Who am I to judge?

I think we as human beings can get so wrapped up in being “right” and judging others so harshly on their decisions or life choices and I always wonder where that comes from. Why are we judging others so harshly when we are not perfect either ?

A sermon I listened to really hit my heart hard this morning. Everybody always says, “Well, we all judge. Humans like to judge others”.  Well…. I’m saying that’s not good enough as children of God. I agree we have all judged another in our lives but why do we settle with that mindset ? I think it all comes back to being right or we think our thinking is the end all be all or we live a more pure life than others we judge.

I think we can train our minds to NOT JUDGE ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE. When we recognize ourselves having judgmental thoughts, we should be aware and pray in that moment to our God to help our hearts be open and to take away that feeling of quickly making a conclusion about someone based on ONE action, thing they are wearing, or circumstance that happened.

Isn’t life hard enough already ? Why are we judging each other so harshly without even knowing the whole story or that person to begin with?? When I really think into judging, it blows my mind more and more ! If we think we are always right and do not need to understand more or do not think we can stretch and learn more, then we mine as well call ourselves God…which sounds really egotistical then, right ?

We should not judge people we do not even know because we have no idea what that individual is going through or battle they are facing. And why do we judge our family members? This one hits my heart really hard and deep. Isn’t family supposed to be loving at all times with each other and the support that never waivers for us??  I think we all need to be more gentle with our thoughts and our words against others, especially our loved ones. The sermon I listened to this morning also was saying how we need to have the thought with others that we are not always right and we must acknowledge that we could be wrong with our opinions and words and convictions about varying topics. If we believe we are always right, you are really only limiting yourself to hearing others out and understanding why others think the way they do. And sometimes you will  never meet eye to eye on a topic, but the God you stand under is the same. That unites us. Speak with love, in all circumstances.

I think that’s what God wants us to do as His children on earth. Learn. Stretch. Understand. Listen. Love each other deeply above all else. NO judgment. If you really lean into each of those words and make it a priority in your life, what a different world this life would be. I mean, that’s what God does for us, so why not emulate Christ and strive to love like Him.

I challenge everyone to do that. Choose Understanding , empathy and love over judgement. And when judgmental thoughts arise, pray in that exact moment for God to plant in your heart what He sees and to allow your holds on your heart to become open and understanding towards all human beings that you encounter. I think it is great to always re examine our own hearts and see where we can truly grow.

“Rather than being judgmental  and critical of each other, May we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life”.

Love and light ,

Steph

Dream small..

I heard a song for the first time not too long ago and it caught my attention. It is called Dream Small by Josh Wilson. Josh Wilson was the first christian artist I ever heard and he changed my life. Well, God changed my life but used christian music to guide me to Him. Worship music is how I pray, thank God, praise Him with all my heart and learn about God as well. Anyways, I heard this song and the lyrics caught my attention:

 

“It’s visiting the widow down the street
Or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs
These simple moments change the world
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with bigger dreams
Just don’t miss the minutes on your way, your bigger things, no
‘Cause these simple moments change the world

So dream small
Don’t bother like you’ve gotta do it all
Just let Jesus use you where you are
One day at a time”
When I first heard it, I thought that big dreams were good to have and made me look at the radio and saying, “what! Dream small!?”  But then I listened to the song all the way through and it really resonated within me. Simple moments of kindness and just “living” and loving is what life is all about. I also am the type of person that has big dreams and big passions in my heart and I know a lot of people do, and sometimes I struggle with not having all those passions and dreams come true yet or if they ever will. I struggle with my purpose and what God wants me to do here.
Today I was thinking how many paths I have been down and how a lot of them have not worked out. I know it is for a reason though and God IS guiding me every step, even when I do not feel it. I have put so much emphasis on career, only because society tells me to, and I honestly can say I am not as career driven as people around me are, but it does not mean I don’t have purpose or worth lined up in my future.   I also feel people can get so wrapped up in getting big college degrees and “important, prestigious careers”  and miss the whole point of life. I had a realization today that I believe in and have peace in now. Maybe a “big” career is not in my future or maybe it is, but I have always felt that one, important purpose I hold in this life is loving others purely and wholly. I want to extend love and kindness to my loved ones and strangers and make them feel a way they have not before. I did not intend to make this post about myself, but overall lately, I have put so much of my worth wrapped up in a career or “title” that I do not even have yet. I know a lot of people can relate to this and that is why I felt compelled to share these thoughts and realizations today.
Life is more than careers and titles and going to college.  I feel it is amazing to dream big, but it is also the small things that are the mighty and beautiful things we experience in life.  The most important things in my life is my family and simply, love. I am so grateful for my family and I feel sometimes we complicate life too much. We think we need certain things to be truly happy and it really is just simple. The people in your life is what really matters. If loving others is my purpose, I am good with it. If you struggle with your purpose like me, let Jesus use you where you are because He will.
So, dream small, because I am putting more emphasis on the small acts of love and kindness, because I have found lately, that dreaming “small” makes me happier and makes me feel like I am fulfilling my true purpose in life. I still have big dreams and passions but the point of having faith is trusting God with what He has in store for your future and His purpose for you. His plans and ways are better anyways, so why don’t we let go of that uncertainty and fear of not having a purpose together. I am still learning to trust fully and relying on God for everything. I am far from perfect in my faith and relationship with God but I feel trusting Him and going to Him for everything is the first step in fellowship with Him.
And love with everything you have. I truly feel God would say that is the true measure of our lives is how deeply we love.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8 ❤
Love and light,
Steph

I will praise you in this storm

Life is a series of triumphs and sorrows. We all go through and experience both.  The joyous times in life shows us life’s endless beauty and its those times that we feel on top of the world and we want to freeze that joyful moment and dwell there forever. When moments of sorrow occur and creep up on us, a lot of the time we just are wishing for those joyful moments to reappear, so we can feel happy and on top again. Unfortunately, sometimes those difficult moments can last longer than we want them to. We start to get sad, panic, and just are praying that we can make it through the next day or even next moment.

I have been through this sequence many times over. I have felt on top of the world, so content and happy, then other seasons I cant wait for them to end and am stuck in a sea of sad emotions. I still feel like this to this present day, but as I have been through this sequence a few times over and experienced different life moments, it has changed and evolved a bit for me.  I have learned to widen my perspective, pray with my whole heart and I know now that a person cannot grow into all God intends them to be with out a little rain in our lives.

I still have conversations with God today, that I sit there with tears in my eyes and ask, “God, why are you having me walk through this?” I do not always understand God’s plan for my life and the pain that I have walked through, but I have  learned that God would not have me walk through something without there being a purpose for it. That purpose may not be revealed to us right away in our lifetime, but I know eventually it will be revealed. And I know if you choose to walk with God and he dwells in your heart, He will bring purpose to your pain and full healing to it as well. In those difficult, unknown moments of my life, I pray “ God, I do not know why you are having me walk through this, but I will still praise you through this.”

Also, remember  what God has done in your life. He has brought you through before with loving hands and He will do it again. He  knows more than we know and He knows how to bring beauty from the ashes. I know some of you might be reading this and say well anyone can say that about God and sounds good just to say that, but how do you know that? But if you are willing to be bold with your faith and keep trusting God, I know He will show up in your life strong, If you only believe He will. God likes for us to pray bold, dream big, and declare His goodness. I believe with all my heart that He is smiling at us when we do those things and we stay strong in our faith. I can tell you I have had days I have doubted Gods goodness and one point of my life I turned my back on God, which makes me sad looking back, but even those times have strengthened my faith and God pursued my heart even when I turned my back on him.He is one amazing God who loves us more than we can fahtom in our earthly minds. Falling in love with Jesus has been the greatest highlight of my life. It has allowed me to learn how to deal with difficult seasons better, how to react to them and how to love the people in my life and that cross my path, deeper than I ever have before.

Going through sorrowful, difficult times in my life has made me appreciate the happy beautiful times and blessings in my life a thousand times more. I appreciate my joyful days and blessings I have been given just that much more and do not take one thing for granted because all that I have walked through. I am still a work in progress, I am still healing, I am still learning who God is and I am still a flawed, imperfect human, but I am thankful for everything God has done and is still doing in my life. People think that God is just sitting on His throne condemning us, but that could not be further from the truth. He is sitting in that jail cell with you, your bedroom, your car, you name it, HE is always there with you helping you get through. He is always present and rooting for our happiness. 

If you are going through a difficult time or situation, I would love to pray with you and for you. I also ask you to talk to Jesus. He wants to hear your troubles and help you through them. If you feel alone right now, reach out to Him and I know He will help you and come to your rescue. Just as He did for me and is still doing for me. 

“The sweetest time of the day is when you are talking to your Lord and savior, because you are talking to the one who loves you the most” ❤

Love and light always,

Steph

This is for you….

This is for any soul reading this that had a bad day, a bad week, a bad month or is going through a tough season in your life right now.
Whatever you are individually facing right now, know that you will get through this. You have more strength inside of you than you will ever know. When it feels like you can’t handle another day, you can. If life has been difficult to endure for awhile now, look how far you have come and you are still breathing , living and facing each day with bravery. Step back and stop being so hard on yourself. You have been doing the best you can and have so much light in your heart that God has placed there when you need it the most. Take that light and shine it on yourself because you deserve it.  Take that light and shine it on the path you are walking, it will guide you to more light and joy. That light in yourself is powerful. It can make a way where there seems to be no way. Keep moving forward with that light even when you are afraid of the unknown, because that unknown may seem scary but you can trust that unknown future to a magnificent God.
Even when you can’t feel it, God is walking right beside you holding your hand and directing your paths. Open your mind and heart to the heavenly realm. God is still in the miracle making business and is still sitting on His throne, with his hand on your life. When we don’t feel God or feel that He is silent during our difficult seasons of life, it is just an illusion. He is working behind the scenes , sorting everything out for you and putting beautiful blessings into motion in our path that we will stumble upon soon. God loves you and cares about the deep troubles you are facing because He too has walked treacherous roads. I know you don’t feel it now, but He has a divine purpose for your pain and someday it will come to light. Until then, Trust Him with all your heart and if you aren’t there yet, ask Him to take the parts of your heart that don’t please Him and ask to help you gain trust in Him. Keep praising Him in this storm.
I know it hurts and I know you work hard to do your best and put your best face on some days.  It’s good to be strong but don’t fight your difficult seasons in this life. Go with it. Grow through it. Take a deep breathe right now,  feel your heart beat, and know that if your heart is still beating, God has a purpose for you and for this life. It is precious and so beautiful. Surround yourself with all the things that make you happy. Read your bible as much as you can and fill up on Gods word. Be present and do what’s best for you.
I know the path has been bumpy but there is so much ahead and please don’t give up on that beautiful picture in your head of what you want this life to be. Because if it’s a desire in your heart, God put it there to fulfill it. He loves you and recognizes all you are. Maybe hard seasons are God’s pottery wheel for each of us. God is the potter and we are the masterpiece He is creating. He is just chipping away apart of us that we don’t need anymore and when that hard season ends,  it will reveal something, a new part of us, that we were always meant to become. God knows what he is doing and gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. Keep fighting, keep loving and keep that light on in your soul.
I hope you know how valuable you are and how truly magnificent you are in the eyes of our God. When you feel you can’t go on another minute, just remember you already have all you need inside of yourself and imagine God sitting next to you smiling.  Because He is.
This is for you.
Love and light always,
Steph ❤
“Of course, it’s easy to trust God when the bush is burning, the waters are parting, and the mountains are shaking- it’s those silent years that are discouraging.
But Blessed is the person who does not interpret the silence of God as the indifference of God.”
-Unknown

God winks..

God cares the most about our character.

I heard this from a well known Christian speaker and ever since I heard this, I feel in my heart that God has shown this to me more and more everyday.

It is truly amazing and surreal when you are open to God and when you keep God the center of your heart, how much He is present with you and shows up in your life on a daily basis. He is always present with us, but when you are open, keep constant communication with him and are keeping Him the center, His lessons are there in full light.

God molds us from the beginning with lessons through life experiences and little moments, that if we are paying attention, mean everything to our faith walk and journey though life, regarding who we are becoming in the image of Jesus. A few weeks back I had a God Wink. I like to call these  powerful moments that because they are a small moment, but small does not mean not powerful. My husband and I walk the same path very frequently and we always pass this one house. Every time we pass it , it interrupts whatever conversation we are in the middle of, and we always discuss how it is a creepy house and we get a different vibe about it because unlike all the other houses, the bushes cover and barricade the front of the house, the lawn mower is left in the middle of the lawn with only half the grass cut. The house is not kept up with like all the other houses. Knowing what God has shown me now about this house, the different vibe I got and the “odd ball” out, is not a bad thing to be in life, because I aspire to be different and not like everyone else and more like Jesus.

  We have been walking past this house for about three years now and we always talk about it in a negative way. Every time I do talk about it negatively , a little voice deep down always feels guilty when I talk about it, but I never changed how I talked about it. I was judging this house. It may not seem a big deal to most people to “ make Fun” of a house; a physical asset with a roof and things that aren’t living and breathing. Although, I forgot that inside that house, there are breathing lives, that I do not know and do not know what personal life struggles those people are dealing with. This did not cross my mind until three weeks ago when God opened up my mind and heart to this one lonely, broken house. Along the sidewalk, My husband and I turned around to walk back to the car to go home because I was getting thirsty and tired from the long day we had. From a distance, I saw a car  in the driveway of that house we always talk about. Another detail I failed to mention was, we never have seen the people that live there, ever.  So I know I was curious to see what they looked like and such. As we approached, I heard music, faintly. In the first couple seconds of hearing the music, I instantly knew the radio station they had on in the car was K Love, the christian radio station. It was a song I recognized because I listen to K Love daily. The lady that got out of the car, went to go retrieve their mail. She was an older lady, maybe in her fifties or sixties. K Love songs are all about Gods love, grace, faith, and most importantly, hope. When I heard the music drift and echo off the trees loudly, I felt a stirring inside of my heart. I felt God was showing me and reminding me to never judge a “book by its cover”.  I was making presumptions about this house for years, some words I am not proud that I have said. I believe it was not a coincidence that the time we turned around, the timing was perfect for when we approached the house, the lady I had never seen before and the house I judged harshly, I heard their car radio with K Love on, of a song speaking hope and life for anyone that hears it. God reminded me that day that, every house has a breathing soul living inside it, that are going through battles we know nothing about. Sometimes the walls of our house and rooms in our home are the only witness to our tears and pains. God reminded me gently and powerfully that day to step back and think about what I am saying and thinking about something that I know no knowledge of. God Cares about molding our heart and character with these  small moments. These small moments of God intervening are divine and lovely and significant in every way. Nothing is a coincidence in this life and God works in different ways and shapes every day of our lives. HE teaches us lessons that we need to open our hearts to listen to. I know some people will read this and say that was just a random moment with no significance. Although, I know my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will know what I am talking about when I say I felt Gods presence there on that sidewalk in that powerful moment. God cares about mine and yours character too much to leave us as we are.

That moment humbled me and reminded me to always have an open heart for all in our path. We must listen, pray, and ask God to reveal more moments like this in the areas where we need to grow in Christ. I pray in this moment for every reader reading this, that God will show up in all your lives and you recognize His glorious power working in your lives. Have you had similar experiences like this in your walk of faith with God? I would love to hear those stories. I want this space to be about sharing, relating, and helping each other with any struggles we are facing. God has placed it on my heart to share more of my experiences and encounters with Him. My hopes are to glorify Jesus and to point people back to Him or to Him for the first time ever in ones life.  Apart of me is scared to share and be vulnerable. I could very well keep these moments and stories in my heart for only me, but I believe God is pushing me to share more and be vulnerable in my writing. It is not easy for me to do, but feel I am called to do this.  I am a writer, a dreamer, a believer, and a follower of Christ and am listening to Him always and following his command in hopes that it will reap harvest for one soul if anything. I thank you for taking time to read my posts and keep up with my following. I am very grateful for my path leading me to this and my dreams coming to light. As always, all thanks be to God.

Steph ❤

God places the dreams on your heart for a reason

Sometimes what we are meant to do is right in front of us. It is in us all along but we do not think that the one thing we love and the one thing that makes our heart beat a little stronger is our direct path. Until we get to the point where all other avenues exhaust themselves and we are left with who are. We take a long, hard look at what makes us happy and what we have a passion to pursue.

I have been down a few paths in my life that I thought were my life path. All three of those ended in disappointment, leaving me feeling defeated and sad. Although I still battle with those feelings from time to time, I have learned that a closed door is simply a redirection to the path that is really meant to be yours.

When I thought about what I had a passion for it was writing and Jesus. Recently, I felt God saying to me, “share your experiences I have made you walk through”. My path became clearer for the first time. I did not feel anxiety in that moment and what I wanted to do. After all, that is what writing has always done for me; gave me peace through the chaos of this life.

I have always loved writing and it started when I was in elementary school. I loved how certain words looked next to each other and how they connected to one another, in a flowing pattern. I love how those words on paper could lead to a story. A story with emotions and people, either created out of endless imagination or apart of my own world. I liked seeing words come alive with the intricate sentiment intertwined on the paper I had wrote. It started with not having enough paper they provided for me. It started with a blank sheet of paper and my thoughts. It started with all the good and all the sad. I started to unravel myself on pieces of paper and before I knew it I realized layers were apart of me that I had not known before and that I would not have known before  if it weren’t for putting pen to paper.  Being authentically real with yourself opens up this whole new world for myself and became my sanctuary. Writing is something I would always turn to if I needed to pray, write down emotions that I knew would only come out of myself if I released them onto a journal page. Writing was and is my own beautiful world where I could express myself without judgment or ridicule because it was all my own. Ideas, words, and time was infinite there. I guess that is why I never thought it would be my path because after all I was just writing with no intent to ever share it with anyone. I was writing because it was my first instinct  in all circumstances of life. I wrote without thinking I was doing it. I thought my journal pages were just for my eyes. This is where it gets vulnerable and real. I heard of various people saying that God gave them a dream or a command for them to do something and they do not understand why God is asking to do it. I believe God has a purpose for those divine commands and we as believers and followers of Christ, must learn to listen and do what He asks of us. It is not easy for me to share my experiences or personal moments with the world, but I remember the strong feeling and whisper of God saying, “share”. So, I am listening to Him and I pray that there is a grand purpose for all this, that glorifies Him.

To close this first blog post, I simply write to put together the millions of thoughts going on in my head and to make sense of the emotions I feel day to day. Without writing, I do not think I would feel who I’m supposed to be. Their would be no divine connection to the outer world and my dreams, thoughts, brokenness, wholeness and emotions would not ever make it out of my heart because it is hard for me to just talk about them. That is why I write. It is who I am and will always be. This is me.

So, if you have a dream in your heart that you do not think is possible or can happen, pray about it. God places those unique dreams on your heart for a reason. He will use them and you in indescribable ways, if you just believe. He wants to “wow you” with your life because He loves you very dearly. If you need prayer for those dreams to come to light or prayer for God to show you His purpose for your life, I would love to pray for you! See my contact info!

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I am grateful that you are starting this journey off with me!

Love and Light,

Steph

The Journey Begins..

Welcome ya’ll!

I am so thankful and glad you have stumbled upon my blog. My name is Steph Vandermeulen, a.k.a, Steph Vandy. I was born in Pennsylvania but was raised and currently living in Upstate New York.

Writing has been a hidden dream and passion of mine for many years. I have always been interested in starting my own blog, but it was not until recently that God had laid it on my heart to write more and most importantly, share my experiences that I have endured. My path has been bumpy and a lot of unexpected turns, especially recently, but the one constant in my life has been Jesus. Life can have many seasons, of tremendous joy and deep heartache; and maybe a little bit of both. Although our circumstances can make us feel defeated, thankfully, our current circumstances are not our true identity or our future. Our true identity and worth lie in Jesus alone and that is a beautiful truth! I want to share that beautiful truth with you through my own personal faith walk. The one thing that my struggles keep pointing me back to is Jesus and He has made the largest impact on my heart in many ways.

I want this blog to be a space of encouragement and hope for all who need it. My hopes are that by sharing my encounters and experiences in my faith walk, that it helps even one soul out there, who has or is going through something similar. I want this to be a space where we can all share and be there for one another. We have all been through different experiences but the emotions we feel, are the same. We can all relate to hurt, grief, sadness, joy,  betrayal, change and love.

Whatever led you here, I am grateful for you and thank you for starting this new journey with me!

Love and light,

Steph

 

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