Take a Step Back

I was recently encouraged by someone to “take a step back” and think about why God has me here and think about what He’s trying to show me. So I did (in my mind) “take a step back”, which included running home and thinking that would provide some sense of relief from the madness…and it did…temporarily. But then I had to come back to the same madness, and it was the same cycle over again.

“Take a Step Back”… even after that moment of going home, this conversation was still heavy on my heart. I don’t think I truly got the point until last night. See, the first time I took a step back and went home; I just avoided the situation. Truthfully, I was missing the point. I was thinking about here in terms of grad school, but what I needed to do was think about here in terms of my very existence.  I’m not here to just get a masters degree, to achieve all these accomplishments, and just to pass time. I’m here to love God, love others, and make His name known….then go on and spend eternity with Him. But the truth is we don’t just all arrive at the gates of Heaven like, “What’s good Jesus? I’m here for You…let me in!” For me, I needed to take a step back and think about this. Why does God have me here? What am I doing for Jesus? Am I even living life in order to spend eternity with Jesus?

I’ve debated if I should even share such a thing as it is personal; but I resolved that it could potentially be exactly what someone needs at this moment. Here’s a journal from the moment I truly took a step back and was reminded why I am here:

“Lord, I fear you. You are coming back one day and this world will face Your judgement. Prepare me for that day. I want to be ready. I spend my time preparing for everything else….school, dietetic internships, my next big thing, my husband…but am I truly ready for You to come back?

I get so caught up in the world that I take my eyes off You. And I often forget the part where Heaven is not guarunteed to me. Just because I can share a scripture here or there on social media, it does not mean I will spend eternity with You. Just because I wake up in the morning and read one devotional…just because I read several books by famous pastors and follow them on social media, getting a good word from You every now and then, doesn’t mean i’ll spend eternity with you.

I’ll admit to You this world has hardened my heart, made me bitter, made me angry, made me truly forget who I am in You. It’s made me think that I can do both, walk in the ways of the world and follow You at the same time. It doesn’t work that way.

Thank you for continuing to show me Your Truth. Thank you for pursuing me even when I am lost and get it wrong, when I do everything contrary to what You told me.

Thank you for reminding me of the most important thing.

In these last days where everything is going crazy, the last thing I want to do is stray from you, pushing my relationship with You off for another time when i’m less busy, when I have things figured out. It could very well be tomorrow…before i’ve had a chance to accomplish all these things, or met my husband, or got the internship. or the dream job. You are the most important thing. Lord help me to set my heart and mind on You and on eternity. All these things around me will eventually fade, but You are constant.”


 

I don’t have much to add to that…and I am very aware that there are lots of runons and grammatical errors, but I hope you will take from this blog post what is needed.

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I encourage you to take your own step back, think about Who’s important, and Who you are on this journey with.

Much Love,

VF

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Hair Care Brands That Changed Me for the Better

 

It’s not #WashDay yet…and I’ve literally done nothing to my hair for the past two days, BUT I was inspired to do this post; kind of as a segue to my upcoming Salon Moné series (details coming soon)! We don’t just cook and talk about Jesus around here! 😂

Lol..but in my most recent blog, ‘Focus on God and Your Goals Girl’, I talked about what my future self would say to me at this very moment. I think the main message is pretty clear by the title, but you can check out that post here.

I wanted to do this post today, because yes these brands have my hair on fleek (are we still saying this lol?)!!!! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you may see me talk about trying new hair products alot. These are the ones! However, I mainly wanted to do this post because I believe the woman behind these brands have been succesful because they chose to forgoe the distractions and opinion and to focus on God and their goals!

It’s not just important to me what a product does for my hair or how it’s packaged, but also the mission of the company. Although, i’ve never met any of these woman personally. I get nothing but postive vibes from how they carry themselves on social media and in their communities. I sense nothing but hardwork, dedication, and passion. This is why these brands have changed me for the better. Yes, they make my hair better too…but seeing other women achieve their dreams inspires me to pursure my dreams with the same fire and determination. Of course it’s hard work, but it is possible. These four brands have shown me that.

  1. Healthy Hair Gang

    This brand was created by @nenecouturehair. I’m not sure how I discovered her page but I fell in love with her work! Her silk presses are bomb! She has a salon in Georgia; but when your work is bomb you’re booked to the max! She just recently dropped a hair care line that features a moisturizing shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, and edge serum. I loveeee her products!! Again, full review coming soon!

  2. Mielle Organics

    I’m sure this brand is pretty well known at this point. It was founded by @exquisitemo! She started her journey as a registered nurse, but then decided to pursue her passion for hair care after her own personal hair journey. From humble beginnings of starting in her garage, Mielle Organics,  has blossomed to include mutiple collections, hair vitamins, and even a skin care line. I have not tried all the products she has to offer, but the Mongongo collection and those adult gummy vitamins are amazing!

  3. Shear Genius

    This was probably the first brand I started using. I’ll give you more details on my hair journey later…but this brand changed the game for me! I found @sosheargenius on social media and was attracted to her work as well! Those curly silk presses…heart eyes!! She’s a stylist based in Philadelphia, but also does hair for Tyler Perry Studios. Isn’t that amazing?? I got a little carried away last year and tried all her products…and the tools she uses. Don’t judge! Believe it or not, I think I picked up alot of tips for pressing my hair from her!

  4. Flawless

    Maybe you haven’t heard of this brand, but I know you know the queen behind it!! @Gabunion! I’m sure it wasn’t her first time on the screen….but ever since Bring It On i’ve loved Gabrielle Union. She’s not only amazing and well known because of her acting, but because of her beautiful spirit. She’s a care-free black woman and she owns it! I love that about her! She’s even an author…and has a clothing line with New York & Company….how incredible?? So when I found out she had a hair care line I had to try it out! Her hair care line features two shampoos, their corresponding conditioners, a hair masque, and a few styling products. I’ve tried the smoothing shampoo and conditioner and hair masque. They’re pretty lit!

So these are the four hair care brands that changed me for the better. These women are phenomenal! They did not confine themselves to one specific niche, but rather they focused on their goals and pursued their dreams no matter what. I’m sure they probably heard a, “you should stick to this” or a, “that’s not going to work”  aloong the way; but look at them now!

What dream have you placed to the side because it doesn’t fit with your current career/life plan? I want you to truly think about that. Maybe you don’t have a certain product to offer, but maybe it’s just your courage in following your own dream to be a teacher, a doctor, a dietitan (holla!!!) that can inspire someone else.

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Major mood after #WashDay…but even more so knowing my hair products are made by hardworking queens!

 

Much Love,

VF

 

 

#Motivation #Inspiration # HealthyHair  # BlackBusiness #Brands #Business # SmallBusiness #HumbleBeginnings #PersonalDevelopment #GrowthSeason #Dreams #Goals #HairCare # BlackHairCare #BlackGirlMagic #GirlBoss #Women #Empowerment

Focus on God and your goals girl…

I say this in the most humble way possible…but I’m fairly certain the woman I am 10 years from now will be a boss in her career and her community. I have no doubt she will devote her heart to something that brings glory to God and advances His Kingdom in a great way! She will lead, but not on her on accord, but because Jesus leads her. If the woman I am in 10 years were to speak to me at this very moment I KNOW she’d say, “Focus on God and your goals girl!!!” I know she would.

In a world full of distractions it’s so easy to lose sight; especially in this age of social media. You always know what everyone’s up to. The whole “American Dream” all on your timeline. I can’t even lie to you, sometimes I’m just like, “Okay, God…the clock…the clock is ticking. What are we doing here??” I’m tempted to rush ahead of Him and make my own way…but we know that doesn’t always end well. I literally have to tell myself everyday, “God is enough. You’re exactly where He wants you to be at this moment.” And it’s the truth, it’s just hard to grasp when i’m not intentionally focused on Him.

The problem is, I’m focused on the wrong things. When I’m scrolling…that’s energy and time I could be using to seek Jesus; to build, prepare, and explore new things. When I’m thinking the worst…those thoughts can be used to create something beautiful and share wisdom with those around me.

Inevitably, what we choose to focus on now can and will impact our future; the good and the bad. It ultimately comes down to what’s being sown in our mind and spirit. Are the seeds we’re planting producing weeds or something beautiful? Are we focusing on our goals or old girl/boy next door?

So again, I know the woman I am in 10 years would shake me and say, “Focus on God and your goals girl! Please!!”

My future self, she’ll also get the big picture; whereas now I can barely see two feet in front of me. She’ll understand how and why God strategically placed me in the situations He did with the people He did. She’ll understand why prayers weren’t answered when I wanted them to be. She’ll understand all these things and with confidence be able to tell another beautiful soul, “Focus on God and your goals girl…” Even now I recognize the woman I am becoming isn’t just about me. There’s a purpose to live out and I can’t do that if I’m distracted. So here’s to new focus and my future self!

What would your future self say to you right now?img_2438Much love,

Virtuous Foodie 🌸✨🙏🏾

Uncomfortable

It’s so crazy to think that this time last year I was finishing up my senior year of undergrad and anticipating GRAD SCHOOL!!

It honestly seems like forever ago!!!  I was on the outside looking in then and it’s so funny…I always tell everyone I had this romanticized view of grad school. Now i’m completely immersed in it and it’s not the least bit romantic haha! It’s very uncomfortable; but that’s not necessarily bad.

The things is…I prayed for this moment. I was reading over some old notes in my prayer journal and I asked God to make me uncomfortable; recognizing that I wouldn’t be able to grow without it. Now i’m in the midst of this whole grad school thing and my first thought was, “Okay God, why?” and He gently reminded me. I’ve asked Him on so many occasions to make me more like Jesus and to just be a better version of myself. This is apart of it. There are tests and a pruning process that are inevitable. Grad school has forced me to confront my fears and has just ultimately pushed me to my own limits. I recognize that I can’t do this on my own, and maybe that’s exactly the place that God needed me to be.

I’ve probably said this before, but my faith has been stretched SO much this year! For the most part, what you’ve seen me talk about alot is grad school (if you follow my other social media accounts)…but there’s just so much more that I can’t even begin to describe. I ultimately think grad school is just the lesson; a period to refine and strengthen my faith. As I read through my old journals and i’m reminded of everything i’ve ever prayed to God for, I can see His fingerprints in little details of my life. He’s working…that’s undeniable…but’s it’s also like, “God I just want to know what you’re doing?” Uncertainty is very uncomfortable. I’ll be honest…I like a plan. I need to know the specifics! However, that’s not really how faith works.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

I grew up hearing these things…but when it actually comes time to apply…I struggle there. I think grad school as a whole, in pushing me outside of my comfort zone, has added a whole new meaning to walking by faith and not by sight. I don’t think you truly ever learn what faith is until you’ve been through some trials. It’s very easy to trust God when things are easy and everything makes sense; but can you trust Him when the discomfort comes? When you don’t feel like showing up anymore or the circumstances make your prayers look like a waste of time…will you continue to have faith in Jesus? This is something that i’ve had to ask myself alot lately and something I want to say yes to…but i’ll be honest, it’s a scary thing. “Walking by faith…getting uncomfortable…is never easy. Something gets placed on the line…BUT God will always show up and do His part. I’ve seen it in my past and I believe it for my future.”

I’ll leave you with something God placed on my spirit this past week, “This is faith…where I have you right now; where you can’t see what i’m doing…and you don’t understand…and it doesn’t make sense.” God makes everything clear in His own time, we just have to be open to His leading.

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I wrote this before starting my first semester of grad school. I may not understand everything He’s doing, but God is faithful!

Growth Season

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”

I have heard this quote many times throughout my life. I can’t say I have a specific “they” that comes to mind, but rather events and situations; events and situations that my younger self thought were the end of the road. It was not the end of the road, but rather the momentary darkness that I needed to grow; the momentary darkness that I needed as apart of God’s greater purpose. “They didn’t know we were seeds.” For me this means, no matter what obstacles you face or whatever terrible situation you find yourself in you can still grow from it. We know that God has a greater purpose even in these trying times.

I’m currently reading a book called Believe Bigger by Marshawn Evans Daniels and it has motivated me in so many ways to redefine my perceived setbacks as a redirection to God’s true intentions for my life. I have so much peace in realizing these things didn’t happen against me, but they happened for me. I really encourage you to read the book!

In addition to all the shifts occurring in my life because of this book, there is also one little event that I think created a spark for this growth mindset…and that is FNCE. For those of you who don’t know, FNCE stands for Foods & Nutrition Conference & Expo. It’s basically this giant event for dietetics professionals, students, and exhibitors to network as well as share knowledge, resources, and products. It was probably one of my most exciting experiences as a budding nutrition student. However, before going into this event I didn’t really know what to expect. This was my first conference; and while I knew I was going to a conference I guess it didn’t register in my brain that this would be a professional environment. Another student who had been to FNCE before said I could just wear what I typically wear to class and be fine. Long story short, it was not fine.

I typically wear jeans and a nice blouse to class…maybe a cardigan and flats. It was freezing at the time of the conference, so I  also wore my big utility coat. MAN…did I feel out of place. I wasn’t the only person in jeans and there were hundreds of people at the conference; but I’m pretty sure 90% of the people there were in business professional attire. In my mind I was a hot mess. From that moment I literally vowed to myself to never leave the house like that again, and whatever conference or professional business meeting I went to next…I WOULD BE PREPARED. It was a learning opportunity.

I now firmly believe that if you’re putting yourself in a professional environment you need to put your best forward; not just with clothing, but how you present yourself as a whole. Some would say that presentation doesn’t matter and “who cares what people think?”. I disagree. In my 23 years of life I’ve learned that to be taken seriously in a professional setting, how you present yourself does matter. You can’t just show up, you also have to be prepared. I still don’t have it all figured out, but i’m learning and growing.

I took the picture below at a conference I went to this past week. To be honest, I may have been a little overdressed, but I wasn’t in jeans!…. baby steps!  Last time it was attire, this time I noticed I need to work on networking more. Ultimately, I did learn a lot and met some great professionals in my field. The mind shift that occurred after FNCE wasn’t just a physical one, but a mental one. I now have a strong desire to be the best I can be in every area of my life, not just to impress people, but as an extension of my faith. If you read my last post, you know my newly established philosophy. I want to give God my best every day.

We are made in the image of Christ, so why not present our best selves to the world? When we show up, and we show up prepared…I think that brings God great glory. I like this quote, “You are Christ brand. You are a billboard for Christ.” This is true. We represent Him and His Kingdom.


On a much different note, I’m reminded on this Good Friday that Jesus surely didn’t go to the Cross for us to live mediocre lives. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1:15) and give us new life.  I’m humbled that Christ loved me (and you) so much to die for our sins. I’m happy that He doesn’t leave me in my mess, but gives me the power to overcome. Because of His pain, suffering, and the nails that pierced His flesh…I’m not bound to death, fear, anxiety, shame, or idleness. God gave us His best by sending His only Son…let’s strive to give Him our best; not just for a weekend but with our lives.

Cheers to growth,

Virtuous Foodie

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Virtuous.

“She works eagerly, she gets up early and stays up late, she gives to others generously. But look past her outward layer, look deeper, you’ll see a woman of wisdom who fully understood what was important. She understood what it meant to work hard and to serve God with her whole heart.”

The virtuous woman, the one in Proverbs 31…maybe you’ve heard of her; maybe not. If not…I’ll fill you in. The women depicted in Proverbs 31:10-31 is praised as being the standard of what Christian woman should strive to be. She makes her own clothes. This lady is up in the early hours of the morning…staying up late at night. She’s not idle. I literally get exhausted just reading about all that she did and was. She’s seemingly perfect. If she was around today I’m sure she’d look a lot like our favorite people on social media…. having it all together; but what we don’t see is her process. I don’t think she arrived at that place of true compassion, diligence, and just complete faithfulness overnight.  I think she’s a woman that experienced some things, a little pressure on the journey of life to make her all that God created her to be. The biggest thing that I draw from the scripture about this “Virtuous Woman” is that she gave God her best in every area of her life.

Now i’ll go ahead and add this disclaimer….I’m not here to tell you, you need to be exactly like this Proverbs 31 woman and you must have it all together. I’m here to hopefully inspire you to give God YOUR best in every area of your life.

You’ve probably gathered that my faith and serving Jesus is really important to me. It very much is, hence the virtuous part of “Virtuous Foodie”. I’m also passionate about food, hence the foodie part of “Virtuous Foodie”. I love cooking, yes…but I’ve also wanted to be a dietitian for as long as I can remember. I have this dream of being a sports dietitian and/or having my own nutrition private practice…still figuring things out quite honestly, but we’ll get there. And I guess you’re probably wondering about the “with a passion for beauty” part of the whole thing. Well this is true too. When I’m not studying nutrition, eating, or trying to figure my life out with Jesus…I’m trying new beauty things. You’ll learn I’m kind of a product junkie when it comes to hair care and skin care. However, I like to classify beauty with the broader term of self-care because I think it’s so much more than skin care and hair care (beauty just kinda happened to rhyme with foodie…kinda lol!). But any who, this is me. I’ve struggled for so long with how to share ALL of the things that I’m passionate about with the world and I think I finally found it. I’m so glad God saw fit to trust me with this idea. I hope that it will flourish into something beyond a blog and touch many lives.

So in case it wasn’t clear, this isn’t just a food blog…or a faith blog…or a beauty blog. These THREE things signify how I aim to give God my best every day; through faith, nutrition, and self-care. My mission with this blog/brand is to inspire women to be their best selves through these three things on the basis of 1 Corinthians 6:19. Our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit which we have from God. A temple ya’ll…temples are sacred. They are not just treated any type of way. They are respected! In addition to that, we are God’s dearly loved children, co-heirs with Christ, royalty! God did not create us to walk this earth broken, fearful, and living anything less than the life He has called US to live. He wants us to give our best each and every day. What does your best look like? That is what I want to inspire you to figure out if you don’t know already. It’s not my best, or the next woman’s best…but yours.

I’m not perfect, nor do I have all the answers…but I’m learning and growing every day. I hope you will learn and grow with me.

 

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My Testimony

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I remember tweeting about God pushing me to share my testimony sometime last year and I never did. In all honesty, it’s probably been much longer than a year that He’s been leading me to write this. Out of fear of what people will think, anxiety, and just a desire for my own comfort I’ve resisted. Even as I type this now I keep asking God if He really wants me to do this and His answer is a resounding yes! So here I am. You’d think that He is literally asking me to speak in front  an auditorium filled with hundreds of people, because in writing this I feel like a deer in headlights; there is extreme panic and fear. However, there is nothing more reassuring than the grace and love God shows me daily even despite the past.

As I go deeper in my relationship with Jesus I can’t keep to myself how I’ve gotten to this point. Sure i’ve probably shared bits of my story, struggles in college, and things of that nature; but  I don’t believe i’ve told anyone my full testimony. In fact, i’m probably the most reserved person you will ever meet. I like my life very private. I’m learning though, that what God has brought me through and what He’s done in my life will not do His Kingdom any good if I keep it inside. I’d like to think that there’s some girl…or guy…out there struggling with things I’ve struggled with and they’re just looking for a way out; looking for an answer; looking for fulfillment; or just looking for peace. I pray that in finally sharing this testimony someone may come to know Christ and experience His love as I have.

From the very beginning of my life, God was already working miracles. I was born at 27 weeks, weighing only 2.5 lbs, and  statistics would say I wasn’t supposed to make it. Modern day medicine and science would speculate that I should have been born with some birth defect or chronic health condition because of my prematurity; but to the glory of God I wasn’t. From that day March 17, 1995 at 11:44 AM God chose me and gave me life, even with the odds against me.

I grew up in a Christian household. I remember going to children’s church a few times. I even remember having a little children’s Bible. I enjoyed hearing about Noah and his Ark, Adam and Eve,  and the Creation of the Earth. I knew of Jesus, but I can’t say I fully understood the weight of what Jesus did for me on the cross.  At that age my faith was really shaky. Although for the most part elementary school was great, I do recall some low moments of teasing and bullying, believe it or not. Looking back, people that I thought were friends were so cruel. Even some adults, now that I think about it. I remember being called a certain 4 letter word and other names by classmates. Administrators only implied that I probably did something to deserve it. In retrospect, those few instances subconsciously took a toll on me.

Going into middle school, this is where I believe the foundation of my faith actually started to crumble. We would pray in the morning before school, but I mostly likely was only halfway paying attention. I don’t recall going to church consistently or even having a relationship with Christ. At that age, He was truly the farthest thing from my mind. I was more concerned with fitting in to be honest. Grades of course were a top priority, but I couldn’t really relate to the people in my advanced classes nor to the people in my regular classes. In my advanced classes I felt like everyone was so much smarter than me. They got the concepts so much quicker and I was always struggling to keep up. I was also one of the only only black girls in my advanced classes so that was difficult in itself; hardly seeing anyone who looks like you. In my normal classes I also felt out of place because, well…middle school was very cliquey. I did make friends (those of which I still keep in touch with to this day ♥), but I hardly saw them due to differences in our schedules. I remember going through middle school simply longing….feeling like something was missing. There was a huge void that I was trying to fill and it surely wasn’t with Jesus. I can admit this now; I was extremely boy crazy. Like I probably liked a new guy every other week. Along with this lustful spirit, I struggled with rejection…because none of these dudes were feeling me (and praise the Lord they didn’t!). Looking back I kind of laugh because I was a hot mess and any type of “relationship” would’ve made it so much worse. I had a distorted view of  myself and I struggled with my self esteem heavily. What I truly needed was for someone to tell me just how much God loves me, how beautiful I am in His eyes, and how nothing in this world determines my worth.

Fast forward to high school. I experienced the same struggles. Still longing for something to fill me up. Still longing to fit in…to be a “normal” teenager. Even with being a cheerleader in both middle school and high school, I still had this feeling of “I don’t fit here”. Cheerleading itself was so much fun to me, but typically when people think of cheerleaders they think “outgoing, loud, flamboyant”. I was quite the opposite in other social settings. I’ve always been the introverted type. With that, the whole high school routine got monotonous quick and there was a series of events that ultimately led me to my relationship with Jesus.

My sophomore year, I had finally had enough of being single and really wanted a boyfriend. I had a very Jesus sized void and was looking for someone to fill it. I remember thinking to myself, “maybe my standards are too high.” “Maybe I just need to give someone a chance.” Long story short, I did, and it was interesting to say the least. We only saw each other at school and talked on the phone, but somehow this guy convinced himself that he loved me.  I was so anxious to be in love with someone that I just went along with it. His actions and words definitely did not line up with that at all. I  remember this guy specifically telling me I was the worst girlfriend he had ever had. It really hurt in the moment, but I laugh now. Come to find out, this guy just couldn’t let go of his ex and he may or may not have cheated on me. There was nothing in that relationship that was helping me grow as a person and  eventually it ended. I remember crying to my dad about it, but in hindsight the breakup was one of the best things to happen. Still longing for something, I didn’t understand what I understand now. God was using these moments of pain and tough uncomfortable situations to draw me closer to Him. I just felt so empty on the inside. I wasn’t receptive to God tugging on my heart and I thought I needed something in this world to fill me up.

A couple months passed after that situation. Although I don’t remember the events leading up to the actual day, I do remember feeling so broken, so worthless, and like my life here was meaningless. I don’t know what I was going through to be in such a dark place but I wanted to end my life. I was sitting on the bathroom floor just bawling my eyes out. Thinking about that moment now it seems so unreal, but it happened. I remember searching ‘painless ways to kill yourself’ on my iPad. I clicked on the first link that came up on a Yahoo Answers page and I forget what all the other responses were; but the one highlighted as best answer said something along the lines of “Jesus values your life so much and loves you so much.” I broke down. I can’t explain what I was feeling but it was like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders reading that one statement. After that I remember thanking Jesus for my life and I just sat there for probably another 5-10 minutes crying. I had so much peace though. In that moment Jesus literally saved my life. I don’t think it was an accident that was the first link I clicked on. I would say that day was my first real encounter with Jesus.

Now after reading all this, you’re probably like this girl’s life is so depressing. Or if you know me personally you’re probably thinking, “I never noticed…” or “you didn’t tell anyone”. This is true. I am quiet by nature and my first tendency wasn’t to go open up to someone about my life. But I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me. I’m so grateful for all of this because it’s ultimately what brought me to Christ. It took me a while to see myself as He sees me, to love myself as He loves me, and to embrace the calling He has put upon my life. Nevertheless, here I am now so much stronger because of it. But there’s a little bit more to my testimony…

Moving forward with my life, I wanted to know more about this Jesus. I did have a physical Bible but I didn’t really read it. The print was super small and it was in a translation that kind of went over my head. I downloaded the Bible app and made an account around December 2011. I went back and the first scripture I have highlighted is John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. With that verse and other scriptures, I was beginning to understand just how much God loves me. I had a growing desire to know God’s Word for myself, not just what I grew up being told.

I wanted even more Jesus and I wanted to know my purpose for living. I remember seeing my mom read Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. One day I got it out of her closet and started reading it myself…or attempted to. It was a daily devotional and I kind of just stopped keeping up with it. But at this point in my life I was falling in love with Jesus. I was so content with the growth that was happening. I was happy with life.

Then I met a guy. I was finally in a place of trying to get my life together with Jesus and  being content with just me; and all of sudden this kid comes out of nowhere. I was honestly not having it at first; like I would not give him my number at all. But somehow we eventually did exchange numbers and he grew on me. That relationship challenged me in the best ways and also the worst ways. This person saw my flaws; my anger, my insecurities, and my brokenness; and pushed me to be better. At the time,  I seriously struggled with relationships in general. I did not like people and I would explicitly say this. Outside of my family he was probably the first person to call me out on my attitude. I liked that type of honesty. I was beginning to feel like I found, in this world, what I had been longing for…thinking  it was exactly what I needed to fill me up. As a baby in my faith I didn’t know how to handle that. I had just learned what it meant to put Jesus first in my life and I didn’t know how to translate that over into a relationship; how to balance spending time with Jesus and also having a boyfriend.  On the surface things were good, but over time I began to idolize him and the relationship. It got to the point where I would think about him all the time, everyday. I made him a god in my life and I was growing distant from the One true God because of it. There were times when Jesus would try to get my attention, but I would always pull away from His leading. I was thinking, “how do I make God happy and how do I make this person happy?”. There was no happy medium and I eventually chose the guy all together, neglecting my relationship with Jesus.  Things started to go south quickly. Satan saw I wasn’t as close to God anymore so he had a field day in my life. I was always worrying, angry, bitter, and possibly even a little jealous. I eventually reached that place of feeling so empty inside again. I knew what it was, it was Jesus tugging on my heart to come back to Him. I remember this moment so clearly, like it was yesterday. After sitting on the front porch praying on it for a while God told me to break up with him, and I did, rather abruptly via text. It was probably one of the hardest things i’ve ever had to do in my life; and I grew to resent this guy and also myself for allowing him to take the place of Jesus in my life. I learned the hard way that if you put anything before God, He will destroy it. I’ve learned that no person or thing can fill the void that is meant to be filled by Jesus in your life.

I was heartbroken, but from that moment I was so committed to growing in my relationship with Christ. I ended up finishing Purpose Driven Life. I discovered the Pinky Promise Movement, and Heather Lindsey’s blog. I started to actually read my Bible more and meditate on God’s word. I started to go to two different Bible studies at my high school. I just talked to Jesus and enjoyed His presence. It was beautiful. I feel like that time in my life was the strongest my relationship with Jesus has ever been. I had so much peace, so much joy, and so much contentment. I just wanted to tell everyone about Jesus. This was my senior year of high school. During this time God really showed out in my life.  I got baptized that year, I got an internship working with a dietitian (leading me to discover my passion for nutrition), I graduated with honors, and I got accepted into my dream school. Everything was perfect.

Then I started college and that’s when the tests came. More tests….yay! Yet another time in my life where I wanted to fit in. Part of me wanted to do the college thing, meet new people, “have fun”…but I quickly realized that most people’s ideas of fun weren’t necessarily mine. There was a slight moment in time where I lost myself. I was so busy trying to keep up with my peers and it wasn’t working out for me. It was in college that I began to fully understand what people mean when they say, “don’t follow the crowd”. It is so easy to get distracted. Choosing a life contrary to what is pleasing to God seemed normal. But I knew my standards, I knew my convictions, and I knew the reason why God put me there to begin with. Or at least I thought.

For a long time I thought I was solely there to study nutrition. My mindset was forget everything and everyone else. “Oh you’re telling me I need to take a break from studying…nope…you’re a distraction you gotta go!” “You go to parties, you’re a bit too wild for me…you can’t possibly tell me anything about Christianity.” I’m ashamed to say it, but this was my thought process for a good bit of the latter end of my undergrad life. I began to dislike and even cut off so many people because of it. There was no grace and no love. I was nitpicking the problems with everyone else but myself. I’m looking back at these years and although there were good moments, this was the worst of me. No Jesus at all, but my own flesh. This entire summer, even down to this very day, God has been showing me my heart. I am not a perfect Christian, nor will I ever be one; but God continues to show His Grace and His love toward me, even if i’m still a work in progress. In this process I’m relearning what it is to truly be a follower of Christ.

Over these 22 years He’s shown me just how much He loves me and values my life. It took me a while to realize, but i’m so grateful for God’s relentless pursuit of me and unconditional love for me in spite of  my mistakes, my sin, and just simply choosing my flesh and other gods that are not Him. He loves me and you so much that He gave His only Son. Jesus forever remains the standard of how we should strive to live in each day. We may not always get it right, but if we were perfect we would not have a need for a Savior.

This is my testimony so far and the rest is still being written. I’ll leave you with this….

Shaken Image
Excerpt from Shaken by Tim Tebow

Much love 🙂