“How can there be a lesson in this?”

Hey guys, today I’m going to be talking about a topic any of us can relate to, but one that is oh so difficult to talk about. Today I’m going to be sharing my heart about losing someone you love. People hear me say I hate the month of February and I’ll give them a long list of reasons why; It’s cold, Valentines day is a stupid holiday, it feels like it never ends, I just want spring, etc. And while those are all accurate reasons why I hate the month of February they don’t make up the full picture. I really truly hate the month of February because on February 12th, 2013 I lost someone very special to me. Someone who had been there for me during my entire life, someone I trusted, someone I loved. It was sudden, so sudden, and my heart still hurts from it. You know how everyone says the pain lessens over time? Well it doesn’t. I think you just learn how to handle it better is all. In the beginning of this year I made a decision to find something good or some sort of lesson out of everything. But as February 12th approached I closed my eyes and told God “I can’t.” How do you make something good out of losing someone you loved, someone you miss so much it hurts some days??? How is there a lesson is that?? But as soon as I said ‘I can’t’ God told me “You can I still wasn’t convinced. “But there can’t be a lesson in this God.” I countered. “But there is.” was His simple reply. And then despite the pain, the lesson came to me. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Tomorrow isn’t promised. You’ve all heard this millions of times, so many times that I think we just brush it off like it’s nothing. But really let that sink it, truly think about it. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, tomorrow isn’t promised. And I’m not just saying that about your own life, but about those around you too. So don’t, don’t hesitate to tell someone you love them, don’t let anger keep you from giving them that hug or from telling them that they are important to you, don’t let fear keep you from sharing the truth with them. Because while you might live another seventy years, they might not. They could be gone tomorrow and all you’ll have left is the words you never said, the promises you never kept and the truth you never told. Loss is hard, whether it’s losing a pet to losing a parent, it is always hard and you will always miss them. But don’t add regret to it. Let me tell you from experience, it makes the load unbearable. But if you do have regrets, then don’t let them make you handicapped, don’t let them clip your wings but let them give you wings. Let them be the reason you reach out to people, the reason you are open and honest, the reason you hug and the reason you are kind. Regret is too heavy to carry around, so don’t do it. That’s not the life meant for you. Let it go. Go up on a mountain and scream all the things you regret out loud if you have to, but don’t keep holding onto it. And if you feel like you can’t let go, trust me, you can. If you feel like they’re holding you captive, let me tell you something: They’re not. Jesus took those regrets on the cross with Him and they died with Him, they can no longer hold us captive. Isaiah 53:4-6 says “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
So let them go, Jesus already took them to the grave with Him, you don’t have to hold on to them anymore.

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering……but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Instead of regretting what we didn’t do, love fully, forgive easily and live abundantly. Because like I said, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. So cry out to God, let him take your regrets and move on. Cry out to God regardless. He hears you. I’ll say it again; He hears you. And if you think for one minute God doesn’t understand loss please re-read the verse above. Who is it talking about? That’s right. Jesus. That verse is talking about His son. He understands what you’re going through. He understands the pain. He watched His son die, He sent His son to die. So trust me, He knows. He knows that loss is hard and painful, and in Psalms we have the promise that God can heal our broken hearts.

” The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” -Psalm 34:18

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3

And I’ll add one more thing to this blog; look around. If the loss of a loved one has you looking at the world and seeing nothing but darkness you must have sunglasses on. And as much as I love sunglasses I’m telling you to take them off. There is still so much beauty in this world, so much hope. All you have to do is open your eyes and take a look around. It’s right there in front you, in the people around you, in a single sunrise or sunset. Life goes on even if we don’t want it to and God is ready to take our hand and help us back up again. So take his hand, let him heal your heart, and live again.

-J

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rainy day adventures

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset rainy days. most rainy days are the days we choose to sit back and relax. cuddle up on the couch and watch Netflix. fall asleep to the steady pitter patter of the rain. make a batch of cookies while listening to your favorite song. or maybe we use those rainy days to get stuff done. clean your room. catch up on homework. check up on that person you’ve been meaning to get in touch with for the past 2 weeks. and while all of those are good things, sometimes, we can let rainy, dreary days get the best of us. we’ve been having a lot of rainy days here lately so yesterday, my sister and I decided to make the most of it. sometimes, you need to take those rainy/dreary days and get out in it. it’s honestly become one of my favorite things to do. so, let me tell you about our rainy day adventure yesterday 🙂

after church, Auburn and I hopped in the only vehicle we currently have to drive- our cute little white minivan haha 🙂 but in Auburn’s words “who cares that we drive a mini van? it just gives us room to haul around all our friends!” not gonna disagree with that! anyways, we drove the few minutes to downtown to explore our little town and snap a few pictures along the way! Auburn being Auburn, she knew exactly where she wanted to go and she led me straight to it. a cute little white wall behind one of our favorite cafes. I’m sure you can guess why we were back there. pictures of course! sometimes, it’s super fun to dress up, haul around your “mom bag” full of your hairbrush and different outfits and have a little photo shoot. and that my friends is exactly what we did. there was a break in the rain so it worked out perfectly. we walked all over our little town finding spot after spot to snap some shots. and if I would have had my Fitbit on, I would have definitely had my steps! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

butttt, you can only take photos for so long, you know what I mean? that being the case, we went to McDonald’s, grabbed a Hot Fudge Sundae and headed to one of our favorite spots, Hamburg Mountain. even though it was cloudy and the rain was headed back in, it was a beautiful view. we literally stood there, eating our hot fudge sundaes, watching the rainstorm move in. and it was so cool. we laughed. we jammed out. we took goofy photos. we listened to the silence all the way up there. we stood and let the wind whip through our hair and let the raindrops begin to fall on our face. and we enjoyed every second of it. the rain began to fall harder so we hopped back into our rockin’ minivan and went to Lowes. wait a minute. hold up. Lowes? yes. Lowes. why? because my dear sister has a slight obsession with succulents and she wanted to get another one. so that’s what we did. and it was fun 🙂

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

so there you have it. that’s how my sister and I made the most of another rainy day. and if I could say anything about it, I would tell you that I loved yesterday. we didn’t have everything planned out. we just kind of decided what we wanted to do and then did it. we had fun with a few pictures, eating Hot Fudge Sundaes while watching a rainstorm move in and looking at succulents in Lowes. next time you have a rainy day, ditch Netflix and go on a spontaneous, rainy day adventure. trust me, it’s worth it 🙂

-H

“But I can’t. I’m not good enough.”

How many times have the words “I’m not good enough” crossed our minds? How many times how we written those words or even spoken them out loud? Those words are our default. They’re what come out without thinking. They’re the words that follow “But I can’t.” “But I can’t I’m not good enough.” When God asked Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery he replied with the same “But I can’t” default answer. But most of the time when  we say “But I can’t, I’m not good enough.” what we really mean is “I don’t think I can do it.” “I’m scared.” or even “I don’t want to do it.”. The thing is, is that God never tells you to do something that you can’t do. Never. He knows better than anyone what you’re capable of. He made you. So if you’re shy and you feel God telling you to ask that lady at the bus stop if she’s okay, then you can do it. If you are terrified of talking in front of people and he tells you to do that very thing, then you can do it. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” So even when we feel like we can’t do it, Christ can do it through us. All we have to do is let him. If you have truly handed your life over to Jesus than the words “I can’t” don’t apply to you anymore. And if you haven’t, then I encourage you to do so. It’s the most freeing thing I have ever done. Because now when the words “But I can’t. I’m not good enough.” start to form I can silence them with “I can. I am good enough.” One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and it says “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

For when I am weak, then I am strong

Let those words sink in. We don’t have to be ‘good enough’. In fact I’ll go as far as saying we’re not and we never will be. But Christ is good enough, He is perfect and blameless and is able to do anything through us. So though this blog is short, it’s short because it’s so simple. Through Christ you can. Through Him you are “Good enough.”. Jesus Christ bled and died for you, and I’m not saying that because I heard it in Sunday school but because it’s the truth. He didn’t come down to earth to sight see and make friends. He came down to become a servant to us and more than that, to become the ultimate sacrifice. He came down to endure more pain and shame than you or I could even imagine. He came down so that we could be good enough. He came so that you and I would never have to utter those words again. He came and told us that through Him we can, that He is enough, that even though we are weak, He is our strength. He came to set us free from those words. He’s unlocked every set of chains, including the ones that deem us “Not good enough.” So take them off. Don’t allow them to dig deep blisters in your hands, throw them aside once and for all. Because through His eyes, you are enough. And through Him you can do it.

-Jenna

forgiving yourself?

when I think of the word forgiveness, I think of God forgiving me of my sins or me needing to forgive someone. while both of these are important when it comes to forgiveness, have you ever thought about forgiving yourself? so much emphasis is put on asking God to forgive you of your sins and making sure you’re forgiving those that have wronged you- whether they ask for it or not. so much that I think we forget another key ingredient to forgiveness. FORGIVING YOURSELF. that may sound easy. of course you can forgive yourself, right? I mean, that should be super easy. but when you reallyyyy think about it, it’s not all that easy. I’m one to beat myself up. I’ll feel so bad about something I’ve said or done and I’ll just keep thinking about it-even stuff that happened 6 months ago. “If I just wouldn’t have done this. If I just wouldn’t have been that stupid! I could have saved a lot of people, including myself, a bunch of hurt and heartache. What is wrong with you Hayden? You are such an idiot.” these are just a few of  the things that I tell myself- that I let the devil convince me of. there’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about something you’ve done. in fact, it’d be wrong if you didn’t. BUT. you have to forgive yourself. you can ask God to forgive you and tell Him how sorry you are all day long but until you forgive yourself, you’re still not going to feel right. I can say that from experience. it wasn’t until the other day during my devotion that this thought struck me. up until then, I’d just been daily asking God’s forgiveness. but I still didn’t feel free from it, you know? and then I saw these five words float across my page. Perhaps you cannot forgive yourself. and all of the sudden I realized that was it. that’s what I’m missing! but how? how the heck do I forgive myself? to be honest with you, I still haven’t quite mastered that. I still haven’t fully forgiven myself. but I can tell you a few things. you have to stop beating yourself up. you have to quite letting it define you and letting it keep you from the fullness of life. quite being so prideful about it and just get real. let the brokenness, the shame, the guilt and all the crap that’s inside you run its full course. stop holding on to it. then let God. let Him take that away from you. let Him renew you! let Him make you whole again. it won’t happen with a snap of your fingers and it won’t be the first time you have to do it. but it is something we have to do. we have to forgive ourselves. so I challenge you to do that. begin forgiving yourself 🙂

-H

The magic starts at midnight?

People always talk about the new year being a new beginning. And how many of us don’t want that? Just to start fresh, to forget about all our mistakes we made in the year before. But then after you cheer and watch the ball drop you find, you’re still you. You didn’t miraculously lose fifteen pounds, you didn’t lose your pessimistic view to life and that bill is still overdo. How many of us wish that like Cinderella, the transformation takes place right away, clear and completely obvious? Only our magic would start at midnight of course. But in case you haven’t heard this already, life isn’t a fairytale. No, it’s so much more. Are you looking for a fairytale beginning this year? A fresh start, a blank page? Because if you are, you’re looking in the wrong place. New beginnings aren’t found in the countdown of a new year. They are found in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” It won’t change your financial predicament, it won’t make you lose weight and it won’t get you that job. But it will change you forever. It will give you a new beginning, the beginning of a life of freedom. If you need a new beginning, a fresh start and a blank page, look to the only One who can boast of actually being the beginning. Look to Jesus Christ.

And to the ones out there like me, the ones who look at the year of 2018 and just see a big blur, don’t lose faith. My favorite thing about the new year isn’t exactly the chance to ‘start fresh’ but that feeling. That same feeling of wonder and mystery I get when I page through a new journal, the same feeling I get looking at the blank pages, knowing that they will one day be filled with the breathings of my soul, with my happiest and saddest times, but that even not even I can begin to imagine what exactly the pages will hold. It’s exciting really. Knowing that you have a fresh page before you and that you have a say in what’s written upon it. It’s up to us as to whether the heroine (or hero) of this story responds to hatred with love, or with her/his own hatred. If she/he greets the man sitting on the park bench with an indifferent glance or a gracious smile. It is up to us, to me and you, you and I, to make the words that are written on the blank page of 2018 words that offer the story of __________. You fill in the blank. What do you want your story to say?

~J

P.S. So sorry for the wait guys! 2018 will be a year of sharing our hearts with you all and I can speak for both of us when I say we can’t wait! Happy New Years guys 🎉

 

 

living in the moment

Living in the moment. Am I the only one who struggles with that???? Something (Maybe the response we got from Hayden’s story last week) tells me that I’m not. That it actually may be just as hard as viewing ourselves from God’s eyes. We live in a world that is run on social media, a world where two people can’t sit down and chat without one of their phones chiming; whether it be with an email, phone call, text, group message, or “‘Blank” just posted something”. Now lots of us would swipe it aside and continue our conversation. But for most of us there’s still that little thought in the back of your head that is focused on that phone alert. ‘What am I going to respond to that email?’ ‘Why would she be texting me now?’ ‘Great, now the group chat will be talking without me.’ The thoughts vary but we’ve all thought them. Social media, it’s great for keeping up with people we don’t see much and a great way to express ourselves or share our talents. But it’s also a great form of distraction from the moment we’re in. Another huge distraction for me is, I try so hard to capture the moment through pictures that I tend to forget to actually live the moment. I know it sounds backwards but I do. So looking back I have some great pictures. But then there’s no memories behind them so what’s the use? Another thing this generation does so well is, we tend to listen to respond, not to hear. We listen only so we know what to say back to them, not to truly listen to their hearts. And I am as guilty of this as the next person. But if we’re ever to live a full life, a life without limits and in the moment then we must make a conscious decision to do so. Turn your phone off for the day, ask someone for their story and truly listen to them, go on that long drive, blare the music, laugh at the lame jokes and stop worrying about tomorrow or what others think. Wake up one day and tell yourself that it’s your last. And then wake up the next day and tell yourself the same thing. “Take risks, make mistakes, and get messy” (kudos to those who know who said that). Because that’s what life is all about. Life isn’t the days that go so smoothly that they fade from your memory. Life is the days you fall in the mud and crack up laughing. Life is the days you’re late for church because you were talking to some old guy with a cart on the street. Life is the days you and your friend eat way too much chocolate for your own good. Life is the days where unexpected things happen and you roll with it. Life is the days you live without thinking about tomorrow or what the person in the next isle is thinking of you. Life is the days you live in the moment. So instead of reading this, nodding your head, agreeing with what I’m saying and continuing to live life the way we all do. Please, get off and do something crazy; live in the moment

-J

Sidenote: Thank you all for reading our blogs! If you have any questions, comments or topic ideas feel free to comment them or email us at midnightmusings577@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.

perfectly imperfect

body image. that’s a pretty loaded subject. I feel like most people, whether they admit it or not, struggle with this. it may just be little things like looking at a picture you just took with your squad and saying “oh my gosh, I’m so ugly!” or it may be something big like becoming anorexic. whatever it may be, everybody, even the girl who seems to have it all together, struggles with body image. we all struggle with it in different ways. For me, I call myself fat. I look at my face-demons (zits haha) and cringe. I’m self-conscious about my double-chins and how my nose crinkles up when I laugh. I’m guilty of looking at pictures of myself and being like “gosh, I’m ugly!”. I used to really let that get to me. I used to try too hard to be somebody I’m not just so other people would think I was pretty,  just so other people would like me. I used to think “why can’t I just look like her?”.  I STILL think that sometimes. but guys, this may sound so “churchy” but it’s the absolute truth. God made YOU to be YOU and only YOU.  every inch of you is perfectly imperfect. every part of you that you hate has been hand-made by the Creator of the universe! the Creator of the universe! every part of you that you hate is deeply loved by the man that gave His life for you. every part of you is made perfect by Him. for years, I have heard my mom quote this verse to girls- Psalm 139:13-14. For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful and I know this very well. now, I know what you’re thinking. “I’ve heard this verse so many times!” To be honest, I’ve thought that too. But have you ever just sat back, read this verse and really, I mean REALLY let that sink in? I am remarkably made. I am wonderfully made. I am His work and His works are wonderful. crazy, huh? kind of humbling really. so guys, let’s stop beating ourselves up about how we look and start loving our perfectly imperfect selves. let’s start being confident in who we are, confident in the fact that we are remarkably and wonderfully made by Jesus. let’s encourage one another. tell your friends they’re beautiful. tell your cashier at Walmart that she’s beautiful. because let’s be honest. how many times have you looked at somebody and thought, “oh wow, she’s gorgeous” but been too afraid to tell them? I HAVE. GUILTY. don’t be scared. it will make that person’s day, maybe even their week. like my sister always reminds me, let’s remember that our flaws are beautiful. our flaws are what makes us, us. and remember that you are loved for simply being you. don’t be somebody that you’re not. it’s not worth it. be you and be you confidently. and last but not least, remember that in the end, outside beauty doesn’t matter. literally, my sister and I look at people all the time and say “they have such a gorgeous heart and that’s what makes them 10x more beautiful.” make your inside beauty your top priority because when your heart is beautiful, it will shine through. I hope you guys can relate to this. It’s definitely something I’ve learned, something I LEARN each day. go tell somebody they’re beautiful:)

-H