His Promises are “Yes”

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This sign hangs on the wall in my room directly across from my bed. My Mom got it for me for my 16th birthday, and every time I look at it, I think about the goodness of my Savior.

The Bible promises so many amazing things that we could never begin to fathom, much less deserve. And you know what the best part is?

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are β€œYes” in Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 1:20

How amazing is that? All of God’s promises are faithful and true, and they are all fulfilled through Christ. I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited! There are hundreds of promises in the Bible and these are just a few of my favorites:

  • “My grace is sufficient for you” — 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • “His mercies are new every morning” — Lamentations 3:23
  • “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” — Matthew 11:28
  • “Those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” — Isaiah 40:31
  • “No! In all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.” — Romans 8:37

There’s plenty of things that the Bible doesn’t promise too, and that’s where we often get hung up and let our perspective turn sour. The Bible, for instance, doesn’t promise that God will show us His plans for our entire lives and careers our senior year of high school so we can accurately pick a college and major. We would sure like to think that He does, but it often doesn’t pan out that way.

But what does He promise?

He promises that His ways are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), that they are for our welfare (Jeremiah 29:11), and that He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). And these promises all ring true and are trustworthy, whether we believe it or not.

Again, we would like to think that God promises that life will be safe and painless, when, in reality, Jesus said quite the opposite (John 16:33)

This week has thrown me some curveballs, but standing on the promises of my Eternal King has helped me to stay strong and positive and remember that it all comes back to Him in the first place.

— Taryn

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You Can’t Earn Love

Most days, I don’t think I deserve love. I don’t think I deserve to have friends. I don’t think I deserve to be liked. 
And you know what?

I don’t. 

Because in the grand scheme of things, I don’t deserve anything good in this life. 

Romans 3 and 6 clearly tell me that I am a sinner only deserving of death, and I can’t deny it. 

BUT (Romans 5) God proved that He loved me anyway when He sent Jesus to die for me. 

And it’s high time that I stopped telling Him He’s wrong. 

God, you shouldn’t love me. Do you not see how messed up I am? God, why do my parents or friends love me? I’m not worth it. I’m a burden. 

Taryn. Did I ask you if you were worth it when I died for you? No. I love you. Accept my love. 

How ungrateful must I be to tell God He is wrongly living me? Shouldn’t I instead be thanking Him for His unending grace and love? And for giving me people to love me too?

I want to spend less time thinking I’m not worth it and more time thanking the people that don’t care if I’m worth it or not. 

Because you know what? I can’t earn love and I don’t deserve it. But my God is good. And He doesn’t give me what I deserve. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1) and He sure has blessed me royally. 

So to all of my friends out there reading this who love me so much and so well, thank you. I don’t say that enough. Thank you, you guys are absolutely amazing. And God? Thank You, I know I’m living for Heaven and not here, but You’ve made here pretty great too:):)

I hope you all have a great weekend!

— Taryn

Just Start Somewhere

I love coming home after a long day at work and school to find this…


My little sister began 2017 with the determination to read the Bible through, and I couldn’t be prouder. 

I was about her age the first time I ever attempted to read the Bible through.. and little did I know how hard it would be to get through Leviticus, much less the whole thing!

Over the past six years, I’ve tried different things every year as I attempt to read God’s Word cover to cover. Some things worked, and a lot didn’t, but I’ve learned so much about what’s really important… so if your New Years’ Resolution to read through your Bible is already crashing and burning… here’s my advice πŸ™‚
1. Don’t let getting a day (or a month) behind stop you!!

I’ve been guilty of this one so many times. I like following my checklists to a T, and when I don’t, I feel like a failure. I trail off, or I try to double up to catch up and just end up even more stressed and behind. Now don’t get me wrong, I think following a plan and setting goals of when you want to finish is great, but that’s not the point. Just read!! Open your Bible and spend time with your Savior!! Don’t let getting behind on your plan stop you, please, please keep reading!
2. Start with what you can handle

The first time I set out to read my Bible, I started in Genesis and took off straight through. I made it through the stories of Creation and the patriarchs, but before long, I got bogged down in Levitical law, dimensions for the temple, and the counts of all the Israelites by family. 

I know those are there for a reason, but if you’re just starting, try the New Testament first or you’ll lose morale way too quickly. Find a plan that fits you — whether it’s alternating an Old Testament chapter and then one in the New Testament, just reading through one or two books that interest you, don’t make it about tackling the whole thing, just start!!
3. Make it yours


My Bible honestly looks like a coloring book. I used to envy the girls with Instagram accounts or perfectly color-coded journaling Bibles and wish I could be like that. But you know what? I’m not. And that’s okay. 

Read your Bible — whatever that looks like for you, just start somewhere, and I promise it will be worth it. God speaks so clearly through His Word. It changes hearts and lives, and I’ve experienced it firsthand in my own life. 

Let the perfectionism go, let the perfect plan go… life happens, and our God is a God of grace, just start somewhere:)
Taryn

White as Snow

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Y’all! It’s snowing in Texas!!!
Needless to say, I’m giddy like a little kid! It hasn’t actually snowed in Texas in at least two years, and even though it’s just flurries, it put me in a great mood and I’ve decided to shelve the post I had planned for today and write a new one instead:)
The snow is so gorgeous. I love watching fall and then swirl together in piles across the road, it looks so pure and perfect and clean.
And that’s what God makes us to be like as His redeemed sons and daughters.
After David committed adultery with Bathsheba he cried out to the LORD, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
And later God proclaims through the prophet Isaiah, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow,” (Isaiah 1:18)
That absolutely floods me with joy. Most days, I don’t feel clean or worthy whatsoever. I feel dirty and shameful and dark. But to be compared to this beautiful clean snow, that just reinvigorates my passion and thankfulness for what Jesus did for me on the cross.
I don’t ever want to cease being in awestruck wonder of the amazing God I serve. Of His cleansing, redemptive power and of His marvelous, unconditional love. I hope you all have a wonderful day and that your new year is starting off amazing!!

— Taryn

Flashbacks

*flashback to one year ago*

I thought I was going to attend a small, Christian university four hours from home.

*flashforward to now*

I live at home and commute to a large, public university.

*flashback to one year ago*

I thought I was leaving everything I knew and loved

*flashforward to now*

God has kept me right here

*flashback to one year ago*

I thought I had everything figured out

*flashforward to now*

Man, was I ever wrong


2016… It was an adventure. There was so, so much good in it. But it is not at all like I was expecting when it started 367 days ago.

And you know what?

It was better.

Because God’s plan always is

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’, declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” — Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

Walking into 2017, I’m tempted to believe the same thing I did a year ago, to believe that I have everything figured out. And then I stop and laugh at myself. If God taught me one thing… it’s that I will absolutely never have Him or His plans figured out:)

So I don’t know what’s coming, I don’t have a clue! And that’s the best place to be:) I know one thing about 2017. God is going to prove Himself faithful. Like He always does, like He always will.

A year from now, I don’t know what kind of year I will be looking back on, but I know that whatever it is, that God’s fingerprints will be evident all throughout.

I hope you stay for the ride, I don’t know what’s coming, but I’m sure glad He does:)

Happy 2017, everyone!

— Taryn

New Year, New Me

I am 100% a goals and tasks oriented person. 
Todo lists are my lifeline. 

I always set crazy *unrealistic* expectations for myself, and then set about trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I can live up to them. 

This semester is a very good example of that. I took 7 college classes, I worked about 30 hours a week, and amidst that, I still kept looking for new and more ways to prove that I was enough, that I could do it all. I would write myself task lists a mile long and burn myself out trying to finish them. Because I felt like I had something to prove. 

I was wearing myself down mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, to the point that I couldn’t take it anymore. I was leaving myself almost no time to rest, no time for the most important relationships in my life, and no time to be in the presence of my Heavenly Father. 

One day, I sat on my best friend’s bed and completely broke down. I cried and cried telling her how I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be enough. I didn’t have the strength left to please anyone. 

Her answer was matter of fact and to the point, “Taryn, why are you trying to please everyone? They don’t matter. You just have to please God.”

I don’t know why I had over complicated my life to such a degree that I forgot to believe such a simple truth. 

I love the way Paul puts it in Galatians,

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” — Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

All of that to say, I love my goals, but this year, I learned that they can’t be about pleasing anyone else. They have to be about me and my life and honoring God, not about making myself into what I think the people around me need or want. 

The last week of December every year, I think about what I want to change in the new year. I think about what I want the “new me” to be like. Healthier, prettier, smarter, more organized, more productive, more spiritual… once I start the list, it’s almost impossible to stop. 

But the Bible has something to say about what that “new me” is supposed to be and how I achieve it. 

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away and behold, the new has come.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

That right there is what makes me a new creation. 

Being in Christ. 

And that’s what I want my biggest goal of 2017. To be in Christ. That will penetrate and manifest itself in all the different parts of my life but at its core, it’s so simple and freeing. All that’s expected of me, all that God wants, is for me to be in Him. That’s all that it takes to be a new creation. 

Yes, I have plenty of goals — the number of books I want to read, habits I want to form, but what will truly cause my life to fall into place is the Savior who directs it all in the first place. So the “new me” this year won’t come from an exercise regime, a color-coded planner, but the new me came when Christ redeemed me 11 years ago, and that’s the only new me that really matters. 

What I Got for Christmas

Most likely, the title of this post has you all fooled into thinking I’m going to list off the shirts and books and jewelry that my loving friends and family got me for Christmas. And although I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that, and I’m extremely thankful to each and every one of the special people in my life, I want to take a different approach to this. 
Over the past year, God has blessed me with more amazing gifts than I can count. 

* Relationships 

“Two are better than one… for if one falls, the other can help him up.” — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

God has most certainly filled my life this year with people that help pick me up when I falter. Life has been a whirlwind, but I haven’t had to face any of it alone. 

* Health

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

To be sure, I am not fully healed. But a year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined being able to handle the semester I just made it through. I still have a ways to go on learning to be healthy and eat better and get my strength up, but God is proving so, so faithful. 

* Direction

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. Think about Him in all your ways, and He will direct you on the right paths.”

A year ago, I was halfway through my senior year. And thought I knew what my future plans were, but boy was I wrong! Thankfully, God’s plans are so much higher than mine could ever be (Isaiah 55:9) and He showed me exactly what they were in His perfect timing.

* Opportunities

From starting this blog, to being in a university program where I can work on my Bachelors and Masters at the same time, this year has been full of blessings in the way of opportunities. I’m learning not to take them for granted and to appreciate all the things God is doing around me. 

—–

Isn’t it ironic that on the day we celebrate the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we are the ones receiving the gifts? And yet He continues to pour out blessings and all we have to return to Him is our lives and our praise. It may not be much in the comparison to all His radiance and glory, but I want to focus on it more nonetheless. 

Thank you, LORD,  for this beautiful year, and for the hope and joy You bring through Christmas. May I never take for granted what You sent that very first Christmas, and may it impact my life forever. Amen. 


— Taryn

Hiding the Christ in Christmas

A lot of people make a big fuss about keeping the “Christ” in Christmas, and I I got started on that, this post would just get really long really fast. 
But here’s the thing. 
I don’t think that’s what we should be harping on. 
Because what is the big deal about the holiday having “Christ” in the name if we aren’t making him the focus of the holiday in the first place?
I think that rather than focusing on whether people call it by the right name or not, we should put our energy to keeping Christ in Christmas. 
I think we, as Christians, are actually the guilty ones. 
We are HIDING the Christ in Christmas. 
We are contributing as much as anyone to making it the commercialized, secular holiday that it is today. 
We are stopping even saying “Merry Christmas” out of fear of offending someone. 
We are caught up in the gifts and parties and food, much more than in the Savior Whom we are supposed to be celebrating in the first place. 
Rather than condemning the people around me for whether they treat Christmas what I deem as correctly, I want to turn the focus and make sure I am “honoring the Messiah as Lord in (my) heart” (1 Peter 3:15)
Merry Christmas, everyone:)

Living for Every Second

There has never been a time in my life when I was patient.

I’m not patient waiting in lines or being the car that can’t quite make it through before the light turns red.

I’m not patient when my professor takes twenty minutes explaining a concept that he could have covered in five.

And I am not by any means patient about waiting for the future to get here.

When I was a little kid, my favorite number was always the age I was going to turn next. I was always looking forward to what was next — the next grade, learning the next thing, growing a couple more inches.

But this anticipation stole my contentment with where I was at. Since I was so busy looking to what was next, I never slowed down long enough to enjoy where I already was. To enjoy what God was blessing me with right now.

And I didn’t outgrow that when I turned 10… or 13… or 18. I’m still impatient and discontented, and I think I’m starting to realize why.

We don’t see the pain in the future, we only see the pain around us right now. And when we get small glimpses of the future we get the good ones, not the bad ones. When I got to hold my cousin’s baby over Thanksgiving break, nothing in me wanted to go back home to college finals and projects. I got immensely impatient for the years down the road when I am done with college and have kids of my own.

But that season of life, as amazing and sweet as it will be, will have struggles too. All I saw was a few hours of holding a sweet baby, I didn’t see the sleepless nights while he was teething, I didn’t see the tantrums or the endless diapers to change and laundry to do. I didn’t see that that phase of life will have sickness just like this one does. There will be job struggles, financial struggles, relationship struggles, and health struggles just like there are now.

And here’s what else, I’m living a part of life right now that I always dreamed of growing up. I’m old enough to drive and have my own car and the freedom to go do things with friends when I want to. I’m at an amazing university studying a field I am passionate about under professors who hold a wealth of information. I have some of the best and closest friendships that I’ve ever had and for the next few months, almost all of my best friends still live right here at home. Life is good, and yet I tend to focus on the negatives.

I tend to get impatient.

But God keeps gently nudging at my heart, Taryn, enjoy what I’ve blessed you with right now.

In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret of being content, whether well fed or hungry. Whether in abundance or in need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” — Philippians 4:11-13 (HCSB)

I can do everything through Him. The good days, the bad days, and everything in between. 

I have one life to live on this earth. And as much of it as it may seem like I still have in front of me right now, it’s going fast. I don’t want to wish my life away. I want to live passionately and purposefully and enjoy every day. I want to make every day count and point people towards Jesus with every second that He gives me.

I don’t want to be impatient for the future and miss right now. With every second that passes goes another chance and opportunity that I will never get back. I don’t want to take that for granted anymore. I don’t want to focus on all the negatives in my day and neglect to focus on all of the joy. I don’t want to miss right now and all the treasures that this time of my life holds.

I want to learn to be content, to learn to focus on all the blessings around me, and to live life for every second, not just in the future, but right now. 

Taryn

 

Will It Ever Be Enough??

I’m really good at playing the Thanksgiving game.

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“What are you thankful for?”
God, family, friends, health, education…
*10 minutes later*
Making my Christmas list, complaining that the wifi is slow, asking if we seriously ran out of milk. 

—-
Wow. We laugh it off by calling them “first world problems” and attempting to justify our lack of thankfulness. But changing how we label it doesn’t change what it is.
Discontentment.

Selfishness.

Entitlement.

I like the idea and thought behind Thanksgiving. I’ve written posts in the past about thankfulness and choosing to have joy which I still completely agree with. But a fault I’ve started recognizing in myself is that I tend to convince myself I’m “being thankful” when in actuality, my heart is far from it.

“In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content. Whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” — Philippians 4:12 (HCSB)

Contentment. Joyful contentment. I think that’s the key. Not just being thankful for what we have, but letting that be enough. Not pining after or basing our happiness on what is next, on what will satisfy our earthly longings for one more day. But rather digging wholeheartedly into our Savior who is more than enough for us.

This world will never be enough.

All things are wearisome; man is unable to speak. The eye is not satisfied by seeing or the ear filled with hearing.” — Ecclesiastes 1:8 (HCSB)

I like to convince myself that I am being thankful, I can make my list of things I’m thankful for a mile long, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Honestly, it helps my attitude a lot to think about things I am grateful for. But I have let it become a ritual an routine and the true joy and contentment that I am supposed to have in Christ has faded into extinction. I am often “thankful” because I am supposed to be, all the while taking for granted all that I have and all that God has blessed me with.

What kind of message is that sending to God and to this world?

God, You aren’t enough. You sent Your Son to be brutally killed for my sake even though I could never deserve it. You have gifted me with life and loving family and friends around me. BUT that’s not enough. I want more. I think I deserve more. Can’t you just make my life easy?

Wow. I would never verbalize it in that fashion, but is that not what I’m saying? I wouldn’t ever want to be that way. I wouldn’t ever want to be that selfish and shallow. And yet I am and I’m not even noticing it because I am still “being thankful”.

“And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” — Colossians 3:15 (HCSB)

As long as I keep living with fake gratitude, I will never think anything is enough. I will always feel entitlement and contempt. But God has already provided so much more than enough. His gifts, are more than I could ever need. His faithfulness is everlasting. I want to start living in recognition of that. I want to live in recognition of the fact that I do have enough, and I want to live consciously in awe and amazement of what my Savior did for me. Because that… is so much more than enough. And that’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.

 

— Taryn