A Response To The Annapolis Shooting

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Annapolis is my hometown.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve hung out downtown with friends eating hot dogs from Pip’s Dock Street Dogs and licking an ice cream from Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory as it’s melting faster than I can lick. Or the amount of times I’ve watched the Fourth of July fireworks from one of the parking garages. The amount of times I’ve gone downtown in the middle of the night playing guitar or even playing my drums. Not to mention the church I attend is in the heart of Annapolis.

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In light of Thursday’s shooting at the Capital Gazette, I wanted to give my response.

Workplace shootings happen, and unfortunately in this day and age shootings have become all the more common. More and more people wonder if this type of thing will ever happen in their school, their workplace, or even their hometown.

Most of us actually go about our daily lives hoping that we never have to live in fear of this type of thing happening.

Honestly though, at any given time this could happen.
This could happen anywhere.
This could be your hometown.
This could be your workplace.
These people could be your co-workers, your friends, your family, etc.

 

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This could be your hometown that is getting politicized and used as an example of Trump’s “hateful” rhetoric on the media.

It can happen to anyone, anywhere at any given time. This shouldn’t allow us to live in fear or even stop being lights in a dark world.

Yes, unfortunately shootings happen and politics aside, we need to take a look at our gun laws and our mental health care system – and maybe I’ll write another post about the guns laws and mental health care system soon.

We shouldn’t allow these shootings to break us, to make us spend our whole lives living in fear.

Life is way too short so spend your life worrying about the what if’s. I’ve learned to trust God with my what if’s and but’s, and give Him full control.

Today I want to challenge you guys to be a light, to spread kindness.

Maybe reach out to an old friend, talk with someone who you may disagree with politically, or even call your mom or grandmother just to talk to them. Help a neighbor mow their lawn, pay for someone’s order at the drive through, etc.

There are endless ways that we can spread kindness.
It will cost you $0.00 to be kind to someone.

In times of tragedy is when we need to come together more than ever as a nation, rather than to allow hateful rhetoric and politics divide us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who are you?

Who are you?

How would you answer this question?

For many years whenever someone asked me this, I would begin by listing my hobbies or things I liked.

“I’m Libby. I like coffee and hiking.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love crystals, and watching anime.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love exploring abandoned buildings and reading.”

It wasn’t until a friend told me, “That’s great! Though, all you told me was what you liked.”

Now, in the moment I probably looked at this friend like, “Man, you woke up on the wrong side of the bed”, and I probably also rolled my eyes in annoyance.

Looking back, this friend is right.

How, many times as Christians do we tell people, “Your sin and past mistakes don’t define you”, while simultaneously defining ourselves by our hobbies or clothes.

You see, we are still allowing ourselves to be defined by something. Whether that’s grades, fashion, our job, or a relationship.

As people we are constantly learning and growing, and thus our hobbies, fashion taste, and worldview are constantly changing.

While these things do have the power to describe us and provide people with the insight as to who we are, they don’t define us.

Who are you when nobody is around? Who are you underneath your hobbies and labels?

If you don’t know you who are or what you value in life, or even where your worth comes from, you will constantly be searching for your identity in hobbies, interests and even people and allowing those things to define you.

Know who you are underneath the labels.

Who are you?

A Letter to Those Hurt by Christians

To all those who have been hurt  by Christians,

I get why you don’t want to believe in God.
I get why you stopped believing in God.
I get why you may be weary to enter a church building.
I get why you may be weary to approach Christians.
I get it.
I really do.
I was there.

You’ve seen Christians on street corners who are screaming their heads off about people going to hell.
You’ve seen Christians turn a blind eye and “okay” some sins while calling out others for other sins.
You’ve seen Christians not even bothering to pray for others in their time of need.
You’ve seen Christians in church sit there texting and talking all throughout the sermon.
You’ve seen Christians in church act like a clique, not even bothering to greet the new people.
You’ve had Christians treat you and your salvation just like another, number to them that they will soon forget about.

I get it.
I’ve seen it all too.
For awhile it even made me want to leave the church, and I did for some time.

Here’s the thing though:
Christians aren’t Christ.

we are all sinners – in need of the grace and forgiveness of Christ. 

Christians mess up.
We aren’t perfect.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they may be reflecting Christ.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they won’t be reflecting Christ.

Are you following Christ or Christians?

We go on Twitter and see people tweeting great and inspirational tweets about Christ.
We go on Instagram and see people posting cool photos with the newest filters about an inspirational Bible story and something they’ve learned that day.
We see Christians outside of church and see them smoking, or drinking or cursing and think, “That must be okay”.

We start to compare ourselves to other christians and want to be, just like them. Forgetting though that they too are – sinners. Imperfect. We all fall short of the glory of God.

I’m sorry.
I’m sorry if you’ve been deeply hurt by a Christian.
I’m sorry if you’ve seen Christian after Christian be a bad witness.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt unwelcome in a church.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a Christian.
I’m sorry.

God isn’t us though.
God doesn’t play favorites.
God doesn’t misrepresent himself.
God doesn’t mess up.
God doesn’t make mistakes.
God doesn’t say the wrong thing.
God never leaves or forsakes you.
God will never hurt you.
God will never be too busy to listen to your fears, hurts, cries, joy,etc.

We’re all “Works in Progress”

“I can’t wait until I lose this weight, I’ll be beautiful.”

“I’ll stop working as much, and spend more time with my family once I get this promotion”

“I need to study until I get accepted into Harvard, then I’ll hang out with my friends”

“I can’t stop! I need this to be absolutely perfect!”

We’ve all said something similar. We promise to love ourselves more once we aren’t a “work in progress”.

I used to. I told myself once I lost such and such weight, I would be beautiful. Guys were constantly shaming me and abusing me and making me feel less than perfect because I wasn’t their definition of “beautiful”. I’ve learned to love myself through the works in progress in my life.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to love the version of ourselves that’s still a work-in progress.

It’s easier for us to see the negative in ourselves and we have a habit of beating ourselves up. I’ve been there.

Without realizing, we are all actually works in progress. There’s always something to learn from and improve on. We aren’t perfect.

 

Love yourself where you are, friend.
There’s always something that we can improve on and always something to learn from.  If you’re waiting until you aren’t a “work in progress”, you’ll be waiting a lifetime to love yourself.

 

 

– Elizabeth Louise

How to Fight Temptation

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We all deal with different kinds of temptations.
Often I get messages from people saying, “I’m dealing with temptation, and I can’t seem to overcome it. I keep falling backwards and falling into sin”.

First, let me just say that you aren’t alone. We all go through temptation and deal with it. But, the good news is that you already have victory over your temptation. You are free in Christ and covered by the blood of Christ.

A few months ago I devised my own system on “How to Fight Temptation” in three steps. It’s a system I like to call “ILL“.

First, you need to Identify the problem.
What is it that is causing you to stumble?
If it’s alcohol that is causing you to stumble, perhaps you may need to do eat out for awhile at restaurants or bars where there is alcohol, or perhaps you might be scrolling through Facebook and see a post from friends drinking a beer or two, that might be the time for you to get off Facebook and turn off your phone and get into the word. Or perhaps you may just need to limit the amount of alcohol you have and when you have it.
If it’s lust you’re struggling with or struggling with sexual desires or impulses, maybe perhaps when you see those Twitter accounts with the “sexual gifs” and videos, that might be the time for you for exit out of Twitter or even turn the phone off and get into the Word. You may even decide that deleting your Twitter account might be helpful if you’re really struggling.

Whatever it is, identify it so that you can better help yourself and take the steps to become more aware of what’s causing you to stumble. If you don’t know what you are struggling with, you won’t know how to protect yourself from falling into that temptation.

Secondly, Lean on Christ.
You have already been freed.
You are covered by the blood of Christ and in Him you can claim victory because Jesus already overcame when He overcame death on the cross.
In life you are going to face all sorts of temptations, and we have to rely on Him.
We have to rely on His strength and not ours.

And last but not least, Leave Me Alone Satan.
God allows us to deal with temptation so that we may learn to overcome and master them instead of becoming slaves to our temptations.
As I said before, we all get tempted.
Even Jesus was tempted, only when He was being tempted instead of giving in  He resisted the devil and threw truth at the devil.
In Matthew 4:10 it says, Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Jesus threw truth at Satan and told him to leave.
When you are being tempted, surround yourself with God’s truth.
Surround yourself in His word.
James 4:7 tells us, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

When we resist the devil, He will flee.

 

Friends, you are a child of God.
You have victory over your temptations because Jesus bought that victory when He overcame death on the cross.
Claim that victory in Christ.

How Are You Using Your Words?

Words.

Sometimes we forget just how much power and weight the words we speak aloud hold.

We get into arguments, and say the wrong thing with our words.
We use our words to spread gossip about people.
We use our words to pray for others.
We use our words to thank family or friends.
We use our words to express love.
We use our words to comfort someone in a time of need.
We use our words to tell jokes to provide others with laughter.
We use our words to lie – whether it’s a “little” lie or a “big” lie.

Yes, the words we speak hold extreme power – the power of life and death.

The power of build up or tear down.
The power to bring together or to separate.
The power to provide peace or stress.

The Bible tells us in Genesis that God used HIS words to speak creation into existence. He used HIS words to speak life into this world. Meanwhile, Satan used his words to speak lies and death into existence.

Sometimes when we get frustrated, angry, or upset it’s easy for us to say the wrong thing.
Sometimes when we find ourselves in trouble or in the wrong place at the wrong time, we may use our words to try to lie to get out of trouble.
Sometimes when we hear news that we know may not be true but sounds juicy, we use those words for gossip.

 

How are you using your words?
Are you using your words to build up and encourage others? Or to tear down and discourage others?
Are your words full of life or death?

Be careful with the words you speak, they hold such enormous weight.
If you are ever upset, angry, or frustrated it’s okay to take a deep breath, or maybe even walk away from the situation or take awhile to answer that text.

 

 

Love is found at the Cross

Friends,
I don’t know where you are at right now. Maybe you’re happily married, engaged or just started dating the greatest person. Or maybe you are on the other side of the spectrum and Valentines day is not the greatest day for you this year. Or you could be in the middle, you could be single or in a relationship and just feel that Valentines Day is way too commercialized(you aren’t alone!). 
I want you guys to know that for years Valentines day was super hard for me. I either had memories of an abusive boyfriend or of a boyfriend who wouldn’t celebrate it because he thought it was way too, “sexual” and instead would lecture me on it. 
I get it. 
This post is for you guys.
I just want you to know that Valentines day isn’t what defines love. 
You are loved & known. You are seen & and heard. 

 
Valentines Day!
It’s right around the corner….

For months supermarkets have had aisles stocked with teddy bears of all sizes holding hearts that say, “I love you” along with heart shaped boxes containing candy of all flavors and sizes.
Flower shops are quickly gathering orders together, and preparing for the Valentines Day rush of loved ones sending flowers to one another. Restaurants are also bracing themselves for the crowd of people preparing to descend upon them on Valentines Day evening.

So, ladies and gentlemen, what exactly is love?

Is love when your significant other brings home flowers to you?
Is love when your significant other brings you chocolate?
Is love when you have sex?
Is love when your significant other brings home a teddy bear bigger than Mars with a heart that says, “Love”?
Is  love when you get up early to cook breakfast for your loved one?

The answer to all of these is no.
These are all things that you do for someone because you want to show them love or appreciate them.
They are actions that show people that you love them.

But, they aren’t love necessarily.

In John 3:16 the Bible tells us,  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.

How many of us would give up our children for the world?
How many of us would give up our loved ones for the world?

For God so loved…..

You.
Your sister.
Your brother.
Your parents.
Your aunt and uncle.
Your cousins.
Your best friend.
Your husband/wife.
Your boyfriend/girlfriend.
Your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.
Your teacher.
Your mailman.
The waiter/waitress at your favorite restaurant.
The politicians in D.C.
The Olympic athletes.
The world.

God gave us His one and only son. That whosoever may believe in Jesus, may have eternal life.
The God who created us, who knows our thoughts even before we speak them. Who knows not just the good about us, but the bad too.
He gave up his one and only son.
Jesus died on the cross for the entire worlds sins.

Society has commercialized love to mean that it comes in a “heart” or that love somehow goes with a certain day.

True love is found on the cross and is found daily.

Happy Valentines Day guys!

Elizabeth Louise

Side Note: Ever since I went to see The Greatest Showman I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack on Spotify. So I decided to buy it to listen to it in my car as well. Anyone else addicted to the soundtrack?

Sweden Pocket Dress – Cleo Madison

Happy Wednesday!

This is the first time I’ve ever done a fashion type blog post- I must admit I am slightly nervous, but I’m beyond thankful for the opportunity.

The one thing that I have always noticed and struggled with in my shopping is to find modest clothing. Ladies, raise your hand if this is an issue for you as well. You want to find a beautiful dress that isn’t too flashy or inappropriate. Or a t-shirt that is comfortable and modest. The struggle is real.

For this blog post I have partnered with the clothing boutique – Cleo Madison. They specialize in modest clothing for dresses, skirts, shirts and even swimwear. And everything is SUPER affordable and cute.

 

I will admit though- normally I don’t like wearing long dresses because I’m short and sometimes trip in them.

Whatever nervousness I had about long dresses was washed away when I tried it on.

This dress is super comfy, and super soft. I can’t even describe how soft it feels – if you guys could feel it over the internet, you would say the same.

Oh!

Did I mention this dress comes with pockets?

Which was definitely something I loved because I love having pockets on me to hold my keys or phone or a few dollars of cash.

To get this dress visit the link here(Sweden Pocket Dress – $29!!)

At first I paired it with long, black boots but they also went with blue boots I had.

It’s been chilly here lately so I ended up using a jacket at some point.

But, on a lovely day you wouldn’t need the jacket.

To check out more of their SUPER adorable and affordable modest clothing visit their website.

Click here to shop Cleo Madison

I hope you all love their clothing as much as I have.

Let me know if you get anything and your thoughts!

-Elizabeth Louise

That “No” may be a blessing in disguise.

We’ve all been there.
We’ve prayed and prayed only to end up receiving a “No” from God.

I don’t know about you guys, but often when I’ve gotten a “No” from God I’ve ended up feeling disappointed, hurt and devastated.
Sometimes I’ve actually even questioned God and asked Him, “Why God? Why?”

I mean, we pour our hearts out to God about a want or need in our life, only to receive a “No”.
We pour our hearts out to God about a situation or circumstance in our lives that we want resolved, only to receive a “No”.
We pour our hearts out to God about a job interview we may have just had only to have it fall through and receive a “No, that’s not the job for you”.

What we fail to realize is that every, “No” isn’t meant to be devastating or hurtful. Yes, it absolutely sucks when something we’ve been praying for doesn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.
In every “No” there is a hidden blessing from God.

When I prayed to God about mending a friendship with a friend and He said, “No” I learned that some friendships aren’t mean’t to be fixed. Some people are in our lives for only a season, others for a lifetime.

When I was applying to jobs and kept getting turned down over and over, even after praying frequently to God I learned to turn to God and ask Him for direction in my life. I learned to lean on Him and His understanding for my life.

When I was completely stressed out and trying to figure out how I was going to afford to pay to go on a mission trip to India for the summer, and it fell through I learned that while it is important to go out into the world and lead people to Christ, there are people in your hometowns, cities, and even states who need Jesus just as much.

You see, inside every “No” I learned to cling to God more and lean on His understanding and not my own.
I learned that I hold but only a fragment of the puzzle of my life while God sees the whole puzzle of my life completed in all it’s beauty and chaos.

When you receive a “No” from God, don’t view it as a punishment or even a bad thing.
Keep trusting Him and know that He has great things in store for your life.

So, you’re stuck in a period of waiting?

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Sometimes following God requires periods of waiting.

For anyone waiting can be a struggle. Especially if you’re waiting for an answer to a prayer and you expect God to answer automatically; like a Genie in a bottle.
Maybe you’ve been through periods of waiting that last anywhere from a day to a week. Or maybe you’ve dealt with longer periods of waiting such as two weeks to two months. Maybe it’s been years of waiting and you’re still waiting.

I don’t know about you guys but I’m sometimes really awful at waiting. Heck, sometimes waiting in the line at the grocery store especially when it’s longer than usual is a struggle for me.

How many of you suck at waiting, too?

Before I begin I’m going to state something: God is not a genie in a bottle. He is not here to grant you every wish and desire for your life.

Sometimes in life we have to wait and waiting requires a great deal of patience.
Periods of waiting require holding steadfast to God and being open & available to God’s will.

After talking to God, we often have this idea that he’s going to answer our prayers right away, or at least hopefully within a few days. When God doesn’t answer our prayers right away we get frustrated and feel like He’s ignoring us. Continue to cling and hold steadfast to God during this time of waiting. Talk to Him, draw near to Him, and actively find ways to grow and serve God during this time.

Another helpful thing during periods of waiting is to make yourself available. How many times have you prayed for God to use you and then complained about what He wants to use you for? How many times have you asked God for a job and then when the opportunity came, you made no effort to get it? Believe and know that God is continually working on your behalf even during periods of waiting.

Sometimes maybe what you prayed about or what you want isn’t what God has in mind for your life. Be open and available to God saying, “No” or even to Him saying, “No, not  right now”.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times where I’ve been in periods of waiting and after awhile I’ve gotten so frustrated that I’ve either stopped clinging close to God because I’ve felt like He has totally abandoned me and forgotten me, and because of that I’ve stopped being open to His will and what His plans are for my life.

Whether the period of waiting you are in is only for a few days, weeks, months, or even years keep holding to God and allowing yourself to be open and available to His will for your life.