So I’ve been sitting here with five posts in my drafts since January. Hi. If you don’t remember me or don’t subscribe to me anymore I don’t blame you. It’s been a while. It’s me Rachel, and I have done a lot of growing lately.
So grab some tea and let’s catch up.
Last time I was on here I was blogging about my sister Sarah and her time in the hospital. I can’t even describe to you the joy I have in telling you that she is completely okay now, and she has been since February. The Lord fulfilled His promise on that one. Big. Time. and I am so utterly grateful, but there is something funny about coming out of a huge storm like that one. For a few weeks I was just so thankful to God. I prayed with the confidence that He would give her back to me and He did. But it’s not quite the same now. She’s different. Like anybody would be if they were in such an overwhelming situation, but regardless of how hard I prayed and how many tears I cried. I did not almost die, and I will not understand what that is like.
So in the months that have followed I have gotten my sister back but not the one that got sick. The new one that came back to me. I don’t know how to describe it because she’s still my sister, but something is different now.
When I realized things were different I started saying to God, why did you let this happen in the first place. I know you didn’t cause it, but why did you do it! All we’re experiencing is pain! And if this pain is to get me to come to you, is there not some other way to do it!
And it only went down hill from there. I started questioning everything about my faith, and then the storms really came. One night about a month before my high school graduation my grandma called saying that my grandpa had had a heart attack, his third. They took him into the hospital where they decided that they needed to do open heart surgery, something that they didn’t think he was going to live through.
So it started again. The praying, the hospital visits, the wonder, the worship, the Bible studies to cling to what little faith I had left that God had the best in mind for me.
He goes through open surgery and it is really rough, but he makes it! Praise God he makes it! He starts recovery and physical therapy and is slowing finding a new normal. However he can’t make it to my graduation.
So I graduate with my mom, my dad and my friends watching. No extended family at all. That was rough.
About a month after graduation it’s time for camp. A couple days before we leave though grandpa goes back to the doctor because of shortness of breath. He has pneumonia, and a collapsed lung as a side effect of his open heart surgery, time for two more surgeries, and again they don’t know if he’ll make it.
By this point I didn’t know what to do. He was defying odds left and right but now he just seemed tired. I went to go see him the day before camp, and came to terms with the fact that this visit might be goodbye.
and then his nurse came in.
“This man is so brave. He’s a fighter.”
He’s a fighter.
4. 3. 2. 1.
4 – stage four cancer. He beat that.
3 – three heart attacks. He beat them.
2 – two surgeries back to back. He beat those.
1 – one God who wasn’t about to give up on Him.
If he’s not giving up then I’m not either. He had his next two surgeries and he made it through, and he’s back at home getting stronger every day. He’s a fighter.
So where does that leave my faith? Every struggle that my family has gone through has ended with God bringing the person through, but my question is why. Haven’t we learned enough? Haven’t we gotten it yet God?
I was telling all of this to my small group leader and she said this. “Sometimes it’s not a trial sometimes it’s just old age. Sometimes God has you in a season because he still has more to show you. If you are so conflicted about your faith it means there is something there. Study the “I AM” statements in John, Learn who God says that He is.”
So here I go into John.
- Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
- Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12)
- Jesus is the Door (John 10:9)
- Jesus is the Good Shepard (John 10:11)
- Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-26)
- Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)
- Jesus is the Vine (John 15:5)
So where does that leave me? Well I’m not going to say that as soon as I started studying John I was so sure of my faith, and I never doubted God again, but that’s just not true.
So what did I learn?
1. God is STURDY.
Life is unexpected. God is not. None of those surgeries or sicknesses or college decisions are coming up as a surprise to God, and that is so comforting.
2. God is HOLY.
He is ruler over the earth. He created us and as He spoke us into being He spoke us into existence with a voice that can never lie. He created us with His voice of truth, so we never need to doubt ANYTHING that He tells us because He CANNOT lie to us.
3. If you are not facing struggles, you are DEAD.
I am realizing (finally) that struggles are just apart of life, and if we weren’t struggling we wouldn’t be on this earth and if we want to love our families and go to college and get married and enjoy life, we need to struggle on God’s behalf. God says that we “get” to struggle on His behalf. That’s the deal here on earth. But God has promised that He will pay it forward, if not on earth than in Heaven.
So while on earth we will struggle. But God is sturdy, and He will pay it forward when we trust Him.
So please brother or sister. Don’t give up on your struggle. Don’t give up on God.
Hope it helps a little I can’t fix a struggle, but I can fight with you.
“Oh hey, it’s you! This guy is looking for you. I’m not sure where he is.”
“Oh okay, I said pretty confused as to who this guy was, and how I was supposed to know him when I saw him. I kept walking down the hallway of my college turning the corner of the hallway.
“Oof! I bumped into someone as I turned.
“Oh I’m sorry I didn’t see you there.” A tall guy dressed in a gray t-shirt backed up.
“It’s you! You’re the one with the faith!” he said excitedly.
Before I knew it I was sitting at a table with a group of about 6 students, and the guy I bumped into. We all had our Bibles and we were just sitting in the middle of a huge room at our college, and I was sharing my faith with these people because this guy had told them about me.
And then I woke up.
It was a dream. When I woke up I was reminded that I had to go to work, and that my sister was still in the hospital with pneumonia. Nothing had changed in my life, but those people in my dream felt so real that I could swear I was just there sitting with them.
“It’s you. The one with the faith.”
I had this dream 4 nights ago now, but I can’t shake these words. It feels like that is both a high calling, to be the one with faith, and a glimpse into the future of what a sold out life for God might look like. I had this dream on one of my lowest nights as far as faith is concerned. I just was not feeling all of the gooey Christian love. Life was sucking at that present moment, yet this guy was actively searching for me because I was “the one with the faith.” Wow.
I think something that makes this dream so amazing to me is the fact that this guy wasn’t looking for “that incredible Christian” or “that perfect girl” or even the “church girl.” He was looking for “the one with the faith.” Faith has NOTHING to do with a perfect life. Your life could be a mess but you could have the strongest faith of anyone you know, and I think it was such a beautiful reminder from God that people are just looking for the one with the faith. There is no need to worry about how Christian you seem, or how many sunset pictures with Bible verses you post. (ha ha guilty!) That doesn’t sell people on Christianity because that’s not what life is like. Life is messy. Life is going to sleep on a wet pillow sometimes. That’s when God gets glory, when all people see is the faith, not the holier-than-though Christian persona that we like to strap on so that we don’t have to talk about what we’re going through.
But then I kept thinking about what that dream might mean. It just struck me as odd because I don’t have dreams often, and if I do, I don’t remember them that vividly. So I broke it down. This guy was looking for “the one with the faith.” He didn’t tell that person who stopped me that he was looking for Rachel. My name was no where in this dream, my faith was. How humbling. God isn’t the least bit concerned with me getting glory for my faith because frankly my faith comes from God anyway so I have no right to get glory.
The next thing that stood out to me was how excited this guy was to hear about my faith. He was jumping in with both feet into my story and the faith that I had. It was amazing reminder to look for that in a guy, someone who is leading the charge for his faith. Someones whose excitement about God is contagious and makes me want to be right there with him, and someone who encourages me in my faith. It was also reminder to be that person that is actively searching out those with faith so that I can just sit in their presence and listen to their story.
Lastly, it was a reminder to be BOLD. To sit in the middle of a college campus and talk about JESUS! To have a faith that is so big and so on fire that word gets around! My best friend always picks a word for her year, and I just recently decided mine was bold because God is the sole purpose of my life, and He is so real and so good to me! There are times when I can’t even believe how incredible is, and it breaks my heart that some people just haven’t seen that or that they have a Christian feeling not faith. But recently God has laid on my heart that it is my job to SHOUT His goodness. He has given me no right to worry about what others will say because the very breath in my lungs is a gift from Him. Trust me, in a season of pneumonia, you release how much of a gift breath really is.
So what does it take to be the “one with the faith?”
Messy, wet-pillow, trust in God.
Humbly giving God the glory.
And a whole lotta time with God!
the one with the faith
This past week my beautiful twin sister Sarah (pictured) was in the hospital for 5 days. She had pneumonia and a super bug, a virus that is very resistant to antibiotics.
The whole thing came as a huge shock. One week she just has a really bad cold, and the next week she’s in the hospital, with dangerously low vitals. We’re finishing up our senior year and she went into the hospital on our first day back after break. Not ideal.
So grab a snack and get comfy because this story is a doozy, but God has been so good and so real, that I can’t not shout His praise! So here we go.
So to tell this story completely I need to back up to New Years Eve. Sarah and I were leaving for the Passion Conference the next day, but she said that her throat was scratchy. Oh no no no, I said! We had been waiting to go to Passion for a year and she was NOT going to miss it on my watch. Well, I have come to find out that “my watch” isn’t enough. Sarah didn’t get better, she got worse. She didn’t join us for Passion, in fact she has been down for almost a month, and it will be another 3 and half weeks until her lungs have built all their strength back up.
To put it simply. That sucked. It didn’t seem fair that God was letting all of this junk happen to my buddy. I told my friends it felt like a piece of my heart had been ripped out. On Sarah’s worst night, I cried and cried as I prayed. I will be honest with you, I felt cheated by God. I had just come back from Passion and I was loving life! I felt God walking with me, and loving me fiercely! But as soon as I got home all of this JUNK happened! I got a nail in my tire, there goes $160. Sarah was sick and my whole family came down with a bug too, time to take care of them. But then it went past a bug. Sarah got SO sick. I cried out to God, how dare you! I love you SO MUCH! I am writing a book for you. I have given a terrifying speech for you. I have broken up with people for you. I have done countless hard things for your glory, and THIS is how you repay me? How. dare. you.
That is a scary place to be. My love of God hasn’t changed at all through this. I will always trust God with my life, but I just felt hurt that He would let that happen.
I have surrendered my life to Christ. I trust that He will lead me to the career, and one day husband, and city that I’m supposed to be in. The one thing I didn’t trust Him with was my family. I was talking to a friend of mine today and she said, “I am fine with us going through spiritual warfare because we’re ready for it. We know that it will happen, but I never expected it to touch my family.”
That perfectly summed up how I felt, but here is what I realized. I think God wanted to show me that I could trust Him with EVERYTHING. When you live your life wondering if God would let harm come to one area of your life, you live your life in fear without even knowing it. It’s almost like in this season of my life God said, “just let me hold it. Once you let me have it I can show you that you can trust me with it. If your the one always holding it, I can never reveal myself to you so deeply, and I can’t bless it with you holding on so tightly. You are only human, and you need to rest too. Let me do what I am meant to do, be God.”
Once I let go. Once I said God I am giving this back to you. Once I said my sister means THE WORLD to me, but she means even more to you than I could EVER imagine! So I trust that you have this under control. Everything wasn’t perfect but oh my gosh THE FREEDOM. I was talking to my best friend Callie today and I could not wipe the smile off of my face. It’s like when it storms one of the worst storms you’ve ever seen, and the next day the limbs are down in your backyard, but it is GREENER than you have ever seen it, and it smells like rain, and birds are all over your yard, and sometimes there is a rainbow! It was DARK. It was LOUD. It seemed HOPELESS. But rain drys up, and then the grass is watered, and it can grow more full and green then ever before.
I think of something like the passion conference like a lawn sprinkler. It can be turned on by man when the grass is dry, and it can water for as long as the man lets it, but eventually the man will turn it off. But real rain, storms, they are RELENTLESS they last for as long as they need to, and they water the grass, and give food to the birds, and GOD is the one in CONTROL! Both give life to the grass, but nothing beats a real life, messy storm!
Thank you Lord for the storm.
Hi blog family!
I have missed my corner of the internet! When I first started this blog it was partially meant to be a time capsule of my time in high school, but let me tell you, senior year is way more intense then I ever imagined; so my capsule has had a bit of a lull. So many decisions. So little time. To be honest though, I am loving this year! Everyday makes you think and ask yourself questions about who you’re going to be and what you want to do with your life. These questions have led me to push myself harder to seek out what God wants for me and to work hard for the dreams I believe He has put in my heart.
Sadly, it isn’t rose colored glasses 24/7. If you let it, the stress can be on you in the blink of an eye. For some it’s panic attacks for others a loss of motivation but for some, stress attacks their speech, and that is what I want to focus on today. As we celebrate this holiday season and reunite with frustrating family members or maybe just as we try to navigate the nearest mall parking lot, it is incredibly easy to let loose seasons greetings that have lost the spirit of Christmas shall we say!
The Bible makes evident how much of an affect your speech has with countless verses urging Christians to tame their tongues.
“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
Here is a list of some things that make me smile.
- Working out at the gym while its raining.
- Listening to Indie Air music while I scroll through Pinterest.
- Sunrise hikes.
- Finishing my to-do list before noon.
- Facetiming with my best friend for hours.
- Late night chats around bowls of ice cream.
- Bike rides.
- Cutting my hair or painting my nails.
- Cleaning my room.
- Ballet documentaries.
- Taking pictures.
- Watching movies I loved when I was little.
- Sitting on my sisters floor and chatting with her while she tells me I should go finish whatever thing I’m procrastinating.
- Driving on an empty highway.
These are some random things, but they never fail to make me smile. There are so many up and down days in life. For example, yesterday was awesome for me. Today was just okay however and that is alright. God never promises us that we will always be happy through our struggles and our stress. He does give us strength though, and He allows us to find things in our lives that remind us of the beauty of God. I saw this quote on Pinterest (told you I love Pinterest) that I thought summed up this idea pretty well.
“So you want to be happy? Then stop letting the smallest things ruin your entire day. If you’re bored with you routine, do something unexpected. Stop complaining about how alone you are when you’re surrounded by people who actually care about you. Forget all the drama and let go of the grudges you’ve been holding. Stop wasting time lingering over all that you could have, should have, and would have done. Stop spending you days thinking of how much better you could do; stop longing for something that has been and always will be out of your reach. Just live the days as they come. Wake up every morning and smile at the wonderful day that awaits you. Take a risk for once. Let yourself be happy, because you deserve it.”
-Quotes from The Love Whisperer
I hope this little posts brightens your day a little bit and reminds you to look for the joyful moments in every day whether it be a sad day or your best day yet!
Hey everyone! This is a post that has been written with the purpose of exposing an empowering generation Z. I was inspired to write this post because of a powerful speaker who I had the chance to hear at tea at my grandmothers church. This orator was Ms. Sharon Sewell, mayor of Bremen, Georgia. Mayor Sewell spoke to the women about a great need that the world has for women of all generations to share their knowledge with those younger than them, especially their knowledge regarding the Bible and the miracles that God has performed in their lives.
Mayor Sewell went on to give a little bit of background on the different generations that people tend to think of when generations are described. Such as, the Baby Boomers, the Silent Generation, Millennials, Generation Y and so on. When she reached generation Z, the most recent generation, she vocalized that Generation Z does not yet have defining characteristics. The next comment she said has stayed with me. “We do not yet know what will become of Generation Z.” I don’t know about you but to me that comment excites me because Generation Z has the power to create a name for ourselves that we are truly proud of. We have the ability to look at generations that came before us and understand why they made the choices they did, and then we can carry on with the wisdom of how we should go.
I was sure however that Gen Z must have some general descriptions, so I began to do some research. Generation Z are those of us that were born after 1996. Gen Z is known as being very technologically savvy because of growing up with frequent internet access, they’re also independent because of watching their parents and others struggle in the work force. This is a excerpt from Wikipedia that chronicles some characteristics that have been observed in Gen Z.
“A 2014 study Generation Z Goes to College found that Generation Z students self-identify as being loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, responsible, and determined. How they see their Generation Z peers is quite different from their own self-identity. They view their peers as competitive, spontaneous, adventuresome, and curious; all characteristics that they do not see readily in themselves.
A 2016 U.S. study found that church attendance during young adulthood was 41% among Generation Z, compared with 18 percent for Millennials at the same ages, 21 percent of Generation X, and 26 percent of baby boomers.
Generation Z is generally more risk-averse in certain activities than earlier generations. In 2013, 66% of teenagers (older members of Generation Z) had tried alcohol, down from 82% in 1991. Also in 2013, 8% of Gen. Z teenagers never or rarely wear a seat belt when riding in a car with someone else, as opposed to 26% in 1991.
Research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation conducted in 2016 found Generation Z youth had lower teen pregnancy rates, less substance abuse, and higher on-time high school graduation rates compared with Millennials. The researchers compared teens from 2008 and 2014 and found a 40% drop in teen pregnancy, a 38% drop in drug and alcohol abuse, and a 28% drop in the percentage of teens who did not graduate on time from high school.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Generation Z is keen to look after their money and make the world a better place. In a quote by journalist Harry Wallop, he states, “Unlike the older Gen Y, they are smarter, safer, more mature and want to change the world.”
These studies help drive home the idea that generation Z isn’t a generation of reckless youth but a group of young people who are ready to change the world and themselves for the better. This post is a challenge to generation Z to really embrace these statistics and create a name for themselves that stands up against the negative stereotypes of young people and shows those older than us an example. I hope that one day in the future people will say, generation Z was a generation that saw what they wanted in their world and made it happen. Wouldn’t that be phenomenal?
This is the first post of a new series on my blog that I am entitling, “An Open Letter.” This series was inspired by a friend of mine, who I met with the other day. After a crazy, whirlwind week she and I found some time to get together and catch up. As we began to talk I realized that she was beginning to get very beaten down and tired, even though she was pursuing some amazing things! She is tired because she is human, just like the rest of us! As she spoke I realized that many of the feelings she was experiencing I had gone through not too many months before. I continued to think about our talk after she left and I wondered how many women are fighting through the exact same things and don’t even know it! That is why I am beginning this series, to encourage my friends anonymously through letters I’ve written with them in mind, and remind other women that you are never alone in this life. Someone has gone through what you are going through, and you can bask in the peace that comes from knowing… we’re in this together.
I’m writing this letter to you to say, you’ve got this! I know that life is
tedious and tiring right now, but you are paving a path to a future that
excites you and drives you to be the best woman you can be. I watched you
a few years ago as you tried to chose the way that you and your Heavenly
Father wanted your life to go. I watched you chose the path you are on
today. I looked on as you diligently researched and called and studied and
tested so you could pursue the path you are on today. I can’t tell you how
proud I am of you. You chose what you wanted to work towards and then you
followed through with all of the hard work you had in you.
You’ve been working hard for some time now, and you are beginning to get
burnt out. That’s okay. You are only human. If we as women had the ability
to tackle everything we wanted to, without tiring, this world would be a
remarkable place! Instead God has designed us to work hard and spread His
name, but eventually we need to renew our spirit. I learned today that the
word for spirit in Hebrew is ruah and it means “breath” or “wind.” Our
spirits are not just our emotions or our conscience inside of us. Your
spirit is the breath inside of you that exhales out into your beautiful
personality and heart for the Lord. Your spirit is your life, and life is
You are so close to the end of this busy time in your life and soon things
will settle down, but cherish your spirit my dear because life will not
stop throwing stress and doubts your way, but you are a child of the One
True God. You were made in His image and He carefully and beautifully
sculpted you into the woman that He needed in this world. He did not
create you just so you could lie dormant until you’d grown into a woman you
believe is the best version of yourself. He created you for such a time as
this because you my dear are in a mission field right where you are and God
wants you right where He has you. So while you may be counting down the
days until the next phase of your life can begin, count them down with joy
and know that your friends and family are so proud of you. We see your
accomplishments even when you don’t and God has put us in your life to
remind you of this,
“Though we speak in this way, yet in your case beloved, we feel sure of
better things – things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust
so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name
in serving the saints, as you still do.And we desire each one of you to show
the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so
that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and
patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:9-12
All my love,
Your best friend
Hello hello! How is this summer treating everyone? So far it has been crazy busy for me! I didn’t think it would be this busy but boy was I wrong! It has been absolutely amazing though because I have really been embracing every experience that has come my way. It has been so amazing to have an opportunity and before turning it down, I’ve been deciding just to go for things I wouldn’t normally do. Because of this I have learned a ton about cars, creating clubs, photography and small businesses! It has been the coolest summer so far, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a little bit of everything. If you have been feeling like your summer has been kind of blah then start trying some new things. I am working on a bunch of projects this summer and I can’t even tell you how excited I am about them! This is a short and sweet little update and encouragement for you guys!! Have an amazing week!!