

I want to be a place of comfort and tenderness for people, because there’s so much unkindness in the world. In the wintertime, especially in Canada, it can get to lower than -7. It’s terrible. But with all this cold in the world, all the cruelty & pain, we can afford to be sweet to people. A smile, a hug, an act of love & kindness, can melt the ice cold barriers that someone had built around themselves. I really just want to be kind & welcoming to people. We could all use a break from the harshness of life.

I have a few places that I consider “home” for myself: my church, my friends, and the place where my friends and I gather. My church is where I grew up & learned all about Christ. I’ve grown so much in wisdom. You know, I feel like He was the first one to have an intentionally warm atmosphere around Him. He was basically homeless, and His friends went with Him wherever He went, so I feel like He must have been the first human example of what a home actually is. Whenever He went into someone’s house, I can imagine how much more homey it would have felt because Grace had stepped foot on its front step.

He’s such a sweet guest to have made His humble home in my heart, and I think I understand why I want to feel like home to others so much- it’s because I want to be like Him more than anything else. And I see all these photos of sweet, welcoming homes on Instagram, yet nothing inspires me to be as warm & inviting as He does.

About Me: Christmas Edition™

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I’ve been blogging for almost a year now! As I’ve written, you have gotten to know a lot about me, for instance: I write poetry, I’m obsessed & baffled by the concept of grace, I’m all about being together with people, I like to make playlists, and I love worshiping Jesus. But there are some things that you don’t know about me, so I wanted to do a Q&A type of post!

What do you want to look like? I want to look like the human embodiment of warmth. I want to look like a welcome mat, not in the sense where people walk over me, but in the sense where people can wipe their feet, and I can take on their burden for a little while. I want to look like someone who you’d think, “She looks welcoming & inviting…I’m going to feel right at home with her”. I want to look like Jesus, because He is both of those things to me & more.
Do you believe in magic? I believe in friends coming together in a twinkling house filled with food & singing carols, laughing because they can’t get it quite right. I believe in a house filled with the warmth of kind hugs & jokes & candy canes galore, with the Holy Spirit watching over everyone inside. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
Describe something, or someone, that comforts you. The person who is comforting to me is the person who affirms & encourages me, spends time with me, gives kind hugs, whispers kind things, goes out of their way to be kind, knows me so well, prays over me, is vulnerable with me, and I with them.
What would you change about the physical world? I would change how unkind people can be to one another. I’d go out of my way to be kind to them. Life if brutal, and I know it starts with us. Friends, just be kind.
What do you want to be when you “grow up”? I really just want to write. And speak about Jesus to those who will hear it. And grow little kids to be kind & selfless & hug-loving people.
Share a memory that shaped you. I remember a couple of years ago, a dear friend of mine had a tough financial situation. I gathered all the money I had, and gave it to him as a gift. This friend almost didn’t accept it, but I insisted. They promised they would pay me back, and they probably did pay me back in coffee, but that definitely shaped me. It taught me that friendship is being there, and helping them out when they’re in need. There I go again, being sentimental over my friends. I’m literally about to cry.
What winter movies do you return to? I’m obsessed with Elf, Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, Trading Christmas, Frosty The Snowman, The Polar Express, and literally any Hallmark Christmas movie.
Tell your perfect, utterly perfect, December day. Waking up in Christmas pjs, to a snowy morning. A slow morning with strong coffee, maybe sticking a candy cane in there. Christmas music playing all day long, hot chocolate throughout the day, and making warm food for lunch. Playing a Christmas film in the afternoon, and getting all festive to meet friends in the evening for company & laughter! Best.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

He Wrote Her A Letter, Which Was Love

There’s quite a few people in my life who know that I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. It’s a writing challenge where you write a novel in the month of November, the word count goal being 50,000 words. I’m not writing a novel, however, I’m writing a collection of poetry, which makes it harder, but I’m up for the challenge. My collection is called Simple Conversation: A Collection, the theme being in constant conversation with God. All my writing is pretty much skin & bone; raw & naked thoughts. I decided to share with you a poem that I had just written. I hope you enjoy this!

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“It was never hard, loving you”, he said.

“I knew you’d be stubborn, depressed, lonely,

Even though I was right next to you.

But I made a pledge of love,

And I made it with blood”, he said.

“My heart was broken for you because

I knew you’d be in pain all your life,

And I still wanted you to know me because

I loved you with all my heart, mind, and soul.

The fullness of life is all I ever wanted for you

Because you’ve been sorrowful and downcast all your life.

But you have to know this,

That I am the fullness of life,” he said.

“I will love you until the world ends up in flames,

And I will care for you until the flames turn into ash.”

And with that, I’ve spent lots of time writing this blog post when I should be working on my collection. That enough procrastinating for today. Back to work!

Replacing Fear (Or Trying To)

*I was debating whether or not I should write this post. I already wrote over 10 posts where I talk about my issues. I complain so much. But that’s the point of this blog- that I can talk about my life so that others don’t feel like they’re the only ones. There’s always someone who has gone through something similar. Here we go.

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This week has been pretty difficult so far, and I’m ready for the week to be over. It was so good a few days ago; I even blogged about it! I don’t understand how it could flip so quickly. I can’t even pinpoint why this week was so bad. I got the feeling like I was bothering everybody who talked to me over the last few days. I feel like everyone perceives me in a harsh light. I’m in a constant state of freaking out about the future. I’m in this really weird & terrifying position where I need to move, but when I want to move, I can’t budge. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. What will become of my life, or of me?

I was reading Zechariah this evening & I wanted to share a passage from chapter 3.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” 

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 

The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.”

So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.” – from Zechariah 3:1-5

God rebuked Satan because Joshua was a “brand plucked from the fire”; implying the idea that he was saved from complete destruction.

I might have had a bad week so far, but that doesn’t determine my life. And although I’m not promised an easy life because I have Jesus, I’m promised His Spirit because He said He wouldn’t leave. He has me, therefore I need to give into peace & bravery, not fear & anxiety. It’s never easy, because I struggle with this almost daily, but I’m still learning to keep leaning on Jesus- He’s the only one who will get me through the day.

This week’s just been hard on me, mentally. Maybe I just need to chill out. I hope it gets better. If you read this, I hope you have a good day tomorrow.

The 4 C’s of Friendship

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This week was great. I had something to look forward to almost every day! Monday, I had dinner with someone I deeply care about and we watched a Shrek movie. On Tuesday, I had coffee with my best friend & we talked about tv shows, worship (always love talking worship with them), music we’re currently loving, and the weekend to come. Thursday was worship night & I led alongside my best friend, and it was beautiful. Everyone’s voices together made the most lovely sounds I’ve ever heard! On Saturday, I went thrift shopping & got coffee with my best friend, and then we went to church. Again, we led worship with all our friends. Mix some vulnerable conversations & forgiveness in there and you’ve got the best Saturday. On Sunday, I woke up early & met up with a friend. Buying coffee for people is one of my favorite things, when I can afford it. Then we went to church, where we worshiped some more.

I swear, the weekend is fueled by company & coffee. I was thinking about this weekend & why I loved it so much. I came up with 4: Community, Conversation, Company, and Coffee. Let’s talk about these points, shall we?

Community: This is a favorite word in my circle of friends. We value this concept. From my knowledge, we’ve all experienced isolation. It’s disheartening & lonely. I remember in high school, I saw someone sitting alone at the cafeteria, and it hurt me; I knew what it was like to be alone. I went over to them, and asked if I could join them, & I had made a friend just then. We can learn so much from each other when we’re together. It broadens our minds. There’s a joy in just being together & my friends and I are always learning this. My friends bless me deeply & I’d like to think I bless them as well.

Conversation: I really enjoy talking to my friends; we always have encouragement & a helpful word to offer. We need to constantly be in conversation with one another- how else will we be able know the other is doing? And with conversation & communication comes with vulnerability & honesty. Putting all our feelings out on the table is hard sometimes. But here’s the thing about community: we need to support each other- nobody can be left in the dark. Even if someone hurt your feelings, we have to say something. Only then can we give forgiveness & things can be fixed. I’m learning this, and it really is harder than I thought. I don’t like confrontation of any kind, because the thought of potentially hurting a friend’s feelings or making things weird, makes me feel awful. Sometimes I just need a push. Friends don’t want to hurt me,in fact, they love me, so it’s best to speak up when they do.

Company: This goes hand in hand with the point I made on community. Isolation is a slow killer, and ruins the soul. I think communicating when we are going through a tough time is very important, because we can’t push our struggles to the side. But reaching out when we know someone’s in need of it really helps. Being together is important & strengthens the friendship itself. All we really need is someone to help us carry our burden.

“Bear on another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are also doing.”       -1 Thessalonians 5:11

In carrying each other’s burdens, we are showing an example of love. And I love my friends. They mean a great deal to me, and I’m pretty confident to say that I would die for them if I had to. They’re incredible & precious people, with so much potential to be even more incredible, and I can’t wait to see how they are shaped. But I digress. Being alone can hurt us when we’re struggling, so we need to reach out to others, & ask others to reach out to us.

Coffee: I don’t know how many cups of coffee I’ve consumed throughout the week, but the majority have been consumed with the company of people I love fiercely. I love meeting friends for coffee- it adds to the warmth that they already emit. It embodies the community & conversation that I’ve talked about already. I love asking or receiving the question, “Wanna go get coffee?” because you know that some intense stuff will be going down at some point. It’s just nice to be with people, you know? I also just love coffee & I know lots of my friends do too. It’s a bonding experience.

I’m gonna gush about my friends because I feel like I don’t do it enough. They fill me with so much warmth & they’re incredibly wholesome. I’m so thankful that they open my mind & encourage me to open up to them. My friends give me so much joy, and I really love being with them. They’re the best, truly. I can’t explain it (I’m welling up with happiness as I type- they overwhelm me sometimes, and it’s the best).

I hope you get to pour into your friends with all the intention you have, and that you become closer as a community together.

Something Is Lacking

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I decided to post something that I had previously shared with the girls in my bible study. I hope that you either find that you’re not alone, or that your struggles aren’t alien to others.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

// psalm 94:19 //

 
I’m a total worrywart. I really enjoy being positive, and I strive to be as joyful & positive as I can be around others, but a lot of the time, I can’t help it. Here’s an example of some things that can go on in my head: “What can go wrong this time?” “Let’s think of the worst possible outcome.” “This is what’s wrong with me.” “I’m going to worry myself to sleep because that’s seemingly all I’m good at anymore.”
 

I can be a total downer sometimes, and it’s truly awful. I often forget about the goodness of God in times like this & because I forget, I’m prone to worry, & it leads to a lack of trust in my God.

 
Why is it so hard for me to trust him? Is it because I don’t want to give up being in control of the things that happen around me? That’s probably the answer, to be completely honest. I wish it wasn’t the answer though.
 
But when I go to God & explain to him my worries, most of the time I’m met with that very consolation that the bible talks about, and it does indeed bring my soul joy, because the One who knows ALL THINGS, is telling me not to worry. He replaces my worry with unexplainable happiness. It’s incredible, the ways in which He helps us when we go to Him & ask. I should do that more- it’s refreshing, trusting God. It’s like a breath of fresh air.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about prayer with my bible study  group. And although I write down a lot of my prayers, my vocal prayers are lacking. I know there’s power in prayer when I actually speak, and it’s very easy for me to do it in a group. It’s difficult for me to pray out loud when I’m alone, and I don’t know why. It could be because it’s just me & God. It’s a very vulnerable feeling, exposing your deepest thoughts with the Creator of your soul. I shouldn’t be hesitant to open up on a daily basis, because I need that community with God. I’m keeping myself from something wonderful if I don’t do it. I know it helps me trust Him, the more I talk to Him. I’m trying to fix it, because there comes a point where I begin to miss talking to God, and that time is now.