21 years

Life, Love, and Lace Blog // Celebrating my 21st birthday! Today is my 21st birthday. Eeeee! Birthdays are fun. They always prompt a sentimental flashback to my previous year. 20 was a really crazy year, full of ups and down and all sorts of life lessons. I wanted to compile a list of the things I’ve learned over time and some words of advice for anyone out there reading. I’m not standing on a soapbox, I just want to share my heart with you all!

In the past 21 years (or more importantly, in the last year), I’ve learned…

  1. To really love. Love deep, love hard- just love. We need each other and we need each other to love selflessly and without abandon.
  2. To step away from my phone/device/Pinterest. It is incredibly important to get to know the people right in front of me because it is a more worthy and satisfying relationship.
  3. To spend more time and money on experiences, rather than materialistic things. This is hard (really, really hard) because I love shopping but holy moly, those new pair of jeans will never compare to moments spent with people I love. Experiences bring more richness to my life more than a full closet ever will. One day, I will want more than a full closet or a fancy car to show for myself and I am glad that I will have experiences and adventures that will shape who I am.
  4. That Mom knows best. Actually, parents know best. They are human, but they are also superheroes- just as I believed when I was six. I don’t know how they do it all, but they do and I feel more loved and encouraged day after day.
  5. To not let fear run my life. Due to my more introverted nature, sometimes I get shy and quiet. Which leads to me letting the larger personalities own their spots in the limelight, while I stay to the back. However, I am capable, I am enough, and I need to constantly remember this. Life is not easy, but living in fear holds me back from experiencing way too many things.
  6. That failure is not defeat.Last October, I decided (rather abruptly) to change my degree emphasis, which meant changing the whole career path I had designed for myself. I felt that God was truly calling me to step outside of that more narrow path, and into his perfect, good, and infinitely more capable and transforming hands. Signing those papers to switch my emphasis and into a life of unknown (career wise) felt more like a failure at the time. It felt like a defeat- I couldn’t handle the pressures of the classes I would have to take and the career itself felt more life-draining than life-giving so I gave up. I felt like God had more in store for my life, and I decided to rest in that truth. Now 9 months later, I know his goodness and faithfulness better than before. I finished that next semester with the best grades I’ve gotten since high school and landed an internship with an amazing non-profit. This is not to boast, but to simply that GOD’S GOT YOU. I felt broken down, weak, and like a complete failure. I watched Him flip those negative feelings right side up, thus molding me into a more trusting and God-fearing daughter of Christ. I failed, but I didn’t stop trying. More importantly, God provided.
  7. That sometimes, staying in your pajamas all day watching Netflix and baking treats is completely necessary. The sooner you accept that, the happier you will be- I promise.
  8. To always be a kid at heart. As I’ve written in previous posts, the joy I feel after working with children is second to none. January was a tough month for me but once I started working in the church nursery, the childlike joy was exuberant and irresistible. It doesn’t take much to know that kind of joy again. Jump in puddles, get excited over ice cream, dance in the rain, sing in the car, and talk about your day with the biggest smile on your face.
  9. To avoid driving at all costs (just kidding, kind of). Parking permits/tickets, expensive gas prices, car problems….I hate them all and I wish I could just ride around LA on a bike because of them. However, LA is not built for that. While I do appreciate my car (thanks Dad!!), I’ve realized most of the”adult” life lessons I’v learned revolve around my car. My patience is tested and my wallet is open more often than not. Pay your parking bills on time, get your tires rotated, and call your parents.
  10. That my comfort zone is great and all…but sometimes it’s important to live on the edge. Take risks, don’t be afraid, push yourself to new bounds. In summary, get out of your introvert self and live fully. The dreams I have should not simply stay on my Pinterest boards and Tumblr pages. They need to be lived because life is just too short.
  11. To be genuine. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”~ Maya Angelou.
  12. That life is not a race. The college years often feel like this. Who will get the best grades? Who will graduate on time? Who is in a relationship? When will they get married? Your journey is yours and yours only. Don’t compare your timeline to anyone else’s. Your achievements are incredible, valuable, and important.
  13. To rest in the moments that feel perfect. When the sun slowly rises and you are sitting on your patio with a cup of coffee with a good book, when a baby falls asleep on your lap, or when you painted your nails without one smudge. Take pictures if necessary, but maybe not every time. Recognizing these little moments over time has created a deeper sense of contentment in my heart and I have noticed this is one of the ways God likes to speak to me. Or, these are the moments that I feel closer to Him because of his creation. Hold on to these moments and take any measure to not forgot them.
  14. To develop hobbies and stay engaged with them. For me, this looks like writing on this blog, reading, shopping (well, fashion), working with kids, and adventuring. Even in the rigorous world of academia, “me” time is vital. In high school, I found myself bored way too often and I knew this needed to change once I got to college. This has been a work in progress over the last couple years (is Netflix watching a hobby…?), but now that I’m living on my own for the summer I have been able to devote my free time to my hobbies and it is so life-giving. It also makes me ridiculously excited to graduate and start adult life so homework won’t get me down!
  15. To not ever, ever settle. For bad coffee, or for friendships that aren’t healthy anymore. Seasons change, people change, and life moves on.
  16. To not settle for anything less than God’s best because of my fear of not being worthy. This goes back to #5. I am capable of achieving great things, and I am thankful for the relationships around me that remind me of this daily.
  17. To spend as much time with my family as possible. Family is forever and ever. They are my world and my foundation. It would be impossible for me to find a better family if I tried. Good thing I don’t have to! They have my whole heart. They are home.
  18. That I’ve been blessed with far more than I deserve, which is the greatest gift in the world. Take the time to count your blessings and realize how privileged you are. (Instagram will become far less important at this point, fair warning). Stay humble, it will get you farther than you’ve ever dreamed. We’ve all been so blessed with much more than we deserve and God’s love and grace is abundant.
  19. To be nice to everyone, at all times. Live with an open mind. People are unique and on a completely different journey than myself. Each and every person is created in the image of God, and they deserve at least a simple smile. Kindness goes a long way.
  20. To always be myself. Unapologetically. Part of this is my straight-foward personality but I truly believe that I should not have to apologize for being whole-heartedly myself. I have told multiple people that year 20 of my life has come with the most grueling life lessons to learn but they have, without a doubt, taught me to better understand who I am and that I should always be myself no matter what.
  21. That not everything is worth getting upset over. Having a clear mind and a level conscious will get you far. Life is insanely unpredictable and unfortunate events are unavoidable, but don’t be set back by heartbreak, disappointment, or rejection for long. God is in control and he has your best interests at heart. Rest in His promises. Even though after every high, comes a low- God is still there. He sees you, he knows you, and can comfort you better than anything on Earth.

I cannot wait to see what year 21 has to offer. God has blessed me with such a wonderful life and purpose on this earth. My family & friends are beyond amazing and I’m so grateful for them and who they are in my life. Cheers to another year!

Blessings,

Abby

On Identity

Beautiful words c/o my soul sister Heather @ https://manandmountain.wordpress.com
Beautiful words c/o my soul sister Heather @ https://manandmountain.wordpress.com

Lately, I’ve noticed that most of my conversations with friends, mentors, and family members have circled around the idea of identity.

Maybe it’s because graduation is right around the corner and I’m still not sure what post-grad life looks like yet, or maybe it’s because so many questions I get asked are along the lines of “how are you doing since the breakup?”

My answers are straight-forward and simple: “I have no idea!” and “I’m doing well, thanks for asking!”

But on one occasion I found myself with tears starting to well up in my eyes because one friend simply said: “No, how are you doing? Please tell me so I can pray for you.”

Honestly, I have moments that I am overwhelmed. I thought I had a clear picture of my future, both in career and love but both of those changed dramatically. I look to God when things are wavering and seem out of control. In those moments I am learning to stop and say, “God, use this uncertainty and teach me.”

Last Saturday night, a few friends and I had the opportunity to hear world-renown NYC Pastor Tim Keller speak at a church here in Los Angeles. He spoke at the concluding session of the TogetherLA conference and his session was free, so being college students who love to soak up any new information, we jumped at the chance.

And of course, Tim Keller spoke on identity. Similar sermons and speeches have been given and each time I find myself completely bewildered that God created me and relentlessly pursues me each and everyday. And he does have a plan for my life, even if I can’t see what that is right now. My career and love life don’t define me. Who I am in Christ does.

“Your identity is not your feelings or the interpretations of your feelings. 

Your jobs, dreams, aspirations, goals are not the only things that define you. 

Any thing that you try to get self-worth from that isn’t from God will destroy you. 

We have the identity that is not achieved- 

but received

Jesus Christ is your one true love and he went to the cross to show you what that means.”

We are defined by God and God alone. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 says, “But it is God who established us with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.” As we grow in trusting God, He is likewise molding us into the person he created us to be.

I think it is so important in this time of preparation for the next season of our lives that we learn and put our whole selves into God’s steady hands. Our identity rests in Him and Him alone– the creator our inmost parts and the keeper of our souls. He is our safety and our home base while everything else seems to be a slippery substance crawling out of our hands. He is our unbreakable foundation when grad school applications are looming in the distance, apartment lease and roommate agreements are confusing as all get out, and romantic interests slowly fade. Our neediness for daily joy and happiness is a link to His presence. 

In this time of waiting and preparing for the next steps, I am learning to listen more to Him and less to my doubts and fears. His faithful love is mine to embrace. He knows my next step, and the one after that, and the one after that. After all, He has known my identity for ages and ages, and He cannot get enough of who I am in Him. And he feels the same about you, too.

Blessings,

Abby

P.S. here are some more verses on Identity for your bible studying pleasure!

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Colossians 3:1-3
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

1 John 3:1-2

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

A {little} lesson on Calling

matthew 10 39

When you’re in college, it’s pretty overwhelming how often people ask the dreaded question, “What are you planning to do after you graduate?” Now, these people ask with good intentions because they love and care for you. We know that. However, just the mere thought of having to apply for jobs and interview for different positions can send shivers up my spin. It’s not that I am scared about which job I get, it’s all the stuff leading up to it, and then the eventuals- figuring out salaries, benefits, and where I do even want to live after I graduate?? Should I go abroad for bit, join Americorps, go to Grad school, or move to a different city? There are so many things to think about. Hence, the overwhelming feeling we soon-to-be graduates feel.

But I’m not here to complain.

I’m here to talk about God. And what He has planned for my life. And for all of our lives.

Each path we take is uncharted territory. God calls us to venture further and farther through valleys and peaks, forests and rivers. Sometimes God doesn’t give us a map and that’s okay. But He’s given us a light. His light. His light that will guide us. God doesn’t expect us to always shine because He is the shining light that will cover us when we fall into the shadows. He knows the path we will take and has paved that rocky road because He has given us the strength to handle it. God knows the big picture. And all the little things along the way are building up to His great plan for our lives.

I know I am not alone when I struggle with determining what the call for my life is. Most people seek the reason of ‘why’ they are alive on this earth and what their purpose is in being here. They want to know that their life will be meaningful and that their specific calling will be of purpose. For me personally, I am struggling with discerning my gifts and talents in order to figure out how to best decipher my calling in life. Discerning the call or vocation with which I spend the rest of my days doing? That’s when I lay down at God’s feet and surrender to Him. There are so many other layers to who we are than what we do. Work can be meaningful and purposeful but nothing brings me greater joy than my relationship with God.

I am Christian and I know that I am on earth to fulfill God’s primary purpose for my life; to love Jesus and love others, walk with His people, make disciples, and love like Him. 

We can’t beat ourselves up about not knowing what to do for the rest of our lives. We just have to make small, tiny steps in the right direction- we don’t have to run. But we have to be willing and brave enough to take the risk and venture further and further to reach our dreams. The moment your dreams start coming true is the moment you start walking towards them. We can do it, I promise. Our futures are as big as the faithfulness of God. Graduating from college doesn’t have to be scary- it’s the beginning of anything you want. Growth is coming, and it’s good.

Blessings,

Abby