Dear Future Husband... #2

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*Okay people, time for the post I've been promising forever. You better read this post here before continuing!!! :)

**I am looking over that post linked above as I write this to see how embarrassing my first letter was and give me a guide to embarrass myself yet again in this letter! Why do I post these, you ask? Well, for one, they're fun. Second off, I have this romantic fantasy that somewhere off in la la land my actual future husband may just stumble across my blog and read this post as it is published. Of course I completely doubt this, but let me dream. And lastly, on a more SERIOUS note, the biggest reason I share these publicly is because as I get older, I am more convinced that it is immensely important for girls to actually think about their futures like this. In a culture full of hooking up and failed relationships, there definitely needs to be a conversation about becoming the types of people we want to be in a relationship and also what to look for in a partner. What I'm looking for might scare you (and him, too, haha), so let's continue already!!!

(And just FYI, I still don't date yet, except I think maybe possibly my parents said I can date when I'm 16? HA, at the time I’m finally getting around to finishing this, I am 16!!! Haha it's irrelevant anyway as I highly doubt anyone will show up for me in a year, but I suppose you never know. Anyway, as a young girl, younger than I am now, I blogged about why not rushing into dating at such a young age is important in a blog post here. And I still stand by that. But I definitely don't think it's a sin to dream, pray, or write to your future husband. So write away and maybe post it online so you can embarrass yourself with me in ten or twenty years or so.:)

-This is coming completely sporadically from my brain with the prompting of some past notes I've wrote at 12:36 am as of right now and is probably not going to be finished tonight, as of June 15, 2018, because Grandma is already whining to me about going to bed. This is going to be wonderful, haha! My brain always comes up with its finest past midnight, so brace yourselves. :)

-Okay, it’s now March 11, 2019 (it will still be later than that when I publish this…), go me, here we go again finishing blog posts I started almost a year ago. Maybe my next letter will be more coordinated. We can only hope. :) And also, time flies. And also, Timeflies is the name of the singers who sing my future wedding song, “All the Way.” <— I discovered this song at a hockey game, and it’s going to be in MY wedding, so don’t steal it from me. ;)

Dear future husband!

Hello! Have I scared you off already with my intro to this post? No, you are going to love this letter, I promise, and you'll want to frame it. ;) I hope you've already read the first letter I wrote to you because I'll be referencing it here throughout. Also, do you know it's my biggest pet peeve in the whole wide world when people don't respond to me? Well now you know the quickest way you'll get divorced, you're welcome!

Ha, maybe I shouldn't already be talking about divorce before I even know who you are? Yeah........................................ I'm sure that hasn’t showed you that I'm wife goals as of right now. Moving on...

My previous letter told you that I think about you all the time, which is still true, of course I do, just like I daydreamed about high school (ha...I bet that sounds like a joke to you) and like I do now with college. I've always found excitement in the future events of life that I have to look forward to. Not the waiting, though. NEVER the waiting. Gosh, I hate waiting for things. Another character flaw I have is that I've always seemed to want to grow up faster, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not because one day I'll probably regret it. But I really do look forward to the days of loving you. Geez, does that sound sappy and too deep? Well, I have no life, you know; I spend my days after school doing this, haha. In all seriousness, though, the closer I get to God, the more I ponder the beauty of what marriage should be. It is supposed to be a symbol of His love for us, you know. I think that's pretty amazing and how He gives us these desires.

Before we continue, I have something very urgent to tell you. Okay, so you know my look alike theory? It's actually not my theory—I just saw it online somewhere—but I have so much evidence to prove it. At the time I wrote my first letter, I had just discovered the first guy to go into the seven look alikes of my one crush that is never going to happen unfortunately. Well good news for you, I found two more! That means there's only four left, so I hope you're one of them! :)

Uh, actually, update from me in March, I’ve found so many hot guys I can’t marry that fit my “type” it’s not even funny. It’s really not; it’s actually quite tragic. But I know you’ll be the best of all, so that gives me hope! :D

Yes, looks are still important to me to the dismay of my grandma, who is always lecturing me about personality over external beauty, haha. You know I'm all about the aesthetics! Apparently when I was a little girl, I threw a fit because I didn't get the gumball I wanted, and my mom had to carry me out of a store "like a football." My guess? The color wasn't pink. That is how I am going to feel if you don't have brown, curly hair or nice muscles. No pressure or anything.

Okay. Don't worry, I'm not expecting you to look like a Calvin Klein model or anything, even though I do have some pictures of one of those in my "Guys" folder on my laptop. I have my own "type" I go for, and seriously, brown curly hair and toned muscles is just about what does it! I've studied the millions of crushes I've had over my sixteen years, and those are very common characteristics. You don't have to be a supermodel to look like that; I have found plenty of everyday people who fit my type. Four to be exact! No, actually, a lot more than that, so I have no worries you’ll be one of them.

Okay so that is going to be phase one of the test in determining if I even go on a date or not, so seriously, if you're reading this, don't sweat it. You fit my type—there's no way I would be marrying you if you didn't. ;) Mom says that my liking guys based on how they look is something I will grow out of? Yeah, I don't think so. I've cared about how my guys look since as long as I can remember; I think that's just a shallow trait I have. ;)

Anyway! Enough about that. Believe it or not, I do have meaningful things to tell you.

I have learned so much since that first letter I wrote you, about what marriage is truly designed for, about what I want ours to portray, and most of all, what God wants and thinks of marriage. What He wants for us. Because sometimes, my feelings and longings for marriage are so intense that I worry it’s become an idol for me. And then I feel guilty, but the guilt still doesn’t cancel out the longing. Then I talked with the people I am closest to and trust their advice about God and my relationship with Him, and I read a lot. And I realized that those desires are human and put there by God Himself. I know marriage can become an idol like any natural desire if it gets put ahead of Him. But here’s the thing: I don’t want a marriage that doesn’t end up leading me closer to Him. All of my dreams, all of my desires, marriage itself, truly, is a reflection of the unconditional, perfect love everybody wants and that God alone provides. The marriage I want is one that is going to be a reflection of that. So how can that desire be bad? It’s not.

Patience for me is another story. I have to trust that God knows what I want and that He’ll provide it when He sees fit and, in the meantime, not make it an obsession or idol of mine. I dream about you and pray for you all the time. I’ve felt called to do that by God for a long time. The key with humans is that we have to have someone to love us and someone else to love, which is not a bad thing; it’s precisely how God wired us. When I think of you, I think of how God is making me for you, and He’s making you for me. I’m a rather passionate, intense person, and I want my love for you and our love for each other to be the same. I want to go all out because life is short, but one of the greatest gifts is that partnership and bond that God has put in lots of people to have. I don’t want to be lazy. Marriage is a gift that should be treasured and invested in, like the way I invest in writing or a career and even more so than that because we’re talking about loving another person, the person God has trusted me with to love and respect—YOU.

Life is hard, but what a gift it is to do life with someone who understands you, who you can connect with deeply about the meaningful things and work with together to overcome struggles. I’ve been blessed to get a good taste of what that’s like with my own family, but I want it with you, too, and I want our struggles to always drive us to be better, to chase after God harder, to love each other deeper. That’s how He designed it!

And this love is possible no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or anything. If you know God, and I know you will, then I know you’ll come to grasp this, and what a beautiful thing that is. I pray for you to make good choices, wherever you are right now, but I understand that sometimes making bad choices is what can bring you to your knees and see your need for Jesus, so if that’s what it takes for you, I won’t hold that against you. As long as you end up learning how to treat a girl! And learning how to treat a girl is only found through loving God. You can’t go by what the world says to do because the world doesn’t have a clue about mature, deep love that everyone craves but doesn’t know how to give. That comes only from knowing God. And I pray that you will know Him and love Him and that we can live and do life together to please Him. It’s the best way possible to live and has given me so much joy, even when I do feel utterly alone. So I cannot wait to share that with you. And we’re going to hockey games, I hope! I’m still praying you’re a hockey player, so if everything works out, hopefully I’ll be watching you. ;)

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I cannot tell you how lonely I feel sometimes or how much I long for the true love God has instilled in every person the desire for. And I constantly feel bombarded by lies, that I have to get a guy’s attention by being immodest, that love does not exist in the long term, etc. But none of that is true. True love might be rare, but it’s definitely out there for anyone who is willing to put in the time to cultivate it. And I will. I hope I already have through the way I live. And I pray you do, too. Because that is what I want for us more than anything, is built upon God’s love, which is true love. I can’t wait to see what God will do through our love and change our lives with it. I won’t settle until I know you have this true love because it’s out there. Everyone wants it, but very few will work on their own hearts first and actually get themself into the condition to be able to truly love someone because it’s not easy whatsoever and requires total surrender of oneself to God and to the person they love. But I’ve been praying I can do that.

It’s hard for me to fathom, sometimes, a guy who will be able to love me like that. I’m a complex person—but who isn’t—and I care about my relationships immensely because I know the most beautiful moments in life are surrounded around people, the way God intended. And I don’t just want surface level relationships; those are my biggest pet peeve. I want to stalk you and know everything about you. ;) Haha, seriously though, I want us to be best friends. I want us to care deeply about the other’s past, what we’ve missed with each other, learn and study each other and create a deep bond together in the present, and pray for and want to be apart of the other’s future, no matter where it takes us.

There are days I get really tired of waiting. There are days I doubt if God even wants me to get married. But in the end, I know these are just that, doubts. God has created you for me, I know that for a fact, and He’s working on me right now, to make me for you. Why? Because He’s given me the desire for a bright, raw love that is almost unheard of nowadays. And that comes directly from knowing Him and who He is, which IS love. I’m so very restless in everything, but I have to be careful not to settle. The world will say men of this intensity and maturity don’t exist, but you do. You do because you know Jesus and not just of Him but actually love Him and want to live your life for Him. And that’s the key to any other admirable quality being multiplied in a person.

I have huge dreams, for our marriage, for my life…and I have to believe that God knows all of them and is going to bring them to be in His timing because they all honor Him. I hope you have your own dreams, too, dreams that you trust God with, and I pray for yours, also, regardless of what they are. I pray for you all the time, and it’s weird not knowing who you are or what you’re doing, but I’ve learned again and again how just because I cannot see something doesn’t mean it isn’t out there or God isn’t doing anything. Just the opposite. So I know you’re out there, and I know God is at work on you right now, even if, at the time I write this, you don’t know Him yet. You will, and I know you’ll be so thankful once you do.

I pray for a grand story for us because I’m a writer, so I live for coming up with stories, and I have both realism and idealism at work in my personality, so while I want something practical, I also get a thrill of doing things that sound impossible. Because God can do anything, so I’m asking Him to go all out with you and me, to make both of us bright lights for His glory, and for our story—whatever that yet may be—to also be something beautiful for His glory. God has a unique story for everyone, as people I look up to have told me, and I know that is true for us. We will have our own special story, and since both of us will be pursuing God, there’s no limit to how beautiful that may be.

In fact, when I published my first letter to you, a sweet girl read a part of it and then was kind enough to reach out to me and tell me how she enjoyed my blog and also that she believed God would send me a guy who is the number one follower of my blog. You know I have this dream that you read every single blog post of mine? It’d be wonderful of you to do that. My first post is here, then you can just hit the next link at the bottom and read through my whole blog. And perhaps leave a comment on each one, you know, so I know you actually did it. :)

That may be a little much, but that is how I want our love to be. God went all out for us, so the least we can do is try and go all out for each other. That is marriage at its best, is pure, unconditional love that never gives up on the other person. It’s not about ourselves, so whatever you want me to do, just tell me, and I’ll probably do it. :)

Above all, knowing God will lead us to be the best people we can be, to have that perfect balance of work and play in life because that’s what I truly want, a partner who I can adventure with and go out with and do all sorts of fun things with but also someone who’s mature enough to know when certain types of “fun” are inappropriate and won’t sacrifice morality and serving Jesus for temporary things this world preaches.

I really want to get married. And I definitely don’t want to idolize marriage. Truly, I don’t. But I definitely think it’s a calling of mine or else I wouldn’t be writing this letter. ;) I’ve been boy crazy from a rather young age, and while I definitely have to keep that in check and not make bad choices as a result, that is a good thing when I think about you and preparing to meet you one day, but I do have to learn not to worry or get overwhelmed about things that aren’t here yet. It’s something I’m guilty of, and I want to live in each moment. I know I’ll enjoy every moment of being with you, but they’re not here yet, and no matter how many fits I throw about waiting, they’re not coming any sooner. So I may as well enjoy the season I’m in right now and use this time to prepare, to be shaped by God, to do all the things and fulfill all the dreams He wants me to and has laid on my heart. Right now, for me, that means writing, education, and always developing as a Christian, of course. They may not seem like big things to me right now, but they will be. I know God is going to use those “small” things to guide the rest of my life, mold me into the person I need to be to do all He’s called me to do—including being there for you—and I want to be present in that. I also pray for you, that right now at whatever season you’re in, it will be a season God works on your heart and develops you and prepares you to be the guy He wants you to be and do the things He wants you to do. And I can’t wait to hear about your dreams, goals, and how He does work in your life. Life is about Jesus, and I pray your life will reflect that and mine will, also.

I continue to pray for you, that God will help you develop a strong foundation on Him alone and then bless you with others as well, that He will help you develop good morals, undying hope in Him and His plans for you, a positive, healthy mindset, and passion and ambition to never give up in life. I also pray that He’ll mold you into the man He wants you to be, a leader for His glory, because I truly look forward to following your lead. Though I consider myself a pretty independent person, dependency has its place in life, and contrary to what the world says (there are two extremes), you can (and should!) depend on certain people—you being one of them for me—but the world also goes to the other extreme and makes dependence on another person everything, like you can’t survive without them. That’s not true, but I definitely can’t wait to have you in my life and have that godly dependence on each other that is healthy in the bond of marriage. So please take the best cares of me; even though I’m a moody drama queen sometimes, having someone secure enough in his walk with God means everything to me, and I’ll be forever grateful for your leadership, guidance, reassurance, and wisdom you help me with.

Patience, of course, is not one of my strong suits, and in the waiting I tend to doubt everything about my life, including if you even exist. But God has shown me time and again how He provides when I just let go and let Him. I know when His timing says it’s right, our love and our story will be beautiful. I won’t know quite how my prayers and these letters will affect you until God brings it altogether, but I know He will because when He calls us to do things like this, there’s always a reason and a purpose. I still feel lonely at times, and I still get upset with life. I’m learning that’s okay. I’m learning it’s all part of the process of becoming more mature, of being ready to handle things for the future, of being stronger in Christ. And I pray He will help you with this, too.

I pray you talk to Him, too. Constantly. I have no way of knowing where you happen to be at in your life right now, but the sooner you can find Jesus, the better. Regardless, however old you are when you read this or find this, I hope you will not wait any longer in surrendering your life to Him. He loves you so much, more than I ever could, and that relationship with Him is what will define your life in the best ways possible, more than you can imagine. I know because I’ve been there, and the journey I’m walking with Him is amazing. He wants that with you, too, and so do I, and I’m not marrying you if you don’t have Him, so then there’s that. ;) Haha but really. I wouldn’t emphasize it as highly as I do if I thought it wasn’t important and going to be for your best. God is literally who we're made for, and then marriage is a reflection of that, a gift He gives out of His love for us.

Also, there is something important you should know: take me shopping. Like I literally need you to, there’s no way our relationship can thrive without this. I even read an article about things husbands can do for their wives to improve their marriage, and this is actually on it. And it says it should be for “fun things”—GROCERY SHOPPING SUCKS AND WILL NOT CUT IT. And it’s not about being practical, like my mother thinks. You don’t go shopping for what you need, you go for what you WANT. The article also says you should be happy while doing this and flirt with me and don’t even worry about the money. That would literally make my life and our marriage. That’s all it takes for me. Yep, just write me a check and call it good. :’)

As I wrap this up, there actually is another personal letter I wrote you after a hockey game one night. You’ll get that when we meet, too, but here is the key points I want you to know from it: “I think about you and dream about you all the time. I need to get better at praying about you, though, I’ll admit. As awesome as I’m sure you are, God is always going to be my first love, and I don’t want to be obsessed with you. I don’t want you to be obsessed with me, either. I pray we’re passionate about each other and passionate about loving and caring for each other, but I pray that beyond and above that our hearts are always putting God first. Life is only rich with Him. Do you know that? I’m praying you will. Right now.”

By the way, patience was as much a struggle for me when I wrote that at 14 as it is for me now….

I’m going to unapologetically have high standards for you. I want you to have them for me, too, because I want us to constantly strive to be the best we can be for God’s glory. I’m not saying we have to try and earn each other’s love or God’s by being good (that’s totally not the case!), but our love should be expressed for each and for God by the way we live our lives.

You’ll get a lot more when we meet, so this is just a summary while you’re waiting. I sincerely hope you’re better at that than me. Do you know there really are people who are patient in the world? I find it hard to believe, but there really are. I need those people in my life. But if you’re not… It’s fine, we can just cry together about waiting for everything. ;)

I always like to include a little blurb about what I’m doing with my life right now, and I wish I had some amazing things to tell you, but God makes me wait for literally everything. :) That’s where we’re at, but it’s fine because I know the best is yet to come from Him. Including you, awe. <3 I’m almost done with my sophomore year of high school—still crazy to believe, as I can still remember driver’s ed from the fall and how forever ago that feels now—but that’s okay. I’m ready for summer so I can continue to spend my entire life on the internet writing things like this! I am about 3/5 of the way through with my second novel, I have actually been leaving my blog design alone because unfortunately I don’t have time to mess with it every day like I did when I was 12, and that’s about it. I spend too much time shopping and at hockey games, but without those, my mental health would be nearly gone, so it’s all good. They’re God’s gifts to me to survive the other work and grind of life. :)

In the meantime, I am going to keep dreaming and dying without you. Literally. There is this song called “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, and it’s really good and we should have it at our wedding or something, but this one lyric in particular says, “I have died everyday waiting for you.” Is that not literally me. Because I have no patience so everyday without you really is a struggle for me and is slowly killing me. :)

I still love pink. I love sparkles. I am going to pinkify and sparklify our house. Oh my gosh, I had such an awkward conversation with my mom about this when we walked into a certain store… You’ll have to remind me to tell you about it. We still are having a chandelier in every room. I don’t have much decided about our house as of yet, but the chandeliers are set in stone. There’s also this adorable ruffly bright pink comforter I found on Macy’s about a month ago, but don’t worry, I think I’m going to have it in my dorm room one day instead…because I’m sure there’s nothing you’d love more than a neon pink ruffly comforter to sleep under, am I right?! :)

Waiting really does kill me, though, but God is surely helping me with it! Every time, though, that I’m at a hockey game, or I’m shopping, or I’m bored in school…I always think about you and pray for you. It really is a beautiful thing, to marry the person God has for you, and I long for it quite a lot. Probably more than I should for the given time and that’s why waiting is killing me, but nonetheless, I can’t wait to meet you, pray with you, do life with you and love God with you. :) I have a tendency to make everything I write a book, which is fine for my career, but for everyone else’s sake I better cut this off here, though I literally could write you a book. I’ll probably put you in one of my books, so you better treat me like the angel I am!

With all the love God has put in me for you,

Your future wife, Ashlee

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What Your Favorite Movies Say About Life

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I love rewatching those movies that are my favorites, that no matter how many times you see them, they’re always entertaining and relaxing to watch again. I also have enjoyed going to movies with my family or watching them together; it’s fun bonding that way. There are movies that, despite not being distinctly Christian and maybe not even all that appropriate at times, still have some themes that I can appreciate, though. For example, I blogged about when I watched The Fault in Our Stars and how that taught me some things about the world here.

There are other movies like that I’ve enjoyed watching way more than that one, actually, and come to think of it, there are certain scenes or whatever that will speak to me or that I can appreciate. I’ll tell you some of my favorite movies and what parts I’ve liked, and then I want to hear about yours, too!

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire: I liked the whole series, but the first two were especially enjoyable. I remember one time in particular, actually, I was watching Catching Fire when it was on TV with my mom, and I got the idea for a blog post based on one of the scenes and thought, I need to write about this. There’s a part in Catching Fire where Gale, whose a cutie in my opinion, gets lashed because their society is cruel, and honestly it’s been awhile since I’ve seen this movie, so now I can’t even remember the reason why he was being punished. Anyhow, I know that whatever the reason, it was unjustified, and they did it in front of their whole town square, and Katniss tries to come rescue him.

I remember thinking about Gale once I got over how hot he is and how brave it was for him to take that and to not want Katniss to get hurt when she tried to save him. And I know you might say, that’s just a Hollywood movie, and those types of people don’t exist. Well, they should! Now, normally I am against so many of the themes cheesy Hollywood romance movies promote (you won’t see many romance movies on this list at all for that reason haha), but this is one I agree with. Chivalry and such is something that men should have and not just be a fantasy of women. Why? Because Jesus Himself models this!

Think about it. I was sitting there swooning over Gale, thinking about how brave he is and strong, etc., and then it literally just hit me. That Jesus actually went through so much worse than that. For ME. For YOU. It took my breath away. That desire, that reason why men are willing to sacrifice like that and why women want that, is it not because He did that very thing for us? And calls men to do the same (Ephesians 5:25)?

I really didn’t put this on here to nag men about what they should be doing, I put it on here to give glory to God because it shows how any desire we have, for a guy like Gale, maybe, or a marriage or to be loved like that, and the list goes on… It shows He already offers us that love and more. More than what any desire could offer.

Parental Guidance: this is a real heartwarming movie. It’s a fun comedy about grandparents and family, and I’ve enjoyed watching this with my family multiple times. Though it’s a comedy, there are multiple reminders of the importance of marriage, parenting, family, etc.

Twister: this is seriously one of my favorite movies ever. It’s on TV like all the time, and my mom and I always love to watch it. This is another comedy sort of movie, and it’s cheesy, yes, but at least it’s honest about its cheesiness. Some of those dumb romances movies try to act like they’re meaningful, and they’re not, but this one at least is honest about it haha! The main couple definitely has issues in their marriage, but there is this one scene I actually think about quite often when I get upset due to feeling restless: it’s the part where Bill tells Jo she needs to look at what she’s got right in front of her, which was him, because she is so caught up in her career for reasons the movie goes into. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

Into the Storm: this is another movie like Twister and fairly new. I went and saw this in theaters with my dad and loved it as I enjoy weather and movies involving it. This also has a theme to it despite being comedic and action packed at times. It talks about appreciating each day and never taking anything for granted.

Forrest Gump: this is a movie I saw last summer with my family, and I adore it. It’s funny, sweet, and reminded me of what’s really important in life. Even though God is not the center of the movie, through different characters and their stories, I was able to see how it all points back to all of us needing Him, whether the movie acknowledges that or not.

Everything ties back to God because He’s made us and instilled in us the deep desires for love and every other good thing. These movies at best hint at how we were made for Him and at worst show the trial and error of doing life without Him. So no matter what you watch, I wonder, where are you at in life with God? Are you able to see Him in everything, or do other distractions that movies portray take you farther from Him? Entertainment is not a bad thing—the desire for fun is from Him, too, you know—just so long as it all leads you back to Him.

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If You Would Just Let Go

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Stress is something that imprisons most people in this society. I see it everywhere. I’ve been to hockey games, which are supposed to be fun, and I see people that are agitated while they’re getting food or otherwise exhibiting an all around edginess. I’ve been to hockey games, and I’ve been stressed because my mind isn’t there; it’s jumping clear ahead to things that are not even close to being in the future yet, such as meeting people and finding people in college and getting a guy, etc. At school, everyone feels pressure to perform and meet some sort of expectations, whether their own or of others.

It’s really a sad thing we’ve got going in this society.

Nobody knows how to enjoy life as God intends for us to. While the world can be a stressful place and is full of sin, I don’t think a lot of people realize that it’s not actually what God wants for us to push ourselves deeper into it and let it rule our lives, thoughts, and attitudes. Just the opposite, really.

I’m not always good at this, but what God has shown me when He has helped me be at peace and witness others who are not is that I can’t keep quiet about the secrets to peace and how being this stressed and negative is not worth it. It’s really not. Negativity is one of those things we seldom comprehend we’re even doing until it becomes a habit, and that habit ends up defining how we think and view the world, thus influencing us to act that way and not be able to enjoy anything or appreciate the fact that God has freed us from that way of thinking.

It needs to change. As a Christian, I feel I have the responsibility to set an example of this change. When I am just as negative as my peers who are not following Jesus or are not surrendered to Him, that’s an issue. It says a lot about how my relationship with God is going and that I need to get my attention back to Him because I’ve been spending too much time immersed in the worldly ideals and not what He tells me to focus on, which is to be renewed by my mind, not feel depressed like the rest of the world and dwell on everything that’s wrong.

There really is such a simple fix, though, one that God says repeatedly throughout the Bible: just let go. Let Him take care of and fight the battles. He promises He will (Exodus 14:14).

I try to fight way too hard. I know that. I don’t want to wrestle with God, though, as it’s the quickest way to lose your peace and inherently pointless because His plans are much better anyways. Our perspective is so limited, and there have been many times where I’m reminded of just how little I really do know about what He’s doing in my life. It’s a humbling, reassuring reminder. It shows me I don’t know all He’s doing, and it is more than I can imagine, and He is obviously handling it even when I’m not conscious or aware of it. Isn’t that an amazing thought? And it is TRUE. If you are surrendering your life to Him, He is always fighting on your behalf. The God of the universe. Wow. You can’t be stressed or depressed when you meditate on that. You may not see solutions or how things are coming together or how they will be. But He does, and He promises to take care of you.

If you would just let go, you’d know this, and it’s the most reassuring, beautiful feeling. That moment of total surrender, of knowing He’s got you. You can have it right now. Even if you don’t “feel” it, believe it anyways. Life is not dependent on our emotions, and if we want any lasting joy, we cannot think based on our circumstances, stresses, or anything else along those lines.

If we want true peace, we have to focus on the only source of peace, God Himself (Isaiah 9:6). Let everything else go. Put the other thoughts to rest. God knows your every thought, and He’s more than capable of taking care of your battles without your trying to stress about it yourself. He’ll give you the insight, the solutions, when you need them. In the meantime, believe that He is already doing it. Because He really is, people.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in wanting the control, of wanting our way. But God knows what you want, and He promises the best. Life is only found in Him, not through the things you want, so place your life in Him, and anything else that comes is ultimately going to point you back to Him and how good He is.

If you would just let go, I can promise you from so much trial and error that that’s where true life is found. God never designed us to dictate our own lives and plans. We can’t do it all anyhow. We are designed to follow His lead. If you would just let go, He’ll take over. He’ll give you His perfect peace. And He’ll give you true joy and abundant life, no matter what (John 10:10; 16:33). The world thinks this is impossible, that being depressed and filled with despair and anxiety is the norm. And under sin, it absolutely is. But if you would just let go, it never has to keep you down in life. Ever. Jesus enables us to be the most peaceful, joyful people because He Himself is those things. And if you would just let go…

He’ll bless you with those special gifts also.

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10 Unknown Facts About Me

This post is a little different from what I normally write about, but I know I always find it fun to be able to learn more about the bloggers I follow, especially “random” facts that may not seem like anything significant but end up defining a person. I’ve had this idea in my queue for awhile, and since I don’t know how many of you are new around here, I thought it would be a good time to share some random, unknown facts about me! So I won’t tell you I love pink because you can all see that if you have eyes. :D

1. Dayne and Katy, from the Baxter Family series by Karen Kingsbury, are by far my favorite literary characters, especially Dayne. That series by her is also my favorite, and I’ve been dreaming of a love story like theirs since I read it, at the ripe age of 11! It’s about an actor who is very wild, but he goes to this small town because of family ties and he sees this sweet, Christian girl who stays in his mind even after he goes back to Hollywood. Long story short, I’m not going to spoil anything, but it’s a wonderful series. And one of the themes in it is that God can do anything, change anyone, cross anyone’s paths, so… Dream big and pray for mine haha. :)

2. I have a thing for guys with brown, curly hair. That’s obviously not the only factor I take in to consideration, and just because a guy has that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be attracted to him, but my look a-likes all have this, as do most of the guys I seriously crush over.

3. A few of my favorite places: Estherville, Iowa, which I talk all about here as to why, Okoboji, Iowa, a small, summery beach town with the lakes that attracts tourists, and I somehow think I am getting a house here one day (yes, pray for me, I wasn’t kidding when I said my dreams are much too big) and Des Moines, Iowa, because I love the views of this city and have so many good memories and fun times that have taken place here (to be wrote about soon!!).

4. I want a castle for a house (not in size, necessarily—think architecture). I also somehow think this is going to be my primary house and still have one in Okoboji… I love the look of those houses, though, that have those towers and look fancy and modern yet have that gothic styled architecture to them… I don’t need a mansion by any means, but a nice house with that style and one of those towers would be lovely.

5. I want a destination wedding. I’ve been dying to go to the Bahamas since forever, and I have talked about that multiple times, but I think actually getting married there would be amazing and something to remember forever as an experience. I have so many wonderful ideas for my wedding; I’m just going to tell my husband not to worry about doing a thing—except paying the bill for it all. :)

6. I could work in a mall easily. Maybe I will when I’m in college because I know an embarrassing amount of things about my favorite stores. I know all of their collections, I know all tips and tricks for various types of styles, and I’m equally passionate about everything they make so getting people to buy would come naturally! The major problem to this is that my paycheck would probably be gone before I even left work, so then there’s that.

7. I have an obsession with fragrance. It’s almost creepy because when people smell good, I can just tell and I just want to be around them to smell whatever they’re wearing. I have way too much fragrance in my room, probably like ten different things of it not counting the rollerballs. I can’t wait to buy my boyfriend a million different types of cologne!

8. I live for both the simple and finer things in life, if that even works. I love designer items and anything fancy or glamorous or basically whatever a fashion blogger talks about #onit, but it also doesn’t take MUCH to make me happy. As much as I enjoy getting those expensive things (when they go on sale haha), I do not NEED them to be happy. I could buy something as simple as a new nail polish, and that makes me happy. I try to appreciate whatever God gives me. It makes every single thing that much sweeter, especially when I actually do get a “bigger” item because you develop that appreciation for the little things in life and happiness that is not dependent on material things, so then getting something like that can be enjoyed in its proper place.

9. My whole life is a paradox: while I am an introvert and need my space, I have a need for adventure or else I get restless, and I love the city life! I try to always keep a balance of things. I’ve found that to be the key. I feel like I am a balance of things, honestly. I like to work, but I like to play, and too much of either one leaves me agitated. The good thing about that is it’s helped me learn to balance things out and take breaks when I need to of both.

10. My personality = both a realist and idealist. Hopefully some of this comes off in my posts, but I try to look at things for what they are and not sugarcoat them. With that being said, I’m a romantic and have the most unpractical dreams, so it gets hard managing the two. VERY hard. There’s a lovely quote on Pinterest I saw that talks about my personality (as identified by the Myers-Briggs quiz) being caught between these two things and, as a result, that can lead to us feeling anxious and fearful, depressed, cynical, insecure, restless, meaningless, and hopeless. Isn’t that special! #personalitygoals

It has been good, though, for me, as in some ways it’s the best of both worlds. I don’t have a distorted reality, but I also have the ability to think beyond what is. Because with God, anything is possible. It has had its challenges, though, and God has used that to strengthen me.

It works both ways. Sometimes, God has had to bring me back down to earth because my idealism wants to get lost in dreaming about the future and looking to what’s next or jumping ahead, and He wants me to enjoy what is happening right in front of me. On the other hand, sometimes my realism leads me to feel very pessimistic and stuck with situations, and I doubt that God can do more than I imagine, but there have been times where He’s showed me I just may never know all He’s doing and that He can open doors that don’t seem practical whatsoever, but He can do it because He can do anything. It’s all about balance!

Now, tell me about you! I love hearing from all of you! Thank you for getting to know me. :)

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Reflecting on My Favorite Quotes {Faith}

Around this time last year, I started a post series where I summarize some key concepts I’ve learned from quotes I’ve saved that follow truths that align with God’s will. I’ve wrote two posts in that series, and I really want to finish it. I share my struggles with anxiety here, as well as the lessons I’ve learned to deal with it. And I also shared my favorite quotes about fulfilling your dreams here and how I live by those.

I also have some quotes that specifically go along with faith I want to summarize. I’ll try to keep this post short because obviously I’m constantly talking about faith and what I learn on this blog. But a lot of these quotes offer good reminders of the Christian faith we all need to hear. So hopefully some of these can inspire you, too!

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1. Nothing is ever irredeemable.

I love quotes that talk about how God works through brokenness in people and how those people can become some of the strongest when they allow God to take over. I know that has been true for so many people in my family, and I hope it’s true for me, too. I don’t always feel unbreakable every day. In fact, most days I do struggle with some thing or other. But God is always so faithful; there is never a pain I’ve had in my life where I haven’t seen how He’s used it. There are definitely times when I’ve gotten close to thinking I’d never see it. For example, in the first post of this series where I share my struggles with anxiety, I felt like the biggest failure. I thought I was regressing as a Christian and losing all my faith, and I had no idea how that was ever supposed to propel me forward in life.

But now? I can totally see how God used it. Because of my experience with anxiety, not only am I able to understand others better, but I also have a better perspective on life because I know what it’s like to go through life both with and without anxiety and how God can help me through it. That helps me in the future when I get anxious, that helps me assure other people, and it helps me write more authentically. So please know that whatever situation you’re in, God really will make it better when you trust Him with it. I’ve seen some super ugly, heartbreaking situations, and I’ve seen God do miracles through them in the sense of how He works in people’s hearts. And that’s the true meaning of life, is not even gaining external things, but when people’s lives change. If you want any hope for making the world better, it all starts and ends with God. There is no more beautiful thing than watching people’s lives be transformed for Him. I think that’s one way God uses pain, is because you can see how He alone steps in to these terrible situations and revives them. Sometimes you don’t see it right away. I know I’m guilty of looking for showy signs from God that He is working, but honestly, you have to look at those little things He’s doing.

It’s like physical growth in people. When you’re around them constantly, you never notice those changes in height or whatever it may be. But then sometimes it hits you, like oh my gosh, you’ve gotten so tall. And I’ve noticed the same in life. With so many situations in life, one day you just see it. It hits you, like wow, look at what God has done through this, and I didn’t even see it. So just trust Him. It’s so hard in the middle of heartbreak to see what He’s doing, which I talk further about in this post, but you’re not going to see it then. He’ll show it to you in His timing, when you trust Him. So just rest in Him. He promises He will take care of you! I read Exodus 14:14 in my Bible study last night—look that verse up, it’s a beautiful reminder of this.

2. Believe in what God promises you.

His love is always there for you, that never stops. I know sometimes I am guilty of doubting His love when I struggle repeatedly with the same thing because I feel He’s tired of me messing up with that. There is a beautiful quote, though, that talks about how God would rather have us coming to Him when we mess up and believing He still loves us rather than distancing from Him until we make ourselves “better.” Also, I know that doesn’t work, running away from Him like that. Going to God when you fail is precisely how you end up getting “better” because the more aware you are of His love for you, the more you respond in love naturally, and the less place sin has in your life. He is always patient with you. I am so thankful for that. I talk all about His love more in depth here.

Believe that He will do good things for you when you are living for Him! He has good plans for you! Sometimes I get this false idea that because I love God, He’s going to do things to somehow test me or whatever, and these are all bad things I imagine, like never being successful at things He’s laid on my heart or fulfilling my dreams. But that’s when Jeremiah 29:11 is so crucial. His plans are good, not bad! He does care about your desires and dreams! As I talked about in my post reflecting on quotes over that here, they were given to you BY HIM if you are in Him.

The whole point of having faith is you believe that even when you don’t feel it. When you place your trust in God like that, never think that goes unnoticed by Him. Do whatever you have to do to submit your worries to Him and believe His promises. One night, I made a list on my phone of things I would tell myself everyday, whenever I felt upset. These were just simple statements ranging from beauty to dreams to faith in Him. You can’t just hope to trust Him, you have to be intentional in believing what He says. That is also why studying the Bible and what exactly it is He promises is so important, which I talk about here.

One of my favorite quotes says that if we fully comprehended how much God loves us, we would never fear anything. That is so true. So meditate on His promises daily. In eighth grade, when I was so down and upset all the time, one of the things that helped me the most was immersing myself in God’s love. Reading about how He loves me, asking Him to remind me how He loves me, etc. You cannot feel upset when you think about how God loves you. There is an amazing book on this by David Jeremiah I totally recommend, and I talk about it here.

3. Talk to God all the time, just by sharing one thought at a time.

I don’t know how much I’ve addressed prayer on this blog, but one quote I have by C.H. Spurgeon says, “Short prayers are long enough.” The whole point is that no prayer is ever a “bad” prayer. Lots of people, myself included, get the idea that prayer has to be like ten minutes long at a time, or it has to be about “meaningful” things, etc. Whatever the misconceptions may be, the only way you can “mess up” prayer is by doing just that, filtering things from God because you think it’s not worthy of telling Him. Well, He knows it anyway, and He wants you to tell Him. Be completely real with Him. I know I used to hide things from Him. Now I’m the opposite, I say things I probably should never tell Him, like when I’m so mad at someone I could hurt them or I actually swear. Well, again, it’s not like He doesn’t know I’m thinking those things! And He can save you from actually hurting someone if you go to Him in prayer first. ;) Haha, seriously, I’m not kidding, people: He really can handle whatever it is on your heart.

How do you learn to pray all the time? Seriously, just take it one thought at a time, even if it is something so simple like what you’re doing. Make it like a conversation. You probably talk to yourself in your head anyways, so why not tell God what you’re thinking? That’s how you develop that relationship. Before you know it, you’re praying all the time, all day long, exactly how we’re commanded to do. Just because it’s a command doesn’t mean it has to be dreaded. Prayer is such a gift, to be able to have that relationship with God. So treat it like any other healthy, special relationship you’d have with someone who loves you and then some. Because God loves you more than even that person, and a relationship with Him is literally what we are made for.

My favorite quote to end with

There is a quote I love that can be seen so much throughout the Bible as you look at the people who are close to God, that says the people who fall and get back up are a lot stronger than the people who never fall—or don’t seem to, anyway. Don’t feel like a failure if you’re in a hard situation. Just keep doing these three things: remembering nothing is irredeemable and submitting your life to God, remembering what He promises you and resting in His love, and talking to Him constantly about whatever goes through your mind. I tried to pick some of the “main” points or messages I think people need to hear or be reminded of the most. Again, I know I talk about a lot of these things, so I hope this wasn’t overly redundant, but I know I need reminders constantly of these things. I pray they can encourage you, too!

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