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

 

Overcome The Giant

We all have giants that we face. For some of us, that may be a mental issue that we face, anxiety, addiction, depression, etc. For others, that could be a physical issue such as, cancer, eating disorders, heart problems, etc. It could even be situations that have hurt us, a hard break up, the death of a love one, a friend who betrayed us, or rejection from others.

No matter what it may be, some of us have something that makes life a little harder than it should be. Something that keeps us up at night. Something that is hard to overcome, and sometimes, we wonder “Maybe we should just give up”.

Well today, I want you to find that giant, whatever it may be. Find it inside of you.

Do you have it?

Now, be thinking about it while you read this next part.

Jesus has won the victory. He has defeated your giant when he died on the cross.

“God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son. The Son paid for our sins, and in him we have forgiveness. No one can see God, but Jesus Christ is exactly like him. He ranks higher than everything that has been made. Through his power all things were made — things in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, all powers, authorities, lords, and rulers. All things were made through Christ and for Christ. He was there before anything was made, and all things continue because of him. He is the head of the body, which is the church. Everything comes from him. He is the first one who was raised from the dead. So in all things Jesus has first place. God was pleased for all of himself to live in Christ. And through Christ, God has brought all things back to himself again — things on earth and things in heaven. God made peace through the blood of Christ’s death on the cross.” -Colossians 1:11-20

It says it all right there. He has won the victory FOR YOU. He has defeated sin FOR YOU. He has given YOU a new life in Him. ISN’T THAT AMAZING??

However, even through the death of Jesus Christ, that does not mean we will not face trials. You giant can still hurt you. It can haunt you, hurt you, whisper lies to you, and even more. BUT Jesus has won the victory for you, so that you can have life with Him and overcome your giant.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

Believe that verse and hold on to it. You cannot conquer your giant alone, but with God, anything is possible. He will strengthen you and help you. It may be difficult. It may take a lot of strength in you, and it also may take time. BUT it’s not impossible. Remember that.

Love always,

Claire

You Jump, I Jump

There I was. All the kids around me singing songs and worshiping the Lord. It was like I wasn’t even in New York anymore, like I was in a place where time and place didn’t matter. I was right where I wanted to be.

If you had asked me five years ago to go to New York by myself and meet people who I didn’t even know once I got there, I would have told you “no way”. My little fearful self didn’t even think that she had the courage to do it, to go to a new place and meet new people all on her own. But now here I am, and I am not alone. God gave me the faith and courage to go and serve for His glory.

Faith is having trust in something or someone. Now I don’t have much faith in myself at times, but I have faith in something so much greater than myself, Jesus. He got me where I am today. He died for my sins and forgives me even when I don’t forgive myself. He allows me to take a leap of faith because He has such a great plan ahead. All I have to do is trust Him and jump.

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:15-16

God is always going to catch us when we fall. We are His children and He wants to protect us and bless us. He wants the very best for us. We just need to be ready to jump when He calls.

Love always,

Claire

 

 

 

Seeking the Kingdom of God

There is a lot of brokenness in the world. If you are in a public place right now, look at all the different people around you. Not one of them is alike. You don’t know what any of them are dealing with, personally. The girl with the perfect body could be struggling with an eating disorder. The guy dating that pretty, popular girl could be falling apart inside about his terrible relationship with her. The older man in the room could have a dear friend in the hospital. You never know what is happening in someone’s life, and sometimes, it seems that no one wants to find out.

A thing that I have noticed lately in the young generation that I live in today is that we don’t know how to talk to strangers. Yes, we do know how to talk to someone and ask “hey, hows it going” but normally it all ends with “oh I’m fine”. But we don’t open up. Why? One word, FEAR.

We live in so much fear and don’t step out of our comfort zones. (And by we, I especially mean me as well) We care too much about what the people around us think about our outfit, our body, our personality, etc. We are so comfortable in our little bubble, which includes our friends and some acquaintances, but thats it. We don’t talk to the stranger in front of us at the Chick-fil-a line or the girl that gives us the notes in history class. Our generation just lives behind a phone or computer screen.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love technology ALOT. Google and social media are like two of my BFFs. However, we have to realize something:

There is connectivity with technology, but there is lost in our community.

When you look at older people such as your grandparents, do you notice how they talk to people? For instance, take my grandmother. When she goes to Kroger or the beauty salon, she has a 5-minute conversation with anyone she meets along the way. She asks people how their day is, and whats going on in their life, and people respond with more than “its good”. That’s how she was raised. As she was growing up, she didn’t have all of the technology blocking her way to meet people. She shows kindness and a joyful heart to anyone she comes in contact with, and that is how we are suppose to live.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

God wants us to live wholeheartedly for Him. That’s not “oh, I will do my quiet time with Him whenever I want”. It’s also not “I did my quiet time this morning, let me check it off my list”. Sometimes, we go through life and are just checking things off our list. We all have super busy schedules, and we just check off our to do list off. I do this all the time, but I can’t do that with God. He isn’t just something that can be checked off the list.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.” – Ephesians 6:7-8

A friend of mine once told me that “Seeking the kingdom of God shouldn’t just be another thing that we have to fit on our priority list. It shouldn’t even be on the top of our priority list. It should be wrapped into every priority on our list because we should seek Him first in everything that we do.”

As Christians, we are called to show His love to others. We need to be the light that He wants us to be. We are His disciples, and our mission is to tell others about Him. You can do that on a college campus, at a high school, in a work place, or anywhere on this Earth.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  – Matthew 5:14-16

So, I want to challenge you. Step out of your comfort zones. Break down the walls. Go and tell this broken world about the true One that can fix everything. If we don’t, who will? Forget about all the earthly things that are stopping you from achieving this because at the end of the day, living for wholeheartedly for Jesus is greater than anything else this world could ever give us.

Love always,

Claire