Sunday, April 27, 2014

Twenty-Something and Single

I'm 24 and single.  I haven't seriously dated someone in over 4 years.  As I've entered my twenties, it has become more difficult as I see my friends marry and even start families.  When I go anywhere I see couples around my age; I begin to wonder and ask God, "Where is my husband?!"  This is a topic that has been heavy on my heart for a few years.  If you are single, you probably can relate.  As I stated in my birthday post, I used to measure the success of my life by the age I would get married.  But if I'm completely honest with myself, do I have room in my life at this very moment to pour into a relationship that would lead to marriage? I could with the help of God, but it would be hard.  I'm not saying that if He would bless me tomorrow with someone new in my life I would pass it up but right now I need to be content in my life and focus on the task He has given me.  I'm continuing to care for my mom and build her back up.  

With that said, it still doesn't erase the fact that I long to be with someone.  God created us to be relational beings and for man to be with woman (Genesis 2:21-25).  Therefore I believe that deep inside of us we all long to be with someone but there are two longings inside us: one for our mate and the other for God.  I used to try to fulfill both desires with only boyfriends, I was wrong.  Instead He is showing me that for me to be a good girlfriend or wife, I need to be filled with Him.  

I was about 20 when I become a Christian.  I realized that a boy's love was not going to fill that gaping hole in my heart.  I needed something more, something everlasting and not dependent on my behavior.  I needed Jesus.  I have been going to Church just about my whole life but I never started a relationship with God until that one day in my dorm room.  I couldn't take the emptiness any longer.  I prayed a simple but significant prayer: "God I can't do this anymore, I might as well try your way."  

Do you feel empty? Have you tried to fill it with toxic relationship, drugs, alcohol, shopping?  It still took me some time to clean up my life but I started to feel whole again.  I began to find my identity that had been eluding me for 20 years: I was a child of God.  He still whispers to me: "You are my child."  Just the other day He told me: "My precious child, I will always provide for you," when He blessed us more than I could ever imagine.  

Singleness and Marriage are indeed both blessings from God.  You might be questioning: "Singleness a blessing? It feels like a curse!" Fore me, I need to grow alone in God before I can grow with someone else in God-I mean a husband-because there are women and family in my life with whom I grow closer to Christ.  Every person is different.  God has a plan for each and everyone of us.  That plan is wonderful and will make us better people, more like Jesus, but for that transformation to take place, for me I needed to be single.  

God knew I would be at the bottom most pit of my life, and I would turn to Him.  Only when I did that can I have healthy relationships.  I used to worship those who I dated.  Other humans will always fail us.  Each of us are broken.  We give and take away love based on someone else's actions.  We love conditionally but there is One who loves unconditionally.  ONLY His love will satisfy forever.  

Therefore, I will wait for God's plan to transpire because just like He is growing me, the man that will be my husband someday is also being reformed in the fire of life.  So don't be discouraged if your friends are engaged, married, or parents.  Whether you are a teenager, in your twenties, thirties or older, God has the perfect person for you.  While you wait, be "concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit" (1 Corinthians 7:34b).  

So I pray that you will be reminded that God's love is abundant and unconditional.  Go to Him for that fulfillment and wait for your partner in life!  If you have already found him or her, then:

"Never forget: you didn't just marry a man or a woman; you married a son or daughter of God.
Treat him, treat her, accordingly."
Gary Thomas

I believe if we treat our (future) spouses in this way, we are reminded how blessed we are to be with them because there were days when we didn't have them! 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pointing to The Cross: Passover, Holy Week, and Easter

This is the first year that I have taken Holy Week and the meaning of Easter seriously.  As I have previously mentioned, I participate in Bible Study Fellowship, and this year we are studying Matthew so naturally I'm learning more about Jesus' life here on Earth.   As I learn more each and every day, I am seeing the Bible as a continuous story, not just many books bound together.  It's super amazing how God reveals Himself to all of us at different times in our life in different ways.  Anyways I wanted to share some of the amazing Truths I have learned over the past weeks about Jesus' last humanly moments.

First off I want to give a little background about Passover.  When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, (you can read how they got there in Genesis 37-50) the Pharaoh would not let them leave.  Therefore God sent 10 plagues onto the Egyptian Nation to show Pharaoh He was serious about wanting His people freed.  The last of the plagues was the killing of all the firstborn sons, humans and livestock.  God told His people (The Israelites) to find a perfect male lamb, slaughter it, place the blood on their doors and eat the lamb.  When He came through the land that night, the doors with blood would be passed over (that's how the celebration becomes Passover!).  Here's one cool tidbit that stuck me as amazing, the blood of the lamb was to cleanse the people of their sins (like other animal sacrifices) but the body of the lamb was to give them strength for their journey which would begin in the morning because Pharaoh let the people go since his son was killed in the plague (Exodus 7-12).  

Now where again will we see imagery of the blood and body? The Last Supper! When Jesus used the cup of wine and the bread to symbolize the blood and body of The Perfect Passover Lamb (Matthew 26:17-29).  I knew the blood was to cleanse but I didn't know that the body was for strength.  Therefore we have been cleansed from sin but also we have Jesus for the daily strength we need! Isn't comforting to you that Jesus gave His body and blood for you: 

"This is my body given for you….This cup is the new covenant in my blood, 
which is poured out for you." 
Luke 22:19-20 (emphasis mine)

Also I never understood all the significance of Jesus being in Jerusalem during Passover time, in fact I never understood Passover until this year.  That year (~33AD) would be the last year that anyone would need to sacrifice a lamb because God sacrificed His Lamb (Jesus, the perfect blemish-free male) so that we can be passed over in judgment (we will still have to go through Judgement but we will not be punished if we are in Christ), and all over our sins have been cleansed but most importantly FORGOTTEN!!! 

So this Week, take some time to reflect, perhaps read over Exodus and Matthew or any of the other Gospels, and THANK God that we are Free!  Jesus has suffered all the pain that our sins deserve because He loved us so much He wants us to be with Him FOREVER! That's the true meaning of Easter.  No fluffy Easter Bunny and baskets because that's the Devil trying to take the meaning out of an important day.  He wants to divert our attention from The Cross but every day we should be thankful and reflect on that week, over 2,000 years ago, because those events are still relevant in our lives.  From entering Jerusalem on a donkey (indication He came to rule in Peace) during Passover to crucifixion on a Cross, each event was ordained perfectly in God's Plan! Jesus understood all that would happen, accepted God's Will, and prayed for the strength to go through the events (Matthew 26: 36-46).  Use Jesus' example: accept God's will and pray for strength! 

I pray this week you look to The Cross and and develop a greater understanding for Jesus' last actions that leave us with an Everlasting Relationship with Him! 


p.s. I found this awesome picture of a carving in the stone of La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain) depicting Christ's Crucifixion.  I visited Barcelona on my Fall Break while studying abroad in Paris, France back in 2010! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Saul became Paul #TransformationTuesday #SheSharesTruth

This is the last #SheSharesTruth devotion, but do not fear, I will plan on posting once a week a devotion based on a scripture and topic of my own! Also, yesterday was my birthday and I wrote a little post on that!  Today's devotion is on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.  Take a minute to read it over:

"And so it was with me, brothers and sisters.  When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5

The author of 1 Corinthians is the topic today.  The apostle Paul wrote the books of Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and part of Hebrews: 14 books!!  This is the first time that I actually counted the amount of books and that is a major chunk of the New Testament!  God used him to impact much of the Gentile world and bring them The Good News of Jesus.  However, the beginning of his life was much different.

I enjoy studying Paul's life because it has a certain familiar feel to my life and transformation.  Before Paul was a missionary, he was a mercenary named Saul.  He was a Jewish Leader persecuting followers of Jesus (Acts 8).  He hadn't accepted Jesus' ministry until he came face to face with The Savior.  Saul was on a journey to find even more people to imprison when Jesus (His resurrection Self) met him on the road.  Jesus instructed Saul to go into town (Damascus, the same place he was heading) and The Lord temporarily blinded him.  A man named Ananias (reluctant at first because of Saul's reputation) found Saul and restored his sight so that he could "be filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9.1-19).  Have you being going somewhere and Jesus stopped you in your tracks? Did you answer His call immediately like Saul?

The next part is amazing too, Saul began to preach!  The Holy Spirit guided him to talk about his conversion.  Many were in awe because they knew of his past and others were trying to kill him.  I think this is still the common response when someone has drastically changed their life and committed to Jesus.  Although often times I  never found anyone plotting to kill me specifically because of my faith but there were people who didn't want to have anything to do with me after I became a Christian so basically they killed our friendship.  

Saul transformed to Paul (a Greek name) as he began his ministry to the gentiles in the Mediterranean area.  I found this map that shows how far he traveled:
This website has some other great maps from Paul's journeys!

Many of the books he wrote were actually letters to the cities or regions he visited to encourage and check up on them.  Isn't that awesome that he went to them, shared The Good News and continued to follow up with them! We can use that as an example because we should reach out to others, go to where they are (physically and emotionally), share Jesus with them (directly or indirectly by just loving them) and follow up to continue to encourage them.  I know after digging a little deeper into Paul's life and ministry, I will use the three-step process in my ministry.  

Overall it's amazing to see how God uses imperfect people in His Perfect Plan.  Here we have the last person you would believe to be used for The Kingdom, he meets Jesus and changes his entire life and becomes one of the most influential missionaries in history! That gives me such hope because I know God could transform Paul's life, so He can also transform mine.  I wasn't a mercenary physically killing people but I know I have said my fair share of hurtful comments that cut people down in my life before Christ.  How many people have we seen in the Bible who drop everything to follow Jesus, quite a few!  So if He's asking you to follow Him, why are you waiting??? You can see the many blessings He poured out onto His disciples and followers, and He wants to do the same with you!  So say yes and start that wonderful relationship with your Lord and Savior that He (and you!) so desires!!!!

Overall how is God transforming you? Do you have an amazing transformation story like Paul? I would love to hear it so drop a comment below! Also if there are any topics or scriptures that you want to see here, let me know!


Waiting on Life #BirthdayWisdom

Yesterday was my 24th Birthday and I have been thinking a lot lately about age.  When we are little, our birthdays seem to bring another rite of passage, a year older and a few more responsibilities.  Once we turn 21, what more is there to look forward to?  Age no longer seems like a milestone but just a dreaded number.  How morbid and depressing but that's how I used to feel.  

A few months ago, I was really freaking out about my upcoming birthday.  I think it was because of the deep rooted issue of waiting on God's plan for my life but more importantly waiting on life to begin.  I connected on waiting for God to reveal His plan with waiting to begin my life.  Well I was wrong.  My life began 24 years ago and hasn't stopped since.  But I was thinking more of my idea of life: a career (not just a job), a husband and children.  I guess that was my definition of "having a life".  So you might be able to deduce why I was freaking out on turing 24: I don't have a job let alone a career, I never even talk to boys so a husband isn't even close to happening, and therefore no children.  Also I am in that age demographic where a lot of my friends are engaged, married or starting to have children and it's hard to look at them and realize that my life isn't close to that, yet. I was comparing my life to those around me and that was dragging me down.  

I used to define doing something with my life as having a job, husband and kids but then I realized that wasn't realistic or even biblical.  The Lord doesn't define doing His work by these standards so why should I?  He is using me in a different way and my plan will unfold during His time.  I have been reflecting on this for the past month or so because I wasn't truly happy because those are goals I have for my life (and I pray The Lord will fulfill) but I need to focus on the present.  I have done quite a few things with my short 23 years.  I'm not going to boost and have a giant list but I just wanted to share a few.  I graduated from college which is a great accomplishment (I am the first person in my intermediate family to go to college straight from high school-my mom went back to get her BSN).  I learned that I didn't want to study Biochemistry and perform research for the rest of my life.  Lastly, I have also accepted God's plan right now for me to take care of my mom.  She has come a long way in her recovery and I am proud to be part of it.  

So there are a few of my thoughts on turning 24.  I hope if you are in your 20's or even any age and have some of the same thoughts I had before about measuring your life according to others, you might reconsider and look at your life how God does: beautiful and perfect! 


Friday, April 4, 2014

The Life Manual #SheSharesTruth

This week, our devotion is on Joshua 1:8-9.  I wanted to give some context surrounding these verses.  Moses has just died and now Joshua is leading the Israelites into the Holy Land that God has promised them since He made His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15).  If you aren't familiar with the Old Testament, I encourage you to take some time and read it through.  I have learned that it is just as rich as the New Testament with God's promises, love and the imperfect people He used to carry out His Perfect Plan.  Anyways back to Joshua leading the people to the Promised Land.  These Israelites have been wondering in the desert for 40 Years!  They were eager to finally settle down and God gives them a profound reminder and promise.

God called the Israelites (and us) to mediate on His Word day and night. Wow! That is convicting.  I am lucky if I crack my Bible open once a day and digest the passage for a few minutes before bed.  I feel convicted when I read that verse because I fill my day with so many other activities but not meditating on God's Word.  Do you feel the same way?  Have you read the Bible but not reflected on the meaning?  I certainly have.  The next sentence is even more convicting…"so that you may be careful to do everything on it day and night. Then you will be prosperous and successful".  So IF we mediate day and night, commit to following it, THEN we will be prosperous and successful.  However, NOT successful and prosperous by the WORLD'S STANDARDS, but by GOD'S STANDARDS!! Maybe that is why sometimes my endeavors or efforts fall through, I haven't spent time in the Word.  I haven't followed God's will because I wasn't educated on it.  

Here's a tid bit into my testimony, at least my biblical literacy! When I was younger, I didn't read the Bible much.  Even when I started to go to Church in my teens, I barely opened my Bible and didn't know the stories other than Jesus' Birth and Death.  It was almost a full year after I really decided to start to commit my life to Christ before I regularly reading my Bible.  Every year, my Church always has Bible Reading Guides for the New Year.  It was in 2011 that I decided to take one and commit to the readings.  I have a pretty type A personality so checking the boxes off each day was my main motivator.  Then that Easter, my wonderful Aunt, bought me a NIV Study Bible.  I encourage you if you have difficulty making sense of the Bible and need help with context or you just are overwhelmed with how it applies to your life, a study Bible might be able to help.  

It was like a code was cracked and I was able to start piecing information together.  The reading guide wasn't chronological so I got to skip around and sample different parts of the Bible.  I still didn't meditate on it or even put most into practice.  It was just the foundation.  Slowly and surely when I read, I felt convicted of changing certain actions and adopting new attitudes.  I was feeding my soul the Food it desired for so long.

As I was reflecting for this post, I realized that I had no idea what it meant to be a Christian until I started to read my Bible.  I wasn't confident on what God calls us to do, until I uncovered the Truths in His Word.  I am certain that God didn't write the Bible so that He could be on the top of Best Sellers List every year, He did it to leave us a Life Manual.  That idea came to me after my Bible Study Lecture (I attend Bible Study Fellowship, you should check it out :D there are groups all over the world! #shamelessplug) where my leader, referred to the Bible as our Home Security System.  Isn't that another neat way to think about it?  God has given us all the information to live the life He planned for us, in the pages of our Bible!!  So for my life to be prosperous and successful, I better start mediating on God's Word more and following it day and night!! Join me!!

Lastly, He gave them a strong promise.

Doesn't it comfort you that The Lord is with you WHEREVER YOU GO!! You cannot go any place where God cannot find you.  You may not be able to find Him because you aren't looking correctly (I have been there.)  He will not abandon you, that is only the Enemy tricking you into think that He will.  God is reminding the Israelites (and ultimately us) that He keeps His promises, the land is all their's and He will be with them while they adjust and forevermore.  

When I first read these verses I thought I would reflect more on the second one because of my recent circumstances but God had other plans and prompted me to reflect on Bible literacy, I am just as surprised as you.  Although, I will store this second verse in my heart for when I need the reminder, I advise you to do the same!  I believe I stated it one of my previous posts but the one of the only ways I have survived that hardest season of my life (so far) is relying on the pieces of God's Word I have stored in my heart.

So let's read God's word, meditate and reflect on it, then put it into practice, all the while remembering that God is with us and will help us!


p.s. shout out to my little sis who started her own blog!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lasagna Roll Ups

I have been making this recipe for a long time (I think since I was about 12) but I have recently updated it to be healthier!

Makes 12 Roll Ups (6 or more servings, depending on how hungry you are!)


  • 12 Cooked Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey 93% Lean
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 Jar GOOD tomato sauce
  • 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Cheese (Mozzarella or Italian Blend)
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven at 350 degrees

The meat layer: dice and sauté onion in a skillet and add ground turkey.  Salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each).  Cook until brown and add spinach.  Once the spinach is wilted add about 12 oz or half the jar of tomato sauce ( I used Classico Basil, yumm)

The cheese layer: mix Ricotta, 3/4 cup cheese and egg together. Salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each)

I like to make an assembly line:
All ready to assemble!
Then I lay out the noodle and add one spoonful of meat, spreading it out the length but leaving the ends a little empty to help roll nicely.  Then I add a dollop of cheese mixture on top spreading it out as well.
One noodle, spoonful of meat and then cheese
Add a thin coat of the sauce on the bottom of the pan to prevent the rolls from sticking.  I lay the roll seam side down in the pan to prevent it from opening!
All rolled up!
 I evenly distribute the meat and cheese among all the noodles.  At one point you will feel like you have too much or too little but don't worry, it works out!
I fit all twelve in one pan!
Lastly I sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top and put uncovered in the oven for about 30 minutes until it's hot and bubbly.
Ready for the Oven!
 Someone likes to help in the kitchen because she gets all the droppings!
My little sous chef Layla
Fresh out of the oven!
These are great to freeze as well since they are basically already and individual serving size!

Nutrition: 246 Calories | 9g Fat | 25g Carbs | 15g Protein

I used whole fat Ricotta because the brand was local ( I like to support locally!!) and they didn't have skim but that would reduce some calories and fat! Next time I'll try it out and let ya know :D