The Greatest Love Story of All Time

Sunday, May 17, 2015
           

          People love love. It seems that in male and female alike, it brings a thrill to our hearts. We love the story of the selfless knights who choose to rescue a damsel in distress or the woman who chooses to love a man despite his wrongdoing. We love Nicholas Sparks’ romances and cheesy Hallmark movies. We love the classics like An Affair to Remember and Casablanca. And sometimes, we even love Shakespeare’s romantic soliloquies filled with a certain desperateness to love.


            The only thing that people could possibly love more than love is being loved. Finding someone to love and someone to love one back is often the thing that one pursues most in life, and it can often feel quite fulfilling. I personally love hearing how my friends’ parents’ met, and sometimes when I tell my parents’ story, I get choruses of “aww” and “that’s so sweet.” Most little girls spend half their childhood dreaming up how their own love story will turn out. (I did, and I spent the other half in the mud.)

There comes a time, though, when we humans have to realize that our love is often (quite often, actually) insufficient. We can love with everything that we have, and it still comes up short at one time or another. We can have the most perfect ideas and expectations and the biggest, most glorious wedding one can ever dream up, but there will still be times in our so-called perfect love stories aren’t so perfect. We will sin against the ones we love; we will become angry with the ones we love; our love will fail, even if it’s just for a moment.

I know love a story that will absolutely rock your socks off.

It’s about a man.

He’s not just a man, though.

He’s God in the flesh.

He’s completely man and completely God.

He’s completely perfect; there is no flaw in Him.

His name is Jesus.

And guess what? He loves you.

He doesn’t need you; after all, He created the universe; He can do anything He wants.

And although He doesn’t need you, He wants you.

He’s God, though. He is completely holy. He requires justice.

And He loves you enough to make be that justice for you.

He died for you. He died because contrary to what the world tells you, you aren’t enough. But He became enough for you. And He didn't stay dead. By coming back to life, He conquered death. And now, you have the opportunity to dwell with Him forever. All you have to do is accept Him. Accept His love. Accept His grace. Live for Him because it is incredibly and completely worth it.

This is the greatest love story of all time, and it not just a novel; it’s all true. There is no other story quite like this, and I am so thankful that I somehow get to adopt is as my own.

Much love and God Bless,

Mary Shelley

Breathe

Friday, May 15, 2015

       


          Rest is most definitely a must. We can’t serve God with a whole heart when we’re tired, and we can’t live fully and completely when we’re running on caffeine. This year especially, I’ve found that one of the best ways to rest is to enjoy God’s creation while I’m reading God’s word. It’s kind of like I’m spending double the time with God.


            Unfortunately, I am a busy person. My mom once made a comment once about how when she was growing up, kids didn’t have something every single weekend; families actually spent time together. Now, the years that are supposed to be carefree are filled with Busy, and, believe me, I know about Busy. I often study more than my two older siblings put together do, and I still seem to always be a few strides behind them. I go to bed late and wake up early, drink a cup of coffee in the morning to stay awake at school, and drink another one in the afternoon to be able to stay awake while doing homework. And let’s not even mention trying to stay in shape. Working out takes time, and time is one of the things that I usually don’t have.

            But this weekend, for first time in approximately thirty three days, I can breathe.

            I have been sitting on the deck, soaking up the sun, and writing my little heart out for nearly two hours.

            I’ve begun to appreciate the little moments like this. I used to be so caught up in having the maximum amount of fun possible. Every moment I would search for adventure and speed, determined to make the most of my teenage years. One thing that freshman year has taught me, though, is that breaks are a must. There are times when we really just have to sit, go on a jog, soak up the sun, or whatever is relaxing to simply recharge. It’s okay to feel done and tired because we’re humans and we get tired. Just think of the joy that we will receive when we are forever energized in the presence of our Savior forever and ever and ever, never growing tired, sad, or hungry.

            For now, though, the human body has to slow down every once in a while. Our emotions can’t do busy twenty-four-seven. Some days, days like this, for me, we have to recharge. We have to spend time with God and pray and just enjoy His beauty. His hope gives us the strength we need for now, and someday, God’s work in us will be perfected, and we will forever have the energy and desire to give Him constant, harmonious praise.



            So take time to rest. When you’re up to neck in busy, take that needed time to recharge, whether alone or with some fellow God-lovers, and let God give you the energy to serve Him with a full heart.

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety."
Psalm 4:8

Disconnnected? Try Reconnected.

Saturday, May 9, 2015
     Greetings, readers! I have been a terrible blogger lately because, as y’all know, I have been so incredibly busy. If you have read my last post, you know that I decided to get “disconnected” from social media for the month of May. Here’s an update on that: It’s not working.


I thought I would all of a sudden become motivated when I was not focused on how many likes/favorites/repins I got on social media platforms; I thought I would become focused on schoolwork, my routine, and even just the need to do well. I thought that as soon as I turned off my phone I would suddenly be living with a higher standard than the rest of the world.


Two things I have learned from my misconceptions are this: simply trying to eliminate an “idol” does not mean you’ll stop caring about it, and you can still enjoy the pleasures of life without putting them above the Giver of life.

I tried to eliminate my motivation from social media by removing access to it. Instead of feeling more connected to God, though, I felt farther away. Now I know that I cannot reduce the size and importance of earthly pleasures without first magnifying the size and importance of my Creator. So instead of removing access to social media, I should have further pursued God. By pursuing God further, He puts everything else where it needs to be; so, putting God first will result in putting social media on the back burner and putting schoolwork and the need to do well where they are supposed to be.
God has blessed me with such an awesome life. I don’t deserve anything that I’ve been given; I have received “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Yesterday, I got to meet my favorite Clemson baseball player (more to come on that later). On Thursday, I hung out with my friends for half a school day instead of attending classes. (I still can’t believe my mother let me do that.)I have enough happy memories to fill up a gazillion scrapbooks.  Above all else, I’ve been placed in a town where a whole lot of people love God. There are also the little things that can be considered “earthly” pleasures, but we as Christians are still able to enjoy. I think y’all know what I’m talking about, and y’all probably also know that there are circles of people with certain beliefs that bash those so-called “earthly” pleasures. (I’m not trying to bash anyone, and I do know that there are certain pleasures and practices of humans that areevil and shouldn’t be practiced.) All I’m saying is this: if we enjoy those pleasures with a heavenly mindset, they don’t have to be all bad, and they don’t have to separate us from God. When we put God first, in fact, enjoying the gifts of life does bring us closer to God.

So, like I said in the last post, I am going to thoroughly live, but I do not have to disconnect myself from everything earthly to do that. I will pursue my Creator with a sincere heart, and I know that if I truly seek Him above all else, He will put everything else where it needs to be.

So, if y’all see me post on Instagram this month, it is because my new goal is not to get disconnected, but to get reconnected with my Maker.

Getting Disconnected (Plus an Update on my Philippians 4:8 Challenge)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

   *UPDATE: Check out my post "Disconnected? Try Reconnected." for more info*  
   So, it's official: No social media until school ends.

     If I could describe my attitude lately with any two words, they would probably be caught up. I am so caught up in how many likes my Instagram picture gets or how many favorites my tweet gets. I live moments so I can take a picture and share it to prove that I "have a life."


     Today, I am turning over a new leaf. I am going to thoroughly live with everything I have because there will come a time that I can't, either because of old age or sickness or whatever. I'll update y'all on how this goes as time goes by.

     Speaking of UPDATES, scroll down for an update on my Philippians 4:8 challenge:
     

      For a while, it was a bit of a struggle to stay away from the songs that weren't God-honoring but I knew word-for-word. (It's hard to skip any song by my favorite band.) I also put aside a book series that wasn't necessarily bad, per say, but was steering my thoughts in the wrong direction. Like I said, it was hard. but something cool happened as time went by.

     I found myself wanting to turn on the Christian radio station on Pandora, and wanting to read my Bible instead of something else. Suddenly my favorite band wasn't as appealing anymore, and I think that is because I had experienced a thrill so much sweeter than hearing my celebrity crush hit that high note: the love of the One True God.

     For years, I had heard that the love of God was truly satisfying; it was something that was preached to me daily. But, up until a couple years ago, I don't think I was truly striving for that love. I had a slim understanding of the height, depth, width, and length of God's love. (and I know I won't truly be able to comprehend it until I'm called Home.)

     I'm in a good spot right now: I'm learning so much about God and His will. I am resting in His love. I know that there will come a time when I will need to look back at this sweet spot and think, "Remember how full you felt then?" I will need these days as proof of the fullness of the love of God. So, with that in mind, I'm trying to dig into God's word and try to comprehend, with much help from the Holy Spirit, the true dimensions of the love of God and how should affect everything I do.

 
       Lovelies, thanks so much for your patience! Again, I'll keep you updated on what it's like to get "Disconnected." *Cue 5SOS song* (Now, that is one song I most definitely did not skip.)


Break from the Busy

Sunday, May 3, 2015
 

      The constant pressures of high school are starting to get to me. In the midst of finals and AP exams, it becomes easy to lose myself, and in the midst of trying to keep a tight routine, routine ends up flying out the window. Reading my Bible becomes a chore when it should be a moment I strive for and look forward to each day. Times with my family are ruined by the constant hum of thoughts in my head, and I even find myself rushing through worship so that I can have moments for myself.



     On Friday night, though, I decided to put away the world and stargaze. It was a sacred night, and I'm not exactly sure I can put what I felt into words. In the middle of my silent communion with God, I became overwhelmed by this thought: the God who made each star and calls them by name, whose feet stir up dust that we see as clouds, and who knows the number of hairs each human has on his head somehow chose to save me. Though my praise for Him isn't as loud as it should be, He still hears it with a smile on His face.

     So thanks, Savior, for loving me unconditionally when I deserve no love at all. Thanks for teaching me how to live even though I'm a slow, stubborn learner. Thanks for giving this terminable life meaning. Thank you for being patient with the most impatient person that ever lived. Thanks for blessing me with friends who love You, too, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to show others what it's like to live in Your love. Keep me strong, Jesus; I can't do this without You.