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.

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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 ❤

You might also like:

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

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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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!

Internship Update: Camps!

IMAG0295I am very happy to be serving at camps for the rest of my internship! For the next few weeks I will be traveling between different youth camps and family camps across the state of Michigan.

The past few days I have been learning different things to help me serve the camps. Some weeks I will be working independently from the team, so I’m getting familiar with everything I can.

I’ve been working a lot with technology, especially lighting. During the service I am in charge of the lighting. Its a lot to understand, especially with set up, but I think I am getting the hang of it.

I’ve also been networking. My boss tells me networking is really big in ministry, especially in Youth Alive. This is something I want to focus on at during this beginning stage of my career.

So far I have been very happy with what I am doing, It’ so cool to see kids passionate for God at such a young age. Today we have been teaching kids how to lead others to Jesus and how they can share Christ in their high schools. Below is a picture of the kids sharing their ideas. IMAG0301

Here is a picture of one of our services:

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Please continue to pray for me and I will be keeping you updated on my journey!

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 🙂 

Related Posts: 
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4 Reasons That I Am (Apparently) Crazy

To be honest, everyone always defined me as…interesting. That’s how they always put it, anyways. When I was a kid, I was crazy for my wild personality, loud voice, and imagination. However, now that I am an adult (kinda), I’m hearing “Oh my goodness, you are crazy!” about more important things in my life. But they always have a theme to them. So here are four reasons I am (apparently) crazy.

1. I’m going into ministry.

God has called me to be a pastor. So with barely a backup plan or any kind of plan, I am going to Bible college to be a full-time pastor. A lot of people thinks this idea is nuts. How could I ever expect to make money as a pastor?! And I am really going to school 4 years for it?! Yes, yes I am. Why? Because God has called me. Not only that, but God has designed me for this. No, I don’t plan on making much money. But that is okay, because I am serving God.

2. I’m going into ministry… as a woman.

Yep, I’m going there. Kinda. Let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, I am a woman, who believes I am called to the ministry. And I am not saying I’m going to be “The Pastor’s Wife”. While that is completely 100% awesome and admirable (I am in no way under-valuing the role), it’s just not for me. God has called me to full-time ministry, as a pastor. Sure there may be seasons where I am not working, but God has told me He has called me to be a pastor.

3. I’m going into youth ministry.

Not only does going into youth ministry make some people blink twice, but it’s also quite interesting to see people raise an eyebrow to a woman being a youth pastor. To be honest, I was a little uneasy about the idea at first. Before Bible college, I hadn’t met a woman youth pastor. Plus I couldn’t really see myself as the a youth pastor. But with a year of prayer, I know God has called me to be just that, and I have no doubts about it.

4. I’m getting married!

Okay, I wasn’t going to post this at first, but yes I’m getting married. I figured seeing my blog was about the transition from teen to adult I should probably mention this monumental change. God started calling me and my fiance, Garrick, to get married, unlike after we finished school like we planned. But God not only provided for all my financial worries, but also my emotional and spiritual worries as well. It’s kinda funny to say that I was scared to get married. I was believing that I wasn’t good enough yet. I was convinced that I had to have all my spiritual and emotional baggage all checked. But the thing is, I am never going to be good enough. That’s why marriage is not just husband and wife. It is husband, wife and God.

However, it is still crazy I’m getting married. Yes, I will only be twenty. Yes, I will be finishing school and living on campus while being married. I have been praised and condoned for it. But Garrick and I prayed and fasted about it and we know God wants us to get married.

foreverbegins

So overall, I’m always called crazy when I follow what God has called me to do. Following the call of God is crazy and it doesn’t always make sense. However, it is the best thing you can do with your life and God will have your back every step of the way.

Internship Update: I Made It!

After two longs days of traveling from Massachusetts to Michigan, I finally made it! It was a long ride of ups and downs, but soon it will be all worth it.

So this is  a small post, but I just wanted to keep you, my readers, updated on the next adventure of my life (Read more here). Please keep me in prayer and I will be updating you soon!

I also have other posts plans such as devotionals and life topics, so make sure you check back or follow my blog (whether on wordpress or by email) so you will be able to see when I post.

See you soon!

~Lillian ❤

My Next Adventure~ My Internship with Youth Alive!

page17_picture0_2Today I am leaving for my internship with Michigan Youth Alive! I recently posted in Recent Blessings, Lessons, and Opportunities about how God has blessed me with this amazing opportunity to minister in the way I have always dreamed of, with Youth Alive.

Youth Alive is a program that trains students to being missionaries on their middle/high school campuses, as well as help students create on campus Bible studies and clubs. I was a campus missionary in high school, and my friends and I tried to start a Bible club at my school.

So long story short, (read more in the article above) I was hired to work with Michigan’s Youth Alive and work at youth camps and such for two months. I am really excited! I get to work with teens and talk to them about evangelism, which is where my passion is.

I am also quite nervous. I have never been so far from home before for such a long time. Especially alone, with no friends or family with me. It will be hard to be away from my fiance for two months too. And driving in new areas petrifies me. But I know that it is out of my comfort zone where God will use me. So here I go!

Please pray for safe travels as I drive from Massachusetts to Michigan and please pray for the ministry that will be taking place. I will be keeping you updated on my adventure! Make sure you follow me! And comment with any questions if you’d like 🙂

God bless!

~Lillian ❤

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