Friday, May 30, 2014

Embracing twenty-three

23About two weeks ago I was freaked out about twenty-three- it just seemed older. It just seemed liked I was getting old too fast.  It just seemed weird. I didn’t feel ready to embrace another year of getting older and beside twenty-two has a good ring to it. Yes, some of these things are still true like I am getting older and twenty-two has a good ring to it, but over the past two weeks God has been working in my heart and embracing me with truths for this next year. After an episode of freaking out about getting older I committed my fears and my anxious thoughts to God and committed to prayer each day to seek God’s desire for this next year in my life.
God has laid some beautiful truths on my heart and has helped me embrace this new year in my life. I am choosing to cling to these truths. He is making me new. A song that has been playing over and over again on my runs is Beautiful Things by the band Gungor. This song talks about how God makes beautiful things out of dust. I am just in awe these days with how much God loves me. He sent his only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins so that I could be loved no matter what. There is absolutely nothing that can separate me from His love (Romans 8:37-39). How awesome is that. This morning as I opened up my bible to read I happened to be in Matthew 26 where it talks about Jesus having His last meal, being betrayed and then denied; wow, God perfect timing because this is something that has been on my heart lately. I have being pondering what Jesus’ death truly means to me in my life and what it means for me to live it out.
My Birthday Morning- Beautiful!
This past year God has helped me work through my fears, strongholds and to face my sins. He has called me to trust Him more and depend on Him more. My life is not perfect and I still have things to work through, but that is the beautiful thing about this life with Christ. We are not perfect, but He still loves us. He still desires us. He helps us through each circumstance. He is always faithful.  I am so excited for what this year is going to be.
As I embrace this year there are twenty-three things that I am going to focus on it, grow in and embrace:
1.      Eat healthy (lots of veggies, quinoa, coconut oil and less baking)

2.      Workout (run a ½ marathon)

3.      Thankfulness (continue to write in my thankful journal and wake up each morning with the saying “today I am grateful”

4.      Read More! (Spend Sunday afternoons reading)

5.      Practice a Sabbath

6.      Seek God for confidence in my roles in life

7.      Say No! Learning what it means to put up boundaries and not feel guilty for saying No!

8.      Be generous! (give my tithes first to God and then give beyond that)

9.      Encouragement (write letters, notes, and send packages)

10. Say Sorry with no “buts”

11. Find a new hobby (no more baking!!!)

12.  Go on adventures

13. No gossiping!

14. Practice the Fruits of the Spirit

15. Take a Korean class (embrace the culture I am living in)

16. Teach with my whole heart

17. Embrace alone (spend 1 Saturday a month all alone)

18. Be hospitable (invite people over for dinner, game nights, coffee, ect)

19. Play Games (dutch blitz because I just enjoy it)

20. Read through the whole bible and really soak it all in

21. Maintain my “healthy” weight

22. Volunteer at an orphanage (this is something that is always on my heart)

23. Live out Micah 6:8 “To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God!”
My desire is to live out this verse this year...
I am not going to allow the age of twenty-three to freak me or make me anxious instead I am going to embrace it with a God who will carry me through and continue to speak beautiful truths into my life as well as help me work through the twenty-three things He has placed on my heart! J

Happy Birthday to me!

                                                                                                            Love, Daniella

Sunday, May 18, 2014

a. day. alone

a. day. alone. I have not had very many of these by choice in my lifetime. I really don’t remember the last time I chose to spend the whole day or even just a little bit of time by myself, but this Saturday I practiced saying “no” (which I really struggle with) and spent the whole day alone. Let’s just say it was so refreshing and just what I needed. I laugh now because all along God knew I needed this day and He had it all planned out for me, but of course I struggled with deciding on going with family and friends to the zoo. I don’t like zoos because I don’t like animals, but I wanted to go to socialize and be with the people that are dear to my heart. Although I know that I would have had a blast at the zoo I know that God wanted me to Himself for a day. He wanted all of me. He wanted me to find my rest in Him and to finally overcome the fear of being alone. I can officially say that I have faced a struggle that I have since forever- that being; I hated being alone. I feared it, but yesterday I had a break through. God spoke clearly to my heart over and over again that I am not truly alone ever because He is always with me. He is the one that can satisfy my longing. He is the one that I need to take time for.

I have been reading through a book with one my dear friends here in Korea. We are reading Having a Mary Heart in Martha World by Joanna Weaver. In the chapter this week she talks about how important it is to protect our time with God.  A part that really stuck with me was the part that talked about loneliness and quietness. It said in paraphrase “so often we are afraid of being alone, but have you ever thought about loneliness being God’s way to call you to fellowship with Him? Have you ever thought about quietness as a time where you can hear God’s voice because you are being quiet instead of listening to advice from friends, podcasts or music? We so often put noise on to fill the quietness, but are we missing out on God speaking to us? “

This year has been a year where God is really teaching me to embrace loneliness not as a bad thing, but as a good thing. He is changing my perspective of loneliness. Loneliness doesn’t have to be a time where you feel all by yourself and don’t feel like you have anybody to talk to, eat dinner with, play games with, ect, but loneliness can be a time where you press into God deeper. I believe in faith that I will not be lonely for the rest of my life because of the desire that God has placed on my heart, but right now I am ready to embrace this season of loneliness. I am ready to finally bend my knee to a fight that I have been fighting for forever and allow God to use this time of loneliness to transform me into the woman of God He has created me to be.

Throughout this beautiful Saturday I spent time being productive, being still, reading in the sunshine, walking through nature and soaking in everything that God had for me. I walked in quietness instead of listening to my ipod and I heard sweet truths spoke into my life by the one who loves me the most, God! He placed things on my heart to ponder on, to trust Him in and to be excited for. I know that even though I feel like I have gained a hundred miles in the department of loneliness and that I have overcome a fear. With that I know that it doesn’t mean that I won’t struggle with it ever again, but now I have the truth to continue to fight back with. I have the realization and new perspective to help me fight the fight because I know that what God wants is for me to embrace it and He alone will satisfy it! Hooray!

I love that being alone doesn’t mean that I will always be alone, but that there are moments where we need to be alone so we can experience more of the one who loves us so deeply. I love being with people! I LOVE IT and I won’t stop being with people of course, but I have also learned this weekend what a treasure it is to set apart time to be alone. My goal for this coming year (yes, I turn 23 in 13 days!!!!) is to take a day each month to intentionally be “alone” aka be alone with God.

Will you join me in this goal for your own life?

Love, Daniella
P.S. Only 15 school days left with my kiddos… I am starting to get teary eyed, but also so ready for a long break and did I mention I coming to the U.S.A! J

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Walk by Faith

These past couple of weeks have definitely been a test.  It has been a hard adjustment coming off of incredible season of coaching soccer. I didn’t realize how much I loved it and how much it filled my day up. I now have so much more time, but less motivation to get the things that I need to get done. It is funny how when you don’t have a lot of time you can be determined to work hard and get so much done, but when you do have a lot of time it becomes so hard to finish a task.

These past couple of weeks have I been faced with many valleys that I have had to walk through. Without going into details these valleys have involved student problems (prays would be appreciated with how to deal with it), relationships and a reoccurring lesson that God has to keep teaching me over and over again. These valleys have drained me- mentally, spiritually, and physically, but you see it is not just these valleys, but the valleys that I have had to face all year. I just feel like every time I feel I am doing really well, feel settled and just loving life I am hit with another battle to face (a valley). It has been draining- mentally, spiritually and physically.  There moments when I don’t think I will be able to make it to the end of the school year, but then I am reminded that I have a God that promises to never leave me. He will carry me. His burden is light and His yoke is easy and He asks me to give it all to Him (Matthew 11:30). 

I am reminded that I have to walk by faith even when I cannot see what is going to happen. I have to have faith that God will give me the wisdom to guide my students in the right direction of loving one another through their differences. I have to have faith that God is in my relationships and that His plans will be clear. He has a plan and a purpose for each action, word and placing of people in your life even if it is not the way you or they see it. He sees the whole picture.  I have to have faith that I will finally be at peace with the lesson that God has been trying to teach me over and over again. I have to have faith that I will bend my knees in this area and give it all to Him.

I have decided that I will walk by faith even when I cannot see because I know that I have a God who will guide me and who will show me the way. (2 Corinthians 5:7)He will always protect me, teach me and love me. Faith is believing even when you cannot see and I am deciding today to take on this challenge of having faith that God has a purpose for this past year and that it is drawing me closer to His heart and His will for my life!

Love, Daniella

Thursday, May 1, 2014

So Worth it!

Today I came home from school went grocery shopping, got lots of school work done, made dinner, relaxed, looked at plane tickets, took a shower and now I am going  to bed at 8:30… can you guess that I have more time now that soccer season is over?!? It’s amazing how much time was taken away coaching, but you know what I miss it. I miss going to practice every day. I miss seeing the girls on my team. I miss being challenged. I miss being outside. I miss seeing goals accomplished. I miss it. Yes, it is nice to have a few extra hours in my day and my body is surely telling me that I have been busy for way too long this week, but I still miss it.

I miss this! The joy and the laughs!
Coaching soccer was good for me. It helped me to focus on something other than school and life. It helped me to be discipline. I was so much healthier while coaching soccer. I was so much more self-discipline and productive! It helped me gain my confidence again. It brought me closer to God- who I relied on for everything during the season.

My Team on Senior Day! We only had one senior! :)

Coaching soccer was good for me. It allowed me to go beyond knowing just the elementary students in my school, but now I know some of the high school girls. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and humbled me when I had to ask for help so many times. It stretched me when I had to make decisions and figure out what was best for my team. It opened my eyes again to what it is like to be in high school and the issues that high schoolers deal with every day.  

It is hard to believe that our incredible season is over. My girls went undefeated in their season being #1 in conference and then they went on to victory winning first place in tournament. These Lady Conquerors went against the odds of having only 12 players and 3 who had never played soccer before to being champions with grace. Being a coach to these ladies was a huge blessing and lifesaver in my life.  As you know moving to Korea has been a hard transition, but God has continue to be so faithful through it all providing me with just what I need at the right time and this spring He provided me with 12 high school girls to coach. I would have never guessed that this would have happened, but I am so thankful it did. I would not trade the past two months for anything. These ladies taught me so much about the importance of teamwork, encouraging one another, playing for the glory of God, never giving up, and finding the strength to push through all things, goal making and what it means to love unconditionally! I learned so much through this season and I am excited to say that I will be coaching again next season! J

We did it!!!! We had amazing season of hard work and it paid off!
Highlights of the season include:

·         Building a team that pushed each other to do better

·         Having team dinners at my apartment (I am never having 12 kids- it is so much food and work!!!)

·         Praying before and after each game remembering why we are playing- All for His glory because He has given us the ability to play.

·         Creating goals as a team and individually before each and every game

·         Beautiful sunny days of practice

·         Running to AK Plaza, getting smoothies and doing communication games

·         Having a great fan support

·         Seeing girls accomplish their goals and playing their hardest

·         Winning tournament even though other teams didn’t think we deserve it! We just played our best! J

·         Coaching with Hannah (an amazing assisted coach!!!)

Team Dinner=loading up on the carbs!

Soccer was so so so good for me! I am so thankful for each thing that I learned through the season and I am excited for next year because it can only get better with changes! J This is one thing that I have learned as a first year teacher and coach- changes are always good! Thank you, God, for giving me this amazing opportunity and allowing me to learn so much through it! I am one happy coach!

What a team! I miss them!
Our team motto for the season!
Love, Daniella