Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

Dear perfectionism, you suck.

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Dear Perfectionism,

You suck. You hurt. You lie. You steal. You kill. You destroy.

dictionary.com defines it as this: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

Perfectionism is a deadly play ground to step into. It’s demands upon ones self and others. It is filled with unreasonable expectations, that can never be attained here on earth.

The areas that perfectionism often attacks in my opinion would be…(This being more specifically geared to women. Since that is the audience we most reach.)

Our Relationships. Everyone is always setting a standard. Actually no, these standards have already been set! They are not even personal standards, these are worldly standards feeding perfectionists with garbage. Because we all know everyone wants the “title” of being the insta-worthy looking couple and to be honest, it is literally something I have even personally tried to attain. To look a certain way as a couple, to act a certain way, and to be married in a PERFECT amount of time, etc. It adds so much unnecessary stress to you and your partner.

Our Bodies. The lies that people can speak at times can be deeply wounding to a persons heart who is struggling with perfectionism but, isn’t winning in the area of physical body perfectionism. The media, the movies, the expectations and the standards that are placed on women of “what we should look like” , “what we should dress like” , “what we should act like.” Its disgusting and sickening to me. All of the things that they are promoting are 100% against what a lady should act like. It hurts me.

Our families. Have you ever lived with one? A perfectionist, I mean? Well, my family has (ME!) and I have heard many times that I can cause extra stress and expectations that are, like I said before unattainable in this life. Perfectionism makes it hard to be around a person, hard to talk to them and even hard to want to be around them…cause of the high stress they “give” off so to say.

Our ministry. Something I have struggled with as I began my journey as a Pastor, was perfectionism. Trying to have the most well-behaved students, best curriculum, amazing leaders, incredible relationships built with ALL of the students, etc. Now I am not saying that these few things listed above aren’t attainable…just maybe not all the time. My mentor once told me, in ministry lets say you are running a kids programs and the games sucked, worship was awful (the kids were running around and not listening) and come to lesson time there isn’t much difference there either. But then, small groups come and you have an incredible 20 minutes with your students, thats okay! Not everything has to be perfect for God to show up. Because God likes messy, He’s there in the thick of it. God hates perfectionism because its a chaos filled, vicious cycle of lies that hurts His children.

Our everyday life. Here is an honest and transparent thought of mine. Perfectionism hurts me every single day. Want to know why? Because…If I don’t lose that pound I want to lose, I call myself failure. If my homemade christmas cards aren’t turning out like I wanted them to, I call myself failure. If I am not there for every person that ‘needs’ me and I say the forbidden word of “NO” , I call myself a failure. Folks, I don’t know if you can see what I am saying but, perfectionism attacks from every angle, its always in the act. Its here to steal, kill, and destroy our joy as Christians.

Moving Forward: My takeaway for today would be this. Don’t open the door of your heart to perfectionism any longer. Don’t allow this “vicious turmoil filled thing” to cause unrest and anxious feelings in your life. Live your life to the fullest because God wants you to, not because the world wants you to. When perfectionism is caught in the act of your life, drop to your knees and kick the devil in the face and tell him with a smile on your face “you’re not welcome here anymore.”

 

 

Slaying perfectionism one post at a time.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

An unedited, transparent chat. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Where do I even begin my friends? It has been quiet some time since I have just sat and waited on the Lord and wrote my thoughts down. So here I am today. NO-editing. This is it. 5-10 minutes of straight writing and like I mentioned above 0% editing will be done to this piece.

For a moment, I would like to be real with you all. For the past little while, I have been emotionally very unsettled. Not just hormonally….because we all know that happens. #LadiesDays but, unsettled spiritually too.

I have had a few days where I am just wandering in the wilderness, so to say. A few days of anxiousness, fear, anger, and very uncollected thoughts. Days of desperate cravings for something of stablilty to settle the many extra “things” raging inside me.

Although, I like to seem like I have it all together all the time. I don’t.                              “Type A personality, people-pleasing, super woman who can do all and be all everywhere and never say NO”, that is me in a transparent nutshell.

I do not have it all together and I beat myself up continuously about it. I call myself a failure. I look at my many flaws, before I look at the body I am blessed with. I look at the accomplishments of others and I degrade myself. I look at others success and I create unattainable goals. I am sick health-wise…and yes, I sure do like hiding it. Because it “looks” better. I feel terribly sick most everyday but, not many would really know it.

Struggle after struggle seems to be surfacing in this season of my life.

These struggles have lead to moments where I have questioned God’s will, and questioned His plans completely.

“God, why don’t I feel content?” “Why do I always need new, change, and excitement…why cant I be founded in you and that just be enough?” “Why am I feeling so unsettled?” “Why cant I have it all together…I am serving you and I feel like I am in your perfect will…Why GOD??”

To be frank, these were the prayers….I mean statements, that had in my waring chat with God this morning.

I live a life with high stress. I am feeling hurt…for no apparent reason. I am angry because of our world and the evil things that its about. I am anxious about future endeavours and yes, I’ll say it again….I don’t have it “all together” and that frustrates me to the core of my being.

I call myself failure, instead of treasured daughter.

I call myself fat, instead of beautiful.

I set unattainable goals that can’t be met.

I make promises and sometimes don’t keep them.

I expect more from myself than anyone else.

I can never say No.

I am a hot-mess express.

I am a work in progress. In a testimony building part of my journey.

Although, in the past 10 minutes of writing this I have not found the peace that I desire…I cling to this: “Come to me all who are weary and are burdened and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28

Thank you for allowing me to ramble in my moments of transparency.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

{Faith}, {Life}, {Love}

 Dating Well. {Part 1}

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Here I am exactly 472 days into my relationship. (Yes, I know the exact days…I am that kind of girl-friend. Don’t even judge me…ha ha!) A relationship that is continually being built to last “till death do us part.”

Being still fairly new, I may not have a lot to offer in ‘advice’ or tips with this dating thing just yet. Then on the other hand, I do feel that from the rocky beginning of our journey together, to now what we will call our forever…I could possibly share some insight in certain areas and from past experiences that we have walked through and learnt greatly from.

First off, what does the term “dating well” even look like?? This is a question that puzzles me, still even to this day.

I have heard countless times Christian leaders, parents and older folks make the comment: “Oh, that young couple… they date so well.”

To be quite honest, I have absolutely no clue what that even looks like or what it truly is “supposed” to look like…because every couple, every relationship, every person is so very different and unique. But like I said earlier…I am going to take a shot at sharing what my thoughts are on being THAT couple, that truly “date well.”

By all means, I am no expert. I don’t have all the answers. If you have all the answers, please do feel free to contact me below. I sure would love to meet with you face to face hahaha. 😉

I have a hand-written list of topics to chat about on this subject in front of me on a brown paper napkin. Of course, all these ideas came to me while I was grabbing a coffee one day and now here I am typing them out for your pleasure and enjoyment at midnight on a Tuesday night.

Alright. Dating well. Here it goes…

This list is not in any order of importance or greatness in a relationship looking to “date well.” Rather its just what came to my heart that one day on the brown paper napkin in line at the local coffee shop.

Communication. Communication is critical. Everyone in a relationship or entering into a relationship will tell you this…Honestly though, it can make you or break you. Again, I am no expert and I still am trying to find the proper balance in everyday communication.

I am glad and even proud to say though that Joshua and I have had a constant conversation since we first started dating. Actually, I don’t like that word ’constant.’ It sounds  a little too excessive. Hmm…Here we go, we have had a continued conversation every single day. (See what I did there? lol) Technology has helped a ton with this.

—Important side note though: Communication is not really communication when its always exclusively behind a keyboard/or screen. Make time for actual important conversations with each other. Don’t just text or call about it. Face to face is the way to go. Communication is key.

“Communication to a relationship is like oxygen to life, without it…it dies.” —Tony Gaskins

Ditching expectations. I totally blame the media and our culture for putting such ridiculous expectations on ‘how’ a relationship should look like and function.

The expectation that is constantly sold and broad casted everywhere is that being a relationship all of a sudden makes you the happiest person on the earth.

I am sorry to be the one to burst your bubble…to say thats not true. Yes, you are so happy to have someone to call your own but, relationships aren’t easy and sometimes they aren’t even THAT fun.

They are hard, challenging, and crazy difficult. They require selflessness and sacrifice from both sides of the relationship. Join with me friends, and ‘ditch the expectations and lies’ that the media is force feeding us.

Prayer. This has been such a tremendous part of Joshua and my relationship right from the very beginning.

Anytime we didn’t know what to do or questioned God’s faithfulness through out all of my extreme health issues, we simply would stop and pray. Believe me, it wasn’t always easy…sometimes prayer came after anger and tears. But prayer makes all the difference.

Spontaneity. (Unplanned acts of LOVE.) Ask anyone…out of the two of us, I am the more spontaneous one and that’s totally okay. Something I love love love doing is surprising people. I love the look on ‘his’ face when I randomly show up at his house with a frozen lemonade “just because.” I love the quirky smile and wink that I see, when I send him a lovey dovey text across the room.

These are moments I will forever have etched in to my mind and heart. Keep the romance alive in your relationship with small surprises…hand written letters, random bouquets of flowers, yummy snacks to share, etc. Keep unplanned acts of love alive.

Thats all I have to share for now…stay tuned for Dating Well. (Part 2)

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

Sunday Mornings. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Growing up Sunday mornings were always jam packed for us as The Sweeney Family…with my Father head of the sound team at our church, my mother singing on the worship team and the head of her kids department, it kept us very busy as a family.

Even as kids we were right beside our parents helping and serving in so many areas of the church. “The Sweeney’s” were always on a ministry schedule some way, some shape or form…there was only about 1-3 Sundays a year, all 5 of us met our schedules up and were in church together and were not serving in ministry some where in the church or community.

I vividly remember seeing other families sitting all together in their ‘rows’ (creatures of habit, that we all are…haha!) at church at the Sunday morning gatherings, worshipping together and listening to the sermon ALL together. I don’t have that many memories as a child for our family all together in the same row. With my parents always serving, as well as us kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t of had my child-hood any different, through the busyness and chaos of those Sunday mornings, it bestowed in me, to serve and then be fed. Engraved in me, to pour your heart out and then to receive. Released in me, to work very hard and then you will be blessed.

My Sunday mornings now are a bit different from when I was a child. Now running the entire kids ministry department at my home church. Sunday mornings still consist of serving, but the stresses are different and not always as “fun” as you’d hope.

Even since before dating my boyfriend, I have always admired couples that serve in the church together at a young age. (Still absolutely, SO love that!) Since the beginning of our relationship… almost a year and a half ago, we have never had the chance to serve on a Sunday morning together. With both of us serving in several areas at each our of own churches.

Wishing I was serving beside “my man” at his church. Ministry split-up in a relationship isn’t easy. Its actually really hard. Especially when we both run several areas of ministry at our churches and want to help each other out. It serves its many challenges and sometimes many tears like today.

This morning, as I am sitting here in my office just finished preparation for more kids min programs. The vicious cycle of thoughts continue to surround me, “Oh I wish, we could serve together like other couples do…or even go to the same church especially on Sunday Mornings.”

Even though, I know for a fact that my future Sunday mornings will never be spent together in the same row as a family. Knowing us, Joshua and I will both be busy in ministry. Through all of this I have learnt, that I don’t need everyone in the same row to feel “complete”. I know that I don’t need a time where I can sit with ALL of my family together…I need Jesus period. No extras.

I can look to Him in those moments where I am sitting in the lonely row or when I need His presence and peace in the busyness of ministry on a Sunday morning.

Sisters, All I need is, Him.

Praying that your coming Sunday morning is bright and blessed. If you remember only one thing from this post remember this…All you need is Him to feel complete.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

When I was camera shy…?

Written By: A very insecure girl.

Let’s take a walk together down memory lane…

When I was young, I loved having my photo taken, but when this comes to mind I remember a certain time in my life where I loved it even more…That was year 6 of my little life. I loved getting dressed up in fancy outfits, taking hours in the bathroom doing my hair a certain-perfect way, lathering my face with fake kids make-up and putting on my hot pink plastic high-heels that had a large, fake diamond on the front of them.

Although, with every step was squeaky sounds coming from my feet below as I walked on our 90 year old, original hard wood flooring in our bunagolo styled home. To the great amounts of pain and loss of feeling that my poor feet were experiencing…this was an invigorating time for a 6 year old.

I would walk ever so carefully in my heels to find my Mum and have her take photos of me with our family’s non-digital, non-seeing the picture till its developed camera, in our sun shine filled living room and cozy covered porch.

I felt alive when these photos were being taken. I felt beautiful. Like everything was simply perfect.

Now fast forward 13 years. There I was getting my make up and hair done. Sitting waiting to have my photos taken with my love for our 1 year anniversary.

(This should have been another invigorating experience…yet that entire day I have never felt so sick, nauseous, and nervous before in my life.)

After a couple hours of pampering, I was ready. In my beautiful dress that I had bought for this special occasion, wearing my boots that my Grandparents had bought me, make up done, and hair just right.

My love arrived to our home, I was upstairs doing some finishing touches. I heard him come in the front doors, I was beyond excited to see him, yet I couldn’t walk down the set of stairs before me. I was so nervous.

I had to have him come up the stairs to me, because I was having such a hard time facing him. Shaking inside as I heard the creaking sounds as he walked up the stairs…He looked at me and smiled like he always does. He said that I looked beautiful.

I was trying so hard to understand why I was feeling this way, I mean this wasn’t our first photo shoot. I loved getting photos taken of me, my whole life and then, it came to me… as we were driving to the location where we were getting the pictures taken.

This was the first photo shoot since I had gained 63 of the most ugliest pounds from my medication. I was camera shy. I was scared.

Feeling terrified of what I would look like on camera, we began.

All through the shoot I continued to be nervous. With every pose, thoughts swirling around in my weary heart,  “What do my legs look like?”, “What does my stomach look like?”, “What about my arms…do they look like legs?”

This vicious cycle went on, the entire time.

Then the photos were revealed to us in less than 1 weeks time and I was amazed. Even though I have gained lots and I was nervous. They turned out amazing.

Sisters, no matter your size NEVER, I repkerjosh2017-17.jpgeat never be camera shy. God created you. Yes, YOU!!! He even created me knowing that I would gain weight rapidly and hate my body through it. He knew that I would be nervous, because He knows it all. Never forget…ANY size. You’re beautiful.

Until Next Time,

~An insecure girl, who knows she’s secure in her Heavenly Father’s arms. (Kerrington)

Heather Brooks Photography.

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

The ever-changing plans, of our constant Saviour.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Sisters, have you been in a place in your life where the going gets tough? Where your emotions run like wild fire? Where there is one too many unanswered questions or uncertainties? BUT you’re doing everything right and following God’s word to a tee?

Yup, I have SOO been there…And I sincerely hope and pray that this blog-post serves as an encouragement to you, on your journey of serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Today’s topic is…God’s Will. Oh my…what a complex thing that truly is.

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye, yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Learning to see and hear the subtle signs of the Holy Spirit’s leading and listening to His directions is crucial, especially in the day and hour we live in.

Here’s a definition of “God’s will” from The Bible Study Tools website. “…as vast as his entire plan for creation, and from the standpoint of objective content, it seems to be settled and unchanging. Old and New Testament writers can thus refer to God’s will as if its existence is accepted by all. But though it may seem to have the character of a broad blueprint, in practical applications it is expressed in specific terms. God’s will can also be viewed from its active side as his conscious “deciding,” “willing,” and “choosing” to do something…”

3 specific areas of this definition above, are what I would like to dig into and discuss today, with you my sisters.

  1. It’s settled and unchanging. 
  2. It’s existence is accepted by all.
  3. It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications.  

It’s settled and unchanging: It says various times throughout the Bible that Our God, is never changing…here are a few examples below:

Settled definition: “steady or secure style of life.” 

Unchanging definition: “not changing; remaining the same.” 

Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” 

Malachi 3:6 says “For I the Lord do not change…”

Numbers 23:19 says “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

Isaiah 40:8 says “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” 

2 Timothy 2:13 says “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” 

All these verses explain to us that God’s will is never changing. Its settled. Yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. Although we as humans, lie and sometimes don’t always keep our promises and change our minds…God always keeps His promises and never changes His mind. He stands faithful forever and in those moments where we are faithless. Oh yes…we of little faith, He remains Faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

No matter how many uncertainties and unknown paths come your way. God’s will is settled and unchanging for you, my sisters.

It’s existence is accepted by all: This category doesn’t have scriptures to relate to, but in the culture we live in, I thought this category was neat. How many times do you hear in movies “Oh, its JUST providence…” or coincidence somethings happen. I know that I have heard these statements countless times. But did you know that this statement is subtly saying

“Oh, its God’s will…”

When I thought this through, I was amazed. Non-Christian people saying this, don’t even completely understand that ‘Just Providence’ is really ‘God’s will’ in their lives. God’s will is accepted by all whether they realize it or not.

It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications:

How many of you dear sisters know how to read a blue print?

I would say probably 90% of you have no clue how to, 5% have done it before and the other 5% know how to. If you aren’t trained in blue-print reading, it’s hard to sometimes understand what the blue-print is saying…it’s difficult to understand the messages its trying to say, what the little words and letters the blue-print writer is tying to say to it’s readers.

God’s will at times, is just like a blue-print. Its hard to understand, its unclear at times…The Lord sending messages to us that we don’t yet understand. Seasons of life where you question “God, are you still there?” God’s will although to the human-eye may seem like a complicated, hard-to-understand blue-print. Our Heavenly Father always has practical applications for your life to help begin the process to better understand the messages on YOUR life blue-print. Sometimes it takes awhile to understand the applications and other times its a drastic eye-opening experience that you see God’s will for your life.

So sisters, if you remember one thing, remember this…

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye,

yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

One Simple Act.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Have you ever had a long, rough week? A week where it seems that everything is going wrong. Feels like everyone is working against you and then it starts thundering and raining outside. Yup, I have been there.

Depressing for sure. A week like that happens way too often.

I had a week just like this one awhile back. Dealing with drama, hearing rude comments being said straight to my face, and in all honesty, being completely blunt here…nasty things wanted to climb out of this Children’s Pastors mouth. It was one of THOSE weeks.

I still remember the moment that changed my week for good…with one simple act.

It was a youth night at the church, where my boyfriend serves in ministry. I was taking some moments to pray and worship in the sanctuary before the students arrival to the youth group. Pouring my heart out to God about how terrible my week was and how tired I was with dealing with people, with issues, and with drama. I was almost in tears with the amount of heaviness that was on this weary woman’s heart. My soul felt weakened.

Heard a little noise and quickly turned and seen out of the corner of my eye, one of my girl-students standing at the end of the pew I was sitting in. She had a bouquet of spring flowers hand-picked from her very own garden, a smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean and such a proud twinkle in her eye.

She gently handed me the bouquet of slightly, wilting home-garden, grown flowers and said these exact words:

“These are for you! Hope you’re having a great week.”

Sisters, this 12 year old girl changed the course of the rest of my entire week. I felt loved, appreciated and purpose-filled. NO…Not because she gave me flowers but, because I knew that me being even just there, was impacting her in a small way.

This my dear sisters, was one simple act. Which was infused with encouragement for my weary soul. Her facial expression will forever be engraved in my mind…she was so proud.

How many times have you thought to do “One Simple Act” and simply didn’t because you didn’t think it would make a difference? If you remember when think today, remember this: “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.” 

Keeping the “simple acts” in mind, a story I heard a preacher once share, was close to something along these lines of what I can remember.

“A girl questioning her faith, feeling like she was a mistake and why she even existed on this earth, came to church one night to youth and she prayed these words to God…

“If you’re real you will show me in a tangible way tonight. Someone will give me a bouquet of all yellow flowers with only 1 purple flower in the middle of it..then I will know that you are God and I won’t kill myself when I go home later.” 

The night went on at youth group and still no flowers. It was just about to end at the program, when one of the church congregational members walked in and said in a very exuberant voice to the Youth Pastor, “I have to give something to a girl who is going to kill herself tonight…she needs to know that she is loved, forgiven and accepted by the Lord himself.”

The youth pastor in shock and utter amusement (Thinking “what is this lady doing??”) he hands her the microphone out of his hand. She announced loudly, her statement she heard from God and the room stays silent, no one says anything.

She begins feeling a little nervous and thinks “Am I sure that what I heard was from God?” Then she says in a little more timid, nervous voice “……Did someone ask God for a bouquet of yellow flowers, with one single purple flower in the middle?”

A loud sob, comes from the back left corner of the room and sure enough there she was. A girl who needed a tangible reminder from her Heavenly Father, to make sure she knew she was loved, cherished, accepted and treasured in His eyes.”

Now although, my personal experience wasn’t as drastic as this one was but, God truly works in mysterious ways even through people to send tangible simple acts, sent as reminders to God’s children of His daily faithfulness.

Sisters, are there other women in your life that you know could use some encouragement in a “One Simple Act” kind of way?

We all know someone who needs extra love and grace. Why not stop whatever you are doing right now and encourage someone. Make them feel loved and appreciated for everything they do in your life.

Sisters, remember this “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.”

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

{Love}

{Love} Romantic Love

Written By: Hannah Kittle

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore can

Nat King Cole “L-O-V-E”

Romantic love is the kind of love that we most often think about and hear about in this world.  We see it in movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apparel, and everything in-between. We imagine love as a cute guy handing us a bundle of roses, box of chocolates, and a hundred dollars of worth of gift cards, apparel, and shoes.  Nat King Coles’ song describes each letter of love as a different quality like a person’s physical appearance and how someone views that person and appreciates that quality about them.  While it is true that love does look like that, love also looks like loving a guy enough to let him go because you know it’s best not to be together.  Love looks like apologizing to your spouse first even when your pride doesn’t want too.  Love looks like waiting and trusting God that He does have a better plan for you than that cute guy who isn’t texting you back.

Sweet sister reading this, I’m not sure what stage of life you’re in.  You may be like me and single with absolutely no prospects on the horizon or you may be entering a relationship, in the middle of it, transitioning into an engagement, already engaged, or in whatever stage of marriage.  Whatever stage you’re in, know that while being in a relationship is an incredibly wonderful thing it often means living out tough love all the time.  Love doesn’t always mean that it’s a bed of roses, sometimes it simply means biting the bullet, swallowing our pride, and doing what God wants us to do.  Romantic love has clouded our definition of what love should really be.

Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…” How does this apply to love? Sometimes loving someone means that we need to do what we know is best for them.  Sometimes that means breaking up with the guy that we think we love, but we know deep down that it isn’t right or best for both of us.  Sometimes that means saying “no” to that guy who asked you out because you know that, as wonderful as he is, he’s not the one that God has for you.  Other times it means loving your future husband enough to say “no” to the pressure of dating someone else now, of going out to “just have fun”, or to that friend who says she knows a guy she’s sure is right for you.

Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor.  Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” To add to that, the famous passage about love that says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a) Wow.  Reading these two passages together is really, really powerful, sobering, and moving.  Not only does love seek to do the best thing for others it also exhibits patience, kindness, humility, honesty, and forgiveness.

How does this apply to romantic relationships? It may seem especially inapplicable if you’re single like me.  However, let’s unpack this.  As a single young woman, for me that means that I’m showing my love for my future husband right now by praying for him and resisting the temptation to simply give up because it’s too hard to wait.  It means that I’m honest with myself that it isn’t God’s timing or will for me to get into a relationship right now and honest with others that I’m not looking for a guy and thus not lead a guy on and give him false hope. It also means that from the beginning of our relationship, we will agree to have God as the first love of our lives and the foundation of our relationship and will challenge each other to keep that commitment.  We will also agree that our love for each other will come second to our love to God.

Is staying faithful to that commitment easy?  No. But in my life I know I’m loved by God Who gave everything for me, therefore I can love my future husband enough to make that commitment now and begin living it out now in this season of singleness.  Being faithful in any situation, single or in a relationship, is so hard. If we can trust that God will bless us for our love, then may God give us the right love for our guy so that we can truly love him as he deserves.  May God give us hearts filled with love and also wisdom so that we can “discern the times for the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16) and listen to the those who God has placed in our lives to give us honest counsel (making sure it is in agreement with scripture) about things we may not see and need to evaluate.  May God give us the love to love all people He places in our lives as we ought too, no matter the circumstances.

IMPORTANT NOTE: By saying that we need to love our guy even when it seems like he may have been unfaithful, I am by no means advocating that you sit back passively.  By all means, if you suspect this, please pray about this and talk to the appropriate people in your life to sort this issue out. I pray for each of you that you never have to experience this, but while you love this guy, you do need to do what is best for you and your relationship with God.

5-15-16-011Hannah Kittle is best described as a sinner saved by grace.  She currently is a high school senior taking dual-enrollment classes at two different colleges and is headed to nursing. She has a heart for the unsaved, seeks to serve God by serving others, and desires to shine as a light to others to draw them closer to God.  Her two life Bible verses are Joshua 1:9 and Jeremiah 29:11-14a

Hannah loves reading, shopping, and being with people whether it be young or old people. She has a calling upon her heart to serve others and to love others even when it’s tough. She believes that God is calling her into nursing or the medical field in general to best accomplish this purpose. She is waiting and praying for the man that God has for her and her heart’s prayer for her life is that others would see Christ through her, her words, and her actions.

{Love}

{Love} But What About…?

Written By: Hannah Kittle

Love.  Such a simple, small, seemingly insignificant word.  Four letters that express many, many emotions.  We see love as something that is rosy, red, enjoyable, and easy to do.  While that is true many times, there are other times where we’re in situations or with people that we struggle loving.  The Bible talks about how we need to love people and “turn the other cheek.”  But what about that guy who says he’s gay or that girl who says she’s bisexual or that girl who’s not actually a girl or that Christian who’s living a double life?  How do we address those situations?  Furthermore, how do we address those people in love?  Dear friend, I know that when these situations happen, your first reaction is probably not, “Oh, I need to love this person despite their sin and let my life and words be a witness to them.”  I know that’s certainly not my reaction.  Mine is more along the lines of, “Oh my word, this can’t be happening, I can’t have anything to do with this person much less love them.”  Do you know what though?  The same Christ Jesus who hung on the cross for six hours of agony for my sins of lies, impure thoughts, hate, anger, and a multitude of other things is the same Christ who died to save those people as well.

What does God say about loving these people? It’s a really difficult line to walk between loving the sinner and hating the sin.  God calls us to love people, but not accept the choices that are against God and His Word.  That raises the question, “how do I differentiate between the person and their sin? They claim this sin as them and their lifestyle with no seemingly no distinction.”  Sweet sister, as I type these words, I know the pain, frustration, anger, and bitterness you experience when you go through those experiences.  It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to go through.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)” God’s thoughts are far beyond what we can ever comprehend.  The way that He thinks about love and the definition He gives to it is far more broad, longsuffering, and forgiving than we can ever show to people.

Does loving these types of people seem impossible? Y.E.S! But is there anything such as mission impossible for God?  “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Philippians 4:13) Yes, it’s hard.  Yes, you’re going to have moments when you hear them talk about their sinful lifestyle and it causes your heart to bleed, your stomach to hurt, your throat to develop an unswallowable lump, and cry during or after.  But with God we can do it.  We can love these people and know that even though they’re living a life of sin God still loves them and thus gives us the love to be able to love them in return.  Love doesn’t mean that we say that their sin is okay and we simply accept them as being “born this way.” Instead we love them enough to tell them the truth and live out how God wants us to live our lives.  Sometimes, love means being tough and telling people the blunt honest truth even though it’s uncomfortable and painful and threatens to ruin our relationship with the person.

In God’s eyes, our sin is all the same.  He didn’t create a system of sacrifices that atoned for various sins like in the Old Testament. Instead he created a once for all system.  A system that once we accept Christ as the Savior of our lives all our sins, past, present, and future are covered for forevermore.  FOREVERMORE! No more will sin have dominion over us.  “IT IS FINISHED! Loud He cried, oh what love for me He died.  In my stead He bled on Calvary.”  (It is Finished) The love that was exhibited on Calvary was the ultimate show that allows us to love others and see them as sinners who need God.  We need to seek to look behind the curtain.  We need to see these people as sinners who need God just as much as we do.  Jesus’ blood covers all of these sins and demonstrates to us the ultimate love that seems impossible.  Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s an action.  Loving is hard, yes, but never impossible.  Let’s seek to look behind the curtain and see these people as fellow sinners who need Christ just as much as we do.  Let’s pray that God will move our hearts to have compassion and grace and patience with these people.  Pray that God will help us to live a life that honors Him and that through that example others would find Him.

5-15-16-011Hannah Kittle is best described as a sinner saved by grace.  She currently is a high school senior taking dual-enrollment classes at two different colleges and is headed to nursing. She has a heart for the unsaved, seeks to serve God by serving others, and desires to shine as a light to others to draw them closer to God.  Her two life Bible verses are Joshua 1:9 and Jeremiah 29:11-14a

Hannah loves reading, shopping, and being with people whether it be young or old people. She has a calling upon her heart to serve others and to love others even when it’s tough. She believes that God is calling her into nursing or the medical field in general to best accomplish this purpose. She is waiting and praying for the man that God has for her and her heart’s prayer for her life is that others would see Christ through her, her words, and her actions.

{Love}

{Love} How Do We Do It?

Written By: Hannah Kittle

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  “Treat others like you want to be treated.” It’s some of the most iconic verses in the Bible and among the most quoted.  It seems like common sense that we treat others like we want to be treated, right?  But what about that girl who backstabbed us and told others what we told them in private or that guy who dumped you over a text and now is dating someone a week later?  Do we have to treat them like we treat our family, best friends, friends, co-workers, and people in general?  Do we still have to respect them and go the extra mile and show them love?  Dear friend, I know the pain, I know the struggle, I know the hurdles, but I can tell you from experience that the answer is yes.  We are called to love those who back stabbed us, lied about or to us, cheated on us, broke up with us, and hurt us.  Why?  Because the same God that calls us to love others even though they hurt us is the same God that died to save us despite the immense hurt we caused to Him.

So how do we love someone, anyone, even including those who have hurt us?  The absolute best example we have is in the Bible.  The example is that of Jesus the night He was betrayed and the way He treated Judas.  Since He is God, He knew ahead of time, before time in fact, that Judas would betray Him.  Yet, that night He still loved Judas and showed him that love by giving him the piece of bread dipped in sop that is usually given to the honored friend.  He even washed his feet when they first entered the room for the Last Supper.  Then, in the garden He didn’t fight, accuse, or lash out at anyone, much less Judas who had obviously been the one who betrayed Him.  Instead He looked at Him and said, “Will you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”  That is the kind of love that caused Jesus to go to the cross willingly and suffer the abuse of His tormentors.  He did this out of ultimate love.

There’s a passage of Scripture that says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) and also “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) We will not have to carry the burden and task alone of having to love the unlovable without help.  We are promised divine help by the Holy Spirit to do the impossible.  The temptation is to give up and say that it’s no use and it isn’t worth it.

To love isn’t meant to be a burden, even though our feelings may tell us otherwise.  Many times when we’re confronted with this situation, we allow our feelings to dictate the situation.  Our feelings are often good things as they help us to empathize with others which allows us to understand people even better.  Sometimes though our feelings aren’t good things to have involved when we’re having to love those who hurt our feelings.  Our feelings tend to be reactive rather than responding.  A very true phrase is, “react rather than respond.”  Sometimes we have to take our feelings and put them aside in order to truly love a person.  Sometimes truly loving a person means that we have to care about them, pray for them, and be kind to them even though our hearts are breaking and bleeding.

It often feels like a burden to love someone when we’re broken and hurting, but we’re promised help by the Holy Spirit.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”  It may often seem like we can’t bear the heartache and pain.  What if I told you that you’re right? What if I told you that outside of divine help you cannot love someone the way that you are called too?  God promises us and shows us by example that we will have trials in life.  But with every example of a struggle, He shows us the beauty, sustainment, grace, encouragement and love He showers upon us that we are to show others.  He will help us in every situation where it feels like it’s mission impossible.  “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Philippians 4:13) Saying that a task is impossible with God is akin to saying, “God, I believe that I’m better than You.  I believe that I should be God and be ruler of my life and guiding myself.”  Without God, everything is impossible, especially loving the unlovable.

When we trust God and rely on Him to help us love people, we will be able to love the unlovable.  Mission Impossible?  No, instead becomes Mission Possible.  Reliance upon God means that we surrender everything to Him and trust that through Him and His strength, wisdom, patience, and love we will be able to be witnesses before the world.  Through Him alone we will be able to love those who have hurt us and broken our hearts.  He is the Lover of our souls.  Not only can He help us love the unlovable, He can love us and give us the ability to love others again.  He can take our bruised, bleeding, broken, shattered hearts and not only fix them, but completely restore us and give us a bigger heart to love others.

Sweet friend, I know the pain and struggled of having to love even when It feels like you’re totally shattered and no longer can trust anyone.  However, let me tell you that through Him alone, my heart has been restored.  The pain isn’t gone yet, but the sting, bitterness, anger, and heartache is being replaced by love and eyes of mercy and grace.  My heart has been expanded by my heartache and pain and been given much more love and wisdom to care for others in the way that God wants me too.  He can do the same for you too.  Go to Him and ask Him to take your pain, bitterness, anger, confusion, heartache, and whatever other negative things are in your heart.  He will be able to take those things and exchange the ashes for something beautiful.  Trust Him with your heart! He will not fail you!

 

5-15-16-011Hannah Kittle is best described as a sinner saved by grace.  She currently is a high school senior taking dual-enrollment classes at two different colleges and is headed to nursing. She has a heart for the unsaved, seeks to serve God by serving others, and desires to shine as a light to others to draw them closer to God.  Her two life Bible verses are Joshua 1:9 and Jeremiah 29:11-14a

Hannah loves reading, shopping, and being with people whether it be young or old people. She has a calling upon her heart to serve others and to love others even when it’s tough. She believes that God is calling her into nursing or the medical field in general to best accomplish this purpose. She is waiting and praying for the man that God has for her and her heart’s prayer for her life is that others would see Christ through her, her words, and her actions.