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Okay girls, let’s talk about guarding our hearts. Before I lose you, hear me out on this. I, of all people, need to hear this and I hope it will be just as useful to you. I think we go through relationships thinking, that we are guarding our hearts, when we really have no idea how to. We don’t see the difference between telling ourselves we need to guard our hearts and actually guarding ourselves. If you are anything like me, you are not even sure of how long you are to guard your heart and to whom you are to guard it against. This blog post will not give you all of the answers, shooot, it might not help you at all; but it certainly gave me some thoughts to pray through. I only hope it does the same for you whether you are a female, male or a unicorn.

1. Not a 4.0 so far?

I hate to be the one to break it to you. But we have this heart to guard and we cannot get out of it. We are told it’s the very center of us. (Psalm 4:23) But how do we possibly guard it against the breeze we desperately open the window for? If you struggle with this the same way I do, you feel as though you are being graded with an “F” in guarding your heart these days. Whether you are single or in a relationship, you have to do it. You think (or rather convince yourself) no guy will ever be captivated by me and as soon as one nearly grins at you, you prepare a four course meal with the night’s special a-la-heart. How can we possibly help ourselves from giving our hearts so freely when we don’t even notice we are? I mean, we are girls (no offense).

2. All that advice you are given-What is a girl to do?

Between the, “Guard you heart, let him chase you, control your emotions, be patient, and he should pursue you” isms, you don’t even know what to do anymore. Between the silly advice your friend’s give, the little tid bits of wisdom you receive from ghosts of courtships past, and the will of God, you have a lot to decipher. We place so much emphasis on what others tell us. As soon as something big happens, we tell someone! I know for me, as soon as something comes up I run to text a friend about it, rather than praying. What’s so wrong about that? I don’t even give myself time to guard my heart and unfortunately, our friends are not always so helpful in that! The most important advice I have for you, pray! Even when you don’t feel like it, even when you don’t want to. Submit to God’s will. Place his desires above your own. Easier said than done, I know!

3. Finally, how do you really guard your heart?

To be entirely honest, I don’t want to guard my heart. I want to give it away. That is what I was made for. But I have it backwards, I was never meant to give my heart away to man (nor woman). I was created to give my heart to God. Wholly and always to Him. So if you feel the same way, how do you guard your heart when you want to, but have no desire to at the same time. You guard it with scripture. Do you spend more time thinking about the man of your dreams, or the man in your life, than you do thinking about the one who loved you first? Afterall, it says in Deuteronomy to love the Lord your God with all your heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5) It doesn’t say with a fourth of your heart or half heartedly.

I was in a Bible study a few weeks ago and we were talking about spiritual warfare. The verse Psalm 4:23 came up in our workbook which says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” I was struggling particularly that day, with guarding my heart and understanding how to guard it. Then it all suddenly made sense. Here we were talking about knowing scripture to stand against the enemy, when I realized scripture can be used for so much more. I have always loved the verse where the Psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) When we know God’s word, do we not come to know God better? His heart for us has been written down and so often we don’t take the time to read it, me included! When I find myself so eagerly ready to give away my heart, I begin to remind myself of verses that I committed to memorization. When I do this, suddenly my mind is no longer on the things of this world, but focused on God.

He’s Always Enough,
Liberty

When I look at certain things in my life, sometimes it feels like they are enough. I mean, when people tell me that I am wonderful, it makes me feel amazing. The career that I am planning for, its pretty exciting. I know I am going to love what I will do, that has got to be enough! Now you want to talk about boys? Well, that is simple, I will get married one day and we will live happily ever after. This stuff will make me happy, right?

Sometimes I try to convince myself they are enough. That they satisfy me and make me happy. There are days when I believe that I can keep living like all of those things will get me through this life. A life where children are starving and being beaten. A life where people go to bed hungry at night, in most parts of the world at least. I live in a world where women are seen as objects and are sold like antiques to be displayed. How can those things be enough when so many people in the world are without them?

Could He be enough for the broken and the oppressed? Could He be enough for me and for them? I think about the destiny we all have. Because we have fallen short of the glory of God through our sin, we deserve to be punished. We deserve hell. Grace, has been shown to us. I needed to be saved and Christ has stood in my place. God loves us and does not treat us as though we deserve his wrath any longer. Still not sure if he is enough?

God has sustained me time and time again. When my faith was weak, he showed me true faith. When my eyes were blind, he opened them and when my heart was dark, he brought light to it. When I thought I had no hope and that this world was too much for me to handle, He reminded me that He is my hope and the world is not too much for Him.

Could he possibly be better than anything I could dream up? Could he be better than rain? Could he be better than love? He never changes and promises to never leave me. Could he be better than guys? Perhaps better than receiving compliments and pleasing people? Could he be better than sunsets or gold? Or chocolate mousse? Could the sun be shining for him? Could he be the mastermind behind spring, summer, fall and winter? Could he hold me in his arms even when he feels far away? He has and he always will.

He is the blood that flows through my veins. The tears that fall down my face. He is the wind I feel through my hair. God is my everything. I was created to know him.

He’s Always Enough,
Liberty

We did it! We are officially in Kentucky. In a few short days we will have moved into our new home completely. In two weeks I will be moving out of that same home to live on campus and hopefully we live happily ever after. But before this sounds too easy, let me give you a little piece of the in between stuff.

Let me start with saying packing is not easy and neither is moving 800 miles away. So let me share with you some of the things I’ve learned this time around:

1. Don’t bring your favorite blanket on the trip, only to have your cat poop on it, in the car, on the way…

2. Keep a good eye on your underwear because you might end up getting to your destination unsure of where all but 4 pairs have ended up…

3. Pray for patience. I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “I’m about to slap somebody,” this week. (Not something I’m proud of.) For those wondering, I haven’t slapped anyone..yet.

4. Kentucky Fried Chicken doesn’t taste better in Kentucky. This was a let down. I just miss wawa.

5. I have to remember that New Jersey is the state I USE to live in not the one I currently live in. Still working on this one in my head.. So no one ask me where I’m from for now!

Now for what’s really on my heart (if you haven’t had enough honesty from me today).

I miss my friends. I miss someone I really care about. I miss my old house. I miss my church and my pastors. I miss wawa and jug handles. I miss the beach. I miss crazy adventures with my best friends. I miss consistency and familiarity. I miss it all. I never thought these words would come out of my mouth in relation to Jersey.

Here’s a recent entry from my journal:

Dear Lord,

I feel so upset. I feel like I’m just now beginning to doubt your plan. You knew I would though; you knew I would come to this place of doubt. You knew how you would be there for me through it to. I know you will be there for me. I know I can’t ask you to make this easier for me. This wasn’t meant to be easy. I only ask that, Lord, you be ever so near to me. That I boldly and without fear walk by faith. I am yours. For who alone can save me? I love you. Draw near to me. Slow down this dance that I may find my place again.

Sincerely,
Liberty

I sit here and type this thinking, I have no motivation whatsoever. No motivation to attack my to do list, none to take a shower or to even write this post. I am at a time in my life when I feel as though I have no purpose. Have you ever been here? I’m not taking summer classes, neither am I working at all. I’m just preparing. In preparation for things to come. Don’t get me wrong, I have a massive to do list that encompasses everything from applying for on-campus housing to packing my room up in boxes, but not even these things sound the least bit interesting. So I sit here. No motivation. No purpose. What’s the point of life right now? I’m one of those people who needs a purpose. I refuse to strive for the laziest person award. (But that does not mean I don’t have my lazy moments.) I just need a passion. A routine. Some consistency. I need to feel useful. Life is not giving me any of these things right now. Not even the lemons. So what can I do when I get to this point? Give up, throw the towel in? Or wait patiently for this to pass? I’m certaintly on the fence with this one. But I’m learning more and more that my life is not defined by where I work or what classes I’m taking. If I’m looking for a passion in this world, I’m going to be looking for a long time because each one will eventually fade away. The only thing I can have faith in, is that God is good. Simply that. That He has good for me and what I have now is good. Now, I’m not quite getting to where I need to be and I know this won’t happen overnight. But I am learning to take one day at a time, because looking at the big picture, just isn’t helpful right now. All I can do is pray and go buy some lemons.

He’s ALWAYS Enough,
Liberty

Pretty is. Beauty does. I heard this on a commercial recently and began to think about this. I mean, what could it possibly mean? Every girl wants to be pretty. We want to feel pretty and be told we are. But what about this thing called beauty? What could that be about? I hate to break it to some of you, but its not just about a girl who loves to read and ends up in a mansion with a harry beast, its much, much more! Lucky for us, we are to be called beauty too.

Recently, I was having lunch with some friends and we were talking about relationships. I confessed that I struggled with my definition of beauty. I feel as though I don’t have anything to bring to the table of marriage. I mean, what will I be able to offer my husband one day? I can’t really cook, neither do I care to honestly. I’m not very intellectual. I can’t talk on various subjects and don’t have profound knowledge on very much. I don’t always please everyone. I don’t always wear the right thing or show up at the right time. I certainly never say the right thing or respond the right way. So what could possibly be beautiful about me? Seriously. As my confession came to a close, I expressed what I am passionate about; however cliche it may be. Its the truth. I love people. I love holding orphans in Africa. I love loving people. I love caring for and helping people. I love being there for people. I love my family. There is nothing I love more than holding babies, any babies! But that’s all I have going for me and that’s my heart. My friends began to laugh as they looked at me puzzled. They obviously knew something I didn’t.

You see, I was looking at my strength as a weakness. I was forgetting the fact that I have loved. This then reminded us of what 1 Corinthians 13 says: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I gave away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

I realized the Bible says something quite differently about the beauty I possess. My friends also helped me realize that the very essence of my beauty is incredible. In fact, these verses greatly encourage what my heart longs for. The beauty the world asks of me is meaningless, its beauty that chases after the wind. What I gained from all of this? Who gives a rats rear that I can’t tell time backwards, recite the constitution or make French cuisine. According to Corinthians, if I have not loved, I am nothing. As a matter of fact, I’m not content with being nothing. I would rather love while I can. And that my dear reader, is my beauty. So whether my hair looks a hot mess tomorrow, my clothes don’t match or I don’t end up eating that great of a breakfast due to my lack of skill; I know that beauty is defined differently for each of us, because its defined by beauty itself.

Some think that happiness has lots to do with money. Still others think it has to do with their significant other wrapped around their finger. For me, happiness is deciding I am going to be happy anyway. A good friend recently told me that the only person who keeps me from being happy, is myself. I didn’t exactly want to hear that at the time but they were words I will never forget. I think about happiness a lot because of my depressive episodes. When I have one of my bad days, sometimes I will sit and think about what it felt like to be happy before. I’ll think about whether I could become happy if I was given something, went somewhere else or was with someone I wanted to be with. But in the end, each of those things I know, have the ability to leave me desperate for something else -something more. In a world where we have TV, magazines, books and people telling you to eat chocolate, drink wine or go after that man you have been waiting for; we forget that those things don’t bring us very much happiness for long. We look around and see the objects that make others happy and we wonder why we can’t feel that way too.

As I prepare to move with my family nine hours away at the end of the summer; I can’t help, but be far from happy. I’m loosing my friends, my church, my job, everything that I have known for four years now. I ask myself, how could I be happy? I mean seriously, I’m about to be stripped of the very things I love. Tell me how to find joy in that and I would appreciate it. Why should I be happy, after all things aren’t going my way right now. Sometimes I feel like telling people to get back to me with that happiness crap, when they’re going through the same thing I am. Then just as my moment of despair gets close to breaking me. I remember the person who chose to be happy for me. I think about how he lived for 33 years. He knew he would die, it was the whole reason why he was born. Yet, for 33 years he didn’t act like he was going to die. He chose happiness. Because he knew there is something so much more than this life. He didn’t walk around with the illness that afflicted him. That illness was my sin. So why should I live as if I carry it now, when he’s already done it for me.

So, what is happiness for me, you might ask? Its choosing to fight even when I feel like I have nothing left. Its choosing to love when I don’t feel loved back. Its choosing to smile when the pain tries to stop me. Its choosing to live as if I knew I would died tomorrow and die, as if I’d live forever. Its choosing Christ’s way, rather than my own way.

He’s Always Enough,
Liberty

Why would life,
Feel so lost at this moment.
Buried beneath you,
Hidden in your eyes.
To be claimed by no one.

Why would you keep it,
Hidden from even me.
When all I hope for;
Is to hold on to it,
Forever, never letting go.