2018 has been a year of growing in ministry in deeper ways than I have ever experienced before. During snow days in January and every minute I could, I was planning the Delight Movement. God gave me a burden and passion for middle and high school girls after I was prophesied over at the United Conference in August of 2017. It was time fear no longer gripped my speech. My God said He was going to use my words in an even greater way than He currently was. I was humbled by the vision the Lord instilled within me.
God reminded me of His protection and the brevity of life in January. The night before my siblings and I were in a car accident, I wrote the following words in my journal: “You deserve better than my best, Lord. Please keep us close to Yourself. Keep my eyes on You so that I do not fall. I know the enemy is ticked off because of what You are doing in and through my life. I know he will try to distract me and make me fall, but, God, You are my upholder. You are my base. You keep my feet secure and firm. You give me a strong, steady, and unwavering base/balance. I am Yours, Lord. Yours alone. My life is Yours. Wherever, whenever, and whatever-I am here for You alone. Thank You for using my life, Lord. Please help me live worthy to the calling I have received from You.” The enemy attempted to take my life the day after I wrote that prayer. My God protected the lives of my siblings and I as we were sideswiped on the way to school. When God is working, the enemy is too. The devil has already been defeated by our God though. Satan gets ticked off because he knows God is bringing life change and true Hope to the world through us.
Heaven is going to be more full because of the way God worked at The Delight Movement. Three more people are going to spend eternity in the place God’s people dwell. That means three souls will no longer spend eternity in hell! At least three girls changed the path they were walking on and chose to give Jesus their everything again. Spirits of anxiety, fear, depression, and oppression were eradicated from the hearts and lives of God’s precious daughters. I can’t even imagine how many seeds God planted in His girls’ lives. The power of God within us, His children, is more powerful than we even realize!
Helping plan my junior prom was such a special experience to me. A whole year before prom, I was praying passionately about who I would go to prom with. My Father didn’t reveal His best in my prom date to me immediately. Rather, He had intense lessons to teach me during the journey. I had to recognize that only God can truly satisfy my heart. Only Jesus can bring me the joy and hope I need. After mentally crossing off the names of prom date candidates, I thought I had discovered God’s best. I really thought I had finally received the answers to my prayers. Nope. After realizing my plan was not God’s plan, I sought the Lord for Who He was and stopped focusing on what He could do for me. I even stopped focusing on my prom date situation. All along, I just knew that the Lord was doing something special. I was not close to any guy and really did not know how the Lord was going to work something out. I just trusted that God was doing something even though I could not see the whole plan.
After surrendering my desires to the Lord and acknowledging that He alone was more than enough for me, Jesus’ beautiful plan for my prom experience unfolded. The answers to prayer I experienced on May 5th, 2018 made me aware that God’s plans truly are the best for us. While I was tempted to give up on the plans God gave me a heart for, He reminded me to trust Him. The Lord’s timing definitely isn’t ours, but His timing is a teacher to us. I honestly believe that Josh and I had the best night at prom because of how much I had invested prayer into it. Prayer makes us appreciate the miracles God does for us. It opens our eyes to the details of the Lord. After prom, the Lord even incorporated Target (one of my favorite stores) into my special night. Jesus doesn’t just know the desires of our hearts. He acts upon them. God doesn’t withhold fun from His children. He actually is the Giver of all life and every good thing. We must remind ourselves of that whenever the enemy makes us think we are missing out on fun. The “fun” of the world is evil and only leads to death. Doing things to please God and glorify Him is much more satisfying than any temporary pleasure. Let’s choose Jesus over everything. He alone is the One Who satisfies our parched hearts in dry and desolate places. I beg you to cling onto Him if you are still wandering around looking for true Hope, my friend.
Our lives on earth are temporary. We don’t have forever to spend here. Every minute that we have matters. How are you using your time? Are you making a difference for eternity, or are you wasting it on social media or false pleasures?
We must stop dreaming small. What dream has the Lord placed in your heart? What vision has He given to you? You never know how impactful your acts of obedience will be! Trust God to do what He has promised you. Don’t give up during the journey just because it is challenging.
We will never grow if we always stay inside the walls of our comfort zones. Leaving Bethel was not my original plan at all. Oh my. I literally grew up there and knew the place like the back of my hand! Bethel (my old school) was a home to me. It was my place of doing ministry, loving my classmates, giving baked goods, and spreading encouragement. God let me know that He had more people for me to impact. The work He had planned for me to do at Bethel was accomplished. I had finished that mission. There were new souls awaiting the hope and message He had to share with them through me.
Trusting God was a common theme of 2018 for me. I was clenched onto the steering wheel of my life before changing schools. I had to willingly let go of the wheel, sit in the passenger seat, and trust God to lead me in the places He wanted me to go. Not knowing what is ahead is scary to me. Yet, as I let go of control, God allowed me to have His absolute peace.
I love my new school. Some aspects of it remind me of cool schools on TV shows. I love the people I have had the privilege of getting to know. Going into the school year, I had my guard up. I honestly did not expect to make any great connections or friendships with people. I was excited about being accepted into Liberty, ready to be done with high school, and just looking forward to the future. That attitude of mine did not last long. God invaded my life with the power of vulnerability. I connected with one of my classmates, realized I played a vital role in the place God had positioned me, and sought to bring change to my sweet school. I started engaging in conversations with people I had never met before and fell in love with the authenticity of people’s stories.
To be honest with you, I started to love this season of my life so much that I actually began to resent the season of college God had in store for me! Isn’t that crazy? Jesus taught me balance the first few months of school. That was a talent I had not even touched on much before. He showed me that I can enjoy the season I am currently in without resenting the seasons to come. God wants us to be saturated with Him and overflow with Him in each present moment. He wants us to live in such a way we forget about documenting every moment with a picture. Jesus wants us to live life to the fullest while making the most eternal impact for His kingdom.
It was during Hurricane Florence that I sat on my front porch and felt the wind hurling. God had placed a phrase before me that was puzzling. I was seeking Him and asking Jesus to unfold the mystery of “Permissible and Beneficial” to me. I learned that permissible things are allowed. They may even seem good. They are okay, but beneficial things are going to give God the most glory.
While praying over an idea the Lord gave me, I really desired to make a difference in the lives of middle school girls at my school. I wanted to engage with them, know their names, do life with them, and share wisdom the Lord was revealing to me. Feeling like the Lord wanted me to lead a Bible study, I ordered a book I would use for it. I just did not know the details for the Bible study I felt called to lead. I didn’t know when, where, or how it would take place. As my peers and I were preparing for our National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, my headmaster motioned for me to come talk with him. He asked if I would be interested in leading a middle school girls discipleship group! I told him I had already ordered the book for it! Isn’t it amazing to see God work? I later found out that one of my teachers had been praying for a Bible study like this to happen for the past three years! Jesus showed me that the nudges He places within us are set in motion long before we are made aware of them. My sweet middle school girls challenge my heart and encourage me so much. Seeing the eighth grade girls step up and lead during our Renew Christmas party made my heart swell. Jonathan, one of my dear friends, recently reminded me that doing ministry involves preparing others to do the work of the Lord. We must step back and let others get their hands in the work right before us. Loving God and loving His people are two of our greatest callings and responsibilities! We must be careful to not do life intimately with people who limit us in those two important callings.
Renew (the name of our Bible study) was inspired by Psalms 51:10. It is a verse I constantly have running through my mind. It states, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Jesus also humbled me with Matthew 5:8 which exclaims, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” I long to be uncontaminated before my Father. The first lesson my Bible study discussed was the importance of filters in our lives. I told the girls that hot water is often used in removing impurities. I also challenged the girls and myself to let God filter out the impurities from our personal lives. I literally did not expect my life to be so filtered the following week, but it was. God ordained that first message and even allowed our group to outgrow our first room the first week!
Girls on the front row were sponges absorbing every word the Lord was saying through me. Girls in the middle of the room were sharing things to add to our lesson, and girls in the back were leaders as they were present and engaged as well.
I was so humbled and thankful for the way God birthed this nudge He placed within my heart. Our group has about 20 girls attend each week! Doing life with them is a privilege to me. I treasure the way they trust me with their prayer requests, and I am blown away by the wisdom they add to our lessons!
I was also supposed to do a Spanish course through Pitt Community College the first part of the school year. After applying to the program this summer, I was told the class was full. Instead of worrying about my plans falling through, God gave me peace about the situation. He knew how my schedule would be and graciously allowed me to have the first few months of school to do other things. While I am about to embark on this new Spanish course, I’m just reminded of the perfection in God’s timing.
Changing schools has also provided me with help in publishing my first book! Friend, I really cannot say thank you to Jesus enough for these blessings in my life! The things He places within us have purpose outside of us.
Undeniably His turned three this year! The cake I made to celebrate its birthday was sloppy and hideous to say the least! I kept turning the cake platter around to avoid showing the crumbly side to my dad. Undeniably His has also reached over 34 countries in the past three years! All glory goes to God for the work He continues to do through it! Never underestimate the work God wants to do through you. Don’t lay in a box of insecurities when God has given you holy confidence to walk in and to walk through.
After experiencing a tough circumstance in my life a month ago, the Lord gently reminded me that I’m always in need of Him and desperate for Him. I need God just as much on my best days as I need Him on my worst days. Jesus always makes Himself available to us. He never turns us away. Let’s make sure our identities are in Him alone. Let’s not get so busy that we forget that our greatest need is the Giver of all good things.
I love the fact that even in storms I’m not going to be shaken. That is hope that comes from having Jesus as our foundation. What is your hope in, my friend? Storms are going to come in our lives. We must be prepared for them. Preparing for things is just as important as experiencing things.
My spirit longs to see all people awakened to God’s light, love, and truth! It’s time for blinders to be cut and fall right on the ground. I’m tired of the enemy receiving happiness from the actions of God’s people. It is time for the Lord’s bride to wake up! Did you realize that as a child of God, you are God’s bride? That is something I think we forget. A relationship without communication is nonexistent. How is your relationship with God doing? Like the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible, God’s love is faithful and persistent for us even when we are unfaithful and run away. God’s heart for His people is redemption. He constantly longs to see His lost sheep return home. Do you need to return home? Don’t keep listening to Satan’s lies. You are never going to be enough on your own. You can’t get through this battle alone. You are going to need Help. Only Jesus is strong enough to get you through this battle and journey. Cling onto Jesus, dear friend. I cannot even describe the hope and joy we experience in God. After seeking Jesus and finding Him in such intense ways, Jesus allowed me to burst forth with His joy like never before a few weeks ago. I can’t even explain how evident, undeniable, and contagious the joy of the Lord is. Instead of wallowing in fear or anger over your circumstances, I challenge you to wake up, sit up, and experience the joy awaiting you in Christ Jesus alone.
If you are looking for God’s peace in determining your plans, keep praying. Don’t stop seeking our Father’s heart. Don’t give up before the blessing is revealed to you. If God has spoken a word into your spirit, keep believing it. Don’t give up. There is Hope.
You can still sing, dance, love, care for people, and love people no matter who is given or taken away from your life. Make the most of the seasons you have with people you hold dear. Don’t miss a minute or opportunity you are supposed to spend with them. Pray for your people. Show them Jesus’ authentic and pure love. Never stop letting them know that you care about them. Realize that not all people are meant to be in your life forever though, my friend. In all things, trust that God is going to use your pain for a great purpose. He hasn’t left us as orphans (John 14:18). Every step that God has for us is good. And, believe me, God always has a good next step for us to take. There is always more in the Lord. His plans are never less. They are immeasurably more than our wildest hopes, dreams, and plans (Ephesians 3:20).
What story has God written throughout the pages of your life this year, brother or sister? Is it a story you are proud to share? If so, share your story so that you can give God most glory. I love how 1 Timothy 4:15 states, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” Your progress matters. Never think that it doesn’t. If your story is one that you are embarrassed of, know that God can make your story new. He will use the wounds and hurts from your past to share His story of hope through your scars. Don’t look to a new year to fulfill your longings. Don’t look for a new relationship or haircut to satisfy you either. God formed you and created you on purpose for a purpose. He knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13).
Let’s be bold in the days to come, my friend. I want to embrace the people God places in my path. I want to be excited and expectant in the Lord, not underestimating what He can do for me. If I have learned anything this year, I have learned to trust God’s plans and to trust His timing of them. We must keep seeking our Father’s heart. Let’s not forget to be still in His Presence and just seek Him as our Lover and Best Friend. Let’s share our hearts with the Lord and go on many walks and talks with Him.
I am bursting forth with joy for all the Lord has done in my life this year, and I am pouring out praise for the miracles I have witnessed. My God is faithful always.
A verse I have clung onto this year is Galatians 6:9. Tuck it in the pocket of your heart and be reminded of it. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”