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Finding Jesus In the Discouragement

Finding Jesus In the Discouragement

Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO sister member, Kailee Elise! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, you can join today and get your first week FREE! Find out more about this online sisterhood HERE. And for more info about what LO sister is all about, visit our Instagram Page!

Now, enjoy today’s post from Kailee 🙂 

 

Wake up.

Turn off the alarm.

Scroll through my phone.

Get up.

Pick up my to-do list.

Go through the motions.

And watch the next day roll around.

What day even is it? Monday? Friday? Sunday?

The days used to have such distinction, but now they simply roll together. Plans used to be made, but now they’re all canceled. Friends used to get together, but now it’s a risk to even do so.

It seems as if the world went on pause. But at the same time, it keeps moving. Time keeps passing. The to-do list still manages to fill up. And the emotions definitely don’t stop coming.

Fear.

Anxiety.

Waiting.

Loneliness.

Do any of these feel familiar? Truth is, we’re all in this together. Yet separate. As I was driving the other day, I passed a sign that was promoting to stay at home to stop the spread of covid. At the bottom, it read: #AloneTogether.

We’re all in this together. Yet ironically more alone than ever. Community can still be found over our phones. But in person? Very little so.

I’m going to be honest. This season has been lonely for so many, and I’ve been right there too. Longing for community. For friends to hang out with. To see people I haven’t in months, or even a year at this point. It’s normal. God designed us for community from the start. After forming Adam, He said that it’s not good for man to be alone. So no wonder this isolated season has been so challenging.

However, in the midst of this, I’ve realized that we’re genuinely not alone: Jesus is with us. Jesus is longing for a relationship. To be your friend. To be your Savior. To be able to pour into your life as you pour into Him.

Psalms 5:11 says, “but let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.” Even if the situation is less than desirable, take refuge in Jesus. And He can fill you up with gladness and joy.

Yesterday the weight of this entire season was weighing down on my heart. I was drained. I had little energy, or motivation to do much. Yes, I had a to-do list. But I questioned why I even needed to complete it. What the point in doing so was. If the things I had written down really, truly mattered, or if they were just written to have a sense of business. It felt like all purpose was nowhere to be found.

In hope for a little boost, I listened to a sermon, which usually fills me up with a newly found energy and centers my heart to Jesus, and the fullness He provides, again. The pastor pronounced that God is still moving even when you can’t see it. This is easy to say when you’re not experiencing slowness or discouragement. But in the midst of it, the true test arises.

Is your faith firmly in Jesus?

Do you trust that He’s still there, loves you, and has a plan intact?

Think of it as a spiritual muscle. When the discouragement, waiting, and questioning come, that’s when the muscle can be strengthened. It takes going through the uncomfortable to reach true growth that makes an impact. Just like with working out, it takes the exercises that aren’t necessarily loved at the moment to see progress. It may seem tough at the moment, but afterward, knowing you pushed through, is so rewarding. And over time, progress can start to show.

A muscle can’t grow overnight, or even in a week. It can take months or years. The same goes for spiritual growth.

When you feel the most purpose-less may be the times when God’s trying to grow your heart the most. When He’s truly trying to show you that in the mundane, you already have so much purpose. Because your ultimate purpose already rests in the fact that you’re a beloved child of God, made in His very own image. Our purpose isn’t found in how much we’re accomplishing, or whether our dreams are coming true or not. It’s found in resting in Jesus alone.

So in the questioning or feelings of purposelessness, take that time to challenge your faith. To remember Jesus is still there. He hasn’t forsaken you, and He’s still moving. In this day of doubt, I continued to listen to sermons, read the Bible, and books on people’s faith, and what God has brought them through. I worshipped. I focused on recentering my heart with Jesus’. And I did find a newly found sense of peace and fullness.

Discouragement may try to seep into your life over and over. But sometimes it simply takes letting the Savior fill you up again, to truly realize that He is there. And that He is all you need. Even through the losses. Even through the mundane.

When all purpose or motivation seems lost: remember God still has a plan. It may be slow. You may feel alone. But you’re absolutely not alone.

God is with you, has gone behind you, and is going before you.

He wants you to press into a relationship with Him when you feel alone.

He wants to work in your heart when you’re discouraged.

He wants to love you right where you’re at.

He’s on the move, my friend.

Every slow or difficult season is carefully crafted with a beautiful plan and blessing in store. It may not be now: it may be found in eternity. But in the midst of our struggles, we can place our hope and joy in Him. For in Him alone we will find refuge, joy, and rejoicing.

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as a shield” (Psalm 5:11-12).

Joy in the Waiting

Joy in the Waiting

Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO Fam member, Kailee! If you want to know more, check out our online community of sisters here!

Recently I’ve been in a season of waiting. This is a period of my life I wanted to breeze through, hoping it would go by as fast as possible. Or, skip it altogether. But God had different plans in mind. And now, a few months into this season, I’ve finally started to see reasons why and have learned some very valuable lessons.

So let’s start at the beginning. I graduated high school a semester early. I’ve wanted to move to Washington State for as long as I can remember. I was hoping to move out right after I graduated, but that didn’t happen. My parents wanted me to stay in Texas, where I’ve lived my whole life, until the end of the official school year, after I’d turned eighteen.

At first I was frustrated. What was I supposed to do with my time? I had graduated high school, so that part of my education was out of the way. For a while now, I’ve felt called by God to follow an entrepreneurial path for my next phase of life, but I had to wait on His timing for my specific dreams to become a reality. One of my dreams was to join a modeling agency. I tried going to open calls in Texas, which are basically meetings to find new people to join the modeling agency, but was turned down by all of the ones I talked to. I prayed for God to open the right doors to the agency I was supposed to be in and lead me to where I needed to be.

Though I was disappointed that the modeling agencies in Texas didn’t work out, I chose to trust in God’s timing. I decided that since I wasn’t accepted to any of the agencies in Texas, I wasn’t meant to be in any of them. But, I didn’t give up on this big dream. I visited Washington State over winter break and went to a few open calls in the area I planned to move to. To my joy, I was accepted by one right away and got a possibility from another. I was so ecstatic, thanking God that He finally opened some doors in an area I was to move to in six months.

But, I still lived in Texas, so I couldn’t join the agency right away. I had to wait until I moved to Washington. I flew back to Texas, disappointed that my life seemed to be on hold and I was stuck in Texas with nothing to do.  I did know, though, that God places us where we are for a reason. He has us where we are for a purpose, whether to teach us or to use us to shine his light to those around us. So, I chose to do both the best I could.

I started praying for God to use me where I was to show his love to others. I also used my time to study his word more. I read the Bible, listened to all the current episodes of Sadie Robertson’s “Whoa That’s Good” podcast (which is amazing, by the way), read advice books by Christian authors, listened to sermons online, and joined a Bible Study at my church. I decided I would use this time to my full advantage to grow in my relationship with God.

Looking back at the time that’s passed in this season, the greatest lesson I feel like I’ve learned is how to be content and at peace with where I am in life. I used to constantly be anxious because I didn’t have my life completely figured out. Yes, I had a lot of dreams that I felt like God had placed on my heart, but I had no clue how they would turn out. I didn’t know when or how they would become a reality. But, in studying His word, applying it to my life, and praying for His peace, I’ve finally found His peace.

It definitely didn’t happen overnight. I’ve stressed about my future for years, really since I was thirteen years old. In the second semester of my junior year of high school. I started to constantly be anxious about what I was going to do and be.  But now, in this season of waiting, I’ve found peace because I’ve finally chosen to fully have faith in God. Faith means trusting the unseen, letting God lead you even when things don’t make sense, or you don’t have all the answers. I finally realized, I don’t need to know all the answers right now. When it’s time, He’ll show me the ones I need to know and open the right doors.

My favorite verse throughout this season has been Proverbs 16:9, which says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” I love this so much because it basically says that we can dream about how we hope our future will turn out, but God’s way will come through in the end. Our dreams may not work out like we think they should or when we think they would, but they will work out exactly how God wants them to. Sometimes it’s a long process of following God’s lead, taking one step after the other. Even one season after the other. But keep in mind that sometimes the “going through process” is needed to grow us closer to God and to be fully ready for His promise.

Another lesson I’ve learned is how to find contentment and true joy in this season, and in life in general. All my life I’ve wished I was further along. When I was little, I wished I was older. When I became a teenager, I wanted to be an adult. When I graduated high school, I wanted to be moved out and pursuing my dreams career-wise.

For a while after returning to Texas after winter break, I was discontent. I remember crossing out the days on my calendar in my planner eagerly day after day. I was thankful that as each day passed, I was a day closer to moving out. But a few months passed and I continued to try to grow closer to God and live out my purpose where I was. I changed my focus from what I wanted more of to being thankful for what I already had. I looked at the advantages of staying in Texas longer, and the opportunities I have here that I wouldn’t have gotten if I moved out right away.

For one, I have so much more time with my family that I won’t see as often once I move across the country. I’m currently able to see my parents and siblings every single day. I’ve also been given more time with my extended family that live in Texas, including my cousins. We’ve been able to hang out and have a few sleepovers, which will happen more this summer before I head off. Even though this season has seemed slow at times, I’ve been able to make countless memories that I’ll remember forever. So really focusing on the blessings that God has given me right now has led me to being content and joyful during this time.

Overall, I’ve learned so much throughout this season. God has used this time to grow me in places that I needed it. I’ve learned to find true joy and peace with where I am, even when I’m not as far along as I’d like to be some day, or when I don’t know all, or even any, of the answers. I’ve also learned to trust in God’s timing.

If you’re in a season of waiting, I hope this encourages you. I want you to know that God has you in the place you’re in right now for a reason. There are people He needs you to shine His light into their lives. There are lessons He needs you to learn. Just remember that He loves you, hears every single one of your prayers, and is constantly working in your life through every season, whether fast, slow, hard, or amazing.

Kailee Elise is a YouTuber that makes lifestyle and vlog-type videos. She is passionate about shining her light for Jesus. She also loves dance, coffee, fitness, and fashion.

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