World 🌎 meet Kate - she is one of the most fierce and gorgeous, kind and loving friends God has given me & she just doesn’t get enough credit for how incredible she is. The difficulties she's endured could have completely crushed her and been enough for anyone to harden their hearts and hold onto bitterness, but instead she rose up, and rises up everyday, choosing to love God with all she is and surrender her whole life & heart to Him -- she inspires me so much.
The love she carries and walks in is a true, beautiful reflection of heaven to earth. Her connection with God and ability to shine His love is so effortless and authentic.. free of striving and freely given. You guys should see the way she loves her family, I hope to effortlessly and sacrificially love my family one day as Kate loves. I admire her so much and couldn't help but take this moment to honor her. She is a treasure in my life and a friendship worth celebrating. I pray you find a friend like I've found in kate.
Kate, thank you for letting me into your life and giving me access to the life-giving love you carry, I hope to know you all my life and champion you in every season 💛🌱 #friendshipgoals
Bella Tombini. There really aren't words to describe how much she means to me and how she has marked my heart. We stood beside each other during some of the most difficult seasons and transitions of our lives and the unwavering strength and perseverance she walked in was such a source of hope to me. When I first met Bella I was nothing short of a hot mess, entering into a world of drugs and finding my identity in the emptiest of places. She was young, but she was fierce, and God used her young and fiesty self to speak such life and encouragement to me in seasons of great difficulty and hopelessness.
When I first met Bella we did not hit it off, but as time passed she quickly became one of my favorite people. Even though I would come over to spend time with her older brother, I would always make my way to her room where we spent hours together. She became a sister to me that would stand beside me through some crazy seasons, and cheer me on as I walked out of addictions into God's love for me. Years and distance have come between us, but my love for Bella has only grown reflecting on the crucial years we shared together.
Bella, thank you for loving me in my mess and seeing the gold in me when I didn't see it. You sowed a seed of faith and hope in my heart long before I knew my value. The fierceness and strength you walk in inspires me to this day and I just know your story and you strength is going to reach and impact far more people than we can imagine. The call on your life is insane, and I am just so honored to know you. I love you like my own sister and hope to hug you again soon.
I made this little canvas painting this week and it perfectly reflects how I feel about one of my best friends @_adielchristine_ -- in light of my brief 'navigating friendships' video encouragement, I can't help but highlight and celebrate one of the sweetest friendships the Lord has graced my life with. 💛✨
My goodness, adiel. This ray of sunshine has given me hope for authentic and deep friendship like I've never had before. Throughout my journey it been so difficult for me to cultivate and maintain healthy and deep friendships with sisters, but let me tell you, adiel is a sister I know will always fight on my behalf and build me up in my faith, no matter how much of a hot mess I am. She is a rare gem in my journey that can't be replaced. This kindred spirit is not just a faithful and life-giving friend, she's a ridiculously talented and anointed woman of creativity and vision. 🎬📽✨A filmmaker that is using her gifts and passions to advance God's kingdom and destroy the works of darkness. I am just so wrecked and honored to be doing life with her. Adiel, you are a true and irreplaceable gift in my life and I treasure you more than words can express. Thank you for loving me so well and laughing with me through so many awkward moments of life. 😂 you are irreplaceable to me. 💞🙌🏼
So this is the only pic I have with my brothers 😂 -- our beloved @kvministries posted this on his insta makin us pretty much famous 🙌🏼 ha! But I wanted to take a quick moment to acknowledge and celebrate two of my most life-giving and treasured friendships. Isaac and Aaron! These two brothers have championed me on in who God's called me to be, more than any friends I've ever done life with. I'm just constantly built up by their bluntness to speak truth into my life and their pure, big-brother love that fights to protect and honor me as a woman of God. I've never really felt fully safe forming friendships with guys until I crossed paths with these two legends, and their friendships in my life have been healing to the area of my heart that didn't trust men. I never knew the importance of having brothers that God has assigned as protectors of your heart and these two men are invaluable to me. These two legends are mighty men of valor. World changers walking in RADICAL purity and uncompromising righteousness. Examples, hand chosen by the Lord, for the next generations to confidently look up to. Their unshakable faith would build up the most hopeless of men and their furious passion for seeing God's kingdom advanced, destroys the works of darkness wherever they walk. These two brothers are the real deal. 🙌🏼
Celebrating these beautiful young saints today 🙌🏼❤️ .
@_ellie.melgar_ : i treasure ever moment of my time walking alongside you and watching you grow up into a young woman faithful to God in all her ways. Your heart is so gentle and kind, and I am confident that everyone who encounters you, encounters God's love because of who you are. I love you deeply, sweet girl. .
@ft.victory: victory, you are so beautiful to me. God sees the desire in your heart to know Him, and he is so excited to grow in relationship with you. God is going to use you to pursue, include and love those that feel unloved. Keep pursuing jesus, beloved! In Him you find your purpose. You are so treasured and loved!
@jesusismylight241: oh goodness Lizzy, you are so special to me. It's just wrecked me watching you grow up and pursue God so passionately, not letting anything draw you away from Him. I am just so proud of you, Elizabeth, and can't wait to see all the Lord uses you for. You are faithful in the little and He is delighted to entrust you with much more. Well done, beautiful one. I miss you so much.
Goodness world, my heart is so full. ❤️ After a joy-filled, life-giving weekend connecting with one of my most treasured friendships, I got to have dinner with these little beauties (who have grown waaay more than I was prepared for) and their parents, one of the most beautiful couples I adore.
Jessica's love for her family and unshakable devotion to jesus gets me fired up to be a faithful and loving bride & mom one day! These little ladies fill my heart with so much joy! I loved this weekend adventure of exploring and reconnecting with loved ones! Treasuring each moment✨ but also so grateful to be back in Redding 🌲❤️
So this beautiful work of art was done by a sweet friend I made in speech class:
A random, required class, most college students dread taking. I dreaded it as well, due to my own fear of people's judgment, but soon came to LOVE the class as I realized I was getting to know every single story in the room. This perspective-change wrecked me with love and compassion for the strangers that fill my days. You really never know the story of the person next to you.. and once you do, your preconceived judgments or fears of them radically shift to great love and appreciate for who they are and all they've overcome. You are reminded that God has created everyone so uniquely and planted within them great purpose and talents.
I find this picture so captivating and impactful because it reveals how Nadiya sees the world around her (in an extremely artistic and beautiful way) My goodness, people may view her as quiet or disengaged in class from the outside, but if they shifted their focus from their judgments of her TO HER DESK where this insane masterpiece was being sketched, they would get a glimpse into the unbelievable talent and treasure within her.
This work of art is so incredible Nadiya ❤️🙌🏼
keep creating and inspiring other with your insane talent.
Tonight was my first Wednesday night away from my home in San Clemente and the family of youth I've been committed to leading and loving for the past few years.. When I realized this tonight it hit me that although I miss so many of those faces so deeply, I have absolutely nothing to worry about as my heart celebrates the unshakeable peace I have knowing they are left in good hands.
My beloved friend Michelle Mckinley walked into my life over 3 years ago as a fiery, passionate vanguard graduate eager to love and lead young people into deeper relationships with God. She was a mystery to me at first.. Slightly intimidating with a hint of I'm-just-gonna-love-the-crap-outta-you that bubbled out of her heart. I could tell she was a lover of God from my first encounters with her.. And I knew she was driven and motivated to live out the fullness of God's call on her life, whatever the cost, and I soon found out if cost her a lot. She came down to San Clemente with everything she owned packed into her tiny car, and no place to call home.. Her journey to San Clemente was one giant leap of faith that has unraveled into such an incredible testimony of the fruit that comes out of a life fully surrendered to God.
Michelle and I were placed on an internship team together and worked together on many projects to grow our youth ministry and intentionally love our little herd of munchkins we were assigned to love. Because Michelle and I grew up in different worlds and some from such different walks of life, we rarely saw eye-to-eye..on anything haha. But what the enemy intended to place a division and wedge between us, God so beautifully used to reshape our perspectives, open our eyes to others' world views and brought us together as a powerful, balanced and complete force to be reckoned with. We looked past our maannny differences to see that many areas we lacked, the other was strong and vice-versa. The friendship cultivated and grown the past few years is powerful and life-giving. The incredible love, respect and admiration I have for Michelle can not be described into words.
I wanted to take this moment to intentionally celebrate all Michelle has sacrificed to be living the life of service and surrender she is as the new middle school youth pastor at Heritage Christian Fellowship. Such an amazing middle school mama. My decision to pack up my life and move to Redding was difficult for so many reasons, leaving these students being one of the most difficult.. But there isn't another person on the face of the earth I would trust more to love and lead the lives of these young people I have come to love so deeply. Michelle Mckinely; what an honor it is to know you and call you one of my most treasured friendships. I am cheering you on and interceding hard for you as the Lord finnnnnaaaaally releases you into the beauty of your calling. I adore you, my friend. ❤️
Everyone needs to meet my favorite human being, Hannah Solem -- this is one of the most genuinely loving and fiercely passionate lovers of God that I have encountered. Her presence simply refreshes my soul and her kindness is more life-giving than there are words to express. I think very to highly of this dear friend, and think she deserves to be acknowledged as a rare treasure in my life and celebrated, just because!
Hannah and I met on a beautiful adventure we took to Israel, God's holy land! We both stumbled across a seemingly too-good-to-be-true opportunity to go on an adventure through the Holy Land alongside 49 other Christian college students from across the nation...for only $500!!! I was skeptical it was a scam, but took the step of faith in applying, and whattttyaa know, I got to travel through the Holy Land and met my best friend along the way!
(If you are a Christian college-aged young person with a passion in your heart to travel through the holy land affordably and SOON, be bold and apply now: http://www.covenantjourney.org -- your life will never be the same)
The Lord sure knew what He was doing when he placed Hannah, Victoria and I as roomies on this trip.. as we traveled across this breathe-taking and historically rich land of God's people, we stayed up late connecting, laughing, praying for each other and praising our King together. The conversations we had and fellowship we shared marked my heart and gave me hope where hopelessness was creeping in.
So you guys, Hannah is unlike anyone you've met..her humility yet unshakable confidence in the Lord builds up the most broken of people. Being around her, you would never imagine the painful obstacles she's overcome, as her joy in contagious, but it's clear that someone so filled with love and strength is only a product or great, overcoming faith. There are so many reasons to celebrate Hannah as a friend, and my prayer is that everyone gets to have a friend like Hannah at least once in their lives.
If you know me at all, you know my journey hasn't been the easiest..and because of that I have had to run to the Lord with a ton of pain and brokenness. Ever since I gave my life to my Jesus, I've felt this pressure to hide all my deep wounds and just show the world a very put-together, strong Helen .. Rarely did I come across a friend that could handle the sin and deep wounds hidden in my heart, but praise the Lord for sending me this treasured friendship! While I was desperately trying to show everyone on my Israel trip how put-together and strong I was, Hannah gave me a safe place to get real, and she loved through all the mess of it. The healing and breakthrough that took place for me in this past season began with her listening ear and accepting heart. I know I am one of so many that have been impacted by the boundless love that flows from this woman's heart -- I will be the first to buy the many books she writes and to support the ministry God calls her to!
I can rave all day about how incredible this woman is -- I pray God sends you a life-giving friendship and kindred spirit as He has sent me Hannns! 💛🌾
if you already know Lizzie, you know this young woman lights up a room with her presence and her love can soften the hardest of hearts. From the moment I met Lizzie I knew she was extremely special and chosen by God.
Today my baby brother turns 17 🎉 This giant human means the world to me.
My heart is sad to realize somewhere amidst the busyness of life I have put celebrating on hold. The last few months I have gotten so consumed with endless tasks and busy schedules that have depleted my joy, crushed my heart of gratitude and brought to a place of neglect to celebrate you.. In this moment I am realizing how many incredible gifts God has given me, and how I've received them feeling entitled..this has mentality led me to many busy and joyless days, checking one thing after another off my endless lists, feeling that the purpose I know I was created for is not being lived out, even though I seem to be accomplishing so much.
The sweetest reminder is that regardless of how much I accomplish or don't accomplish, my father in heaven loves me with a passionate and unconditional love. Now THAT is something to celebrate.
As a little child I was deeply wounded by those who were supposed to love me the most. Abused, neglect, abandoned, rejected. The most important people in my life unintentionally engrained in my heart lies that I was not worth much..that I had to strive to earn their approval, acknowledgement and love. I have spent many years unlearning this mentality and canceling such lies with the truth from God's word. I've come to realize we serve a loving God who is so delighted in celebrating us. He is a personal God who longs to know us and journey through life closer to us than anyone, celebrating our every crayon drawing. I have constantly doubted God's love for me because the people who were suppose to love me the most, simply didn't.
I want to apologize to you, friends, that you have not been celebrated and treasured like you deserve to be. I apologize on behalf of every person in your life, that you've allowed close to your heart, who has neglected to celebrate you -- You need to know that you are worth celebrating and worth being acknowledged as someone absolutely irreplaceable. You, my friend, are an unrepeatable miracle and I am so sorry on behalf of everyone and anyone who have ever made you feel otherwise. The truth is, YOU deserve to be celebrated. My hope and prayer is that in the moment your heart is marked with the truth of your value. You can't even imagine how truly loved and treasured you are..God's got so much good in store for you, hold onto hope, forgive those who have neglected to celebrate you and know that the Lord of heavens armies is championing you on..HE is celebrating the fact that you are reading these words of life and being drawn close to His heart through them.
Be blessed, my friend, and open up your heart to the possibility that you can actually get free from the hurt of the past -- I challenge you to forgive those that have wronged you, draw close to the heart of Jesus and watch Him recycle all the pain of your past, making it a beautiful story that will impact countless other in desperate need of hope.
You, my friend, are a big deal.
And I am celebrating you. ❤️🎉
Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce to you another rare treasure in my life: the beautiful, Mariah Lightner. This sweet girl walked into my life right as she began navigating her journey through high school and her sweetness and deep desire to know God marked my heart.
Where do I began with Mariah? She is the little sister I always longed for. When my baby brother was born, I was one angry little 4-year-girl with crushed dreams of all the tea parties I would share with my new baby sister. (no offense, Brudder, ha!) and although my brother has become the greatest gift from God and most consistent sources of joy in my life, this sweet girl has become the little sister my feisty 4-year-old heart longed for. From the moment I met her, Jesus gave me His eyes to see the treasure He placed within her. Her decision to relentlessly pursue a real relationship with Him has been one of the greatest inspirations in my life.
My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude that God has directed my path to once again cross with this beauty's. Hailey Angelina Villa, ladies and gentleman, is genuinely one of the most kind and loving people you could encounter. Humble and pure while completely full of joy and boldness. I am in awe of the beauty that emanates from this girl & I am so confident that anyone who knows her would agree.
And keep an eye out as she is an incredibly gifted writer and upcoming author.
Finishing up with college and hitting 21 is revealing to me how truly rare life-long friendships are. I can count on 1 hand how many childhood friends I am still connected to.. one of those rare treasures is my girl Elizabeth Koch. My heart can't find the words to express how important she is to me.
And I can't help but celebrate this friend.
In our busy culture we tend to neglect the people close to us that mean the most to us. I am overwhelmed with how many amazing people God has placed in my life that fill my days with joy and purpose. One rare treasure I've been wanting to celebrate is Evelin Mercado.
The story of how Evie came into my life is almost as amazing as she is. For 3 years I poured into a very special friend of mine named Stefanie knowing her home life was far from ideal and I remained constant in encouraging her along her tough journey. Over my time of connecting with Stefanie I caught glimpses of her sister through stories here and there. I never saw a picture of Stefanie's sister and I never really knew the details of her journey, I just knew God placed a heavy burden for her on my heart. For 2 years, as she came to my mind, I prayed for Stefanie's sister, knowing she was facing great hardship. The Lord continued to lay this girl on my heart and I faithfully covered her in prayer as she came to mind.
This past Wednesday I rushed to San Clemente High School at lunch to hear a fearless young lady share her story of redemption and healing through the love of God at a new Christian club on campus. God is doing something seriously beautiful by bringing together youth pastors from different churches across San Clemente in the united pursuit to see Jesus unify, equip and empower young believer to live a life sold-out to God. Just the thought of it fires me up, but the sight of it was all the more exciting. Take a look;
The bold and courageous young lady speaking is Lynsey Burner. She is one rad women of God worth celebrating. Despite all the unbelievable trials, outside of her control, that life has thrown at her, she has chosen to live a life devoted to God, passionate about seeing lives touched by His love. She encountered God's love and is faithfully sharing it with those she crosses paths with. I want to celebrate Lynsey because it took seriously braver to get up there and boldly share the pain of her past and the power of God's redemption in her life. For some of you, the thought of speaking in front of a crowd like this makes you nervous reading this. Why is that?