Let's Build Each Other Up

A few days ago, I had a lot of mixed feelings about this whole coronavirus issue. I was annoyed, disappointed, and frustrated. Graduation got postponed. Plans got cancelled. The future looked completely uncertain.

Here’s the thing though. The future has always been uncertain, even when we felt like we were in control. Yes, we had plans in motion, but there are a thousand and one ways to where those plans could have not happened. Maybe you went on a trip recently. But think about it, the plane could have gotten delayed, the weather could have been super bad, the electricity could have gone out, your car could have died, etc. There are tons of ways to where your trip could not have even happened or not have gone the way you thought.

That’s the thing about control. As humans, we think we are in control of almost everything. But I think God likes to remind us that we are not in control as much as we think. God wants to show us that He is in control. He wants to teach us that the only thing we can truly control is OUR ACTIONS.

So what now? Now that our plans got cancelled. Now that we have to do this “social distancing” and stay home. What do we do?

I’ve been live streaming church services since this whole pandemic started. And every time I watch a live stream, there’s always this saying that is said:

“The church is not a building. It is a body of believers.”

You might have heard that before or something similar to it. But think about it. We aren’t going to a physical church building until this is over. We aren’t gathering together with a large number of believers as much as we use to. Things look a little bit different now. But we are still called by God to do the same things.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – Acts 2:42

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

We are still called to carry each other’s burdens. We are still called to fellowship. We are still called to glorify our Father. We are still called to love. The only thing that has changed is the Earthly environment around us.

So what can we do during this time?

1. Pray. Pray for the country. Pray for the world. Pray for the leaders. Pray for the workers, who are serving in different places. Pray for your family. Pray for your friends. Pray for your classmates. Pray for your co-workers. Pray for yourself.

Prayer is so important to our lives. It is so significant for us to continue to rely on each other and support one another. In the book of Galatians, God calls us to carry each other’s burdens and pray for one another. I know sometimes asking for prayer can be nerve-racking or scary. You might be thinking “people are gonna judge me” or “they aren’t even gonna care”. However, prayer is powerful. God can do some amazing things with our prayers.

I’ve created a prayer request form. It’s anonymous and will remain confidential. If you know that you need prayer for something and do not feel like you can carry something on your own, use this. Doesn’t matter what the prayer request is. What matters is that you aren’t on your own. You are being prayed for and God hears your prayers.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdDB0P_6kAC4Dg9o7-z9EFN74bTmbVbgNFSFzyvxUj6Pt_7wA/viewform?usp=sf_link

2. Fellowship. Social distancing is still important, but God has blessed us with many forms of technology now. We can call, message, and FaceTime with each other through technology. Use that. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Check-in on them. Message someone and send an encouraging message to them. Let’s continue to fellowship and build each other up.

3. Lastly, remain in Christ. During this time of isolating, we might have a lot of extra time on our hands. We aren’t constantly on the go, having to do fifty different errands. Instead of spending all of your time watching tv or playing games, open your Bible. Start a new bible study. There are a bunch of apps that can help you with this.

Play some worship music. Make a gratitude journal. Remember who God is and what He is doing in your life. Make a note of the good things going on in your life. Make a prayer journal. Make good use of your free time and listen to what He has to say.

During this time, glorify God in all that you do.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Let’s use our time wisely. We do not know what could come next, but whatever that is, let’s be prepared to face it together with Christ.

To whoever is reading this, you are loved, you are seen, and you are heard by our incredible God. During this time of uncertainty, remember that our God is good, and He is in control of the future! Stay safe!

With love,

Claire

To The Future Bride And Groom

Here’s the thing. I can’t tell you a lot about marriage, considering I am not married, nor am I anywhere close to that stage lol. But I can tell you a little bit of what God has taught me about marriage.

I wrote this letter for a friend when she was getting married and I just found it on my phone again. I was reading through it and I thought “maybe I should share this to other couples out there who might be overwhelmed with all the nerves and excitement of their wedding”. So here ya go 🙂

“Planning for the big wedding day can bring a lot of excitement and joy, but it can also bring some anxiety and nerves too. However, there is such a beautiful reminder about a wedding. It shows that God has been preparing you and your groom/bride for this wonderful journey.

You have already picked up some puzzle pieces along the way, many before you met your future spouse and many after you did. And now, you’re about to get the wedding puzzle piece to add to your life’s big picture.

However, the puzzle doesn’t stop there. You will keep on growing and collecting more pieces until you finally have a full picture at the end of your life. And the best way to enjoy the pieces and memories is to remember that God’s plan for you is just like a puzzle: a unique and beautiful masterpiece.

He has a wonderful plan and a purpose for you and your future spouse. Ask Him to help you find the joy in the little things even when life seems a little prickly. Remember to enjoy your beautiful day and congrats to you both!!”

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

The Comparison Game

Remember when you were 5 years old and you just did things like make a sandcastle or ride a bike, not because you had an audience looking at you, but just because you wanted to enjoy it? It was only 15 years since I was five. However, the world seems very different then it was back then. Today, I think people forget to just do things because they want to.

We tend to post a picture in order to get a bunch of likes or comments, instead of because we actually love that picture, or we loved the memory. People try to be friends with others only to increase their popularity ratings or following count, instead of because they really do like those people. Some people just want to be in the cool crowd and fit in because they want to make themselves look better, instead of them actually just being in it because they want to or because they love the people they are with. Some just date in order to make someone jealous or because they feel rushed into settling down instead of them actually just being like “wow I really love this person with my whole heart”.

I think today we are so caught up in entertaining our audience around us. We do things because we feel that those people around us need to know that we are “cool” or “popular” or “a good person” or “pretty”. But what if no one was watching? Would you send that text to that girl in tears? Would you share that picture of you helping at a food pantry?

See, we get so caught up in being OF the world, instead of just IN the world. I mean look at Jesus Christ. He had 12 disciples. He was the Messiah. God could have given Him a million friends, yet Jesus only had a few. He picked quality over quantity. When Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. He didn’t tell the people to go tell everyone that Jesus Christ did this and He’s this amazing guy. Yet, the people did anyway, not because they had to, but because they wanted to praise this amazing person that saved them.

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” – Mark 1:40-44

The only person we need to try to get approval of each day is God. He created this world for you and He wants you to enjoy it, not because you have to, but because you want to. He wants you to enjoy the little things and the big things that are all around you. He wants you to spend your days filling yourself up with Him instead of filling it up with the world and it’s approval. He doesn’t want you to play the comparison game.

He wants you to be still and grow with Him first before anyone else. So grow, explore. and strive to be your best self everyday with Jesus by your side.

Love always,

Claire