I’ve always found the month of January to be the month of evaluation. That might be considered “late” to some people, because I think most people make December their month of evaluation considering that it’s right before the new year actually begins… but I like Christmas too much to do that 🙂 One of my New Years Resolutions this year was to be consistent and read my Bible and devotional book everyday. It’s always been my goal to do so, but this year I’m wanting to read them intentionally; praying before hand that the Lord would open my heart and eyes to help me dive deeper into my faith during my time with Him. Continue reading
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but this year is my first year that I actually sat down and wrote a list of goals that I wanted to achieve and work towards this year. 2018 will be a year of development and growth for me! I took time to evaluate myself and pray about the changes that came to mind. Afterwards, I made a list of major goals I wanted to see positive growth in this year:
This lady is one of my best friends.
I remember running around when we were little, pretending to be princesses together with plastic crowns and way too much glitter On her graduation day, I was able to click the moment where she truly was a princess. My sister graduated this Spring 2017 and I was so lucky to capture a couple moments of her big day of success and celebration!
You are such a beautiful woman – Inside and Out
“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4
It’s been a while… but that’s ok. I feel like everyone goes through those highs and lows in their relationship with God. I know God hasn’t left me, He never has, nor ever will. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6. There are times when I know I should be doing “better” in my walk with the Lord, if that makes sense. It’s funny, I always know when I am not spending enough time with Him, because He talks to me more – telling me to spend more time with Him. Those times when life gets a little out of whack and you aren’t spending enough time in prayer and aren’t submerging yourself in His Word as much as you should be? I don’t know how the Devil does it, he’s sneaky, one thing leads to another and all of a sudden I’m trying to think back to the last time I brought out my bible and just sat in the presence of Jesus. As discouraging as this can sound, I personally find it encouraging. Through it all, Jesus is always still waiting there to spend time with me; to talk to me, to read with me, to listen to me. In my imagination, I picture Jesus sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris in the summer time. Everything is colourful and full of life, He’s drinking an espresso and has an extra chair across from Him at a bright yellow wrought iron table. He’ll make eye contact with me, take a sip from a glass espresso mug and wave me over to be with Him. Always. It doesn’t change. He is always welcoming, always loving. Why is it so easy to drift away from this???
The other day I was reading in my devotional book. It has been the first time in longer than I’d like to admit. My devotional book is written in first person, as God speaking directly to the reader, “Seek My Face [God’s] and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible. “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” – Philippians 4:7 MSG. Let Me displace worry at the center of your being. I am like a supersaturated cloud, showering peace into the pool of your mind. My nature is to bless, and your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify My be receiving My blessings gratefully! I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied. When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life. I am still there, watching and waiting but you function as if you were alone. Actually, My light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me!”
“When You said, ‘Seek My face” my heart said to You, “Your face Lord, I will seek.” – Psalm 27:8
I continued to look at the book. I reread the words and felt so loved. This was the most gentle “I Told You So” and I realized how badly I had needed it. I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus at the bright yellow table in Paris. “I love you Payton. I will always love you, but I want you to love Me back in the same way.” He spoke softly and sipped His espresso.
“You will seek Me and you will find Me, when you seek Me with all of your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
The next day, God continued to show me His patience and love. My devotional said, “Come to Me with a thankful heart, so that you can enjoy My presence. This is the day that I have made. I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow. Search for all that I have prepared for you, anticipating abundant blessings and accepting difficulties as they come. I can weave miracles into the most mundane day if you keep your focus on Me. Come to Me with all of your needs, knowing that My glorious riches are a more-than-adequate supply. Stay in continual communication with Me, so that you can live above your circumstances even while you are in the midst of them. Present you requests to Me with thanksgiving, and My peace, which surpasses all understanding, this will guard your heart and mind.” I felt like God was walking with me, and reached down to grab my hand as we would walk together.
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of the deer and helps me to climb the high places.” – Habakkuk 3:19
It is ultra cliche, but the importance of reading my Bible everyday has been refreshed in me. Staying in God’s Word and continually reading His love letter to us is vital to our walk with Him. I want to have feet that are able to climb the high places God may send me – but that will only happen if I spend time with God and allow Him to teach me and mould me so that when the time comes to climb high, I will be able to! If you’ve been feeling like you’re in a similar slump, I want to encourage you to grab your Bible and a coffee and go sit in a quiet room with lots of sunshine. Spend time with Jesus because He is already there waiting for you. God is patient and kind and softly nudges us to continue seeking Him. We are not perfect and the Lord knows that – so seek Him with all that your heart is able to!
This past month God has been saying the same statement to me over and over. Every time I am praying – whether I’m asking for something, praying for someone or thanking Him for something else; He always says this single phrase that silences me. For example, the other day I was praying about an exam that I had that morning. It was a three hour exam that would be submitted to the NKBA design competition in October. They do it every year for students across Canada and the United States. The NKBA creates a kitchen design problem and students have three hours to come up with a design solution and draw a floor plan of their design. In their design they must include kitchen appliances made by the current sponsor of the competition. Students must fully dimension and note their floor plan and write a list of specifications that make their kitchen unique (like flooring, counter tops, style, etc.) and they have to either draw a perspective of the kitchen or draft an elevation of one of the kitchen walls. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot of work to manage in three hours – they go by fast! Anyways, I was praying and asking the Lord to give me peace and calmness during the exam and that He would give me a design right away for the space. “Payton, Look how far I have brought you.” I stopped. Here I was, preparing to write a three hour exam where I would design, dimension and spec a kitchen I had never seen before. “Two years ago, it took you three hours to sketch a picture of an existing kitchen. Look how far I have brought you, where you are not only going to design a kitchen from scratch, but you are also going to draw and render that kitchen in three short hours. Do you believe that I have looked out for you all this time and will continue to look out for you now?” Yes God.
“Go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.”
– Luke 8:39
I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with clay, or if you were the world’s best mud sculptor like I was when I was four… but you can only mold mud. You can’t mold clay when it is wet and soggy and too moist; it doesn’t old it’s form. You also cannot mold clay when it is rock solid, nor can you mold dirt. You can only mold mud because it has a perfect, thick consistency; it’s soft enough to alter and hard enough to hold it’s form. I learned that lesson the hard way when I had taken a pottery class a couple years ago. I wanted to make a mug – a coffee mug, obviously. Something easy and classic. The teacher told us to always keep our clay wet so that it wouldn’t dry out early, because once clay is dry there’s no going back. So I grabbed a bowl of water and had it next to me while I formed my mug. Wetting it down like, every thirty seconds…. you can probably see where this is going. At the end of the class I wasn’t quite done, so I spritzed it – just to make absolutely sure it wouldn’t dry out, put a bag over it and left. The next class I came back and my mug had morphed into this massive bowl that was too big to use even for soup. My mug was so wet it just kept spreading outward. It was ridiculous. My teacher laughed as she picked up my creation – literally dripping clay ooze from her fingers she carried my hard work to the side and left it there. “Grab another cube girl!” So I grabbed another block of clay and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t over water it… like I do with all of my plants… anyways… do you know what happened? It dried out. I came back the next day and my half done clay creation literally had cracks the Sahara Desert would find impressive! I sucked at this pottery thing… Recently, my failure in pottery made me think about how God works in our own life. We have to be mud and mold-able. Not too wet where we think we have all the answers and can do everything for ourselves but also not to dry where we don’t want God’s help and want to run our lives our own way. We need to have a balance of wet and dry. Wet enough for God to mold and thick enough that we can hold the form that God makes us.
This past month has been a bit of a wake up call for me to see how much molding God has done in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have totally been too wet and too dry at different times in my life – I won’t tell you that I’m perfect and have it all together. But when God was telling me the other day, to look and see how far He has brought me, it made me smile. Guys there is SO much in our life that goes unnoticed. All those little things the Lord lines up for us, the things He protects us from, I could go on and on – but I think it is so important to look back and be able to say, “Wow God. I used to be there.” Que Drake: Started from the bottom now we’re here… ♩ ♪ ♫ As I went into my design exam that morning; after God showing me that He has fully equipped me with the abilities to crush this exam I had so much joy and an indescribable peace. It was unreal. Recently I’ve been hooked on listening to the Inception soundtrack song: Time. It’s beautiful and there’s a ten hour loop of the song on YouTube – I won’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the full ten hour loop, because it’s a little embarrassing. Anyways – I listened to this fabulous ten hour loop for my entire exam and it was so cool to listen how God used it. When the song is quiet and it’s mainly the strings playing or very soft piano God spoke to me and gave me inspiration. When the piano kicks up and the horns are in the background God steadied my hand and gave me speed to draft, draw and dimension. It was crazy. If you’ve ever seen the movie, I felt like Cobb at the end when they are getting off the plane and he’s looking around and everyone feels so boss and awesome. Throughout the exam God seemed to work with the music and motivated me. But the entire time I was working I can honestly tell you that I was not nervous. I was not stressed. In the moments where I was drawing blank, I shot up a quick prayer asking the Lord to guide me and then the music kicked up and He guided me. I’m actually listening to the loop right now and it’s incredible. Gah. All in all, the three hours ended and I can honestly tell you that I don’t know how I finished as much as I did, to the detail I did, in that time. When I would practice I always ran out of time, forgot simple things or wasn’t completely satisfied with my work when the timer went off. This one time – when it actually mattered; I finished, I was confident in my work and I was satisfied knowing that I did not complete that task on my own.
Guys, I don’t know what you’re going through right now. Maybe you are struggling to finish school. Look how far God has brought you. You are on the home stretch with finals! Go hard. Trust Him and finish strong! Maybe you are struggling at a job wondering if you’re in the right career? Look how far God has brought you. You are being challenged with something that a lot of other people right now WISHED they could be challenged with. Trust Him and power through! Maybe you are struggling in a relationship. Look how far God has brought you. There are so many things you can learn in a relationship with another person, but know that challenges in a relationship are not always a bad thing – sure they are not easy in the moment but they cause you and the person you’re with to come together and work it out and in doing so you become closer and stronger than you were before! Don’t back away from something difficult – because something great is on the other side. Maybe you are struggling because you are not in a relationship and wanting to be. Look haw far God has brought you. Just like there are many things you learn in a relationship, there are just as many – if not more things that a person learns by being single. Hold out for something great and believe that the Lord has someone in store for you! And while you are waiting, focus on being the person you are trying to find and develop yourself in areas you need to be strengthened. Maybe you are in pain physically. I don’t know what kind of pain you could be facing right now and I won’t tell you to suck it up but I will tell you that you are a Child of our God and He does not like to see you in pain either. Maybe the pain is from an accident where you could have died, or it could be the result of someone else – sometimes, looking back at how far God has brought us already can courage us to look forward and realize how much further our Father wants to bring us. Power on. Because He is most definitely with each and everyone of us.
– Stay Satisfied
Sitting alone with God is such a wonderful thing. Actually taking those cliche moments to listen to the winds blowing through trees, to watch the colours in the sky change as the sun set or like last night; I was about to crash and noticed a bright green flicker from my bedroom window. I love the northern lights. It was actually on my bucket list to see them at one point. I may live in a classic, cute little down – but the view or the northern lights makes it unreal. I remember the most extraordinary time I saw the northern lights here; it was almost exactly a year ago – my friend and I decided we’d drive out of town into a random farmers field and sit in her car drinking coffee and watch this fantastic natural light show. It was one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had in my life. Breathtaking. They were so bright; literally casting shadows beneath us when we stood outside the car. Everywhere we looked was glowing green. The lights were directly above us in that field – I could see the beams overhead; shooting straight up and I could see each time they flickered and moved. They were so close I felt as if they were swirling around us at one point. I just remember not having words to say; pure amazement. I don’t know if it’s wrong to think this, but in those moments I believe God is displaying His beauty and creativity for me alone. I believe that while I was watching the northern lights from my window last night – God telling me that He loves me. He took the moment I couldn’t sleep to show me His simple greatness and beauty. I like those small gestures like a written note or a thinking of you text, or whatever – those little things that say hey “I enjoy you”. When I’m driving and God gives me a crazy awesome pink sunset, I like to think He made it specially for me. When I’m anxious and He lights up the sky with phenomenal moving lights, I like to think He’s giving me a moment to refocus on Him instead of what’s stressing me out. I hope you have moments like that too.
It’s so encouraging when you realize that God’s you Father and He wants to brighten your day simply because He can! My Dad has always done those little things to show our family he loves us whether it’s washing my car or watching cartoons with us, buying cellphone car gadgets and extra chargers cause he knows we lose them and break them. The next time you see something and it makes you look twice, stop and enjoy it and believe that God did that specifically for you and you alone to enjoy in that moment. Maybe listening to birds sing together on a walk or that short cool breeze at the end of your run or that cloud to block the sun while you drive with the sunroof open. He cares about you because you are His and He wants to show you through the little things that He cares for you – not always just the big things that we continually pray for. I’ve been thinking a lot about graduating school and moving back to Saskatchewan; not gunna lie it’s a huge bitter sweet deal. There are several things that I am excited about and equally as many things that I am dreading. However, moments where God gives me peace in the simple things; I know that I purely need to trust in Him and know that if He cares enough about me to give me a sunset or northern lights; He most definitely cares even more about the bigger things going on. Whatever you’ve got on your mind right now, know that it’s ok to relax and allow your Father to take care of it. Rest in Him and take it one step at a time taking joy in the little things that He sends your way.
– Stay Satisfied
I have no idea where I will be in my life in six months. I can’t decide whether or not I should love this feeling or dread it. I am a person that has always had a rough idea; a plan A and a backup plan B. For years I have always had a hunch on what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to go about doing something. I knew that when I finished high school I would go to Bible school on an island in BC. I knew that when I finished Bible school, my boss had a job for me to jump back into and I would work for a year. I knew after my gap year I would move away and go to school where I would study Interior Design. I know that when I finish school I am to go on a missions trip with my church to Brazil that God told me I would go on four years ago. As of now, I have less than two months left of school and there are 152 days until I fly to Brazil to share the gospel with the people there. So in roughly 175 days I’m clueless. Mmmmk I know I’m being dramatic about this – but still. After a student graduates, they are supposed to be grown up and ready to join the rest of the world and be responsible. That scares me.
I know I’m not the only one that feels this way in life. I know there are millions of people that have been in this situation too at some point in their life. Actually, at church the other day a friend of mine was speaking. She was a full time missionary to Africa; after living there for 39 years, the Lord called her to retire because He has new work for her here in Canada. Anyways, she was sharing about her experience in Africa and leaving for good, “You know those trapeze people in a circus? They are super high up on a small platform, they jump out into the darkness where they know a bar will swing just in time for them to grab onto and take them to the next platform. I feel like one of those people right now. I feel like I have just jumped off my platform where I knew it was safe and what I was doing. Now I am flying in midair hoping for that bar to come my way. I have no idea what the bar looks like and I have no idea where it will take me. But I know it’s coming – and like the trapeze artist; I have to be ready and watching for it.” She took the words and feeling out of my body – that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like I’m bracing myself to jump into the darkness.
I’ve obviously been thinking about this for a little while now. I know this because God gave me a “Stop panicking letter” Seriously. He did. It was in my mailbox at church. A small note that read, “Psalm 32:8, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.'” Two minutes before I read His note, I was literally venting to a friend at church about my “problem”. I also had to laugh because I felt this note was God’s way of telling me to shut up. My devotional book the other day said something similar, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME! As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation. Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat! You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you; helping you carry your burdens.Keep your focus on My Presence in the present. Let the future unfold and worry about itself.”
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” – Psalm 73:23
Guys, I have not figured out what will happen in a couple months… but I’m getting the feeling that God is wanting me to simply lean back and ride the river. I want to encourage you to do the same. School is coming to an end and maybe you’re in the same place as I am. Or things at work could be completely changing, or maybe you have to move and you have no idea who you will even be able to call “friends”. God says that He knows each and every one of our situations and He cares. He knows how they will pan out. Don’t stress. I’m going to try my best to let go and see what happens. Quite often, God has something much better planned than anything we could work up.
– Stay Satisfied