So I will be twenty tomorrow. A lot of life happens in two decades- elementary school, high school, graduation, leaving home for the first time and going to college, drivers license, heartbreak, friends coming and going, and friends that have stood by your side the entire time. Looking back on the last twenty years of my life and all that the Lord has brought me through and taught me, I am in awe of His goodness and that He is always and forever faithful. I can think of almost every trial and hardship I have been through during my existence on earth and think of how God has used it in my life thus far to bring me closer to Himself than I have ever been before. I wanted to share with y’all twenty tidbits of truth I have gathered in the last twenty years I’ve been living life.
- Family is a blessing and a gift from the Lord.
My family has been the most constant thing in my life since the day I was born. My parents and three younger siblings have been my people since day 1 and I know will continue to be. Take time today to tell your family how much you love them. Family is something that is easy to take for granted, yet one of the most precious gifts the Lord gives us on earth. People who will literally be there for you no matter what because they love you unconditionally.
- Trusting in Jesus is the best decision one can make in their entire life.
- Committing time to community is the sweetest treasure. People you do life with day to day and people who truly know you. I don’t thank the Lord enough for the community He has blessed me with. Pray for it, seek it out, and value it. You will never regret community.
- Coffee is a necessity. Late night studying, early mornings, or long days. Coffee and Jesus, and you are set, my friend.
- How important it is to be real and genuine with people. I get so exhausted from trying to fake how I am feeling or lying that I am not struggling with something in life, when in reality I am barely coming up for air. Being authentic in relationships and with yourself is so refreshing and will leave you carrying a much lighter load.
- God is always there. When you are in 5th grade crying in the bathroom stall because someone hurt your feelings at school, when you are awkwardly slow dancing with a boy for the first time at one of those 7th grade dances, when you walk across the stage to receive your diploma at high school graduation, when your parents drop you off at college and drive away leaving you there finally on your own, He is there. And He goes before you too. Looking back on the last twenty years, He has not once left my side, even in the midst of my loneliest and darkest memories, I was never alone. (Psalm 139:7-12)
- This too shall pass. Dear friends, even when it seems your world may be crashing down, it is not the end of the world. When I didn’t make officer on my drill team, life went on. When I got a double stress fracture in my back during 10th grade and couldn’t dance all year, life went on. Even when I didn’t return to the school of my dreams for my sophomore year of college and stayed at home in Dallas, life still went on. I don’t know what you are going through in this moment, but please remember, this too shall pass because the God we serve is mighty to save and He isn’t going anywhere.
- Dance parties make you feel better. I PROMISE. If you are having a bad day today, go to your room, put on your pajamas, grab your hairbrush as your microphone, turn up the volume all the way to “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift, and dance your little heart out. You will go to sleep with a smile on your face, seriously. Or maybe this one is just me and you will think I am crazy. I am a firm believer in dance parties.
- Talk to Jesus like He is your best friend, and you will grow closer to Him dramatically. He always wants to talk to you through His word, so talk to Him back. You know that He will be a listening ear when you need Him. (Romans 12:12)
- You find out who your friends are. The friends who you can call at 2 a.m. that will drop anything to make sure you are okay. The friends who are willing to drive all the way from college for 3 hours to be there with you at your grandpa’s funeral. The friends who call you once a week when you aren’t there with them at school to ask you questions about your life. The friends who have an extra bed in their room for you to crash in every time you come to town. The friends with whom you can’t imagine your life without. Those friends will be far and few, but you will have them. They are gems to be cherished. Take time today to text or call or write a letter to those friends, because they don’t hear near enough how grateful you are for them. I know mine don’t, but if they are reading this, this is for you: You will never understand how thankful I am to Jesus for you. Thank you for being there for me and always having my back. All of the things I mentioned, I would do the same for you in a heartbeat. I love y’all.
- Frappuccino Monday’s are a thing. Monday’s are hard enough because it is the day after the weekend, so why not get a frappuccino. Be careful, however, to not let it become Frappuccino Everyday though, as I tend to do sometimes. That can get dangerous, so let’s stick to Frappuccino Monday. PTL for Starbs fraps, guys.
- Being joyful is more fun. It just is. Even in the hardest of times and rough patches of life where all you can think about is being sad, I promise, it is still more fun to have joy. The joy doesn’t come from your circumstances at all, whatsoever. This joy in particular specifically comes from hope in Jesus alone. Hope in the gospel, hope in knowing that we are set free and that it is finished. That in of itself, darling, is quite enough to be your sunshine today even if your world is a thunderstorm. (James 1:2)
- Look for God’s fingerprints in every single day, because they are everywhere. In the smile of the person at the cash register at at Target, in the rain drops, in the tall, powerful, snow topped mountains, in the roaring waves on the beach, in holding a little baby who is brand new to the world. His fingerprints are all over the place, sometimes we have to search for them, but they are always there.
- Learning is actually really cool. If you are reading this and in high school, I know it may seem pointless, but trust me, it is not! What you learn will stick with you. Take advantage in your education, and in the fact that some people never have that chance. Education is a beautiful thing. There will always be something new to learn, only God knows everything. Therefore, go learn something new today and take joy in it! It is only boring if you make it 🙂
- You should laugh every day. Laughter is proved to trigger endorphins, increase immune cells, and decrease stress hormones. Plus, laughing is really fun. I hope you have one of those laughs today where tears are streaming from your eyes (aka me almost every single time) and you are rolling on the floor because you are laughing so hard and you feel like you got an ab workout after. Those laughs are the best. Don’t take life too seriously. Life can be really funny sometimes.
- Crying is so good and so therapeutic. This may seem contradictory because my last point was about laughing, but y’all, crying does wonders. Sometimes you have so much bottled up inside and you just need to let it out and allow your tear ducts to do their thing. Get a pint of ice cream, play a sad song, and just cry. And then when you don’t have any tears left to cry, go splash some water on your face, shake it off, and move on with your day. But remember, it is perfectly okay and even healthy to cry if you need to. Don’t hold back because you will truly feel better.
- Trends are perhaps the silliest thing the world has come up with. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Tory Burch flats and my Jon Hart bag that carries absolutely anything, but it is so easy to get caught up in materialism in this generation. New fads are always coming and going, but they never last too long. They are actually kind of pointless when you think of all the more important things in life. But that is just my two cents, if you are a fad follower, you do you. I think it is kind of fun and thrilling to try and set trends, and if they miserably fail, it still doesn’t matter because all that matters is if you like it! Bring overalls back 2k16 y’all, I’m going for it 🙂 easy, comfortable, and cute. I mean what more can a girl ask for in a clothing statement.
- Time with Jesus is so precious. Life gets so crazy and busy in the blink of an eye and before you know it, you are about to be a junior in college (what?!). Take time either in the morning when you wake up, in a break during your day, or at night before you go to sleep to spend time with Jesus and read His truth from the book He gave us as a guide on how to live our lives. My days spent in the Bible whether for 5 minutes or 2 hours are always better than the ones without. Trust me on this one, I guarantee you the time sacrifice will be well worth it.
- Learning a new language is the coolest thing ever. I began taking Spanish classes in 7th grade and continued to take them through high school and my first two semesters of college. It is one of the most unique and beautiful things in the whole world to be able to understand and communicate with someone in their own language. Whether it be Japanese, French, Italian, German, or any other language you are interested in learning, LEARN it. Take a class and learn because it is never too late to start. However, it does take time, effort, patience, and dedication. But hey, learning can be fun too, remember? (I just realized how nerdy I sound right now…oops)
- Traveling makes the world seem a whole lot bigger and makes you seem a whole lot smaller. I have been blessed with the opportunity to go on mission trips to Haiti my freshman and senior years of high school, and traveling to a third world country truly opened my eyes outside of my own little bubble of my life to see how people live just an ocean away. I learned how many things in life I take for granted, and also how people are all the same. We are all humans with the same Jesus, facing the same sins, breathing the same oxygen, trying to navigate our way through this crazy world one day at a time. We all have people we love and things that make us happy or sad, yet we live such drastically different lives at the same time. Traveling broadens your horizons in the sense that there is more to life than finding a date to sorority functions and figuring out your Friday night plans. The coolest thing to me was worshipping God at a church in Haiti in a completely different language. I knew what the songs were saying because of the tunes, but had no idea if I was pronouncing the words right when I sang them- but that didn’t even matter. What mattered was that here were a group of people in completely different worlds, coming together to worship the very same Jesus who died for them on a cross and rose again for them all. There are no barriers when it comes to the truth and freedom found in the gospel, even language.When it all comes down to it, precious friends, life is one big adventure. Through my twenty years of life thus far, I have seen the beauty of waking up to a brand new day and taking it on as a sweet gift from the Lord that He has allowed me to live another day. One more day to be with the people I love, to laugh really hard, to drink a wonderful cup of iced coffee, to learn something brand new, to explore a new city, to read my Bible, to dance crazily with my best friends, to hear someones story, to love deeply, dream bigger than you can imagine, and forgive frequently. Life isn’t meant to be a breeze. John 16:33 makes that quite clear. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” However, there is truth to be found in John 10:10 as well. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Life is crazy, wild, insane, and dramatic. But OH what a glorious adventure it is to know you are never walking through life alone, that we have the God of the entire universe by our side. This quote about sums this up:
“What is life but one grand adventure.”
There you have it, friends. I hope you enjoyed these twenty tidbits of truth I have picked up along my adventure. The Lord has tremendously blessed me in allowing my heart to beat for 7,300 days, and He has taught me a multitude of things throughout each one. Through every up and down, every highlighted moment and every tear I have cried, every conversation and every person He has brought into my life along the way, He has been faithful. And I trust that my God will continue to be faithful for the next twenty years and beyond. I pray for you today, dear one, that you will rest in the knowledge that you are not alone. You have a Savior who longs for you, who desires to be with you, who thinks about you more than the grains of sand on the beach (Psalm 139:18). He knows you by name and calls you His adopted child (Ephesians 1:5). Today is an adventure, cherish each moment because you won’t ever get today back. This verse has become one of my absolute favorite truths to cling to lately, Habakuk 1:5-
“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.”
I pray that today, April 30th, 2016, you will walk in that knowledge and allow Him to guide you with every breath you take.