26

Twenty-six.

Wheeewie. As my sister told me earlier this week: I’m twenty-whopping-six! Time for my yearly (at the moment) blog post.

I almost can’t believe that for the next year, the age associated with my name is 26. What does 26 even mean?! In some respects, I still feel like that same girl from my teen years who loved dancing in her room to her favorite songs; in others, I definitely have proudly achieved grandma-status: here’s looking at you, wild Friday nights with uberEATs. I’m glad that as the years go by, I become more and more content in the things that make me unique. But some things do change: usually on my birthday, I’ll explore thoughts or lessons I’ve learned or grown in over the past year, synonymous with the age I’m turning. It’s been such a valuable practice for me to reflect on my year at that age as a whole, and essentially, glean life advice to give to myself as I move on to new seasons of life. It’s also been such a fun way to look back at the many, many ways God’s been faithful over the year, and be thankful for who He is in my life and all He’s done. But now that one whole quarter-century is all wrapped up and squared away, I think I’m going to change that tradition into focusing on one overarching concept that I’ve been (or will be) mulling over in the months leading up to my birthday.

These past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot (and learning a lot, and praying a lot…) about the concept of grace: what is grace*? How do I show grace? In what practical ways can I be a gracious person? Last summer, I started watching this sermon series titled, “Grace Like A Flood.” (It’s absolutely phenomenal, and I highly recommend it.) In the ensuing months, the series has gotten me to honestly consider my current perceptions of grace, how I proffered grace to both myself and others in various interactions, and the power of God’s unlimited grace in my life.

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25

Today, I turn 25.

A whole quarter-century…! This blows my mind.

One whole quarter deposited in the piggy bank of life already.

If I thought that time flew before, these past few years, it’s basically felt like it’s going at lightening speed with each birthday that comes around. It’s truly a blessing to see this new year; so many young adults don’t make it to this age, so I’m extremely grateful for yet another day to enjoy life’s simple joys, and to celebrate another milestone birthday.

Birthdays are always a time for me to reflect back on the past year, consider what values I’ve learned or honed, and make goals for how I want to grow at my new age over the next year.

For some reason, 25 feels like a new horizon: all the 24-and-below years neatly packaged away and left behind to enter solidly into the mid- and upper-20’s. So a few months ago, I thought to myself on what I’d want going into 25. All I knew right away was that I wanted to keep knowing God deeper, and growing in my faith and relationship with Him. It’s what brings me the most joy and satisfaction, what informs my life, and what motivates me to pursue growth as a person. After that, I thought a bit more on what values I particularly leaned on over the past year, lessons that stood out to me as good life advice for myself to continue pursuing in this new year and beyond. Here are some of those thoughts.

Love people hard.
Loving people always comes with consequences that accompany that vulnerability. However, it’s completely worth it. Especially if those loved ones are your family, or friends. It’s such a privilege to have close, supportive, and loving family + friends, and I couldn’t be more grateful for mine. They always push me to be better, and inspire me in my faith. For me, loving them often comes in the form of appreciating them as much as I possibly can amidst the craziness of life from so far away. It’s not extravagant usually, but I’ve found that often, the simplest encouraging words over the phone end up meaning the most. Continue reading

Into The Deep

Sometimes, you just need to be submerged. It’s such a wonderful feeling when God’s presence flows over you. Hope you enjoy this Thursday tune as deeply as I have over the past few months – it’s been such nourishment for my soul for awhile now and I thought I’d share. It’s definitely one of those songs where the words speak for themselves, no additions necessary.

 

 

24 Things Life Is Too Short For

Today, I’m turning 24 (…I know… twenty-four!). Every year around my birthday, I try to write down a number of fun things to commemorate the day – kind of like random things I might’ve wanted to know for this age a decade ago. It’s a fun way for me to reflect without getting too deep, while also thinking back on lessons I’m thankful for learning.

This year, I thought it’d be cool to think about things that life is too short for. The answer is probably “everything”, but since I’m turning 24, here are 24 things on just that.

Life’s too short to…

  1. not trust God. This is something I have been and am learning daily, but it’s a beautiful journey, and one that we should encourage each other in.
  2. not learn some Bible verses. These come in very handy when you need instant encouragement. It helps to have God’s word ready to go with anything that comes your way.

  3. not make some goals. Life goals, man. It’s worth it for the direction and motivation.

  4. not be accountable. Find that family member or friend who can help you reach those life goals.

  5. not have good friend-mentors. I totally made up this phrase, but it’s what I consider a trustworthy, good friend that can offer you solid direction when you need it. You will need it. Continue reading

Mercy

 

We live in a merciless society.

That’s never been more evident in our world today. That’s not to say that we should excuse wrongdoing, but it’s pretty fair to assert that our lives and personal interactions could use a healthier dose of mercy (and grace). A little less than a year ago, I heard Mercy somewhere (probably Pandora), and since then, I’ve been listening to and pondering the words almost non-stop. Maybe the unusual tune drew me in at first, but what really made me stop and listen was the utter truth and power behind the words. The truth that the Lord’s been impressing on my heart through this song keeps resonating within me each day as heart-wrenching events around the world unfold without signs of stopping. I truly hope and pray that sharing all that God’s been showing me about His character, who He is as a merciful Father, and how to both graciously receive His mercy and show His mercy to others blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

My past embraced, my sin forgiven
I’m blameless in Your sight, my history rewritten

I could repeat this first part of the song over and over and over (and I have!). These four phrases overwhelm me in the best way. For starters, how awesome is it that God embraces our pasts? It seems like the simplest thing, but He doesn’t just accept them, He embraces them. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, embrace means “to accept something willingly and enthusiastically.” When we come to life in Christ, He embraces it all – our pasts, presents, and futures. It’s not begrudgingly, or out of obligation; He’s enthusiastic about us becoming His! He joyfully accepts our pasts as part of our journeys of growth, rather than disregarding them as something shameful to sweep under the rug. That action of lovingly embracing all that I am blows me away. It comforts me like that warm, fuzzy feeling one gets from running into a parent’s wide open arms when coming home to know that God sees all of me, and that no matter what, it doesn’t change how much He just wants me as His. Continue reading