I was asked to be a guest blogger and write about "what I wish I knew." As I sat down and wrote a list, it was a page long... tears welled up in my eyes as I looked backward into my heart, my mind & my journey and wished I could start again.
"God, guide my hands as I type this message so I can share Your message."
I am naturally a sentimental person. I remember a lot. I keep a prayer journal to remind me of God's faithfulness. I keep hurts close. I remember words for longer than I should. I hold on to the past when God tells me to move forward. So this blog is hard and easy for me to do all at the same time.
Let's start with a little about me. I am a 26 year old momma and wife who strives daily to live passionately for Christ. I stay at home with my 18 month old dolly and enjoy capturing life through a lens with photography. I grew up on a farm and went to college near home. I met my husband while he and I were both attending that local University and from the moment I met him, my life was changed for the better.
Tyler quickly caught my attention and my heart and I guess that leads me to my first point and honestly my first regret- distraction.
Satan will use whatever he can to distract us from our whole heart being focused and on fire for Christ. If you are saved, he may use things that were meant for good for evil. Perhaps your life is filled with noise just as mine is. Good things, good noise but still...noise.
In my case, he used the pull of a close family and many events to distract, he used a relationship that was formed and orchestrated by God to distract, he used expectations of how life was supposed to go to distract me from my faith in God and bring questioning. Satan will do whatever he can to get you to love anything more than you love Jesus.
In my case, I regret not learning discipline and turning off the noise. I regret allowing the enemy to distract me from my passion and from opportunities to share my faith when I was in such a great environment to do so.
"God, I pray for focus...focus on You & the things that You want me to do for Your Kingdom. Help me share Your message."
After my husband and I met and fell in love, life was good. For me, it was Hallmark movie good. We met at church and our families loved us together. We soon found ourselves married and continued following Christ together. We had it easy, I think that is where my next regret comes in. I got stagnant in my faith. Where there was once passion and fire to share what God had done in my life, there was comfortableness.
I lived in that "on the mountain" phase for too long. You know that song, "...the God on the mountain is still the God in the valley..." Well, when I was on the mountain and life was good, I didn't seem to talk to God. I didn't pray, read His word, or even remember who He was most days. It seemed that my sense of comfort became something that pulled me away from my relationship with my Savior. Oh, how time was wasted and so much growth was lost because I chose to ignore my Father who had given me that "good life" I was content with. I regret comfortableness and allowing myself to get stale.
"God, I pray that even when life is good, You give me the desire and passion I need to walk with You each day and grow deeper in my knowledge of You. Help me when life is comfortable to share Your message."
About the time I realized how stagnant I had been in my relationship with Christ, I was asked to share my testimony at church. Fitting right?! This lead to a new found passion for what God had done and pulled me out of a sinkhole of staleness and into remembering how good our God is. This also brought ministry opportunities.
I had been considering, but didn't think much about, discipling someone college-aged. I had been reading in Timothy and knew the importance of walking alongside someone in their faith and mentoring them. So soon after sharing my testimony, I was asked to disciple a local college girl.
Just the act of obedience in sharing my story turned into one of my greatest blessings. In following the example of Paul & Timothy, I shared my story and my life with someone who needed encouragement, Godly advice, and someday's just a listening ear. This leads me to my last regret I'm going to share.
I had always thought that my story, my struggles, my fears, and my walk with Christ were mine and it wasn't something that needed to be shared. I hid all these things inside as I went about life as a "poser." I acted the right way and said the right things to other Christians, but I didn't share my real journey with anyone other than my husband. I wasn't allowing what God was teaching me and what He was doing in my life to bring glory to Him because I kept it all to myself.
I didn't allow God to speak and work through me because I was silent. God had placed people on my path, in my college classes, in my church, and in my workplace that needed me to be God's hands and feet. God wanted me to reach out to them, walk alongside them being REAL and GENUINE, but I didn't. I let too many people come in and out of my life during too many seasons without sharing the Gospel and loving them like Christ calls us to do.
"God, help me to not let one person that You place in my life miss seeing the love of Christ, the joy You bring, the hope only You give, & the relationship You can offer. Help me to share Your message."
These are just a few of my many regrets, but instead of dwelling on them- I look forward. I read His word and it tells me that He has given each of us a new day. Each new day allows us to grow, to push forward into creating new stories of how God has moved. Thank you, God, for the unending opportunity for fresh beginnings.
What I wish I knew in college and starting out as a young wife? To pray this prayer daily...
"God, please help us with starting over today. May we be able each day to put off our old self, quiet the noise in our lives, walk alongside someone in their journey, and take up our cross to share Your message."
"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." — Lamentations 3:22-23
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” — Ephesians 4:22-2
A little about my friend, Valyssa...
Valyssa currently lives in Maryville, Missouri with her husband of almost 5 years and daughter, Millie. She enjoys putting on cowboy boots, going out to the farm where she was raised, and enjoying all that God has created. She loves the simple life. She loves a little coffee with her sugar, her tea extra sweet and her antiques with a story. She is energetic and genuine about her walk with Christ. Her passion is to share Christ's love to others and pour Grace & Joy into others' lives just as so many have poured into hers.
Valyssa recently stepped out in faith and started her business, Reflecting Him Photography. She strives to use this business as a ministry and prays that she can be a light to those who may not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Valyssa shares her journey of photography, living life as a toddler momma, and becoming a Godly wife on Facebook and Instagram. Follow her here:
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