Monday, November 18, 2013

In memory of Kayla Nicole Lodes

I miss her. I miss her smile. I miss her laugh. I miss her saying “Love you,” to everyone she came across. I miss how encouraging she always was. I miss all the joy she spread to others. I miss how she always found the positive in everything. I know that she would want all of us to find the joy in this situation. As much as I wish I could bring her back right now and just give her a huge hug and see that smile again, I am happy knowing that this is all part of God’s plan. She has made such an impact in this world. Because of Kayla, I have seen many lives changed. Many people have come to know the Lord through her. I can honestly say that because of her, I have grown so much in my faith. She set such a great example of what it meant to be a Christ follower. I can’t help but find joy and peace through her loss. This past year has been a roller coaster, but I have learned that God is always here, even when it seems like times could not get worse. Just this morning, I was in chapel at DBU and we sang a song called “Never Once”. As I was listening to it, I felt like it represented exactly what I have learned throughout this year. The words say “Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say, yes our hearts can say, Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did You leave us on our own. You are faithful. God, You are faithful.” After hearing that song this morning, I thought, “Wow, God really is faithful.” God has held me tight in his arms and He is not letting me go. God has given me peace. God has shown me how to find joy. God has been my friend when I feel like nobody understands. And God can be the same for you. God is faithful. 

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39 ESV

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Putting God First

Just recently, I started reading the devotional book, Live Second, based off of the I am Second book and videos. Through reading this devotional, God has really been showing me that He should be my number one thought and priority and everything else will fall into place in my life. That being said, I would be a liar if I said that I always make God my first priority, but I do know that the more I stay in the Word and keep my focus on Him, the better I will be at making Him the greatest desire of my life. That is my goal in life. But I can't do this without asking God to help guide me through this. Putting God first isn't always the easiest thing. It is so easy to fall into the trap of believing Satan's lies. Lies like, "I'm not 'cool' enough," "I need more friends," "Outside appearance is more important that inner appearance," "Reading my Bible can come later, right now I should just hang out with friends," etc. But in reality, GOD IS ENOUGH!! I don't need to try and be someone I'm not. I don't need to stand in front of the mirror for 30 minutes trying and look "better" because God made me perfect the way I am. Unless I put God first in my life, I will never be fully satisfied. The more I draw closer to God, things of the world become less and less important to me. God will always provide. Live Second. Put God first.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Getting into the Swing of Things

I am so in love with DBU! Wednesday of last week (the 21st), I got all moved in (our room is so cute, by the way) and started SWAT (Student Welcome and Transition) week. It was a great way for me to get to know other DBU students and learn about the campus. I had such a great time doing all the activities and meeting people. My roommate, Cassy, and I got to know each other really well over the week and I already feel like we're best friends! We were even asked yesterday if we're siamese twins since we're always together. Classes started on Monday, and I was a little nervous, but I love all of my professors. This semester I'm taking Fitness for living (which means I actually have to work out now), Biology, State and Local Government, World Lit I, Old Testament Survey, and Foundations for Excellence. The homework load isn't too bad, but I feel like I still have some "senioritis" left over from last year.. which can't be good. I tend to choose hanging out with people and having a good time over the things that actually need to get done. I can't help that I'm a social person! Overall, everything at DBU has been great and I am so blessed and happy to be here! I know God is showing me so much and that I will grow more and more throughout my experience here at DBU.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mixed Emotions

I have one more day at home until I move into DBU. I am so very excited, but I also have some nerves. As I embark on this new journey, I think about all the amazing, exciting, and scary things ahead of me. There are times when I am so ready to have my independence, and there are times when I wish I could just be a kid forever. I know this is going to be one of the greatest experiences of my life and I cannot wait to see what God does in my life!
For the past month, I've had a countdown in my room until move in day! I've been so excited, jumping up and down every time I talk about it! I'm ready to meet new people, adapt to a new lifestyle, and learn more and more about God everyday. I'm also ready to get my dorm set up (I know, it's a girl thing!) My roommate and I have been coordinating all our stuff. I'm pretty sure we text each other everyday about new stuff we want to buy. That's another thing I'm excited about... actually getting to meet my roommate in person! We've met over text but that's about it! I know that God placed her in my life for a reason and I can't wait to get to know her more.
While there are definitely a gazillion things I'm excited about, there are a few things that have made me nervous and stressed out. To be completely honest, I'm scared to grow up. I know life will be so much different without my parents right by my side (even though they'll only be 30 min. away!), taking care of me, and quite frankly, spoiling me. I'm also nervous/stressed about my schedule! I have an extremely busy life and adding college into the picture is often hard for me to comprehend. I'll be taking 15 hours, leading a girl's Bible Study in Mansfield on Monday nights, leading in my church youth group on Sundays and Wednesday, and I currently still have my job in Mansfield, but I will be looking for a job on campus. So, my life might get a little crazy in a couple days. I know I can handle it though! "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength," (Philippians 4:13).
It is going to be a great year and I already know that God is going to do so much in my life! I already see him changing me and it is one of the greatest feelings ever! Prayers would be greatly appreciated as I enter into this new stage of life!

Monday, August 12, 2013

This Past Year in a Nut Shell

Okay, so it has been a very long time since I’ve blogged, but I plan on getting back into the blogging world with many more posts to come. Since my last post in September, a ton of things have happened in my life. There have been many high points along with many low points. Right now, life is fantastic, but it wasn’t an easy road getting here. In previous posts, you might have read about my best friend, Kayla. I’ve shared a couple of stories about some of the crazy things we did together. On November 18, 2013, I lost my very best friend to suicide. It was the saddest day in my life, and I can honestly say I have never experienced anything worse. There are so many times that I wish I could go back in time and change everything, I wish I could have her back in my life. But I know that God has a plan. I have already seen God do some amazing things through such a tragic event. Ever since her loss, I have grown so much in my walk with God. If it weren’t for God, I would not have been able to make it through her death. He has comforted me and protected me through everything. As a part of growing in my faith, last semester (my last year of high school) I became very active in the youth group that Kayla attended. It is so awesome to have a church family to grow and fellowship with. This coming semester, I will be a leader for that same youth group, and I am so looking forward to what God has in store. I also finally decided I will officially be attending Dallas Baptist University starting this fall. I am so ready! I move in nine days from today (yes, I am keeping a countdown!).  I will be majoring in education, which I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl. Along with that, I plan on minoring in either Special Education or ESL, depending on where God leads me. It has been so amazing growing in my faith and I desire to know God so much more! While there are definitely days that I struggle and continue to grieve the loss of my best friend, I know that God is watching over me and giving me peace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33