A Second Chance

I remember exactly where I was at during this point of my life last year.

I was a senior in undergrad, trying to survive my classes, pass my capstone courses, and do whatever I could to put my name out there before graduation.

I was doing the best that I have ever done before in school- making really good grades and actually retaining and comprehending the information that I was being fed.

I went to a national conference and got my name out there to some really big company like Warner Bros. Tv., Vera Bradley, and a couple different event planning firms and grad schools. And I also received my first job in my field as a social media and communications assistant for a global nonprofit that absolutely loved people and Jesus- two of my favorite things.

Although I accomplished a lot of goals that I had intended to complete, there were quite a few others that I had really wished that I didn’t let go of too easily.

In order for me to actually become serious and as disciplined as I was during this time of my college career I had to make a lot of sacrifices and unfortunately that made me distant myself from a lot of things that I cared about the most.

After a lot of thought and consideration- especially from the summer before- I made the decision to not return the following year to a job that I really fell in love with, stop volunteering for a ministry that truly developed my relationship with Jesus as a young teen, and even deciding to hang up my racket months earlier my senior year from a sport that I dearly loved.

It really didn’t occur to me that I was not only walking away from certain areas of my life during this time, but I was also unintentionally cutting off a lot of relationships with people who were by far the biggest blessings that I was ever given. And that sucked.

No, I did not see myself continuing to work in education, getting a job as a youth pastor, or even becoming a professional tennis player (like I’d ever even come close… lolol).

After doing a lot of reflection, I was reminded about how these different areas of my life have molded  me into the person that God has created me to be.

Fast forwarding to after graduation: I never thought that I would move back to Chicagoland after graduation. I thought that I was going to move straight to California, get a job as an RD at a university, and start a master’s degree in management and leadership.

Boy… Was I wrong!

As the summer began to wind down I started to realize that my plans were not as great as my God’s. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it I knew that I wasn’t ready to make the move to California yet and the jobs that I was trying to make “work” wasn’t cutting it.

Finally I laid it down on the line and gave in. I surrendered all of my selfish ideas and plans to God and confessed that there was no way that I could press play and make my “picture perfect” life go into action. I realized that I was kind of doing what I did in my previous undergrad years again- trying to do it all and be the poster child of a college kid until my head explodes.

During this time I realized that I had to be okay with not knowing everything all the time and being okay with the unknown. I had to realize that my plans are not perfect and they will not always go the ways that I want them to no matter how many sticky notes, highlighters, and stars I put next to them in my agenda.

Finally, I recognized that my worth does not come from whatever success or accomplish that I make in the workforce, in the classroom, or even on the courts. It comes through the love and compassion that Jesus has for me and that is more than enough.

A few weeks go by and I finally receive an acceptance letter from a company that I did not plan to receive. After sending out a lot of resumes, cover letters, and applications Towards the end of summer I accepted my job offer from the Walt Disney Company for the Disney College Program in California. I remember filling out the application and thinking that it would be a dream to come true to work for the company that reminded me as a little girl, that dreams can come true… but I was not expecting getting accepted at all.

Then I remembered His ways are higher than my own. I can’t thank God enough for this opportunity to further my education, to be mentored, and work for a company in my field that is so near and dear to my heart. Shortly after my acceptance letter I tried to fight the idea, but I knew that I needed to make the move back to Chicagoland.

Throughout my entire time in college I tried so hard to create myself getting involved in more clubs and extracurriculars than I can count, mentoring underclassmen, leading worship, playing a collegiate sport, and trying to build relationships with those around me. However, the junior year slump hit me pretty hard and by the time senior year came around all I could focus on was just finishing and getting that “dream job”.

Looking back, I realize that I was not as intentional as I should have been during my senior year. That is probably the worst regret that I have throughout my entire college years and thinking what if. Just because I had to make some sacrifices did not mean that I had to let go of some of the people who meant the most to me. And for that I am truly sorry. I had many nights after graduation in full thought thinking about certain people in my life and what I could have done, or what I could have said to help them or just be there for them. And that was the worst pain that I could have ever of felt.

I love people. I love my family. I love my friends. And I love knowing that I can and somehow make an impact in the lives of others. But this last year I felt so disappointed in myself because I felt like I was not able to do that, or was in the place to do that.

Personally, coming back to the area again felt like God giving me a second chance.

I don’t want to ever look back and think “what if” again.

I don’t ever want to have a friend have to reevaluate our friendship and question if I really care about them or not.

I don’t want to look back and think what if.

To those that ask and wonder if God ever gives second chances…

He definitely does.

Don’t underestimate the power and grace that our God has for you because it is never-ending and will continue to pour graciously out on you.

If I could encourage you about anything, don’t ever miss out on any opportunity especially if it involves continuing to grow more like Jesus and showing others His love for them.

And another thing- if you are given another second chance, don’t take it for granted.

You were given this opportunity for a reason. Grab a hold of it and make the most of it.

So life update: I am now a grad student getting their MBA (also something else that I said that I was never interested in… jokes on me, I actually like it a lot!) and working as a social media assistant. In three months I will make my big move to Southern California to work in event planning with the Walt Disney Company. My hopes are to also continue to get involved with PRSA and other young professional networks, network within entertainment publicity, maybe join a club tennis team, and just become totally immersed in this new adventure showing everyone that God puts in my path the love of Jesus.

Until the big move, I am loving the joy, peace, and comfort of being surrounded by so many Christlike and loving individuals that helped me grow and become the person that I am today in the bourb. I love all my fellow tigers so dearly and am beyond thankful for this opportunity to reconnect and grow some seeds before this new journey.

Here’s to second chances, to new chances, and to no looking back.

xoxo

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Start with me.

When was the last time that you looked into the mirror and did not like what you see?

Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night, or your eyeliner wasn’t as even as you thought it was… or maybe you found your first gray hair?

We all have moments where we look at ourselves and don’t necessarily like what’s looking back at us.

I have really gotten into the habit lately to sit and reflect on my life.

A couple months ago, someone challenged me to take about five every morning to look at my life currently and then imagine where I want to see myself in the future. This challenge has really pushed me in my life and walk of faith. I have realized that

There are some areas of my life that are pretty ugly.

And I’m not talking about the days when I wake up and decide to throw my hair on top of my head, not do my makeup, and wear a pair of sweats.

I’m talking about the areas of my life where I see myself not as a reflection of Jesus.

I’m talking about the times when I’m selfish and I choose laying on my couch and unwinding from the day by watching Netflix over hanging out with my teens that I mentor from church.

I’m talking about sleeping in on Sunday mornings than going to the worship services at my church and praising our Heavenly Father for all the blessings that He has given me in my life.

I’m talking about the complaints and attitudes given to older family members because I honestly didn’t want to wash dishes that weren’t mine or take out the trash because I haven’t been home in four months because I just wanted to relax and enjoy the company.

And I’m also talking about the times when I have felt like I had to always have the last word in an argument to get my point across- whether I was right or wrong- instead of being mature and walking the other way, agreeing to disagree.

I believe that we are in a time that constantly pressures specifically adolescents, college students, and young adults that we have to be more and nothing is ever good enough. This is a time that blinds us that we have to put others down around us and choose ourselves above anyone else in order to rise up and fulfill our dreams.

That is a lie.

This generation has been so blinded by the world of success and fame that many of us have no idea what it means to be happy, content, or fulfilled.

And on top of that, many do reach their “success goals” but they are STILL empty and hollow.

Why?

Because they are choosing success, fame, money, achievements, awards, and titles over their actually worth.

People have become selfish, competitive, and satisfied. They are idolizing their jobs and achievements, and yet…

They are still not happy.

We all need to take a step back and reflect on the one that gave us these opportunities in the first place. We need to be humble and thankful for the privileges and blessings that we have been given because they can be taken away at any moment- people, money, jobs, etc.

They are all gifts and shouldn’t be taken for granted and most of us are very guilty of it.

The next time we go pointing fingers at someone else’s faults, let’s take a step back and reflect on our own.

We are not perfect.

Everyone is far from it.

However, it’s the effort that we actually put into ourselves to try and do better that makes a difference.

It’s a very simple choice. You can think about it for as long as you want.

For me though, I wake up each morning and tell myself that I’m going to start with me.

I want people in this world to show more love, but I’m going to start with me towards my family and friends

I want people to give more to missions and to give back into the communities, but I’m going to start with me and give what I can and my time to those around me.

I want people to stop their bickering and fighting over things that shouldn’t be made a big deal over, but I’m going to start with me and apologize to those whom I have hurt and forgive those that have hurt me.

I don’t know about anyone else, but in order for me to make a difference in this world…

I need to start with me.

Maybe you should too.

Start with you.

xoxo,

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Am I Really Praying?

I have to say that one of the biggest blessings that I have been reminded of lately is that I have so many wonderful people in my life who love me that live to serve the Lord.

I amazed to look back and see the many people that God has placed in my life to mentor me, to be my shoulder to cry on, and just to listen exactly when I needed them.

I sit here today and look back at all the struggles and trials that I have been through and none of that compares to even thinking of the idea of not living my life for Jesus.

I don’t even want to think of the person that I would become not living for Jesus.

I would probably be very scared, hurt, angry and in a lot of pain just like many others.

We have a lot of hurt and pain in the world.

We have a lot of tragedies and trials.

Life has been really hard and has been a huge reality check for many recently.

During my undergraduate years in college I went to chapel about twice a week.

About a year ago a great college friend of mine spoke in our chapel about the importance of telling EVERYONE about the Jesus and the Good News. I’ll name her… Kacey ;).

Kacey reminded us that day that we will not know the time or day when Jesus comes back, but we need to be ready. In addition, she reminded us that there are more than likely a lot of people- whom we know pretty well- that have never heard of Jesus and are living a completely lost life.

And we’re not doing anything about it.

That’s a problem

As the Church, it is our responsibility to seek out our brothers and sisters- lost or found- and to pray for them, encourage them, and love them- especially in these times of need and trouble.

Now is the time when we need Jesus and the Church more than ever. As the Church we need to rise up and take a stand.

As the Church we need to be active in our prayer life, and by being active I don’t just mean thanking God for putting food on the table and providing shelter over our heads (although that is also needed and important).

We need to be praying for the lost who are making harmful and and bad decisions instead of looking at them in shame.

We need to be praying for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to be courageous and not be afraid to live the calling that God has called for their lives instead of degrading them of their dreams.

We need to be praying for forgiveness for those have hurt us, for those that we have hurt, and to move forward with life instead of holding onto pain.

We need to be praying for grace and  transformation for broken families and relationships instead of pouring more fuel on the fire and having to have the last words.

We need to be praying for healing for our physical needs rather than complaining and giving up on hope.

We need to be praying for guidance  and provision for this younger generation to make good decisions and become lights in this dark world instead of looking down on them because of their mistakes and age.

We need to be praying for our world and for Jesus to come to our rescue.

We are all in need of Jesus.

We have become so accustomed to the problems of this world that I personally think some of us have partially given up on one of our biggest duties as Christians.

Prayer.

We are told time after time in Scripture that whenever we pray and call out to the Father He HEARS US.

Now is the time to stop complaining and taking things in our own hands.

Now is the time to give it all up to the one who created us in the first place because we can’t do this on our own.

Prayer isn’t just a daily task to cross off in the mornings or before we go to bed.

Prayer is a lifeline and a lifestyle.

Will you join me in challenging ourselves to ultimately transform our lives through the power of prayer?

Ephesians 6:18

The Message (MSG)

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

John 16:33

The Message (MSG)

31-33 Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

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(photo credit: Christian Briones)

 

Don’t Lose Who You Are

In four days it will be exactly three months since I have graduated with my undergraduate degree.

I am beyond thankful for receiving a degree through a strong Christlike university that values community, growth, and purpose. If I could rewind my life to the year 2013, I could honestly say like anyone else that I was a different person in both a positive and negative way.

This year was exciting, fresh, and eventful. I had graduated high school an extremely fun and memorable time of my life that I still cherish to this day and finally about to start a new chapter of my life where deep down I knew God was about to do some amazing things.

That year was not the easiest. As I finished my senior  year of high school I convinced myself that one of my greatest gifts was a struggle. I diagnosed myself with the struggle of being a “people pleaser”. And I let that control my life.

I loved making people happy and I still do! However, during this time of my life I was deceived that a gift that I was given long ago was a struggle and whenever someone wasn’t content about something and I had some type of influence over the situation, it really got to me. I have pretty thick skin and I have the ability to shake off harsh words. I also value the opinion of others, but I have experienced that sometimes people have taken advantage of that.

During my senior year one of my teachers told me that,

I asked for too much attention and I should just stop trying so hard because I’ll never get into college.

That absolutely crushed me. 

I held onto this pain for a really long time and didn’t tell anyone about until this past year because I didn’t want to consider the idea that someone who has obvious authority and a bigger influence (especially over someone young and not as experienced) had the audacity to belittle a teenager while they are in their most vulnerable and sensitive time of their life.

Thankfully, I have had a solid group of mentors, leaders, and friends that have poured into me and encourage me with truth even during that time to mend an unspoken wound.

Fours years later I am able to testify and say that I hold a degree with bachelor of science in public relations and strategic communications AND I have two minors. In addition, I had the opportunity to compete in a sport at the collegiate level, become mentor for many leadership opportunities, and begin my first job in my field six months before I received my diploma.

I am beyond blessed for the opportunity to have attended Olivet Nazarene University for my entire college career for these reasons and more.

Mostly, I have to thank Olivet for giving me the opportunity of growth not only in my education but in my faith, my relationships, and life.

One of the biggest lies that I had let become active in my life was that

I wasn’t smart enough

because of that seed planted in me during my senior year of high school.

The professors, staff, and friends at Olivet have revealed to me that I am worth far more than the lies of the enemy and have opened my eyes that I am more than intelligent because I have the mind of Christ.

Throughout my entire experience at Olivet I have been revealed that I wasn’t a “people pleaser”

I am a people lover. 

Jesus has laid the passion on my heart to see those around me with His eyes and through His love.

I am not a door mat. I am not an airhead. I am not stupid. I am not incapable.

I am a daughter of a King with a plan and purpose.

I have been gifted with a heart to love others no matter the past, present, or future.

I have been blessed with strong patience, an understanding ear, and a voice to reach many.

Today, I stand before many not afraid of the negativity.

I am capable of forgiving those who have done me wrong and welcome them with open arms because of the love and grace that Jesus has given me for my wrongs.

If you want to fully become that person that God has originally created you to be from the very beginning let go.

Let go of the hurt.

Let go of the pain. 

Let go of the inability to forgive. 

And receive the goodness that God has put on your heart to become the person of purpose YOU ARE.

Don’t let any negative words, influence, or situation dictate or become a stronghold over the future plans that the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE intended for you to have.

It’s not worth your tears, time, or happiness.

Don’t let an angry, hurtful, or bitter person or situation let you lose who you are.

You’re better than.

You were created for more than that. 

And don’t ever forget it.

You Are More

 

Is attitude really everything?

I have quite a few friends with very fun personalities, but kind of over do it sometimes with sassy attitudes and sarcasm.

Have you ever thought that the words that you say, the tone that you use, or the hidden intentions that you have truly make an impact? This impact is not only made upon the current situation but also to those around you, your life, and even your relationship with God.

Sometimes the moments that we think have little impact make the greatest. This could be either through the words we say, the words that we don’t say, the things that we do, or the things that we don’t do at all.

There are countless amounts of reasons why we think, say, and do the things we do. One reason could be influence: the people that we are around, the environment which we have been raised, or maybe even our own personal desires to think and act a certain way. Some people rely on personality tests, horoscopes, and even professionals to get answers and search for the meaning of why we are who we are.

From the Christian perspective, the only one that can ultimately answer these questions for you are God. God knew you and knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knew your personality, your talents, your weaknesses, and your destiny before you even have entered this world. He knew who you were before a personality test was even invented.

I personally find it very interesting when I take a personality test and find out so many new discoveries about myself that are actually true! I just never looked at it in that light. This is one of many routes that we go down to try to seek who we are. However, are we trying to understand and find the person that God had initially created us to be?

Or are we creating ourselves into our own selfish desires into a product approved, longed for, or even envied by society and the world we live in?

This isn’t what God meant for us.

God said that we were created for greatness. God didn’t intend for us to create our own greatness through entitlement or worldly pleasures. The greatness that God created us for was intended to bring His name known.

We can’t be selfish when we are trying to live like Jesus. We have to be all in.

The book of Malachi talks about the bad attitudes and unfaithfulness of people of Judah. They were hurt because they were not experiencing the things that God has promised them.  However, they were doubtful, selfish, and unfaithful. In chapter 1 God asks them why they gave ultimately disrespected Him with such mediocre (probably less than that) sacrifices as offerings.

  • The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!

    “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’

    “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.

    “Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?[c]

    “You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect.When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

    “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

The God we serve wants our personal best.

He wants us to be all in.

He wants us to show Him that we love Him, trust Him, and want to serve Him and His will. How can we do that if we only have one foot in? He wants 100%.

  • 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the Lord,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the Lord.14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!

The God we serve is a good God. All that He does is good. He is good. How can we expect Him to care, bless, and love us if we can’t try to reciprocate His love towards Him? He deserves all the honor and glory. God wants all of our actions, thoughts, and intentions to be completely faithful towards Him and His will.

This starts with a faithful heart. 

  • A Call to Faithfulness

    10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?

We are called to be faithful. 

Therefore, if we give God our all and hold nothing back He will do immeasurably more than we can ever dream of.

  • “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease.[a] Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies”. 

He will restore and protect us and He will make it known that our lives shine bright for Him because of the goodness that He has done for us.

We are God’s treasure.

We were created for more than we can ever create for ourselves.

It’s okay to be silly and have fun but just remember-

Live your life for Him.

  • Speak words for HIM
  • Choose your actions for HIM
  • Guard your thoughts for HIM.

Luke 6:45

45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Philippians 4:8

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Matthew 5:16

16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

1 Corinthians 11:1

11 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

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Here I am, send me.

It’s been a good while since I have posted a blog- sorry about that!

The last time that you all heard from me was when I posted about my mission trip that I had recently arrived from, Hawaii.

It has finally start to hit me that I am not a “traditional undergraduate” college student anymore. However, I am getting my master’s degree this fall but it won’t be as eventful as my undergraduate experience- so I think.

Recently I have felt like God has been leading me down a different path for my        “life after college”. I received my bachelor of science degree in public relations and strategic communications. I learned that I am very creative and a visual learner. I also learned that I am very interpersonal and enthusiastic. I love people and getting to connect with others any way possible.

During these past couple of months I have been really contemplating what it truly is that God has planned for my life.

I noticed that I had a tendency to find specific puzzle pieces and try to do whatever I can to piece them together to work.

This was when I recognized another part of me. According to the Enneagram, I am an achiever (Number 3). I do my best to succeed, I’m a motivator, and authentic. I try my hardest to be the best me that I can be, I hardly take no for an answer, and when I set my mind for something I go for it.

While I was trying to seek who this person is that God created me to be, I also learned that I have a tendency to be a workaholic and even success conscious. I try so hard to piece these puzzles together that I neglect to see that God already gave me every single piece that I need to see the bigger picture. I just needed to look down and accept it.

Two months ago I thought that I wanted to work for a big entertainment firm or company and work up to a position that eventually led to seeing my name in big lights and bigger paychecks. I started letting titles and labels to consume me again and lost sight of the bigger picture.

I started to make myself anxious and really stressed again because I tried to start making piece fit that either weren’t ready to be put in the puzzle yet, or one’s that didn’t belong in the first place.

Thankfully, I have quite a few amazing mentors in my life that have done nothing but encourage me and remind me about the incredible God that we serve and how I have nothing to fear because HE is our refuge and strength.

And instead of being focused on job titles, awards and achievements, and the size of my paycheck God reminded me about a deep passion that He had laid on my heart long ago. To this day I am striving to not get blind sighted by any distractions that may lead me off course. I am going to invest in others through the gifts that God has given me through communications and my heart. There are a couple different doors that have been placed in my path since graduation and until God opens one of them I will be patient and trust in the Lord.

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes the wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress,” Psalms 46:5-11.

There is nothing that my God cannot do.

Be on the lookout to see where God leads me next and I will be in touch soon about the journey as well!

xoxo.

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Live Aloha.

It has been about four days since we have arrived back from our mission trip to the Big Island, Hawaii. I believe that our entire team can agree on the fact that we are in awe of the amazing memories made, stories heard, and love of Jesus that has been shared throughout our entire time in Hawaii.

We had a bit of a rocky start from our departure from Chicago. We had a handful of delays to our connecting flight in Seattle- which wasn’t as bad as we thought. The many delays made our long layover diminish and we were able to board our next flight to Kona the moment our current flight landed.

The moment we reached the island we were showered with Aloha and were placed with leis around our necks by our wonderful ohana. Our entire team consisted of about 20 people- including leaders and students. After we were greeted by our Kona ohana we all spent the next couple days helping with a Samoan wedding. We were able to embrace God’s beauty through not only the scenery of Kona, but also through His people and the gift that blesses us with, called marriage.

After the wedding our entire team split into our two groups- the Kona side and the Hilo side. The Kona side stayed in the area after the wedding and the Hilo side (the side that I was on) traveled to the other side of the island to meet our other fellow friends and churches to reunite. A lot of the members on the Hilo side were returners- like me! As soon as we reached Hilo we were able to get settled in and reunite with lots of familiar faces and friends within the next few days.

One of our favorite things to do in Hilo was to open up our home have pot lucks with our church families and fellow community members. We would cook food and serve anyone who wanted to come by and enjoy a meal, company, and share testimony. Something that is also very important in Hawaii is talk story. Talk story is basically just sharing with others around us our stories- our lives, what makes us who we are, and our testimonies. We frequently had nights like this where we would have over lots of friends, eat, and talk story.

We worked with two churches. The first church that we worked with was the Nazarene church in Hilo. We previously made a lot of relationships and connections with this church last year because of the amount of time that we spent with them. It was such a great opportunity to be able to reconnect and continue to build stronger relationships with these friends of ours here, and also introducing them to new faces that we also brought to the team. At Hilo we worked with a preschool that they also have at their church, did quite a bit of construction work to the church and school’s campus, and other work projects. We also helped at a couple of church services, the preschool graduation, and sat in on a Bible study.

The second church that we worked with was called Connection Point. We didn’t really work at this church last year, but we were able to stay in that area a couple of times. At this church we helped with their church rummage sale, put on a community movie night showing for Moana, and yard work around the church. At this church we also helped paint their youth room, reorganize and structure rooms on the church campus, and help with the process of two of their ministries- God’s closet and their food pantry. Connection Point has such a good mind set of reaching out into their communities on a relational basis- especially meeting the needs of their community through clothing and food.

The last few days of our time in Hawaii were consisted of bringing back our two groups together and traveling down to a fishing village called Miloli’i.  During our time in Miloli’i we had the opportunity to have the camping experience- right by the ocean. The area of the fishing village is ran mostly by generators and solar power. They have to really monitor the amount of water that they use and they are not able to drink the regular water from the water systems. Most people have a big tank that they keep water in to use for drinking. Some people here do not have the amenities that others do like electricity, or clean running drinking water. However, the residents in this area are just as filled with Aloha, light, and story just like anyone else. In Miloli’i we had a prayer- rubbish walk and we cleaned up the town. We also had a couple of work days were we would paint the picnic tables in the center of the park and paint the church.

Throughout our entire time in Hawaii we experienced several moments of understanding the importance of loving, serving, and seeking the Lord. I personally did not expect hearing the call to serve again in Hawaii. However, God called me to go back and so I did. For myself personally, it was the last day we were in Miloli’i when I felt that I could finally see what the Lord was trying to teach me this entire year. I had a great conversation with the pastor’s wife, Mel. Mel and I shared stories and during that time it was as if God whispered in my ear, Who am I? At that moment I was kind  of confused because I didn’t understand. Thinking to myself (Who are you, God? You are… God.) I didn’t fully grasp the question that He was asking me. And then it hit me.

He was asking me who He was- to me.

I had to question myself. Who is God to you, Brooke? And at that moment through the power of sharing testimony, prayer, and divine connection with Jesus I felt that a wall was finally broke down in my life that I had felt trapped under for so long. I forgot who God truly was in my life, the things that He had done for me, and where He wants to take me. I had been going through the motions for so long that I had forgotten that He wanted a relationship with me.

God wants a relationship with me and not just a few good memories.

God wants me to trust Him and let Him take me by the hand into the areas of joy and the unknown. He wants to know my emotions, my dreams, and my heart. He wants to be surrounded in my life and not just a chapter of it.

That day God truly spoke through the pastor’s wife, Mel, and she not only prayed for me but God spoke through her. The answers that I had been searching for so long were finally revealed and spoken. It was through Mel that God was able to encourage me, bring light back to me, and gain renewal. I was brought to tears by the truth that she spoke to me and forever grateful for that little tug that God put on my heart to go over and say hello to her under their tent.

This mission trip not only made an impact on my faith, but it made an impact on my life. Thank you to everyone who prayed, supported, and encouraged my team and I along this journey.

Mahalo and live Aloha ♥

hawaii pic

You Have Less Than 24 Hours

A lot of people have asked me what I had planned after graduation. My first response was well.. working. I have worked full time jobs since I was about 19 years old. This is the second year that I have worked two full time jobs at the same time.

Within the past three days I have already worked over 50 hours between the two jobs that I am currently working. Some people ask me if I’m crazy. I may be.

However, in less than 24 hours I will be preparing to board a plane to serve the people of Hawaii by being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. These past three days have not been easy. I’m tired, hungry, and a little irritated sometimes. Sometimes I even forget that I shouldn’t be this stressed anymore because I just graduated college. However, some advice from my favorite professor at Olivet continuously played through my head during this time.

“It’s a daily thing. We daily have to pick up our crosses and remember that we aren’t just doing this for ourselves anymore. We are living for Him”.

So during this time I continuously reminded myself of that truth. And although it was hard at the moment. It’s all going to be worth it. I’m going to be serving, loving, and pursuing a community of people through the heart of Jesus and nothing excites me more than the fact that I get to do it with some pretty great people with me.

The one prayer that I am also continuing to lean on is God’s purpose for me through serving others. As a college graduate, I still have a lot of questions- although school is over.

I want to know why God has put the passions on my heart and how He is planning to use them through me.

I want to know how I can be used by God and how He wants me to lead others to Him.

I want to understand more of why He gave me this life specifically to live.

I hope that God gives me more clarity on this trip by serving Him and others. Although there is a good chance that I’ll just have to trust Him and understand that I don’t need to know everything. And I struggle with that. I like to have my planner and put everything to pen and paper, and know what exactly is going to happen next so I can prepare. But sometimes that isn’t always in my favor.

Thankfully, God has taught me how to trust in Him when I’m anxious, scared, or confused in impromptu situations- especially speeches (shout out to my COMM family for also helping with that).

My biggest prayer for this trip is for me to learn how to lean on God through all things, and not just for these next 3 weeks. I want to stop depending on myself and letting fear become a component in my life because of my choice of being more self sustaining than leaning on the Lord.

I have less than 24 hours until I depart with my team for this trip and I can’t be anymore excited for the Lord to do what He has already had planned long ago. If you would pray for me and my requests I talked about earlier, my team, and the people on the Big Island to grow hungry for the love of Jesus I would be forever grateful.

I also have the opportunity to go back and love the people and place that God brought me to last year that helped me grow and understand Him and myself after a very difficult year of hardship. I know that during this trip God is going to move mountains, build bridges, and restore lives.

Join in prayer with us, Ohana. Hilo-Ha Ohana

Let’s watch God amaze us.

Aloha Ke Akua.

-Brooke Allison

 

It’s Never Too Late.

It’s 10:11 p.m. (central time).

I’m sitting here and I have realized a couple of things.

  1. I am no longer blogging for a PR class
  2. It has been a really long time since I have written a blog.

In less than 48 hours I will officially be a college graduate. For the majority of today I have just sat and reflected on these past four years of my college experience. One thing that has really made the impact in my life throughout these past four years has been my choice of college. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for such a strong founded university that continuously seeks to live in community and love for Jesus Christ.

During my time in college I had been given numerous opportunities to grow and figure out who this person is that God created me to be through athletics, leadership, and ministry opportunities. I have been able to indulge in Christ’s plan for my life through an education solely focused through the eyes of Jesus. Although I felt like my bank account suffered during the majority of this time, it was worth every penny.

One of the most powerful and vital aspects of my undergraduate college career was the community and healthy relationships that I needed to nourish my hungry mind and spirit. I needed strong, relating, and encouraging leaders and friends that could pour into my life to help me grow into the person that God has created me to become. Thankfully, God had everything all planned out when He directed me to my school. He placed teammates, coaches, professors, church family, and friends in my life that He new that I needed- even when I didn’t think that I needed them at most.

Continuing into my upperclassman years- I grew very independent and self sustaining. In a way I felt entitled to my achievements and work and forgot about where God’s purpose fit into my life. During this time I also went through a few hardships and struggled with the obstacle of identity and where God’s path really was that He had for me. I begin finding value again in my titles, accomplishments, and achievements and I grew unhappy because deep down I knew that these temporary things could never bring me eternal joy or contentment. I began to grow confused and misunderstood where God’s role was within my life. During this time some of the leaders in my life had also been called to do other big things in life and I misunderstood God’s calling for them as Him taking them away from me and leaving me.

It was at that point when I tried to do everything on my own and exclude God’s plan for my life and started to build walls around potential people that I knew that God wanted involved in my life. However, I didn’t want to give them a chance because I thought that the moment we developed something great it would be taken away. In reality I was only hindering myself and whatever amazing plan that God actually had for me. I then made it a habit to not open myself up to many people because of the possibility of being left again. This was also a very stressful time for me academically and around the time when I decided to end my athletic career a little earlier than I had planned during my senior seasons and a couple of extra curriculars that I had fallen in love with.

I had lost sight of the goodness that Jesus had planned for me and I let the enemy’s distractions and attacks gain my attention. I grew anxious and fearful because of the fact that I couldn’t control these areas of my life anymore. Then it hit me. I can’t control any of this. God has placed me right where He has for a purpose. He has given me this life to live for a purpose. He has given me these people in my life for a purpose. I shouldn’t have to feel lost, or anxious because I don’t have power or control over these things because God already has everything under control. He has already worked all of this out. I just needed to trust Him, spend time with Him, and continuously seek Him.

Last night I had what I thought was a random invitation to prayer. That invitation turned out to be my restoration, turnaround, and fulfillment that I had been searching for this entire year. I needed to let go of every plan, every dream, and every moment of my wondering of what I thought that I could do and realize that God has to be in full control. And on top of that- I needed to trust Him and believe it. Later that night I felt a huge tug on my heart to call out to a friend that I had not been the most intentional with.

Over the past two years God has put this friend on my heart as someone who could help me grow in my faith but I didn’t ever give this person a chance. I would always give God- and him- excuse after excuse about how it would never work. In reality, I was giving in to the enemy’s lies and believing them that there was no hope or purpose for this person in my life. At the end of every day I knew that God had a plan for this person and that the Lord’s light completely shined right through them. And I think that’s exactly what the enemy didn’t want. The enemy didn’t want me to grow closer to another believer and believe that I didn’t need God or the body of Christ. Boy, was I wrong.

I need Jesus daily and I need my fellow brothers and sisters to not only remind me but to hold me accountable and to encourage me through His love daily. During that night I prayed to God that if this really something that He wanted for  me to do then to have this person respond within a couple hours- he did. And that’s not even the best part. During this time I felt so convicted of being a poor friend and not upholding my responsibilities of being a Christ follower. When I confronted this friend they had nothing neglectful to say about me. This friend actually encouraged me and showed me comfort through the eyes of Jesus. It was at that moment when I knew that Jesus had a plan all along, and although stubborn people like me need to fall a few times to listen, Jesus will always be there for us with open arms.

I think that’s the biggest lesson that I have taken away during these past four years. No matter what happens, no matter what stupid decision that I make, and no matter how stubborn I may be God will always be waiting there for me with open arms for me to come home. And that’s what we should be doing as His followers as well. We need to set the example and model the actions and love of Christ just like Jesus and what He did. He loved us SO much that He made the ultimate sacrifice so we never have to feel neglected, ignored, or lost ever again.

I am beyond thankful for my experience at the university that I chose and for a good Father who loves me SO much, unconditionally. AND He’s willing to put the right people in my life to remind me that as well. I am so blessed and I can’t wait to see what adventure that God has planned for me next.

worship

– xoxo, Brooke Allison

Family of NFL Player Konrad Reuland Meets Organ Donation Recipient

About five months ago NFL player Konrad Reuland had experienced an aneurysm that had ruptured behind his left eye. About one month later he was pronounced brain dead. During this time Reuland was in a coma for about two weeks. This tragedy made a huge impact on Reuland’s family and team. Not too long after the death of Reuland, an organ donation recipient was about to have a changed life receiving Reuland’s heart and kidney.

Three months after this operation the family of Reuland finally had the opportunity to meet the man who received their son’s heart and kidney. The receiver happened to be another former athlete and a baseball American League player, Rod Carew.

Carew fought a huge battle with heart attacks in the previous years. Reuland was a miracle and an answer to Carew’s prayers. During this time Reuland’s family was also given the opportunity to listen to their son’s heart for the first time since his passing. This time was a very special moment for both, the Carew and Reuland families. They were able to cherish and celebrate the life of Konrad and understand first hand experience about the importance of organ donation.

This recent event was a huge promotion for Share Life and the importance of organ donation world wide. This story is a huge PR moment for many- the NFL, Share Life, and even National Organ Donation Month. The lives of Reuland and Carew have made an enormous impact and have opened the eyes of many because of their story. The world of public relations need to find stories like these to not only gain the attention of their audiences but also motivate their hearts.