12.08.2016

My Writing Adventure | an essay

In which I present to you: my first college paper.

Scribbling words here and there, at any chance I could, has been a lifelong habit of mine.  
Since first learning how to read, I have attempted to write my own stories, my own thoughts, and my own feelings onto paper.
My earliest memory of reading is one in which I clearly recollect a very patient dinner guest listen to me to as I read an entire children’s book about a fox who went to the dentist in an attempt to succeed with his plan of eating his mouse hygienist.  Another memory is of when my year and a half older brother would sneak into my bed, or I into his, and we would hide under the covers as I whisper read The Adventures of Curious George by the illumination of a flashlight.
Going to the library and checking out a dozen books a week was no rare occurrence.  After moving to a small town the year I turned ten, it took only a couple of years until I had read every book in the teen section.  The librarian always asked me for a synopsis on each book upon returning it, and soon began making suggestions to which ones I should read next.  She also became one of my biggest encouragers of my writing gift.
My Mama, though, has always been my main supporter and fan.  As my homeschool teacher as well, she never hindered me from purchasing new notebooks and pens.  I have a few boxes, in fact, stuffed with countless journals I filled during my preteen and young teenage years.  
During a year in high school, I took a novel-writing class at a private trade school in Clackamas.  
At the time, I was particularly fascinated by the Native American culture and the early pioneering days of America.  So I wrote a story of a young girl who grew up in an English settlement, only to discover, as a young adult, that she had actually been born as the daughter of a chieftain in a nearby Indian village.
When I was thirteen, I started an online blog as an outlet for my writings.  It has since grown in a domain-based website called It’s Just Raquel, with over 1.1 million views and has won three international blog awards.  I write, mainly, about personal growth topics, as well as spiritual encouragement, relationship advice, and diverse poetry.  I have written a myriad of short stories, novellas, completed two novels, been paid to write children’s stories for a small newsletter, and have also been published several times on one of the world’s largest leading writer’s websites, Thought Catalog.  In the future, I plan to compile certain articles from my website into a book format to publish as a non-fictional.
I used to journal more in-depth, but as of recently, I mostly bullet journal, record daily blessings, and take notes during sermons and Bible studies.  I also have an addiction to notebooks of any kind.  I’m a hoarder when it comes to spiral-bound journals.  Something about flipping through empty lined pages, begging to be written on, gives me extreme motivation to write and fill them.
I love to learn new things, researching about them, and writing down the knowledge I have gleaned.  This came in to very good use when I was offered a job as the main reporter for a small town newspaper my last year as a teenager.
How my instructor might best assist me in this class is to: challenge me.  I crave a good challenge, and I also receive constructive criticism very well.  I am a student eager to learn more, whether by assignments, pointers on what I have written or how I could have best written it.
What I hope to gain from this class is merely a means to exercise and strengthen my writing methods and techniques.  I am extremely ambitious and goal-oriented, and my perfectionist tendency always strives to do and be better than the writer I was yesterday.

12.03.2016

Erratic Prose [at my family's home] | edition 5

Sometimes in order to do something, you need to go back to the place you first did it.

That’s what I had to do to get out of this rut that I’ve been stuck in lately with my writing.

I’ve been so crazy busy, and there have been so many curveballs that I’ve had to dodge in life that I’ve barely had any time to be on my laptop, except for school.
I kept telling myself that I needed to make time to just sit and write but the couple times I’ve been able to, no words would come.

So I decided to go to my family’s.  
I hadn’t seen them since Thanksgiving and my siblings were blowing up my phone with texts about when I was coming to visit next.

So here I sit, in the living room, a Christmas tree in front of me, waiting to be decorated by all of us this evening.  My Christmas music playlist is on shuffle.  The wood stove is burning a cozy fire to keep us all warm.  And I’m craving hot chocolate…  

Give me one sec.  I’ll be right back.

Okay, so here’s what’s been going on lately…

I started school.  And am loving it.  It’s so exciting to finally be taking steps towards fulfilling a dream.  My class is pretty big.  I think there are about twenty of us.  We break into learning teams, which is nice cuz we get to know just a few students at a time on a more personal level.  I like it.  We have reading and writing assignments for this current class.  I got 97 on my first paper and was, needless to say, rather ecstatic.  Classes are held once every week so I definitely have enough time to work on my assignments, and have an evening to look forward to being in a classroom setting.

I got in a car accident the beginning of November.  Fourth one since last summer.  So stupid.  None of them have been my fault either.  I’ve gotten rear-ended twice, and t-boned/side-swiped twice as well.  This most recent one was my worst injury though.  I got a torn disc in my neck and torn disc in my lower back.  The whiplash was nasty too.  And my poor Oliver is no longer with us.  He was totaled.  Pretty sure he’s beyond repair, unless someone has magical hands to fix his poor damaged rear.  And since he’s out of commission, I went and bought myself a new ride.  The new boo is a 2002 matte black Honda Civic coupe.  His name is Wade Wilson.  We get along pretty dang well.

I transferred with Dutch Bros to a brand new location on West Burnside in downtown Portland.  I absolutely love my new Dutch family and working at this particular location has been amazing.  The one thing that hasn’t been too great is the commute.  I still haven’t found a place to move to in Portland, but I’m trusting that God will provide soon.  The sooner, the better would be nice in my opinion, but His timing is always perfect, right?  So I guess we’ll just see where He leads me.

So that’s me and what’s been happening in a nutshell.  I’ve been learning a lot of crazy lessons lately too.  Many of them emotional and spiritual.  It’s been good, though.  God is so good to me.  I feel myself finding Him more and more everyday and just falling more deeply in love with Him too.

Thank you for all the emails and comments!  I’ve been receiving so many even though I’ve been a little under the radar.  Please keep them coming and I will respond as soon as I can.

How was Thanksgiving for you all?  What are your Christmas plans?  Can you believe 2016 is almost at an end?!

Stay warm, peeps!
Sending lots of hugs to each of you.


11.28.2016

In A Perfect World | a poem


If I had been the writer of our story, I would’ve planned our meeting differently.

I would have planned it for a different time in my life.  
A time when I wasn’t so skeptical and quick to be a pessimist.  
I would have planned it for a time when I was more hopeful and not so scared to meet someone and develop feelings so quickly for them.  

For you.

In a perfect world, the first person you love is your forever love, the one who will never leave, the one love you will always have in your life till the end of time.  
In a perfect world, your first encounter with love is your best, your favorite, and your only.  
In a perfect world, love would always be a good thing, not something we would ever doubt, not something that causes us to be fearful.

But as many of us know - you included, I think - is that love happens at the most unexpected times.  You don’t even realize what’s happening until after the fact.  
Until after you’ve fallen for someone who, a week, a month or a year ago, was a complete stranger.  
And now they’ve become the most important, significant, special person in your life.  

That’s you in mine.

Do you know how often I’ve wished I could meet someone like you?  
And how often the thought has crossed my mind that I might never have that wish granted to me?  
All those 11:11 wishes were about you.  
Before I even knew you existed.  
You were the one my subconscious only dreamed of.  
And I think all that wishing and hoping and praying somehow brought you to life.  

Or at least I’d like to think it had some sort of effect on your wonderful existence.  

You are wonderful, you know that?

It’s 1:09am as I sit and write this.  
Your face keeps coming to mind. 
I keep replaying some of my favorite memories with you over and over in my brain and I smile to myself.  Not just because I love those memories, but because I’m so happy that even after not very much time has passed since that day you entered my life and exploded it with color, we have already made so many memories.  And I’m in love with them.

In fact, I’m in love with you.

And I’m so lucky to love you.


Thank you for letting me be the one to love you.

11.06.2016

My Tattoos & Their Stories

I've had a lot of readers ask me to share about my tattoos - what I have, where I have them, why I got them.  So here you are.  Finally.  You're welcome.

1.  Forget-me-not flowers
My first tattoo is of my favorite flower, the forget-me-not.  They've been my favorite flower for as long as I can remember.  My grandma has grown them in her garden since I was about 3.  Whenever she'd take me out to pick vegetables or flowers, I would always look for the forget-me-not and pick a little bouquet of them.  They always fit perfectly in my little hands.  Now, they flower itself is about as big as my pinky finger nail.
There is also a German legend about them that says when God made the earth, He was painting each flower certain colors.  The forget-me-not was so small that it thought it'd be overlooked, so it cried out "Forget me not, O LORD!" And God smiled and said, "I never would forget one of my creations. Here is a little touch of leftover blue that I have". So He painted the flower a light sky-blue, and it smiled, thus making the yellow center.  I love that story.  It holds a lot of personal significance to me because of a certain time in my life when I was really struggling with my identity and self-worth.

 2.  Undone
This one was inspired by the song Getting There by my role model and  favorite worship leader, Steffany Gretzinger.  Also this verse:
“Then said I, 'Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips...and for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts'.”
- ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭6:5‬
3.  Symbols on my left arm stand for "God is infinitely greater than the ups and downs forever."
4.  My zodiac constellation, Aries is on my right wrist.
5.  Spanish tattoo
The tat on my left wrist says "Your will, for Your glory, in Your timing."
My best friend always reminds me to say this, especially during difficult times. She's planning on getting it too but just in English.


6.  This star made of music notes simply represents my love for music and stars in one design.

7.   Innocent Life 
This phrase is written in Elvish font with a cross as the "T" in innocent.  My first name means Innocent.  And my middle name means Life.  So I thought it'd be cool to get a tat that says 'Innocent Life'.  It's not only the meaning of my name but also, a reminder that I am innocent in God's eyes because of Jesus' work on the cross.  It's ironic too cuz the cross hurt the worst while getting done.
The whole tat was kinda painful but when it hurt the worst, I asked my artist "What letter are you on?"  And she said "The cross." And I was like dang..... 
So the whole time I was in the worst pain for that, I just replayed "He endured more than this for me" over and over in my head.  It was really emotional and humbling.


8 & 9.  Trees and Mountains
For quite some time, I've wanted to get a tattoo that represented my beautiful Oregon home.  It is known as the second largest forested state, and I have always been in love with the tall, gorgeous woods I have lived around.  So I thought "Why not get a tattoo of some graceful fir trees?"
And I did.
I've dreamt of getting my beautiful mountains tattooed onto my body journal for almost a year.  So now I have one ankle tattooed with my Oregon home representation, and my other ankle shows my second home in Peru - the Huascaran Mountains, the largest ones in the Andes chain.

10.  The Arrow
Before it can fly, an arrow must be drawn back.  Every inch is harder as it stretches and pulls it taut.  The arrow seems to be moving farther away from the target as it's pulled backwards, but it is the only way it will truly reach its target. 
The arrow is us.  The bow is life.  And the Master Archer is the Giver of life and the Author of our stories, aiming us in His perfect direction.

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And yes, I will be writing an article about my view and convictions on tattoos.  Keep calm and stay tuned.

---


11.05.2016

Bible Talk | How To Study the Bible & Recommended Devotionals


What book has led you closer to God?

Favorite or recommended devotional?

How to study the Bible?  The SOAP method?  Or what would you recommend?

What would you say is the best way to study the Bible?  (Or, I mean, what do you do?)

What devotionals would you recommend for someone who wants to begin reserving some quiet time for the LORD every day?


These are all questions that I have received on my ask.fm.

First of all, everyone has different methods for studying the Bible.  Like I've said many times before - your personal relationship with God is your relationship with God to make your own.  It's between Him and you.
Some people study in depth every day, with a study Bible, a concordance, taking tons of notes, highlighting verses as they go.  While others read a couple verses before they get out of bed and meditate on those throughout the day.

There's nothing wrong with either of these.

God never told us how much time we have to make for Him, or when, or how often.  It's not about who does it how and when.  It's about loving Him and meditating on His Word, hiding it in our hearts, and obeying what He has said.

"Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against You."
- Psalm 119:11

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
- Psalm 119:105

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
- Joshua 1:8

"But He answered, 'It is written: man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
- Matthew 4:4

I'm a perfectionist.  Always have been.  So when I started really growing in my relationship with God, and realizing my identity in Him, and my love for Him, I strived to have a good solid Bible study time every day.  This is a good goal to have.  But whenever I couldn't, or didn't have as much time as I wanted to, I would get really upset with myself and just give up on my time with Him.
That wasn't the right course of action at all.
I needed to give myself grace and remember that I can't always do things the way I want to.  Sometimes I won't be able to have a two-hour devotional time, but I can have two minutes.  And in those two minutes, I should ask God to show me everything He wants me to take away from whatever passage I am reading.

Like I said, I used to have a good solid Bible study time set apart every day.  I would get out my devotional journal, my prayer journal, my Bible, my highlighter pens, my worship music, my day-to-day devotional and I would shut my phone off and just read and write for as long as I wanted to.
But now, guess what I do?
I wake up in the morning, turn onto my side, open my Bible and read as many chapters as I want/can before having to get up and start my day.  No highlighter pens, no journals, [sometimes] no music.  I've simplified.  Because right now, in my walk to Jesus, that's what He wants me to do and how He wants me to spend time with Him.  Before, I was stressing out too much about having it all together and making notes and highlighting verses and making my journals look pretty, and then when I couldn't do that, I would just slack in my Bible time because I "didn't have time for everything".  I didn't have time to make it perfect.
And He was like "Raquel, you just need to want to spend time with Me.  And I will meet you there."
(It was also a lesson on being less of a perfectionist too, that's for sure.)

So my greatest recommendation, as far as how to study the Bible, is to seek Him and ask Him how He wants to spend time with you.  You may be at a time of your walk with Him where He wants you to really study and make a window of time in your day to take notes and mark certain verses and look up words in a concordance.  Sometimes that's a really good diving board to growing a solid relationship foundation with Him.
But for others, He may just want some one on one quiet time with you.  Just you, Him, and the Word open in your lap.
Every relationship is different.  Every time spent together is different, based on the relationship.  Just like going on dates.  Sometimes you're feeling like being wild and crazy and dancing at a concert till 2am.  But other days, you just want a quiet dinner at home, snuggling and watching a movie.  Both are good times, both are fun, you learn things about each other during both scenarios.  But most importantly, you're together.  And that's all that matters.

Your times with God are your dates with Him.  He loves you and wants to have a relationship with your soul - the one He created and put in you.  Figure out the best way to grow and love Him back.  He'll show you.

---

Recommended devotionals:

  • Come Away, My Beloved | Frances Roberts
  • Pearl of Great Price | Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Valley of Vision
  • My Daily Pursuit | A.W. Tower
  • Experiencing God Day by Day | Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby
  • Then Sings My Soul | Robert Morgan
  • To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain | Matt Chandler

10.31.2016

Religion Vs. Relationship


I hate it when people label me as "religious". 

Christianity is a religious term, just like Buddhism and Hinduism and Catholicism. But I don't practice a religion. 

My faith isn't a religion.  It's a relationship that I work at, that I cultivate, that I have with God.  Just like any other relationship I am a part of - such as with my parents, my siblings, my relatives, my friends.  
Knowing the difference between these two words - "religion" and "relationship" - is very important for any individual to understand about the Christian faith.  Not only do we follow Christ, but we also love Him, and we obey His Word because our love for Him compels us to.  I don't have to do a daily a, b, or c to make sure my faith is secure and that, if I die, I'll go to heaven because I remembered to follow those requirements.  
The Christian faith is based on belief and trust that once you ask God to forgive you of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth to take the penalty for every crime you've committed against the Triune God, the Holy Spirit will come and reside in your heart and make you a new creation. 

This does not mean that you are now perfect.  This does not mean that you will never sin again. 

What it does means is that you believe that Jesus' blood was enough.  That His grace is all-sufficient to cover ANY sin - whether big or small in our eyes (because in God's eyes, it's all the same).  And that no matter how many times you slip up and falter and stumble, God will never let you go and say "You've had too many chances. You're on your own." 

Being a Christ-follower is about cultivating a relationship with your Savior.  It's not a matter of "how good you can be for how long", but about living day to day with His glory as the forefront of your actions, the reason you do what you do, so that others can see His hand in your life.

Because my faith is a relationship with Christ, it will look different than my pastor's relationship with Him, my best friend's and my coworker's.  Just like the bond I share with my Mama is different than with my Dad, or the closeness of my friendship with my best friend is a different relationship than with my boyfriend.  My relationship with Christ will differ from yours.  And that's okay.  There's no one way to be a lover and follower of Christ. 

It's all you and God.  This is where personal convictions come in, such as how God convicts you to do or not to do certain things.  Tattoos are a good example.  Personally, I don't view it as a sin to get them and I have several.  He has convicted me to never smoke or do drugs, but for other Christians, maybe that's something they're okay with doing.  It doesn't matter what the world thinks of you, or even other Christians.  Your relationship is between you and God. 
Yes, we are called to encourage and admonish each other as siblings in Christ and warriors in His army, and if a professing Christian is blatantly sinning or living a life of lust and greed and worldliness, we must speak to them with God's Word in hand.  Nevertheless, He is the ultimate Judge and will deal directly with their heart and soul in His timing.

In the meantime, I'm gonna keep living for my God because what I have with my Creator is more than just practicing rituals and obeying rules.  It's more than a religion.  It's about a relationship.

10.27.2016

A Challenge To My Fellow Women


I've heard many women of my generation complain about “how chivalry is dead” and “guys don't know how to treat us well anymore” and how they “wish we could go back to the day and age where men were real men and respected us”.

My question back to them is always - Well, are you giving them an example of a true woman and someone who deserves respect?

I am NOT saying that guys should treat women the way their character deserves to be respected.  (Because, honestly, I think women should be treated with dignity across the board - no matter her age or occupation.  And men don't treat women half as well as they should.)
But really.  
Are the women of this day and age setting an example, being a woman, demanding the respect and treatment they deserve as the female sex?

I remember a time when a a guy friend of mine paid me one of the greatest compliments I have ever received.  He said: ‘You deserve recognition [as a lady].  You make me want to be a better gentleman.’
When he told me that, I was like "Wow".  I felt a sense of accomplishment, in being able to encourage my guy friend to feel the need to be a better gentleman.  And the fact that he felt that his chivalry wouldn’t go unnoticed by me - because I actually care that men act like gentlemen - was flattery in itself.

I am disgusted by the way women treat men these days, but yet they still insist on being treated well.  You should do unto others what you would have them do to you, right?  That's a Bible verse that is constantly quoted - when it's in a person's favor to use it.  But when it's used on them, it's suddenly "something from an old book full of stories".  I'm serious.  I'm done seeing guys trampled on and walked all over, but made to treat women like queens, to have their feet be kissed and every wish and whim fulfilled.

A friend of mine texted me today and said that after two successful dates with a girl who he really liked - and who claimed to really like him - she suddenly stopped returning his texts and phone calls.  Just flat out dropped off the face of the earth.  Not one peep of a message back to him.  Now there is absolutely no excuse for that.  She didn’t block his number.  She just ignored him.  You don’t ignore someone for however many days.  Even if I’m extremely busy with work and family and life stuff, I always try to make an effort to let people know “Hey, I’m busy at the moment.  I’ll get back to you when I have more time to focus on a conversation.”
My friend asked me why women can't just be upfront and honest, but kind at the same time.  They're either brutally extreme or don’t communicate in the least.  Now what kind of an example is that setting for the guys we want to be kind and honest with us?!  Women are always saying "Why can't he just tell me if he likes me or not?"  And "Why can't he just talk to me or ask me out instead of being so shy around me?"  Well, why can't you do the same thing?  Why can't you be honest and tell him "Yes, I am interested in you" or "No, I would rather decline a date invitation, but thank you for asking”?  There's a way to do things in a straightforward, direct, yet nice way. 
Something I've noticed about women is how hard it seems for them to say "no".  And I get it.  We're sensitive creatures.  We're afraid of hurting a guy's feelings.  But hey, this is the real world.  Feelings are always going to get hurt.  If you're honest and upfront with them, that's the best way to go about anything.  But be kind at the same time.  And the way a guy responds to your answer is not in your control.  You don't control the way he reacts.  A good, sensible, respectful man who respects you - and women in general - will be mature about any and all responses that he receives.  

There was a guy who I had gone out with twice.  He was super sweet, we got along well, he was very creative in his date planning, just an overall super sweet guy.  I didn't feel any special connection or feelings with or for him, though, and when I ended up dating another guy, I told guy #1 - "Hey, I just want you to know that I'm not interested in pursuing anything with you and you deserve to know that I am seeing someone now so please refrain from pursuing me."  The guy I was with at the time said that guy #1 was going to totally flip after reading that text from me, but guess what?  
He responded with maturity.  
He said something along the lines of "Thank you for telling me.  I hope that whoever you with knows what a lucky guy he is."  
Now that, ladies and gentleman, is a sign of a good, sweet, kind, mature man.  He knows how to take rejection.  Not in the pity-party "oh she played me" sort of bullcrap way, but “oh she found someone who makes her happy and for that, I am happy".  He set an example for me.  And I will always be grateful for that, and respect him for the way he chose to react.

If women are asking why chivalry is dead, then maybe that's a reflection of the examples - or lack - of courtesy and grace that men are receiving from the women around them.

So I challenge you, my fellow women, if you're demanding respect, give the men something to esteem and honor. 
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Rant over.
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DISCLAIMER:
I know that I will probably get bombarded with feminist comments and emails on this article.  Maybe something along the lines of "your article was sexist" or "not a tribute to strong women".  But, trust me, I'm saving that for another time.

10.20.2016

How I Found God


“How did you find God?  Like, what happened?  What clicked?  What does it feel like?”

A friend of mine texted me this question out of the blue tonight.  
It took me a while to respond.  
Not because I didn’t know what to say.  
I just didn’t know how to say it.  

Here's my futile attempt.

---

I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God.  Whatever it says is right and true and holy.  
One verse in it talks about how man has fallen short of the glory of God.  
This means that we as humans cannot compare to God’s glory and because of the sin in our lives, there is a barrier between us and Him.  

But there is hope!  

Because God loves His creation, He wanted to save us from ourselves, from the sin that we carry in our imperfect souls and that is in this world, so He sent His only Son to come to this earth and die for us, making Himself a human sacrifice.  And because of His blood covering us, God no longer sees our sin.  He sees His Son’s perfection and selfless love.

As far as how I found God, well, I didn’t.  

He found me.  

Because since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and His divine nature have been clearly seen by all, so no one is without excuse of His power and glory.  You can’t look at this universe, the galaxies, a newborn baby, a snowflake, a fingerprint, without seeing His beautiful and perfect design.  He’s a Creator who is intimately acquainted with His creation and takes delight in showing His glory through His work.  He wants to have a relationship with us.  That’s how He designed for it to be in the Garden of Eden, but man chose sin over God and thus began the barrier between human and holy.  

Before He found me, I was just a wandering soul, living in a human world, content in my own way of life.  No person wakes up one day and decides “I’m going to follow Jesus.”  It doesn’t work like that.  There has to be an inward change of the heart, and then an outward declaration of faith.  

But the only One who can change the heart is the Holy Spirit.  

You see, God is a God of order.  He is not chaotic.  He plans, He purposes, He predestines.  Before the foundation of the world, He foreknew His chosen ones, the ones He would conform into the image of His Son.  And the ones He predestines, He calls.  And the ones who come, He justifies.  And the ones He justifies, He glorifies.  

What does it feel like?  Well, I will be one hundred percent honest and say that the Christian life is no easy journey.  It’s not all sunshine and roses once you’ve received His calling and committed to a relationship with Him.  

Why?  

Because it goes against human nature.  

We want to be our own god.  We want to make our own decisions.  We want to make our own rules.  God gave us His Word because He knows what’s best for us and what is evil and what is right.  And through it, He tells us so.  The enemy, also, wages wars against God’s people.  We do not fight battles against flesh and blood but against evil spirits and the world forces of darkness.  The war has already been won though.  After He died on the cross, Jesus was buried for three days, yet rose again, defeating the greatest curse - death.  

He has overcome.  
And we will win.  

For greater is He who is in us, then he who is of the world.  

And I consider that anything I suffer from in this present age won’t be worthy to be compared to the glory that I will receive when I die and go to heaven.  

So no, I didn’t find God.  He found me.  

And by His sovereign unexplainable love, He chose me as one of His own.

What does it feel like?
It feels like the most freedom you can ever have, the greatest victory you will ever experience, and the sweetest love you will ever receive.

And while the Christian walk is a difficult journey to follow, I will never regret my commitment to Him.  He gave His life for me, so I’m living my life for Him.  

And He is so worth it.