College, Lifestyle

Blessed to be Stressed

   I am blessed to be stressed. This may be an odd sounding statement, but it’s very true. 

  As a college student, I know that I’m guilty of complaining about how stressed I am. Dealing with classes, organizations, homework, practice, working out and life can be quite hectic, but not impossible. 

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought this post would be appropriate to share this week. As a college student in America, the following are a few thoughts I’ve been having recently. 

I am blessed to be stressed. 

I am blessed to be able to be stressed. 

I am blessed to live in America.

I am blessed to have food on my plate and a roof over my head.
I am blessed to be stressing over finals and classes. 

I am blessed to be getting an education. 

I am blessed to be able to go to college. 

I am blessed to have a family that supports me in getting an education.

    College is stressful, everyone knows this. But so is life. In all honestly we take for granted how blessed we are to be able to experience the stresses of college. So many people are unable to afford or access higher education, even in our own country. In other countries, many are not allowed to attend or have no opportunities to attend college- and I know many of them would do anything to be able to. As a student attending an amazing university in the United States, I often have to remind myself of this during my days of doubt. The stress of class is only going to help better me in the future by helping me start my career. The stress of student loans is a good thing because not everyone is able to receive loans or student aid. Though loans are a stressful subject, the ability to take out loans and get an education is a blessing- you just have to look at it that way. The fact that I have loans I’ll have to pay off in the future only encourages me to work hard and make the most of those loans by doing as well as I possibly can in all of my classes- which in turn is helping me make the most of learning and receiving an education. If I do well & receive my degree and a job in my anticipated field, I can start making money to pay off the loans. If I give up now, all that money goes to waste & I still have to pay it back- which leads to a more negative form of stress. 

    I guess my point is that it’s important to constantly remember how much you have to be thankful for and to maintain a positive outlook on the future in order to succeed. Next time you find yourself pulling your hair out while cramming for that exam, or writing that last minute essay, calm yourself down by remembering why you’re here & recognizing that you’re blessed to be in this position- because there are so many people who’d love to be in your shoes. No matter how hard life gets, remember that you’re blessed to have life. Give that stress and anxiety to God and keep moving forward. 

“Cast all your anxieties upon the Lord because he cares for you..” – 1 Peter 5:7

God bless y’all.

      XOXO, Cassie 


A Letter To Our Veterans

Dear US Military Veterans & active duty servicemen: Thank you. 

Thank you for dropping everything to serve our country. 

Thank you for giving up the luxury of being with your family every day. 

Thank you for putting your life on the line to defend our freedom. 

You have given up so much so that we have the freedom to live our lives and exercise our rights, and for that I’m eternally grateful. 

You are special people that God has provided us, and I’m so appreciative that you have the heart to serve & defend our country. 

Everyday I pray for your safety and for the members of your family to have peace while you are away.

Whether you served previously or you’re currently serving, you are a hero. Never forget that. 

You deserve appreciation everyday for all that you do, but today, on Veterans Day, the day is dedicated to you so once again I will say it: thank you. 

Xoxo, Cassie.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for ones friends.”

John 15:13

Lifestyle, World Issues & Current Events

One Nation Under God (part two)

I wasn’t going to make a “part two” initially, but the day came and I had a few more thoughts that tied in with my previous blog on the topic. I’m keeping this one pretty short & sweet, but I just felt the need to write down my thoughts. If you want to read my previous thoughts from this summer, you can find it here

   The day has finally arrived that we elect our new President for the next 4 years. There has been much controversy surrounding the election season and I am not going to delve deeply into any of the details of it because I’m sure you all are just about sick of thinking about the chaos of it all. 

  After today, we will know whether the Republican candidate Donald Trump, or the Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton, will be our next leader. The results of the election obviously are making some people nervous due to the fact that people all have different opinions on who the best choice is, but I for one am not too concerned, because in the end, they are just the president and only hold office for the next 4 years (unless re-elected, of course). Regardless of which candidate received the most electoral votes, they do not hold infinite or sole power. Because of checks and balances and separation of powers between the president, Congress and the Supreme Court, we need not worry about totalitarian leadership- the President has limited power and can only do so much. The one who does have all the power reigns in Heaven and over all of the earth and he reigns forever. Ultimately, God is in control and in the end, he is the most important. As Ronald Reagan once said, “if we ever forget that we are one nation under God, we will be a nation gone under.”

Our wonderful land of America is so divided right now because of politics, but we do need unity. Unity that only happens through the power of God. We must trust him and ask for his help because we really need it. Pray for America & for your fellow Americans so that we can put our differences aside enough to love and respect EVERYONE and to bring back the emphasis of God in our country.  If you’ve read my older blog posts, you may have read this and it may sound redundant, but I’m going to say it again anyways: we need to keep God in our country if we want to remain ONE & if we want to remain INDIVISIBLE. I bring this up because I’ve witnessed people losing friends over political opinions and it’s sad to see that happen. I’ve had disagreements with the opinions of others, but I respect anyone who has one and backs it up and uses their vote to make their voice heard. It’s okay for us to disagree because we are humans and we all have different minds and experiences, but God has called us to love our neighbors and share his love with those surrounding us- and we can’t do that if we divide our selves away from each other. We are all Americans, we’re all one people. 

   I also think it’s important to address that we should be showing each other the love of God through our actions and not just our words. While our new president will be the one in office, we the people will be the ones living here under their leadership, and we must find a way to treat each other as fellows  and neighbors, not strangers and outcasts. 

  Remember friends, this election is not the end all be all, and life will go on. But please pray for our country as well as countries around the world because we all need it and could all use some spiritual healing from the craziness of the world in general. Have a blessed day, y’all!

 “LORD, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” 

-2 Chronicles 20:6

Faith, Lifestyle

The Testimony Effect

   Growing up in the church, I often heard people speak of their testimonies, or the story of their relationship with God, at church and camps, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized how much impact their words can have on me. 

    Most preachers or church camp speakers mention their testimony at some point during their ministry, but have you ever truly listened to the struggles and obstacles they’ve faced? 

  I remember in seventh grade, I went to a Fall Retreat for my youth group and the theme was “My Story.” We were spoken to about testimonies and developing our own and that’s probably the first time I realized the meaning of the word “testimony,” in reference to the Christian Faith. We were encouraged to write our testimonies so we could profess them to others. Our shirts for the camp said “Ask me about my story,” and the purpose of them was to be a catalyst for people to question us so we could tell them our testimonies. At the time, being the shy person I am, the thought of doing such a thing made me sick to the stomach. I hated talking about myself to people and in front of people. I was also not very exposed to much hardship- at least not the I could comprehend as something worthwhile to help explain the power of God’s love. I never wrote down “My story” that weekend, for two reasons:

  1. I thought was socially invisible & no one would ever inquire even if I wore my camp shirt 
  2. I didn’t think I had a story worth telling. 

Let me tell you- I was quite wrong. The t-shirt was a bright shade of blue and and the lettering was a vibrant shade of orange… And people were curious. Random peers would ask me about my story and I would break out in a sweat because I had not prepared myself and didn’t know how to react and never told them my testimony. (Don’t do this, P L E A S E)

  I share this tale of my naïvety, not to talk down on myself, but to offer you some encouragement. Middle school me (yikes, I hate thinking about it) was blatantly unaware of the effect  a testimony can have on someone struggling in their faith, and that is something college me truly understands. 

 I think the first time I really felt and understood the power of Christ in someone’s testimony is when I went on my first mission trip to Peñuelas, Puerto Rico. It was on this trip that I was first exposed to a completely different culture and lifestyle. Many of the people we spoke to did not have as many luxuries as all of us from the mainland United States, and yet, they all were so grateful and joyful. I realized the things I had taken for granted (especially air conditioner) and it humbled my heart and drew me in to the people. The people who shared their testimonies with us really struck a chord with me, as I realized the similarities and differences of their struggles and how Christ helped them overcome. 

   Since then, I really put thought into my spiritual journey that is still (and will always be) a work in progress & decided to write out at least a basic synopsis of my story, in case I ever need to share it. I’ve heard many over the past couple years since that trip as well as my return to Puerto Rico this past summer, and they often times make me so very emotional. 

  And now that I am at UMHB, I hear testimonies 2-3 times weekly, thanks to church, chapel and Worship in the Quad. While the stories told at all of these events have an effect on me, I think the most influential are the one told at Worship in the Quad. For those of you who don’t know what Worship in the Quad is, it is a weekly event in which students willingly gather to worship together for an hour and share testimonies. Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard heartbreaking stories from my peers and they always get me thinking. Through my time here, I’ve come up with a few reasons why listening to testimonies, especially ones of your peers/colleagues, is beneficial to your faith. 

  1. Fellowship. By listening to the intimate details of someone’s walk with Christ, you get a better insight to who they are and why they are. I immediately feel connected to my peers, even the ones I haven’t met, because they made themselves vulnerable and shared a side with me and other students they don’t necessarily show to anyone else. This draws us close in the body of Christ, and even makes me feel led to go speak to that person and give them a hug or thank them for sharing. I’ve noticed in similarities in their stories I can relate to, as well as things that I may not understand as well. The people I befriend who are so brave as to share their testimonies in front of so many peers tend to be the closest of friends and it immediately forms a bond of trust. This is important for building Christian fellowship and finding accountability partners. 
  2. Knowing you can get through anything.  Worship in the quad takes place in Thursday evenings, so I enjoy going to help me get through the end of great weeks as well as stressful, long weeks. When I feel as though everything is going wrong, I can listen to the words of my peers and hear about the adversity and hardship that they’ve faced, and I remember I’m not alone and that I CAN get through it. Some of the people who speak have been through the unimaginable & my eyes have really been opened. I also knew my burdens and struggles and thought they were unique, but by opening my ears, I realize they are not. I take comfort in knowing that these beautiful people can get through such painful and difficult situations through the power of Christ, and I instantly stop pitying myself. The messages they tell remind me how big God is and how powerful his love is. Testimonies remind me that people have overcome more difficult situations than I am in by putting their faith in God, and I instantly take comfort in that. It restores balance back to my faith when it is trembling in doubt. 

While these are things that I’ve discovered for myself, I hope they can apply to you as well. Start listening to what your peers have faced on their spiritual journey, testimonies can be very powerful. Also, do not be afraid to speak out about yours- you never know who has gone through similar situations to yours who can relate and take comfort from your story- or even be lead to Christ. God gives us the courage and ability to share our words & he speaks through us to reach those in need of saving. We have a big big God and he works in mysterious ways, and he works through us. Our words, through the greatness of God, have the ability to reach many, but it’s also important that we not depend on our own words, but learn and grow from the experiences of others.  Listen to what people have to say because you can get so much out of it & it can help you grow in your spiritual journey immensely. 

Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Blessings and prayers to y’all,

Xoxo, Cassie