Change of Plans

Happy Thursday, everyone! I was able to get away over the weekend with my dad and sisters to good ol’ Central Oregon, which will always have a special place in my heart. I’m thankful to be able to travel a little bit this summer! Today, I’d like to talk about a topic that a lot of Christians struggle with, (raising my hand over here) and that is allowing God to change our plans.

From the time I was a small child, I never really enjoyed much change. I was content with my school, the house I lived in, and the circle of friends I had. Switching schools or moving was always a big deal to me, as I am one to grow accustomed to the usual flow of my routine. That’s the way I like things to run… consistently.

But sometimes, our plans get changed.

I remember when I had to move schools in fourth grade because my previous one closed due to budget cuts. I was heartbroken at the thought of leaving behind the familiarity of the atmosphere. I had learned the outlay of the buildings, most of the teacher’s names, all the good spots to hang out at recess, and so much more. I certainly didn’t want to be moved elsewhere, but it was necessary.

It’s the same with life today. As humans, many of us are fond of orderly conduct to some degree. However, God does not think the same way that we do, and thank goodness for that.

It is so easy to get caught up in making big, grand plans for the future. I mean, I’m a high school senior who’s figuring out what college to go to, what career path to take, where I want to live, and so many other important factors. I find myself making such intricate plans that don’t even really need to be thought of right at the moment.

I find myself playing God.

Trying to be God is such a stressful and dangerous place to be in. We may not even realize that we’re doing it. Of course, it’s good to have goals, dreams, and desires, but we can’t let those things become set it stone. The Lord always knows better than us.

Think of a time in which you had a plan, but it turned out differently than expected.

I was in my sophomore year of high school when I thought I had life all figured out. (Spoiler alert, my sixteen year old life plan was flawed). I thought I knew where I’d go to college, the occupation I would hold, and who I would marry. Boy oh boy, did those things change. I had my life mapped out, only to find that I was holding the map upside down. Letting go of my agenda was a hard pill to swallow because I had worked so hard to try and make things perfect. But, God knew and continues to know SO much better than me.

Today, I try to live my life without being too anxious to know what the future holds. I’m focusing on being seventeen and using my strengths for His glory. I know that the Creator of the universe has my back, and that I don’t have to carry the burden of living life on my own.

Only God can give us the satisfaction of living the life that is meant for us. If we follow His lead, the rest will fall into place.

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

A Prayer of Gratitdue

Lord, I want to take some time to thank You in this moment. Through the duration of this crazy year, I feel as though I have not shown my gratitude nearly enough. You’ve opened doors I didn’t know were there, moved mountains that stood in my way, and have given me hope when I’ve felt hopeless.

Oh Lord, it is true that there are evil things going on in this world. Our country is at war with itself. Our people have forsaken one another in bitterness and anger, there are children who have suffered at the hands of cruel people, and countless other heartbreaking occurrences. But You, Lord, are mighty, loving, and will serve justice. I thank you for that. I praise you amidst the heartache and the storm because I know that You are God. Your plan is one that I cannot fathom at this moment, but I know that You will redeem this world. Thank you, Lord.

Thank you for the family, friends, and mentors. It brings me joy to know that I have people to confide in, trust, and love. I’m also grateful for those who can be difficult to deal with. They too, are Your children that You love so dearly. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to show them Your sweet grace and unending love.

And finally, thank You for salvation through Jesus Christ. I am so blessed to walk through life knowing that I will one day be with You. Knowing that I’m never alone is the greatest comfort. Thank You for restoring and rebuilding my life for Your glory.

I will praise, thank, and trust You through it all.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

No Need to Fear

Hello, friends! Welcome back to another post. I hope you are all doing well, and that things are returning to normal within your town. I must say, it is still a little odd to see everyone in a mask. It feels a sort of surreal. However, I’m very thankful that I am able to dine out with friends and family and shop here and there. Its nice to do some familiar activities. With that, let’s begin.

It is no joke that the world is a pretty crazy place. Recently, each day seems to be a little more absurd than the last. Personally, I have felt the anxiety from uncertainty and the unknown of day to day life.

In our streets, we see riots and mobs of people stealing, vandalizing, and assaulting others. In churches, certain ways of worship are being banned. Many of us are advised to stay away from large cities and areas for fear of violence. Some people are scared to voice their political opinion due to backlash and false stereotypes. Little children are growing up in a world full of contempt and deceit.

These circumstances are unfortunate, as they are scary and divisive among people. Everyday, it seems that there is yet another topic that segregates our world. We seem to be oil and water. Brother turns against brother and friend against friend.

Matthew 24:10-11 (NIV) “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

As humans, we have every right to be nervous about the events and doings of this world, but as Christians, we also have every right to choose faith. One of the most beautiful things about God is that He is not a god of fear. There are actually hundreds of verses in the Bible in which God tells us to “fear not.”

Choosing faith is not always easy, as we are completely surrendering our cares and stress to the Lord. We can’t cast our cares on the Lord and then pick them right back up. I’m working on this very thing myself! My plan is to tell myself, “Ok Kennedy, you’ve already laid this at His feet. Let it go,” whenever I try to take my stress into my own hands. We were never meant to walk this life alone.

As we continue to face and brave the unknown, remember that God knows everything. He is not uncertain or frightened. Lean into Him, cast your cares unto Him, and find peace in His presence. He loves you so very much.

With love,

Kennedy

Love Your Neighbor

John 13:34 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

As children of God, we know that He has called us to love people.

Seems pretty easy, right?

Think about the people you love. Who comes to mind? Most likely, you think of your family, friends, teammates, and others who are close to you.

Now, think about the people who push your buttons. Maybe there’s a colleague, schoolmate, or even an acquaintance that you don’t feel particularly fond of.

Do you love that person?

Personally, I am guilty of having bitterness towards certain people. When they come to mind, I associate them with negative feelings. A lot of times, love is not something that would come to mind when thinking of them.

However, I had to come to the realization that love isn’t just something that you feel. You must choose love. Just like most things in life, you must make the conscious choice to love someone. Many times, society thinks the opposite. Some believe that love is merely a feeling. However, if love were just a feeling, it would be fleeting. It would come and go because no person is perfect. They’re going to upset and disappoint you from time to time.

The world is so crazy in this day and age. So many unfortunate events are taking place. I, myself, have felt some anger toward people I don’t agree with morally or politically.

But, my job is not to judge or condemn. Instead, my job is to love. I am to love like Jesus because we are vessels of the Lord. Our lives are testimonies of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Does that mean we let people walk all over us? Absolutely not! Does that mean we’re not going to feel angry sometimes? No, we’re human. It is normal to feel anger. It is what we choose to do with that anger that matters.

Our goal in this life is to share the love of God. We are aliens to this world, but we have influence. If there is something in society that we need to address, we should do so with a humble spirit and a gentle tone. I’m still learning this!

So today, no matter how you feel toward someone, show them God’s love. They may need it the most. Speak gentle, uplifting words. Share your opinions with dignity and grace. Choose to love.

God bless you,

Kennedy

Can You Hear Me?

Hey, guys! It’s Thursday… not that everybody is really keeping track, but I’m back with a post! I’m currently at the beach with my friends, and let me tell you, it is so refreshing to hang out with people in the closest form of normal as I can get. I’m feeling very thankful that I have these girls in my life. They help me to loosen up and live a little. With that, I hope you enjoy this week’s topic.

Do you ever feel as though God doesn’t hear you?

Does it seem like He’s far away?

Perhaps, you’re doubting His existence.

There was a time in my life in which I felt that God had completely deserted me. I was angry, hurt, and felt forsaken by Him. I couldn’t understand why a God that is supposed to be so loving would let me feel so downcast.

I became resentful toward the Lord and felt as though I was His one mistake. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t seem to be happy. My life was overall good: great parents, good friends, a roof over my head, etc. Even still, I couldn’t shake the ugly feelings.

I had an overwhelming sense of guilt to add to the mess as well. There I was, the Christian girl people looked up to, who couldn’t even seem to inspire or help herself. I felt useless.

Day by day, my faith in Him began to dwindle away. I’d ask God to take away the pain, but each time, there was no answer . . . or so I thought.

As cliché as it sounds, sometimes the answer that we’re searching for is right in front of us. We just become too blinded by our hurt or anger to truly see.

However, one of the many great things about God is that He is able to break down walls- the products of our hurt.

Personally, I couldn’t properly heal until I realized the truth of God’s nature. We often hear of God’s attributes, but we must believe as well. In other words, faith is imperative.

I like the phrase, “I will walk by faith even when I cannot see.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) says “For we live by faith, not by sight.”

Our paths are not always clear. Sometimes, God speaks to us in ways that don’t make sense at the time. If we knew everything about God or exactly what we should do in every situation, there would be no point in having faith.

God wants us to lean on Him– not just halfway or here and there, but always. There is beauty in surrender. There is freedom in letting go.

God hears us. He listens to our cries, our hopes, our dreams. He never leaves. Many of times, we experience spiritual growth when we have nothing to do but rely on God, and our faith surely expands when we must depend on it.

If you’re in a space in which you feel God is distant, please know that He is right beside you. Don’t give into the devil’s lies because he likes to swoop in during our times of vulnerability. God loves you- He will never leave you. Keep your faith and know the truth.

Love to all,

Kennedy

See Through Deceit

It’s July, you guys! I cannot even believe how quickly June went by. People are definitely right when they tell you that time flies. I hope you are all doing wonderfully. Thank you for all of your support with this blog. I truly appreciate each and every one of you. The views, likes, comments, and shares all mean so much to me. It makes my heart happy to see people reading about God through my blog and others. With that, let’s begin!

Today, I want to talk about the ways that Satan tries to deceive us. I know, I know, fun topic, but I believe it’s important to talk about. When we are equipped with God’s word and are able discern between good and evil things, we are able to combat and interrupt Satan’s crafty plans. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, but we can stop him in his tracks.

I have noticed that the devil tries his hardest to get to Christians when we’re going through a tough time. For instance, let’s say that you’re dealing with an issue, and then everything else seems to go wrong as well. It’s extremely discouraging when we have to deal with a series of setbacks. We become aggravated and downcast. During that time, we are more susceptible to give into our emotions as well as the deceit of the devil.

Satan also tries his hardest to get the people in our lives to wreak havoc. This kind of deceit is tough to become aware of because we become blinded by anger or hurt. When we deal with relational estrangement of any kind, Satan tries with all his might to use that to his advantage. In other words, he attempts to take us down from the inside.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the devil also does his best to lure us in with seemingly good things. However, those “good” things will end up leaving a bitter taste in our mouths. I like to think about it this way: let’s say we have a crisp, shiny, juicy, red apple. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, that same apple is actually rotten and decomposing on the inside. It is the same with the attractive circumstances that we can be faced with. Everything seems to be fine, but when we look a little further, we can see that the situation isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. The best way to know if something is of God is to pray about it and read God’s word. We are also equipped with the Holy Spirit who helps us to discern good from evil.

It is imperative that we remember this verse– John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full“(NIV). Satan will use anything he can to get to us. He is a parasite that feeds off of the negativity in our lives. He tries to slip in through the cracks of our brokenness, but we know that we are made whole in Christ. Colossians 2:10 says “and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

Jesus has already conquered sin and all evil on the cross. He is not scared, threatened, or provoked by the devil. Romans 8:37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” When Christ died on that cross and spoke the words, “It is finished,” He overcame all evil. We are more than conquerors. We don’t have to fear the devil, but only be cautious and aware of his schemes. Our God is far bigger than anything or anyone else. We need only to lean on Him.

Love to all,

Kennedy

Caught in the Middle

Hello to all of you beautiful humans! I hope your week has been perfectly pleasing in every way. Man, have I been loving having some sunshine. I’m grateful for summer in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a nice break from the rain! With that… let us begin on this week’s post.

There’s a song by Paramore that I really enjoy called Caught in the Middle. The track is on their latest album After Laughter. The lyrics say “Can’t look back, can’t look too far ahead. I got the point, I got the message. I’m just a little bit caught in the middle. I try to keep going, but it’s not that simple.”

These lyrics really hit close to home because I often find myself feeling stuck where I am. Personally, I try to visualize what the future will look like for me to the point where I get anxious about it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I also catch myself thinking about the past, longing to go back and fix or change things. Both of these extremes cause me to become discontent with where I’m at currently.

Further into the song, the lyrics say “I was dreaming life away, all the while just going blind. Can’t see the forest for the trees, behind the lids of my own eyes. Nostalgia’s cool, but it won’t help you now. A dream is good, if you don’t wear it out.”

We’re all human. We enjoy reminiscing on our past memories and longing to live those days again, and we are eagerly waiting to see what the future holds. It’s ok to think about the past and the future, but we can’t let ourselves become Caught in the Middle.

I’m in high school at the moment. I just finished my junior year and can’t believe that I’m now a senior. This will be a year of growth, change, and new horizons. However, I can’t let myself miss out on present experiences because I’m fixated on college. Similarly, I shouldn’t let myself become preoccupied with nostalgia or past experiences.

Life is happening around us right now We should enjoy every moment that is given to us. Don’t let yourself obsess over the past or the unknown. Don’t let yourself get caught in the middle.

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

-Kennedy

Nation Divided: A Prayer

Lord, we are broken. Our people have forsaken one another in bitterness. Unity has been lost. In it’s place, division. Our people take lives, uproot relationships, and destroy cities.

Hatred has deposited itself into so many hearts. We divide ourselves among race, social status, politics, and so many other categories. But the truth is, You don’t take those things into account when You look at us. The color of our skin, the amount of wealth we posess, our political beliefs… none of those change Your love for us. Your eyes see Your beautiful children– Your masterpieces.

Lord, we have divided ourselves among earthly standards. How broken we are! If only we would see our neighbor the way You see us– beautiful, beloved, chosen, children of the Lord.

Cleanse our eyes of our blindness, our hearts of our bitterness, and our minds of hatred, Lord. Unite us to live for You and Your glory, rather than our own opinions and agendas.

This warfare against our own brothers is devastating. Strengthen us to withstand the fiery darts and schemes that Satan so desperately tries to divide us with. May we stand together in harmony. Help us to love each other as You love us.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday is my usual posting day, but I have not been able to stop thinking about the situation that we are facing today. Why do we divide ourselves? Everybody’s life matters because each and every one of us serve a purpose that is lived out uniquely. God loves us all. May we learn to see others the way He sees us.

May love win.

-Kennedy

Where’s My Motivation?

Hello, hello, hello! Happy Thursday to all of you! I’m overjoyed to say that my state is currently in phase one of reopening. I cannot wait to return to normalcy, although I’ve truly enjoyed spending needed time with my family. Also, I have successfully completed my junior year of high school… senior year, here I come!

In this week’s post, I want to talk a little bit about motivation. I can honestly say that there are times where I experience a deep lack of motivation. I believe that I’m a driven person because I truly want to succeed in all that I do. I have big goals for myself.

However, there are times when the tasks that are set before me seem entirely too large to tackle. It’s as if I’m standing at the bottom of a mountain looking up at the distance that I have to climb. I know that I have to start at the bottom to work my way to the top, but taking that first step feels unimportant compared to the end result. Don’t get me wrong, vision- the ability to see the completion of something- is a wonderful thing, but sometimes, we need to take one step at a time.

Think about it this way, let’s say your goal right now is to graduate from high school. That’s a great and necessary goal! However, let us also say that you’re so focused on completing your four years that you forget to enjoy hanging out with friends, going to dances, participating in class activities, focusing on day to day assignments, etc. How boring would that make those years seem?! High school would be completely tedious that way.

It is the same with responsibilities that lie before us today. If we are too fixated on the outcome, we may lose motivation to continue with the small, minute tasks that will eventually lead us to the finish line. Again, it is one step at a time.

Splitting up your tasks into small fragments can greatly help with motivation. If you look at something as a whole, it can be intimidating. So, assigning a small, specific task may help you. That way, when you complete that small assignment, you feel accomplished and eager to do more later on.

I read in an article that our mental self-talk is not always motivating. Often times, our head voice speaks harshly like a drill sergeant to a soldier. When that’s all we hear in our mind, we begin to resent the job at hand. Change up your thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I have to get this done or else I’m gonna fail,” tell yourself, “I’m gonna feel a lot better if I accomplish this.” Our thoughts are important.

I hope that this helps anyone who is struggling to find motivation. No matter how big or small, you can get the job done! In the end, you’ll feel accomplished. Remember to be kind to yourself too!

xoxo, Kennedy

My Top Three Favorite Christian Rock Bands

Happy Thursday, everybody! I am in shock that the school year is almost over. My junior year will be completed at the end of this month, and let me tell you, I’m ecstatic. Don’t get me wrong… I love school! I enjoy the atmosphere, the students, the teachers, and the fact that I’m receiving a good education, but your girl is ready for some summer sun. For this week’s blog, I wanted to do something a little different. I have very unique music taste; I love so many genres. However, Christian Rock is definitely in my top three genres of music. So, here is a list of some of my favorite bands!

1. Flyleaf: Flyleaf is a talented group of musicians who bring God’s word and amazing guitar riffs together. I have always appreciated Lacey Sturm’s (former lead singer) vulnerability and authenticity in the lyrics that she writes. She truly has a heart for God and for people. She also has a unique voice. At one moment, she will be singing so sweetly, and the next, she’s screaming. It’s pretty awesome.

2. Skillet: Skillet has been in the music business for quite some time, and they are still so active in making new music. Lead singer, John Cooper, has a powerful, gravelly voice that compliments Seth Morrison’s guitar skills so well. Jen Ledger truly knows how to play the drums and crushes it in every song. Korey Cooper is a talented keyboardist and guitarist. Her riffs are impeccable and she rocks harder than anyone. I love Skillet’s honest and empowering lyrics. They also play great live!

3. Switchfoot: Switchfoot is one of the first Christian Rock bands I discovered and I fell in love with them. Everything from vocals to instruments is impeccable. Jon Foreman is one of the most talented singers I’ve heard. These San Diego natives play a softer rock, with unique guitar tunes. You can find a good balance of slower songs and upbeat songs with this group. I had the opportunity to see them live a few years back, and it was a delightful show.

Thank you for tuning into this week’s post! I pray safety and health over each and every one of you. Until next time!

-Kennedy