I’m Paranoid.

I love conspiracy theories. The Titanic? Never sank. CERN? It’s just plain creepy. I’m subscribed to more conspiracy theory podcast than anything else… Maybe I’m a nut, maybe I just see more clearly than you… lol

But in a more serious sense, I’m paranoid. Not so much that I’m crazy because the government might be spying on me (I have no idea why they are so interested in monitoring my online shopping), But sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and all of a sudden my worst sins come flooding back to mind and I just feel so much shame. I think, “What if my friends knew what I have done before?” I would be humiliated and horrified. Of course I am sure we all have some part of our past that we aren’t proud of.

Sometimes I will get so wrapped up in what I used to be/did I start to feel like that is what defines me. By human nature, defining people is what most of us do. That guy? Oh yeah he is a lawyer. Her? She is a gym-rat. Me? I’m a (insert past sin that you feel like defines you). For me, something that I feel like defines me is that I used to be hateful towards my siblings. There was such an age-gap and I reacted a lot of times with a hateful, irritated attitude.

I get so focused on what I used to be/struggle with, that I start to feel this over-whelming feeling of guilt and depression wash over. It is so strong sometimes that I can’t breathe, because there is this weight on my heart and a lump in my throat.

But I have realized that by focusing and allowing those types of thoughts to dwell in my heart and mind that I and neglecting to do the one thing that makes those feelings vanish.

I am neglecting to glorify what God has done to release me from my old sins! I am bringing the focus back to myself and what I’ve done.

There are certain things that God has declared, here are some declarations from Him, about his children.

  • I am not enslaved to what I used to be

Romans 6:6 “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

  • God does not condemn (criticize or disapprove) me. 

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

  • I am not what/who I used to be

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”

  • I am hand-picked, set apart, and blameless

Ephesians 1:4 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

Not only do all of these truths apply to me and you, but there is more. There is something that God gave us to guard our hearts when we start to think that our worth is just what we have done.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

God doesn’t give like the world does. He doesn’t give based on merit. He gives freely and fully. I don’t have to be paranoid about my old sins and what I used to be. I have the peace of God that guards my heart against that.

If you do struggle with who you are and you feel like your worth is just all your mistakes versus what little good you have in you, please know that there is something far better than yourself. You have no control over the mercy, grace, and love of God. If you feel like your heart is heavy just call out to God and pour out to Him your heart and burdens. Like John 14:27 says, God leaves you with a peace and He never takes it away. It might seem sappy and Hallmark like, but it is a real, tangible, love and peace ❤ (And seriously I’m pretty sure even God cringes at those sappy Hallmark movies sometimes too XD)

God doesn't give like the world does. He doesn't give based on merit. He gives freely and fully.

 

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Just Forget About Me

I’ve been so empty handed recently when it comes to writing. Normally, God will reveal something to me and it will click in my head and I will write a post. But lately, I haven’t had those click-y moments. What about the time when I have nothing to write? When God doesn’t show something new to me for a while?

But the truth is that every day I should have something to write about Him.

Lamentations 3:22-23 say “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Every single day, I have a million ways to bring God glory by writing about His mercy and love. Not just in writing, but by meditating on it and letting it sink deep into my heart where I dwell in it.

Psalm 77:12 “I will ponder all your work. and meditate on your mighty deeds.” (Verses 13-14 is really good to so I will include it also…) Vs.13-14 “Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.”

My favorite verse from one of my favorite hymns The Love Of God by Frederick M. Lehman reads;

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

I absolutely love that verse. If I woke up every morning with that mindset, what joy I would have! I get caught up about not having anything to write about because I’m not happy or satisfied, or because God didn’t make something click in my mind. But in reality, my happiness should not be what determines whether or not I praise God. My praise to God directly effects my happiness! I listened to a message by John Piper, and he put it so perfectly that I have to quote him.

We think that the solution is “If I could just feel better about me, better about the way I look, better about my height, my weight, my complexion, my hair, my mathematical ability. If I could just feel better about me, I’d be healed.” You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t be healed. You’d have low-level, low-grade, non-satisfying measures of contentment. You were made to see God, love God, delight in God, and be stunned by God. So I’m not here to help you feel good about yourself. I’m here to help you feel good about God, and forget about yourself and give your life away in love to others. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/when-i-dont-desire-god-part-1

I can feel so good about God that I don’t have to feel good about myself! There are so many tips and books and whatever else out there, about how to be happy with yourself. But honestly, it never works. I either become self-obsessed and prideful or depressed thinking of how I have fallen. The only way to lasting, true happiness is forgetting about myself and feeling good about God.

I might not have a click-y moment every day where God just gives me a blog post to write. I have so much more than that! I have the unmeasurable God to write about, every day!  Now does this mean I will upload a blog post every single day? To be honest probably not because I am a flawed human who gets easily distracted XD haha

But it does means that I do not have to be focused on finding happiness before I can praise God. It means that by praising God I find happiness.

I think that if you are a born again person, that deep down we both know what will truly give us happiness; sometimes we just choose to ignore and bury it.  So maybe I did have a click-y moment this week, but instead of showing me something new God just showed me something I already knew deep inside but probably needed to refresh it in my mind…. like I said, I’m easily distracted haha.

So maybe this post caused a click-y moment for you, maybe like me it showed you that maybe you don’t need a click-y moment everyday from God but just to acknowledge his glory. Either way, I hope this was a blessing! Thanks for reading!

Skincare Routine 2018 – How I Manage Acne Prone Skin

It’s been quite awhile since I have shared my skincare routine on here and since then it has changed dramatically. Over the past year I have slowly been incorporating more natural products into my routine. Actually, most of the stuff I use is natural except for a few things that I have not found replacements for. I hope this helps you and maybe you will find a few things you would like to try for yourself! For reference, my skin is acne prone, sensitive, and somewhat oily. It scars very easily and my pores are easily clogged as well.

Now, on to the fun stuff!

Step One- Cleanse

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In the morning and at night I cleanse with my LUSH Fresh Farmacy facial bar. This works miracles!!! If you are familiar with Lush, it is a natural skincare company that makes products using fresh ingredients. This has chamomile which soothes my skin and tea tree which helps prevent acne. My skin is super sensitive so this cleans it off without being irritating it. I use a facial scrubby thing (I have no idea what this is called!) If you’re skin is too sensitive for exfoliators, but face wash alone isn’t enough, I seriously beg you to try one of these! They are super cheap on Amazon or even at Walmart. Using this gets all the gunk out from inside my pores, and helps the rest of the products I use work better. If you don’t want to spend the money on Fresh Farmacy, I love this face wash from YesTo (It even has the facial scrubby included!). I have been using this in the shower and I love it! Also, before I wash my face I normally use a makeup remover wipe first. The Simple Micellar Water wipes are the best that I have tried!

Step Two- Tone

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After I wash my face I always use witch hazel. I started using witch hazel to help with enlarged pores and excess oil but the more I used it, the more I realized how it helped with so much more. I use the Thayer’s Witch Hazel with Rose. This is a lot more gentle than 100% witch hazel (I went through 2 bottles of 100% witch hazel before switching to Thayer’s). It has aloe which helps heal, calm, and protect your skin, while the rose helps soothe and soften. Honestly, I used to think toner was a waste of time and money but since using this, I realize what a big difference it can make! I just take some on a cotton pad and pretty much drench my face and neck in it after cleansing morning and night!

Step Three- Moisturize

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So I know this is excessive but I have 2 different moisturizers.. One for morning and one for night. Because my skin gets oily during the day I have to use a more light weight moisturizer, and at night I like to use an oil because they are so good for your skin! I have been using the Skin Laundry Essential Daily Moisturizer all spring and summer and I am seriously obsessed with it. It makes my face feel super soft and somehow bouncy ( I guess you would call that supple?? lol).  At $30 this is the most pricey part of my skincare routine. I am willing to buy it though since it does last me at least 4 months, and makes such a big difference. It works great with any foundation, doesn’t add oil to my face, and doesn’t break me out.

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At night I use the DermaE Radiant Glow Oil. This is an all natural face oil made by SunkissAlba on YouTube. I have tried a ton of face oils (high and low end) and this is my favorite. This also doubles as my eye moisturizer, because of that I don’t have an eye cream (If I were keep one on hand always, it would be the Origins Ginzeng Eye Cream).

Step Three – Treatment

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So I have two more products that I use. Like I said before, my skin scars super easily. And they last for ever 😦 Vitamin C is great for scarring but most serums I have tried break me out. It was pretty much a vicious cycle of breaking out, clearing up, scarring, and then breaking out again. The only Vitamin C serum that I have noticed results with, while not breaking me out is the DermaE Vitamin C Serum. My skin has cleared up dramatically since using it. I use this every single night after toning, and before I use my face oil.

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Whenever I do get acne I try to fight it before it gets inflamed. Frankincense essential oil is great for this but I personally prefer the Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick. This is all natural with mainly essential oils. It works great without over drying my skin. I have gone through two of these.

Step Four – Tumeric

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So the last, but pretty effective product is Tumeric. I take Tumeric every. single. day. It is insaaannneee what a difference it makes! If you have acne prone, inflamed skin, I seriously encourage you to try taking Tumeric! If I go a couple days without taking it, I notice that my skin starts to break out again. I won’t type out all the things that it is good for, but it is anti-inflammatory which helps with hormonal acne (which is the literal worst kind :/ ).  Take Tumeric,and see all your problems go away (Not really lol).

And that is it! I have used these products since around April and I have never had more clear skin (since I was 12 at least lol). I’m sure a lot of it has to do with becoming older, but I do have very acne prone skin, and I notice that whenever I let up using any of these things/methods, I start to break out more. I hope this helps! To end this I’m going to share some pictures of my skin now. I don’t have any of when my skin was super bad but just know… that it was lol.

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It Doesn’t Stop After Marriage

A few weeks ago during Valentine’s Day I noticed so many Instagram post geared towards young women who are single. All of these posts encouraged them to keep waiting, trust God, be patient, don’t settle… which is great and all but looking on those posts now, as a married women, I see flaws.

I don’t mean to be cynical, but I feel like they centered your attention on a guy rather than God.

As a teenager I craved attention from guys. I hope I was not alone in that. I felt incomplete if someone didn’t find me attractive, funny, pretty, cool… I had to have attention. I always assumed in the back of my mind that once I got married, that need would be gone. And for awhile it was! I have Tj, he gives me attention and makes me feel special. But eventually, that feeling wears off and it’s not enough. I go back to the same place I used to go for attention, other people.

I think more importantly than learning to wait on God for a guy, I think young women should learn how to satisfy that craving for attention not with guys, but with God. Because that need for attention doesn’t just go away after getting married. The sooner you learn how to deal with it, the happier you will be in the future.

So here are two tips from a girl who did get married, still craves attention, and has learned from scripture how to overcome it.

1: Show Attention To Others

Whenever my mind is focused inward I become depressed, dissatisfied, and ungrateful. By looking outward, your focus isn’t on your shortcomings and flaws. You don’t need reassurance from someone else when you aren’t focusing on yourself!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, you who are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one anither, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

2: Focus On What Cannot Be Seen

I’ve noticed the more time I pay attention to my hair, makeup, and clothes the worse I feel about myself, and the more I need approval from others. When you start to focus on the inside, what really gives beauty, the more you become at peace with what you look like.

Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.”

Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

One last verse that has helped me with this is Psalm 1:1-4. Instead of being tossed around by other people’s opinions and your need for attention, be strong and find fulfilling delight in God.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the lae of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does now wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

The Reaching Tide

My sand I used to build upon, is now slowing melting down. Back into the sea it’s from, as the waves reach higher ground.

I call for help as I panic, grasping at melting sand, the one who controls the waves is near but where is His mighty hand?

Does He watch as I cry out for help? He has power over the sea, yet still the waves come reaching up, they soon even grasp at me.

The more I try to salvage, the stronger the tide starts to rise. Now my castle is one with the sea, which stretches far beyond the horizon.

I turn to the one who gave me the sand and ask why He stood still, as all I had done melted away by the tide rising up to steal.

But he never promised to stop the waves, He never said the tide wouldn’t take. He never said I would lose all I made or that the sand wouldn’t melt away.

Life changes more often than not, nothing is here to stay. The tide rises up eager for more then quickly slinks back away.

I can expect, look forward to even, the tide rising and falling. For it’s not the castles that God will protect but the hands that struggled to build them.

The sand is so weak, finicky at best. It gets washed away by even the mention of change. But it’s my God who stands against the waves, He’s the rock on the shore seas beat upon day after day.

But steadfast and sure when the tide rises up, I can climb on the rock where the tide reaches not. Though my castles will melt and wash away to unknowns. My rock is unchanging, the everlasting stone.

The tide can grasp and reach it’s highest, it may splash me with fear and doubt, but I look down at where my feet lay and know I have nothing to worry about.

My Blistering Heart

Whenever I cook something new I almost always burn something. Whether it be my self or the food, something gets burned….. (my poor hungry husband).One time I was cooking with both front burners on, I forgot about it and laid my hand on the hot burner. I immediately ran in under cold water. In an instant of pain I ran towards immediate relief. For something to just numb the pain and make it bearable. And even though it provided that, it was fleeting.

The rest of the day I walked around the house with my hand submerged in a cup of cold water and ice. But once the ice melted the pain came right back. After awhile the cup became obnoxious because it was constantly hindering me from doing simple things I enjoy doing. I couldn’t function normally with it.

Instead of dealing with my pain, I just distracted my self from it.

April was a tough month for me. And it seems like ever since then, I have been soaking my heart in a cup of water, trying to numb the pain. Sure my distractions provided instant relief and numbed my pain, but it just kept coming back after those distractions vanished, and once you take your hand out of that cold water the pain feels even worse than before.

My distractions left my heart feeling numb and blistered. My spiritual life became unfunctionable because of what I was carrying around with me.

I chose distractions instead of healing because healing takes time.. it isn’t immediate or painless.

“We get confused when suffering comes when we think God is more committed to our comfort than He is to our sanctification.” – Jackie Hill Perry

I have a scar on my hand from cooking that day, I think I might have one on my heart from April. Though it’s ugly and brings painful memories, it reminds me of healing. That God is sovereign. This year has changed my view of God through the pain He put me through I now see how loving He is.

If you have been burned, don’t be like me and distract yourself from the pain, because in that process you’ll miss out seeing the blessings.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Because Things Can’t Satisfy

I love to online shop. I guess you could call it a hobby of mine. But I never buy anything that I need, it is always impulse buys. Like a cute t-shirt, or a really cool notebook, and a lot of makeup that some stranger on YouTube told me I couldn’t live without.

It is just exciting to me, the thrill of online shopping. You find what you want, look around for the best deals, maybe find free shipping (which is better than winning the lottery), and then finally receive that shipping confirmation e-mail! The best part about online shopping though, is no people!!! I don’t have to worry about pushy salesmen or rude cashiers!!

But the problem is, online shopping (no matter how good of a deal or cute of a t-shirt) is a sin in my life (I was starting to type crutch but decided to call it for what it is). It is a vicious cycle of folly. Because things are just things. They lose their value, their use, their excitement. More often than not, 20 minutes after ordering something online I have already found something else I just can’t live without. It is materialism in it’s rawest form.

So many times in Scripture we are warned about greed, lust, and discontentment. The very heart of materialism (at least in my life) is discontentment.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

Philippians 4:13 always gets used for sporting events or something challenging. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” What many people neglect to do is actually read the rest of that passage… The verse before it gives it all new meaning

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Paul isn’t saying he can win every ball game or ace every test through Christ who strengthens him. He is saying that through Christ strengthening him, he can be content in every circumstance. The plenty and the hunger, the abundance and the need. He can be brought low, and he can abound…. Through Christ.

My problem with materialism is that things can’t fulfill me like Christ can. If I buy every single thing I could want right now.. I will still be wanting more. I have a thirst that cannot be quenched with stuff, only Christ. And I’m not saying that if I set my focus on Christ that I won’t ever want to buy anything else… but it will seem less trivial.

My mom tagged me in a post on Facebook yesterday, it was a YouTube video of a missionaries wife in Uganda, talking about contentment, money, and things. It really spoke to my heart and made me decide to quit ignoring my materialism and just admit it as a sin. I really encourage you to watch her!

 

Anyways, that video really just helped put things in perspective for me. I know that if this blog post doesn’t help, that video definitely will!

In Love, Not Condemnation

At the cross
It all changed
At the cross
I found grace
His mercy washed over my soul
I could not resist
I could not say no
It drew me in like the shore to the sea
It pulled at my soul and overcame me
My eyes were opened
I realized my sin
But he revealed it in love
Not condemnation
Because of his love he gave me a glimpse
Of how I was stained with filth and contempt
Disgusted was I embarrassed and shamed
I felt so exposed see what I became
But instead of letting walk still in shame
He lifted me up
Then dusted me off
Imputed his grace
And called me his child

I’m Insignificant… And I Love It

I love the stars. I love staring at the night sky not only because it looks so magestic, but also because it makes me feel so small. Insignificant. Which is ironic because in any other situation, I hate that feeling. Like when I’m talking to someone and they start to ignore me, or when you can tell that someone just isn’t listening to anything you say. I don’t think anyone particularly likes to feel that way….but to me there’s that exception  of the stars. 
Psalm 8:3-4 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Whenever I look up it’s so fulfilling to feel insignificant. It’s refreshing. 

And I think it is because as christians, we get so focused on trying to “find ourselves in christ” that we neglect trying to find out about God in all His aspects.

On InstaGram I follow a lot of blogs and ministries. Every morning when I scroll through I’m flooded with quips and verses and sayings about how we are loved and significant and made in God’s image. But in reality, though all those things are virtually true, it still leaves me feeling hopeless and troubled. Because by focusing all on ourselves and our problems, we leave out the main focus, which is God himself. And without Him in the equation, it’s all meaningless. It doesn’t matter if someone tells me that I have been made by Him specifically if I don’t know who he is. If I read that I have the power to overcome through Christ it does me no good if I don’t know about Christ himself. 

The more I learn about who God is and how he operates, the smaller and more insignificant I feel. And it’s in those moments of awe towards God that I feel the most secure, loved, and treasured. 

Its in my insignificance that I feel significant to the creator of all. 

And that’s why I love the stars. They don’t lie or neglect part of the truth about God…That yes He loves and  cherishes me, but it is because God is vast and overwhelmingly gracious enough to look through my sins and scoop me up and still love me.

It is a beautiful thing to be insignificant.

Why I’m Finished Building Walls

The other day me and Tj were at home eating chips and salsa while sitting on the couch when we had some friends stop by. As they were sitting there visiting the only thing I could think of was, “How in the world can my house be so messy and I not notice it until now?”

I tried to remember the last time I cleaned the house really good besides a quick pick up at night.. it had been awhile. But honestly, I can’t keep my house clean like I would like, while working full time, while trying to be involved in church ministry, while balancing time between both sides of our family, while also spending time with Tj. It just doesn’t work out. I can plan and manuver things around to where I can fit everything into a week, but it also turns out by me doing things half-hearted. Something always gets pushed to the side. Sadly, it is normally my quiet time with God, or spending much needed time with my husband, and also laundry (which is honestly fine by me;).

It is like I am trying to build two brick walls, yet I don’t have enough bricks to finish each wall. It order to build one wall up, I had to tear the other down! It will never be completed because I am not building anything, I am just laboring in vain!

I know it is my pride that say I can do it all, and give my 100%. But I can’t.

I can’t give my 100% to my husband, my family, my job, my church family, and my responsibilities. I am an finite being, I have limitations and need a lot of caffeine to just wake up! I have to rely on the one who has no limitations, and who knows mine.

Seeing my house in disarray that night has made me reevaluate my priorities. That I need to sacrifice some things in my life. For me its less hours at work, which means less money. It means less cutting back on internet and spending it with my husband. It means getting to bed at a decent time so I won’t be half asleep during every single church service. 

I have to sacrifice some things in my life so I can enjoy the things God has blessed me with.

Jesus sacrificed His life so I could have life in Him. I can only live my life to the fullest if I sacrifice and live for Him.

I am through building walls with the same bricks and laboring in vain.

I pray that God will give me humility to accept that I can’t do my best at anything unless I rely on Him. I pray that He will give me discernment about what to commit to, and what to skip out on. I pray He gives me energy and eagerness for my church, my job, my responsibilities (maybe even laundry), my family, my marriage,and most importantly….. my walk with God.

Ecclesiastes 9:10a    “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”

Proverbs 3: 6-8     “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

I absolutely love that last verse. Healing and refreshment are exactly what I need and it all begins with humility.