Top 10 Lessons I Learned from the Past Decade

Top 10 Lessons I Learned from the Past Decade

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” // Psalm 90:12

Happy Last Monday of the DECADE!! This is the second blog that I put out this week, because not only is it the last few days of the year, but also of the decade. And if you know me at all, you know I love to reflect on what I’ve learned and am fascinated by how time defines things.

The 2010’s decade has been an interesting one for me. I spent more years out of school than I did in, (which didn’t occur to me until I thought about writing this blog. Seems like I spent more time in school than not!), and a lot happened this decade.

When I think about a span of ten years, I think about how much happens in that time. How much our lives change. The next ten years have the possibility to bring us the most unbelievable joys, the best surprises, and discovering more of our Creator. But before we jump into 2020, I want to take a look back at the 2010’s. Without further ado, here are the top 10 lessons I learned from the past 10 years.

  1. Your obedience to God, no matter what you’re losing now, will always be worth it in the end. This has by far been one of the biggest lessons to span this decade. Obedience is so, so, SO important. And it’s always worth it.
  2. Anxiety is scary, but it’ll pass. I struggled with anxiety like I never have before this past decade. But instead of trying to fight it like I have been, I wish I would’ve known that the body naturally clams itself down–so I don’t have to try obsessively to. Also, to know God as a loving Father instead of a God who expected perfection is a lesson well learned.
  3. Make a difference when and where you can. God gives us seasons–at jobs, with people, in certain areas. Don’t waste that time blending in, trying to hang with the cool crowd, or letting the world bog you down. Make a difference for Jesus in those places and in those moments while you have them (Matt. 5:16). One day it’ll be too late.
  4. Just because the answer is “no” now does not mean it will always be. If you read my blog that came out yesterday, you’ll read that this year was a big one for the two letter word “no”. And honestly, these past few years I’ve seen what I thought were the desires of my heart go left unfulfilled. But in the past decade, I’ve also seen things that I thought were gone for good come back and bring me the most joy I’ve ever had, because they were God’s thing and in God’s timing. No is not always not forever. You can trust God with your hearts desires (Psalm 37:4).
  5. Take time to get alone with Jesus–often and whenever else necessary. There was a period of time during my senior year of high school when I went through a period of losing all of my best friends. (Yeah, you read that right. All.) It was extremely tough, but that’s when I started reading the Bible when I had breaks in between classes and started seeking Him more, and that changed e v e r y t h i n g for me. Even now, I’ve learned that getting alone with Jesus–especially to start my day–is critically important. Seeking His face, His Word, and being with Him in prayer will allow you to grow in your relationship with Him and make space for Him to reveal all He has for you. Do it!
  6. Talking about relationships–don’t romanticize. I didn’t know the damage this could cause until recently. Stay present, keep your head out of the clouds, and seek God in all your romantic endeavors. Trust me, it’ll save you a boatload of heartache.
  7. Ask God to show you His best. This was a h u g e lesson for me a couple years ago. Sometimes our vision can get clouded by doubt, worry, confusion, or impatience that we are tempted to settle for what’s easy, or what’s available now, or simply put, less than God’s best. Do not do this! Ask God to show you His best. But when you do, be prepared to have Him show you what is not His best. That may be hard, but that too will be worth it.
  8. Guard your heart. There’s a reason we’re instructed–above all else–to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23). Whether it be against bitterness, lust, jealousy, comparison, or something else, it is vital for us to ask God to help us guard our hearts. As the Scripture says, everything we do flows from our heart. If everything flows from it–we better make sure we’re guarding what we allow in it.
  9. You are set free in Christ–start acting like it. This decade, I learned that I am truly loved by the God of the universe. I am set free in Him. He is glorified when I embrace my freedom as a Child of God, when I am who He’s created me to be in ways that honor Him (Psalm 139:1-18). And above all else–He loves me! This was a huge revelation I experienced, and look forward to continuing to learn and walk that out in the new decade.
  10. Enjoy life. Goodness, just enjoy life! I can be so uptight and worried about everything, and yet God gives us all good things to enjoy (John 10:10, 1 Timothy 6:17)! Food, adventure, family, friends, work, whatever! It’s okay to have fun, to enjoy things! So glorify Him and feel free to enjoy life.

Well friends, that’s about it! There are so many more lessons I learned, but these are ones that were big and had lasting impacts from the last ten years. I cannot wait to see what the next ten years brings, and I pray that it’s full of blessing, abundance, and love for all of you.

Until Next Time,

Stephanie Jaye ❤

@stephjayewriter

P.S. — Remember to check out my year-end blog from yesterday, too!

Why December 11th is so Important To Me

Why December 11th is so Important To Me

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” // Psalm 139:14-16

Hey all! Thanks for joining me for a special mid-week blog. I wanted to take a minute to share with you guys why today (December 11th) is so significant in my life. Because this day was the day that changed my life.

It was December 11th, 2009. A Friday to be exact. And I went to school, ready for the weekend just like any other eighth grade student, wearing the only pair of skinny jeans I owned. It was lunchtime, and while the rest of the students were finishing up eating and playing outside at recess, a couple of classmates and I decided to forfeit our recess and work on an English project we had due on Monday. My best friend at the time and I went to her locker to get the supplies we needed for the project, and while she dug around in her locker for what we needed, I bent over to pick up a pair of scissors from the ground. Little did I know, that move would change my life forever.

As I bent down to pick up the scissors, I fell to the ground. I looked at my knee, and my kneecap was sitting on the side of my knee. [Sorry, a little graphic, I know]. Out of my automatic reflexes, I shoved it back in place. (Which … disclaimer here … if you ever find yourself in a position where you dislocate something, never try to put it back in the correct place. Get medical attention immediately.)

So there I was. 13 years old, screaming … and I mean screaming … on the hard tile of my middle school hallway. The injury was so intense that I had skipped cry altogether, though there were a few tears shed. The intensity called for screaming. My best friend realized to some degree what had happened and ran down the empty hallway to get the school nurse. I’d never seen her run … let alone that fast … in all my life. 

Fast forward a little bit. I went to the doctor and found out that I had in fact dislocated my kneecap.

 The reason for this was because of my anatomy (which is another story all in itself). But because of how I was born, my kneecap wasn’t sitting in the groove of the knee like it’s supposed to, but rather it sat on top of the knee, making it vulnerable to dislocation.

Following the injury, I wore a brace for a while, and ultimately March of the following year (three months later) I had a small surgery on it attempts to stabilize it so my kneecap wouldn’t dislocate again. However, that surgery was effective for a little less than a year. My kneecap never dislocated again, but I started to feel it getting ready to. This time, the next surgery was scheduled for the following February (Feb. 2011 by this point). And this was no small surgery like the first one. This one was a whole knee reconstruction. (I won’t go into all those details, but if you really want to know, feel free to ask.) The recovery on this surgery was a bear. And I mean a bear. I couldn’t get out of bed on my own for about a good month. I was in a full leg brace for about six months, and physical therapy lasted eight months. Even then, I had only recovered 75% of my original strength back in that leg.

 I couldn’t get out of bed on my own for about a good month. I was in a full leg brace for about six months, and physical therapy lasted eight months. Even then, I had only recovered 75% of my original strength back in that leg.

Now, I know this all sounds dramatic and painful and crazy. And it was. But it was out of this season that I came to know Christ. I had grown up in a Christian home all my life, but it wasn’t until my kneecap popped out that I found an intimate relationship with Him. That I gave Him my whole heart and never looked back.  

I had grown up in a Christian home all my life, but it wasn’t until my kneecap popped out that I found an intimate relationship with Him. That I gave Him my whole heart and never looked back.  

It’s amazing to me that when I was created in the secret place God knew He wanted to me know Him. And the best way for me to know Him at the young, tender age of 13 would be to position my kneecap so perfectly that at that moment … lost in a season of  sin and darkness as a young teenager … that it would dislocate, leaving me on a long road to recovery and many, many days of quiet and peace with Him. The  verses above really couldn’t be more perfect for this blog post. God knitted my joints and ligaments and bones together so perfectly so that I may know Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. If my kneecap never would’ve dislocated, I don’t know where I’d be today. It probably wouldn’t be sitting here blogging about Him once a week, or writing a book centered around His amazing love and pursuit of us, or spending quiet time in His word every day.

So often in hardship and trial, we become so upset on what is or isn’t happening that we miss why God is allowing it.

God gets His children’s attention in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it’s dramatic, sometimes it’s subtle. But when He tries to get your attention, don’t turn bitter. Don’t miss it. Don’t miss the call to go away with your Creator, the One who loves you enough to pursue you. Don’t miss the best invitation of your life. Don’t miss the love He wants to show you. So often in hardship and trial, we become so upset on what is or isn’t happening that we miss why God is allowing it. Take a moment and reflect on what’s going on in your life. Is there something going on where God is trying to get your attention? What might He be saying to you today? Don’t be afraid to lean in and listen, because His heart for you is only love. And it’s never too late to look to God and lean into Him, no matter where you’re at in life.

So, that’s it. That’s why December 11th means so much to me, and I could not be more grateful for it. Because it was on that day, my world changed. And because of that very day, I know with God’s grace, day by day, someday we might just all change the world. ❤

Until Next Time,

Stephanie Jaye ❤

@stephjayewriter

P.S.! This song was so, so special to me when I was going through recovery. Please take a listen.

Forever Thankful

Forever Thankful

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.” // Psalm 107:21-22

Happy Sunday! Believe it or not, this week is Thanksgiving. Isn’t that crazy? Before we know it, a lot of us will be gathered with family and friends around good food and football. I personally love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. But as we approach Thanksgiving this week, I want to take a moment to remember God, that He is the giver of all our good things (James 1:17), including all the family and food we’ll be surrounded with on Thursday.

No matter what you’re going through right now, or the season you may have just come out of, there is always something we can give thanks to God for. When we thank God, we’re recognizing Him as the giver of everything we need, and it reminds us that He is always with us, no matter what. Here are the constant, unchanging things we can thank God for this Thanksgiving, and every day after.

1. Who He Is

The first thing we can always thank God for is who He is. God is unchanging, and in a world that’s constantly changing, where people are unreliable, and when our plans are never set in stone, this is one of the greatest hopes we have as Christians. Yesterday, today, and forever God is the same (Hebrews 13:8). God is our continual source of hope and truth, and He is merciful. What wonderful promises we have! We can always thanks for these, no matter what is going on in our lives.

2. What He’s Done

Another thing we can always give thanks for is the fact that God, even while we were dead in our sin, sent His Son Jesus Christ to be the payment for our sin so we could spend eternity with Him (Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 2:13-15). If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, this is something we’ll forever thank God for. We were dead, and now we’re alive in Christ. We were lost, now we’re children of the One true King. We were on our way to an eternity without hope, love, or God, and know our eternity is secured. How amazing! If you don’t know Jesus yet, you can know Him right now. Then this Thanksgiving, you’ll be most thankful for your new salvation in Christ.

3. What He Will Do

No matter where you’re at right now, if you know Jesus, you have a hope and promise for the future. We know that God will work all things out for our good (Romans 8:28), His plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11), He will finish what He’s started in us and in our lives (Philippians 1:6), and in the end, He will take us home to be with Him and make right all the things that have wronged us in this life (Revelation 21:1-5, 2 Peter 3:1-18). When we know Jesus, the best is always yet to come. These are promises we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving and every day.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family! No matter what you’re doing, or where you’re at in your life right now, know that God loves you, and that because of who He is (constant, merciful, full of truth and hope), what He’s done by sending Jesus to die for our sins, and the promise of what He will do, we have an abundance of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and forever.

When we thank God, He opens the doors to His presence and we’ll see things from His perspective and hope will abound. And when we do, someday we might just change the world. ❤

Until Next Time,

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@stephanie_jacqu