• All On the Same Road Home

    Hey, y’all!

    It has been a while. Life got the best of me and I didn’t make the time to write. I am taking a break from studying this summer prior to law school, and focusing on my creative outlets. My favorite way to get back in the groove of creative thinking is finding a song on the radio that I resonate with, and breaking down the lyrics into a meaningful blog post. Usually, it’s Kelsea Ballerini who sparks my deepest thoughts, but Tenille Townes managed to catch my attention this time with a song from her new EP album.

    I pasted the lyrics to the first two verses and the chorus below. My comments on the lyrics can be found beneath those. I also highly recommend clicking the song title to hear Tenille Townes sing the lyrics. Her voice is so unique and I am obsessed with it.

    Same Road Home by Tenille Townes

    Born to runners, lonely lovers
    Tumbleweeds on a long highway
    Lost believers, broken dreamers
    Morning coffee at a Super 8
    Asking why, why, why
    Is it just blood in this heart?
    Is it just sky in the sky?

    Ain’t we all just looking for answers
    The ones that that nobody knows
    Ain’t we all just dying to feel like
    We’re not made to be all alone
    There’s a million different ways to go
    But we’re all on the same road home
    Mm, yeah

    I don’t know your soul or story
    And you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes
    But I bet if I was falling, you’d catch me
    And damn straight I’d do the same for you
    And not think twice, twice, twice
    ‘Cause there’s love in this heart
    And there’s stars in the sky

    Wow. The Christian roots are running deep through this song. Most of us can see ourselves in all of the descriptions of the first verse. Sometimes we are the tumbleweeds, not knowing where God is taking us, and sometimes we are those born to runners, chasing a path we might not understand yet. In all of these times, it can be so easy to start asking “why.”

    It is human to crave knowledge and want to know the answer to everything. However, we weren’t created, and it’s actually incapable for us, to know every answer. When life gets hard, everything can start to feel empty and meaningless, much like the lyrics at the end of the first chorus. However, when we are reminded of all the good things that we’ve done, and others have done onto us, the world takes on a sense of fullness. This fullness comes from God’s agape love that we receive and can pass on to others.

    Is it just blood in this heart?

    Is it just sky in the sky?

    ‘Cause there’s love in this heart

    And there’s stars in the sky

    All of our lives are going to look incredibly different. God created us each for different paths and purposes. Even though “there’s a million different ways to go, we’re all on the same road home” to Him. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

    With Love, Marin

  • It’s the Road that Makes the Ride

    All you “dead-end boys,” “breakdown girls,” “burned-out believers” and those of you who feel like all you do is “spin your wheels,” this one is for you.

    I haven’t wrote on my faith for a long time, and there is a reason for that. I, unfortunately, got back into a routine that didn’t include my faith as much as I would’ve liked it to. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been focused on returning to reading my Bible, attending online sermon and praying. I had felt a lot less anxious and enjoyed life a lot more than I had in a long time.

    The funny thing about faith, however, is that not all times are that simple. After a rough week, I had been struggling on what to write, but when I hit shuffle on my music this morning, I knew exactly what I needed to share with y’all. Combining my knowledge from last week’s sermon and “The Ride” by Hailey Whitters, I want to speak on those rough days/weeks/months that we all experience.

    “Some days, you’re on a full tank

    Sometimes, you’re runnin’ on fumes”

    There are days where it feels like we’re so strong that nothing could mess with our positive attitude. And then there are the days that the smallest of things lead to a, collapse on your knees, prayer. While many of us prefer to avoid the latter, those days are the ones that test our faith and our strength. On the days you feel like you’re running low because you are “all on your own,” take a second to acknowledge that you are never alone. God is always with you, and is there to pick you up when you slip on your faith journey or life in general.

    “Thinkin’ you’re all out of pavement

    Like it’s the end of the world”

    This lyric definitely hits close to home for those of us with anxiety or perfectionism. When something occurs that wasn’t in your original plan, it may seem like everything is ending. The truth is, you don’t get to stick to a plan, because you are not the one writing your own story like we are so often told. Thankfully, we aren’t writing our own stories, because if we were our lives would not be as beautiful as God had intended. Your story that you try to write for yourself will never be as good as the one God already wrote for you.

    “Might be hard to see it through the tears

    But you still got a lot of good in your good-years”

    In the moments where there are challenges or struggles, it can be hard to see what good will come of it. It may seem like there is nothing good left to come for you when all appears to be going bad. It is easy to give up and slip into old habits and fall away from your faith in these times. It takes strength to lean on God and your other support systems during these times, not weakness.

    “But it’s the stars that make the night

    It’s the low that makes the high

    It’s the love that makes the life

    It’s the road that makes the ride”

    The truth is, these challenges and hard moments are what make the easy, simple and beautiful moments so much better. We appreciate the light in the darkness so much more than we would appreciate endless light. Those “low” moments are what shape us to appreciate and truly experience those “high” moments fully. Our lives aren’t intended to be a linear sloping line to justification. God intends for us to slip, but never fall from our faith. This path of maturity to justification is what makes us each unique.

    With Love, Marin

  • Bible Study: Psalm 77

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I randomly opened my Bible to a page tonight so that God could share with me what I needed to read…and WOW, I needed to read Psalm 77. Psalm 77 gives insight into Christianity and depression. This passage helps to teach us that God is close even when you are depressed.

    In the passage, Asaph was in a depressed and troubled state. This kind of feeling is all too familiar to me and I’m sure to many of you. The passage outlines the steps we should take to handle this state and regain emotional stability through the Lord.

    Step 1 is “cry[ing] aloud to God.” The first step in many of life’s problems is to acknowledge that there is a problem. In the psalm, Asaph makes it clear to God and himself that he is in a dark place. He doesn’t use unhealthy coping mechanisms, but instead turns to God with his current situation through the action of prayer. God wants us to pour out our feelings to Him. He is there to listen.

    Step 2 is to direct your thoughts away from your current depressed state. Now, depression is a mental illness (one I have struggled with myself), so I understand that this step isn’t necessarily easy to complete. However, you must actively try to focus on past times when you felt fulfilled in your life through God, in order to move past this depressive state. By looking at all of your life blessings in the past, it will help you to regain perspective of your current situation.

    Finally, worship. Lean on God and others of faith during this time. There will be times where you simply cannot carry the weight on your own. Ask your fellow members of the church to pray for you and be a companion in those people as well. Concentrate on the benefits of God and your faith towards Him. Through this, it will become clear that God is much greater than your current struggles.

    With Love, Marin

  • Bible Study: The Parable of the Lost Sheep

    Hey, pretty girl!

    A few weeks ago, I decided to order one of the mystery tees from Crazy Cool Threads. When I received the shirt, pictured below, I didn’t know what it meant. I am still learning the Bible, and receiving this shirt with the quote “he left the ninety-nine to resue me,” helped me to find something new to learn about in the Bible. After researching what this was about, a parable from the books of Matthew and Luke, I am here sharing it with all of you.

    The parable of the lost sheep is a story told by Jesus in the gospels of both Matthew and Luke. This story is told by Jesus when he is criticized by others, specifically the Pharisees, for still standing by those who sin. Jesus tells this story to the Pharisees, as they were filled with prejudice about those who sin.

    In the story, Jesus tells of a man who has one hundred sheep. One of the sheep goes missing. The man would go find the lost sheep, as the other 99 are not missing and have found their place in the open countryside. Once the man finds the lost sheep, he will rejoice that he has found it and return it to its place. There will not be a great celebration for the 99 sheep who were not lost, because there is less of a need. However, there will be great rejoicing over a sheep who was lost and then found, a sinner who repents, because they might not have been found. To be found is something to rejoice for.

    This parable teaches us as children of God, He will seek us out when we are sinning and lost. God will be so incredibly happy, and rejoice for us, when we finally find Him. God cares about us all the same. He does not prefer those who do not sin. God wants us all to be found and renewed through Him. On Earth, this means that would should care for others regardless of their sins. Our job is to love all.

    With Love, Marin

  • Bible Study: James 2:1-1

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Since it’s Sunday, I wanted to share a Bible quote with y’all. Especially recently, I believe that the concept of “loving your neighbor” has been lost. Recently, Berean Baptist Church had a sermon on this verse that exemplifies loving our neighbor and being inclusive.

    “But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”

    James 2: 1

    While the sermon says it best, simply put, it is important to include all. This inclusivity occurs in every single aspect of our lives, specifically, how we treat others. To be inclusive and not show partiality, we must value all created life.

    If you want to live out this quote AND wear it, Elevated Faith sells a Unisex white crewneck with “Love Your Neighbor” written on it. You can get 15% off your purchase by using the code MARIN15.

    With Love, Marin

  • Bible Study: Matthew 5:16

    Hey, pretty girl!

    In my Instagram post today, I shared a photo that I took at the “Rise and Shine” mural in Minneapolis (mural address in the photo caption). This specific word, “shine,” reminded me of a great biblical quote in the chapter of Matthew. This verse is Jesus explaining to his followers that they are the “light of the world” and must “let their light shine.”

    “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.

    Matthew 5:16
    4325 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55409

    Before I get into this verse and it’s application and meaning to me personally, I figured I would share how I personally study my Bible.

    1. I go on Pinterest and find verses/chapters that interest me the most
    2. I plan out on a calendar which days I will read certain chapters
    3. I set a designated time to study the verse (usually prior to sleeping for me)
    4. Grab highlighters, colored pens and sticky notes for studying
    5. Journal following your study session to share what you learned
    6. Share what you learned with God through a prayer

    Now, I read the entirety of chapter 5 of Matthew, but I wanted to just highlight this one verse in this blog post. However, I recommend reading the entire chapter for context and complete understanding. This is just what I personally took from the verse and doesn’t have to be a direct reflection on your thoughts.

    To me, this verse is pointing out that you cannot keep your love of faith and God secret or concealed. This is because when other see your good works, it may inspire them to also praise God and embrace faith like you are. If we are to conceal our “light,” in other words, hide our faith, we are not living to our fullest potential. Your honorable and faithful actions WILL be seen by others, no matter how small these actions are. Those living through their faith will be sincere, faithful and humble in their actions.

    I pray that my actions through the light of faith within me can inspire others so that they see the good works I do for You.

    Happy bible studying 🙂

    With Love, Marin

  • On My Side of the Fence

    When I was listening to every Dan and Shay song in preparation for their concert (before Corona postponed it) I fell in love with the song “My Side of the Fence.” (Y’all I swear it is 1000x better than “Speechless”) Listening to the lyrics, I envisioned the kind of love I wanted. I even told myself that I would wait for that kind of love and not accept anything less. However, at that same time, I was very distant from God and fulfilling Christ’s word, as well as being filled with anxiety and negative self image. I knew that I would not be able to find that kind of love until I began to work on correcting those things.

    Attending St. Thomas, and taking theology class last fall semester, I began to get closer to the Lord than I had been in an incredibly long time. That’s when I realized that that there was a reason why I had ended up at this smaller, catholic college and not a large public one. In high school I had made it clear that I didn’t have time to learn religion on top of all my school work, because school was my top priority over Him. While that was not a good excuse, now God was making a point to me that since religion was now part of my school work, I had an opportunity to learn and grow in my faith, while also focusing on my schoolwork.

    Following this class, I made a promise to myself in the new year to grow in my faith. For me, this looked like putting my anxiety on Him instead of bearing all the weight myself. When I felt like things were hard to handle, I took out my bible and read a chapter (or two or three), put on some worship music and, most importantly, prayed.

    Now, I had been praying for years, but not like I was this year. Before, I had prayed in a way that was more like a mutual deal than actual trust. I prayed that “I would do X if God would do Y.” However, I realized that God wasn’t a genie to grant my wishes and by praying in this way, I wasn’t truly trusting Him. So I learned to pray in a different way. I began to pray for what I had and for what I knew I was one day going to have through trusting His process.

    I am not going to act like this change was easy for me. As soon as I returned to college from January-term, I began to accept life without the Lord again. I was okay chasing boys instead of them chasing me. I was okay with not praying. I was okay with living with anxious thoughts. But when I was losing sight of Him, a new door had opened. I was removed from college. I was removed from every distraction taking me away from Him.

    And when I gave the time to Him, suddenly it seemed like things became a lot less heavy on my soul . I felt my anxiety lifted and a lot more at peace with the person I am. I began to set goals for myself and manifest them into existence through prayer and ultimate trust in what God had planned for me. I saw growth in my self confidence, my mental health was more at ease, I found myself only accepting of proper male behavior towards me and my side hustle was taking off.

    When I began to start getting rid of what God would not approve of, I found something (someone) that fit into my new mentality. It seemed so strange that it took a pandemic for me to manifest the “My Side of the Fence” type of love that I new I wanted to give to someone else, and also have in return. Over quarantine, my current boyfriend (I’ll introduce him to y’all super soon we just need to have a photoshoot together) treated me like no one else ever had.

    He face-timed me on the daily, kept his promises on contacting me, didn’t constantly ask “what’s up” but instead found deeper conversation, he made his intentions with me clear, and most importantly, he treated me like a man of God would. And yet, for a while, I still found it hard to leave the person who wasn’t treating me like that, behind.

    During that time, I opened up a book I had bought many months before and hadn’t gotten around to reading, “A Love Letter Life.” One quote stuck out to me, almost like I was meant to read it.

    “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”

    Jeremy Roloff, A Love Letter Life

    It had got to the point where staying in the confusing relationship I was in was causing me greater pain than it would be to move on. So I did what the quote told me to and made a change. I’m so incredibly grateful I did because I found that “My Side of the Fence” kind of love because I was no longer accepting less than that…

    Back in November I wrote a blog post on what I’d say when I found my person: “I’m a whole. You will never complete me. You will simply be an addition. You’re not going to be afraid to chase me. You won’t be afraid of my confidence, intelligence and self love. You will be deserving of me. And I will be deserving of you. And when I meet you, I’ll know.”

    I have some updates to that statement…

    Yes, I am a whole on my own, but life is a lot more fun with you in it. I was wrong, you’re not simply “an” addition. You’re THE addition that I never want to lose. You weren’t, and still aren’t, afraid to chase me. Both my and your confidence, intelligence and self love blend so well together. You are deserving of me. And I am deserving of you (y’all for me to say this is crazy I never think I deserve something this incredibly good). And I may not have known at first when I met you that you were my person, but I wholeheartedly do now. And…

    You’re the rain on the roof in the summer

    You’re the leaves in the fall changing color

    You’re the whisper I hear in the thunder

    On my side of the fence

    You’re the reason my heart’s beating faster

    You’re the tears falling down from the laughter

    You’re the only one I’m after

    I pray you also find this kind of love.

    With Love, Marin