What I Have Learned About Love and Relationships

garrickbeachI have been dating my fiance since I was 16 years old. We were together for two years when he asked me to marry him on a warm June day. Now, we have been engaged for another wonderful year and plan to get married next summer. God has blessed me with an amazing fiance and a great relationship! We have been through highs and lows and everything in between, and God never stops amazing me by what He has done in our relationship.

These past three years has taught me a lot. God has taught us both a lot through circumstances and each other. I’ve learned so much about love and relationships, and I wanted to share with you, my awesome readers. Some of these are the most important things that I have ever learned.

LoR2

If you are single, dating, or married, take these to heart. If you have anything to add or ask, I’d love to hear it in the comments! So let’s get started with our discussion:

You can’t change the other person.

This is one of those things that I thought I knew from the beginning, but I sadly knew very little about this. You can’t change anyone besides yourself. There were so any times when I thought to myself “Why hasn’t he learned by now?” when really he wasn’t learning because it wasn’t my job to teach him! My fiance has done the same thing with me as well. We have learned that the things that annoy us or bother us never truly go away by human effort. They can only be changed when given to God.

Not to say that God is going to change what you want Him to change. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to let go of trying to change or “teach” the other person and let God do His thing in Hi s own time. God is going to have His way through the other person, and that doesn’t always match what you want. But what God does in your relationship is far better than anything you can do yourself.

You can inspire and influence.

Even though your own effort can not change anything, you can inspire and influence the other person more than you can ever imagine. The times my fiance has inspired me the most is when he is walking with the Lord and not trying to do anything with me but what the Lord tells him to do. The same goes for me. When I stop trying to control and get what I want and just pray to God and ask what He wants is when I help my fiance the most. All in all, you the impact you make on your partner’s life is more than you can imagine- if you have your eyes on God.

You can’t depend on them for emotional health.

A mistake I make time and time again is bringing my problems to my fiance. Whenever I can’t do it on my own, I go to him. And sometimes it is good. However, more often it works out to be bad. Why? Because my fiance doesn’t know everything! Too often he brings my problems as his own then tires himself out with a weight he should have never carried. It just would have been simpler is I took my problems to God instead, then my problems would have been settled right the first time and our relationship would have never suffered.

I have also learned that when my fiance goes through times of trouble, I can’t take it too hard. Sometimes, there is nothing I can really do, and I can’t beat myself up over that. I am not suppose to be my fiance’s rock, God is. There are days I need to stop blaming myself or my actions and just pray, because that is the best thing you can do.

You can help them get to an place where they can be helped.

When my fiance is going through something hard, it is my job to direct him to Christ. When the anger and stress is buzzing in his head, I can be the only voice that breaks through and reminds him of God. I know the best thing my fiance can do when I am stressed and crazy is stop me and lead me in prayer. What God does in those moments is far more than anything my fiance could ever do. It is our responsibility as partners to help the one another in our walks with Christ.

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

10 If either of them falls down,

one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

and has no one to help them up.

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

What has God taught you?

What has God shown you in your walk with one another? Please leave it below in the comments so we can chat!

God bless!

~lillian ❤

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1. Tips for Keeping God in the Center of Your Relationship

2. Don’t Play With Fire- Teen Dating

3. 4 Reasons That I Am (Apparently) Crazy

4. How to Make Others Feel Loved

An Important Reminder to All Servants of God

ReminderSomething that has been on my heart during my internship is the difference between serving people and serving God. I feel like it is all too common for people who are working in ministry to get wrapped up in the “steps” of the job and forgetting their real calling.

While working in ministry, it can be really easy to start making the right moves to serve people, to get the right reaction from people, and to get wrapped up in what people want from you. This is often out of good intentions, but it is not what a minister is called to do.

A minister of God is support to serve God. (And every Christian is a minister of God- 2 Cor 5:20). To listen to God what to do. To be guided by the Spirit on the right steps. We can not forget this. We can not do what people want us to do. We need to do what God wants us to do.

What are your thoughts on this topic? What helps you remember to serve God and not people? Comment below and we can discuss!

~Lillian ❤

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Anger and Rage in our Youth

angerandrageLast week, I was blessed to serve at one of Michigan’s Youth Camps. Each night we had a powerful service and teens lives were being changed. The presence of God was so heavy in the room every single service. It was beautiful and such an amazing experience.

One night the speaker felt moved by God to have a special alter call that was completely unplanned. The speaker said to a room of 400 teens that he felt God wanting an alter call for those struggling with hatred and rage. The speaker said he felt at least twelve people would respond.

At first I didn’t think much of this. But I remember when the speaker said twelve people, I thought “Wow, that’s a decent amount for this kind of alter call.”

60+ students lined up at the alter with tears in their eyes.

I didn’t know why this surprised me, but I pondered it in my heart for the rest of the day. We often focus on the pain teens suffer from in today’s society. We want to tell them about the healing power of Christ, that they don’t have to continue living the way they do. But we forget to tell these teens to forgive those who have hurt them. We forget that even though they are victims, they also have unresolved feelings that need to be addressed.

I also think teens don’t always bring up this struggle because they don’t want to lose our sympathy. They don’t want to lose the few people that understand them. So they hold their anger in and don’t want to be free from it.

Please keep this thought in prayer and ask God if there are people and youth in your life that need to face these issues. Pray for the teens of this generation so they will not be kept in the bondage of unforgiveness.

What do you think about this event? Please share any thoughts you have below so we can chat!

Until next time, God bless!

~Lillian ❤

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Bible Verses To Bring You Joy

bringjoy

Philippians 4:4 tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” But it can be hard to rejoice when life get’s hard. Thankfully God gave us His Word to help us through every day, good or bad. So here are some Bible verses that help lift me up when I am down, and I pray they do the same for you:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

~James 1:12

If you are going through a hard time in life, remember that you will be blessed. Why? Because God has promised you blessing, and a crown of life, for your suffering! Have joy knowing that this suffering is not all for nothing, and will be worth it.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

~Romans 12:12

Have joy in this time, because you have hope because of Jesus! Be patient in this hard time and keep praying as often as possible, and you will be filled with the Joy of the Lord. Accept that God is up to something great and accept this Joy and your problem won’t seem so big anymore. This is not to say you will feel happy 24/7, but it is having faith that God will come through.

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

-John 16:22

When we have Christ, we have a source of joy and peace that no one can take away. No matter what, we can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:39). Jesus said this to his disciples just before he died. When he was crucified, the disciples didn’t know what to do with themselves. But when he was raised, they had a joy that continued through the hardships (Acts 5:41). This Joy of the Lord is available to us too through the Resurrection. Remember the Cross, and the future God has for you!

I pray these verses give you joy and hope and bring you to God in the good times and bad.

What Bible verse brings you joy? Leave it in the comments below!

God bless and have a great summer!

~ Lillian ❤

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How to Make Others Feel Loved

howtoothersOne of the biggest things I am learning as I intern with Youth Alive is how to make others feel loved. The men and women I work with really show great love for everyone, and from watching them, I have learned the secrets to making people feel loved. Its easy and simple, and you can do this anywhere and everywhere you go, no matter who you meet. From random strangers to best friends, here is how you can make others feel loved.

1. Listen

It’s very simple, and you have probably heard it before. The first thing you have to do to make someone feel loved is to listen to what they are saying. Notice what they are passionate about, learn lessons from them, hear how they are feeling.

2. Ask Questions

This is the important part of making people feel loved. To show others that you care about them, ask them questions. Nothing is too small to ask about. Ask them what they are passionate about. Ask for explaining on a topic they mention. Question how they do things and what they think about topics. Ask about their plans or ideas.

Bonus: The 1/4 Rule

A simple rule I use to help me in conversations is the 1/4 Rule. For every 1 sentence or comment about yourself or your life, there should be at least 3 sentences about them or what they are talking about.

What makes you feel loved when talking to other people?

Comment below so we can chat and share ideas!

The Beauty of Asking (Matthew 7:7)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

~Matthew 7:7 NIV

634667f35147f0fc3448d7cfa26db0b3As I have been getting back into my daily routine after traveling to Michigan, I have been blessed with ample amount of time to spend in the presence of God. I just finished reading through the gospel of Matthew, and God led me to the verse above that many know but few remember.

You see, I have found myself asking questions like “How can the Spirit be more alive in my life and ministry?” and “How can I learn to love people more?” and other kinds of questions we all often have. We want a mentor or spiritual person to tell us their story, their opinion, and give us a step by step guide to our goal.

While all of that is important and often needed, sometimes we forget that God made a way for us to go to Him when His Son died for us. God tells us we can boldly approach his throne (Hebrews 4:16). Why don’t we? Why don’t we bring our questions straight to God? Why don’t we let God teach us through prayer and His word?

What has God been teaching you lately? 

If you have any questions, thoughts, or something to add, please comment below so we can chat 🙂 

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Tips For a More Exciting Personal Time with Jesus

exciting personal timeI once heard it said that our personal time with God should be the most exciting thing in our lives. That can be hard to believe! How  can being cook-ed up in a room with an invisible God be anything close to thrilling?

I’ve been exploring this idea and wanting to add something special to my time with God. When you really think about it, our personal time with God is often taken for granted. We are talking to the Creator of all things, who incredibly loves us more than we could ever deserve, and He has the power to shape us into people we never thought we could be, and He can lead us to do more than we could ever imagine. Why is that not so exciting?

I won’t say my personal time is the most breathtaking part of my day. But these tips have helped me have a more exciting time with Jesus.

1. Invest more in worship.

Sometimes, we can think just reading our Bibles and saying a quick prayer is enough for a devotional. But when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, the first thing He did was worship God! And what is usually the first thing we do in church? Worship! Add worship to your daily time with God. Play some music. Move around if that’s your nature. Shout praises to God! Thank Him for everything He is and everything He has done. Don’t just ask Him to teach you, praise him!

2. Invest more in listening.

We often get so caught up in prayer and asking for answers when we forget to stop talking and listen! It can be hard, and it feels quite strange to sit in silence waiting. But God rewards us when we wait on Him, and he answers us every time! We need to be like Elijah, and listen for that still small voice. Waiting on the Lord allows Him to speak and move, giving us answers, peace, comfort, and love. We need to be still in listen. 

3. Invest more in application.

One of Jesus’ most frequent teachings is not only listening but doing what God’s Word says. Jesus said in Luke 11:28:

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Take some time after each devotional and write down what God is teaching you. Put it somewhere you can see it, and review it at the end of each day for a week to keep yourself accountable of doing the Word of God. And one day, you will see your old notes and praise God for helping you grow!

Doing these three things have helped me experience God more. I pray that these have helped you!

What are your tips for a more exciting time with Jesus? What do you do in your personal time?

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Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It.

going deeperI’ve been on a journey of getting more serious in my time with God. I needed to increase my personal relationship with Christ. I’ve been very successful in my journey and my life has been blessed in my growth. My life has improved in every area thanks to God’s blessing and guidance.

My journey started off with finding the little times in my busy day to stop and focus on God. It didn’t matter if it was 5 minutes or 30, the most important thing was getting some prayer and listening in. It was a great start. But eventually I wanted more. More prayer. More listening. More scripture. More connection.

Sadly, I can’t spend hours in God’s presence like I would like to. God has blessed me with responsibilities, so it’s hard to see how I can find more time for God without being a good steward of God’s gifts. So I sat down and asked myself: What do I want more of? It came down to these three things:

With this in mind, I made a simple system of my day to help me get more of these three things.

More connection: 

First, I wanted to be more personal. I didn’t want to just read devotionals, I wanted to give God time to work in me. So I decided that while I would keep doing one inspirational devotional a day, I would also do part of my own personal bible study a day. This is me working chapter by chapter through a book of the Bible. I also would do a separate topical study a day too (for example: patience, prayer, joy, etc).

This may sound like a lot, but here’s the thing: I don’t have to set a specific amount of time to do this. I like to not set up so many rules that, when I break, would discourage me. Instead, I give more attention to what I feel I need that day. As long as I get some of it in, I’ve done what is important.

More prayer: 

Every time I start a devotional, I pray before hand. But this was becoming just a step to get over. So instead, I set certain times of the day to pray. First, I pray first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed. Then, I added time after lunch to address prayer requests for my friends and I. I also try to have a “prayer and listening” time where I stop and listen for God’s voice.

More dependence:

Doing all these things at different times of my day helps me focus on God through out my day and helps me depend on him to get through the tough times. And that is what all of this is about- learning to be more like Christ and depend on him every single day.

How do you grow in your devotional life? Tell me what you do in the comments!

God bless!

Lillian ❤

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Anxiety (My Struggle and Freedom)

IMG_0077 - Copy copyI can’t. I can’t. I can’t. 

What if…? What if…? What if…?

Am I wrong? Am I wrong? Am I wrong? 

One of these three things would repeat in my head over and over as I held my head, alone in my room, barley breathing. Sometimes I would cry. Other times I would throw up. I was having a anxiety attack.

Anything would set me off. An upcoming test. An argument with my fiance. Failure at making friends in school. Lack of money. Drama from home. It was getting close to every other day when I realized (a little late) that anxiety was controlling my life. One day I came across a verse which says not to let the devil have a foothold in your life (Ephesians 4:27). It was then I felt God reveal to me that I was being oppressed by the spirit of anxiety.

Now please, do not hear what I am not saying. I fully believe anxiety can be a medical condition that we need to treat until God will heal. But I also believe that the devil or demons can bring anxiety on us to keep us from God’s calling on our lives. The later was my case, and I know plenty of girls who have the prior. However, I know it was not a medical condition for me because I never had a problem with anxiety in the slightest before I came to Bible college.

So after God revealed it to me that the enemy was gaining a foothold, I started to pray for freedom. I needed to cast all my anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7), so much so that He takes my spirit of worry and fear completely off me. I knew I had the power to free myself from the enemy’s schemes because of Christ, but I also knew like any healing, its a process. So after a few days of prayer, fasting a few meals here and there, I came to the alter in chapel after a sermon about worry. A fellow student prayed over me, one who had not known my struggle, and casting the enemy off of me, and I felt that I was free!

It has been confirmed to me that I am free several times. I’ve gone through situations (including finals) very calmly that would have sent me into an attack before. I’ve been told that I walk differently now. I praise God for this freedom and I don’t blog this to brag, but to extend an invite for freedom if you suffer like I suffered.

If you have anxiety or anything not of God that is controlling you (addiction, anger, forgiveness, etc), pray to God and seek freedom in Him (I recommend the Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson). If you do not receive freedom after a season of prayer, do not be afraid to seek medical help, but always after seeking the Lord’s healing first.

This is my testimony. God has set me free! And He will set you free too! Amen.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

~2 Corinthians 3:17

Recent Blessings, Lessons, and Opportunities.

beachHello, dear reader. I apologize for not posting on my blog in such a long time. There is no excuse, but I wanted to update you on recent things in my journey. The end of my first year at Bible college is approaching, and I can not believe how much time has passed. But most of all, I can’t believe the amount of growth in God that has occurred in my life. .

As you know from the news and my post titled Snowmaggendon 2015, the semester started off rocky. Despite this, the semester has gone very well. I had a lot more time on my hands going from taking 7 classes last semester to taking 4 this semester. The overachiever in me wanted to take more classes, but God held me back from that, telling me this would be a season of rest and growth. And I am so glad I listened to him! I have learned to forgive long held grudges, to believe in God’s plan in my despite where I have come from, I have learned to love the way God created me and see the beauty He has given me, and I have been delivered from the spirit of anxiety. (I will post on these at a later time.)

However, spiritual growth is not the only blessing I have received this semester. God has been teaching me to trust Him with providing for my needs, from small to large. It started off with quarters needed for laundry- whenever I ran out I started finding them everywhere. Whenever I ran out of a toiletry, a friend would randomly bless me with what I was needing. I have starting giving my needs to God, refusing to buy what I needed and let God provide. God hasn’t failed with it yet.

Then God provided for me greatly as well, and this is where opportunity has arrived. The US Missions of the Assemblies of God was offering internships across the country here on campus, and I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to apply. I did and I was accepted, and I will be working my dream job this summer. I will be interning in Michigan with Youth Alive, a program which teaches teens to be missionaries in their public middle/high schools. I will teaching teens to evangelize to their friends and peer at different summer camps. All these things have been dreams of mine! Not only that, but in exchange for my work this summer, I will be receiving a grant of half my tuition for next semester. And I am blown away by what God is doing. He is so good!

This summer I will be keeping you up to date on the work I will be doing and all the things God will be showing me. I hope you enjoy these posts and I am looking forward to showing you my adventure even further! And please pray for my travel and what I will be doing this summer!

God bless!

Lillian ❤