If I pop, I hope that it’s into confetti…

Hey friends,

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that this post is the first in a long time! I’ve been in a season that has been challenging to share because I really have not felt that I had anything that could help to equip another.

Maybe you can relate to feeling in a season where you just keep walking, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep trusting, and keep trying.

My three-year-old daughter in her adorableness will sometimes ask me, “Did you feel cute this morning(I seriously don’t know where she got this question, she’s so funny)?” But even funnier is that if I don’t answer, “yes” she goes, “Awww, you’re trying???”

While feeling cute has not been my biggest goal, “trying” in general is definitely an adjective I can relate to daily right now!

I love that one of God’s names is El Roi– “The God who sees”. It helps me to remember that not only Juliana can see the trying, but God does. He sees us trying, He sees us striving to surrender daily, and He also sees so much more that we do not, and He is at work in those things unseen to us, but seen to Him. In those moments that we feel like we may be at the end of ourselves, He is there and at work.

In thinking about these things, I wanted to share a verse that has been encouraging me so much…

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

This verse reminds that He is renewing us day by day. This pressing that we can see and feel is temporary, but its results are working in a way that has an impact that can be used for His glory in some way, for purposes that we may not ever truly see the full measure of.

I try to imagine in my own understanding that maybe the pressing is being used to shape me into a person that is perhaps more compassionate, more understanding, and more able to relate in gentleness to those around me. That future “me” may be able to encourage from an, “I’ve been there too, and I can tell you that God is faithful and going to walk you through this,” perspective. But that is just a small sliver of my own understanding and thoughts of how God may work these things for His glory, and if God uses any hardship to do that in my life, I am blessed.

However, I know that He is doing even more than that. His word says that it’s working a far more  “exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.

The verses leading up to the last one I shared say,

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.”

2 Corinthians 4: 7-12

It is challenging for me to write about this because truly I’m not a lofty theologian by any means, but it cannot go without saying, friend, that what we have inside of us, the hope of God and His salvation, is for His purpose carried by us, even in our frailties. Even though we may feel absolutely pressed and crushed, what we feel has been felt and understood by Jesus, even unto the point of His death. And with that shared death is also life, by God’s power, shown through us. It is such a deep and beautiful concept that my mind cannot fully plunge those depths of understanding. But through Him, we can trust that even in these struggles that feel like they can bring us to death, God even more so can bring beautiful life out of.

I was reminded of this recently at a Bible study for the little kiddos in the school that I teach at. A teacher was talking about faithfulness and she used an example of a balloon popping. She first popped a balloon that nothing was inside of, and then popped another that exploded confetti everywhere, in hopes to encourage the kids to just keep being faithful, and good is sure to come. The thought of, “If I pop, I hope confetti comes out” has been crossing my mind, encouraging me, and making me laugh lately. I hope it does for you too.

I just wanted to share and hopefully encourage you friend! I do very much intend to keep updating with writings on this blog as God permits!

With love,

Angelina

Hope for the New Year

How are you feeling about this New Year? I know many people are so happy to be seeing 2020 in the rearview. Are you looking at the New Year with excitement? Maybe a little bit uncertain or skeptical?

I personally love starting a New Year. Something about the freshness of starting new and dreaming about goals and having a fresh time table to work with– makes my planning-loving self almost explode with happiness. I know, I’m so weird, but someone has to be.

I haven’t always felt hopeful around the New Year though. A few years ago, I remember being at an all time low. I felt so defeated and down about myself. I didn’t want to make any resolutions or goals, because I felt like there was no way that anything good could come out of me and that it would be impossible to follow through with any of my goals. I ended up trying to make some goals anyway, and I remember a month or so into the year actually ripping the paper up I had wrote those goals on. So not only am I weird, but a little dramatic too, haha–thanks for being my friend anyway! But you get what I mean.

I don’t know if you can relate to feeling like that at all. Last year was such a difficult year too, with so much unexpected. It can be hard to think about the next one and plan. It is very possible too that circumstances in the New Year may not be so much better than the last year. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope ahead. While I may google the next stimulus payment as much as the next person, that cannot be where my hope or expectation is. While it’s probably cliché at this point to say it, my Christian sister, remember our real hope is not in circumstances or how things in our world are going. Our Hope transcends all of that.

Although it was a few years ago when I was really feeling down about the next year, I can see some of those similar thoughts creeping back in. I didn’t want to plan or try because I knew from my perspective that my own abilities and my own strength had failed me so much. I was fearful of other people letting me down as well. The thought of trying and failing, or trying and a circumstance derailing the effort just seemed so not worth it. But when I look back, I can recognize the reasoning why for me was because I was misplacing my hope and expectation.

I just want to encourage you this New Year, God has GOOD plans for you, whether you make goals or resolutions or not, whether you feel like anything good can come from this next year or not. Even if last year seems a failure, there is so much grace to start over each morning. If you know Him, there is good in store. His Word tells us that He already has planned good works for you to walk in this year! That means good things you don’t even have to plan for yourself! He’s already got the details, you just have to listen in. No matter how the circumstances in our world roll out. Things may get darker, but He is the light. We always have hope in Him and can always look ahead with expectation that He will be there. And He has purpose for you.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

So, as your planning (or not planning) goals in this new year, I hope I can encourage you with that–focus your eyes on Him as your expectation and hope. Draw near to Him. It’s okay to not have all the feels about the new year or even to feel a little skeptical about it, but He is going to be there with you. He is going to guide you as you focus on Him. And you can expect that He has good plans for you prepared. His good may look different than what you expect, but you can trust Him. He loves you so much!

Happy 2021!

With Love,

Angelina

PS

I am making some goals this new year =)! Are you? I’m looking forward to sharing later this week!

“I can’t see the Forest for the Trees”

I can't see the forest for the trees

Recently I couldn’t help but rethink and rethink a conversation that I’d had with a friend. She asked me how something had been going, and I said, “good.” Just good, and changed the subject. 

Later, I think I kept rethinking it because I didn’t elaborate, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I had lied in saying it was good. I can not tell a lie, I mean morally I know its wrong, but what I mean is I’m actually terrible at lying, like not even a white lie. And so to think that I might have lied so simply was baffling to me.

The full truth was that the situation had actually been one the most difficult things I’d ever experienced or walked through, and in many ways am still walking through. In thinking through it though, I realized saying, “Good” actually wasn’t dishonest. So, my bad lying skills are in tact.

You’re thinking–I just said it was such a difficult thing, so how was saying, “Good” the truth then, right? 

Well–it was good. Just not at first glance, on the surface. Looking closer, it was good for my faith, good to see that God was with me, and to see once again that He is everything I need.

I like to think of it like, I was in a situation where I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. But even though I couldn’t see the forest, I still knew it was there. 

My forest is God’s goodness, God’s plan that is sure and that reminds me that the circumstances I’m in didn’t just somehow happen by chance. God is sure, trustworthy, faithful, good and with purpose. 

This conversation happened way before the current situation we’re walking through right now with COVID and quarantines. But I felt it was still important to write, because it’s still true. It’s not by chance at all that we are where we are. Right now, many of us are walking through this pandemic and if we’re honest, if someone asked us how we’re doing, our response wouldn’t exactly be ushy-gushy.

I’m battling fear, dealing with sadness being separated from loved ones, worried about sickness in other loved ones, meanwhile, my kids are eating every ounce of food in our house, and still asking for a snack (boys :/ ).

Some of the trees or circumstances around us right now can be pretty ominous looking. And if it wasn’t for the few flowers sprouting up, we could possibly forget where we are entirely. Sometimes if I’m honest, I do forget and have to remind myself.

I’m so thankful for those flowers or  encouragements that pop up. Like hearing some good news, or talking with a friend, laughing with my family, maybe eating some chocolate and komboucha (dont judge me). But what I realized in my earlier circumstance, is that the only flower, or encouragement I actually need, I already have, I don’t have to wait for it to pop up.  It’s the truth that God is with me. 

God is with us. And sometimes that may be the only “flower” we have to remind us where we are. But that is really all we need. That’s all it takes to remember where we are, who we are, and Whose forest we’re in. Knowing the Lord we can have that confidence. We have the assurance of who He is, His faithfulness, His purpose. And He is going to be faithful to guide us through.

I’m not trying to say we need to go around saying this situation is so “good” but, God is good, and He is with us, and that my friend is always good. 

Psalm 16 says vs 7-8,

“I will bless the Lord who guides me;

    even at night my heart instructs me.

I know the Lord is always with me.

 I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”