Keeping Your Dreams Alive

Oh great, another motivational message or story of inspiration about how I shouldn’t give up and keep on fighting” blah blah blah.

I can already hear those thoughts as they scroll along to find titles like these jumping out at them involuntarily and threatening their pessimism. Hey, I know it’s not always easy to keep pressing towards a goal that feels mostly an uphill battle. Uncertainty can be like walking on a tightrope with wobbly legs just to keep your sanity. A never ending roller coaster of highs, lows, twists, and turns. Just try your best not to throw up!.. or throw in the towel.

Do you know what victory feels like? Do you know that the life you crave and desire is possible? Just the idea alone of having hopes and dreams tucked away so safety in your heart that eventually come to fruition is unbelievable! It feels like magic. It’s even more fulfilling when you’ve written them down and dated them somewhere. I actually encourage it! I look at it as an act of pure faith because even when you can’t see it, you’re preparing for it. Start a journal, mood-board, pinterest, or whatever style that fits you best to articulate what you want. Anything is possible with time and a heart that refuses to quit.

knowing who you are and what you want is half the battle. If you don’t know the goal you’re trying to reach, how are you supposed to know where to start? It’s completely normal to question your dreams. Where did they come from? How long have the roots been growing inside of my heart? Am I willing to do everything in my power to feed it, or rip it out and cut it loose? That might be a little painful, so make sure you aren’t trying to uproot something that might be destined for you.

I totally believe that God plants dreams and desires in our hearts for a strategic purpose that we may not always see or understand at first. Take the time to look inside the deepest depths of your soul and ask for wisdom on what you need to feed, and what you need to starve. If anything isn’t of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, or self-control then I would question yourself if you want to continue growing it. The last thing you want are the negative attributes showing up in your life.

Battlefields aren’t always physical. One of the biggest battlefields is right between your ears. Pay attention to your thoughts. Patterns. The way you speak to others and yourself! Some of the giant dream killers can sneak up on you in moments of pain and weakness. The thoughts that tell you, “It isn’t possible. It hasn’t been done before! You won’t make it, so you might as well just give up now.” Well I’m here to tell you that those thoughts are total BS. Total lies that are used time and time again that we often give way too much power to. The only one stopping you at most times, is you!

Keeping your dreams alive isn’t always going to be easy like a Sunday morning; however I can tell you that the perseverance and character you’ll build through the trying times will significantly outweigh any pain you had to go through in order to get there. Keep on fighting, because I promise you will make it.

~Xo, Rachel.

Best Church Quote ~ Feed your faith and your fears will starve to ...

The Girl On The Train

It was a breezy Sunday morning. A rain storm welcomed the blinding sun that was trying at best to peek through the iridescent clouds. The sky painted a colorful picture with hues of pinks and blues. It was stunning after a treacherous storm as a reminder that dark skies and loud booming can actually serve as an indication that beauty lies ahead, and adversity is for a greater purpose. However, not everyone sees it that way. God knows she didn’t.

“What is it?”  He asked. His eyes fixed on her in a silent cry of desperation and hope for rekindling what could have been.  Staring blankly out of the window of a moving train, she didn’t physically acknowledge him, but his question pierced her heart like a dagger.  She heard him loud and clear. The red stain from her lips gave the charcoal tea cup she grasped in her hand some personality.

Deliberately getting lost in the trees and rivers as they were passing through as if to deter him.  She needed something, anything just to avoid answering his question, as if it wouldn’t come up again. “Look at me.” He demanded. “I can’t. Not right now.” She darted back, still avoiding eye contact.  

It had never been easy for her to hide things from him, let alone anybody.  Eventually convincing herself that this will soon be nothing but a memory, a bad nightmare, all forgotten; blind to the fact that past events have a funny way of repeating themselves.   Perhaps not right away, but the good Lord does have an interesting sense of humor and sometimes does bring us back to what we ran so far from, left unresolved, and maybe even feared the most.  

He walked through the divider straight to the second sleeping car just to collect his thoughts.  Deep down he knew the truth. A certain truth he avoided confronting at all costs. He knew where this was headed.  As the famous quote says, “Rome was not built in a day”, well.. neither was a broken relationship torn down. That doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual fade.  Sometimes you’re not even aware that it’s happening, because sometimes people are really good at hiding!

She thought she dealt with it, only for this to resurface yet again in such an unforgiving way.  It feels like a tsunami with no warning signs or time to take cover, and you’re lucky if you can stand on your own two feet again.  Over and over again, the waves crash and take you under. Each time you stand again you gain new strength, but it still hurts. The pain of a lost love.

Deep breaths, mind pulsing, heart racing.  All she could do to extract herself from the pain was to use any distraction as her aid, her saving grace; which was her involvement with him. He was an honest man.  A good man. A great companion. He was a faithful man, but he was not who she truly loved.  

“How did we get here?”  A repetitive dialogue between her and herself that wouldn’t quit.   She knew that love was a choice, not some butterflies or endless feeling of bliss you get. She was also wise enough to know that you can’t let anything hold you back from living your life, but she also felt trapped because there was much conflict inside of her.  “What does it all mean? Is there a bigger plan? A brighter picture ahead different from what I see now?” She kept asking, desperate for an answer.

The difficult part was accepting her truth. She said goodbye to something she knew in her bones wasn’t right, but couldn’t understand why.  He was the calm after a rainstorm. A soothing balm for her broken heart. But that was all. She craved something more, and she knew it existed because she felt it once. Almost like divine alignment.

In preparation for the plans that lie ahead, it required her to kiss the present goodbye, because it wasn’t meant to follow her into the future.  It was one of the hardest decisions that’s ever been made, but she knew it’s what needed to be done despite what others thought or said. She wanted to feel something again.

She learned a lot through being with him and has no regret.  The memories will last forever, and that’s what makes it beautiful. Some master plan will continuously be revealed with each step of faith she takes.  Throughout every season she’ll endure, a passage of time shines like a beacon of light.  A hope for the love she so craves and prays for.

She doesn’t always know where she’s going, but has enough faith to get through the darkest of nights. Every storm that rears its ugly head won’t break her. The coldest morning that awakens her will be nothing but inspiration for her to keep going because of the fire that burns inside. She knows that beauty lies ahead, even when she can’t see it.

~Xo, Rachel.

When I Realized That I’m Selfish

You know what can bring the absolute worst out of you? Relationships. Now I’m not just talking about dating here, I mean ALL kinds of relationships. Every dynamic possible; which there are many. What is it that requires all of them to flourish and function properly? Work. Relationships take work! However I will point out, It’s also the little things that can bring you one step closer to betterment, or two steps further from it!

Little things. Ah, the little things! Little things such as telling them how much you love and appreciate them for who they are. Taking out the trash. Doing the dishes or laundry so they can just come home to a clean house and relax.

Okay let’s be real.. I’m nowhere near always doing what I just described! If you are, then more power to you! I’ve learned that when you truly love someone, you’ll want to do everything in your power to somehow contribute and make their life ten times better and easier. You don’t just focus on your needs and wants anymore, but you take them and their needs into consideration as well.

Okay, story time! It was a gloomy afternoon, and I had just got off from work. I usually arrive home a couple hours before my mom. We’re like best friends, but still have the mother/daughter dynamic. I love her so much. Side note; I know that finding your own place can be a process, but if you’re over eighteen and living with anyone in your family, monthly payments should be a no-brainer! Just felt the need to throw that out there. (Don’t hate me lol.)

I hung up my keys, dropped my workbag on the kitchen chair, and hightailed it to the bathroom. I did my skincare routine, drew a hot bath, lit a few candles, and eased myself into the tub. Following that I cleaned up around the house a bit, and started to make dinner. The smell of zesty chicken parmesan permeated throughout the house; or whatever I had that night- who knows.

I made enough for just me, and gleefully walked into the living room to eat and watch Netflix. Typical American, huh? About thirty minutes later the back door creaked open, and the chill from the cold air outside swept throughout the kitchen. The sound of heels clomping across the echoing floor caused me to get up to greet her. As I made my way into the kitchen she paused, looked at the empty plate where my dinner used to be, and then shot a glance at me. The look she gave me was so cold, it could have shattered ice. “Thanks for making dinner for me, Rach.”

I couldn’t believe it, she was fluent in sarcasm! My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach, because I had realized that what I did (or didn’t do in this case) was a total act of selfishness. I hadn’t even thought to make dinner for her! After a long day of work she had, why hadn’t I thought of it? Am I only thinking of myself? In what other areas of my life could I be affecting people like this and not even knowing it? Scary stuff, man.

My mind began to go one hundred miles per hour trying to figure out why I didn’t think of anyone else at the moment! I apologized, and am now aware that I just honestly don’t think sometimes. It doesn’t come out of resentment or the wanting to be selfish, I just honestly don’t think sometimes! I catch myself doing it still, so I’m working on it. I’m far from perfect, but I’m grateful in hindsight for this situation, because if it hadn’t occurred, I’d be walking around with bloody blinders on! Did you hear that last part with a British accent too? Just me?

Anyway, I hope this little story can teach you something. Are there areas in your life where you tend to be a bit selfish? Well the first step is to acknowledge it, and the second is to keep working on yourself! Let’s remember that it’s not all about us, and happiness is definitely a team effort.

~Xo, Rachel.

21 Life Lessons I’ve Learned

  1. Life is not a race!

Go at your own pace. Everyone’s path is different, and there is no set time that you ought to to have a solid career, partner, or anything that others pressure you about.

2. Looks definitely aren’t everything.

A happy disposition on the outside doesn’t mean a happy one on the inside.

3. Staying true to your word will benefit you.

Isn’t it crazy how ten years built on the foundation of trust can be shaken and uprooted by one act or misdemeanor? Going back on your word or being flaky with people isn’t a good reputation.

4. If you like them, for the love of God just tell them!

Let me just say that regret from not saying something will last a lot longer than the pain of rejection. You’ve nothing to lose, dear.

5. As a woman it’s okay to make the first move, but do not chase.

Hey, guess what? It’s the twenty first century! Women can totally let a dude know she’s into him, but chasing isn’t ideal. It feels good being pursued and wanted, but it’s also a two-way street.

6. Life is way too short to stay mad at someone.

Welcome to the jungle peeps, but it’s definitely not all fun and games! When it comes to anger, just live and let die. Tainted love happens, but whatever you do, don’t stop believing. If you didn’t notice, I’m heavily influenced by 70’s and 80’s music.

7. 70’s and 80’s (oldies) music will NEVER go out of style!

I totally didn’t plan this segue, but alas! Here it is. This music is just the best I’ve ever heard, I mean who doesn’t love jammin’ out to livin’ on a prayer?

8. Beneath the surface, we don’t have it all figured out.

And we never will! Don’t care how old you are, because no matter how many years pass by you will never have everything totally figured out. Sorry!

9. Don’t ever settle for anything! ..Like ever.

Good things take time, so spare yourself some heartache and resist to accept less than you deserve! Whether it’s out of loneliness, or fear that you won’t get it- It’s just not true!

10. Spend more time with your family as you get older.

Tomorrow is promised to no one. If you have family that loves you and wants the best for you, stay in touch! You never know the last time you could see them. Make it all count and try not to leave anything angry or unresolved.

11. It’s okay to lose “friends.

True, genuine friendship is hard to find as you get older. You can talk to as many people as you want, but you can only trust few, and that’s okay! More often than not, very few will be your true friends.

12. You can say no without explaining yourself.

Last time I checked, “No.” is a complete sentence! It’s simply a response that you’re fully entitled to. You don’t always have to explain your reasoning, sometimes it just is what it is.

13. The ocean taught me to be still.

While the ocean is definitely not still, there’s a sense of peace I get every time from being near it. Majestic waves and colorful skies cause me to realize that life is beautiful, and we shouldn’t take it for granted. We should cherish all of it.

14. Set your own boundaries before someone sets them for you!

This applies more so towards dating, but the same rules apply in any type of relationship! Do you have certain boundaries you wanna stick to? Make them known and make sure you’re both on the same page.

15. There is no time limit for an emotional wound.

If something hurts, it hurts. Not all wounds are superficial, some cut real deep. While time does heal, it also gives us a chance to reflect and remember. Give yourself some grace, and heal at your own pace.

16. No matter what you do, God will always take you back.

I experienced this first hand when I shut God out of my life. I knew I needed Him when I became a different person. The only way back was through Him. He will always love you, no matter what you do or how far you run!

17. Having a go-with-the-flow mentality leads to crazy adventures!

I can’t tell you how many stories I have simply because I went with the flow. Some things aren’t meant to be planned, scheduled, or analyzed. Sometimes you just need to let go and just have fun!

18. You cannot force a connection, either it’s there or it isn’t.

Now this may just be me, but I’ve found this to be very accurate! I think it happens unexpectedly when a spark of familiarity between you and another person recognizes each other. Go with your gut, because it’s probably right!

19. Taking good care of your body is a must!

Sleep, exercise, pamper, repeat! If only life were that simple, right?! Yes, life gets crazy, but you must make it a point to set time aside to recharge and show love to yourself by treating your body as a temple. I mean, you’ll be in it for the rest of your life so at least make it the best it can be, alright?

20. Learn to let go.

You know that old saying if you love something let it go? It’s true my dears! By releasing everything that you’re holding onto, you’re giving God time and space to do what He wants to do in your life. Learn to trust, and believe that what’s meant to be will be. Focus on you in the meantime.

21. Making Jesus the center of my life changes everything.

To give up anger for peace, loss for love, hurt for healing, and fear for faith; I needed to make God the center of my life. I notice a huge difference when he’s not in the center and when he is.

The Funny Thing About Timing

It’s a nice evening out with your best friend. Soft music in the background creates a relaxed atmosphere. A sparkling glass of champagne accompanies your right hand as you indulge in detailed conversation about your life. You’ve been waiting on something for a while, and it’s getting rather frustrating! Your best friend tries to encourage you by saying, “It’s gonna happen when it’s supposed to happen. You know.. when the timing is right.”

Stop the breaks. Did she really just..? Yep. She said …those words. You know, those same words that have circulated from generations upon generations? The same words that you’ve heard your whole life from people who have taught and mentored you in the way you should go? Yeah, those ones. You then do one of two things. You will either force a smile, nod, then quickly gulp the rest of the nearly full glass of champagne down your throat to swallow your doubtful words. Or, you will put your glass down, lean in, and open up sincerely about what it’s like to really wait on something that feels so far away. That’s basically what having faith in something is like, right? The truth is, it’s the uncertainty of it all that really petrifies us.

Some people will wait for ten minutes. Some for a year, some for ten, and some for even twenty-five! When it comes to waiting for something that you know for a fact is coming— (like a bus or Uber for instance), then the waiting part isn’t as difficult or annoying. If the ride is a few minutes late, you probably wouldn’t sweat it too much because you know it’s coming regardless if it’s on time or not. But what about waiting for a breakthrough? What about waiting for love? How about children of your own when you can’t seem to get pregnant? That’s where things can get.. interesting for lack of a better word.

What I’ve found to be true in my own life is that letting go and giving up is actually harder than waiting. Strange, right? There are definitely pros and cons to that characteristic. The pro is that when you start to see things align and come together so beautifully; almost like they were ordained and destined to happen, then the waiting part doesn’t seem so bad after-all. It actually makes for a great story! The con is that when it falls a part and life flashes before your eyes only to leave you questioning why you waited on something that doesn’t even seem possible, well that’s enough to rip your heart out. Repeatedly. It sucks.

Even though you don’t see it right away, God has such a unique way of bringing good out of crazy and often times painful situations. I believe He really works through space and time. Those two things we can’t touch or feel, so that’s why it’s totally out of our control- which can make it really hard to trust and have faith that things will work out.

If you’ve been waiting or praying on something, I’m here to tell you to not give up if you truly believe in it. Every time I want to throw in the towel on some of the things I’ve been waiting on, there’s always a specific picture that comes to mind. The picture is of a man in a diamond mine that gave up literally right before he hit the jackpot of diamonds! He gave up, and then someone else got the reward instead without the heavy labor he endured because his work was all for nothing.

Don’t be like that foolish man. If you truly believe in something or have faith in it, then stick to it! Either God will change your perspective and heart towards it, or it will happen in such a way that will knock your socks off! ..Do people still say that anymore, or just me..? Anyway— just don’t give up. You were made to have an abundant life, and the desires and dreams planted in your heart are there for a reason. Keep them safe, nourish them, and watch how everything unfolds. But remember, just as it takes time for flowers and trees to grow, so does it for the dreams and desires you have.

~ Xo, Rachel.

Did He Really Say Tho..?

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11.

For me, this is the verse that always feels like a drop of water in a heated desert. It’s something that I like to hold on to whenever I need it, which is pretty often! Does it mean hardship gets any easier? Absolutely not. But what it does mean is that there’s hope for the future; and hope is a very dangerous thing for a positive personality type.

Growing up in a very spirit-filled church, I saw some pretty amazing acts of God and miracles that you couldn’t deny. I’ve witnessed things I can’t even comprehend from an outsider’s perspective, as well as my own! If you grow your relationship close to God, He may gently reveal certain things to you through His word, other people, and little happenings that seem to keep popping up; almost as a nudge for you to pay attention.

Hearing God’s voice is totally real! He can make Himself and the desires for your life very clear. It often takes time, and a willingness to be still and listen. However, sometimes it can get hard when you feel something tugging at you, and then question if it’s really God talking because you just can’t see how it’s possible.

Has anyone ever told you they would do something and didn’t follow through? Call it what you will; a dishonest/false hope, a broken promise, or a voice of deception that you wished would have never been spoken at all. Well, sometimes we can feel that way with God when things go south. Even the verse Jeremiah 29:11 might feel like a lie or empty words to someone who just lost their job, a loved one, or even a dream. But God does not lie.

While it’s easy to feel mislead and even lied to in what I like to call- the process, it’s normal to get upset. Do you believe that God has spoken anything over your life? Do you believe that His purpose is to prosper you and not to harm you? Again, I know it’s not always easy, but I wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone. If you’re waiting and praying on something, stay encouraged! He knows what we need, when we need it, and is very interested in every little detail of our lives. “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Luke 12:7

One thing I will point out is to really test whatever you believe you may be hearing. This is one of the most important parts of it all! Whether it’s a prophetic word, a certain peace that you can’t explain, or even God Himself gently revealing His plans and desires for you, it’s a good idea to discern whether it’s the voice of truth. I also want to point out that it doesn’t always have to make sense! His ways are way higher than ours, so stop trying to figure everything out, because you never will! What I’ve often found to be true is that God likes to use what seems to be the impossible and makes it possible so the glory goes to Him alone. That’s the whole point!

So if you’re reading this today hoping for a little flicker of hope or a wave of encouragement, take it. God so loves you, even when you can’t always feel Him! If you don’t understand or feel confused when it comes to hearing and following, open up your heart and allow Him to come into your life, not only will you find direction, but peace and joy that doesn’t make sense will find you.

~ Xo, Rachel.

How To Be More Confident

You see it in movies, you see it in magazines, and you want to experience it whether you’re aware of it or not. You simply desire to be accepted for you. The real you. The stinky breath in the morning, far from perfect, sometimes disorganized, messy hair with a cup of tea and a stained T-shirt type of you. And you’re beautiful.

Now that’s just reality folks! We don’t always smell of lilacs and roses 24/7, and we certainly can’t rely on our trusty pillow and arbitrary sleeping patterns to ensure we wake up with hair that’s effortlessly Kardashian approved. But it’s the constant imperfections that remind us we’re merely human, and that’s alright.

Growing up I had a lot of encouragement and affirmations from my family, people from church, and close friends. However like almost everyone, I was also teased about certain things. “You’re too skinny. You’re dumb because you can’t solve simple math equations. You’re so forgetful.” The list went on and on! For a little bit I actually started to believe the lies, but then realized that God made me who I am for a reason. So I thought, take it or leave it, this is me!

We all have our own weaknesses, and should always be improving ourselves. I realized that as long as I accepted myself for wherever I’m at with a willingness to get better, that’s all I need. I made the decision to love myself- flaws and all. And so should you! I felt extremely more confident when I shifted my perspective, and I also made a few other adjustments to my daily lifestyle. So I want to share them with you in the hope that you’ll become more confident too!

  1. Know Your Weaknesses & Embrace Them: This is the first step I took to becoming more confident. Everyone you encounter in this life has something to teach you; whether that be insight on yourself as an individual, or just a lesson you’ll need for later. When you know your weaknesses, you’ll know what to target and work on. Enjoy the process! The journey is only as good as your perspective and ability to love your imperfections.
  2. Know Your Worth: Are you aware of how amazing and intricate you are? Nobody has ever been like you, and no one ever will be. You owe it to yourself to claim your worth and start living like you’re a man/woman of value. Walk with your head straight even when you feel like hiding. Look people in the eye while talking to them even when you feel shy. Remember to smile!
  3. Let Them Go: Yes, them. You know, them? Those pesky little reminders that pop up every now and then to try to steal your joy? Every single hurtful word spoken over your life that bears no fruit of positivity or progression. Every single lie, criticism, and negative opinion of you; let them go. Brush it off and move forward. Life does not get easier my dears, so you’ll need some thick skin if you’re planning to survive.
  4. Learn To Be Happy Alone, & Wait For What You Deserve: This is not coming from a place of bitterness or cynicism. I’ve noticed that I absolutely love being by myself! It is possible to find peace, purpose, and happiness in solitude. When you come to realize that you can be truly happy by yourself, your confidence will go through the roof. Why? You’re not dependent on anyone. It actually raises the standard for what you TRULY deserve when it comes to finding a life partner. You see, when you’re dependent on something/someone, you may not care about the quality or value. You may just take whatever you can get as long as you aren’t alone, and that is very scary. You don’t need someone to complete you or be whole.It’s about wanting to be with someone, not needing. Understand the difference. Live life, build your assets, and let God choose and present someone who will do life with you and make it ten times better!
  5. Take Care Of Yourself: I’m talking inner and outer here people. Take up new hobbies! Do whatever lights your fire to the best of your abilities. Talk to people and become a more well-rounded individual. Learn to be gentle with the way you think, talk, and respond to yourself. When it comes to outer appearance, try to look your best every single day, even if you’re exhausted and just going to the grocery store! This may sound excessive, but it always works for me. Simply put, put some care and thought about what kind of message you’re subconsciously sending to the world. Stained clothes, messy hair, and dark circles say, “Hey, I dress in the dark, I don’t take care of myself, and have no real confidence or self-esteem.” Please, don’t. Just don’t. You will thank me later, I promise.
  6. Stop Caring What Others Think Of You: Oh. My. Goodness! I can’t express how tired and annoyed I get at myself whenever I start to actually care about what others think of me. Listen, if you live your life to please everyone around you, you might as well be dead because you won’t be living the life you’re meant to. I thankfully learned to stop caring what others thought a long time ago. With my being the blunt person I am, I just didn’t see the point of it. Have I said or done some pretty crazy things because I felt it was necessary? Absolutely! Was I ever scared or worried what people might think? At first, yep. After a few minutes, nope! At the end of the day as long as you’re true to yourself and following whatever you feel is the right path, say what you need to say. Do what you feel you need to do. Who cares! Stay true TO YOU. That’s all that matters.

Above all else, just love yourself the way you wish to be loved. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Don’t give up on improving yourself, because no one will push you to be the best version of you except YOU.!!

~ Xo, Rachel.

Why I’m Waiting

Wait, wait, wait. Is she really going there? Uh, yep! Best believe I am!

To start this off, FIRST AND FOREMOST: my intention is not to harm or offend anyone who may be reading this. These are my beliefs, and I’m not forcing them on anyone, nor trying to. Okay, great. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s go!

If you don’t know me well, I’m not shy at all when it comes to much. Especially when it comes to talking about some things that may be labeled as “taboo” or “non-accepting” for the “nice, average Christian woman to talk about.” While I may be nice, I’m not average. So allow me to break that awkward, shameful stigma for a hot minute; because to me, it really is weird! And sad.

Sex! It’s literally everywhere. Movies, social media, music, and our minds. Pardon my bluntness, but if anyone tries to act like a self-righteous individual who thinks they’re a person of moral superiority to others, they may say that they’ve never had any impure thoughts or emotions.. and I’m calling them out! I don’t buy it at all. Although I will admit it’s more of a desire and temptation for some than others, it’s still a natural craving that’s both normal and healthy. God is a God of intimacy and love, and that’s beautiful.

Growing up in my world, sex was not a taboo/shameful subject at all in my family! I had a hard time comprehending the reality of two people having a deep connection with each other as a result of love. The reason being, I never witnessed true love and affection between my parents, because they got divorced by the time I was just four years old. So the idea of a man and woman coming together because they truly loved each other was just a fairy tale that I saw in movies. Since I didn’t see it in my own home, a part of me denied it’s existence as a whole even at a young age.

I was taught what sex was by the time I was in fourth grade …isn’t that insane!?! So, I brought it up to my mom and dad. They smiled at me with a look of calmness, and told me that it’s a beautiful gift God designed to be shared just between me and my husband. They shared personal stories of how sex outside of marriage actually caused pain, because it’s not God’s will for us. That’s the truth ladies and gents- it sucks sometimes, I know!

I was able to understand what they were talking about. I also thankfully had mentors and spiritual leaders who straight up said at team leaderships, “Sex is awesome!! But it’s even better when you’re in a covenant (marriage) with the one God has for you.” So at a very young age, I decided to make a promise to God, myself, and my future husband that I would wait. I’m now twenty-one, and still waiting.

Have there been times where I’ve wanted to give it up? Uhhm duhhh! I’m gonna be real with you, okay. Waiting is extremely difficult. Have there been times where the opportunity presented itself? Absolutely. But even science backs up the fact that during the act of sex, hormones are physically released from our bodies that helps strengthen the bond/connection between you and your person. The thought of having several connections with different people is disheartening to me, because I don’t believe that’s what we were designed for.

But Rachel.. you have to test drive a car before you drive it…?

Well, actually.. no. Today’s generation neglects to recognize how deep and meaningful sex was designed to be. Good sex comes with good connection, communication, learning about each other’s bodies/desires through time, and giving your undivided attention. The wanting to give of yourself and make your spouse feel as good as possible as opposed to being selfish with it makes a huge difference. You have to be a special kind of stupid if you think that marriage will always be a bed of roses, because it won’t! That’s why you have to keep working on your relationship and placing Jesus at the center of it. Also, since God created sex, why would He not bless you tremendously in that area if you’re following Him? Hello..?

Yes, I get this isn’t how life always goes. Sometimes love isn’t shared with just one person for the rest of your life. Some people split up. Some people choose different paths than what God may have desired for their life. Some people have several sexual partners. Everyone has a past, but God is a God of restoration, healing, and hope for your future if you choose to give it to Him. Also, remember that you can always draw a line in the sand and say, “look, I may have messed up, but that doesn’t define me. Now, I’m choosing to walk a different path because this is God’s will and desire for my life.”

To close it, the decision is to not only honor God with my body, but also my husband. It’s funny because I say my husband, even though I’m nowhere near having one. If and when God decides to bring the man He has for me, I want to be able to give him all of me. My everything. To be able to share, cherish, and appreciate a deep type of soul connection predestined by the author of love is one of the most amazing things I can’t even comprehend. I’m choosing to believe that a love like this can exist, and I hope you do too.

Whether you agree with me or not, I hope you get blessed. I’m willing to share this because I feel that we as a people need more of it. I try to be as authentic as I possibly can with the hope that it would reach someone out there and encourage them.

~ Xo, Rachel.

The Miracle

Life is full of seasons! You’re continuously walking through different ones whether you know it or not. Some are full of joy, and some are filled with sorrow. Some will bring you clarity, while others will leave you with unanswered questions. At least unanswered for that time being in your life.

Nobody knows the length and intensity of each season you’ll encounter but God. I’ve found that some of the hardest times whether it be emotionally, spiritually, physically, or all of the above create depth and character to each and every one of us. However, it’s up to us to take what we’ve learned from each lesson and apply it to our lives. If we don’t learn from it the first time, God will bring it back full circle again until we get it. Will you give up when it’s hard? Will you keep fighting for what you believe in and who you want to become? It’s all up to you.

If you want to become strong, you typically won’t just miraculously obtain supernatural strength out of nowhere. If you want to build muscle, you’ll have to work for it. Instead of sitting on the couch all day eating potato chips and twinkies, (btw those are nasty.. cut that -ish out k) you’ll need to get into a gym, or go outside and start training. If you ask for emotional / spiritual strength, you won’t just wake up with it one day. You’ll be involuntarily placed into situations/adversity that will knock you down and cut you so deep that it will truly take not only the hand of God, but also your perseverance to get back up again. This one is a toughie.

So, if you’re reading this right now congratulations. You’ve made it to another day! Whoohoo! You’ve probably had times in your life where you felt that maybe it’s all just too much, and you want to throw in the towel. Maybe you’re in a storm where it’s going to take an actual miracle for you to get out! Maybe you’re believing, waiting, and praying about something and it seems like your prayers are just bouncing off the walls. You may be asking, “What’s really going on here?” “Why is this happening to me though..?”

Allow me to shed some light! A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to God about something that I’ve brought up to Him only about 10 million times, asking the same questions over and over. “Why?” “Why did You do this?” “What is ACTUALLY going on?” Just being real here, k. The funny thing is that I ask the same things over and over again full well knowing that we can’t see the whole future, and His ways are totally higher than ours! Sometimes He’ll show us bits and pieces, but not always in full detail.

As I waited on Him and listened, I heard the softest voice ever. It brought so much peace, and really confirmed a lot to me. “Maybe the miracle isn’t getting what you thought the way you believed or wanted it to go. Maybe the miracle is the fact that you survived it all when the opposite happened.” It left me speechless. It was so profound.

We all have storms in our life, and so it’s easy to want to experience a miracle. A little spark of hope to encourage us that our happy ending is just on the other side waiting for us. But the miracle doesn’t always have to be proof of a hero coming in last minute to save the day, or a random breakthrough that totally changes your whole situation. That could happen, but it doesn’t always go that way. Your miracle could simply be the fact that you’re still here, and you survived the storm. You went through ALL of that, and you’re still here. Which is amazing!

Take heart, and know that miracles happen around us everyday. Some of them are only visible to us if we change our perspective, and learn to trust the process in each season of life we step into.

~ Xo, Rachel.

Have You Forgotten?

Where are you now? Are you where you want to be in your life? I think that most of us can agree that we’re not exactly where we should be, but we’re not where we used to be!

The fun and scary curve-balls that life likes to throw at us reminds us that we’re not in control, we never will be, and it’s okay! That’s the beauty of learning to trust in the process and enjoy the days we do have. It can be unbelievably easy to forget all of the goodness in our lives because the sounds of chaos and strife seem to be significantly louder than the gentle reminders of love and prosperity. If you come to think of it, there’s so many blessings to count!

The other day I was feeling very sad and angry about a few things. So what did I do? Well.. I love to write (obviously… this blog kinda backs that fact up!) So I whipped out my journal and started writing down as many blessings I could think of.

Example:

~ My family

~ My friends

~ My health

~ My ability to get good education

The list went on and on! Suddenly I had an epiphany. My eyes started to tear up. As I read everything I had written, I noticed how I automatically put the word, “My” in front of every blessing that was written. I came to realize that all of these things weren’t really mine! God gave them to me out of love because that’s how much I mean to Him. He is the one who gives and takes away, so who am I to call these things, “Mine?”

I felt an overwhelming flood of peace that surrounded me; even though my circumstances told me otherwise. If we come to understand that everything in this life is a gift given to us, our whole perspective on life and gratitude will change for the better. Whether you believe in God or not, I just want to tell you that He loves you and has so many good plans for your life. I hope you haven’t forgotten how far you’ve come, and remember to cherish all of the blessings that have come your way.

~ Xo, Rachel.