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 ❤

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 ❤

You Might Also Like:
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  4. A Letter to 16 Year Old Me

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: 
  1.  Tips For a More Exciting Personal Time with Jesus
  2. Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It.
  3. A Secret Place
  4. Learning to Listen

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?

Related Posts:

  1. Learning to Listen
  2. A Secret Place
  3. Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It
  4. 5 Things I Learned the Past 4 Months at Bible College

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

For the Days You Feel Overwhelmed

overwhelmedFeeling overwhelmed is a pretty common thing for us young adults. Trying to learn how to live out new “adult” lives, being swamped with college work, money being low, anxiety being high, living away from home for the first time- sometimes we just feel surrounded by worry or even failure.

But Christ doesn’t want us to live like that. God gave us the power to live above worry and troubles; to be in the world but not of it (Col. 3:2). Jesus came and provided a better life for us, one free from the bondage of being overwhelmed.

Now, please do not hear what I am not saying. I am not saying as Christians we should be unrealistically happy all hours of the day. I am not saying that if you feel overwhelmed you are not “Christian” enough. I am not saying nothing should bother you. What I am saying is that we don’t have to let things rule us. We may still feel overwhelmed, but we don’t have to be overwhelmed (read more on that here). Life is still the same but we are not. Through Christ we are free.

Now that we know that we don’t have to live like this, let us learn how we can live differently. The secret to rising above the overwhelming feelings we experience is summed up in three words: Focus on God. 

How did Peter walk on the water? He focused on God. The Bible says Peter walked on the water easily until “he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30). When believers in Israel were being forced to chose between Judaism and Christ, the writer of Hebrews told them, “We must focus our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2). We have to take our eyes off of things of this world, and set our vision on God. (For more on this, see Colossians 3).

Start off with simply diving into your time with God. Pray, read the Bible, and spend time listening to God. Go to a secret place with Him, where there is no distractions. As you focus on Him, He will help you when you feel overwhelmed. He will give you a state of peace beyond what you can understand (Phil 4:7). He will help you prioritize, guiding you to what you can let go of and what you can pursue (Psalms 25:4-5). Put God first in all you do, and the rest will fall into place. (Matt 6:33)

Snowmaggeddon 2015???… Not so much….

image

Sunday night, my friends and I received a call from the school. The automated voice recited that on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday there would be no classes. What a cry of rejoicing followed! Voices of excited students filled the campus of Northpoint Bible College.

But the next day, the excitement turned into chaos.

Monday morning was peaceful until we received yet another call from the school, asking anyone who lives an hour and half away to go home for the week. The school wanted to have as few students on campus as possible in case of loss of power. And guess who lives exactly an hour and a half away? That’s right, me.

At first, I refused. I have lived in New England my entire life, I sat comfortably through 3 ice storms and several state of emergencies. This storm would probably be less than we are expecting. But worried students from everywhere else in the country would not rest. People were really worried, it was crazy. My anxiety started to rise. After several students and staff members asked us, my fiance and I finally decided to head home, against my personal wishes.

Now I am at my fiance’s place, sitting by the window, watching the snow fall. The storm has not met our expectations (yet). But I am seeing this storm as an example of God using all things for the good of those who love Him. My fellow students and I basically have a small break for this week. Also, I get to spend some lovely quality time with my in-laws and my fiance. When the snow clears up in a few days, I will be able to visit my own family, too. This will be a nice recharge before the rush of the spring semester. I’m relaxed and blessed.

To my fellow New Engalnders, how are you surviving in Snowmaggeddon? Any blessings falling with the snow?

Thanks for reading and liking this post 🙂

God bless

~Lillian ❤

Identity, Struggle, and Potential

Today I’d like to share another post being transparent in my struggle and what I’m learning from it. Today I want to talk about Identity.

I’ve been struggling with knowing who I really am for some time. I often feel that I’m not the same person as I used to be, that I’m not reaching my full potential. Feeling confident is hard, but it never used to be.

One day, I found an article written by a psychologist about identity crisis. She wrote that people start to question their identity after a foundational shift in their life, whether it is where they work, live, or in family situations, etc. I realized this is my problem. Not only did I start college, but I don’t have a room at home anymore, and my family is turned upside down.  With this happening, I have lost a foundation- a norm that has been there my entire life. This creates a feeling of instability which robs me of confidence in who I am.

In the last month, I made more of an effort to put my foundation in God. The Bible says God is our Rock. If we stand on Him, we stand firmly on solid ground (Matthew 7:24-27). In order to make God my Rock, I have to study His Word, do what it says, and depend on God every single day. And when I depend on God, my foundation never shifts, because God is constant and trustworthy.

With this dependence on God, I learn more about who God is and about myself. Knowing I’m created in God’s image and being loved by Him slowly reveals to me my identity in Him. I feel more confident because I know He is guiding me. I know I am valuable because of what He has done for me. And I am learning to love every part of myself, because God created me and God doesn’t make mistakes.

Through this struggle, I have learned that without God and self approval, we never reach our full potential. We can’t do anything without God (John 15:5). If you feel like you are doing than you could be, I encourage you to check your heart in two matters: how you see yourself and how dependent you are on God. You might find that you have done what I did- I let my struggle become my identity. 717c09cb8236bbb337c493334eaf6d1c

You may feel insecure about yourself- but you don’t have to be an insecure person. You may feel alone- but you don’t have to do it alone. You may struggle with sin- but you don’t have to be a sinner. Let the Truth of God’s Word rise above how you feel. Focus on what God says about you, not on your emotions or doubts. After all- how can God be wrong?

If you enjoyed this post, please comment and like! If you know someone in the identity struggle, don’t be afraid to share this post!

God bless,

Lillian ❤

A Secret Place

closet“In the secret, in the quiet place,

In the stillness, You are there…” ~ In The Secret (song)

***

“Take me to that place, Lord,

to that secret place where

I can be with You…”  ~Wrap Me in Your Arms (songs)

Today I am back on campus of Northpoint Bible College, and the Spring Semester has started rolling along. I am very excited for what God has in store.

Today, I wanted to share with you a message that I have heard many times on Campus. I really believe every person can benefit from this and more Christians need to hear it. When I arrived at Northpoint last August, I was encouraged by our President and teachers to find one spot on campus, dedicated to letting God work in me; praying to Him, crying out, meditating on His Word. And I found my own little spot. I’ve made it my place to go when I am struggling or scared or just need to be alone with God. It’s quiet, private, but powerful.

Jesus also talks about finding our own little spot for prayer as well. When Jesus was teaching His disciples on how to pray in Matthew 6:6, He said:

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Greek word for “your room” (or “closet” as most people know it) is tameion which means “storage room” (hence “closet”), “inner chamber”, or “secret room”. The last definition stuck out to me. After all, Jesus was just telling His disciples not to pray in public for their own gain. For this reason, I edited out my description of my secret place, simply because I realized it is unneeded.

I believe one of the rewards for praying in secret place is the experience you have there. Prayer seems empty to many Christians, for with our intellectual culture, most people simply think their prayers as we go about our day. But God does a powerful thing in us when we make the time to stop, go into our room, shut the door behind us with the world outside us, and pray.

I encourage you, if you have not already, to find yourself a place to go and pray in secret, letting God work in you. It could be a nice cozy spot outside, or a corner with a chair in your house, or maybe at your kitchen table. Anywhere, as long as you are alone with God.

Thank you for reading, liking and commenting your thoughts. God bless!

~Lillian ❤

Happy New Year to You!

Happy New Year, everyone! I am so happy to be back on WordPress after a holiday break. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year.

This past year was definitely crazy! I graduated high school, got engaged, started college, and God is taking me down a path of life-changing things. Growing up and being busy has never been so real! I have learned so many things, and I’m still learning things as I grow. I’m so excited for what God will do!

I encourage you to look back on the year and learn from it. How did you change? Did you change at all? Why don’t we change that? Thank God for what is behind you, but don’t look back too long- keep moving forward, eyes on God, and 2015 will be a great year!

What did you learn in 2014? What are your goals for 2015? Comment below! 

Thank you for liking, commenting, and sharing!

God bless,

~Lillian ❤