Faith, Grace, and Jerkfaces.

      Well, after 5+ years of dreaming and waiting, it’s finally here. This is my last night living in Sarasota, Florida after 19 years. I wish I could say I wasn’t being dramatic, but let’s face it, I’m being pretty dramatic. It feels weird. I always imagined some huge long farewell with many people crying over me leaving(told you I’m dramatic). Instead, I’ve separately said many different goodbyes, and most of them were rather subdued.  It feels weirdly final, even though everyone keeps assuring me it won’t be that weird since I’m coming down for breaks/summer and all that.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve always felt a call to go somewhere..else. Where? I have no flipping idea, but I know God has plans for me somewhere that’s not Sarasota, Florida. I honestly think that is why I see my leaving in such a final light. After years and years, I can finally close this chapter of my life and start an exciting, new one. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family here, and I know coming back and visiting will always be an awesome time. But at the same time, when God has a plan for you, you get excited about it. You don’t care about what you use to want. It may seem crazy, weird, or even impossible, but if it’s God’s plan you can be darn sure He can and will make it possible.

For example, without going into detail, my moving to Pennsylvania is nothing short of a miracle. Through an incredible set of circumstances, my tuition, which was incredibly high, is now bearable. It still isn’t cheap, or perfect, and I will have to work hard for it, but it is possible. It was about as clear a sign from God that I could get that Lancaster Bible College is where I belong. I won’t lie. Although I’m bursting with excitement, I’m also a little nervous. I don’t know many people, I don’t know how I’ll be able to pay for everything, but I know one thing, God can and will provide. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way over the years. Looking back, there have been so many times where events just “happened” that I can honestly say that they were not just chance.

God has a plan for all of us. This past year, I’ve learned so much about God, and that has been one of the foremost. I’ve never been given a whole lot of encouragement. In a lot of my life, I’ve struggled alone in some areas and aspects. (Never totally alone, but there were some very tough times.) For years, I’ve struggled with self worth. But over this past year, God has been showing to me just how valuable He sees me. He has encouraged me through you, friends and family. In the last few months alone, I’ve been more encouraged by people praying for me, talking to me and supporting me than EVER before. Whenever someone tells me “God has an awesome plan for you” I have to do everything in my power to not tear up. Because I finally know it’s true. It’s true for me, and it’s true for you.

God calls us to be saved, to be redeemed. He has a plan for all of creation, and more specifically He has a masterfully thought out plan for each individual. Don’t think you have to be some mighty, super holy Christian. For the longest time, I was sure God couldn’t use me because all the people that seemed to be doing His will were the perfect Christians who knew everything, and could make you feel guilty just by looking you. It really has only been in the last 2 years that I’ve learned that as Christians, although we are called to holiness, God doesn’t turn you away because you sin, or because you mess up. That’s the beauty of grace.

Romans 5:1-2 says “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Did you catch that? We “have also obtained access by faith into this grace.”  All that is required for this mindblowing grace is putting faith in Jesus Christ. Faith that He died, and rose again. Faith that He is Lord. Admit we are evil, terrible sinners, and we need Him desperately. We have peace that we can’t ever be removed from His hands. Even if you repeatedly sin, and screw up, if you truly repent and turn to God, you are forgiven. So, if you’re a Christian who feels discouraged or weakened, know that God can use you. It requires putting God first, fessing up to your sin, and living for Him. But it is so worth it.

Again, I don’t dare claim to be great at this. I mess up WAY WAY WAY more than I should. But I’ve slowly seen a change in myself over the years that can only be attributed to God. Sin that I use to love partaking in? I might still struggle with it, but God has shown me how disgusting and evil it really is. I use to be able to get angry and yell at someone or talk crap about them for hours and never even bat an eye, but now, through God, I almost immediately feel convicted for being a huge jerk face.
            When I sat down to write this blog post 40 minutes ago, I genuinely had no idea what exactly it would end up being. I just knew I had to write. Faith, grace, jerk faces, it’s had all sorts of exciting things in it. To tie it all together, the point is, God has a plan for you. He loves and cares about you, and wants you to follow HIM first. He is better than your earthly desires. He is everything you could ever want. I’m preaching to myself as much as I’m preaching to you, because it’s a daily battle to follow Him and choose Him over myself. And I mess up, pretty much every single day. But by His grace, I’m being transformed. By His grace, you can be transformed.

And finally, I wanted to say thanks to all my loved ones. If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re a loved one. Thank you for all your prayers, all your support. The past 2 years have been hard, but they have also been some of the most incredible years of my life. I’ve met so many friends that have become so important and close to me. Although I’m sad I won’t be able to see all of you incredible people all the time, I look forward to our future reunions, both in this life and after. To all my lifelong friends, friends from high school, and friends from the past year, thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for pushing me when I needed it. Thanks for calling me out on all my stupid crap. If it wasn’t for all of you, I would be a much different person, and I’m eternally grateful to God for introducing me to so many incredible people. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I feel like this the beginning of a new chapter of my life. I’m excited for God’s plan for me. I’m excited for God’s plan for YOU. I will always appreciate prayers for me, and please if there is anything you need prayer for don’t hesitate to let me know. We’re all on this journey together. God never said it would be easy, but He has given us each other to help bear the burden. Let’s not waste that opportunity.

And if you’re not a Christian, and you’re reading this, please leave a comment or message me on facebook! Get in touch with me somehow and we can talk about the most important conversation ever.

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