“The best way to ruin your life is to think you have to have it all together.”

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You could say I have an awful fear of fear. A bunch of my younger life was spent missing out on awesome opportunities, because I was too stuck in my little comfort zone to try anything a bit daring.

After high school, God really opened my eyes to how much I let fear dictate my choices. From that point on, I promised Him and myself that I would live life to the absolute FULLEST by letting God direct my life. Since then, He’s planted these big dreams in my heart–to travel as a motivational speaker, be a family counselor, become an author of inspirational books, lead congregations into His presence through worship, raise a family of world-changers, & some other stuff too, but those are my “biggies.”

I mean, He created all of freakin existence, so why not dare to actually BELIEVE Him when He says that through Him ALL things are possible?

Gosh, I get so excited thinking about how cool He is haha.

Anywho, I’m in this awk “waiting” stage of my life, though. I’m still in college; my part-time job is just a means to pay my way through school; I haven’t fallen in love yet; I’m not currently getting many speaking or singing opportunities; I still feel like I’m meant to be living in Sacramento (why are there no beaches here?!); and my phone screen just cracked and my contract isn’t up until December.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life. I have so much to be thankful for. Still sometimes I have those moments, though, where I’m like, wellllll I’d better get cozy on the corner of 11th & K where I’ll be living the rest of my life as a bum in a box!

Kay, that’s a little dramatic, but still.

That fear starts to creep in again…“Am I not being ambitious or determined enough?” “What if I’m actually not meant to accomplish these dreams?” “Did I hear God wrong?” “What if I actually never get married?”
“What if…what if…what if…”

“Humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Romans 12:12

Every life chapter is just as important as the next. I could easily wish away these “waiting” years, but that’d be like wishing away the very foundation of all I’ll do in the future.

It’s in the waiting that the tough lessons are learned, that pride is broken down, confidence is built, and that complete dependency on God is formed.

Muscle takes PERSEVERANCE to be built.

Healthy roots take TIME to grow.

Palm trees get STRONGER through STORMS.

A treacherous hike must be conquered before experiencing the breathtaking mountaintop view.

Brows have to grow in awfully before the European Wax lady can shape them perfectly.

Basically, this beautiful life is a process.

If you want to have a solid future, you’ve gotta build a firm foundation.

Through everything, I’ve learned that I am a complete mess without letting the Creator of everything guide me. As impatient or “stuck” as I may feel sometimes, I know I don’t actually have to fret because this is all for a purpose. I can rest easy because I know that with God, life’s one big win-win situation.

He works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him. So long as we stay committed to God’s guidance, and working hard, He’s going to lead us down the best path for us. And if worse comes to worst, this life is like a “short vapor,” and soon we’ll be partying for all of eternity in perfect Heaven.

So, friend, I just want to encourage you by saying, you feel lost too? You’re not alone! Young adult life can be the most frustrating, messy, confusing time of your life…and if that’s the case, then you’re probably doing it right. You’re figuring out who are, what role you play in this world, and through trial-and-error, you’re learning to hit every curveball life throws at you.

You don’t have it all figured out, and you’re not meant to.

God’s got you. You’re a total champ. Just enjoy the ride.

Anything worth achieving requires a challenging process. Embrace it, learn from it, LOVE it. Today is a gift. Our time is coming, & our time is also now.

Praying blessings over your life!

Love,
Angela

In your hunger for love, have you settled for a watered-down imitation of it,
without even knowing?

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We all know how the cycle goes: Someone catches our eye. We exchange numbers. We text 24/7, become each other’s snapchat best friend, go on cute dates, we feel on top of the world. Sometimes this person becomes the one we marry. If not, it comes to an end at some point. You get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you just know it’s not going to work out. Things end, it hurts, and they fade into another memory of the past, taking a piece of your heart with them.

Personally experiencing this emotional roller coaster one too many times has got me wondering…What on earth is love?

As wonderful as it is to get those good morning texts, and those butterflies in your stomach when you see that special someone…as wonderful as it is to have someone there for you all the time—someone to trust, to make memories with, and to conquer ups and downs with…I think these are just the results of love that we sometimes confuse for the actual thing. At times, we fall in love with these emotional “highs” more than the actual person. We use these love placebos to medicate our lonely hearts, and like a drug, we get addicted.

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I had to write a research paper on the science behind love and learned some fascinating stuff!

So you know that feeling you get when you spot someone attractive? Your heart leaps a little and you’re like, omg who is that? Some call it attraction, some might even call it love at first sight.

Or you know that feeling you get when you’re with someone you like or love? Your heart feels full and everything just feels so right.

This attraction, this quality time, a hug, or a kiss…all of these things instantly release tons of oxytocin into our system, which is the hormone responsible for feelings of closeness and soul ties.

When we’re with someone we care about, our brains actually resemble the same activity as a drug addict’s brain getting a fix. All of these hormones being released into our system (oxytocin, endorphins, etc.) literally make us feel “high” and can trick our brain into thinking we’re in love, even when all logic (AND our friends and family) are waving red flags yelling, “This person is NOT a good match!”

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A few weeks ago, as I was sitting in my room, major flashbacks to all of the “highs” I’ve had over the years replayed in my mind and weighed heavily on my heart. Since the time of my first boyfriend at 14, I’ve experienced relationships that lasted years, to mini-things with guys here and there. In every situation, I do my best to pray and ask God for His direction, and He always gives me just that by opening and closing the necessary doors.

But recalling all these “roller coaster rides” left my heart feeling heavy, exhausted, chipped, and disappointed. How many more times would I have to endure this cycle before finally finding “the one” that’s meant to be my forever? As all these years’ worth of memories flooded my mind, I broke.

But through the tears, I heard,

“Cast all your burdens on the Lord, for He cares for you,”
(1 Peter 5:7) being whispered in my heart.

I knew I needed to dig deep within myself and uproot every suppressed soul tie I had never fully surrendered. Funny how God knows just when we need to resurface the ugly stuff so He can bring full healing.

So out loud, one by one, I named every single guy that I’ve ever hurt, and that’s ever hurt me—and said,

“God, I give him to you. Take him. Make him nothing but a black and white memory that took place in my past but is no longer a part of who I am now.”

As I said those words out loud for each boy, I visualized him leaving my heart, God taking him from me, and blowing the weight of each memory away with the wind. With each surrender, I felt lighter, and like brand new pieces were added to my heart to replace the areas where it had been chipped from the past.

“You are new. You’re whole again. You are ready to love. But don’t mess up this perfectly good heart by getting into things I never told you to. Treat this precious heart of yours like the treasure it is,” I felt the Lord say to me.

I can’t describe in words what God did in my heart that night. Like this probably sounds SO crazy to some of you, but it’s real. My heart literally feels brand new, and whole.

All humans need love. We were just made that way, we can’t help it. But trying to find the meaning of TRUE love from another imperfect human is actually impossible.

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So WHAT. IS. LOVE?

The answer’s right here:

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love doesn’t get jealous.
Love isn’t prideful.
Love is not selfish.
Love isn’t easily angered.
Love keeps NO record of wrongs.
Love doesn’t like evil, but it loves the truth.
Love always protects,
Always trusts,
Always hopes,
Always perseveres.
(That’s 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, btw).

1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever doesn’t know love doesn’t know God, because God is love.”

Kay pause, let me say that again! GOD IS LOVE.

GOD = LOVE.

Go read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 again, but this time substitute the word, “love” with “God.” People are always wondering what love is, and the answer is like right there!
God is love. He created it. He is the definition of it. He is the epitome of it. God. Is. LOVE.

So how could we ever know what love is, feels like, or how to do it properly if we’ve never fully experienced God?

Love is the most powerful force a human can experience. I think God gave us the ability to fall in love so that we could catch a glimpse of all that He is. As imperfect people, we’re just reflections of the REAL thing, ya know?

So love is not two halves making a whole. It takes two wholes to really love. Two wholes reflecting the perfect love they’re receiving from the One true source, God.

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So how do we know if we’re falling in love, or falling in lust?

While caught up in the whirlwind of emotion, it’s SO important to stop and really THINK about whether or not what we’re about to get into is even right for us.

Here are some questions we can ask ourselves:

– First off, am I WHOLE? Have I taken the time to go through the refinement process of being single, and allowed God to show me firsthand what perfect love is? Do I want God more than I want a relationship?
– Is this other person whole?
– Are we compatible? Do we have important things in common? (Like values, chemistry, lives headed in a similar direction…etc.)
– Can I see this turning into something long-term? Every relationship has the potential for marriage. (If it’s more like a, “well it’s cool for right now” kinda thing, don’t waste your time.)

Most importantly, PRAY. God will give you that “go for it!” feeling or, “mmmm, no” if it’s not right. Know that you are WORTH having a crazy, passionate, over-the-top romance with the RIGHT person God has hand-picked for you at the RIGHT TIME. Don’t settle. If you’ve got some past you’ve still gotta deal with, let go and let God heal your heart, just like He healed mine.

Praying for blessings over your bright future! Hope this has helped you! You’re a total gem! We’re in this together!

Love,
Angela

Hey Handsome!

Do you ever get lost in thought dreaming about when the heck we’ll finally meet? (If we haven’t already)

It’s 1:44 a.m. and these thoughts are bouncing around in my head, which is really cool considering I have work in the morning, hah. So here ya go, Future Hubby! A letter to you, from me, before we’ve even met. Maybe one day we’ll read this together and think it’s just the sweetest thing.

Future Husband

I bet your smile is the warmest there is, and your laugh fills even the dullest settings with joy and color. I bet your mind is full of the most fascinating dreams and ideas. I know your heart is huge and full of love for the Lord and people. Your confidence, optimism, chivalry, adventurous spirit, and (hopefully!) love for baseball will leave me head over heels (even if I try not to act too impressed at first hah).

I know there’s going to be that spark, that one-in-a-million chemistry where we just click, and together we’re unstoppable.

I’m excited for our Friday night dates to new restaurants; kicking our feet up at summery night baseball games; arriving at fancy shmancy parties as each other’s arm candy; raising a beautiful family with you someday; being one of those adorable old couples that still holds hands; and just living a crazy, Christ-centered, world-changing life of adventure with you.

It’s fun to dream about you, but thank God that He’s the real pro at matchmaking. I might think I know what I want, but He knows exactly what we need. And being familiar with His handiwork, I know even before meeting you, that you are already

astounding.
Incredible.
A treasure.

You don’t have to change a thing because you’re already more amazing than I could ever dream.

I’ll be honest, though…life without you isn’t always a walk in the park. Some days it feels more like the kind of walk in the park where I drop my ice cream cone and get nailed by the occasional frisbee along the way. In other words, life is peachy and I’m super blessed to even be alive, but not knowing who, when, or if I’ll ever meet the man of my dreams is, at times, enough to drive me up the wall.

It can be lonely, annoying, and kinda frustrating.

But if I’m being honest, I’m thankful for this time that we’re not together yet. I don’t say this because I don’t want you, I say this because I love you. Being single is SO underrated! How could I ever truly love you without first taking the time to establish who I am as an individual? I’ve come to learn that:

The choices we make when we’re single lay the foundation for our future marriage.

For too long I let my relationship status determine my happiness. Until one day I realized that me singing, “All I need is You, Lord” in church was a total farce, because God really hadn’t been all I needed, ever since I started having boyfriends as a wee teen. I always “needed” the fun, the stability, and the emotional stimulation that I got from boys and relationships. So with that realization, a little over a year ago, I decided to abandon my “security” and pursue God, and just God, with my WHOLE heart.

Being single has allowed me the freedom to do just that. Every agonizing tear of frustration has led God to comfort me like only He can. Every lonely day without you strengthens my faith in His perfect timing. Every time I start to question my future, He reminds me that His plans are beyond my wildest dreams. Every challenge has only deepened my love for the only One who could ever love me perfectly. I’ve learned that the Creator of my heart is the only one that can truly satisfy it. And it’s through God’s crazy, larger-than-life love for me, that I now know how it feels to really, fully live.

And babe, I am SO excited because I can feel in my heart that He’s preparing you in the same way!

I may not know who you are yet, but I already love you. Proverbs 31:12 says, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” By this, I’ve been inspired to honor and respect you before we’re even together. It has meant saying no to the wrong guys no matter how good-looking they are, surrendering my heart to God, trusting Him to navigate my life, and allowing Him to stretch, strengthen, and shape me into a woman I’m proud to be.

I pray for a man bold enough to do the same. I pray you make choices that reflect the amazing, virtuous man that you are.

We could be on opposite ends of the earth, for all I know, but we’re already in this together. We’re a team.

I know there’s going to be a wonderful day–when God knows we’re both totally ready–that we’re going to cross paths and feel in our hearts that we are finally home. Everything we’ve experienced up to that point is going to be SO worth it and THAT much sweeter when we lock eyes, and God finally whispers, “That’s the one!”

Until that beautiful day (and everyday for the rest of our lives) let’s promise to be so focused on the Lord that He will be the only magnet that draws us together.

Til then, seeya in my dreamzzz! Ha

Love,
Your Main Squeeze

P.S. – I’ll trade you the best sandwich of your life made by yours truly for a date to a Giants game someday…deal? 😉


*** I was inspired to write this letter thanks to the book, “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric & Leslie Ludy, and my friend, Brett Shoemaker’s awesome blog post, To My Future Wife . Check them out!

“What would your life look like without any fear?”

That was the slogan of a life-changing conference I went to back in 2013. That question alone FOREVER changed the way I view life and dared me to dream as BIG as possible. I realized that we all are born with God-given talents and passions that He wants to maximize to make this world a better place.

It was then that my wild dreams of offering hope to the world on a grand scale were born. I want nothing more than to spend my life inspiring others through traveling & speaking, becoming a published author, and doing all I can to leave a lasting mark on the world, in appreciation for all God’s done for me. It’s what led me to create this little “Dose of Hope” personal brand, I guess you could call it, in the first place.

But after a little over a year of praying, trusting, working towards these dreams, and feeling like I haven’t made much progress, I started to question them. Did God really tell me to go after these dreams? Was I being naive, or even arrogant, thinking I was made to do such things? Is it time to settle and accept the fact that I may never see these heart’s desires come true?

Maybe you’re questioning your dreams, so I wrote this for you.

your sign

(Pic credit: Pinterest/Etsy)

Maybe you were crazy for thinking you could accomplish great things. You had such big dreams when you were younger. You felt invincible. Like anything was possible. Ignorance really was bliss, you finally admit, as you hang your head in defeat.

Are your dreams worth all the effort still? You’re older now and the world’s tried to show you who’s boss;
That the seemingly impossible may be just that–impossible.

Your heart breaks at the thought of living a typical, routine life of mediocrity; But maybe that’s just how life goes.
I mean afterall, only a few make history…

Only a few make history.

Maybe because everyone else fell victim to defeat’s lies, chose to bow at the foot of fear, chose to give up when things got tough and required some painful perseverance.

Maybe no one told them that dreams aren’t meant to be caged up in your mind. Maybe they didn’t realize all the wild, world-changing, history-making, legacy-leaving things they were capable of. Not just capable of, but BORN to make reality.
Maybe no one told them the Creator of everything was on their side;
Maybe that was too crazy of a thought to believe.
But that’s not you.

“Average” does not describe you.
You treasure, you.
You’re hearing the truth now.
You’re meant to master obstacles,
to be refined through challenges,
to patiently trust that God will open the right doors…
at the RIGHT time.

You’re meant to conquer fears, to be rebuilt when you feel you’ve been torn down. To reach, to try, to smile. To soar. To excel.
To throw “impossible” to the wind, shift your eyes from your rearview, and party because your future is SO bright!

Rise up.
Step out.
Dare to dream again.

That dream you were about to give up on?
This is that nudge you wanted.
This is that voice telling you it’s still meant to be.

This is your sign to go for it.

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Dear God,
I pray for anyone that needs revived passion, myself included; anyone that needs to be reminded that they were born for a meaningful purpose, whether they know you yet or not.

I pray for strength, the determination to overcome fear, the nudge outside of comfort zones, and the boldness to do whatever it takes to make the wildest of dreams intertwine with reality. I pray for increased faith when things don’t seem to be working out, and confidence in the fact that you will use the unique gifts and passions you’ve embedded into every human’s heart for things greater than we could ever imagine.

I pray for HUGE blessings over anyone who may be reading this!
Thanks, God. Love you so much.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”
Ephesians 3:20

“I pray that out of His glorious riches may He strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s Holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:16-19

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1

“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

Love,
Angela

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I’ve been addicted to busy-ness and I realized it was to avoid a subconscious fear of feeling lonely…Do you do this too?

New Years Eve, I had my sparkly dress and 4 inch heels all picked out for a party I was going to go to with my best friend.

Honestly, I didn’t even want to go anymore when it was time to get ready. I was SO exhausted from my long day, and the thought of driving 45 minutes with sleepy eyes and drunk drivers on the road did not sound appealing.

But the thought of scrolling through everyone else’s dazzling festivities while I sat around at home doing nothing sounded even worse. (Ew at what social media has done to us, btw!)

As I was about to get ready, my friend called (also exhausted from her long day & evening) and asked if I wanted to just come over and watch movies instead.

Hallelujah. Relieved, I changed into sweats, picked up a bottle of sparkling cider and a tub of Häagen-Dazs and headed to her house where we curled up, watched movies, then talked about life and the dreams God’s placed in our hearts for 2015.

I traded in what would’ve been another night out in a dress and heels for a relaxed night in with a dear friend. This was so symbolic of an important theme I want to work on in this new year.

I spent so much of 2014 addicted to extravagant fun, always being on-the-go, and making sure I constantly had a packed schedule. Why?

Deep down, I never wanted to face my biggest fear–feeling alone.

I am such a people person. I love nothing more than being with people, whether they’re great friends or new strangers. And on the flip side, I feel almost useless, unimportant, and like I’m wasting precious moments of my life when I’m hanging out at home, with nowhere to go, and nothing to do. It’s like I’ve become afraid of down time–I get so restless; it drives me insane.

So instead of feeling that, I make plans. School, work, ministry, social things, and whatever else I feel like doing to the point of exhaustion–packing many days full so that I feel like my life is significant.

But I’m learning that “being busy” is not the equivalent of living a “full life.” Our importance as individuals and the busy-ness of our schedules have nothing to do with each other.

Why is having no spare time so glamorous in our society, anyway?

We’re all exhausted! No one has time to sit in silence and just BE. We’re so busy trying to create lavish moments so we can post them and convince everyone and ourselves that our lives are so cool.

And most importantly, I had been limiting the depth of the sweet and powerful voice of God in my life. Sure, I’m constantly praying about stuff throughout my day and I read Scripture and devotionals nightly. But this dutiful checklist we have as Christians doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of all that He wants to reveal to us.

When was the last time I kept a whole day open, just to lose track of time in His presence and let His Spirit guide me wherever?

In Luke 2, a prophet, Anna, is mentioned. She spoke of the birth of Jesus that was to come in the future…Like, how important is that?! It says that she “…NEVER left the temple but worshiped NIGHT AND DAY, fasting and praying. ‭
Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭37‬

Ummm, what? It’s no wonder she heard God so clearly; she literally spent ALL of her time with Him!

Us Americans are  so crazy busy, driving here and there, doing this and that, checking our phones whenever we have a spare moment.  I’m not saying to lock ourselves up and become hermits (omg, no way!), but maybe a life where we pause long enough to breathe is the lifestyle we were designed to live.

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My friend, Megan, and I had a laid-back first day of 2015 with no real agenda. I almost felt guilty, at first, for not utilizing our day off to go do something extravagant, like a spontaneous trip to the ocean or something.

But as hours passed in Bloom Coffee & Tea, and we talked about true matters of the heart…as our conversations left us better people than we were yesterday, I realized that this slow-paced day was more extravagant and life-changing than any crazy plans we could have made.

Care to join me in this challenge of renewal?

Let’s start 2015 with a fresh mindset. Let’s stop and smell the roses this year, and every year after that. Here’s to refocusing on the true Purpose of this short life. Here’s to not being afraid of rest; not being afraid of alone time; and instead of just enduring it, LOVING it.

Praying that this will be the BEST year of your life so far!

Love,
Angela