thank you, best friend

Well, it’s national best friend day and I thought, “why not write something?”

So, here it goes…….

June 9, 2017

Dear Best Friend,

   The past nine years with you as my friend have been such an adventure. I just want to take a minute and thank you. Thank you for always sticking with me and for never leaving my side. Thank you for all the coffee dates, eno afternoons, and late night talks. Thank you for listening to me talk about the same things over and over and over again. Thank you for listening through the tears and for the comfort you have shown me on the hardest days. Thank you for being there for me night or day. Thank you for the patience you have shown me when I am upset or frustrated. Thank you for giving me hope when I had none. Thank you for knowing me and accepting me just as I am. Thank you for the selfless way you love me and others. It’s a beautiful thing and I want to love more like you one day. Thank you for always being willing to listen and hear about what’s going on in my life…whether it be exciting, dull, sad, or happy. Thank you for the amazing example you have set for others to see. I’ve learned a lot from you and I hope I can continue to learn and become more like you one day. You’re my role model. Thank you for showing me that each day is a gift and so full of so many blessings. Thank you for helping me overcome my fears and for pushing me to do things that are beyond my comfort zone. There is no telling where I would be in life without you. Best friend, you make life worth living and I can’t thank you enough for being the friend to me that you have been.

So……thank you, Jesus.

Thank you for being you and for loving me for me.

I love you.

much love- Haley Nicole

He is close

Y’all, Jesus is so sweet. Some mornings I wake up and read my Bible and then finish thinking, “hmmmmm ok, not sure what Jesus was trying to show me this morning.” But then there are some mornings, like this morning, where it’s just so clear and I can’t help but smile.

This morning he reminded me of the simple truth that He is close. Man, there is so much peace that comes with knowing and truly believing that He is close to us in this very moment and will continue to be close to us for the rest of our lives. I think that truth is one we tend to forget a lot. Or at least I do. Life gets busy, our past creeps up on us, fears come up in our lives and make us feel alone and before you know it you kinda feel a million miles away from The Father and like you’re all alone in this world. But guys, feelings aren’t always a reality. A sweet friend told me that once and I will never ever forget it. Just because it feels like Jesus isn’t close does not mean he isn’t. He is close, so so very close. And he promises to always be close. The enemy wants us to believe other wise, but lets choose to believe the truth and hold on to the precious promise of our Savior.

I am so thankful The Father reminded me of this sweet and simple promise today. This is a promise I so often forget and The Father has had to remind me of it multiple times. I am so thankful He is so patient and willing to remind me of simple truths over and over and over again. It’s so comforting to know that The Father knows our hearts and our fears and the things we are anxious about. As I am about to begin this new chapter of life and move away from everything I have ever known, fear of loneliness and fear of the future have come up over the past couple of weeks. Jesus knew I needed to be reminded that He is close. Jesus is cool, guys. He is so personal and so involved in our lives. He knows us. He gets us. It puts a smile on my face to know that I serve a God who cares and wants me to know He cares.

So yeah, that’s just some truth Jesus reminded me of today and I just wanted to share it. No matter what you’re going through….Jesus is near and close. Nothing you have done or could do will ever separate you from His love for you. He is never going to let you go.

Trust and rest in that sweet promise.

much love- Haley Nicole

 

 

p.s.- these songs are super encouraging

“Starlight”- Amanda Cook

“Closer Than You Know”- Hillsong UNITED

“I Am Not Alone”- Kari Jobe

finding Jesus in the ordinary

If you haven’t noticed, I have taken a little break from writing. It’s been a while since I have written anything. The Lord has done SO MUCH in my heart since my last post. A lot of growth has happened and I am so thankful for the trials and pain.

I have sat down many times in front of my computer to write, but all I did was watch that little blinking line blink. I just could not put any of my thoughts into words. It was kind of a weird feeling because I normally have something to write about. Four months ago I started a post and named it “finding Jesus in the ordinary” and that’s all that I wrote. This post has been sitting in my drafts for four months unfinished with just the title. It kinda makes sense now why I didn’t ever finish it. Little did I know, four months ago was just the beginning of me learning how to find Jesus in the ordinary. These past four months that title has been a theme for me. It’s something The Father is sweetly and patiently showing me how to do. He has opened my eyes to so many new things and it’s seriously changing how I live my day to day life.

So, finding Jesus in the ordinary. It’s so easy to find Jesus in the big moments of your life where you feel the presence of God. But in the mundane? It can be a challenge. The life of Haley is the definition of mundane right now. Each day of each week looks about the same. As a nanny I have the same routine and schedule five days out of the week, every Sunday looks about the same, and Saturdays are different every now and then. But six out of the seven days look a lot alike. Some people like routine, but it kinda drives me bananas sometimes.

The Father is showing me though that He is in those mundane moments. He is in the moments when I am driving to work, washing dishes, playing with the kids I keep or standing in line at Walmart. He is SO present in every moment, it’s just our choice whether we embrace His presence or not.

I feel like we so often limit God without even knowing it. For a long time, I think I kept God in my little “quiet time box.” I would have a time where I would sit down to read, journal, and pray. And don’t get me wrong, that is a great and much-needed thing, but as soon as that Bible shut, the lid went on that box and I wasn’t living with an awareness of his presence throughout the day. And that’s where I went wrong. I kinda did my own thing. The next day I would have that time with Him again and then just go throughout the next 24 hours until I would open up the word again. Let me just tell ya, this doesn’t work! And wow, we miss out on so much when we put God in a box and don’t try to live moment by moment His presence throughout the day. There is so much freedom when we walk through each day with an awareness of his presence. When our minds are set on Him, our perspective on life changes and we see things in a totally different light. We also see opportunities we didn’t before to be a light for Him. I know I have.

I think finding Jesus in the ordinary and living in His presence looks different for each of us. This post isn’t meant to give you a three-step guide on how to do those things, it’s just to encourage you to ask Jesus to show you himself in the ordinary, whatever “ordinary” looks like for you, and that he will show you what it means to walk with him moment by moment each day. I’ve prayed that a lot this year, and man, Jesus has changed my whole perspective on life. When I wake up on those routine days I don’t have to dread them, but instead, I can rejoice because it’s another day I get to live in His presence and be His. I can be excited because it’s another day to look for how He is working around me and step in and be apart of what He is doing in my now. RIGHT NOW in your ordinary Jesus is working all around you. He is! Pray for eyes to see, and believe me, he will show you.

I really think the enemy uses the future, and our past, to keep us from experiencing Jesus to the fullest and to keep us from seeing how he is working around us right now where we are. We are always looking forward to the next big thing or we are stuck in our past. And I think sometimes we feel we can’t be as close to God or experience him to the fullest because of our past, or until we get to that next “big thing.”

Here lately I have been struggling with believing the lie that I can’t experience God to the fullest until I get to the next big thing in my life. My next “big thing” is moving to Minnesota in August to start school at Bethany Global University. (if you are interested in missions you should totally check it out!) This college is so great and Jesus is so evident in everything there. The student community, the staff, their mission, their goals. I know without a doubt that The Lord is calling me there and that gets me excited because I know he is going to show and teach me so much!! But, it’s not August yet. I’m not in Minnesota, I’m still in Mississippi. The cool thing is though, I get to experience the same Jesus RIGHT NOW that I will experience at Bethany. I get to experience the same Jesus RIGHT NOW that I did in Haiti. And I get to experience the same Jesus RIGHT NOW that I did the past two summers working at camps, even though I’m not there this summer. He is using my right now to get me ready for what is ahead.

The mundane can be boring and drive you bananas sometimes, but there is purpose and meaning in our right now even if it doesn’t feel like it. You are where you are for a reason and the Father is using this season of life to grow you and prepare your heart for the days ahead just like he is doing me! “At each moment, God uses our mundane, earthly experiences to train and equip us for something greater, to center our thoughts on the eternal, and to be active participants in his outpouring of love and grace. Living God’s great adventure is not a matter of location or vocation, but rather, a continual process of heart and mind transformation.” Also, just remember how much of a gift your right now is. They always say the present is called the present because of the gift it truly is. The future is so exciting though and it’s totally ok to be excited and praise Jesus for it! Man, I do every day! Don’t lose sight of the future and what is to come, but also enjoy and live and love in the moment where God has you right now. No matter how mundane it may seem.

So yeah, that’s just what’s been on my heart lately and what God has been teaching me. I’m praying that you will find joy and Jesus in the ordinary and become more aware of His presence each and every day.

much love- Haley Nicole

 

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 :)

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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

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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”