Sunday, June 29, 2014

What is your identity?

Last night I had two very unique opportunities: I attended my 10 yr high school reunion and helped be a leader at a girls lock in where 40 girls ages 8-16 were in attendance. It was funny having those two experiences in one night because it really just kept reiterating what God's been teaching me about identity, that thing that defines who you are.

At my reunion, it was definitely still A LOT like high school. Everyone was in their own groups... you know the usual clicks that seem to define us in high school: the popular kids, the band kids, the jocks, the loaners, etc... Going to the lock-in, I saw a lot of the same thing.

It doesn't matter if you're 8, 28, or 78 we tend to allow what we do, our hobbies, our friends, families, appearance or significant others define us. The problem is that when things change, our worlds get rocked, we loose those people, etc... we don't know who we are anymore. I've come to realize that my identity was that I was a missionary. It was my everything, it defined me. That can be a good thing in some ways but now that I've lost that part of me at least for a season, I've felt lost. But God has been showing me that my identity is more than what I do... my identity needs to, wait, HAS TO be in Him. His love, grace, and holiness should be what consumes me no matter where I'm at, who I'm with, or what I'm doing. I wish I had learned that lesson long ago as I wouldn't have felt so lost but I praise Him that He's starting to help me understand that now.

My question for you is, what is your identity? Examine your life and think "if that person left" "if I got laid off" "if that gets taken away from me" where would you be? I encourage you to find your identity in the One who will never leave you, the One who's love is truly conditional, the One who doesn't judge you based on your interests or appearance, the One who died because YOU are His everything.

Monday, June 2, 2014


I honestly cannot believe it was ten years ago today that I turned 18. It's funny, they say 18 is when you become an official "adult", while honestly still at 28, I don't always feel I've arrived to that point. Every year I tend to find myself rather nostalgic, and I think this year it was even more than usual. So so so much has happened in the past year, and then when I reflect on the past ten years... well... I still can't believe it. Am I where I thought/wish I would be celebrating this birthday, honestly? Not really... but as the saying goes, "when life gives you lemons..." But really, sometimes it's really hard to make lemonade from those lemons, sometimes you need help. This birthday, God blessed me with some pretty amazing people to surround me and help me make some rather tasty lemonade.

The celebrations commenced on Saturday. My mom had booked me for lunch about a week ago and she made it for a rather specific time, but I didn't want to think too much about it. That day as we pulled into the Chile's parking lot, I started to see some familiar cars. As we walked in, I saw a table of truly some of the most beautiful, hard working, hilarious, godly, passionate women on the planet... and they were there to hang out with me! It was so special! We talked and laughed and ate way too much and I couldn't believe that I had known all of them for over 6 years! All of these ladies, God has used in mighty ways to be tangible expressions of His comfort and grace. I have laughed, cried, and prayed with pretty much every single one of them. I am so blessed by these precious friendships and even if that was all the "celebrating" I was going to do for my birthday, it would have been perfect.

But wait... there's more...

On Sunday, my dad prepared an amazing pre-birthday breakfast and then my mom, Keelan and I decided to go on an adventure. We packed a lunch, loaded up in the car (including our puppy Mombasa) and headed to the East Mountains to find a picnic/hiking area. It was so much fun just getting to have that special time laughing and being outside of the city.

Later that evening, Keelan and I went on another excursion, this time it was to an Isotopes game! I have not been to a baseball game in over 5 years so this was awesome! We took out a small loan... just kidding and got ourselves some yummy baseball food (we pretty much made sure we tasted it all) and we also got our fair share of Vitamin D as the seats we chose were super close to 1st base (like seriously not even 10 rows up) but there is also not a whole lot of shade. Needless to say, you live and learn. But really, it was such an amazingly special time to spend with that brother of mine! We laughed, watched baseball, ate lots of food, and took in the whole experience. Again, if that had been all that had happened for my birthday I would have been more than content.

But wait.... there's still more....
Today, June 2nd... marks the day my poor parent's lives changed forever. Little did they know their new precious first child, would quickly grow into the sassy fireball they now know and love 28 years later. I woke up this morning to my mom bringing me my pre-breakfast breakfast on a cute basket with a note and flower and I was able to have my quiet time. Then I was able to go to the gym and pick up "brunch" and coffee for the fam before we got ready to head out for lunch... yes, I realize there was a lot of eating...but that's just how we (I) roll. We met family and friends who are like family at Casa De Benevidez for the world famous sopapilla burgers and just enjoyed being outside and getting beautiful roses from my grandpa (there's seriously nothing like them). My mom and I then rocked a little shopping and then it was time again for a fabulous simple dinner at home with the fam. The night was ended by a beautiful sunset and watching some episodes of Castle (our family's new favorite show).

Basically, my birthday consisted of all of my favorite things and people all rolled into three amazing days! I truly am so grateful for everyone who made it what it was, and like I said at the beginning of this post, helped to make some pretty sweet lemonade.

For everyone God has placed in my life over the past 28 years... thank you. Thank you for your love and support, your prayers and your encouragement, your patience and your grace. I'm praying that 28 will be a bit better than 27 was, but although I don't know what 28 holds, I know the One who has gone before me and that He loves me with an unconditional love and that's what I have to cling to... to 28 being a year where He does exceedingly more than we could ever ask for or imagine to Him be the glory!


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