Hey y'all! Sorry it's been a minute (or a few months, but who's really counting?). It has been a super busy past couple of months, and definitely a season of change. However, I am beyond happy to be back! I love you guys so so much, and I plan on posting more often from now on:)
As this crazy year comes to a close, I sit back and start to reflect on everything that has occurred in 2017, good and not-so-great. First off, God has blessed me with so many new friendships, and amazing memories with awesome people. He has opened up job opportunities, opportunities with school, and most importantly - opportunities to serve HIM with some of my closest friends that I would consider family. Needless to say, this year has been filled with so many amazing things, and I can never thank God enough for HIS blessings. That being said, there have also been some tougher times this year. We had some family health scares, bad timing with events unfolding, and most recently lost my grandmother. These events have made this year a little rougher for my family than usual. We are still working through some of the stuff that has happened this year, and I'm not gonna lie, it's not easy. However, God has definitely showed up and showed out throughout the past few months. Whether it was other families/friends showing an absolutely crazy amount of love and support towards myself and my family, to Him sending the sweetest of reminders of His love for us, it has truly been incredible. One of the most recent reminders has been through a 14 year old girl in Indonesia. Her name is Poni, and she is my Compassion International sister (I will write more about her later, because she is AMAZING!). Please go read about the wonderful impact that Compassion International is having around the world, and what the program is about, by searching "Compassion International" in your browser (I have yet to figure out how to insert a link:)). Anyways, today, I received a handwritten letter from Poni (a picture of it can be found at the bottom of this post), and God used her to be such a HUGE blessing to me today. In the letter, she included her favorite Bible verse, which is Romans 12:12. It reads:
"Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant prayer;"
WOW! That verse could not have came at a better time. At a time where it seems like the world is trying to drain us of all hope, she sent me this verse. It reminds me that our hope is not to be found in this world, but in Christ alone. At a time when trials and tribulations surrounds us as a nation and a world, Poni sent me this verse. Even when I want to push past all the not-so-great events that have happened this year, God used Poni to remind me to be patient, and let go of "control". It has been the roughest year of my life by far, but I am so grateful that God uses people and HIS perfect timing to show just how powerful and in control He is. It is truly amazing, and jaw - dropping. I am so amazed at how God brings people together and uses us to encourage each other. I now challenge you to go out of your way today and encourage just one person towards Christ - whether it be sending them a Bible verse, praying for them....you get the point. Go let God's love radiate through you today! I love you guys!
Hey beautiful friends! I hope that you guys have had an amazing week so far! I just got back home from one of the best trips of my life, also known as the Beach Retreat. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, please let me explain...
Ruthie's Definition of the Beach Retreat:
One of the best weeks of your life, one that you will NEVER forget. You spend 5 days with your church family growing closer together, and more importantly, growing closer to God (did I mention it is literally ON the beach in PCB)!
...and that definition is an HUGE understatement. There are truly no words to describe just how great this experience was. There is nothing that can compare to all the memories made in PCB on this trip, from the very long bus ride, the AWESOME food, rooming with 20+ girls, the games we played, the laughs we shared, and not being able to sleep because of the guys (who's room was above ours) staying up late and running around in their room, to being able to worship our WONDERFUL God, praying to Him while walking up and down the beach, growing closer to Him through quiet times, and making the decision to follow in obedience to Him by getting baptized on Thursday (I will be writing a post soon about what getting baptized means and why I chose to do it, so stay tuned!) I LOVED getting to spend time with my family group (shoutout to Ott and Hannah for being the best parents ever! #don'tforgetrulenumber1 #gravynavybabytoottoot :) and to have such a supportive group of people to be around! The people that went on this trip really encouraged each other to grow closer to God, and I couldn't be more thankful for you guys. I even got to see some of my "bestest" friends accept Christ as their Savior, and that is something that I will NEVER forget! If you went on the trip and you're reading this, please know that YOU helped make this trip one of the best ones I've ever taken in my life! Also, thank you to all the leaders that chose to spend 5 whole days with 70+ teenagers, we couldn't do it without you guys being there for us and setting a great example for us to follow. I'm speaking for the youth group here, but we love you guys so so so much. I personally look up to you guys so much, and thanks for being a person that is a good influence! I love all of you guys so much and will continue to pray for you!
Anyways, a little fun fact about the trip - every year, there is a different theme. This year's theme was "My Lighthouse" and our main verse for the week was John 8:12, which reads:
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Wow! Jesus is speaking some amazing truth while saying this (He always does, but this verse really stuck out to me:). This world is a very dark place, filled with selfishness, pride, greed, prejudice, rebellion, fear, worry, addiction, impatience, lack of self control, etc. However, if we have accepted Christ into our lives and choose to follow Him, we will not walk in the darkness of the world, but walk with Him in His light. I think that it is so cool to know that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave, lives in US! We are called to shine His light to this dark world, and I think it's so cool to know that we have that opportunity to serve Him. We can shine His light in everything we do, as long as we do it for His glory and not out own. The littlest things can make some of the biggest impacts on people around us if Jesus is the reason we are doing it. For example, on the beach retreat, I was presented with an opportunity to reach out to someone who I have seen around our youth group a few times, but never had an actual conversation with. I felt like God was leading me to go talk to this person, who was kinda isolated from the rest of the group. Needless to say, we got into a casual conversation and I learned stuff from them and their hobbies and what they do for fun. *Note: This person, in my opinion, is pretty shy and has never started a conversation with me* We went separate ways, and I thought that was the end of it. However, later that afternoon, they started another conversation with me! It caught me off guard a little, but I am so happy to know that she opened up a bit and knew that she could talk to somebody. I think it is so cool that Jesus presented me with the opportunity to approach her and through that experience, shine His light, and the fact that He gave me the courage to do it. So a little conversation turned into someone knowing that they have friends who they don't have to be afraid to talk to, all because Jesus was in it and through me was able to shine His light! So today I encourage you guys to go out there and shine His light in everything you do! LIVE LIFE LIT for Jesus!!! I love you guys so much and hope that ya'll have a great rest of your week!
hey hey hey:) Guess who's trying to type a post up in the middle of work? This girl. Actually I'm on break, so it works out. I am trying my best to stay dedicated to this blog, so if that means typing posts on break, that's what it means:) I figured that would be a good thing to chat about today - dedication. I got curious as to what the technical definition of being dedicated was, so I thought I'd look it up:) This is what I got:
Dedicated- (of a person) devoted to a task or purpose; having single minded loyalty or integrity.
Okay, so I don't know about you guys, but the word "purpose" in the definition really stood out to me. As a Christian, I am called to show Christs love to others and to spread the Gospel. By the definition, I am supposed to be "devoted to a purpose" in order to be dedicated. But that made me start to ask me myself "How dedicated am I REALLY to my purpose?" Do I love others as Christ has loved me as much as I should with loyalty and integrity? I find that it can be SUPER hard to love others no matter the circumstance sometimes, and I know it's hard for others to love me as well. However, we need to be able to look beyond what others have done and love them, because Christ did that for us. Romans 5:8 says that "as we were still sinners, Christ DIED for us." That is a crazy, amazing, and DEDICATED love! If you were the only one on the planet, He STILL would've taken your place on that cross. That is so amazing to think about that someone has that much dedication to loving me, that they would die the most crucial death imaginable. What I'm trying to say that since Christ looks past all of our mistakes, flaws, and failures and loves us anyways, the least we could do is to try and follow His example! I encourage you to do the same, even though it WILL be difficult at sometimes. In the end though, I promise it WILL be worth it. So I challenge you guys to be DEDICATED to your purpose, and go out and show Christ's love! Love you guys so much!
Hey guys! I'm sorry for not posting in a while. For those of you who don't know, I've been in San Antonio for the past week for my job. I'd like to add that San Antonio is a beautiful city with some very hospitable people! However, my week has been slammed-packed with google spreadsheets and sending E-mails back and fourth to my boss. I had actually planned on typing a post tonight instead of typing an excuse on why there is no post. To be completely honest, I am super tired and like can't stay up long enough to post. I promise I will post either tomorrow night or Wednesday night. I did accomplish something today though: My testimony has FINALLY been published! So if you wanna go see how God has completely changed my life, click on the "My Testimony" tab, which can be found under the "About" tab:) Have a blessed night!
Hey awesome friends! I hope that you have had an amazing, fun-filled day! I know that for me personally, my day has been an extremely busy, hectic, and crazy one to say the least. I feel like I have been packing for my upcoming trip to San Antonio for days now! I'm excited to go and super grateful for the opportunity, - but WOW - can preparation for a trip like this be stressful! To go along with preparing for the trip, I have found that I've been trying to juggle so many different activities at once, and it can make everything seem super crazy and fast-paced! I have a super busy summer up ahead, with more things planned in it than I had originally thought. I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to plan out how volleyball practices, workouts, plans with friends, countless trips and activities with church and a youth drama group (shout out to my S.W.A.T. peeps, I love you guys so much!:)), and most importantly - spending time with my loving, caring, and AMAZING God! I'm saying all this just to show how overwhelming life can get at points, and it probably has (or will happen) to you too! I know that for me, some of the things that I tend to forget about during crazy-busy times like these, are actually the "littlest" ones!
You see, I find myself having to constantly take a step back and pause, like I am about to do while writing this post. I encourage you to actually stop reading this for a second (but please come back haha!) and just close your eyes and take a breath, then come back.
What you just did may seem like the simplest, littlest action. But, if we really think about it, what we all just did was something that God allowed us to do! Every breath we take is a gift from our AMAZING God! For me personally, I believe that any gift from the Most High, All Knowing King is a pretty HUGE thing! It doesn't just stop there though. Every individual step that you take in your school, office, home, or wherever else you may be are all gifts. Fun fact: the average person blinks 15-20 times in one minute! So you have probably blinked at least 30 times just while reading this post! You see, His word even says that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17). WOW! Even the good things that we can think are "little" are actually gifts from an unwavering, amazing God, who just so happens to have also created the ENTIRE universe! That is a pretty BIG deal! The fact that He knows everything we need - big or "little" before we even ask for it really leaves me in awe of how AWESOME He is!
So if you only remember one thing from this post, remember this: What we consider to be "little" things if life, are actually BIG gifts! Do you remember that guy who wrote a letter to God saying "You MUST give these perfect and good things to mankind."? Nope, you don't remember that because it NEVER happened! See, God WANTS to give these "little" things to us, because of His immeasurable, unwavering, never-failing, PERFECT LOVE!
I love you guys so much, and thanks for reading! I hope you could get something out of it! Have an amazing rest of your day today!
- Ruthie :)
Hey beautiful people! My name is Ruthie Liles, and I'm super grateful and excited to be able to share a little bit that Christ has shown me in the 15 years I've been on this crazy Earth with you! If you would like to know a little more about me, click on the "About" tab above! I hope you have an AMAZING day!