Friday, February 21, 2014

A Love Letter from Jesus

With each passing week, it seems like senior year gets more and more full. With 77 days left until graduation, I'm trying to savor each and every moment. This is such a sweet season of life and I have been surrounded by the sweetest people to share it with. His blessings are endless!

My friend Valerie and I joined an "eGroup" (a bible study affiliated with Elevation Church - the App State extension), and my heart has never been so overwhelmed with such a precious group of Godly girls! It has been such joy! This past Thursday night, the lesson was about love - loving ourselves, loving others and God's love for us. At the end, we were each given a piece of paper and told to write a love letter from Jesus, saying what we think He'd say to us. It was such a powerful, reaffirming experience. How many times do we know that God is good, know what He promises us... but we don't live like we know? It's easy for forget that He loves us with a deep, passionate, everlasting love. It's easy to forget that because we have Him, we have the strength to push through the hardships of life and continue to pursue the purest form of joy that only He can provide. Writing this letter felt like I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, talking to Him face to face, hearing the promises of the Bible flow from His lips in the sweetest assurance. 

I challenge you to do this, because His deepest desire is to be close to His children. 

Mine went a little something like this....

Dear one,

My heart breaks when you doubt what I have promised to be true. Do you not know that I love you and will take care of you? Do you not know that I have big, big plans for you? Because, I do. I love you more than you could ever comprehend and I want to give you the fullest, most abundantly joyful life. Will you let me? Will you trust me?

Don't you know that you are beautiful? Your insecurities are pointless. I made you. I formed you and you are fearfully and wonderfully made in My image! The things you hate about yourself make you special. They make you different. Don't let insecurity turn you into someone you aren't. You know that real beauty comes from the heart.

I know you're overwhelmed and feel like you're getting swept away by all the exciting (but stressful) things in your life right now. But, sweet child, I am with you. I am right beside you, holding your hand, guiding you through every mountaintop and valley. The trials you are facing will make you stronger. The hurt you have experienced will make you better. 

Keep shining. I am yours and you are Mine. Rest in my arms.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Hosting my first Bridal Shower

I have always loved planning events, making pretty things and practicing hospitality. One of the joys of my senior year of college is not only being engaged myself, but having several friends who are also engaged or newly married. One of my bridesmaids, Kayla, is getting married in May and this past weekend I had the honor of throwing her very first bridal shower. It was so much fun!

Since the shower was from 10-12, we had brunch with fruit, chocolate dipped strawberries, bagels, cookies, juice and coffee with the bride's favorite creamer.
Kayla's sweet roommate, Lauren, made the delicious bridal cookies! She's so talented!
I made several pinterest-inspired banners and used streamers to decorate. Since the theme was red and cheetah print to match Kayla's apartment, there were subtle pops of cheetah everywhere!
For the front door, I made this wreath 
 For the winners of the games, I made these pretty prize bags full of chewing gum, chocolate and nail polish
 For party favors, I used these adorable cheetah print bags from Hobby Lobby
 My gift to Kayla and Jeremy was this coffee table tray with one of their engagement pictures on it!
For games, we played a "Help the Bride Write her Vows" mad libs game, a "How Well do you Know the Bride?" trivia game, and the infamous "Toilet Paper Wedding Gown" game.
Kayla and Jeremy got a lot of wonderful things for their home and it was just an overall great time! I am so thankful for the opportunity to do this for my sweet friend and can't wait to stand by her when she says "I do!"
Thank God for sweet girlfriends!

Grace like an ocean

Why is it that something as freely given as the Lord's grace is so mind-blowingly incomprehensible to us? Why do we, even as children of the Most High God reject His loving kindness and deem ourselves unworthy of the blessings He wants to bestow upon us? Grace like an ocean, the grace only the Lord can give, provides enough forgiveness for a lifetime of mistakes, enough love to heal even the most shattered heart and enough kindness to melt any heart of stone. 

Just as little streams trickle into rivers that eventually flow into the ocean, God uses even the smallest things to sustain us during the seemingly "dry" seasons of life. Despite where we are in our current circumstances, the Lord is there walking right beside us, sustaining us with His grace, compelling us to open our hearts even wider to His compassions. 

As daughters of the King, it is necessary to embrace our worth in order to have a deeply-rooted, contagious joy that spreads to others. Loving yourself because of whose you are, rather than who you are, gives a whole new meaning to the love and grace we consider ourselves worthy of, and therefore the love and grace we are able to give to others. When we begin to view Christianity as a never-ending pursuit of having a heart like His and a journey of learning to see ourselves as He sees us rather than a religion, we can truly experience grace like an ocean. 

Let that grace wash over you, dear sisters, wiping away every doubt, every fear, every insecurity. You are beautiful, you are whole, you are valuable. You were bought at a price and were fearfully and wonderfully made.