Photo by Deeana Kourtney Photography (flowers from Trader Joe's ;-) )
I have always been very honest and upfront that this blog is not only a fashion blog, but a Christian fashion blog. My faith has been an integral part of my life for many years. It is what I clung to during rough parts of high school, is what lead me to move to North Carolina (as I began my college journey at a Christian college in rural NC before transferring), and is what gives me my moral compass for the ways in which I choose to lead my life.
The first time that I ever really began to consider having a relationship with Jesus was at a weekend youth retreat with my old church when I was in the 7th grade. My mom and I attended this church from when I was in 3rd grade until my 8th grade year, and I still look back on it as the church that I grew up in. Anyways, this weekend retreat took place at a camp on Lake Winnepisaukee, New Hampshire's biggest lake (and still one of my favorite places!). The theme of the retreat was to teach students about the persecuted church around the world. I remember being just 12 years old, and feeling my heart breaking as I learned about how Christians in other parts of the world had to practice their faith in secret for fear persecution or even torture. I had never felt so lucky before to live in a country where I was free to practice my religion. I knew that if people around the world were still willing to die just for the right to believe in Christ, there had to be something to that. The rest of the youth retreat itself ended up being a bit of a disaster for me as I ended up catching some sort of a sickness and coming home very under the weather, but the lessons that I learned stuck with me through the years, and after that experience I knew that I had accepted the Lord as my Savior.
Faith certainly is a journey. Like with any journey, there are highs and lows at different points. While I have never gone through any periods of my life since accepting Christ where I have completely lost my faith, there have certainly been seasons where my Christian beliefs have become more of my identity, and less focussed on my relationship with God. Christianity should be something that is lived and breathed everyday. Not just something that I say I am or that people know me as on paper. I am so thankful that my beliefs did help to keep me true to my morals during college, as this is a time when many students stray from the foundation that they grew up with. But faith is about so much more than things like not having a fake ID when you're underage, choosing not to have sex before marriage, or keeping radio edit versions of popular songs in your Spotify playlists. Faith is having an active relationship with the God of the universe, and His Son Jesus Christ.
I have been through a lot in the past few months, a lot more than just graduation from college. I've been through some very tough situations. I do hope to be able to share more about some of these things someday in the future on my blog, although today is not the time. But what I will say is that having some life experiences happen that shook me to my core has given me a reason to run full force back to my faith.
How am I doing this? I'm making attending church a top priority again. My church in Charlotte has multiple Sunday services as well as a Saturday evening service, so despite my weekend plans, I really don't ever have an excuse not to attend! I'm also trying to get better about incorporating prayer into many parts of my day, especially when things aren't going my way. Giving my frustrations up to God is a great way to to recharge and try to channel positivity over negativity. And lastly, by building Christian community. Something that's rang true to me lately more than ever is the importance of having a solid group of Christian friends in your life, who share and support your faith and morals. I have found community through a young women's bible study group that my roommate and I joined last month through my church - I can't even put into words how much of a blessing this group has been in my life!
Lastly, I want to start sharing more about my faith again here on my blog. It is such a big part of my life, and as I work on rediscovering my relationship with Christ this summer, I want y'all to be apart of this journey!
During my trip home this weekend, I had the chance to pack up some things from my house to move down to my apartment in Charlotte. Most of what I moved was kitchen stuff, but I did slip a couple of my favorite devotionals and faith related reads into my suitcase. I think that this summer will be a great time to rediscover some of the the books that have made an impact on my faith in the past! Sharing some of my favorites below:
xoxo Miss ALK