A CHANGE OF HEART

This past summer, I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Guatemala. This wasn’t the first time, since my family had gone with me a couple times before, but it was the first time I was genuinely passionate about going. I had first heard about this trip being an opportunity for students and their parents from my church about a year ago. I knew that no matter what, I had to go.

Since it was a student/parent trip, my mom and I began raising funds for it. The closer we got to the trip, the more nervous I became due to the amount of money I still had to raise in the little amount of time until the trip. It honestly wasn’t until a few weeks before the trip that God provided us with all of the funds. It was amazing, actually. He put a desire in the hearts of family friends to donate just the right amount of money to cover our trips completely.

That’s the moment I knew amazing things were about to happen.

I can confidently say that our trip to Guatemala changed the rest of my life. Not only did I build relationships with some of the coolest, most genuine people I have ever met, but I got to experience God’s love and joy more than I have ever experienced it before.

Every night we would get together with the group that we served with to reflect on our day. Each night left me in tears, amazed at the love of God. I have never felt joy like I did that week.

One of the coolest things was the fact that my mom and I were at the same children’s home, Village of Hope, five and six years prior, before they even had children living there. The impact that they have had on the community and how much they have physically grown as a ministry since our first trip is amazing. There was never a doubt in my mind that God is present at Village of Hope, working through the hearts of each staff member, child, family, and friend involved.

This was also the week I felt God lay a passion on my heart for the first time. I always struggled finding my passions and knowing what to do with my life. I now know that I want to work in the missions field someday, helping His children who may not have a family. I want to live in other countries with foreign languages, and I want to share kindness and His faithfulness through my blog. A couple months ago I was still clueless and discouraged because I had no idea what I wanted in life. I asked him many, many times before to show me my passions and dreams, and I would get discouraged when he didn’t.

I guess through all of this I learned that sometimes God isn’t ready to reveal his plans just yet. I am human and I was impatient, wanting to know all the answers from the beginning. But it all comes down to putting faith in God. Having faith that he will lead you when HE’S ready, not you.

Our trip to Guatemala will always be special to me, being a reminder of joy and faithfulness. If you are ever given the opportunity to travel with a group of people (some of which you may not know) and share kindness and truth, I could NOT recommend it enough. Even if you’re terrified out of your mind, I promise you will not regret it.

If you’re interested in learning more about Village of Hope or potential missions trips to this beautiful place, please visit here.

FLEA MARKET DAY TRIP !!

Yesterday I went on a little day trip adventure with the lady-portion of my family. Honestly, I didn’t realize until it happened, but this day was much needed! I’ve heard it many times before that “it’s the little things in life that we often take for granted,” but that statement is more accurate than it is cheesy. It took a long, exhausting day with some of my favorite people to allow me to slow down and remember all of the reasons I have to love my life and this beautiful world we were born into. Usually when I go to a place such as a flea market, I am sure to take lots of pretty, unique pictures for my VISCO ( @aubrytatman šŸ˜‰). But honestly, it wasn’t until we were 3 hours in that I remembered to take a single picture!! I was too caught up in the jokes and fun moments we spent together to look for those “picture perfect” items. Today reminded me of the importance of taking a few moments to slow down in life and to be reminded of the blessings that surround us.

FINDING CONFIDENCE IN A JUDGMENTAL WORLD

Confidence is hard. This world is full of comparison, self-doubt, feeling less than enough, and more nasty thoughts. I’ll be completely honest – it took meĀ YEARSĀ to gain confidence, and I still struggle everyday. However, this wasn’t something that I always struggled with. When I was younger, I had ZERO cares about what others thought of me. I wore my crazy neon, splatter painted shirts and sweatshirts, simply because I wanted to. But soon I began to hear the compliments given to the girls around me who had “super cute!!” or “adorable” clothes and I felt discouraged. In my mind, I was rocking my clothes, but it saddened me when I learned that the other girls didn’t think so. That’s when I became insecure about my appearance. And honestly, that was one of the most self-destructing things I could’ve done. Not only did I begin comparing my clothes with the other girls, but my body as well. I believed that if I was comparing myself with other girls around me, so was everybody else. So I began to change myself into someone I wasn’t. I remember wanting all black, classic Vans shoes for the longest time because thats what all the “cool” people wore. I finally got those shoes for my birthday one year and I was SO happy for the time being, but honestly, they got old and worn out really quickly and I didn’t even like them. I sought the attention and popularity of other girls so much, that I changed who I was. How sad is that?! But this obsession over my appearance eventually led me to hate my body. I hated the weight that I carried for most of my teen years and I hated the fact that I couldn’t go to a pool party without feeling totally insecure. I hated the way that I looked and fit into clothes and again, I wanted to be someone I was not. And honestly, this is something that has been a huge struggle for me until recently, but even now, I have my moments of insecurity. Sometimes I still stress about working out or eating “too much,” and sometimes I still stress about finding a cute outfit, but it’s a little different now because I don’t try to compare myself. I sometimes stress about my food intake and working out because I want to have a healthy mind and body. Other times I stress about having the cutest clothes, but according to my style, not thinking about whether or not the cute boys that are following me or the popular girls will approve of my outfit. Although I do go through those times of failure, letting the struggles of the world get into my head, I try to stay focused on the person that I want to be and the person that God would be proud of. And honestly, it is so freeing to not worry about fitting the image that society tells me I “should” strive for. I hope that through my difficult journey you can learn the importance of loving yourself for who you are, and NOT what others think you should be. But it’s up to YOU!

THEĀ NECESSITIESĀ AND BLESSINGS

There are many things that I find myself complaining about. Whether it’s going to work, school, or being around people who try to tear me down, I get discouraged. However, a couple weeks ago after having a heart to heart conversation with my sister, we decided to think about these dreadful topics as our “necessities and blessings.” It is necessary for us to go to work in order to make money, so that we can someday travel to other countries. It is necessary for us to go to school to get a good education that we can use when we are someday on our own, doing ministry work like we want to. It is necessary to be around those negative people because that’s life and we need to know how to stay positive when others begin to bring us down. Those are the necessities, but they’re also blessings because we are blessed to have the ability to work and earn money to buy food and clothes. We are blessed to go to private, Christian schools where we are constantly surrounded by Jesus-loving people. We are blessed to be around those negative Nelly’s who we can be kind to and also bring positivity in their lives. Although I am excited for the places I am going, it is important to remember the “necessities and blessings” of life that will get us there.