Who has time to frown when there are a million reasons to smile….

To Love, or Not to Love.

 To Love or Not to Love, that is the real question.

It has been many months since my last post, to which I contribute many factors to my lack of writing;
College graduation,
A new job,
A second new job,
And finding the love of my life (besides Jesus of course).

   All within the past year.

God bringing this man into my life has been the biggest blessing ever.
It has taught me so much; not only about myself, but also about my walk with God.

It has filled me with an array of emotions, both good and bad.
Love, joy, sadness, anger, frustration, goosebumps, thankfulness, appreciation…

It has brought forth difficulties;  in having to deal with past emotions & pain,
learning to understand the difference between male and female natures,
understanding the differences in love languages,
needs, wants, desires, and styles of communication.

And through it all, it has taught me about true love.
True love is not a feeling, but instead, a choice.
 True love is not only a choice, but a command.

 God gives us this command in Matthew 5:44:

“I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…”

One could write a novel on love, for it too great to explain in one blog.
God himself is love, and who can explain God in a matter of seconds?
It is above all things, more than we can ever understand.
But one thing we can be sure of is that God expects his followers to LOVE.
We see it throughout the whole entire bible, but here are a few verses worth mentioning…

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  1 John 4:7-8

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corin. 13:13

 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

 For me, it was not in those moments of fun and happiness that I came to the realization of what it truly means to “love”.   The nice walks in the park under the sun, the holding of hands and kisses goodnight, the sweet good morning messages and piggy back rides; these are not the things that ought to be evident for the existence of true love to be present. Instead these are merely examples of the physical aspect that the feeling of love can produce. These things can be evident with or without true love, this I am sure.

But instead it was in those moments of deep sorrow, those moments of hardship that showed me what love was all about.  That love cares, through thick and thin.  That love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

It was in those moments that I thought I was unworthy to be loved,
that love reminded me that I am worthy; I am beautiful, cared about, and valued.

It was in those moments of anger, that I did things that  I thought would be unforgivable,
that love forgave.

It was in those moments of urgency and selfishness, that love waited and was selfless.

It was in those moments of physical illness and emotional pain, that love provided comfort and peace.

It was in those moments of yelling and crying, that love understood and provided a shoulder to cry on.

It was in those moments of frusteration , that love still offered a hug.

       Love never fails.
Now re-read the last 10 lines about love, and insert “God” where you see the word “love”;
for God is love.
Now do it again saying your name where it says “love”;
for we are called to be like God.

I will conclude with saying, true love is more than a feeling.  It is an action.  A choice.  I challenge us all to receive the love that God offers us, and let us show it onto those we meet. Not only our family and friends, but also to those “difficult people” in our lives; ones we would call our enemies.

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:45-48

 

**Special credit to the man in my life who has been a wonderful example of what true love is.  I am thankful for all the good times and hard times. For it was during those times of tribulations and trials that true love is seen the most.  I thank the Lord for the lessons he has taught me, and the lessons to come. My ears are open to hear, let them hear! Our GOD is the best teacher and he uses each situation in our lives as a lesson for us, we must be still and listen to what he is saying.  Cut out all distractions so we can discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. **

 

 

 

 

Think about your day.
What did you do? Who did you see? What thoughts came to your mind?  Were there things that you thought about more than others?
Well, in the tundra lands of North Dakota the temperatures arose to a high of 33 degrees, which was sweatshirt weather for us. So I decided to do a little stroll down by the river to get some fresh air and to just enjoy the presence of God. In the midst of nature He always meets me there. With the cool breeze that touches my face, He is there. In the gusting wind that blows the trees slightly tilted, He is there. In the calmness and sound of the birds chirping and flying over my head, He is there.  He meets me in the stillness of His creations.

And it wasn’t until I started to take pictures that He started to speak to me.

You see, I had brought along a valentine rose that I had received a couple days earlier to take pictures of it in the snow, as I knew it would make a pretty picture.  First, I started off in the snow by the walking area, then, I moved a little closer towards the pillars of the bridge that was along the river bay.  I saw another pillar in the distance, further down, which had some ice and water next to it.  All I could think about is how beautiful a picture that would be, with the rose in the water and the sun shining down on it.  So I took my camera phone and flower and made my way there.  It wasn’t until I took a few shots that I looked around and noticed I was standing right in the middle of the river!  I could not believe that I didn’t even notice my location, and how I could be so silly to walk on the river. As soon as I realized my mistake, I ran quickly back to the sidewalk and I couldn’t help but think,
“Thank you Jesus!”

                                                                  IMG_20140218_144521

But then I thought,

What a dangerous situation that could have been, and yet, I wasn’t even scared until I stopped to realized where I was standing. I was so focused on how beautiful the rose looked up against the pillar and in the water, that I didn’t even notice what may have been bad. It wasn’t until I allowed my mind to wonder and think,
oh no, I could drown, I need to get off this!”
that I began to fear.
Slowly the worries crippled into my mind and all I could possibly think about for that quick moment was to run as fast as I can to reach the sidewalk. After thanking Jesus for my safety, and letting my heart rest, I realized again
how silly I was to let fear entangle me so easily.

                                                                   IMG_20140218_145514

The water was so thick that the chances of the ice cracking from me standing on it was so very slim. I could see animal and jet ski prints in the tracks further in the middle of the river, indicating that heavier things have been there before. Although standing on a river, thinking about the ice cracking may seem like a good thing to worry about {logically},
Jesus tells us to worry about
nothing!

Do not worry about anything;
instead,
pray about everything!
 Tell God what you need,
 and thank him for all he has done.
 Then you will experience God’s peace,
 which exceeds anything we can understand.
 His peace will guard your hearts
and minds
 as you live in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

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“But seek first his kingdom
and his righteousness,
 and all these things
will be given
 to you as well.
 34 Therefore
do not worry about tomorrow,
 for tomorrow will worry about itself.
 Each day has enough
trouble of its own.”
-Matthew 6:36 (NIV)

Again I will ask you,
where has your focus been?
Have you been worrying about different things? Being anxious of your situation? Worrying about the future?
All these things are to be given to God, while He tells us to first seek His kingdom and righteousness. We cannot be seeking God and thanking Him for all He has done if we are being preoccupied with worries of the world.

I was so focused on the beautiful rose that I failed to notice things that may have otherwise filled me with worry, such as standing on the frozen river. Just like the story about Jesus walking on water, where the disciples were on a boat and saw Jesus walking in the midst of the water. Jesus said to one of the disciples, Peter, “come”, and Peter too started to walk on water. It wasn’t until Peter took His eyes off of Jesus and noticed the wind that He began to sink.

As believers and followers of Christ, we are to keep our eyes on Christ, all the days of our lives.
When depression, anxiety, fears, and the like, creep into our lives,
we need to shift our focus
back to heavenly places.
Think about things that are holy
and worth thinking about,
heavenly things.
Whatever is causing fears in your life,
God knows them.
God knows all your struggles
and problems
and He wants to help us.
We just need to let go and trust Him,
shift our focus on Him
and to remember that our God is bigger
than any problem that can come our way.
He loves us,
and we can rely on Him
to always come through.

“ But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 
-Matthew 14:30-33

A Valentine for Everyday


As the sun starts to rise
and the day begins,
thousands,
maybe millions,
of flowers are being shipped
and bellies are becoming full of chocolate.
It is a day celebrated,
known as Valentine’s Day,
where we show extra love
to those special significant others in our lives.
Where women feel valued and appreciated
when they are showered with gifts
and nice gestures from their favorite man.
Where men are more thoughtful,
more considerate,
and more romantic,
just for this special occasion.

But I know and am convinced that there is something
even greater
than the acts and feelings that appear
on “this day”,
and I want to share it with you…..
A greater feeling of appreciate that doesn’t disappear
  after the red and pink decorations pass.
A special feeling of being loved and desired
that is never ending or never dimming.
The special love from our Savior Jesus Christ.

Now, before you think that this
is too cliché, hear me out for a moment.

Just think about it.
Jesus Christ is like our ultimate lover.
He loved us so much that He died for us.
Simply, He died for us.
He was willing to give up His whole life and
go through torture and humiliation
in order to show us His deep, agape love for
His brethren, God’s children.
He made a way for us to enter into the narrow gate
of the Heavenly places to spend
eternity in His presences
where there will be
no tears or pain.
He provided a way
to a more fulfilled life,
a purpose, a greater calling.
He showered us with His love
and bore all of our illnesses and diseases.
He comforts us when we are in need of a comforter.
He is our Provider when we are in need of being provided for.
He is our Lord and King, our beloved Savior whom we can
rely on every day.

Oh how the list can go on, an
endless list of great things about Jesus.
And He is here for all people,
for He shows no favoritism.
He loves everyone
and is here to offer His hand of love
to all who accept, to all.

Now, if you do not have a special person
to spend Valentine’s Day with today,
you can still rejoice and be glad
for Jesus is our lover all the days,
not only on February 14th.
At all times we can turn to Him
and get our filling of love,
appreciation,
and adoration,
for He loves us so much.
We can look up to Him and say,
“thank you, thank you for loving me.”

That we can spend our time just being filled with Him,
and not feeling emptied
or alone
if we have no “date”
or special plans with any particular person.

I don’t know about you, but I feel
SO loved this day,
and will the rest of my days living.
For I know that Jesus loves me
and I am so content and happy in that.
I hope that everyone
and anyone
who reads this can too receive
and understand
that love.
The love from Christ,
for it is greater than any other
love that a human can show.

John 3:16  “For God so  loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should  not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 but God shows  his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for  us.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God,  being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when  we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

1 John 4:9-11 In this the  love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the  world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have  loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our  sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

How many times in your life have you been in a situation where you have had no idea what the outcome will be?  Or those times when you are in the middle of a storm and you just cannot seem to believe that there is an ending?  You feel like it is just impossible for a change to happen.  Doubts, discouragement, fears, they come shooting at us in every area of our lives.  If it is not one thing, it could be another thing, whether big or small.

It is especially during those times that we need to take a step of faith and say, “okay God, I don’t know what you are doing, but I trust you.”  Because as the bible tells us; “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” {Romans 8:28}

I started writing this as I was currently sitting in a time of huge doubt. Doubt about how I will get through some tough situations.  I relate back to school assignments, as that is where my life has led me to up to this point in time.  I am currently in the College of Nursing School, so it makes sense that this is where God is doing most of His teaching, and when I say teaching, I do not mean nursing education.  No, instead God has been teaching me about my character, about His character, about trust and faith, about not relying on my own abilities but on Him alone, during all times.  Through studying and my art class, drawing and learning, I have had to die to myself and no longer put confidence in my own abilities, which is very hard to grasp while living in a society where it is all about “doing the best YOU can do, being a high achiever, believing in YOURSELF.” 

As I have learned this semester, when I put my trust in myself, things get difficult.  I saw my inabilities and incapability’s surfacing and being shown to those around me.  Not being able to understand the nursing materials we were learning, forgetting important facts, failing an art class (yes, failing an art class), just watching as my own efforts started to fail me in every situation.

There were times I got highly discouraged.
I can’t do this.”
“This is too hard for me”
“I will never understand this stuff.”

But that is when God met me.  He spoke to me in His quiet voice and said to me,
“Yes, Katie, not by your might, but my Mine.  Let me do it.”

So I began to pray before every test, before every art project, before every assignment…
God help me,
help me remember the things that are on this test,
help me remember the things I have learned,
help me understand this material,
show me how to be a good student,
show me how to draw well,
take my hands and create something beautiful through me (drawing class),
show me how to succeed, how to pay attention in class
…”

I asked Him for literally everything and through His mighty hands I was able to feel at peace and trust that He would help me through each thing that came my way.  I trusted that if this is where He has me right now (school), then I trust He will get me through it.

….and sure enough, He showed up.

He turned my failing scores into A’s; he turned my stick drawing figures into beautiful pieces of art in which even my teacher said “great job” to me.  Things started to get better and I watched as I leaned on Him through each step, and I was able to accomplish what I thought was impossible on my own strengths.

Obviously this may not relate to everyone exactly the way it does for me, because I imagine not each person is in school right now, but it does relate in the sense that when things look too hard for us to accomplish, we can look to Jesus and be confident that with Him, ALL things are possible.

Jesus looked at them and said, ‘with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  {Matthew 19:26}

’If you can?’ said Jesus, ‘all things are possible for one who believes.” {Mark 9:29}

We have to constantly look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith {Hebrews 12:2} and trust that He can do all things.  The bible even tells us that if our earthly father gives us good gifts, how much MORE will our heavenly father give us?

So we are called to trust and believe not only God Himself, but also IN Him, that He will accomplish those situations that  seem too impossible for our human eyes to accomplish.  Sometimes taking a “leap of faith” means “taking a step back”… getting ourselves out of the situation and trusting that God is already in it, and that He is taking care of it. Because there will be times where our earthly hands cannot accomplish certain things, so we ought to get used to leaning on God for all things.

We as Christians are called not to worry about a thing {Matthew 6:25}, so in order to be at peace, we need to give our problems, our burdens, our situations to Jesus as He has told us to do, for He cares for us, and leave it with Him.   Trusting that He will take care of all things, working them together for our good, we can be at peace as each difficulty comes our way…..  only by turning it over to Jesus.

So I just wanted to encourage all those who read to keep turning to Jesus for all things, when you feel like failing, giving up, or are discouraged, ask God to help you through, and He will be there.  God says we have not because we ask not.. so I challenge us to get in a daily habit of saying, “God, help me.”  For He is able.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..”
{Ephesians 3:20 KJV}

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”  {2 Corinthians 9:8}

These days are filled with far too much stress.
I look to the right and people are worried about their jobs, their school work, getting perfect grades and their finances. I look to the left and people are worried about their relationship status, the way they are viewed, and their body figure; how they appear on the outside. I look behind me and people are fretting about their past, regretting their previous mistakes.  I look forward and people are worried about their future, who will they marry, will they get married, where should they work, should they buy a house, have more children?

I am convinced and know without a doubt that every single second of your life you can think of something to worry about. Every second.  It baffles my mind to think about the daily thoughts and fears that come into our minds.  Some may be more serious, such as health problems and financial difficulties, or maybe some less important, such as the way your hair looks or the kind of shoes you wear. But this is not how we ought to live our lives.

God says 365 times in the bible “do not be afraid, do not fear.”  Then in some places such as in the book of Joshua (v. 1:9), it goes on to say “do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”   The LORD will be with us, HE IS with us.  He is our comforter, our healer, our provider.  Sometimes when we are in the midst of trials and struggles I think we often forget that.  We forget that He is with us and promised to provide all of our needs, we ought to just be still and know that He is God, He is in control, and that His promises do not come back void. He is faithful to do what He says.

I love this verse from Psalms 139, it is the perfect reminder that God is with us in every single situation. He knows us better then we know ourselves…

“You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar. 
You discern my going out and my lying down;

You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
You, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from Your spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalms 139: 1-10

When trouble comes our way, we have to remember God is with us. We cannot depart from His presence even if we tried. We cannot run from Him. He is there, everywhere we go.  He is in the midst of everything we go about doing. How comforting to know that He is always with us no matter what. We need to remember that He knows what is on our hearts, “Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offense in me, and LEAD ME in the way everlasting.”  Psalms 139:23-24

He will lead you.
He will guide you.
He will provide for you.

It amazes me to think that we have absolutely nothing to worry about being in the hands of our Father and LORD Jesus Christ.  Listen to Psalms 23, one of the most famous verses of them all;

“even though I walk through the darkest valley,
 I will fear NO evil, for You are with me;
 Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Think about the things that you tend to worry about, those things that add stress into your life, now, know that God is in those situations.  Even when you are running late for work, spilled your coffee on your new outfit, only have 2 dollars for food to eat; whatever it may be, just let the Lord know what is on your mind. Let your request be known to Him for He cares for you, even the smallest little details of your life. Remember, your hair on your head is even numbered and He knows each one, so talk about King of SMALL details!!

Lately God has been showing the importance of staying focused on Him and worrying about NOTHING.  How good it feels when the King of Peace touches you.  I think it is wise for us to check ourselves daily to see if we are kept in His peace. If something is bothering us or creating stress in our lives, that means we need to evaluate what we are worrying about and WHY.  Why are we worrying?

God’s word is so great for it tells us step by step how to live our lives.  I am going to conclude with some more verses that I think are absolutely perfect in guiding us on how to stay in God’s peace.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in PERFECT peace whose mind is stayed on You (JESUS!)”

Psalms 119:165 “Great Peace have those who love your law, and NOTHING can make them stumble.”

Philippians 4:8|
Be anxious for nothing.
Everything by prayer,
supplication (action of asking),
and thanksgiving,
Let your request be known to God,
and the PEACE of God,
which surpasses al understanding,
will GUIDE your heart,
and MINDS,

IN CHRIST JESUS.”
(
emphasis mine)

AMEN.

I am sure that we all know what it is like to fail.  It is a horrible, horrible feeling.  There are two things that can happen next after we experience a great fall, either we  can get back up and do better the next time, or we can stay down and lie in the midst of our short comings.   I don’t know about you, but I am not about to stay down, EVER!!

Today I was humbled yet again.  “Miss perfect” 4.0 college student received her first big fat “F” on her nursing exam.  Not only that, but this was the second “F” on a test in the past two weeks. (shhh don’t tell my mother) …I seem to now be FAILING in two different classes.  The moment I saw my score on my second exam, my heart dropped. Thoughts (not good ones) rushed into my head…

“Katie look at you, you are SO stupid, you might as well drop out.”
“Just give up…”
“You are not going to pass this semester.”
“Give up already!!…”

For a moment I started to believe those thoughts and I wanted to, I wanted to give up.  I felt stupid. According to my test score, I was a failure.

Yet I knew this was not the voice of God… I needed to hear His comforting words and what He thought about all of this, for truly it is only HIS opinion that matters to me.   I listened carefully and suddenly the peace of God was upon me.  I could hear Him speak out…

“Katie, it is okay…”
“Katie why do you want to give up?…”
“Don’t you know that through my son, Jesus Christ, YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS!!!”

Yes. I thought. Yes, I most certainly do know that!!!!

Why would I give up? That was a good question to ask myself….is that what I am going to do every time I fail in something?
We will always get knocked down in this life.  Whether it is financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationships, our jobs, our family, whatever it may be, the enemy will try and knock us down. He will try and remind us of our past and present failures.  It is he, the father of lies, satan himself who whispers in our ears, “you can’t do it…”   He knows that once we get back up from a deep fall, we will be unstoppable, and OF COURSE he doesn’t want that. I imagine satan must be terrified of us who are in Christ.   For God has given us the authority to stomp on scorpions!! We have the victory in Christ, the battle has already been won, the enemy has no authority in our lives. So of course he (satan) wants to keep us down.

But we need to RISE UP!! We cannot give the enemy power in any situation! When attacks and negative thoughts come our way, we need to be still and listen for the voice of Truth.  We are not to listen to the enemy, but to GOD!! I encourage us all to constantly be in communication with God so we know how to replace the lies with God’s truth, His WORD…..

When we fail, get back up, no matter how many times you fall down.   Imagine watching a fight, one man keeps getting knocked down.  Over and over again he is beaten to the ground.  Yet, through his bloodshed face and weak body, he continues to get back up, no matter how hard it is.  THAT is a strong man.  Perhaps the other man was stronger physically, but the one who kept getting up has a strength that outweighs the physical man waaaay more than words can ever express.

So do not be discouraged.  God says over 365 times in the bible, “Do not be afraid” … He is with us all the time. He helps us walk through the valley of darkness. Remember, YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST!!! It is He who strengths us.  Get back up.  It is in our weakness that we are made stronger, so God will use our failures to bring us to a greater victory.

1363-get+back+up

Back to my “F” in class…  that is only TEMPORARY.  I still have the opportunity to bring it back up, and I WILL!!!  I have faith that I will pass with colors!! I know it is possible.  I can do it.  I am going to look forward, towards the things I CAN do, rather than stressing on the things that has already happened.  Of course, this means I need to work harder, yet it has given me more drive and motivation to be in school just in general overall.  I am more focused to learn the material..  Perhaps if I had passed or even gotten a “B” … I would not have been so excited as I am now to learn and really KNOW the material.   Failure I believe MOTIVATES us to do better!!! That is.. if you allow it to 🙂
(if you are reading this way after it had originally been written, time has now passed and I will be glad to say that I got an A on my second exam, now currently PASSING all my classes… still in progress…)

There is a famous saying, “Failure always comes before success…”   Now whether that is true or not, I will let you decide,  For I know it is through our failures when we get the most learning!

Here is a link of “50 famous successful people” who started off as a “failure” …  if you need some more encouragement, these will definitely give you just that! http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/

Here are some bible verses to reference:

Jeremiah 8:4-5 – “The LORD said: People of Jerusalem, when you stumble and fall, you get back up, and if you take a wrong road, you turn around and go back. So why do you refuse to come back to me? Why do you hold so tightly to your false gods?”

Isaiah 43:2 -“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Psalms 23:4–“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”

Isaiah 40:31- “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”

Zech 4:6- “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Zech.”

Psalm 28:7: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.

“RISE UP” Song by Matt Maher
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmOvRflPZCo

I don’t even know how to start except to say that I am so unbelievably blessed for the work that God is doing in me.

Let me explain.

I have just started my last year of college in the nursing program. With a current GPA of 3.5, I have high hopes of passing with honors and doing a great job in my classes. I just really want to succeed and do well. I am eager to learn and do the best I can.

Perhaps that is my problem, I am setting too high of standards for myself. My focus straight from the gecko was to “do the best” rather than just simply “doing”. I went in wanting and desiring to again, “do the best I possibly can.”

With this goal in mind, I set forth to holding off turning in my first assigned assignments. It was a quick one to say the least, a pretty easy write up that I could have done in an hour and turned it in. However, I spent much more than an hour on it in order to add a bunch of “nursing jargon” to the assignment.

Remember, I wanted to do “the best” so of course in order to do that I figured I should be an overachiever and go above and beyond. I wanted to make sure I got 100%.

I spent a little longer time on it then I should have, Friday night came around and I thought I will just add a bit more on Saturday morning and turn it in before I had to work that day. So that is what I did.

Saturday morning I turn my assignment in online as planned. After I did this, I noticed the submission had said “LATE” in parenthesis. I quickly emailed my teacher and asked if this could be true. To my surprise, it was. The due date was “the end of the week” and even though my professor had verbally stated the end of the week was Friday, I still had the mindset that I had until Sunday night to finish.

Quickly I felt the tears wanting to come out. How could I be so stupid? Sure, it would not have been a big deal if I just got a few points taken off, but in this particular class, they do not accept late submissions. You get a ZERO, no excuses. I guess that is part of being a “professional”.

Oh how badly I wanted to cry. I sat at work as I got this confirmation from my teacher that it indeed was late. I held back the tears and could hear the thoughts roaming inside my head,

“I am so stupid.”
“Now I cannot get an A in this class.”
“I am so unprofessional.”
“I am so irresponsible.”
“Now I probably won’t get honors.”

All I wanted was to do the best I could, and here I already had failed.

“Katie…you are a failure.”

I had worked so hard on the little things in order to try and make it perfect, that I failed to accomplish the more important things, such as turning it in on time.

I sat for a second as these thoughts ran through my head. Quickly, I realized that these negative thoughts could last the rest of the semester. They were bound to eat me alive. I had to put a stop to them right then and there.

“Katie… grace.”

God was reminding me that I needed to give myself grace. Too often I tend to be hard on myself. Again, trying to be and do “the best” … it leads to very little room for improvement if you ask me. Who is better than the best? Surely nobody, otherwise you are no longer the best.

I tried to look at the big picture. There is always something greater to be learned. For example, now I know to be more on top of things and not focus so much on trying to make it perfect, but instead just getting things accomplished on time.

That can be with anything in life. Perhaps God is not asking us to focus too much on the little details, but instead to keep the main thing the main thing. Just do what He asks and not fret over ‘how’ or ‘why’ or in ‘what way.’

You can take this however you like; perhaps God will speak to each reader differently. All I know is that it taught me a huge lesson on works and grace that I am forever grateful for.

Grace because I am usually hard on myself. Okay, I am really hard on myself. “I should have done this, I shouldn’t have done that.” But that is not what God is thinking. He is saying, “Katie, it is okay.” He forgives us of our mishaps; He understands and tells us that we are forgiven. If He forgives us, then we also need to forgive us. No longer worry about the things we did wrong. Even if it is not a sin, but instead just a silly irresponsible act.

We learn, and we move on. Sure, some things have consequences, but we cannot dwell on those either. I could chose to be upset and bitter that due to my mistake my chance of getting an A in that class will be much harder, OR, I can accept that and be thankful that at least there is still a chance.

AT LEAST I am still given the opportunity to have an education. AT LEAST I still have the opportunity to pass. AT LEAST I missed the deadline for a small assignment rather than a big 60 point case study. AT LEAST… oh, how I am SO THANKFUL for all those “at least”… It is about looking at the positive things. ( At least = THANK GOD!! )

I just cannot stop smiling and thanking God for this attitude He has given me. I truly am blown away at it, for if it was for myself, I would be sitting here still feeling stupid and mad at myself. But by the sweet touch of God I able to sit here with a smile on my face and tears of joy in my eyes. Joy that He is working in me.

He is at work in us. It is a learning process… but again, when we mess up we can confidently say THANK GOD we have a Savior who offers His hand of forgiveness, grace, and mercy. We can get knocked down but AT LEAST we are learning to get back up.