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

Advertisements

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 🙂
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

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

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

I Can Never Do Enough

This world is so, SO broken. 

It’s hitting me hard today. 

I’m around so many hurting people, and although my heart is breaking for them, the reality is that I can do so little to help. And that’s hard. 

I can’t solve their problems, can’t bring back their lost loved ones, and for some reason a smile or picking up their dinner bill just never seems like enough. 

I can’t do enough. I can never do enough. 

God calls us to “look after the orphans and widows in their distresses” (James 1:27), but I don’t have the capability to really help them. 

But wait. 

Who does have that capability and that power?

God does. 

How am I so quick to forget? It’s not my job to heal and save and restore. That’s His job. He has asked me to be a vessel through which He demonstrates His love. God wants me to love through the strength and power He provides, but He is the only One that can truly fix this broken world. 

Everything I do seems meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But every little thing I do can serve a bigger purpose if I use it to point back to Jesus, to show those around me where hope really comes from. 

Hope doesn’t come from me. I can’t offer anyone hope that comes from myself, but I can invite them to experience the hope that I have that can only come from Jesus Christ. 

I want to learn to throw off the mentality of wanting to do it all myself. I want to humble myself and realize how much greater God is and how much more He can do than I could ever dream. I want to let Him do the miracles and be amazed and honored that He allows me to be a small part of them. 

I can never do enough. But He can and already has. And that’s what’s really important. 

When the Music Fades

I filmed this two summers ago when I was in the fullness of my music life. And I look back at this now, often with tears, because it chronicles so much of my music journey. These seven songs span five of the years of myself chasing after my music dreams and giving it my all. And even though that door closed, and many tears were shed, I can look back on this and smile too. Because even though I can’t play like that anymore — not two hours a day, not professionally, I can still play with that passion for my Savior. It’s all for Him and it’s always going to be, and no matter whether I lose the health or the technique or the career, I never have to lose the heart that made me love it in the first place.

Thank You, LORD, for music and the way You have used it to reveal Yourself to me all throughout my life. Thank You for giving me an outlet to use to praise You. May Your praise ever be on my lips for now and forever, Amen.

— Taryn

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

 

How Deep the Father’s Love

How deep the Father’s love for us

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

Why should I gain from His great loss?

I can not give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom


God loves us so well and so abundantly. And He reveals it in the most breathtaking ways. 

If you could know the future, would you want to?

If you could choose to know what the greatest hardship in your life would be, would you want to know now?

If you knew how and when the person you love most was going to die, would you do anything differently?

If you could somehow control whether or not they had to die, but the stakes were very high, what would you choose?

I was in tears this weekend as I considered these mind boggling concepts. How would I handle it as a parent watching my child struggle through a fatal illness? Knowing the doctor’s verdict carried little hope. I don’t know that I could do it, I’m almost sure that I couldn’t. 

But God did.

God did that — and He did it for me. Because He loves me that much!!

That hit me hard this weekend. God sent His Son. His one and only Son. His Son that He loves perfectly. He sent Him to die, to be torchered and mocked and beaten and crucified. How?!? It would have been so much easier, in my opinion, to take it Himself. How could He bear to watch that?!?

Because He loves me. 

I’m not in the least deserving of that love. And yet my LORD offers it freely to me and at the highest of costs to Him. 

In the last moments of Jesus’ suffering on earth, the Father had to turn away. He couldn’t even watch His Son suffer and die because He couldn’t in His holiness look at the sin Jesus was taking on His shoulders. 

That’s how deeply the Father loves us. 

If I could choose to see the future,  I would have to choose not to. I couldn’t handle it. But that is a post for another day. Today, the main point I wanted to make is simply that God did. He loves me more than I could ever comprehend. Through all my rebellion and failures. He loves me so much He sent His Son to die. 

 I never want to lose the gravity of that.

Taryn