2.28.2014

His dazzling glory


‘In my deepest wound, I saw Your glory.  And it dazzled me.’

This was said by one of my heroes, St. Augustine, and those two sentences spoke so much to me.  It is my new favorite quote.  And one that I wrote in the front cover of my Bible (on a page that’s only dedicated to certain life-impacting quotes, so this one is definitely special).

We will never understand why certain things happen to us.  We will never be able to grasp God’s sovereignty.  But through faith we know that everything that transpires in our life is conducted by His almighty hand and nothing goes unplanned or unseen by Him.  

Life is a struggle.  Every day brings new challenges, new trials, new wounds.  But if we rest assured in the power of His will and that He holds to the promise that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28), we can look for the beauty in the pain.  Beauty in not only what He is making us to be.  But the beauty of His glory.  Because all things happen for whatever purpose He has, and in the end, all to bring Him glory.

And His glory is something to behold.  Something most dazzling.  

2.27.2014

The 'End It' Movement | Will you join us?


Today is an awareness day.  All across the globe, people are coming together to be the voice for the 27 million victims of human trafficking.  We are raising awareness and taking a public stand against this injustice by drawing a red X on our hand.  Would you join us?

Facts about modern slavery:

  • There is an estimated 27 million humans being trafficked today.
  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
  • The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12-14 years old.
  • 80-90% of sexually exploited people have a history of being sexually abused as a child.
  • Pimps recruit children at malls, bus stops, parties, around schools, through other youth, and online.
  • Between 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. per year.
  • Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind legal drugs and arms trafficking).


'There is power in the Name of Jesus to break every chain.'

2.24.2014

I'm the lead singer of a band


It is with great joy, pride and glory to God that I am able to officially announce that I am the lead singer in the band, WonderFall

God has been so faithful in guiding and helping me and my bandmates to take our passion for music and our dream to start a band into something that only continues to grow and grow.

We now have our official bandpage on Facebook up and running and all our other social networks.  Links to all of them are below.  And you can also view our intro video on our YouTube channel.

All glory to God and thank you for your continued support and encouragement! It means so much to all of us.

'Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls. All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night. A prayer to the God of my life.'

- Psalm 42:7-8





2.21.2014

4 Types of Worship


There are so many different ways that we can worship God in our daily lives.  Here is a short list of a few ways that I have learned I can worship God the most through.  I’m not saying these are the only ways.  But I pray that these thoughts encourage you to search deeper into ways you can praise our God.


1) Time in the Word
‘Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’
- Matthew 6:33

As children of God, we are called to learn about Him, to dwell on His words, to SEEK His face.  Just like any other relationship, you will always continue learning about the other person.  There won’t ever be a time when you know everything there is to know about them.  The same is in our relationship with Jesus.  To learn about Him, we must spend time in His Word, gleaning from it, and prayerfully asking Him to teach us more about Who He is.  And through doing this, we are worshiping Him by obeying Him.  Reading God’s letter to us should be a daily requirement in each of our schedules.  Make time to spend in His presence.  It’ll be the best part of your day.


2) Through Song
‘Praise Him with the trumpet sound!  Praise Him with harp and lyre!  Praise Him with timbrel and dancing!  Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe!’
- Psalm 150:3-4

Music is such a passion of mine.  And I consider my talent in music as a gift from God so what better way to worship Him than by using the gift He gave me?  Praising God through song is one of my favorite ways to express my worship to Him.  And I’m thankful for the many songs that I know of that I can use as my own prayers of thanksgiving.


3) Prayer
‘Come, let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.’
- Psalm 95:6

Prayer is so very powerful.  It’s our way of having a conversation with the One Who made us.  Bit of an overwhelming thought, huh?  And through prayer, we can worship Him through rejoicing in all He has done for us.  It’s just like thanking a parent for providing food for us.  We are giving them thanks through our words, so when we’re talking to God, it’s a form of praise.


4) Praising in the hard times
‘Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’
- James 1:2-3

It’s easy to praise and worship when things are going well and life is smooth and easy.  But what about the times when it’s hard to go a day without crying?  Or the moments when you just feel like giving up because whatever you’re facing is just ‘too hard’?  Yet it’s in these very times when worshiping God is the most crucial, and most beautiful.  Like the verse from James says above - we are to count it as JOY when we suffer trials and hardships.  And this verse goes hand in hand with Romans 8:28 where we are promised that God works all things out for our good.  Worship Him during the tough times because through them, He’s making you stronger to withstand whatever else is coming your way.  And you’ll for sure be thanking Him then.
Are you going through something difficult right now?  If so, what kind of attitude do you have?  Is it a good attitude (praising and thanking God amidst your pain) or are you harboring complaints and curses to God and are too busy blaming Him to understand the test He’s putting you through?  I’m not saying it’s easy to go through tough times and keep a positive attitude.  But we can, if we lean on the strength that God is so willing to give us.  He hasn’t abandoned us.  And He won’t start now.

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‘Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!’
- Psalm 150:6

2.19.2014

Initiation and conquering


I’ve had numerous people ask me my opinion on how relationships should begin.  Should the guy initiate it or is it okay if the girl asks the guy out?  Should the girl just not do anything until the guy approaches her about taking their friendship a step further?

Well obviously, my answer would vary due to the couple.  Every person is different, every couple is different, and every relationship is different.  What matters most is that the feeling of attraction and desire to be IN a relationship is mutual.

I’m a firm believer in the man being the leader - whether in a relationship, marriage, home, church, etc.  This doesn’t mean the woman doesn’t have any say in anything.  Far from it!  But men were created as the leader, provider, protector.  Women were meant to submit, encourage and nurture.  And these roles can be played out in any area of life.  When it comes to a friendship-wishing-to-move-on-into-a-relationship, I believe the man and the woman both have their given roles.  While the man should have the confidence in approaching the girl he likes and letting her know his feelings, he shouldn’t do it just on a whim.  He should be friends with her first.  Study her.  Learn her likes and dislikes.  Watch how she acts - around family, friends, and how her relationship is with the LORD.  Judging from that, he should know whether to pursue something more serious.  

One of the greatest risks a man will ever take is asking a girl on a date and/or to be his girlfriend.  To us girls, it might seem like a simple task.  Just ask and accept the answer.  Well, guys really do hate rejection.  It’s a bit of a bruising to their male ego.  We may not think much of a simple answer as ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but to them a ‘no’ is a red check mark on their list of successes.  BUT, there’s a pretty simple way to get about this.  I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’ve just noticed that this has worked quite well in future scenarios.  

If a guy and girl are friends (good enough friends to know that he wants to pursue her in a more serious relationship), he should have an idea of if he would get rejected or not.  And this is where the girl has to keep an eye open.  If a guy likes you, he will make advances.  He will be extra sweet, he will do special things for you, he will pay attention, he will dote, he will flirt, he will make every effort to be near you, he will talk to you (a lot).  Basically, he will go out of his way for you.  Or at least, he should.  (Take notes, guys!)  If/When he does this, and we are interested in him as well, it’s our duty to...what?  Encourage.  These are little words or actions that are green lights to the guys to encourage them that ‘Yes, I will accept your advances’ or ‘Yes, I will flirt with you’.

Every relationship is a two-way street.  You take a little and you give a little.  But the most important aspect of any relationship is to keep it God-centered and God-honoring.  If your friendship with a guy/girl you like, isn’t focused on pushing the other person closer to the LORD, then you shouldn’t even START thinking about pursuing something more serious with them.  

Guys, dating a girl is one of the most dangerous things you will ever do.  Because you are choosing to get to know the daughter of the Creator.  Your responsibility to lead and protect her will only grow as your relationship does.  And a girl who commits herself to you, is giving you a part of her that you can hurt so very easily, but she’s trusting that you won’t.

Girls, dating a guy is one of the most trusting things you will ever do.  As girls, we are wired emotionally, and guys are good at using words to get what they want.  While in a relationship with a guy, remember that God is ultimately the one who should always be the Man at the forefront of your life.  And remember to trust Him with everything.

2.17.2014

Of friendships come and gone


We’ve all had that one friend who we talked to all day, everyday, about anything and everything and sometimes nothing at all.  We could talk for hours on end and never get tired of hearing each other’s voice or seeing each other’s name pop up on our phones to alert us that we had a text from them.  We’d send each other silly pictures, have sleepovers, rock out to our favorite songs together, whisper until the wee hours of the morning about guys or girls and always know that tomorrow would be another day to fill with more memories with that person you loved.

And then one day, things changed.  Something happened.  And you will most likely never know what.  The conversations dwindled.  The time grew longer and longer between talks.  The phone calls ceased.  Text messages became a thing of the past.  And the part of your heart that was always so happy at the mention of that friend’s name is nothing more but a mass of memories that make you sad and ache at the confusion and loss of someone who you thought would always be there for you.  Because, after all, that’s what friends usually promise each other, right?  

Maybe you’ve tried to get back in contact with them, but they’ve pushed you away - leaving you to wonder what the heck you ever did to make them upset with you.  Or maybe they just came straight out and told you ‘I don’t think there’s anything worth salvaging in our friendship’, and you left, with tears in your eyes, to think that the friendship you used to hold so dear to your heart was actually nothing worth fighting for.

I know you’re waiting for the happy ending of this post.  Raquel just dragged you through a puddle of memories and you’re hoping she can give you something to help ease the pain.  But, the sad truth is, I don’t have anything to remedy this.  There isn’t anything I can say or do that can help you forget that friend you once had.  Or something that could help you understand why they won’t talk to you anymore.  It’s a part of the past that you can’t undo.  And it’s something you can either choose to leave in the past, choose to carry with you, or choose to let its lessons teach you for the future.

It's natural to overthink, but sometimes this just causes more hurt.  You can keep asking yourself what happened and why or what you did that made this friendship fall apart, but you'll probably never find the answer.  The reason it hurts so much, though, is because you cared for that person.  There wouldn't be pain over a friendship lost if there wasn't a friendship love to begin with.

People come and go.  It’s a fact of life.  And if you have any friends who you’ve known since childhood and are still able talk to, you are incredibly blessed.  (I can count how many of those kinds of friends I have on one hand.)  

Short friendships are kind of a common thing in my life.  For the longest time, I beat myself up over it, almost falling into a depression, wondering and worrying over what awful things I could have done to make those ‘friends’ leave.  I overthink every single little detail.  I love easily.  And I love so hard that it really hurts when I realize that I have to let go.  But I remember one day, either hearing or reading something, that said how every single person who comes into your life is an opportunity for you to show them God’s love.  And since then, I’ve made it a point to reach out to people even more - and invest my time and love into them - even though they might leave.  Even though I’ll only know them for a week, a day, an hour.  I don’t care if they don’t even remember my name.  Just so long as they remember the love I showed them.  Which wasn’t even my own.  I just want them to remember God’s love.

We’ve been put on this world - not to be comfortable!  But to realize that there’s another world waiting for us that will be free of misery and pain.  Where friendships won’t be broken, tears won’t be spilt and pain won’t be present.  But for now, live life joyfully.  Take each day as a blessing.  And smother people with love - even if they don’t want it.  Sometimes the people who push you away are the ones who most need you in their life.  

And, dear one, don’t let those people who have left your life ruin your present happiness.  It’s their loss, not yours.

2.12.2014

Don't miss it


‘This world is made up of two kinds of people: ones who live for perfect moments and ones who takes moments and make them perfect.’

How many opportunities do we brush by?  How many chances do we take for granted?  How often do we not realize exactly what’s in front of us?  How many times do we settle for something so much less than what we deserve?

We all have regrets.  Things we wish we could’ve done or said.  But right now is the best time to never make the same mistake twice.  

‘How much I missed simply because I was afraid of missing it.’
- Paulo Coelha


Don’t miss it.  Don’t miss the moments.  Don’t miss what you have right before you.  You’re alive.  You’re still here.  There are still things you need to do, things you need to accomplish.

Maybe there’s someone you need to forgive.  Someone you need to reach out to.  Someone you need to get back in contact with.  Someone you need to say ‘I love you’ to.

Take risks.  Do the things you wish you could’ve done years ago.  Learn something new.  Become who you’ve always wanted to become.

Life is full of moments.  You can miss them, or you can take them and make them precious memories.  And not just memories for you, but for others too.  

Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can, there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.'
- Sarah Caldwell

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'This is the day the LORD has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.'
- Psalm 118:24

2.10.2014

Some facts about me that make up who I am



Okay.  You got me.  I’m not perfect.  I don’t even come close to perfect.  Part of me wishes I could say that I am really, really almost-there close to perfect, but I’m deciding to make this post brutally honest and just say exactly what I’m like and who I am.
(and yes, that is my second time using the ‘brutally honest’ phrase within my last two posts...)

My room has absolutely no theme to it.  I’ve tried, and failed at that.  I have mismatched sheets, random colored blankets at the foot of my bed, and none of my furniture matches.  My walls hold tons of movie and band posters.  I have only one shelf of books and movies in my room (the rest of my collection is housed in a huge bookshelf in the hallway, which my parents were so kind enough to let me use).  I don’t have as many shoes as most people think women have.  I don’t own very many skirts or dresses.  I love dressing up and going to fancy events and such but rarely have the occasion for that so 99% of the time, you’ll find me in either sweats or comfy, fitted jeans.  I’m slightly obsessed with hoodies and own more than the average girl.  (Let’s just say I love hoodies as much as the classy city girls love shoes and purses).  Oh that’s another thing.  I use a large canvas bag as a purse (for now anyway).  My closet is filled with mostly Papaya, Aeropostale and random brands of clothes that I find for good deals at thrifts shops.  I rarely buy things brand new.  And I love recycling clothes or giving them to my sisters (blood-related or adopted).  

My hair is very rarely done in any pretty hairstyle.  I’ve tried (believe me) to do a cute little design in it when I first start my morning, but by noon, it’s a wreck and either thrown loose or in a high bun.  

I rarely paint my nails.  I find it somewhat of a waste of time and nailpolish is a heck to remove so I would just rather do without.  

I love to workout and set goals for myself every month which, no, I don’t always achieve them, but I’m happy with my body so don’t stress myself out too much about making it any more thin.  My Grandma already says that I’m ‘so skinny and need to eat more!’  I’m not a workout freak like a lot of women I know.  I just feel that all that time I’d work out could be used for something much more beneficial.

There are tons of classes I want to take, but haven’t been able to (mostly because of the lack of money in my bank account and/or wallet).  I want to learn Kali.  I want to continue in hip-hop classes.  I want to do theater.  I want to work on perfecting my vocal skills.  So...we’ll see...

After 6 o’clock in the evening, I rarely care what I look like.  If my makeup was even managed to be put on that day, I don’t care if it’s smeared or doesn’t look like I have any on at all.  

I have writer’s block at least once a month (okay, at least four times a month).  And then sometimes, I have a mirage of writing ideas that come to me so quickly, I don’t always have the time to write them down.

I pretty much never watch TV, but when I do, my channels change between FOOD and anything pertaining to house hunting.  I never watch my favorite TV shows on TV either.  (That’s what Netflix is for, right?)  Oh and for those of you who are wondering, my Top 5 favorite shows (that you very well may find me up till 1 o’clock watching) are: Leverage, Enlisted, Arrow, Sherlock and Psych.

I have tons of knitting and crocheting projects I’ve never finished.  

I’ve never been able to keep a plant alive (my Mama usually rescues them before I give up and throw them out of the pot).  

I get jealous very easily - of family, of friends.  Not jealous OF, exactly.  But jealous FOR.  Like if I hear that you hung out with any of my best friends all day yesterday and you go on and on about how much fun you had together, blah blah blah, I’ll probably just give you the ice princess look and not talk to you for a while.  

I will bawl my eyes out in certain movies, at certain scenes that aren’t the most-cryable parts.  (I cried at the END of ‘Defiance’ - right before the credits rolled.  And I cried when Landon goes to his father’s house in the middle of the night - in A Walk To Remember.)  Random crying moments like that.  Oh and speaking of movies, I will watch anything action-packed and bloody any day, over something that has anything gooey or gross (in lack of any better words to describe exactly what I’m thinking...)

I love nicknames and used to wish I had one......and now I have about twenty.

I used to be so concerned about what people think and tell others about me.  But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that people can be really mean sometimes.  And people give up on you and your friendship.  And people who you used to love suddenly think of you as an enemy.  And you have to move on from them and everything you thought they were.  And realize that God had put them in your life for only that short season.  And pray that during that time, you could’ve somehow shown them just a glimpse of God’s love. (And I used about a million ‘ands’ in the paragraph)

I love photography and have a beautiful Nikon d3100 DSLR that I thought I would use everyday and become some famous photographer in a couple years.  But, truth is, I think there are millions of more amazing photographers out there (including some friends of mine) that I kind of buried that dream and have accepted the role of ‘photographer if needed’.  If someone loves my photos, hurray for that.  Otherwise, it’s okay to not be known for being an excellent photographer.

I used to be able to boast that I’ve never said a swear word in my whole entire life, but as of a couple years ago, a few bad words have slipped from my mouth.  Nothing to be proud of, but hey, I’m not perfect.

I will accept chocolate at any time of any day, even if I know that I might break out by the end of the night.  (Tip: drink LOTS of water while eating chocolate.  This is a proven fact (by yours truly) that you will have less of a chance of breaking out)

I hate watermelon.  And tomato soup (unless it’s my Mama’s homemade stuff. Then, it's okay).  

I bite my bottom lip...quite often.  

I sleep with at least one blanket - not matter how hot it is.  

I love awkward moments.  I’m really good at making them un-awkward or have a blast making them even MORE awkward.

I notice features about people.  Certain things about them that at first glance, may be overlooked.  I think this comes from drawing portraits and having to study facial features and characteristics. (For example, I was watching something with a friend of mine the other day and remarked on how one of the actors had ‘similar lips to Channing Tatum’.  Needless to say, she gave me a look that told me I was pretty much insane.)

My signature phrases are: ‘Oh my gosh!’, ‘Seriously?’, ‘Holy cow!’ and ‘That is fabulous!’

And before this post gets any more ridiculous and long...

So you see, I’m kind of a mess.  A crazy, wild, weird sort of mess.  And I’ve learned to accept it and embrace it.  Because that mess is who I am.  I used to be so envious of girls who seemed like they had it altogether.  They had the perfect room - completely color schemed, with matching furniture, did well in their school, could afford everything they wanted, and a little more.  Had the perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect body shape.  But I realized that what may look like perfect on the outside is just my definition of it.

I know one thing for sure, though.  I know that my heart is in the right place because I know that God is my everything.  And no matter how imperfect I think I am, this is just the way He made me and I can embrace it with my whole soul because He loves the way He made me and He loves me just the way I am.  I will fulfill His calling on my life every day that I live.  I will use my voice, my talents, my gifts, my craziness to tell others about Him.  I will be crazy for Jesus, cuz oh does He know I’m crazy in love with Him.  I will not let worldly, worthless things get in the way of my joy in Him or distract me from what God has placed in my heart.  I was born for so much more than that.  I was born for His purpose.  And what a comforting and fulfilling thought to know that through Christ, I can do all things.

2.07.2014

Self-Esteem Vs. Self-Confidence



I’m going to be rather blunt and just say that I am so tired of girls thinking they aren’t beautiful.  And seeking attention by complaining about their looks.

For starters, it makes me mad that this world is brain-washing girls to think that without full lips, big boobs, a toned butt, and makeup, we aren’t as beautiful as we could be.

And secondly, it makes me sad to see that girls are actually starting to believe these lies.

You don’t need to hide behind a mask.  That mask can never be as beautiful as who you really are, who God created you to be.  You don’t have to be perfect.  In God’s eyes, you already are.  You belong to Him, the One who never makes mistakes.  He has made each of you unique and beautiful.  

A lot of girls struggle with knowing what would be termed as ‘prideful’ or ‘self-confident’.  There’s nothing wrong with looking in the mirror and thinking ‘I look nice today’.  That’s not prideful, unless you make it so.  If you go flaunting yourself around, worming for compliments (a lot of girls do this via posting photos on social networks), then yes, that’s prideful.  But if you simply state it to yourself and are happy with your appearance, this is not self-esteem.  This is self-confidence.  We should be confident in our skin, knowing that we are beautiful in God’s eyes.  There’s nothing wrong with thinking you’re pretty.  When someone compliments your attractiveness, accept it.  Don’t try to deny it and say ‘oh no I’m not’.  I can’t stand it when girls do this (and I know, for a fact, that it’s a turnoff to guys).  Yes, you are pretty.  You are beautiful.  Be content with this.  Be confident in it.  Be sure.

And let me clarify one thing.  There’s nothing wrong with wearing some makeup to enhance the natural beauty that is already evident, but it shouldn’t detract from it.  We need to find our identity in God, not in the way we look or dress.  When we focus on God and how He sees us, the insecurities will fade - because we are joyful in being content with how He created us.

Strive to be a godly girl.  To have a beautiful heart - by loving others.  To have beautiful hands - by serving others.  To have beautiful lips - by smiling.  

You are a daughter of the One Who clothes the beautiful lilies of the valley.  So how much more beautiful would He make His daughter than a flower of nature?

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‘Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.’
- Proverbs 31:30

2.05.2014

I.D.


We all struggle with finding our identity, our purpose and our value in this life.  But as children of God, we can rest in the assurance of our identity in Him.

And when you understand WHAT and WHO you are in Christ, this is the starting point for you to discover your purpose in life.  Why?  Because without understanding this precious truth from the start, you will try to fill in the blanks of life’s purpose on your own.  And nothing can compare to God’s beautiful design for the person He is making you into.

Here are just a few identification examples.  I’d encourage you to search out more Scriptures that prove these points.  Maybe write them out in your devotional journal or print them out and hang them around your room as little reminders and encouragements.

In Christ, you are:

Wonderfully Made
'I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.'
Psalm 139:14

New
‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature...’
2 Corinthians 5:17

Righteous
‘He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’
2 Corinthians 5:21

Beloved
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’
Jeremiah 31:3

A child of God 
‘See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God...’
1 John 3:1

Delighted In
‘The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.  He will exult over you with joy, He will quiet you in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.’
Zephaniah 3:17

Forgiven
‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’
1 John 1:9

Washed Clean
‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be made as white as snow.  Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.’
Isaiah 1:18

Free
‘It was freedom that Christ set us free...’
Galatians 5:1

A Temple of the Holy Spirit
‘Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?’
1 Corinthians 6:19

Set Apart
‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.’
Ephesians 2:10

Whole In Christ
‘And in Him you have been made complete.’
Colossians 2:10

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2.03.2014

Surrendering the Memories



‘It takes a moment to create a memory.  And a lifetime to forget it.’

We will always have memories.  Some are good, some are not as good.  But whether we like them or not, they have been made in our lives and they will come to mind at, sometimes, the most random of moments.

Yesterday, I was struggling with some certain not-so-pleasant memories.  The moments in which they were made seemed lovely and perfect and beautiful and all that good stuff.  But things happened.  Life changed.  And those recollected times aren’t as happy anymore.

I’m sure you can all relate in one circumstance or another.

But...I was reminded of something. 

It doesn’t matter how often we have memories or think back to certain occasions.  What matters is what we do with those memories.  We can’t change them, no matter how hard we want or try to.  But we can choose to turn the pain over to Jesus.  And He will always replace it with peace, comfort and healing.  He never allows His children to go through pain without a purpose.  He will make beauty from this.  Our job is to look ahead to the future, and use the lessons from the past to help us in our callings and what He has planned for us.

Don’t let other people’s mistakes from the past steal your joy in the present.  God has so much in store for you.  He had you go through all that for a reason, but looking back isn’t going to help.

Be filled with His joy today.  Pray and invite Him into every situation your face, every memory you recollect.  Let His mighty power transform your life.  Surrender all to Him and watch as He takes the broken pieces and with them, makes something far more beautiful than before.

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'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.  To them who are called according to His purpose.'
- Romans 8:28