Bloom Where You Are Planted

The other day, my friend told me something that really hit me hard. She said “even when we are waiting for the next door to open in our lives, we still have to praise Jesus in the hallway”. Not gonna lie, that is something I have not been doing a great job of lately.

So far, my senior year has been super focused on what is gonna happen next. Mainly because I have to do an internship next semester, so a majority of my classes are very focused on being in the field next semester. But also because my thoughts keep asking the same question. “Claire, where are you gonna be in a year?”

It’s a question that I can’t seem to find the answer to yet. I have a few possibilties but not anything certain. I think the main reason that this question keeps coming to mind is because I know where I’m most likely not going to be. I’m not gonna be in this apartment that I am in currently. I know I won’t be going to the school I currently am (hopefully I will actually graduate but we shall see lol). So where am I going to be, if not here?

As I am continuing to try and find the next door and waiting for it to open, I’ve been unhappy with where God has planted me currently. Many of my friends have already graduated and moved away while most of my other friends are overwhelmed with school work. However, I just keep sitting here begging for God to show me His plan. For Him to reveal what the heck is going on in my life right now and for what purpose.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16

Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. – 1 Corinthians 7:20-24

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

I’ve been thinking a lot about these verses above. They remind me that it’s okay for me to not understand everything God has planned for me at the moment. Because His plans and His thoughts are wayyyyy better than mine. And it’s okay to be upset during the season you’re in. Maybe it didn’t look a lot like you thought it would. But through the suffering, we are producing perseverance, which produces our character. So while, you really may not see the big beautiful picture God is painting, He is still painting away at it. He hasn’t left you. Nor will He ever. And He is shaping you and forming you to become better than you were 3 months ago.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your way, and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

So whatever season you are in. Whatever that season looks like for you right now. Know that there is a purpose for this time. You may not know what exactly that purpose is, but He does. And His ways are always better than our ways. Make the most of this season. Grow where God has planted you.

With Love,

Claire

He Understands Your Loneliness.

Loneliness. I think we all go through those phases of loneliness. Feeling stuck. Feeling different. Feeling alone.

The thing about loneliness is that it can be haunting even when you’re not physically alone. Maybe you feel it at work, in class, in your city, in your friend group, or your family. Even when it might not look lonely on the outside, you can still feel it.

To be honest, I haven’t figured out the key to curing the feeling  of loneliness. I think it can creep up at any point if we let it. There are definitely times where things are going great for us, or where other uneasy feelings might be found. However, loneliness is just like fear or stress. It can still sneak in if we leave the door open.

But I can tell you a few things about loneliness:

1. Jesus experienced loneliness. Jesus was a perfect human being without sin. He was different from everyone else around Him. He lived in a sinful world surrounded by sinful people, including His family and close friends. Growing up, He was very different from the other kids. He probably wasn’t the cool kid everyone wanted to hang out with either. Not to mention, His siblings probably weren’t too fond of His good deeds all the time either.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. – Isaiah 53:3

2. Jesus understands our loneliness. When Jesus was on Earth, no one else around was like Him. For Jesus, the only person He knew that He could always turn to was His Father. However, when He was paying for our sin on the cross, He felt forsaken by the last person He turned to for help. He felt all alone.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15

3. You are not alone. Even Jesus, who was/is the most perfect human being to ever live, felt what you feel. You are not the only one who is struggling with this. I can bet you thousands of other people on this Earth are feeling that same uneasy weight on their shoulders too. We don’t like to show our loneliness. It’s something we hide, so we don’t seem bothered or hurt. But just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. – 2 Timothy 4:16-18

You don’t have to hide that loneliness. Talk to a friend or a family member about it. Talk to God about it. Hand it over to Him and let Him help you.

There will come a day when loneliness won’t even be on your mind anymore. It will be something that you’ll look back on and say “I remember when I felt that and now it doesn’t bother me anymore”.

With Love,

Claire

Freedom Can Be Found

There is a woman that we don’t know her name, or how old she is, or if she has any family, but we do know about her lifestyle. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years straight. She could never get better and only got worse. She probably didn’t smell that great and couldn’t go out in public that much, not to mention that she was probably an outcast in her society. Men probably didn’t want to marry “a girl like that”. And women probably were mean to her or just felt bad for her. Can you image how much shame she felt?

Some of us may can relate to the feelings that she had. Maybe, you’re seen as an outcast too or just don’t measure up to other’s expectations. Maybe, your life is filled with shame, guilt, depression, doubt, anxiety, etc. But God tells us that we are made in the image of Him.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

He doesn’t want us to be covered in any of these things. He wants you to find freedom. And this woman, who was suffering, found her freedom in Jesus Christ.

When this woman hears about Jesus and that he is in her village, she has to go see Him. She’s thinking “if I just go see Him, He will heal me”. And this is what happens:

So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” – Mark 5:24-34

I love how it says that she fell AT HIS FEET. In order for us to find our freedom, we have to move towards Jesus. We have to dive into His word and pray to Him.

This woman probably felt so terrified to go see Jesus, because of the social exposure, but she had so much faith that she left to go find Jesus. She knew that God wanted better things for her life. She didn’t want to go throughout the rest of her life living in this kind of condition. She wanted to be free of her suffering.

Maybe, right now, you are in a season of suffering or struggle. Things just aren’t looking up at all and you’re caught right in the middle of a storm. Jesus can give you freedom. You can find it. It won’t be an overnight thing, but freedom can be found in Him. However, it requires work and you have to move TOWARDS Him, not away. Anything is possible with Christ.

Love always,

Claire

Search for Significance

“I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem, I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom, and also knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” – Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

Solomon was the richest and highest person in all of Jerusalem during the time period that he lived in. Other people envied him for all the fame and wealth that he had. The man had everything he wanted, but it was all still so meaningless to him. Maybe, on the outside, he looked like he was living the best life, but Solomon wasn’t satisfied.

Sometimes, I feel like I fit in with the “other people” category in this story. I want things that other people have such as grades or fame. Maybe, you can relate. But we have to remember that even when we have those things, we still won’t be satisfied. Solomon had all he wanted and still wasn’t satisfied because the only thing that can satisfy us is Christ.

Jesus is the only one who can fulfill us. It’s pointless to try and find that fulfillment in other things. Jesus knows that we are hungry and He tells us that HE is the solution.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

Jesus sees that we are hungry. He knows that our desires are real and wants the absolute best for you. He wants you to spend your life well, but sometimes, this causes us to settle for less. Sometimes, we are searching for all the wrong things, like Solomon. We want the fame and the wealth, but Solomon knew it was all meaningless.

The Bible tells us that the only thing that will satisfy you is Christ. If we fulfill our lives with things or activities that don’t put Jesus first, then we will never be satisfied. You won’t be pleased and you will have lost more than you actually gained in those things.

Jesus came to give you life and He won’t stop looking for you until you are for Him. He is the bread of life that was broken for you. You don’t need to have this constant search for significance because it is found in the one that has saved you.

Love always,

Claire

 

Be Bold Like a Lion

Is fear stopping you from becoming the person God wants you to be? Is fear keeping you from experiencing the power of God?

Going to these questions, fear stops me sometimes. I have a fear of rejection that the people I talk to won’t like me or think I’m strange. I have let this fear stopped me from telling people about Jesus before. However, God tells us that we don’t have to fear because if you believe in Him, His spirit is always with you.

In Acts, chapter 4, there are two men that show the boldness of Christ. But before we get there, let’s talk about what’s going on before this story begins. Jesus has already been crucified and resurrected. Jesus has been taken up to heaven and has told the disciples to go and tell the all the people to the ends of the earth about what Jesus has done. In Chapter 3 of Acts, this is where the first part of the story starts.

Now, Peter and John have been going around, teaching the Israelites about the story of Jesus. During their journey, Peter and John are stopped by a beggar asking for money that cannot walk. They do not give him money, but instead this is what happens:

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. – Acts 4:6-10

The man jumps to his feet and begins to walk. He goes into the temple and everyone recognizes him and wonders how can this man walk now?? Peter then begins to explain that he did not heal the man, but by faith in the name of Jesus Christ, this man can now walk.

Now this is where things get interesting……

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. – Acts 4:1-10

Now keep in mind that this Peter that stands here and shows much boldness, is the same Peter that denied knowing Jesus, three times. He is also the same Peter that doubted Jesus when he tried to walk on the water. Peter has made some mistakes in the past, but he still shows his boldness even though he isn’t perfect.

As Christians, we need to have a desire to make a difference for the kingdom, and most of the time, that requires us to be bold. But when we let fear get in the way, we tend to want to hide. If you go to Genesis 3:6-10, God is looking for Adam and Eve. He says “Where are you?”, and Adam says “I was afraid, so I hid.”

It is so easy for us to let fear overcome us and say no to boldness. The enemy wants you to do that. He tricks us in to doing that all the time. But we need to have boldness when sharing the truth about Jesus Christ. Like I said, we need to have a desire to make a difference for the kingdom. Whether that’s inviting people that don’t know Christ to your church, or just telling people around campus about Jesus, we need to have boldness in that.

Maybe, it’s not fear that’s getting in the way for you. Maybe its doubt or shame or guilt or etc. But whatever, it is, Jesus what’s you to overcome it and find boldness.

Going back to one of the first questions I asked y’all, God wants the absolute best for you. God isn’t the same as “everybody else”. He’s not just some other person. He doesn’t want fear or doubt or shame or anything to stop you from experiencing all He has planned for you. He’s your Father and God sent His son to this Earth to die for YOUR sins because of the love He has for YOU. So, find courage through Him and let His Spirit allow you to be bold.

Love always,

Claire

Don’t get too comfortable

Remember when you first moved into your college dorm room. You took most of your things and moved into this tiny room with two beds, two desks, and a bathroom (if you were lucky). You got it the way you wanted and this was your new living area. After a while, you got use to living there, and you tried to make it your new home. However, it still didn’t feel like home. You were comfortable in the room, but you’re dog wasn’t there and the smell of your mom cooking in the kitchen wasn’t there either. It was just a room with your things in it.

Now think about this Earth. You have all these things: friends, family, pets, food, clothes, shoes, etc. You have your room the way you want it. You plan your life and manage your time to do the things you like. However, this is not your home. Our home is with Christ who is in heaven. He created this Earth for us to live on, but He doesn’t want us to be comfortable here. He made us to share the gospel so that His children can eventually live in Heaven with Him and the rest of our family.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:1-2

With that all being said, it’s sometimes difficult for us to not be comfortable on earth. I mean this is the only solid ground that we know of and live on. But Jesus wants us to set our eyes on things above, not on the flesh of this Earth. The world that we live on is difficult and evil comes because this is not our home.

Jesus came from the outside of the world, inside to save our lives.

Jesus wants nothing but the best for us. He wants us to enjoy our time on Earth, be surrounded by loved ones and have fun moments. But He doesn’t want us to get so comfortable with the Earth that we start relying on the earthly things more than Him. We always need to keep our focus on the REAL TRUTH.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – Colossians 3:12

We do not need to conform to the world and be like it. We need to be a reflection of Jesus in all that we do. I hope you have a wonderful week. Praying for you.

Love always,

Claire

 

As Hannah Montana Says “Nobody’s Perfect”

While I was sitting on my bed, I opened up my little devotional book/coloring book (shoutout to Jordan Lee) cause I thought “you know I need to just chill right now”. I started coloring with my fancy little pencils and I wasn’t staying in the lines too well. I thought “it doesn’t matter, no one except me is going to see this”.

Honestly, if I wanted to I could make the ocean purple, the sky orange, and the grass yellow. But I kept on coloring, and then my friend asked to see a picture of it when I got done.

Well then your homegirl felt pressured. When I almost got done with it, I looked at it and thought “dude this looks pretty bad”. Being the perfectionist that I am, I tried to make it look better. I tried to cover up my mistakes and fix most of it, so that when I sent it to my friend, it looked pretty good. I finally finished it and she thought it looked awesome.

However, my friend didn’t know that I had spent a good 10 minutes trying to fix the mess that I had created to make it look good. She didn’t know that I was insecure about it before I sent her the picture. All she probably thought was “oh Claire colored that in 15 minutes and it looks so good!”

She had no clue what was happening to me on the inside.

That’s the thing with us humans. We see a picture of this girl/guy who looks like they are living their best life. However, we have no clue what may be going on inside of them. That person may be struggling with the same thing as you or maybe something even harder to deal with.

I’ve been watching a lot of youtube videos lately of these girls that look like they would have their life together. They have the cutest clothes, fancy jewelry, sweet boyfriends, etc. but they get real on their videos and say how much they are hurting with anxiety, depression, comparison, grief, and so on.

Nobody is perfect. Nobody has the perfect life. Yes so people may have things that look so much better to us and make us feel like our life is nothing compared to their’s but I bet you, they are struggling with things that you might not even know about.

So I want to encourage you that whenever you get jealous of that boy/girl that looks like they have it all together, remember that nobody’s life is perfect. We are all humans and we all bleed the same.

Love always,

Claire