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Not all of God’s blessing are wrapped in pretty paper. Sometimes they look more like a trial or hardship. 2015 was filled with those types of blessings for me.

Not all of God’s blessing are wrapped in pretty paper. Sometimes they look more like a trial or hardship. 2015 was filled with those types of blessings for me.

Shortly after finding out we were having a baby my health rapidly started declining; to the point were I had to quit both my job and cosmetology school. Justin was working full-time at a vacuum repair shop, but we couldn’t live on his salary alone. Our parents offered to assist us in our time of need (because they are amazing) and we humbly accepted. Praise God, because we had no idea about the challenges that lied ahead for us.

Within the months to come my health would continue to decline, leaving me primarily to bed-rest the remaining 6 1/2 months of my pregnancy. I tried to work, and even did an internship for a short time, but no matter what I did, big or small, excruciating pain was always there. Justin started to work different jobs, like construction and Domino’s, all while pursuing school full-time… sometimes being gone 15 hours a day. This puts quite a strain on a newly married couple still fumbling through the foreign nuances of marriage. All of this to prepare us for the role of being parents, which is a whole other story in itself; but around October things started to look brighter.
I had gained a good amount of my health back, Justin found a stable job (where he has been climbing the latter since then), our communication had drastically improved, we had established the different roles we play within our marriage and in our house, and Amelia no longer had colic… Hallelujah! The load had lightened but I started to realize there was an adjustment that needed to be made; my mindset. Up until this point I had repeated over and over again to myself, “I just have to get through this.” I had been living in survival mode, but that was no longer needed. I felt my mind start to slip into laziness as I still tried to “just get through” the daily tasks. As I recognized this was becoming more of a problem, my friend James sent me his story.

“My story is actually an event that happened to someone else that shook me out of my comfort zone. I was a Liberty student, as you may know, for over four years. During this time I was easily distracted and focused on things I thought I needed to complete me. However, in my final semester at Liberty, a friend who lived out his life intentionally for Christ passed away in an unfortunate accident. His name was Jon Gregoire.

Combined with the declining health of my father, who would pass away on my birthday the year I graduated (7/27/2015), death became a major theme in my life as I learned firsthand that the simple things don’t always last and are to be treasured. The best way to do that is to live life with an eternal focus daily, being intentional in our walks daily with God; as my friend Jon was. In response to his story, I am producing a memorial scrapbook website alongside his family (when I’m not riding roller coasters on weekends; they help sum up the unpredictable nature of life for me).

In making the most of my time, I am planning on returning to Liberty University and pursuing a masters in a marketing or business field. My goal is that I would like to someday represent the school, possibly as a travelling recruiter. In sum, all that you need to know about me is that I am an honest, people loving, vibrant person who believes the most unique moments often come when we don’t take the little things for granted, and live our lives with consistency and with intention for the things we believe in that are most important to us.

God bless,

James Black”

That was it! I don’t want life to look like survival anymore, or do things just to make it to the next day.

So, my New Year’s Resolution for 2016 is to be intentional with my life.

This year my word is intentional. I want to be intentional with my time spent. Instead of trying to fill empty space with Netflix or scrolling endlessly through social media, I want to do something that will benefit myself and people around me. I want to be intentional with my faith by waiting on the Lord and pursuing His word. I want to be intentional with my marriage by seeking to help my husband and lift him up in the way he needs. I want to be intentional with my daughter. Instead of simply trying to occupy her, I want to show her God and His amazing grace and what life looks like. I want to be intentional with my family and friends, giving them the time and care they truly deserve. And I want to be intentional in regards to myself; in what I eat, in the way I think, in the way I take care of and present myself, in my actions, and how I love.

I know this is quite a goal for 2016, and I have already struggled with this multiple times within the last couple of days, but I also know that God allows every morning to be a fresh start. So by His grace, His mercy, and His unfailing love I will endure. Praise God for His blessings!


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