You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything

My mom knows and understands my appreciation for letters and notes of encouragement. I have favorite birthday cards saved all the way back to when I was 5 years old. I’m always writing someone a letter or leaving notes on the whiteboard complimenting my staff at work. So this birthday, my Mom gave me a booklet of cute inspirational quotes that you can tear out and give to people to encourage them. Needless to say, I love it and immediately began thumbing through to read some of them. Then I came to one that made me stop. Turn back. Reread that. It hit me like a pile of bricks. 

You can do anything, but not everything. 

Wow.

And that’s not a bad thing. 

So here’s the deal, if you know me in real life (oh have read at least like two blog posts) you know that for most of my life *and still sometimes* I thought I could do everything. 

Beyond that, I thought anyone that told me otherwise didn’t believe in me and I set about to prove them wrong. 
But the people who came alongside me in life and said “Taryn, you shouldn’t try to do this…” they were the ones who believed in me the most. The ones who did believe I could take 7 hard classes at a time. The ones who did believe I could work full time. The ones who did believe I could be a camp counselor and lead on the praise team and teach Bible Drill. 

But not all at the same time. 

“You can do ANYTHING. But NOT everything.”

This is what my parents, boyfriend, mentors, best friend… what they all tried to tell me. What they all did tell me. And I didn’t listen.

They didn’t want to shut me down, to tell me I wasn’t good enough, to undermine my abilities. They wanted to empower me. They wanted me to have the strength and energy to do my very best at what was important. Not to feel like I was running a thousand miles and hour and could still never be enough. 

So to my dearest friends graduating high school this weekend, this is the one biggest thing I learned my first year of college and what I want to send you off with. 

I believe in you all. You can get a 4.0 next fall if that’s your goal. You can work a job while in school. You can get involved in leadership roles on campus. You can make the best friends of your life. You can, and I truly believe, will thrive. But you won’t do it by doing everything. 

So pick what is very most important to you, and do it to the best of your ability. Prioritize and cut back what doesn’t make the list. Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. 

I believe in you. 

My prayer for you all is in the lyrics of my graduation songs from a year ago:

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow, and each road leads you where you oughta go. And if you’re faced with a choice and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you… I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams, and that faith give you the courage to dare to do great things. 

Class of 2017, go and do great things

Everyone else, you go do and great things too:)

You can do anything, just not everything. 

Taryn

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The Power of Prayer

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” – – James 5:16-18

The Bible doesn’t make light of the power of prayer, and if the Word says it, I am going to take it on faith.

Beyond that, I have seen the power of prayer evidenced in my own life in more ways that I can count. So for me, it isn’t so much of taking it on a blind leap of faith, as knowing and having experienced God’s matchless power.

God answered prayers that I was nervous even to pray. In times when I felt like my prayers were too little, too insignificant, to selfish to bring before and Almighty Creator — He proved to me that He loves me and really does care about even the smallest details of my life.

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” — Corrie ten Boom

I prayed prayers that were answered to the T years later, and I can truly feel God smiling on my life when I see those prayers come to fruition years later. It has brought me to tears this week. The detailed prayers I prayed that were answered so clearly and completely.

So why am I saying all this?

Pray for big things, y’all.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for health, with praying for forgiveness, with praying and thanking God for things. God commands that kind of prayer. And God also asks for the kind of faith that asks big, specific, bold prayers in Jesus name knowing that He loves to answer His children.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” — 2 Corinthians 1:20

Pray for unrealistic things. Pray prayers that put you out on a limb with God. Pray for bigger faith, and know that He is going to answer full well.

Pray that God would take anger and bitterness from Your heart in every situation. Pray that you wouldn’t fight or be angry with those closest to you. Pray that no anger would reside in your heart.

It sounds crazy, right? It sounds unrealistic. But it isn’t. It lines up with God’s will, He asks us to turn away from anger and do good. So ask boldly in Jesus name.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” — 1 John 5:14

God is sovereign. His will always prevails and He is going to do what is right and just and good. But God loves to love His children. God delights in making Himself known to us, and when we pray according to His will, He answers, I promise you He does.

My youth minister once told me that God’s will isn’t one precise dot, one specific situation down to the most minute detail. If that were the case, we would have screwed up God’s will thousands of years ago and never gotten back on the right track.

On the contrary, God can work things for good and according to His will and for His glory in every situation. Even in situations when and where we have messed up. Even in situations that are less than perfect. When we pray and ask for the Spirit’s power in our lives, He shows up.

I’m not trying to say that the only good things that ever happen in this world are because of prayer and that those that don’t pray fervently can not have a good life.

But I would be lying to say that God hasn’t blessed me specifically, directly, and abundantly through answered prayers.

What do you have to lose? Pray big, pray bold, pray often… and expect God to work. I can promise you that He will.

— Taryn

The Myth of “Righteous Anger”

Search “righteous anger” on Bible Gateway

Since I know you didn’t actually do that, let me tell you what it says. Nothing shows up.

Those two words don’t appear side by side in the Bible. 

In fact, James 1:20 says quite the opposite

{for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God}

So where did this term come from?

Who came up with the idea of “righteous anger”?

Who decided that as Christians it would be righteous of us to be angry, even if our anger is directed towards sin? 

God doesn’t need our anger or want our anger. He didn’t call us to anger. He called us to love. That’s what Jesus emphasized over and over during His earthly ministry. 

If anyone were going to be angered by sin, it should have been Jesus. He was the one they were sinning against. He was the one who was going to have to bleed and die for it. And He is the only one to ever walk this earth and not be just like them — sinners. And yet there are very few times when the Bible mentions Jesus getting angry or acting in anger. 

Jesus didn’t ignore the injustices all around Him, but rather than letting His actions be fueled by anger, He let them be fueled by compassion and love. 

Love is what God commands in the Great Commandment. Love is what Paul describes as bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:8). Love is what Jesus showed on the cross to a broken and dying world, devoid of any reason to be loved. Love is what no one deserves, by what Christ calls us to show. 

Anger won’t draw anyone to the Father, but love will

“Jesus will not accept the common distinction between righteous indignation and unjustifiable anger. The disciple must be entirely innocent of anger, because anger is an offence against both God and his neighbour.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are surely injustices in this world. There are surely things we must fight against in this world. But rather than convincing ourselves that our anger towards these things is righteous and is what should be going on, why don’t we focus on letting love drive us to do great things. To share hope and comfort with this broken world. And to point every person that we see back to Jesus. 

I’m not here to tell you you’re an awful human for getting angry. I’m here to tell you that unless we do something with that anger, unless we allow Christ to take it from us and replace it with love and passion to do something about the injustice in our world, then it’s meaningless. And worse than that, it’s stealing our joy. 

When you really think about it, why would we want to be angry in the first place? I sure don’t want to be. I don’t like how it makes me feel and I certainly don’t like the person that I am when I’m angry. So, as much as possible, I’m going to choose not to be angry. Even if it seems like I’m in the right, or that my anger may be “righteous”. I don’t want to choose anger anymore, I want to choose love. 

Taryn

You’re Gonna Miss This

<<You’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back,

You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast

These are some good times, so take a good look around

You may not know it now – but you’re gonna miss this>>

 

Second semester of senior year my best friend shared this song with me and I would listen to it every time I was in the car by myself and bawl my eyes out.

I was gonna miss the lock-ins at church with my friends, I was gonna miss picking my best friend up for school every morning, I was gonna miss the bus rides to church camp when we sang Disney songs *a little too loud*

And you know what? I can’t deny for a moment that I miss those things.

Last night one of my close friends from youth group posted a silly High School Musical video that sent me spiraling back to the times when all of us would watch them together in middle school. It sent me back to a time when life was carefree and lighthearted. It sent me back to a time that I probably took completely for granted and that I would love the chance to relive.

I do miss it. I do want it back. And oh how I wish I could have even one of those days back.

But the God began to shift my perspective.

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You’re gonna miss this. These times. Right here and right now. You’re gonna want these back one day. Don’t wish these away either.

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I sat in class yesterday during one of my favorite professor’s lectures, and it struck me.

I’m gonna miss this.

I laughed with my coworkers way too hard over things that probably weren’t that funny.

I’m gonna miss this.

I came home and all of my little siblings ran to give me hugs and were so excited to see me.

I’m gonna miss this.

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There are always going to be new things in life that I am later going to miss. Life comes in seasons, and our God is oh so good, so He blesses me in unique and special ways through each and every one of those chapters. When I made it past that high school season, a lot of doors closed, a lot of beautiful things were turned into memories – but they are great memories, and life in college has been great too.

There’s always going to be hard things in life, but when I take a good look around me, I am so so blessed. And every day of life is a gift that God has given me that I don’t want to take for granted anymore.

And from an even longer term standpoint, when I get to Heaven one of these days, I’m not going to miss any of these days here on earth. So while I have this time, I want to use it to make the name of The Father known and shout His Name from the mountaintops.

— Taryn

Brokenness Aside

<<I am a sinner if it’s not one thing it’s another, I’m caught up in words, tangled in lies. But You are my Savior and You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful>>
My life is broken. 
I am broken. 
My life is marred my anxiety. By fear. By pride. 
And I’ve let those begin to define me. 
The shards and fragments and rough edges. I’ve begun to feel like I deserve them. Deserve to have to wear them as scars — as strobe lights declaring my faults and failures to the world. 
I wake up and see myself through a shattered mirror. I see myself, but only under the layers of cracks and distortion and fog. 
And you know what?
I’m a broken person. The Bible backs me up on that. I’ve fallen short of God’s marvelous glory (Romans 3:23). But He is the Creator who takes our broken pieces and doesn’t discard them, but instead reshapes and remolds them. Who takes them and somehow makes them beautiful. 
He is the Creator and when I turned to Him and asked for His salvation almost twelve years ago, He took the broken mirror away. He washed me white as snow. He healed my brokenness and started reforming and refining and sanctifying me. Sculpting me to be more like the image of Himself. 
He declares me to be His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) and all of my brokenness and weakness doesn’t cease to exist, but He does use it for good (Genesis 50:20), and His power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) 
My Father loves me so much that He doesn’t want me to keep watching my reflection through broken glass. He wants to turn me around and let me see myself through His eyes. 
Someone worth dying for. 
Someone He wants to use to accomplish His beautiful purposes. 
A child of the King. 

She Laughs Without Fear of the Future

I made it almost a whole year as a teenage girl blogging about Jesus without mentioning one of the iconic teenage girl scripture passages::: Proverbs 31
Although I often think there is too much fanfare around this particular passage, it’s written as an example for me just like every other girl out there. And I take that seriously and I want to strive to live up to that the best I can through the power God provides. 

Proverbs 31:25 -30 // She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. // (NLT)

I’ve read through all of this more times than I can count, but in just the past three months, a completely different part of the passage has begun to stand out to me. 

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{she laughs without fear of the future}

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I don’t know about you, but I am a planner to the utmost extreme. I like to have every detail laid out and every box checked. I like to know when and how I’m gonna do everything. And all the unknown that’s in the future… it scares me. But there’s two big things that this phrase means to me and has been impacting in my life over the past few months and I want to share those with you today. 

1. Live for right now

Often in the craziness of life, I get caught up in what the next thing is going to be. Planning for the next event. Saving money for the next big thing or trip. Scheduling ahead, making plans for tomorrow, dreaming about my life five years from now. 

But God has given me today. 

God has given me right now. I want to enjoy right now. Laugh in right now, laugh not having to know what the future holds. Enjoying the little things that make right now such a blessing and let that be enough. 

It’s the simplest things that have been the biggest blessings to me this week. Coming home and lighting my candles. Clean sheets and warm blankets. Chocolate milkshakes. It doesn’t take having all of life planned and mapped out and good exactly the way I’d hoped. It just takes being able to enjoy all the little things that make life so good. 

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2. Trust God with the future

His ways are so much higher than ours, He is working all things for our good, He knows so much better than we ever could. Why don’t I trust the future to the One who sees it all? The One who is all-knowing and all-powerful and all-good? I don’t have that answer. Except that it’s something I definitely need to keep working on. Not being afraid of the future. 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” — Corrie ten Boom

I’ve learned through the examples of Joshua, Jonah, Isaiah, Joseph… God knows what He is doing. And He reiterates that to me in my life time and time again. Whether any part of my life goes the way I think I want it to or not, I know that He is never going to let me go and that He is working all things for good in His perfect timing. 

“Thankfully, God’s plans don’t seem to be much affected by my own.” — Katie Davis

So that’s me right now, have you noticed a theme in what I’ve been writing recently? It’s not really intentional beyond that it’s something God is laying on my heart in a dozen different ways right now. To enjoy this life and laugh and have joy and not worry. He is so so good, even in the storms, even in the stress and anxiety, oh He is such a good Father. And I’m learning to rest in that no matter what. 

“Many things about tomorrow, I can’t seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow. And I know Who holds my hand.” — Ira Stanphill

Taryn

Laughing with Jesus

It’s been yet another late night

There’s little to no time left to write

I’m tired as always is the case

Spent all day running from place to place

Life is tough, but God You are tougher

Your faithfulness brings me hope and comfort

When I am weak, then You are strong

You, O Lord, are my strength and my song

Grant me peaceful rest tonight

And when I wake up, may I know all is right

May I honor you in what I do and say

And may I follow You, LORD, in every single way

Some days I journal eloquent prayers. Some days I shoot up sentence prayers when I feel sick or my friends text me that something is wrong. Some days I cry on my knees before my Savior when I don’t think I can go another step. And some days — I laugh with Jesus. 

I laugh with Jesus when I realize I’m worrying about things that I really shouldn’t worry about — He’s got them. 

I laugh with Jesus when someone unknowingly says something in the words of a Bible verse or praise song. 

I laugh with Jesus when He places the littlest blessings so deliberately in my path just because He loves me. 

Those are my favorite days. And they make me so look forward to Heaven. To spending eternity dancing and singing and laughing with my King and all my brothers and sisters in Him. 

When life gets stressful, when I feel like I have to be serious, when the worry is too much and there isn’t enough time for everything… laugh with Jesus. Let Him take your burdens (1 Peter 5:7) and let His joy and peace reign in your heart. 

Thank you, Lord. Thank you. Thank you for laughter and blessings and reminding me not to take myself too seriously. Thank you for grace. 

— Taryn

Be Strong and VERY Courageous

“You make me brave, You make me brave. You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave. You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the love that made a way.”

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Joshua chapter 1. Moses has just died on top of the mountain, leaving Joshua the gargantuan task of taking command and leading an entire nation in to Canaan to claim their new land. 

Four times in that one chapter God commands Joshua “be strong and very courageous” because God Himself goes before them and will never leave them. 

Joshua was about to be called upon to lead armies to attack Jericho, to establish God’s nation and God’s people in a land occupied by evil peoples. He knew this, and he was surely afraid. 

But I’m not called to go conquer nations like Joshua. 

So does that mean I don’t need courage? Does that mean I’m not called upon to be brave? And does that mean my bravery is any less than that of say Joshua?

God calls different people to different things. 

I remember painfully deliberating an important decision during my junior year of high school and not seeming to have any indication of which choice was right. I remember lamenting to my mentor about my options. One that seemed hard and difficult, while the other seemed like the choice I would enjoy more, “but I don’t just want to pick the easy way out” I told her. 

Her answer was simple and to-the-point, “Just because it’s the hardest thing, doesn’t mean it’s God’s will”

Wow. 

Does God call us to do hard things?

Yes. 

But just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s God’s will. 

God provides the strength and faith I need to fulfill the purposes that He has planned out for me. Not the strength Joshua needed to command armies. Not the faith that Peter needed to walk on water. Not the courage of Stephen who was stoned for preaching the gospel. The courage that I need. The strength that I need. The faith that I need. 

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” — Ephesians 2:10

God prepared good works in advance for me to do, and whatever those are, that’s what He is going to make me brave for. 

So what am I supposed to do?

Have the faith of Abraham who said “yes” to God’s call before even knowing where it was. 

Have the faith of Ruth who didn’t leave Naomi even though she knew nothing of the Canaanite people or their land or culture.

Have the faith of a child who believes without needing any proof. 

“Now without faith, it is impossible to please God. For the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” — Hebrews 11:6

I don’t need the bravery to lead armies, just the courage to be faithful wherever God has called me. The faith to say yes. 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander so my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. 

— Taryn

I know, I know!! I missed both posts last week. College is hectic, y’all, but God is so good and He always seees me through:)

White as Snow

img_5842

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