What is Your Focus?

The past semester and into this summer, I have thought about my faith and how much I’ve grown. One thing that has stuck out to me is that I do not reflect on God’s goodness enough. I have a lot of to-do’s of personal growing that I would like to fix, but what I noticed is that I rarely slow down to look around at God’s beautiful creation that surrounds me. I have not thanked Him nearly enough ¬†for all He has given me.

I always seem to have something to complain about, which frustrates me because the life that God has given me compared to what I deserve is astonishing. I deserve death, but God gives me life, and an incredible one at that. God has blessed me with so much that as I think of what I do not have, they seem minute and unimportant. I have an incredible family. My parents are both strong believers and I have two older sisters who are also strong believers that I look up to so much. When I live at home, I live in Oceanside – a place called Oceanside can not be a bad place to live! I go to school at Biola University where I have learned so much about myself and most importantly, about who God is. I have met the most amazing friends this year, I cannot even express how much I love them. I am so blessed!

Although I still ask for things when I pray and ask God to shape me into a woman of God and change my characteristics that do not honor Him, I have been focusing on simply standing in awe of Christ. As long as I have God, I have enough. I don’t know if any of you have ever felt this way, but sometimes I become so used to the beautiful scenery God has placed all around me that I forget to marvel at how majestic His works are. I recently went on a trip to San Francisco with a few dear friends from school. We took the Pacific Coast Highway and for about 3 hours we were driving through the mountains. When I looked to my right, I saw the beautiful greenery of the mountain and as I looked to my left I looked over the cliff and saw the gorgeous crystal blue sea. I know that this is super cliche, but the ocean is what never ceases to amaze me. As I look out, I cannot see where the water ends and I am reminded that God is so much bigger than the sea. This is such a comfort to me.

I have also noticed that over time, worship music has slowly changed from focusing on God to focusing on us. Please don’t think that I am trying to bash these artists because I feel that they truly were worshipping the Lord when they wrote these songs. I will not give any specific examples for this reason. Lately I have been listening to mostly hymns because I am reminded that it is I who is to serve the Lord, He is not obligated to serve me. If you have not listened to many hymns, I suggest checking them some out because speak so much of how wonderful Christ is. When listening to hymns I realize that God is so much bigger than me and he is worthy to be praised. These songs make my heart race and fills me with joy because I understand how wonderful our God is!

As I have been changing the focus of my prayers from my issues to praising God, I have found that those issues I am having are diminishing because I now see the bigger picture. I am a servant to the Lord and I am to spread His Word and be a light for Him. As I thank God for all He has given me, I see my wants and needs become less and less because I am content in Christ.

If you are like me and constantly ask for things from God, I suggest focusing on God’s majesty and faithfulness. I pray that you will have a similar experience and that you will find peace in the love of Christ. This does not mean that you should never make a request to Him again, just have a healthy balance! ūüôā

“I will give thanks to the¬†Lord¬†according to His righteousness
And will¬†sing praise to the name of the¬†Lord¬†Most High. ” – Psalm 7:17

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Speaking of Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have been thinking of what I am thankful for the past few weeks. Since doing this, I have been blown away by how blessed I am. I have so much to be thankful for, yet I wallow in what is going wrong in my life (which is very little in comparison). If I were to state ¬†everything I am thankful in this blog, the list would be way to long and you would probably stop reading. I’ll say a few though. For one, I go to Biola University, which is a wonderful college that is focused on Christ and ever since coming here God has grown me so much and blessed me with such incredible friends. Second, I am healthy. Simple as that. But there is one thing I have been extremely grateful for lately and have focused on a ton these past few weeks. My parents.

For those of you who do not know, I am incredibly close with my parents. In the past, I have not truly been grateful for them because I never fully realized until I started college that not everyone has this close relationship with their own parents. Some people have completely broken relationships with their parents and this breaks my heart. It also makes me thankful that God gave me such incredible parents. I have realized that my parents have an incredibly unique relationship. To start, they got married at the ages of 18 and 19. If I were in their position I would be married right now! So weird! Also, I have never heard my parents raise their voice at each other. They have an amazing love and respect for each other that astounds me. They always hold hands, kiss and flirt (yes, sometimes it is just to annoy me). Although I think this is embarrassing, I also greatly appreciate it because they show me the type of marriage that I would like to have that it is possible to have a marriage similar to theirs. In August, my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary and they are still head over heals for each other. I am so thankful for their marriage.

Many people say I get my humor from my dad and I completely agree with that. I have always been able to joke around with my dad and I am so thankful for that. I am beginning to understand that many people do not have dads that they can banter and joke around with. I’d say most of my relationship with my dad has to do with smiling and/or laughing. Not only is my dad hilarious, but he is also extremely wise. My family jokingly tells him that he has a plethora of useless knowledge because he often presents us with the most random facts that doesn’t pertain to any of us, but he just found interesting. I have no idea how he finds these things out, but I love hearing the random fact of the day from my dad. He is also wise on a more serious note as well. I know that I can always come to him for advice about anything. He truly knows me and what is best for me because he takes the time to spend time with me. My dad is such a man of God and I love talking to him, asking questions, and just hearing what he has to say about the bible and his own faith. My dad became a believer when he was a teenager and the years of believing definitely shows. I am so thankful that the man who raised me is a man of faith and an incredible role model in my life. One thing that my dad does that I look forward to each year is take me on daddy date nights. He plans a day for just the two of us to spend time together and what we do is always a surprise. My dad plans these dates based on what he thinks I would enjoy doing. For instance, this past summer, my dad took me to the shooting range and taught me how to shoot; it was a blast! My dad is such a man of faith who loves his wife and his three daughters so much. I want to marry a man similar to my father because of my dad’s immense love for others, his wisdom, and his humor.

I have a very different relationship with my mom, but I am still just as close with her as I am with my dad. I can tell my mom absolutely anything, which is incredibly rare in mother-daughter relationships. My freshman year of high school, my mom and I started doing a bible study once a week after school and I cannot even describe how close that has brought us. During these bible studies, we would study the Word together, tell each other the hardships and praises we are feeling, and pray for each other. My mom is also extremely others-minded. She always makes sure that everyone is comfortable and happy and thinks of others before herself. She is such an encourager as well. She is going to lunch with girlfriends multiple times a week and I always hear how much of an encouragement she is to these ladies. My mom also knows how to calm me down whenever I am stressed out. She is incredibly sympathetic and such a wonderful caregiver. Every time I am sick, my mom stays home with me all day and takes wonderful care of me. My mom is probably the friendliest person you will ever meet. My family always gives her a hard time because she is the type of person who is waiting in line at the grocery store and gains five more friends by the time she walks out of the store. She is so genuine and lights up every room she enters. My mom has been the perfect role model of how to be a woman after God’s own heart and portrays this daily. Her love for God shines clearly through her peppy, loving personality. I am so thankful that I have my mom as a roll model because of her love for others and how she can always brighten my mood. My mom is a woman of Christ and is so incredible wise; I can always come to her for advise and a shoulder to cry on.

I know do not say thank you to my parents enough, but I hope they understand how thankful and blessed I am to have them as my parents. Since going to college, I have realized how much I miss my parents and I am so excited to spend all of Thanksgiving with them and the rest of my family. I love my parents so much and am so thankful that God has given us the relationship we have.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

God Bless

The Meaning Behind the Title

I had a difficult time deciding a title for my blog because I am new to the blogging world and in all honesty I may change the title later on. But what kept popping up in my mind was “Finding the Beauty Within”. Proverbs 31 also popped into my mind. I know this may be a cliche chapter of the Bible, but it is used often for a reason.¬†

Our culture is so focused on outward beauty. Magazines portray double zero girls who are beautiful on the outside, but what about their hearts? Although I do enjoy dressing up and buying cute clothes, what people think of my heart is much more important to me. Many people say I should not care what people think about me and this is somewhat true. I should not change the way I act only because people prefer that I act a different way, but I should be aware of the way I am conveying myself to the world. I need to act in a way that is pleasing to my Father. As a Christian woman, it is my duty to shine Christ’s light daily. This means that there is extra pressure on me because the way act does not only reflect me as an individual, but my faith and others who share my faith. We are a fallen nation, so I do fail daily and I do make mistakes, but I should be striving to emulate Christ daily. I believe that if someone has a beautiful heart, everything about them becomes beautiful. We all know those people who are truly genuine and have a good heart. We enjoy these people and we should all be striving to be people like this, people who are encouraging and loving.¬†

Along with the title, “Finding the Beauty Within”, I put a subtitle with the verse Proverbs 31:30 – “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”. I love this verse. I am “a woman after God’s own heart”, as it is commonly said. A fellow classmate in my class was sharing her testimony in class the other day and she said something that stuck with me. She said, “the first man I fell in love with is the Lord.” She also said that the best way to find a good Christian man is to stop searching and allow God to lead you to him. Although that is off-topic a bit, I just thought that was such a good way to put it. A huge smile comes to my face because I can truly say that the first man I fell in love with was Jesus. As Provervs 31:30 says, true beauty is found in the woman who fears the Lord. This verse is an encouragement to me and allows me that outward is not the most important beauty, but inward.

Since I have begun college, God has searched my heart and pointed out things that I need to work on in my life and also the what I am doing well and how to grow that. I have started to search to know myself better and I have learned to cling to God. I do not need to fear because I know God has control of my life. This is so comforting to me and I hope you can find comfort in it as well. God is growing me into the woman he has meant for me to be and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for me in the future. I have already changed so much in my first half of the semester at college and have learned more both about myself and about God. I fear the Lord; I am in awe of him. I pray that I will stay close with him throughout my journey in college and not stray away. I pray that I will come to know him better and grow closer to him each day. I also pray this for you too. I pray that he is stirring in your’ heart and that we all understand his immense love for us. He died on the cross for our sins! Just let that sink in and realize how amazing our God is!