He is good even when it hurts

Hey you guys,

   So one thing i’ve been learning lately is to cling to Jesus and praise him in the pain. This has notttttt been a fun lesson. It’s been hard. The past few weeks have been full of so many emotions and doubts. One thing I have had to really hold onto is that Jesus is who he says he is and he does what he says he is going to do and that his plans are so much better than my own. Woosh that was a run on sentence. I know that’s a lot and that’s also easier said than done. When you’re hurting, or confused, or both, it’s hard to believe that God is good, or that he is close to the brokenhearted, or that he is working ALL things for your good like he said he was going to do. Just being honest, it’s been hard for me to believe those things lately. Pain is so real and the enemy really likes to use that against us. He really takes advantage of those moments to make us doubt God’s goodness and love towards us. He wants us to just sit in our pain and remain stuck there and believe all the stupid lies that Jesus is so far and that he doesn’t care or that there is no hope.

   But there is hope. And I just want to remind y’all (and myself, because I really need to hear this tonight) ….that God is good even when it hurts and it’s hard to believe it. He is good even when the pain is our fault. He is good when the pain is so real and you don’t know how you are going to make it through the day. He is good and faithful when you are unfaithful. He is good when the tears are falling and your heart is breaking. He is near and so present. He is there right beside you in your hurt and pain. He is catching every tear as it falls and is loving you with an unending love.

   It’s so easy to shove the pain deep down inside and not deal with it. That’s just kinda what we humans tend to do when things aren’t going too great. Or at least that’s what Haley tends to do when things aren’t going too great. But one thing I have intentionally done over the past couple of weeks as I have been going through some things in my life is to walk through the pain and embrace it. I realized the only way around the pain is through it. And the only way I can make it through it is by clinging to Jesus.

   Yes, embracing the pain is hard. Pain brings tears and i’ve shed a lot of tears lately. A lot. But i’m not ashamed of that. I’m thankful for that. A lot of healing has come with it. I am super thankful that those lies I was talking about earlier are just that…lies. I am thankful that in the moments when I am really hurting and the tears are flowing that Jesus IS near and he IS catching every tear and he IS my comforter.

   He is good and He cares. He cares about the smallest things and longs to hear our hearts. It’s totally okay to be real with God and tell him what you’re feeling and about how much what you are going through hurts. God and I have had a lot of honest heart to heart talks lately. And you know, sometimes I find that I don’t even know how to tell God how I am feeling. But what’s really neat is that he knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we are trying to say even when we can’t put it into words. There is major comfort in that, my friend.

   Pain hurts. It comes in all shapes and sizes. It can come in the form of a broken heart, death, divorce, a lost friendship, depression…I could go on and on. But y’all Jesus does not waste anything. ANYTHING.  Jesus is so capable of using those painful things to teach you and others more about Him and who you are in Him. He uses those things for his glory. And in the moment when the pain is so unbearable it’s hard to even wrap your mind around all that (so am there right now). But y’all, there is so much hope in that fact that he CAN use it for his glory and our good. Choose to cling to that hope and praise him for that.

  So yeah, there’s that. I needed to remind myself of all that and I pray that the Lord can use those truths to encourage you if you’re dealing with some pain and are kinda in the same boat as me right now. I hope it encourages you to know that you are not alone. I’m right there with ya. I have the same doubts and questions as you do. My prayer is that we will trust that his plans are better and walk through the painful seasons of life clinging to Jesus and praising him for who He is despite what we feel.

   He is good even when it hurts.

   much love- Haley Nicole

thought of the day :)

img_0970

12•06•16

letting things go is a beautiful thing. the

trees let go of their leaves each fall to make

room for more growth and beauty and ya

know, sometimes in our lives we have to do

the same thing. today I was reminded to

take a look at my life to see if there is

anything I need to let go of that is keeping

me from the growth and beauty Jesus wants

me to experience. I encourage you to do the

same. He has some beautiful things ahead,

my friend.

much love-Haley Nicole ✺

 

 

joy

Joy.

I’ve been home from Haiti for about a week, and this little word has been on my heart a lot. I experienced so much joy in Haiti, as I always do, but this time I have experienced a lot of joy after coming home as well. I know this is totally a gift from Jesus and I am so grateful.

Normally, coming home from a mission trip is very hard. It is frustrating being thrown back into real life and into a culture that screams “American Dream”. There have been times where I have actually been depressed after coming home from a mission trip. Coming home this time has been such a different experience though and I am so thankful. I think it is different because of what I learned there that I am now being able live out here at home.

This past trip was my third time to go to the orphanage in Léogâne, Haiti. Each time I go, I wonder how in the world this trip could be as good as the last, or how The Lord could continue to stretch me and use me there. But wow, he has done all of those things each time and it’s a really cool thing!

Each time I go to Haiti, I am reminded of so many truths about Jesus and myself.

I think this time, the thing that stuck with me the most is that no matter what my circumstances are; I can always have joy because of Jesus. And if I choose that Joy what a testimony it is! Choosing joy in the hard times speaks volumes to others about our faith.

Each time I have gone to Haiti, the joy the people have had is something I have noticed, but this time it just really stood out to me. When you think of Haiti, you might think of a country that is lost and broken. But when I think of Haiti, I think of people who are so joyful and who have come so far. They have gone through so much, but they have clung to their Savior and are still smiling because of it. “They can find joy with basically nothing because Jesus is their everything.”

Their joy reminds me a lot of Paul. As soon as I got home, I started reading Philippians. The primary theme of that book of the Bible is….you guessed it…..joy. Coincidence? no. Jesus? yes. 🙂

Paul is writing to the church at Philippi thanking them for their support and encouraging them to continue to grow and be joyful no matter what the circumstances are.

While writing this, Paul is in prison. What he says in chapter one absolutely amazes me. He is at a place in life that isn’t too great. I mean he is in jail for goodness sakes, but yet he is joyful and thankful for his circumstances. His prayer is that whatever happens in his life that Jesus would be honored. He believed that all that happened to him (and believe me, A LOT happened) happened to advance the gospel. What a perspective to have!

The people of Haiti remind me of Paul because they’ve been and still are at a place in life that isn’t so great. Their country was destroyed by an earthquake, and recently it was destroyed again by a hurricane. They lost homes, what little possessions they had, and loved ones. If I were them, I would probably be like, “seriously Jesus?” But when I went there and was with the people that experienced it all, all I heard was thankfulness and how good God is. I saw smile upon smile because of their faith in Jesus. It was SO encouraging.

I am so thankful The Lord reminded me of just how important living joyfully is, and just how much of an impact it can have on someone’s life.

I want to be like Paul and the people in Haiti. I want to be able to have a smile on my face even in the hard times. I want people to look at me and notice my joy just like I did in the Haitian people. I want people to see that joy in my life so they can see Jesus.

People who are joyful standout. Especially people who are joyful when the world says they have every reason not to be. People who are joyful are living in the freedom of their Savior.

The joy of The Lord is our strength. When we choose joy, we choose Him. And with Him, we can overcome anything no matter how hard it is or how broken we are.

Choose joy.

much love- Haley Nicole

p.s.- you should totally listen to these songs! It’ll remind you of the joy that comes when we run to Jesus! “Joy”- Rend Collective “Joy of the Lord”

also, if you would like to see a video of my trip to Haiti you can click right here 👉🏻 Haiti Trip 2016

 

dating advice from a bag of gummy worms

IMG_3783.jpg

I was eating some gummy worms with some friends a while back, and I flipped over the bag and read this…”before you base this new relationship purely on looks know that it’s what on the inside that matters.”

I have never seen so much truth on the back of a gummy worm bag.

I know people who, when they are considering starting a relationship with someone, focus solely on the looks. Some girls and guys get so wrapped up in the outward appearance that they don’t look past that to the heart and what’s on the inside.

We forget so often that looks aren’t the most important thing. Looks will fade, but what’s on the inside won’t. I want to encourage you to look at the heart. Being in a relationship with someone just because of their looks isn’t a very smart idea. That will just leave you empty and with a broken heart. Relationships based solely on looks are so empty and shallow. God has something so much better than that for you!  When considering starting a relationship with someone, pay careful attention to their heart and what’s on the inside.

One thing I have noticed is that people who are in love with the Lord and whose hearts desire is to seek Him just shine. They naturally have this special beauty about them.

“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”                – Psalm 34:5

I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of person I want to be in a relationship with. I want a person so in love with the Lord that it shows on their face.

I also want to be that type of person.

I want to be so in love with Jesus that it shows.

My prayer for you and I is that we will take our relationships seriously and look at what truly matters. I pray that we will focus on the heart, and also that we will take a look at our own heart.

much love- Haley Nicole

JESUS is enough.

Jesus is enough.

I think out of all the truths I learned this summer, this one is the most special to me.

This summer taught me a lot about being content and satisfied in Jesus. I learned this summer that I am already made complete in The Father. I don’t need a guy to complete me. I don’t need the newest clothes to complete me. I don’t need to be accepted by a particular group of people to be complete.

We are each made complete in Jesus, and He is enough for us.

This truth can be a little hard to swallow. But y’all there is SO MUCH FREEDOM in actually believing that He is enough for us.

This is probably the biggest thing Jesus showed me this summer and the biggest thing he has continued to show me over the past four months as I have been home.

There were so many times this summer when Jesus was so present and in those moments I knew deep in my heart that He is enough. It was so good to be reminded that no matter where I go or what I have or don’t have- I have Him. And that is enough.

Over the past few months, I feel like Jesus has put me in a place in life to see if I really do believe that truth with all my heart.

If you have followed my blog over the years, or if you know me personally, you know that ever since I was a little girl, I have felt like the Lord has been calling me to missions overseas. It has been SO NEAT to see how the Lord has and is continuing to prepare me to do what he has called me to do. He has given me so many opportunities to travel overseas and to love on his children over there. He is so faithful and provides. One thing that has been very encouraging is that other people see that calling in my life too. I have had random people at church or work come up to me and say, “Haley, I don’t know why I am telling you this, but I can just see you one day being overseas running an orphanage or doing some type of ministry there.” I have gotten that sooooo many times and each time I get a little more excited because I know that is Jesus speaking through them confirming his calling on my life. I have also had people who see that the Lord is calling me to do missions and want to help support me in that. I am so overwhelmed each time a person is willing and eager to give.

The past two Thanksgivings I have been so blessed with the opportunity to go to an orphanage in Haiti and spend time with the children there. Those kids have a special place in my heart and the love I have for them is insane. This year my church is going back to the same orphanage once again to see those precious kiddos. When this trip was first planned I prayed and prayed, and even though I wanted to go, I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to because of the cost. At that moment I was going to the Phillippines next summer, so for me to go there and to Haiti would have been very expensive. Well, to make a long story very short. The Lord kinda shut the door for me to go to the Philippines. When I found that out it was only a couple months away from this trip so I knew it was going to be difficult to raise all the money to go. I do know though that Jesus is bigger than any amount of money so I just prayed that if He wanted me in Haiti this Thanksgiving that he would provide a way. Literally three days later I got a phone call and found out that someone had paid for my trip to Haiti so I could go. When I heard that I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed at how sweet Jesus is. It was and still is so encouraging to think that people would give like that so I can do what Jesus has called me to do and also what he has given me a love and passion for. I leave in TWO DAYS for Haiti, and ahhhhhhhhh I’m so pumped!!!!

So yeah, I said all that to say that missions is a huge part of my life and I believe it will continue to be for a very long time. This is so very exciting, but also a little bit scary at times because Jesus is calling me to take some big steps of faith and to not just say that He is enough, but to believe it and walk in that truth.  Continue reading

called to pray

Today I am thankful for our freedom and that we have the privilege to be a part of choosing the leaders in our country. As I have studied history this semester, I realize how much of a gift this really is. So many people gave up their lives for this.

This year was my first year to vote. It’s a really beautiful thing to have a voice and for it to be heard, but I was reminded this morning that our job isn’t finished after we do our part and vote. As Christian citizens we aren’t called to just vote. We are called to pray.

To pray for our country and for the leader chosen to lead us. To pray the Father would give him guidance, wisdom, strength, and endurance. To pray that we as a nation will realize who our true Leader is and to trust His plans for us.

People are going to fail us. Leaders are going to mess up. But our King is faithful and never changing. He is with us and for us.

I pray that encourages you today 🙂

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

he loves me…he loves me not

So Jesus reminded me of something the other day, and all I could do was smile!

I was at a college preview weekend this past week, and WOW did Jesus do some cool things. I’ll probably save that for another blog….but anyway; I am looking at a Christian college and one thing I loved so much about last weekend was the time set aside to just worship Jesus with my brothers and sisters in Christ. You know, it’s so cool to be able to go somewhere where you know no one, but yet you still can connect and relate to each other because you have the most important thing in common….Jesus. It’s so neat!

Anywho, during worship one night we were singing the song “How He Loves” and oh my goodness, I was just blown away by the love of our sweet Father.

I don’t know why, but as we were singing the song all I could think about was a flower…I know, so random, and so weird. But, that flower got me thinking back to when I was a little girl. When I was little I would go pick some flowers and sit there picking the petals off saying, “he loves me…he loves me not.” (come on girls, you know you have done it too 😜) You know, sometimes that silly game would leave me feeling pretty worthless and heartbroken. It leaves you doubting and questioning whether that special person loved you or not.

I was reminded as we sang that song that we don’t have to question Jesus’ love for us. We don’t have to sit there picking off the petals asking if he loves us or not. We don’t have to sit there feeling empty, heartbroken, confused, and alone.

The truth is HE LOVES US. And y’all know what the cool thing is? He loves us with ALL his heart. We don’t get pieces of it. We get the whole flower…not just one little petal.

And you know what else?…it gets even better…we don’t get just one flower, we get a whole bouquet of His love. His love is abundant and so unconditional. Wow, I am so thankful!

So if you’re going through a season of doubting Jesus’ love for you….I want you to know that you don’t have to spend another moment picking those petals and asking that question because…

He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.

Rest in His love and enjoy the beauty of it.

much love- Haley Nicole

p.s.- here are the links to some songs that will remind you of Jesus’ unconditional love for you!

“How He Loves”

“Pieces”

“I GET TO BE A PRINCESS!!!”

Today while I was shopping I heard a little girl say one of the cutest things ever. She was picking out her Halloween costume, and when she found the perfect one, she gave it to her mom. While jumping up and down she screamed with excitement, “I GET TO BE A PRINCESS!!!!” I am pretty sure everyone in the entire store heard her shout for joy. It was absolutely precious.

Girls, it got me thinking. Why aren’t we that excited each day of our lives about being a princess? You know, we ARE princesses. I know that may sound kind of childish, but y’all, it’s true. Our Heavenly Father is King, and we are His daughters soooo that means that we are princesses too! It is so easy not to believe that is who we are. We are messed up, yucky people and sometimes it’s really hard to think of ourselves as God’s beautiful princess. I know I struggle with that. Sometimes I feel like I should be the old maid outside feeding the pigs. Some days I feel so unworthy of all the benefits of knowing Jesus and to be called God’s beautiful princess.

BUT I was reminded today that I am just that. And I just wanted to remind you that you are too. Scream it, shout it, and jump for joy! You are a daughter of the King and NOTHING in this world can change that. YOU ARE GOD’S PRINCESS!!!

You know what’s cool too? God loves the fact that that is who you are. I really believe He claims you with just as much joy as that little girl I heard in the store today.

He’s shouting, “YOU ARE MY PRINCESS!!!!!”

Who knows, He may be jumping up and down while shouting it too!

He loves you THAT much.

You are beautiful princesses loved by the King of Kings. And that is who you are each moment of each day. Don’t you ever forget it.

much love- Haley Nicole

9.24.16

Today I got a little bit overwhelmed with some doubts and fears. This season of life is so fun and exciting, but it also can be a bit terrifying at times. A lot of really neat things are happening in my life, but those really neat things are also REALLY scary things too that are going to require a lot of faith.

You know, it’s so good to just sit down and write down the truth when the lies are really loud and things are overwhelming. And that is exactly what I did today. I was reminded of a lot of truth today about who Jesus is and His promises to me. It’s just too sweet not to share…

-Jesus is never going to leave us no matter where we go.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9

-Jesus is going to provide us with everything we need to do what He calls us to do.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippinas 4:19

– Jesus is our strength when we are weak.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strenghten you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10

After dwelling on those truths, I felt so much better and not so overwhelemed by my situtation. These three verses have been on repeat in my head today. And whenever those doubts and fears rise up, I fight back with the truth and continue to remind myself of The Father’s promises to me, his daughter.

Maybe you are experiencing a lot of doubt and fear too. Take the time to just separate the truth from the lies and remind yourself of who Jesus says He is and His promises to you. Dwell on those truths and repeat them over and over. You’ll start to view your situation with a totally different perspective when you do. 🙂

much love- Haley Nicole

JESUS is near

Jesus is near.

This truth is something the Lord showed me this summer, but this is also something he has reminded me of SO MUCH this week.

So, in my last couple of blog posts, I’ve been talking about how Jesus used the word “Jesus” in my life to show me and remind me of some really neat things. One of the sweetest things I was reminded of this summer was that JESUS is near.

While serving at different camps this summer, the presence of the Lord was SO evident. It’s very hard to explain just how amazing that feeling is unless you have experienced it. Jesus felt so near and close, and ugh, it was just great. During those moments I just stood in awe of Jesus and His love for us. All I could say was “Wow, God!” The moments when a child accepts the Lord, or you see a beautiful sunset, or are worshiping beside a lake with your brothers and sisters in Christ…the moments where you have the freedom to be real and vulnerable with a friend who will love you no matter what you have done…the moments where you can see the bigger picture God saw when you couldn’t. All you can do is say, “Wow, God!” and just rest in His love and His presence. You know He is there and is moving, and it’s just incredible.

I had a lot of those moments this summer, and I am so thankful for them. But let’s get real. Life is not perfect, and life isn’t full of just those moments. Even while you are serving at a Christian camp with some of the most incredible people who love the Lord with all they have…you still have days where you wonder where in the world Jesus is and if He is even listening to you. There were moments this summer when Jesus felt a million miles away. I asked myself so many times why I just couldn’t feel His presence, and wondered what in the world I was doing wrong.

As I thought about this more, I realized I was making my relationship with Christ all about feelings. I felt like Jesus wasn’t near, and I let that become a reality. There have been times in my life (like this week) where I’ve felt like I am going through a “spiritual drought.” Sometimes if feels like God is on vacation and I’m just sitting here, little ole’ Haley, trying to figure out how to do life on my own until He gets back. I have lived my life like Jesus was just not near, and man y’all, it was just awful.

I firmly believe that the enemy uses our feelings so many times to bring us down. I know he fas done that to me so many times. When we feel like Jesus is far away, doesn’t love us, has given up on us, etc…satan uses that opportunity to whisper so many lies to us because he knows we are so susceptible to believe them.

One of the biggest lies I believed over the past four months was that Jesus was not near. When I didn’t have my quiet time, when I said something I shouldn’t have, when I made other things more important than Him….I believed the lie that He had left me because of what I had or had not done.

This summer I learned the truth that our feelings aren’t always reality. What we sometimes feel about Jesus isn’t always the truth.

When we look in scripture we discover the real truth. And the truth is Jesus is so near and so present in our lives. He says it over, and over, and over again in His Word. He is never going to leave us and never going to forsake us. In the moments when we are broken hearted…He is near (Psalm 34:18). In the moments when we are broken and crying out to Him…He is near (Psalm 145:18). In the moments when we are lonely…He is near.

So, if you’re going through one of those “spiritual droughts” right now….just remember that our feelings are not always reality. Just because you feel like Jesus isn’t near and close does NOT make it true. Jesus is just as close to you now as He was during those “Wow, God!” moments. During those times in your life when you may feel otherwise, remind yourself of The Father’s promises and walk in those truths.

Jesus is near, and that’s never going to change no matter what you feel.

much love-Haley Nicole

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”      -Psalm 34:18

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.”                 -Psalm 145:18

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:8