Advice and Encouragement to All (Part 2 of the Series)

Hello Hello Beautiful People! I hope you all are having a fantastic week! So, if y’all have been following along, this is the beginning of the second part of our “Advice and Encouragement…” series. Now typically my main audience is women, but today I am writing to all peoples today. With that being said, I pray that this message really encourages all of y’all, so let’s dive on in!With my nineteen years on this earth, I have noticed a lot of things about humanity. We all struggle. We all make mistakes, and we all sometimes have a tendency to get blinded or distracted by things in our walk with Christ. I can attest to this, and though I am not proud of where I have been, it is evident that through Jesus I have been able to mature and grow in my faith through these things. One thing I have noticed in particular is that we as a society have the developed the idea that Christianity and going to church is more of a religious ritual rather than a really intimate relationship with God. Now before you tune me out or click off of the page, hear me out. How many people in your churches can you think of attend every single Sunday, yet by their life choices you are left wondering where they stand with Jesus? How much more of an influx of people walk through the doors of the church on Easter Sundays and Christmas Eve/Day services? How many people do you encounter on a daily basis seemed turned off to Christianity because of the idea that you  have to “attend every Sunday and complete a “heavenly checklist” in order to be a good Christian. I want to tread lightly here, but with this ideology doesn’t it seem like you basically have work your way into heaven doing all of these “spiritual tasks?” Isn’t that the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches?

You know, even looking all the way back in Genesis, you can see that working our way into heaven was never God’s intention. Even all the way back in the garden, God’s entire intention was to have an intimate and strong relationship with His creation. It was only when the serpent entered into the garden and Eve fell to temptation when that strong relationship was hindered. That is why the practice of sacrifices was commanded. This was the atonement needed for our sins in order for us to be “blemish-free” in God’s sight. This provided a temporary way for an intimate relationship between God and man to flourish again. This idea was practiced until John the Baptist came along preaching repentance. And not long after, God’s true and final piece of His plan all came together when Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice–being crucified– for our sins. You see, when Jesus hung up there on the cross and died, that is the moment when the art of sacrificing ended. We no longer have to sacrifice lambs for our sins because Jesus did that for us. All we have to do is believe in Him and have faith in what He says (John 3:16).

Now let’s take this a step further. You’ve been saved now what? Well, remember what I said about God wanting to have an intimate relationship with Him? That is where this comes into play. Now that you know Jesus and you have allowed Him to be Lord over your life– and like any friendship that begins to develop after meeting someone– you have to get to know them. In the book I have been reading, Lady in Waiting… (as mentioned in the last post) it describes getting to know Jesus as this:

“Seeking God is very similar to developing a friendship. You talk  alotyou listen, you write each other letters, you think about each other, you find out what the other likes and does not like, and you try to do things that please that person. And the more intimately you love your friend, the greater your love will be. It works the same way with God”  (Jackie Kendall and Debbie Jones, pg  69).

The more intimately you love your friend, the greater your love will be. Wow. 

Speaking from experience here, this is so true. You see, looking back on my walk with Christ, I can see that when I came to God in times of need, or whenever I really started to be more intentional with Him that is when I really began to not only draw closer to him, but also fall in love with Him. Now that may seem a little odd, but it’s true. There is a friendship there. There is a connection. There is a strong relationship between God and me. Now I will be honest, there have been a few times where trusting God and who He is has not been easy. There have been times when my faith in Him and His promises had worn so thin that I was so close to giving up and ending the friendship. There have been times when I would talk to God and ask questions, yet no answers were given. But do you want to know what happened in those tough times?

Even though I didn’t get answers in that immediate moment, He gave me something even better: more of Himself. In those times where my faith was wearing thin, he came close to me, reminded me of who He was, and gave me the strength I needed to carry on.  And though there are some questions I still don’t know the answers to, I know the God who saved me and created me on a more personal and deeper level.

[Side Note: So I know some of y’all are wondering where I am going with this in regards to singleness, and I encourage y’all to keep reading. (Bear with me, I have a point with all of this!!)]

So I know some of y’all are probably thinking, “Yeah this is great in all but how does this help me? or “Yeah that’s cool for her, but how do I draw closer to Him?” And this is where I strongly encourage y’all to start reading the Word, or get involved in a local Bible Study group, and begin to put effort into your relationship with Him. And the cool thing is, is that you can come just as you are. You don’t have to use some fancy “church lingo” to talk to Him, you don’t have to put your best face on and try to act as if everything is okay. You can come just as you are. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what He wants you to do.

Matthew 11:28-30 states:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I can tell you time and time again in my walk with Christ, I have come to him utterly broken, angry, hurt, and I am sure many other things, but one thing that is for sure is that He has always met me where I am, and taken me further in my walk with Him and to places I have never imagined. And you know what? With wherever we went, there was nothing but great and beautiful things there. You see, God is good. It is not in His nature to be evil, “for [He] is gentle and humble in heart.” And He can be trusted.

Another thing is this: not only do I encourage you to start investing in the relationship with Christ, but also submitting and listening to what He says. If He is truly Lord over your life, you need to allow Him to take you to the places where He wants to go, not where you want to go. You see, you have the option to not follow, but I can tell you from experience that you may miss opportunities and blessing that could greatly help you. If you truly want to follow Him and allow Him to take you the places He wants to go, I encourage you to allow Him to make changes in your life so that He can work. I want to give you a warning: the changes may not be all that comfortable. It may not be easy all of the time, but I can assure you with every fiber of my being that it is worth it.

If you are serious about this, I want you to pray with me the following: “God, I love you. I want you to work in my life. I want you to be King, and with that being said, I state that I am the clay and you are the Potter. Please mold me and shape me and create me to be the person you want me to be. Thank you for all that you do. Amen.”

I have prayed this exact same prayer my sophomore year of high school, and after 3 years of molding and shaping… we are no where near done, but I am proudly attempting to fulfill the purpose and calling He has placed on my life, and it has been amazing.

Now for all of y’all who are waiting to see how this all ties in with being single, the moment has finally arrived!! You see, I wanted to say all of that because I strongly want to encourage y’all to pursue Jesus and fall in love with Him, and allow Him to have control of your dating life before you try to chase after anyone. One thing I think we all know is that humanity is broken. We aren’t perfect, and because of that it is impossible to perfectly love someone as an imperfect being. We will never be truly satisfied in doing so, but there is one who can always give us a perfect love and true satisfaction: the One Above. And man, let me tell you, when you realize this and put all of this stuff into practice, it changes your whole entire perspective on singleness. It is truly amazing.

The last thing I want to add into this is this too: I feel as if there are times where I forget just how truly powerful and relational God is. And with that being said, I want to remind you of when Jesus healed the blind man in John chapter 9. You know, He is so powerful that he easily could’ve just told the man to see again, and his eyes would have been healed. (He does so in a different scenario in John 5: 8). But instead he chose to spit on the ground, make mud, and touch the blind man in order to heal him. He did so with the man with Leprosy in Luke 5:13. It says:

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy

12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[a] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man“I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

He reached out and touched the man, and if you know anything about leprosy, that is HUGE. And you know what, He will do the same for you. He is that close to you. He will help you when you are weak, give you sight when you are blind, and love you when you are unlovable. And when you stray, He will pursue you with a radical, reckless, and abundant love, and that, my friends, is amazing.

I know this post has been long, but I really and truly thank you guys for reading. I pray this has been helpful to you all, and if any of y’all need to talk about any of this stuff, feel free to contact me by clicking the contact link or commenting below! Also, I have an announcement: I am thinking about maybe starting up a midweek encouragement prayer group. Basically what would happen is that every Wednesday around 9 am, in a separate tab on the website would be a prayer and a little word of encouragement to help you get through the week, would that be something y’all are interested in? Please feel free to comment below. I love you all and I am praying for y’all!

Lots of Love and God Bless,

Hannah

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