Working from love and not for love

I know it has been WAY too long since I last posted and I am sorry for that! I realized I can say till I am blue in the face things like “I just have been so busy” or “I have so many other things to do”, but I am reminded that we make things that are important to us a priority. With this realization I am really going to put in a conscious effort going forward to blog and hopefully connect with people who can relate to what I write about. And for real, if you have topic suggestions, please email me or reach out, I would love to get your feedback.

I also want to take this time to sincerely apologize. As I look back at past blogs, I have realized without me even noticing at the time that I can come across like I know everything, and my answers are always correct. Mostly, I am sorry if I have hurt anyone through anything I shared on my blog (or any conversation) that I came at too aggressively. Some of those posts were written from a very broken place while I was processing. I never meant to put my wanting to write about the hard lessons I learned before honoring the actual relationships I was writing about. I’m sorry if I tried sounding like an expert at anything because it was never my goal. I still have so much to learn! If anything I want my blog to be a conversation starter, not the final word.

Okay, so now on to the actual post! I have really been praying and thinking about something to write about as I’m coming back from this blogging break, and I wanted to come up with something really stellar and something I wanted everyone to be able to read and love. And this is the simple message I think I’m supposed to share right now – I just feel like The Lord really wants you to know how much He loves you and how you do not have to do a single thing but just receive this unconditional love from Him.

The title “working from love and not for love” means we don’t have to earn God’s love. God sent His only Son to die for you and me so we could take on His spotless life because He took our sin on the cross and overcame it. He didn’t have to do it but He chose to do it. We should live out of the motivation of knowing He loves us so much He gave it all for us. So please know that The Lord is constantly chasing after us and wants us to be able to receive this unconditional love, not try to hide from it or run away to other things. Working from love and not for love also means that we don’t have to do “good deeds” in order to get God’s love, and that there is NOTHING “so bad” that God cannot forgive and love us through it if we confess it to Him. It’s not just about a bunch of rules. Life following Jesus is so full and free!!

If we start to live life knowing we are fully known and fully loved, just think of the changes we would see! We would be able to love those around us better knowing we are so loved despite our own past mistakes. There would be no keeping score or holding grudges. We’d be able to love well even in disagreements, in those times when we get hurt (which is going to happen, because nobody is perfect), and just in every day to day life. If we work from the love God has for us there will be no need to perform for others, “save face” or beg for attention because we’ll stop making choices based on fear of rejection, and instead we’ll make choices from a place of knowing our true worth. And God is so good because even when we mess up, He decided to choose us and love us through those choices of not choosing Him. He won’t ever give up on us!!

So I challenge you that even if you don’t pray, when you can get alone just close your eyes and ask The Lord to reveal how much He loves you. We don’t need to pray fancy prayers. God just wants to have a conversation with us because He loves us so freaking much!! And don’t just take my word for it, you can check out John 3:16 and Deuteronomy 31:8 as a starting point! xoxo

that three letter “s” word that ends with “x”

If you’re still trying to figure out the title this blog post is about sex & sexuality! I have been trying to write about this for awhile but was not sure what specifically to talk about because it’s such a controversial topic. Most people talking about it in our generation are talking about it from a different angle than what I want to share.

I believe pornography and sexual behavior outside of marriage are not part of God’s perfect plans for us and they are constant battles we face in the generation we live in. Sex is a topic that seems to come up in just about every conversation when talking about guys, girls, relationships, etc. We live in a sex obsessed generation, and instead of taking charge and changing the conversation, too many of us allow these conversations to happen, and even if we don’t agree with it, we go along with it. Maybe we just don’t want to be called out for disagreeing with what is considered “normal” and “harmless” by so many of our peers. Maybe it’s because we don’t actually see what’s wrong with it. Or maybe we just have good intentions to take a stand but we just go with the flow because it’s easier. But a lot of hearts are getting hurt going along with it and there’s a lot of guilt and shame and regret we deal with, so what do we do about it?

If we want change we have to be the change. We can’t just hashtag a movement then do nothing to fix our own behavior. Let’s choose to be a generation that grows up to be respectful men and women, and who stop allowing our hormones to dictate what we say, who we date, what we watch, and how we behave. I am so serious about this and can say that I didn’t always feel this way. I’m not proud to admit it but there was a time in my life that I used to mock people who were practicing abstinence or even just trying to stay pure in general. I believed the lies I heard every day that sexual movies, songs and behavior were not a big deal. Part of me knew it was wrong but I also knew how to fit in, how to get attention and more likes on the pics I posted and when I did not realize my identity was found in the One who created me, that kind of attention was what fueled me.  Once I realized how much I was actually harming myself and others around me by choosing temporary counterfeit fulfillment instead of thinking long term, EVERYTHING changed for me. I hope you will hear me out.

What I don’t want to do is come across as judging or a know-it-all about any of this stuff, in fact I hope you hear my heart is that I settled for this stuff at points in my life and it left me soooo empty. I am sharing this because I truly believe that living a pure lifestyle is possible AND it’s God’s best for us, and hear me on this: you are NEVER too far gone and there is nothing He cannot wipe clean and redeem in your life. In order to do so you have to confess your sins, accept His forgiveness and ask Jesus to come into your heart and dwell, or else it will be a toxic cycle of going in between guilt and shame. We can’t do this in our own strength and empty promises. It’s not easy, once the door of “sexuality” is opened, it is hard (but not impossible) to close the door. We really do not realize how much we allow ourselves to be exposed to sexual stuff that just feeds the hunger for it, even just casually scrolling through social media. So hopefully what I share can help a little, and just know the conversation does NOT have to end here, feel free to reach out anytime, if not to me, to someone in your life who will pray for you and give you solid advice.

First off, I’m praying and believing 2019 will be the year pornography FINALLY stops being something that controls our generation.  Despite this being an unpopular opinion, watching pornography is not “victimless”, it’s actually harmful, it creates unrealistic scenarios in your head that one day could be damaging to your relationship with your significant other.  Watching porn sucks you in, you want more and it can cause you to struggle in your closest relationships, feeling more like the opposite sex are just sexual objects without even realizing your perception is changing. It’s also addictive so it reduces your ability to do/think about anything outside of sex. I also stand by the belief that if you are in a committed relationship, looking at porn is cheating. It may seem harmless, but it can consume you until it’s all you think about. There is an organization called Fight The New Drug and they have conducted so many studies on how pornography not only ruins relationships and hurts other people, but it can actually damage your brain. And if none of those reasons will stop you, most porn making industries participate in sex trafficking. Think about that a minute. These girls shown in pornography are someone’s sisters, daughters, friends, nieces and classmates and many ended up there from being forced into sex trafficking.  And so many of them are so young!

“To begin with, nearly half of sex trafficking victims report that pornography was made of them while they were in bondage.”

That line comes from the website of Fight The New Drug in talking about how sex trafficking and pornography feed off of each other. I know this is some heavy stuff but it is real and it is happening all around us. One of my professors once said, “I challenge you with this, if you ever feel tempted to watch pornography, just say this to yourself ‘I am participating in human trafficking’ and then go ahead and do whatever you please.” I challenge you to do the same.

So what about consensual relationships? I do not have a list of detailed do’s and don’ts for you, but I suggest you open up the Bible and see what God says about sex and relationships. And I heard something interesting once so maybe consider this, let’s say you are in a relationship with someone, you obviously like this person, think they are cute, and you see a future with them. Hopefully when you start dating you talk about boundaries and you are both on board. So after awhile of things going well, you two start to talk about getting married, how you can’t wait to try on  wedding dresses, your future kids, the perks of being married, etc… At some point a thought something like this probably crosses your mind, “If I am marrying this person, why can’t we do more than kiss and hold hands? I mean he or she loves me and is going to be my husband or wife anyways, right?” This is where things can begin to shift. Next thing you know you put yourself into situations where things get more physical and then it gets easier to move to the next level and do things way past what you first agreed was your stopping point. Annnnnnd then you guys break up and hearts end up hurt. So not only are you losing your boyfriend/girlfriend, but you are losing your best friend along with a part of yourself that was never supposed to belong to that person.  As you look back, you try to figure out where you went wrong, of course it was the lingering hugs or the dark nights talking in the car, and the list goes on, but before you ever gave him or her something physical that did not belong to them, you gave something emotional, and that was  talking about marriage and a future together.

When I first heard this concept I thought the person who shared it was crazy and so wrong, but after thinking about how our bodies are 3 parts, it started to make sense. Our bodies are divided into 3 main categories, physical, emotional and spiritual. When one is up really high, the other two try to equal out. It is like constantly doing arm days at the gym but never showing the legs or abs some love. Your body will constantly never be in a state of equilibrium and your brain works sort of the same way. When you are making all these emotional commitments like talking about marriage, your physical and spiritual parts want to catch up. If we do this, we can actually create unhealthy “soul ties” (a link to someone through intimacy) with not only physical ones, but emotional and spiritual as well. Our words and thoughts have power, they influence our actions so we need to choose them carefully. And we really should just focus more on the present not the far off future and what if’s in our relationships.

Here’s one other thought, God created sexual desire, He really did, but He created it in order to bond two people together in marriage. So when in a dating relationship it is important to remember that you are NOT guaranteed to marry this person, no matter how many times they tell you they want to.  I know it can be so hard to think of you possibly breaking up with the person you’re dating, because who wants to think those “negative thoughts” when you’re in love?  But we know it happens and it is so important to remember and respect your future husband or wife in your current relationship. On a practical note, I journal to my future husband not only for him to read one day and know I prayed for him, but it also keeps me on track to fight for him, to stay pure, to think long term and be patient in the waiting. So you might say “but Court what if this person I’m dating now does end up being “THE ONE” (side note: there is no “the one”,  there is only “THE ONE” and that is Jesus Christ 🙂 ) well then that’s awesome, think of how much richer your intimacy will be when you get married if you decide to wait on being physical! And you can start sticking to new boundaries tonight even if stuff has already happened. God doesn’t use our pasts against us and in fact He reminds us He has a bright future planned for us!

I know this was a long post and it goes against the cultural norms but I think it needs to be talked about honestly. Even though I am single and not having to set up dating boundaries or have a conversation regarding these things,  I’ve learned a few lessons and I’m praying the next man I give my heart to will honor and protect my desire to stay pure and I would not expect him to settle for less than that from me either.  And let me say this, if you have healthy boundaries and rules that your significant other does not agree with or respect, stand your ground PLEASE. You deserve to be valued and do not ever settle for less. If you don’t feel safe or respected in a relationship, please tell someone you can trust. When it comes to being physical no means no, even if you love that person, and even if it has happened before. Men this means you, too.

My heart breaks for our generation. We have become so desensitized. Trust me, I’ve been there and I thank God I’ve had people in my life who spoke truth to me and loved me enough to say the hard things I did not want to hear at first. I hope and pray that you understand these are not rules from God to ruin our fun, it really is what’s best for us because we are so loved by Him. And it’s not just about having sex, it’s talking about it, sending pics, watching movies that may not be labeled porn but they are very sexual, even Twitter accounts that are just trash.  I’ve learned that what we surround ourselves with becomes a part of us. And if any of this blog post hit close to home or you are thinking of something you may have done that you wished you hadn’t, please remember you get a fresh start every day! Don’t ever feel like you have done too much for God to forgive you, or that there is ANY sin He will hold against you. I promise you that God loves you so much and He doesn’t call you by your sin but calls you by your name. I am serious when I say please reach out for prayer or just someone to listen. Much love for y’all!!!  Xoxo





One-sided friendships. Shallow friendships. “Friend” zones. These are all “friendships”most of us have experience with.

Many of us don’t realize how much we allow our friendships to impact our moods. It is normal to go through ups and downs, but what are we supposed to do when those trials in friendships come and somebody gets hurt? How do we know if we should continue to invest our time and energy into a “friendship” that doesn’t feel very much like a friendship? And what if we are the ones not being a very good friend? When is it time to put some distance in friendships for “your own good”? These are all questions that I’ve tried to answer in my own life.

I have experienced a variety of different friendships from deep to shallow, healthy to harmful, loyal to one-sided, honest to back-stabbing and some in between all of these extremes. But the one thing all of these relationships have in common is that in some way they helped me grow and they all taught me valuable lessons to help me be a better friend to others.

One very important thing to remember is that the hard times that you have gone through taught you a lesson one way or another. Those times shape our perspective in some way, it’s up to us to choose to learn something from it. Every relationship experience we have has something to offer us going forward. Even if we poured into it and didn’t get what we expected in return, we can use that as a learning experience of how to stick with people even when things aren’t great and work things out or when it’s just so bad, you have to lay it down, whether temporarily or permanently. I think the end goal no matter what should be healthy, honest, flourishing relationships that challenge the people in them in a positive way.

So what do we do if someone close to us has hurt us or caused us pain? Well this is something that can vary upon the situation but something I have learned repeatedly at OneLife (the gap year program I am attending) is to do onto others as you would want done unto you. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask if you would like to be treated like that? Our words and actions affect other people one way or another. Talk about a perspective shift!

So here’s the thing, God the most gracious, merciful God, Creator of the entire universe has forgiven us for every sin we have done when we come to Him and ask Him because of Jesus. So why do we hold grudges and can we not forgive those who have hurt us? I know, I know y’all this is SO HARD! I get it, I really do, but in order to expect forgiveness (and we all need it) we have to be able to give it sincerely.

These are the four promises you can make that can help with the process of forgiveness:

I will not dwell on the incident.

I will not bring up the incident again or use it against you once it’s been resolved.

I will not gossip or complain to others about the incident.

I will not let this incident stand between or hinder our relationship. 

These are not easy things to follow, but they are needed when someone we care about hurts us. We have to have the ability to forgive them and move on.

So when asked in class “what defines a toxic relationship?” my teacher responded with there is no such thing as that. We all have “toxic” traits (we are human), so in that case every relationship could be defined as toxic. While some part of me was in disagreement with that at first, I pondered this statement and realized he was right.  We all have our own struggles and issues from our past, and indeed bring “toxic” things into relationships/friendships without even realizing it. He has also made a bold statement of it does not matter if you played 2% of the “bad” part of the relationship and the other person played 98%, the Bible talks about you still have equal responsibility to try to fix it.

I do believe we have to have the ability to give genuine forgiveness before we can expect it and we need to be able to do that for relationships to grow. God loves that we fellowship we each other, look at Adam and Eve, He created Eve so Adam would not be alone, just as He did with the people in our lives right now and the fellowship we participate in.

God hates when people are divided, He loves reconciliation, in fact that is always His goal. That is why it hurts so bad when we feel rejection, or being pushed away and shut out because God literally did not create us to receive rejection. We were not created to experience heartbreak so that’s why it can feel physically painful.

Another weird crazy thing I learned and have tried to work on is that the more open we are about conflict and how we feel, the more that relationship will most likely be flourishing. Being vulnerable and honest is a risk but how can relationships grow without being that way? So that left me questioning should we even call each other out on stuff if it’s just going to make things awkward and cause conflict? But then I remembered that the Bible says “iron sharpens iron” and we are called to love one another and part of that love is working through conflict in a respectful way. No victim mentality or shaming, the motive should always be reconciliation or to at least to try to end up on the same page.

So with this I challenge you to really dig deep into two or three friendships with people, have the right motives, don’t just do it for what you can get out of it. Take time to get to know them for who they are. And do yourself a favor, don’t expect things from people, because I promise you’ll always get let down if you are trying to get things from people only The Lord can fulfill.

I ‘ll also challenge you to pray about it and reach out to someone who has hurt you to let them know how you feel instead of just doing nothing. Or if it’s vice versa and if it hasn’t already happened and you know it’s the right thing to do, ask for forgiveness. It’s kinda sad that we can build so many walls up over time instead of handing the situation over to God and doing things His way, not ours. Pretty soon we don’t even know why the walls are even there but it’s too much effort to do anything about it so we just move on to the next person. I’m so glad God doesn’t give up on us!

God loves all of us so much!  He gives us so much grace when we mess up and He also gives us so many examples of how to love others and have friendships that last through the hard times. It’s not always easy, but those genuine relationships that lead you closer to God are so worth it!  Xoxo

but like why though?

Here is the promised part 2 of my last blog finally! I have been putting a lot of thought into these last two blogs because these topics are something that have been an ongoing theme in my life and this stuff is so real. Like many of us can say we have struggled with finding our identity in who likes us, or who we are dating or even just who our friends are. Even the things we decide to invest our time in can turn into an idol. So now that we identified things or people who are idols in my last blog post, where do we go from there? Or what does it even look like? 

Currently for me that solution is staying single in the season I am in. Some people may wonder why? While it’s tempting to seek attention and affirmation from guys, I have more of a longterm goal in mind and I don’t want to mess it up. It can be tough not to feel lonely, especially with the holidays coming up and everyone always making it such a requirement to be “booed up” during this time. And don’t get me started about all the Twitter rants on being single! But I have to admit, life isn’t as complicated for me in this season. I have no strings attached to anyone in a sense of needing to plan my future around another person yet. This is good for me right now, since I am not a very stationary person currently and I love seeing new places. 

I do need it to be known that I really don’t think dating is bad thing, my mom pointed out to me how I have done a bunch of blog posts about being single! I just want to make it clear, dating someone isn’t bad but I feel strongly that we should do it with the right motives. Your partner should not be the end all be all, because that’s where my last blog post talked about making an idol out of that person. I also don’t think it’s a great idea to use another relationship to help you get over your last one. If you feel called to be in a healthy Godly relationship, then I cheer you on in that! I’m looking forward to that in my own life when the time is right but I’m totally relying on God’s timing, not my own.

God has a funny way of working things out, and I trust Him and trust that it won’t be like this forever, but I’m learning it is so important to cherish the season of singleness. And I’m not sure what everyone considers being “single”. For me I’m talking about trying to be purposeful to lay down any attempt of pursuing a dating relationship right now. I don’t want to settle for something that is not from God. So that means not being careless with how I act or texting a bunch of guys on the look out of who has potential to date next. I honestly think that if I’m keeping my focus on God, then the right person will come along side me at the right time. 

But as I said before, the holidays can be a tough season for many of us who aren’t dating and it can be tempting to fill that void with the wrong stuff. Please know that you aren’t alone and there are many ways to cope with how you’re feeling! So how do we rejoice in a season of singleness?

I am truly seeing the beauty of it from a whole new perspective and I mean that whole heartedly. I think sometimes when we are single we want to make the people who care about us believe that we are happy, but in reality we aren’t really enjoying the single season, we are just tolerating because the options we want aren’t there. I personally don’t want anyone to feel sorry for the fact I’m not “with someone” for Christmas so I’m really trying to take advantage of everything God wants to teach me now and share it to try to be an encouragement to others in the same situation. And I’m no expert in this whatsoever but here are a few suggestions that help me: 

1. Dig into God’s Word and meditate on scripture. Here are some wonderful Bible verses that I turn to in times of loneliness… 

•Proverbs 3:5, 

•1 Peter 5:7 

•Philippians 4:13

•John 16:3          

2. Another thing that’s helpful is to not dwell on memories, places, things, or anything that makes you feel nostalgic for things that are gone. Now this doesn’t mean you can never do anything that reminds you of something from your past but I think during those times struggling with loneliness, when you are most vulnerable, be aware of what triggers you into a downward spiral. Pray about it. It’s easier to stay out of your bag than trying to get out of it once you’re in it! 

3.  Another helpful thing is realizing that this season is something to be celebrated, and do it as well as you can. It really isn’t about us and what we do and don’t have! Try new things and get out of your comfort zone. This is also a season to enjoy genuine friendships with people. It’s a time to invest in others and shine the light of Christ.

4. Do “single” well! Even if it’s super tempting, try not going back and fourth between “talking” to different people, but focus instead on the friendship aspect with the opposite gender. I can honestly say I’m enjoying my current friendships with the opposite gender because they have no intentions of a relationship. No pressure, no misunderstandings and no expectations other than friendship.

5. Take time to truly figure out yourself, the good and the bad. Be honest and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with people you trust. It’s very hard to know what you want in life or in a future relationship when you don’t even know yourself, something I have experienced.

It’s so important that we realize being single isn’t a negative thing! I’m trying to cherish this season because my focus is on my relationship with God and growing intentional, good friendships, which leads me to my next blog post coming soon! I will be talking about what it means to be a loyal friend, and how are we fulfilling God’s reason for creating us and how we can worship Him by being in fellowship with others! Thanks for reading y’all and Happy Holidays. Xoxo


I have been at my gap year program/college thing for a month and a half now ! It’s been pretty amazing overall so far, but it hasn’t been easy. I already have learned so much that has shifted my whole perspective on certain major life choices. I’ve had lots of “ah ha” moments. While this has been awesome to experience this type of clarity, it can also bring with it a sense of regret and shame about my past and the choices I have made. It’s tough because when a good thing is happening, like those “ah ha” moments, it’s still painful and even a little embarrassing sometimes to see the light being shined on the hazy moments that I would do differently now. I made pursuing things and people more important than pursuing God and more important than valuing myself. In the moment, some of the things I was doing didn’t seem so terrible, but I see now where acting impulsive and being too trusting cost me. So the reason I am writing this is to maybe shine some light to help you have some clarity in your life in the areas you may not realize will hurt you later on, so you won’t have to look back and say “crap why did I do that?”  God has a way of making bad things into good things by turning them into lessons that not only personally benefit us, but that can help others who are also struggling.

Okay so let me start off with this: in my blog I have talked about things that I have done that I wish I could take back or do differently but I know that by the grace of God I’m forgiven and truly changed. And one thing I want to make clear is that I will not betray confidences or ever talk down on someone in this blog or to others no matter how much I felt hurt in certain situations. I’m learning to look at it from the perspective that if someone has been placed in my life, there’s a reason for it, whether it’s to stay for the long haul as someone I can trust or just for a season to teach me patience, self control, forgiveness,  or not to obsess over making sure I’m accepted, and this list goes on. I don’t ever mean to sound like I’m pointing fingers at all or playing victim; I only share my part in these friendships/relationships because just like in my last blog post, if we all focused on taking care of our own problems instead of worrying about other people’s motives and issues, there wouldn’t be so much unresolved conflict.

But now on to the point of this post! So the program I am attending this year has a strict rule for all of the participants called “The No Dating Policy”. Now some of you may hear this and have the reaction of “sign me up!” while others are going “no way!”….both are very common reactions when I tell people. It’s actually pretty great and makes day-to-day life a lot less distracting. This policy is also changing the way I view male relationships, I look to them and they look to me for friendship and nothing more. It is such a beautiful thing. There is no pressure, nobody is trying to impress or win over one another, I have the freedom to just be me. Even though I still have a long way to go, I’ve found out a lot about myself since getting here, and some of it is truth that I have been suffocating for years, trying to pretend like it wasn’t there, but just like when you hid your clothes under the bed to make your room look clean during room checks, the clothes will still need to be unpacked and put away at some point, and let’s say just like in real life, I have wayyy too many clothes. 😉

In this post I am going to be vulnerable, so I am asking you to read this without a spirit of judgment. I hope many of you can try to relate. And when I talk about idols, I’m referring to anything or anyone in our lives that is more important than God. And you may think that God isn’t really that big of a deal now in your everyday life so who cares if we don’t make Him our first priority as long as He’s somewhere in the top ten? But I promise you, we weren’t created to have anyone or anything else in that top spot. Our lives will eventually feel lost and our hearts broken if we keep trying to put other people and things in God’s place, which is what this post is about.

If you would have told me a year ago what the last 12 months of my life would have looked like, I wouldn’t have believed it. The people who came in and out, the highs and lows walking with the Lord, the experiences, how I  put band-aids on wounds that weren’t healed, and even the place I am at with the people I am with now, I would’ve been shocked. Life changed up fast at different times and while some things were amazing experiences, there have been a few important lessons I learned.

One “ah-ha” moment I’ve had was about how insecure I really was even though I thought I was confident in my identity. I would tell so many other people not to be insecure and than there I would find myself doubting any good thing I ever did half the time and comparing myself to everyone else smarter, prettier, and cooler then me. Then during my senior year, I went against my own “no dating” rule and dated a guy (lesson #1 – when you and God make a deal you aren’t going to do something, DON’T do it!).  I was caught off guard and things just happened so fast, I didn’t give myself much time to pray and see if this was part of His plan, plus it felt nice to have a Christian guy show that much interest in me so I assumed that had to be God, right? While I won’t go into details, we broke up over the summer before heading off to college and that break-up was eye-opening. I realized without even noticing that I became very dependent on him for my self-worth. Sure, I have fun memories, but I lost myself in that relationship. I was warned about the way it was changing me but to me it wasn’t evident. I made excuses that sounded good at the time, but now I see things very differently. I learned it’s so important to listen to the people closest to us when they see things in us we don’t. When we are so close up in certain situations, it can be very hard to see the big picture. Just like horses that race, they have blinders on to just look straight ahead and in some situations we tend to put the same kind of blinders on to just focus on what we put right in front of us instead of seeing the reality all around us. Once I learned to take off the blinders, I decided I didn’t want to limit what God has planned for me and I don’t have to chase what He’s got for me either; I’m just going to try my best now to rest in His promises without forcing anything.

So I really started to ask myself the hard questions in the last few months and maybe some of you can relate, too; why did I allow my identity to be so wrapped up to the point of changing who I was to make other people happy? Why was I trying so hard to prove my worth? And why do I allow other people to have so much control over my emotions (well technically my mom asked me that one)? So the big question I am trying to answer now is, how do we all avoid doing this same thing in the future?

I’ve found out the simple answer to that is to put ALL our faith, hope and joy in The Lord. I’ve actually known that for a long time but it was not easy for me to actually do. I would stop with the old behaviors and bad habits and I changed when I had a motive, but not because I had respect for myself or because I was admitting that what I was doing was bad. I tried to do it in my own strength with the wrong motives, never fully relying on God and not completely dealing with old wounds (the clothes I stuffed under the bed).  When my last break-up occurred and he wasn’t around anymore to be my comfort and “go to”, I finally thought to myself “What am I doing? Who am I living to please? A guy or the Man who died on the cross so that I could live in total freedom to live for Him?”

I was shocked as I unpacked some more “ah ha” moments realizing that my motives to live a Christian lifestyle were pretty messed up off and on throughout my life. How many times do we find ourselves striving for positive outcomes, but having the most negative or toxic motives? It’s like when some people work their butts off and get money for making Honor Roll. While that’s an awesome outcome, would they work that hard if there was no reward? Some people might, but many would only put the work in for the money at the end, not because working hard is the right thing to do.

So this was me off and on through the years, working hard on my relationship with The Lord but sometimes for the wrong reasons. I was making  something else my priority instead of God so even though there were times that things looked great on the surface, as you can imagine that unhealthy behavior showed, especially within my last relationship.  Looking back I can see now my motive from the start was to win his heart with my Godly girl self, but by doing that I made him an idol and put him before my relationship with The Lord. And listen, I loved prayer, worshiping and reading God’s Word much of this time, it didn’t feel like a burden or fake to me, I thought I was being sincere. It’s just that as this relationship was ending, God shined a light on my distraction and wrong motives in some of this stuff I was doing.  Over the summer, I realized a few things I hadn’t considered before, my heart was healed in that process and since then I started to genuinely deepen my relationship with The Lord because I wanted to, not because I was trying to impress anyone. I became more purposeful in who I chose to spend time with and I began to really see things differently.  And it makes sense why God wants us to put Him first, no human is created to fill that role. When trials came, I leaned into Him for everything and was so glad I did because of situations I’ve had to work through in this last season. And how awesome is it that we are loved by The Creator of the universe and we don’t have to live to please anyone but Him! It has really helped me to see myself differently and value myself more.

So here I am in this place now of not being pursued or pursing anyone. To be totally honest, there are times I struggle with that, I’m not the most patient person and that’s one thing God is teaching me big time. And there is also something so freeing in knowing I have no one to try to impress, I don’t have to keep checking my phone and my heart isn’t in danger of being broken because of a relationship I’m not ready for. Plus I want to be able to clearly hear from The Lord about my future plans next year without trying to figure out how a boyfriend works into all that. It’s not like I don’t want to have healthy connections and solid friendships, but I’m trusting God’s plans and timing in my life like I never have before.  And that leads me to part two of this blog…coming soon! 🙂

Since starting my program, I’m really pressing into The Lord and have found so much peace and comfort in His Fatherly and abundant love, even when I’ve had to deal with rejection. I choose to trust Him with everything. God knew what I needed as I started this program and He knows what’s best for you, too. Even when things don’t go the way we thought they would, He has a better plan for us. I have such overwhelming appreciation and love for the One who first loved me.

The second part of this post will come soon, but I just hope you’ll think about this stuff and look at your own life, and if there’s anything or anyone you have been putting before God as an idol. Have you been getting gut checks from God that your priorities are not super healthy? What’s your foundation and peace based on? I can promise you one thing for sure, if your foundation is not God, whatever it is instead of Him will not bring you joy and peace forever.

Praying for everyone who reads this, that you can have a few “ah ha” moments of your own and realize that God loves you a lot! xoxo



how to forgive even if no apology was given

When I asked for blog post ideas someone suggested “how to forgive.” I thought that sounded like a good topic because we can all say we have been done wrong by someone, but on the flip side of this, I think we can admit we have also found ourselves doing people wrong.

That thought doesn’t feel great. “ME doing someone else wrong???”

But as much as we don’t like to admit it, most times when there is conflict, both sides play a part in it. It may be hard to see it that way if you’re the person who got hurt, but it’s also a humbling realization that can actually bring comfort and help with future conflict. Instead of pointing fingers, we could actually take responsibility for our actions to understand the other person or situation better. We tend to go into a defensive or victim mindset, whether we have been done wrong or are doing wrong. It’s human instinct when we get hurt to think we’re right and the other person involved is wrong. So how do we retrain our brains to look at the part we played in it, instead of just pointing fingers? And how do we get over situations where we feel like we are the only one trying to move towards a positive outcome?

Whether it’s a broken heart, friendships that die off, fights with parents or siblings, conflict with a teacher or boss, the list of hurts we can experience in life is long. It could be something as simple as a friend you trusted sharing your secrets or as big as a parent having an affair. Hurt is hurt, it comes in all shapes and sizes, and there is always something to be mourned in situations of loss. But for our own well-being, we have to know when enough is enough and how to move on from the situation or even the person.

This is a tricky subject to maneuver because every loss, break up and disappointment has to be grieved. The hurt caused by rejection is very real. The human body was not designed to undergo rejection, so that’s why when we do feel this horrible pain of heartbreak it hurts SO BAD. God didn’t create us with the intention of us feeling rejection. When we’ve been hurt or rejected, we need to take some time to process and every situation is so different. I do think it’s up to us how long it takes to get over the hurt. Yes, I understand people grieve differently and with unique circumstances, but when it comes down to it, we have to keep in mind: yes this hurts, this hurts me a lot in this point in time, but I WILL NOT feel like this forever.

So, how do we forgive someone when there is no apology given? Let me expand on this, how do we move on from a situation or person when the issue has been ignored or no wrong is acknowledged? I have been on both sides of this spectrum from being the person who didn’t receive a genuine apology, to being the heartless person to move on without giving one, or taking a really lonnnnngggg time to give one. So I want to look at both sides since I think most of us can relate to being there. And before I start, if anyone reading this feels as if I have done them wrong or hurt them and it seemed like I didn’t care, I just want to apologize right here. I’ve learned that honest communication is so important and at this point if I need to be told that I did something hurtful and glossed over it, please reach out to me!

So I’m going to be honest here and talk about when I was the person not giving the apology or at least the right apology when it was due. Don’t be this person! Even though I ended up genuinely sorry a year or so too late, it was a rough process of dealing with the consequences of that. I decided to put my selfish feelings and my immature actions before another person and it hurt them. Of course I knew I messed up and I said sorry what feels like millions of times, but it wasn’t until awhile after that when I truly realized how much in the wrong I was and how even though back then my selfish choice “helped” me do the things I wanted to do, that freedom I ended up with caused behavior that actually screwed me over. I look back at that time feeling like I was a different person and I piss myself off if I think about it. I feel like my sorry meant nothing, because I was too busy justifying my actions. I said my shallow “sorry” and took myself out of the situation, only to regret what I had done and wishing I had a chance to do it all over again. Now this is not me saying every time you don’t get a sincere apology this is what the other person is going through, because it’s not. People can be very heartless and not ever have that “come to Jesus moment” where they realize how awful they acted and what it cost them. That’s something they may or may not ever realize but it’s a burden that they will have to carry because you will be secure in who you are and at peace with the whole circumstance.

So onto the hard part, being the one who doesn’t get an apology or at least a sincere apology that’s meaningful, not forced or said out of obligation. Sometimes that’s worse than not even getting an apology at all because then you constantly think and dwell on this person’s capability to actually mean what they said and if their actions back it up. Because when we say we’re sorry, that means we don’t or at least try not to do the same hurtful thing again.

So how to we deal with one-sided closure? The first thing I’ve done is pray, then write down everything I could think of that I had done wrong in the whole circumstance. So for example, if you were in a relationship and maybe you and this girl struggled to stay pure, you write down the fact that you did not honor her or treat her as your sister in Christ, and that could be part of the downfall. Maybe your friend shared private stuff you told her to other people but you also knew that she was gossipy so trusting her probably wasn’t a great idea in the first place. There are so many other examples I could use, but write down the part you played and maybe if you really aren’t at fault, at least write down the things you would have done differently. Then if you’re comfortable with someone trustworthy, find a friend or parent, or mentor you can talk it through with, and just get somewhere quiet and pray about it, God is truly the best listener there is. As you work on this list, please don’t start to become regretful or feel bad about yourself. Nobody is perfect so use this as a tool to learn from the mistakes made on YOUR END, not the other person’s. Look through your list and try to pick out a cycle or similar concept through where you’ve gone wrong. Maybe it’s lying or maybe you always tried to take control or maybe you weren’t vulnerable and didn’t let anyone in when it was appropriate. Start to pinpoint the places in your life at the moment where you can practice fixing these traits and tell someone close to you who can hold you accountable to work on these specific issues that led to conflict. As you start to do this you will find yourself starting to really work on being more aware of your strengths and weaknesses and even sometimes you will start to see much more clearly about the whole situation.

Maybe you’ll see that despite the pain you are feeling, there is an apology owed on your part as well. Where there are a few cases that the hurt you experienced had NOTHING to do with your actions, most cases you played a part in your own heartbreak or disappointment, either from not listening to trusted advice or not noticing red flags or not reaching out for help earlier on, or trying to force something…regret is a tough pill to swallow, but I am telling you becoming better from the situation instead of bitter will help accelerate the healing process of this pain.

I’m sharing this because I’ve been on both sides and doing these things has worked for me so my heart doesn’t get hard. There still may be times where we struggle looking for reasons to justify our hurt and feeling overwhelmed by the conflict. This is because the devil, who hates God, is out to kill, steal and destroy and when he sees a weakness in our lives, he will take that and use it against us every chance he gets. So just like athletes getting hurt, they might be out for a little bit of the season, while they not only work the hurt muscle back into a healthy state, but sometimes they will make it stronger than it was before to help any further  injury to it. It’s like when we are heartbroken, we can choose to work on the things we allowed that could have led to the hurt so the next time we go into a relationship or friendship or responsibility, we are much more aware of our strengths and our weakness. And just like when an athlete is injured, once that muscle gets injured the first time sometimes it can still cause pain throughout the recovery process, not as much as the first time when it became injured but maybe a little pain just enough to knock us down a minute or wear us out. Like in the process of not receiving that sincere apology, the devil will pop a thought in our heads or a memory will be triggered or we see something that will cause us to feel that familiar pain. Here’s the good news. It’s what we decide to do with those thoughts and actions that dictate our next move. Just like an athlete we can ignore the soreness and choose to continue strengthening this “muscle” so there will come a day when it’s completely healed, so will those wounds in our hearts be completely healed. Bottom line: you are the only one able to control what thoughts you dwell on and which ones don’t belong in your mind.

So if there’s one thing you take away please hear this, we all cause hurt and get hurt at some point, but we can choose what to do with it. Forgiveness is powerful. We can control how we react and learn from conflicts so we do better next time. You are the only person who decides when you move on or not. Like the saying goes, get BETTER not BITTER. Okay so just know you’re awesome! If you need someone to pray for you or just listen, as always slide into my dmsssssss and let me know wassupppp. FYI – in the program I’m in now, I can only view my Insta DMs on Sundays but I’m on Twitter/Facebook throughout the week so feel free to message me there for a quicker response! xoxo

being okay

First off,  I’m sorry I have been kinda bad at posting this summer, but I am gonna be honest with you, this season I’ve been walking through the last few months has been  HARD.  There have been sleepless nights and long days filled with disappointment, lots of tears and tough lessons learned the hard way. Through this whole time I have realized some things that I’m ready to share, but the main reason I am writing this is to let you know- it’s okay to not always be okay so I want to be vulnerable with you and share my thoughts and I’m coming from a place of still not quite being okay yet myself, but I know I will be! If it’s a little bit of a ramble I’ll apologize now!

So what do I mean by “not okay”?  When I say this I’m talking about when you don’t feel like doing stuff or you cry a little more than usual or questioning how you got to where you are and why you missed the warning signs. It’s even okay to not want to talk to certain people, especially people who are careless and can trigger you into feeling even worse. Listen, there is a difference between isolation and distance. Isolation involves you completely cutting yourself off from the world, not talking to anyone and feeling like a victim. Isolation usually leads to being in such a funk and feeling hopeless. Whereas with distance, you take some time off from certain activities or going out with certain friends and focus on spending time with just a few people you know you can trust while keeping others at a distance.  Not everyone is safe so choose who you spend your time with even more carefully during these tough times. This is a concept I have always been aware of and I’ve been trying to work on because isolation is unhealthy, but distance can be the thing your soul needs in order to heal.

Another big aspect of moving from not okay to okay is being able to talk over and process how you feel. And when I say talk about it I don’t mean bashing anyone, gossiping, cussing up a storm or being that person that is so obsessed with her own pain, it’s all she talks about. Instead, talk about it with someone you can trust, journal how you feel, even write a letter but never send it. Get the words out somehow, it’s such a release. I think sometimes we have a tendency to not talk about our feelings when we are hurt, because it is seen as weak, or that others will judge us, or that we are being annoying, and I am telling you guys, I have the best listener in the world, and that’s my mama. Some of you can relate like that with your own parents and maybe for others it’s a mentor, sibling, best friend, aunt/uncle, you name it, those are your “go to” people. Make sure they are trustworthy, and also make sure they are people who will encourage you to heal and help you move on from this season. And if the pain you are feeling is because someone hurt you, remember nobody is perfect so be careful of just having bashing sessions because honestly, it doesn’t help. Forgiving, choosing joy and praying are what will help you move on faster. Leave the past in the past and learn from it.

During this season, I will also encourage you to communicate with others but if it is one-sided on your part, you have to know when to stop. Know the difference between people who just tolerate you and those who genuinely care. You can’t force someone to be in your life if they don’t want to be, it’s their choice. The second we realize how accepted we are by our Father in Heaven and that we have no control over anyone but ourselves, is the moment we walk in freedom.  And as long as we can look in the mirror at the end of the year with no regrets (and be honest about it), then we can rest knowing that we tried our best.

One other big issue with these not okay seasons is trying not to focus on the negative but to also know what is reality and accept the truth. I think as humans, and me for sure, I tend to only see the good in people and situations until I’ve finally been hurt multiple times. The red flags would be flying but I ignored them. Friends and family can warn me, but for some reason I only saw potential instead of reality. I spent time very lost and misled in middle and high school which caused me to make some bad choices. I’m not alone, if you even look at people who have been in abusive relationships, they could be abused so many times but they hang on to a false hope or old happy memories and stay in that relationship or lifestyle they know they should be running from. I think I have gotten better with being more purposeful with who I spend my time with (and that has become a very small circle which is OK).  I want to be with people who have my back, want to help me grow as a person and become a better follower of Christ and vice versa!

On a practical note, I found it very helpful to make a list of issues in the situation making me feel not okay. At first when hearing this idea I was slightly taken back and had even questioned the idea just because I had thought, “Wait, if God wants me focusing on the positive and doesn’t want me judging or bashing on another person, how does this help anything?” But as I started to sit down at my computer and write a list, I started to quickly realize, I was not bashing in any shape or form, instead I was bringing to light some of the things that I made excuses for and had been hidden “in the darkness” for sooo long. As I typed this list out it brought such a freedom and just full on release from these things or times that had hurt me. I am now VERY thankful that God allowed these circumstances and even though it hurt, I realized it’s part of His perfect plan for me!

Being not okay hurts. It does. We’ve all been here. It doesn’t feel good to not feel good. Hurt, rejection and disappointment are real things. But God deosn’t make us feel this way, circumstances and other people do (and sometimes it’s self-inflicted too). He never intended for rejection, that is why when we are heartbroken it hurts so much.  God does allow these things to happen for a reason and He promises that He will work all things together for our good.  Just don’t overthink and try to make sense of things or else you will constantly be stuck.

I also wanted to write this to help you guys. Don’t feel stuck, and on the opposite side of that, please help others become unstuck! Check in and be that trustworthy friend to someone in their time of need, not just when it’s convenient or fun. Life can really hurt sometimes and I want you to know you’re not alone. And if anything comes from the seasons of confusion and disappointment, let me encourage you that God has such a beautiful plan for your life, you have no clue how much He loves and adores you. The best is yet to come! AHHHH GOD IS GOOD Y’ALL. Okay please dm me or email me, I’ll gladly talk and pray for you! xoxo


Fear is something I have struggled with off and on my whole life.

I’m not sure why it started, but even from a young age I was afraid of a bunch of things.

We weren’t allowed to watch horror movies growing up but I could barely even watch the “normal” Super Hero movies until about eighth grade (lol no joke, I’d have my eyes covered through half of it). I struggled sleeping alone and I was scared of roller coasters. My fear of people rejecting me and me not being good enough were the worst fears; I mean the list goes on and on.

I think many of us can admit that fear has frozen us in our tracks from doing things that we know we should have done. I almost didn’t go to Saint Lucia last year because I was afraid, and I think I have said multiple times, that missions trip saved my life and made me so unbelievably thankful for everything. I sometimes wonder what my life would look like now if I didn’t go on that trip. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is today. But that doesn’t mean that old familiar fear doesn’t sometimes come knocking.

So how do we learn not to let fear run our lives? And how can we tell the difference between fear, genuine concern and when to use common sense or take a risk?

As I’ve been writing this, I am starting to think of things associated with fear and how it can be recognized in our everyday lives. Where does fear start? Many times I find anxiety is a form of fear and it starts in our own heads. If you have anxiety being around large groups of people, isn’t that usually fear that you are not going to say or do the right thing or that they won’t accept you? Those anxious thoughts in our heads…where do they come from and why do we listen?

Anxiety is just fear wearing a mask. And we let it paralyze us without even realizing it.

Recently I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks as I was driving home. I saw a shooting star so I started to make a wish, like most of us would, then I thought… why am I making a wish? Like do I really think this will come true? And then I thought, what is stopping me from pursing that wish myself and making it a reality? And the answer to that question was obvious to me in that moment.

Fear of failure.

But WHY do we think this way? What is there to lose? As I drove I realized something….if I am following after my Creator and doing what He has called me to do, am I ever really failing or am I just “failing” at what the world’s standards are?

I think sometimes I tend to forget that God doesn’t have the same values that we do here on Earth. At the end of our lives, He doesn’t say, “Nope, I see you only made $20,000 a year and didn’t drive a Jeep so I’m sorry you can’t stay here in Heaven.” If He judged our worth the way society judges our worth, I think a lot of us would be in trouble. But instead He looks at our intentions and our hearts. He loves us despite our mistakes and

He never leaves us. So just remember this thought next time you want to go out of your comfort zone to do something good or if God puts dreams in your heart, He sees your motives and if you’re following after Him, trusting He is a big and faithful God that allows what’s best for you, He will provide.

So here’s one last thought. How can we tell the difference between fear and legitimate concerns? I think most of the time it comes down to research, common sense and prayer.

Like obviously if you don’t think it’s a good idea to jump of a high cliff, that isn’t being fearful, that’s being smart. But get your facts straight before you rule out anything. If you jump off that high cliff with a bungee cord or onto something soft below, why not jump? We have a habit as humans to sometimes use our own experiences to make decisions without looking at the big picture.

Being “afraid” seems like it’s just part of our human nature but God does not want us to live like this. If you truly accept Jesus into your heart and allow His peace to overwhelm you then will find your “worst fears” and being afraid will vanish. Even if your situation feels scary know that God is bigger and His promises can get you through those times. If you’re not sure what all that means, please reach out to me so I can explain a little more!

It’s super important not to give in to fear, but instead realize we have God on our side, who made this whole planet and already won the battle over fear, sickness and sin through His son Jesus! He loves you and has His millions of angels surrounding you with safety every second!

So I challenge you to face a fear…. go in the ocean, apply for that job, talk to that person, try out for that team, sign up for that missions trip, go after your dreams and don’t numb yourself with things like drinking and drugs to make yourself feel better in the moment. Instead of letting fear control you, start seeing life for the adventure that it is, because God has put some awesome gifts and beautiful things inside you that you shouldn’t be afraid to share with the world!

Don’t be afraid to contact me and tell me what fears you faced this week, and/or if I can pray for you, because remember fear is a liar and has nothing on you! Love y’all! Xoxo

why do bad things happen to good people

I’ve seen some of the sweetest people I know suffering from an illness, close friends who are loyal get used and played countless times and people who have worked so hard to go after their dreams lose almost everything.  I’ve struggled to wrap my brain around how the nicest people could end up having such bad things happen to them.  I wondered how could God let all these things happen?

Even as I sit here writing this I can think of times where I personally bawled my eyes out lying on my bathroom floor asking God why we have to suffer. From being so sick I could hardly stand or from having my heart shattered into a million pieces or having a close friend stab me in the back, all I could think of is “God what did I do to deserve this?”

When I look back on those times I’ve struggled the most, I’ve come to the conclusion that He was there with me through all those hard times and He will always be there for us in the future. And here is where I know I may lose some of you but hear me out. I think the easiest way to wrap our limited brains around this HUGE concept of God always being with us is through example.

Now I don’t want this to sound like I am saying we deserve the hard times we’ve been through, so please do not make that your take away.  Some of the suffering we go through in life has nothing to do with any choices we make, it’s just part of being human. But sometimes the pain we go through is unintentionally self-inflicted. Now with that being said, we all make mistakes and I am a very VERY firm believer that good can still come from our bad choices even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

So for my first example, let’s look at Adam and Eve and the first sin to ever happen. There are so many important details to be taken from this situation, and verses that stick out to me, but I think the best verse that is pertaining to this subject is Genesis 3:21…

“And the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them.”

Now you’re probably like, “Courtney, what the heck? This is a scripture on how God clothed them? How is this relevant?”

But I think this verse means a lot more than just God providing clothing for Adam and Eve. Think about the timing. God said this to them AFTER they just committed THE sin that would affect all of mankind forever and ever, but God still continued to take care of them. In fact, He also got them prepared for their next step and the consequences they would now have to face for the rest of time.

Again I am not saying that the bad things that happen to you are earned, on occasion we may be the victims of someone else’s bad choices or just circumstances that happen in life, but other times, we actually set ourselves up for our own failure. But here’s the amazing part, God is with us through it all!! And if we happen to cause pain and ask God to forgive us, He will and He will help us move on from our mistakes. He doesn’t give up on us! Let me give you another an example…

So let’s say you guys and girls have been talking to someone for awhile, someone you start to really like, he or she really likes you back so you decide to take it to the next level. You post the cute couple pics on social media, declare your love for each other then proceed to give that person something only your future spouse should receive. You now have a soul tie with this person, which is something only your spouse should have (soul ties are formed any time and every time there is intimacy in a relationship).
Then let’s say a few months later, you realize he or she has been talking to someone else and decides that you two together just aren’t what they want anymore. You’re devastated and don’t know what to do. You may wonder why this bad thing happened to you. You thought that this person was “the one.”  Terri Savel wrote this about soul ties: You may have ended a physically intimate relationship months ago, but you still feel a pull toward that person. Why? Because of soul ties. Soul ties prevent us from moving on to new relationships, even the ones God may be leading us into. You can read more about how to break these soul ties here.

I know a lot of friends who have gone through this exact situation. Watching their hearts being shattered through this, and still suffering from memories sometimes popping up that hurts them and triggers more bad choices. Although this is a very common scenario in today’s society, it doesn’t make it okay. Having any kind of sex before marriage is outside of God’s will and commandments and if you break those, He can’t bless that relationship. Some people could be like “screw God, I don’t need His blessings” but then years later wonder why they are confused, alone, divorced or struggle trying to love their husband or wife. Again, we are never too far away from God’s forgiveness and blessings so if this is a place you find yourself in, just be honest. Everything we go through, whether self-inflicted or not, can have some kind of good come from it.

Please hear me out on this. This is a tough topic and I am NOT trying to condemn or hurt anyone’s feelings but this is real life and sometimes we don’t understand why things happen and how we may have been able to avoid them. I am standing right next to you in some of these areas of self-inflicted pain.

But another thing that comes to mind when discussing bad stuff happening to us is when people have close friends and family die. So here’s my answer to why does this stuff happen…I don’t really know. I think some of it has to do with the fact that we live in a fallen imperfect world. There is no good way to explain why there isn’t a cure for cancer, why kids are abused or why people die in car accidents but I do know that the devil is real and his only goals are to kill, steal from and destroy God’s children, US! He won’t stop till he’s done with that mission. But I believe my Bible that says Jesus died for our sins and that God has placed things like the cures to fatal illnesses and the ability to help people in need inside each one of us, we just have to dig deep and find it in ourselves.

Overall, I think the best way to summarize this topic is, (I know this sounds cliché but y’all it’s so true), is that God allows us to have free will and He can still make good things come from tragic situations. We don’t understand how and maybe we never will, but I’m learning to try to trust God with everything, even the stuff that breaks my heart.

If you are struggling with something that has happened to you, honestly ask yourself, did I set myself up for this or is there something here for me to learn? Or ask God to show you what good could come of the situation if it’s out of your control. It’s super important to use the Bible as a reference to make sure whatever you are hearing from Him matches up with His words. God isn’t afraid of our questions. Y’all if you ask Him He will tell you. He is so good like that!

I hope no one took offense to this post, but it’s been tugging at my heart to write about for awhile. You see, I tried doing life without God being a priority and I caused and felt a lot of pain and confusion. I’m not saying everything is perfect living my life making God a priority but it sure does make me feel a lot more peace and I can make better decisions this way. Thanks for reading and please know I am praying for y’all. xoxo

fun summa ideas

Let me just start this by telling you guys that summer is my season. I’m serious. I get tan, my hair gets lighter, my clothes get cuter, and my favorite part, there’s no school! With that being said, I think it’s a very stereotypical thing to want to party and do crazy stuff all summer to “make it memorable” but like do you really want to do that stuff though? It can still be memorable without all the partying so I’m going to share ten (I think are pretty awesome) summer (sober) ideas!

1. Go hiking. Yes, I know it’s so cliché, but if you know me, you know this is one of my favorite things to do as soon as the temps go above 50! You get to take amazing photos in nature, make great memories and you even get a good workout, too! Some of my favorite places to hike are…

* Boyd Big Tree Reserve in Fishing Creek

* Mount Gretna (be sure to stop at the Jigger Shop afterwards for ice cream!)

* Ricketts Glen (the waterfalls are awesome here!)

* HACC Wildwood Nature Trail (this is a great walking and bike trail, not so much of a hike!)

* Peter’s Mountain (hiked this a few time over the years when I was at Camp Hebron)

*Kings Gap in Boiling Springs

2. Drive-in movies. You literally can’t go wrong with this. Just grab your friends, favorite snacks, chairs/blankets and take a friend’s mini-van to bring a bunch of people. This concept also works for fireworks and music festivals.

3. Beach trips for the day. This also includes Mount Gretna. I love the beach and I’m guessing at some point in my life I will live within 10 minutes of one! Until then, I like getting up early driving to Ocean City with friends and staying for the day. After we change from a day at the beach and grab boardwalk pizza, we leave to get home by midnight. It’s pretty cheap and super fun to just get away for a day! Just be sure to wear sunscreen because speaking from experience, it’s an excruciating car ride home when you fry your skin!

4. Volunteering. I know this may sound kinda of out of place in a post about “fun” summer ideas but this is a highlight of my summer. The love and joy you feel in your heart the moments after volunteering and helping others are PRICELESS. And you would be surprised how much fun you have and the great people you’ll meet. I like to go down and hand out food and water bottles in the city or help at outreach events just talking and praying for people who are going through tough times. I suggest checking with your church or family members about places you can help by collecting and handing out food or even just make little snack bags to give to people on the streets. Maybe you have an older neighbor you could mow the grass for or a new mom who could use a meal brought over. Those are the little things that make a huge impact on people’s lives.

5. Make your own tournament (or game nights on rainy days). I’m not talking about beer pong either! If you have corn hole, invite some friends and family over and do a tournament. Or a basketball hoop, soccer net, volleyball, Frisbee golf or anything just make it a competition. Play until there’s a winner and then if you can and it’s not 95 degrees outside, finish the night with a fire.

6. Take your mom, dad, sister or brother to dinner, lunch, a movie, ice cream or mini golf, etc. For me personally, my whole life my parents have always appreciated the little things and that includes just taking some time off to hang with them or just shooting them a text to grab a quick lunch. Maybe because I’m graduating I appreciate them now more than ever. So basically just take the time to show your love to your family. Don’t always be thinking you are going to miss out on “cool” stuff this summer because you choose to hang out with the fam.

7. Go on a missions trip somewhere away from home. Now I know not everyone has access to this one, just with cost and depending on your church you attend but guys, if you want to go on one… GO ON ONE! They are ridiculously rewarding and throughout the time you are there it changes your perspective completely. I can honestly say that on the two I went on, even though I was there to help others, I left changed and so grateful. If you can’t go on a missions trip (or even if you can), go on a youth retreat if your church has them. They are so much fun and there’s nothing quite like getting away from all the distractions to spend time focusing on things much more important than the material things in life. I admit there were times my parents nearly had to force me to go, but afterwards I was so glad I went.

8. Make a day to pamper yourself. Maybe this is more for the girls, I’m not sure how guys “pamper” themselves lol. Personally, I am going to have to work two jobs and a lot of hours this summer just to make bank for college, but with those few days off, I think sometimes it’s okay to just stay home and chill. You really don’t always have to be doing something adventurous to have a good time. And spending time alone isn’t a terrible thing; in fact that’s when we can get creative. Just head over to the store, grab some of your favorite ice cream, a good scrub and face mask, a little nail polish and just chill.

9. Journal. I know this isn’t like a onetime thing just for the summer but I will advise you to keep a journal and set an alarm everyday to jot something down. You will thank yourself one day when you have the opportunity to look through it later in life and see the amazing summer you had. Plus it’s also an opportunity to write down your goals, dreams and prayers and then check back in a few years to see where you ended up.

10. Last, but not least, devote this summer to loving yourself. Truly loving yourself completely and forgive yourself for past mistakes. Once again, I know this isn’t a onetime activity but it’s so important to value yourself and really grow into the person God has created you to be, which I promise you is awesome. Don’t try to compete, compromise or compare yourself because you really are unique. So I challenge you to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually this summer and do things your future self will thank you for.

So I hope you guys read this and get excited because summer is SO CLOSE Y’ALL !!!  First though,  we do still have a school year to finish so don’t give up just yet (that’s as much for me as for you!).  Enjoy these last couple weeks of school and trust that God has an amazing plan and loves every single one of us! xoxo