Passion Conference 2019

66122804I was blessed to be able to attend Passion Conference 2019 with my church at the beginning of the month.

It was not only my first time going to Passion but it was also my first church trip ever. There’s so much that happened over the three days that I am still trying to process.

God was definitely moving in my life as well as others there. It was a sold out venue. It was amazing to see so many others my age worshipping and praising God. It was so refreshing.

If I had to summarize the three-day conference in one word the word I would choose is: POWERFUL! Between the worship and the speakers, I can personally say my life was changed. My perspective on faith was challenged and strengthened all at once. I’m not quite sure how to explain all the emotions that were running through my mind.

Over the course of the three days, we heard from speakers like Louie Giglio, Chad Veech, Gary Haugen, Matt Chandler, and Christine Caine.

There are so many great messages and takeaways from the different speakers that we’d be here all day so I am just going to share the highlights and my favorites.


Louie Giglio opened up the conference the first night. He shared about the love and affection of a father.

“Jesus was forsaken by His own father so you will know that you will never be forsaken by yours.” 

Three points that were made that stuck with me were these.

  1. Primary relationship with God is like a relationship of a father and child.
  2. There is an enemy who has a plan for you. The plan is to shatter fatherhood and get rid of it.
  3. The gospel gives us a beautiful hope of a brand new birth.

You are no longer a slave to the fear of earning a fathers affection. You have His affection!


Chad Veach brought a message called: THE PLACE I CRAVE 

“Hope is an architect, but faith is the builder.”

Hebrews 11: 6 tells us: And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. 

Let’s raise our faith and not put the power of God into a box! It is impossible for God to lie. We have this unshakable hope. Be encouraged that Jesus is praying for you when you feel like no one is because He is the high priest. 

“Everything I need is in His Presence.”

Psalms 42:2 – my soul longs to be with you JESUS. 

  1. Whatever you run to, you trust. We run to God because we love Him and trusts Him.
  2. Hide in His faithfulness. The way God works is backward from us. When we hide in His faithfulness we can watch what He can do.
  3. Everything I need is in His presence. God gives us strength. We come in one way but leave changed. We find new strength. God may pull you in but He will send you out. 
  4. He’s trying to anchor me in His love. We must drop our anchors in Him.  

Next, we heard from Gary Haugen. He spoke on being a light in the darkness.

John 8:12 tells us: Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

You are the light of the world! We know from scripture that Jesus is the light of the world. However, He turns around and tells us that we are the light of the world. 

“This is God’s plan for bringing glory to Himself in the world; it’s to raise up sons and daughters of light who shows the world what His goodness looks like.”

God builds bonfires from little bits of light. Our job is to let Him take our little light use it for His glory.


Matt Chandler really spoke to me. His message was very thought-provoking and really made me think about things.

He used John 4:1-42 as the Scripture reference. It talked about how Jesus had to pass through Samaria. This was the first I AM statement which I found really interesting.

You can’t fight the devil in the dark. He will knock you out. You need to fight him in the light. 

“To be 99% known is to be 1% unknown…”

Wow! That statement right there really struck me hard. You see fear wants us to believe that hiding is better than being seen and being known. God wants all of you: not just the good version of you, not just the “presentable” version of you. He wants the real you. He is interested in the whole you, all of you, every single part.

Psalms 139:1 tells us: You have examined my heart and know everything about me. 

How you understand God matters? Jesus will not be dodged.


Last but certainly not least we heard from Christine Caine. She was another one of my favorite speakers from the conference. I love how open and vulnerable she is.

Jesus marveled…. thaumazo = Greek word. Marveled is only mentioned twice in the New Testament. 

When you get familiar and start taking things for granted we lose all the wonder and amazement of Jesus. It was the unbeliefs of the people that kept JESUS from doing miracles. 

Would we have faith the would make Jesus marvel? 

“You can’t impress God but you can amaze Him with your faith. I want a faith that makes JESUS marvel.”

If we stopped trying to amaze each other and start amazing God then He would start doing amazing things. When you realize that He is everything then it takes the pressure off of you! 

Our calling is not our career path. 

Faith is predicated on trust. If we don’t trust God we won’t follow Him. We have to trust that God will work all things together for good and for His glory. God never said you weren’t going to have pain. He did say that He was going to be there right with you through it. 

Somewhere spiritually speaking you came in here in the back of an ambulance. 

The issue isn’t are we going to die but are we going to live the life Jesus put us on the earth to live?


WOW! Her message was powerful and gave me a lot to think about for sure. Overall, this conference was amazing and really filled me up Spiritually. God is so good and He is always faithful. As I continue to meditate on everything I learned, it just makes me feel blessed that I have a relationship with Jesus. A relationship that continues to grow as I open up my heart, soul and mind to everything He has to teach and offer me.

The Year of Being Intentional

Can you believe that another year has begun? Wasn’t it just the beginning of 2018 and here we are January 1st, 2019. I swear the year went by fast. Whether you like it or not, the truth is we have a brand new year right in front of us.

Every year for the past two years I choose a word of what I want to focus on throughout the year.

  • In 2017 I chose DEEPER
  • In 2018 I chose THRIVE
  • So this year, 2019, I chose INTENTIONAL

Intentional? Now you are probably wondering what that means but I want to be intentional in so many areas of my life and how I live. This year I am declaring that it will be the year of being intentional.

  • I want to be intentional in my relationship with JESUS!
  • I want to be intentional in my friendships!
  • I want to be intentional in how I spend my time!
  • I want to be intentional in investing in others!
  • I want to be intentional in serving my community and church!
  • I want to be intentional with my blog!
  • I want to be intentional with my social media!
  • I want to be intentional in the way I write and with my words!

My verse for the year is found in the book of Ephesians. 

 Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. 

Ephesians 5:15-17 (AMP) 

This leads me to my goals for this year and how I am going to work to achieve them. When I set my goals for the year I don’t always achieve them and sometimes they change as the year goes on. Remember that no one is perfect but as long as you give it your best shot that’s all that matters.


1. Read the Bible Chronologically in a year!

  • I bought the One Year Expressions Chronological Bible.
  • It’s a journaling/coloring Bible.
  • My goal is to keep up with the reading each day.

2. Word Before World!

  • Start my day with Jesus!
  • Read my Bible before anything else.
  • Open His Word before my phone.

3. Mentorship!

  • Mentor someone this year.
  • Be mentored by someone this year.
  • Walk alongside them on their journey of faith
  • Encourage and keep them accountable.
  • Invest and be invested in.

4. Write More Often!

  • Journal every day.
  • Blog more often.
  • Write out my prayers.
  • Journal and doodle scriptures.
  • Get my personal thoughts down in writing.

5. Continue Improving My Prayer Life!

  • Pray daily.
  • Pray for others.
  • Write out my prayers.
  • Ask others what I can pray for.

These are just five of my goals. I’m sure I will have more as the year progresses. I’m not perfect and there will be times that I fail or things get in the way but as long as I remember to not give up or get discouraged I’ll be alright. As for now, this is what I will be focusing on and being intentional about. I pray as we start this new year that we reflect on all the blessings that are ahead.

How are you going to live this year? What word did you choose? I’d love to connect with you and pray for you as we start this new year.

 

Did I Thrive or Just Survive?

As I reflect back on 2018 one thing that comes to mind is this quote. ⠀

NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME OF MY CIRCUMSTANCES ARE… GOD IS GOOD. HE IS ALWAYS GOOD!!!

This is what I clung to over the past year. It wasn’t easy and at time painful, emotional, and exhausting but through it all God is faithful. He is good. God was with me every step of the way. ⠀

At the beginning of 2018, I chose a word for the year. My word was “THRIVE”. The idea came from a line in a song by Casting Crowns. I want to do more than just survive I want to thrive. That was my goal for this year.

Did I thrive? or Did I just survive?

I’d like to think that I did a little bit of both. There were definitely areas in my life that I thrived in more than others over the last year. As I looked back through my goals I feel like I accomplished some of them.

One thing that I thrived in was my prayer life and prayer in general. Prayer has become a huge part of my everyday life. Over the year praying for others has become a huge blessing to me. It makes me feel good that I am helping people by praying for them when sometimes that’s all you can do. Prayer has definitely been one of the only things that have gotten me through this year.  ⠀

Thriving in the area of serving and getting more involved in church. I am actively involved in childcare and preschool at my church. I volunteer once a month on Sundays back in preschool and I love every minute of it. Working with kids is a huge passion of mine. I love sharing the love of Jesus with them. This year I worked twice a month at church for MOPs. This is our church’s program for Mothers of Preschoolers. I got to work with the 4 and 5-year-olds and it was a blessing to me. There’s something about investing in the lives of kids that just makes my heart happy.

Another area of thriving was our young adult group Anthem. If you follow me on Instagram then you probably heard me speak of it. We meet on Thursday nights as well as Sunday mornings and let me tell you it’s one of the best things that has happened to me. It has changed my life for the better. The friendships that I have made over the last year I am truly thankful for. I love that I am accepted for who I am and that I can be real and authentic with them.

However, there are areas in life over the last year that I felt like I was just surviving. Health issues played a big part in life this year. I have had ups and downs and sometimes thought I was barely hanging on. It has been rough, emotionally, physically and mentally. I’ve cried more tears then I would like to admit there were times I wanted to just throw the towel in. It was only by God’s grace that I made it through. God was right there with me holding my hand.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or even what 2019 has in store but I do know that whatever comes my way God is with me. ⠀

I’m not sad about 2018 being almost through. In fact, I’m sorta excited because next year has to be better than this year. It just has to be. I keep telling myself that anyways. ⠀

There are lots I learned this year about God, myself, friends and life and I’m grateful to have experienced everything. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the mess all taught me lessons and made me stronger. ⠀

As you take time to reflect over the past year whether it was your best year yet or maybe your worst year please take heart and remember that God is good and you made it through with His help.

Hope Planner Review

img_2087.jpgIf you know anything about me you will know that I love a good planner. Lately, I have been looking for a new one and think I found my new favorite.

I’d like to introduce you to the Hope Planner that was created by Heather Vreeland.

It is a planner and prayer journal with room for scripture all in one.

The layout is nice and clean and easy to use. It is a 6-month undated planner so you can start at any time.

I chose to start mine in November. It comes with a Bible bookmark, gold foil monthly tab stickers, monthly goal planning and tracking, month and day view, Sunday view with praise, prayer and weekly “scribble” page for grocery lists team meeting notes, and more.

You can find the planner for sale for $34 on Heather’s website.

 

You Don’t Get It until You Live It

Everyone is going through something.

Just because they look fine and put together on the outside doesn’t mean they have it all together. Most of the time it just means they don’t let it show because people just don’t understand and pass judgment on them.

I’ve gotten a lot of opinions and advice over the years. People have told me time after time that I should trust God or press into Him. One of the most common phrases is well if you aren’t happy with your circumstance then do something about it to change them. Don’t keep focusing on what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have.

  • Everyone else doesn’t have it all together.
  • Everyone is going through something.
  • Stop comparing yourself to them.
  • There are people worse off than you.
  • You should be thankful you aren’t them.

You know what? That is like a stab in the heart right there. Of course, I know that others are worse off than me. Of course, I know that everyone is going through something. I should know this better than anyone.

What I don’t understand is this? Does that make what I am going through any less important? Does that mean my struggles, pain, hurt, and life shouldn’t matter?

Maybe it comes from dealing and living with a chronic health issue for over half my life. Maybe it comes from having to constantly watch others live the life I want. Maybe it’s just because I am a hot mess.

Whatever it is I want to open up and become a little more honest and vulnerable with you. If you have been following me here or over on Instagram you may have noticed that my heart has been changing lately. God has been showing and revealing to me that it’s okay to show the real me to you guys. It’s okay to not be strong all the time.

God has been speaking to me. He has been telling me that it’s totally normal and okay to show my struggles and pain to you all.

If I’m completely honest this summer has been super hard. I’ve been a complete trainwreck. Emotions have been all over the place. Health issues have been in full swing flare up mood. Life has been crazy. I’m just a hot mess express like my bestie Elyse calls me.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I opening up? Yes I know that I could get backlash and could even get criticized for this. But I feel like I need to speak the truth.

You don’t get it until you live it!

There, I said it. Now you can go ahead and think what you want but it’s the truth. Until you have to go through it and live it you don’t fully understand or get it. Sure you can think you know all about it and act like you have all the answers but the hard truth is that you don’t.

I want to share with you a couple things that you can do when you are faced with this kind of situation.

  1. Don’t accuse someone’s struggle isn’t important. We all go through things. One person’s struggle is just as important as someone elses. For example, one friend is dealing with someone having cancer, while another friend is dealing with constant migrane headaches. Both of these are valid struggles. Both of these affect that person. Don’t belittle or think one is worse than the other. They both are hard to deal with.
  2. Don’t go telling them that if they want to change their circumstances to just do it. You don’t know everything that is going on and it can do more damage then good sometimes. Changing your circumstances isn’t as easy as some may think. There might be complications that prevent that person from changing even if they want to.
  3. Don’t believe everything you see on social media. This one here my friend has casued me the most problems. People see that I post mostly good, uplifting, and encouraging posts. I may complain or share my struggle once in a while but everything isn’t alwasy what it appears to be. Social media sometimes gets a bad rap. People don’t post every single struggle or bad, messy parts of life. Most of the time it’s the fun, good times and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t assume that everything is good or that their lives are perfect.

I leave you with this my friends. Show some empathy and compassion. Instead of judging or saying hurtful words try being more understanding. Sometimes just listening and saying, I know that must be hard, you’ll get through this, I’m sorry you are struggle is all they need to hear. Of course you can always pray for them too.

I pray that this encourages you and gives you a little glimpse into my life. Although this summer was rough and hard I can say that God never left my side. He is good! He is faithful! He is always there for me and He brought me through.

Blessings, Grace Mae ❤