Summer Bucket List 2017

Do you make bucket lists for the summer for yourself? Since summer has finally arrived, I thought now would be a good time to make a summer bucket list for myself. I find that often the summer goes by way too quickly, and as I have been studying during the summers for the last three years, it is easy for the summer to go by and leave me feeling like I didn’t really enjoy summer to the fullest. Which is why I decided to create a bucket list for this year.

To be honest, my summer will be fairly short and it will go by quickly. I will be writing my Master’s thesis for most of the time. I will also be working on a few Bible camps. I’m also starting my speech therapist internship in early August. I’m sure most of August is spent on trying to adjust to the internship and working as a speech therapist full time. There is also some time set aside for traveling in July, as there is a Christian Conference coming up that I’m attending. So there will be quite a few things that will keep me busy this summer!

This bucket list is made of the things I love the most about summer; like going on a picnic and enjoying the nature. The Finnish nature is absolutely beautiful in the summertime, which is why I want to make sure to stop and enjoy it.

Summer Bucket List 2017

Summer Bucket List 2017

  1. Have a picnic.
  2. Visit a national park.
  3. Go to the beach.
  4. Swim in the ocean.
  5. Movie marathon.
  6. Read at least 5 books.
  7. Go stargazing.
  8. Work on my lettering skills.
  9. Visit a Farmer’s market.
  10. Explore a new town.
  11. Go out for frozen yogurt.
  12. Go berry picking.
  13. Travel.
  14. Pick wild flowers.

Have you made a bucket list for this summer? If yes, what is on your list? I’d love to hear!

Linking up: Glimpses Link UpMonday’s MusingsGood Morning Mondays#MomentsofHopeModest Monday






Find Your Spiritual Gifts

Finding our spiritual gifts is something that comes up in conversations often. Just a few days ago, I sat next to a friend when she brought up spiritual gifts — and the feeling of purposelessness that kept holding her heart. It wasn’t the first time that I sat there, looking into a pair of beautiful eyes that held hopelessness beneath all the smiles and light jokes.

Find Your Spiritual Gifts

Our need to find a purpose for ourselves, is something that raises up from deep within us. There is the feeling that this life and all that we have in our lives is not all that we were created for. We imagine the potential, the ideal — and the weight of purposelessness is heavy on hearts when we feel like we aren’t doing anything.

What does God’s Word say about the spiritual gifts?

The Scripture passages that speak about spiritual gifts are Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)

The gifts mentioned in these passages are prophecy, service/ministering, teaching, exhortation (or encouragement), giving, leadership, mercy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discerning, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. This is not all that God’s Word says about the spiritual gifts, though. In 1 Corinthians 12, we are told that these gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit. He distributes all these gifts, and He alone decides which gift (or gifts) each person should have.

It is also important for us to see that these gifts are given to us for the edification of the body of Christ. We are all members of the one body, and all of us are needed for the body of Christ to function well and in a healthy way. This is why I think it is important for us to know our gifts, so that we can pray for God to show us how to use our gifts for the edification of the church and community that we are in.

 “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (Romans 12:4-5)

Did God give me any spiritual gifts? 

I believe the Holy Spirit has given each one of us at least one of those gifts, some of us a few. I think it can be hard to see our gifts ourselves. I would recommend asking about your gifts from those people who know you well. I have done this with my best friends, as I can easily name some of their gifts and they can do the same with me.

As I already mentioned, I think it is important for us to know our spiritual gifts so that we can use them. We should also be praying for God to show us how to use them in our community.

We can always pray for the Lord to give us more of the spiritual gifts. They are all God’s to give, but I honestly believe we should be praying to have more of the gifts as it delights God to see us using our gifts for the edification of the church. Ask Him to show you your gifts, and then how to use them for His glory. I’m sure He will honor this prayer.

How to find your spiritual gift

In trying to find your purpose and talents, I would ask you: what do you like doing? Singing or playing an instrument? Studying Scripture? Talking about Jesus with others in a way that they are captivated? Listening to others? Hanging out with people? Having people over at your place? Making food? Looking after and being with children? Arts, like drawing or painting or writing? Helping others practically, like cleaning or helping them with their errands? Do you know any other languages? Are you interested in people coming from other cultures? IT stuff or graphic design?

Those are all gifts and talents that can be used for the edification of the church. I am saying this because I see all of these at my church. Yes, there are those who go out to evangelize or teach or lead worship. But please don’t glorify those gifts. They are not any more important than the rest of them.

Just as important are those who take care of toddlers on Sundays so their parents can listen to the sermon or make meals for the sick or maintain the church website and make graphics for the church or clean the church or host a brother or a sister if they need a place to stay or take the time to sit down with a new believer to answer all their questions or sit by those who are hurting and comfort them or reach out and maybe even translate for those who don’t speak English or donate clothes (or make them!) for the families who don’t have much money. All of these are so important.

Friend, I am sure that God has a great purpose for you. Sometimes it can take a while to arrive there. It can take a while to see how God would like for you to use your gifts and talents. But that’s okay too. Sometimes it is like that because the right moment, the right people aren’t there yet.

Linking up: Monday Meditations#MomentsofHopeGood Morning MondaysModest MondayGlimpses Link Up

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Bread of Angels tells the story of Lydia, a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, from Acts 16. Purple was a foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world around the time of Jesus — a world where men dominated, and women did not really have the possibility of succeeding with a business of their own. Lydia was a merchant’s daughter, who loved her father, their home, and making dye. A betrayal robs her of all of these, and Lydia flees to Philippi, where she struggles to build a life again. The deep hurt and fear brought on by the betrayal linger and remain a constant battle to Lydia — until she meets the apostle Paul and her life changes.

Tessa Afshar is one of my favorite authors, and I have loved all of her novels before. Bread of Angels might just be my new favorite out of all her novels. Afshar has a way of taking a character from the Bible and creating this beautiful, intriguing, amazing story around that character — a story that will stick with you for a long time. The characters have great depth into them, making it easy to relate to the story. Bread of Angels tells a story first and foremost of betrayal and fear, and how these two can keep a person captive. Yet the Lord can turn even the worst into something purposeful, and this story is a great example of that.

I loved this story about Lydia, a seller of purple. There is so much here about making purple, giving so much more insight into the world in the time of Jesus. On top of that, I loved that the apostle Paul was included and Afshar tied it all together, from the story of Lydia to the heart of Paul for the lost, and the sweet gospel telling about the work of Jesus.

I would recommend Bread of Angels to anyone who loves reading Christian fiction. Tessa Afshar has been one of my favorite authors since the time I read her first novel. She still keeps taking these characters out of the Bible and creating amazing and fascinating stories, which are full of wit, moments of chuckling, great characters, and wisdom about the Lord. This is truly a great read that I would recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone looking for a book to read.

“…and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:12-15)

Grab a copy of the book here. See my other book reviews here.

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House. All the opinions expressed are my own.

How Do You Get Over Heartbreak?

How do you get over heartbreak? This is something I have been wondering, for a while now.

It never gets easier, looking into a pair of eyes that hold the world of hurt, betrayal, anger or shame. The way that confusion ripples through the waves of sorrow, the way that every heartbeat echoes with rawness — it breaks my heart right into two because no heart should ever have to ache like this. Dear friend, your heart should never feel like this. I hope I could carry your pain for you; but that is not that way of life. Yet I know that after all has burned down, after it has all turned into nothing but ashes, the Lord will make something beautiful out of it.

get over heartbreak

I have been thinking about this a lot today because I my heart wants tell you two things: you only get through heartbreak with Jesus and in all honestly, I am not sure if you ever will get totally over this heartbreak. Not in this world, that is.

There will be a time when your heart won’t be defined by this brokenness anymore, when the hurt won’t constantly echo empty in your heart. There will be a time when all of this will be a sharp piercing randomly rising only now and then, in the midst of the everyday — when your heart remembers the deep wounds that used to be and how deep they cut once.

There will be a time when beauty takes over brokenness, these pieces of your heart becoming new and beautiful as you draw closer to the heart of your Savior, He who suffered and bled for you. There will be a time when joy fills your heart, when there is hope that flows over your cup and fills your life with life. Dear friend, your heart is being molded into its purposed use even now — though I know it does not feel like that, not one bit. There will be scar tissue, different now then the raw skin of your heart — this skin that is not as vulnerable or sensitive to the hurts of life.

It will still hurt, the breaking of your heart. I think it always will. But at the same time, I know God is making something beautiful out of this. There is something glorious being created here: a story rising from the ashes, that tells of the immense power and the radical grace of our Savior. There is purpose being woven into the strings of your soul, now in deeper shades colored with hurt and sorrow, these hues in colors that create a different poem now, one that is full of beauty and glory.

And I know, in the midst of the confusion that seems to muddle everything there is always the question that rises up in the darkest of the nights, when the tears stream down and the hurt expands in your chest — why. Why do I have to go through this? Why didn’t this work? Why?

But the one answer I know on how to get over heartbreak, beloved? Is to go to Jesus.

Tell Him what hurts and how much it hurts. Tell him about the betrayal, the loss that feels greater than life. Tell him about the fog of confusion you are walking in, desperate to find out which way you should walk and how your heart hurts.

Then let go. Let go of the parts that hurt and leave them at His feet. Give Him your heart and trust that your heart will eventually become something so much greater, so much more beautiful in His hands. Take the next step and fight the hurting memories the moment they enter your mind. Pray about your sleepless nights. Cry over the broken dreams, the future planned that fell apart.

He knows heartbreak, beloved. He knows how it hurts. His gentle, scarred hands can hold a fragile heart. He will make something new.

Linking up: Glimpses Link UpModest MondayGood Morning MondaysMonday’s Musings#MomentsofHopeCoffee For Your HeartWord Filled Wednesday, Christian Blogger Link Up, Wise Woman Linkup