You don’t need to buy God’s love.

By now you’re probably familiar with the college admissions scandal. Earlier in the week several people were charged with bribery in order to get their children into elite colleges like Yale University, and the University of Southern California and several others.

Such bribes included paying money to forge SAT and ACT scores and paying others to take them and paying coaches large sums of money in order to tell the college office that their kid was an athlete – when they weren’t.

It’s not really a surprise to me. I sort of figured this sort of thing happened all the time in Hollywood anyway.

In general, people think they can throw money at a problem and it’ll go away. People think that they can buy their way into things. Because as much as we want to admit, money factors into a lot of things. Having money is a necessity in life.

I digress.

There is one thing that you can’t buy.

God’s love. 

Ephesians 2:8-8 tells us For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

No matter what we do.
No matter how we act.
No matter what we say.
No matter how many times we attend Sunday services.
No matter how many times we’ve volunteered and donated to charity.

We can’t earn our salvation.
We can’t buy our way into Heaven.

It is by the grace of God that we have been forgiven.
Salvation is a gift from God – freely given to us by the grace of God.

Why try to earn something when it’s already been given to you freely? 

We think we have to earn God’s love because we are flawed and we fall short of the glory of God daily.

We mess up and think that we need to earn back God’s love.

Romans 8:38-39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.

You don’t ever have to earn God’s love because it’s already been given to you freely. No matter how many times you’ve messed up, and no matter how many times you’re going to mess up again.

God’s love is unconditional and never changing.

Living With Dyspraxia: Life in the Kitchen

I currently work in a kitchen as a chef. Some days by the end of my shift my chef jacket looks like a work of art that Picasso might’ve created.

I absolutely love being in the kitchen and getting to create different dishes.

I also happen to have Dyspraxia, otherwise known as developmental coordination disorder, DCD. Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder which affects a persons ability to plan and process motor skills. Symptoms of Dyspraxia range anywhere from poor balance, poor posture, poor hand-eye coordination and clumsiness. Dyspraxia is often mis-diagnosed as a lot of symptoms run hand in hand with ADHD, OCD or even Aspergers.

Living with Dyspraxia can present all sorts of challenges in the day to day life. What may appear simple to someone without Dyspraxia may seem like a mountain of a task to someone who may have Dyspraxia.

When I’m in the kitchen I find it draining, and exhausting. Especially since I’m also extremely introverted. Yet, at the same time I’m great at it.

One of the struggles of having Dyspraxia is struggling with time management. I’ll often try knocking things out at once or jumping ahead. I can’t really do this as a line chef. One thing that helps me keep track of time is by setting timers. Setting timers helps me to better manage my time and I’m less likely to jump from order to order and be distracted.

There are times when it can be really stressful in the kitchen. To the point where some days I feel like I need to spend a year in yoga classes, but there are little things I can do to help me manage my Dyspraxia.

Peeling That Band-Aid Off

You fall down and scrape your knee or elbow and end up with a wound.

What do you do next?

Disinfect the wound and slap a band-aid over it to prevent anymore dirt from getting inside.

When people or situations hurt you and leave you feeling wounded, how do you respond?

How do you let go? How do you forgive those who have hurt you?

Do you just slap a band – aid over the wound and call it a day?

Or do you actually clean out the wound so that you can truly start the healing process?

In past I’ve always just sort of taken the, “slap a band – aid over it” approach. When my ex-boyfriend cheated, I forgave him and slapped a band – aid over the wound. When a friend hurt me, I forgave and slapped a band – aid over the wound.

I always knew that I needed to forgive like God forgives us.

I slapped band – aids over my wounds and never truly allowed healing to begin. Over the years these wounds would fester and eat away at me and consume me.

In order to heal wounds we need to peel that band – aid back and allow it to breathe.

It’s okay to acknowledge the hurt you were left with. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge that pain and to understand that we’re all sinners in need of grace.

Ignoring the wound that’s there doesn’t help. It’ll only grow and fester.

Whatever wounds you currently have, peel that band – aid back and allow healing to happen.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

3 Truths about God

Christmas season is in full swing.
Truth be told it probably began weeks before Thanksgiving, what with the all too familiar commercialism of Christmas.
Stores began putting out Christmas decorations and toys, Starbucks released their annual red cups, radio stations started playing Christmas songs, and even before we had a moment to digest our Thanksgiving meals people were lining up for Black Friday deals.

But, what if money is tight?
What if you just lost your job?
What if you are struggling to buy all those extravagant gifts your relatives have on their lists?
What if you are struggling to find joy?
What if you are struggling to see God?
What if you are completely stressed out?

You aren’t alone.


So many people feel this way.
So many people are left burdened and stressed by the commercialization of Christmas.

Truth be told I’m one of these people. I feel so overwhelmed by the season already. I’m already thinking of how I’m going to buy all those gifts for loved ones, and coming to the realization that it won’t be possible.

Today I want to remind you of 3 simple truths.

  1. God is Immanuel : Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive  and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).God is with us, never forsakes us, never leaves us, and understands us. Whatever you may be going through know that God sees you, understands and is with you through it all.
  2. Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” : Isaiah 9:6 says “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Man! What a verse! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Through the blood of Jesus we are able to be reconciled with God and with one another. Through Jesus we are able to find peace.
  3. God is “I am”: In Exodus 3:14 God it states, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.” God claimed the title of I AM and in that moment He took away the ability to be boxed or defined, as well as defining all the things He was. How often are we defining ourselves or others by human standards? When you begin to struggle with trusting God, remember all the things He is. Remember not to box Him in with human definition.

God is not boxed in by human definition.

Sometimes we are so blinded by our own definitions we fail to see HOW God will work in a situation or in our daily lives.

We fail to remember just WHO God is. We fail to remember all He is and has done.

If you just lost your job……..God is with you.

If you’re struggling to find peace with someone from your past……… God is not only with you, but is for reconciliation.
If you can’t afford fancy Christmas gifts……Know that Jesus is the greatest gift of all(I know that sounds cheesy). It’s not the price of gifts or the size. Give from the heart.

Whatever you’re going through friends, you aren’t alone.

God sees you and is with you.
God provides peace when Satan tries to flood you with fear and doubt.
God is not limited to human 
definition, He is not defined or boxed in by our labels.
He surpasses all human understanding.

 

Keep trusting.
Keep looking to God.
Keep asking God questions even when you don’t understand or feel like giving up.

Who would you be?

Hey you,

Close your eyes gently.
inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth.
Do this a couple times.

WHO would you be….

Without the weight of legalism and religion weighing you down?
If you didn’t have to run and hide?
If you embraced the freedom you had?
If you were more certain about your identity in Christ?
If you saw the beauty that God sees in you.
If you knew your worth and believed it.
If you knew that God has already reserved a space for you at the table.
If you knew there was no judgement.
If you knew how much God loves you.
If you didn’t let the weight of all the hate and anger in the world in.

BE THAT PERSON. ❤️❤️❤️

10 Not So Tiny  Truths

1. You are worthy of being loved. and you are loved.

2. Jesus never regrets saving you.

3. It’s okay to stop watering the dead things in your life.

4. You are allowed to change and grow.

5. Truth often divides before it may bind.

6. God seeks what has been lost and driven away.

7. It’s okay to pray with tears instead of words. God understands them just as well.

8. It’s okay to need help and support. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. even Jesus needed help carrying His cross.

9. Sometimes a cozy blanket, your favorite drink, and a friend will go a long way in the process of healing.

10. You are not what happened to you. you are not the tragedy, or situation or circumstance that happened.
Sometimes when life is difficult and rough, we all just need a little encouragement to cling to to get us through the day, week, month, year. 

remember these tiny but immensely powerful truths. guard them in your heart. write them down. share it with a friend. save the link. maybe find some more simple, tiny but powerful truths. 

but in times of fear, in doubt, in times of insecurity and loneliness, through the good and bad and tears and laughter remember them. 

maybe share them with someone in need.

Keep positive friends.

– Elizabeth Louise

“Everyone else is doing it”

“Everyone else is doing it”
“Everyone is saying it”
“Everyone will be at this party”
“Everyone is seeing this movie”

If you are a parent you are probably all too familiar with your children saying son similar to you..

Or maybe you or your friends have said something like this to each other at one point.

“Everyone else is”….. so you should too…..right?

Wrong.

Sometimes we use the, “Well, everyone is doing it, so I should too” to justify doing something or buying something.

We use it as a means to, “fit in”.
To go with the crowd.
Be “cool” and do what everyone else is doing

The truth is, it’s okay to not follow what everyone else is.

In fact the Bible even warns against going with the crowd.

Exodus 23:2 Do not follow the majority when they do wrong or when they give testimony that perverts justice.

Look, I get it.
Its easy to go with the crowd and do the same thing everyone else is.

Sometimes we see other Christians doing something or saying something, and we use it as a justification to get away with sin.

What we should remember is that, other people should not be our standard for living. Our standard for living should be based off of God.

When we look to others for how we should live life and what is acceptable, we fail to remember that they too are just as flawed and in need of Jesus as we are.

Friends, the next time you use, “Everyone else is doing it”, please take a deep breath and ask yourself if it’s what God would want you to do. 

It’s okay to be unique and different.