My freshman year of college has finally come to a close, and what a year it has been. Adjusting to college life was quite easy for me. I became involved on campus quickly and was fortunate enough to find a community of believers within a few short months. (shout out to my Soma family, love y’all to pieces)
In the midst of going to classes, studying, and attending meetings on campus, I had to take some time to cross a few books off of my must reads list. This year, I read about six books total. Below I’m sharing the five of them that kept me afloat during my freshman year.
- The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning: This book WRECKED ME. I thought I had a clear understanding of God’s grace and how to extend it to others, but this book helped me to realize that I have a lot of learning to do. This book reminded me how easy it is to take God’s gift of grace for granted. It reminded me that it would be a disservice to not only myself but to His kingdom, if I did not extend that grace to others. I highly recommend reading this book if you’re having a hard time grasping the concept of grace. You can find it here.
- Neon Soul by Alex Elle: Alex is one of my favorite authors, and I had been meaning to get my hands on a copy of her latest book for quite some time. Neon Soul is a collection of prose and poems about Alex’s journey of healing while being a mother. I personally love Alex’s strong use of imagery in this collection. I highly recommend this to anyone who is struggling to get through a writer’s block like I was. Alex created some fun yet introspective prompts in the back of the book to help you get through it. You can find it here.
- The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst: If you tend to overextend yourself, and struggle with saying no to others like I do, this book is definitely for you. Lysa definitely helped me to realize that saying no isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead, saying no means you can’t fully commit to something at this time, and that’s okay. God wants our BEST YES, not a halfhearted one because we feel forced to do something. I will definitely be gifting this to my friends in the near future. You can find it here.
- The Sweetness in Soil by Q. Gibson: I’m a huge fan of poetry and am always looking for inspiration to write. This book has not failed me yet. This book, as Gibson describes it is an ode to black life. The imagery in this collection is phenomenal and really brings each piece to life. Notus to mention, the mini photographic exhibition included as well. It always stays on my shelf. You can find it here.
- Dance Stand Run by Jess Connolly: I’m going to be completely honest here, I only picked up this because the title sounded interesting and the book was pink. (Clearly God knows how to get my attention). Once, I opened the book, I GOT MY ENTIRE LIFE. There’s so much to unpack in this book. Jess talks about fear, identity, and why it’s so important to be transparent with God. She helped me to realize that He appreciates and honors our vulnerability with Him. I’ve been highlighting this book like crazy as of late. I highly recommend all of you to read this book. You can find it here.
What books are you all reading? Let me know in the comments below!
God has been tugging at my heartstrings lately. He’s been telling me to stop running away from what He’s called me to do. He’s been telling me that someone is depending on me to do what He’s called me to do. He’s been telling me that He has already approved me to do the work He has called me to do. He just needs me to say yes.
Saying yes means surrendering
Saying yes means selflessness
Saying yes means sacrificing
Saying yes means less of me and more of Him
Saying yes means stewardship
Saying yes means souls are saved
How many of you need to say yes to Him today? How many of you need to let go of your own selfish ambitions in order to do what He has called you to do? Remember, someone is depending on you to do what He’s called you to do. He just needs you to say yes.
Can we do that for Him?
With January coming to a close pretty soon, I’ve decided to take some time for much needed reflection. We’re 23 days into the new year and I haven’t crossed many things off of my list of goals, nor have I actively tried to take them head on. If anything, this is a testament to how I have allowed fear to cripple me on my journey thus far.
Once I realized this, I was left with one question: What makes you feel most free?
Naturally, I immediately turned to a page in my journal and made of list of all the things that did just that. My answers were things such as: the color yellow, my (ever-growing) fro, my circle of sisters/mentors/friends, most importantly, opportunities that aligned with the calling God has placed over my life.
I want my decisions this year to be based off of that question. In this moment, what choice would make me feel most free? What choice allows me to maintain my authenticity? What choice allows me to be all that God has called me to be?
I want that question to drive your decisions this year, too. I want you to pursue the opportunities that make you feel most free. I want you to go after everything God has placed on your heart this year. I want you to step on fear and step out on faith. I want you to make this your best year yet.
Let’s do this, friends.
Thank you for ushering us into this new year. Thank you for ushering us into this new season. I pray that this year would be one of transformation and elevation. I pray that You would give us eyes that see others as You see them. I pray that you would give us eyes that see ourselves as You see us God. I pray that You would give us hearts that seek You above all else. I pray that You would give us restful minds that know Your plan for us is far greater than the ones we have for ourselves.
I pray that you would remove any uncertainty from our hearts about who we are according to this world so that we may see who we are in You. I pray that You would give us the confidence to walk in the callings you have given us this year, Lord. I pray that we would use the gifts you have entrusted us with for Your glory, and only Yours God. When we are lost and unsure of what to do remind us to look to the hills for your help. When we feel that we’ve gone astray, remind us that You are an “I don’t care how far you’ve ran just come home” kind of God. Remind us that you can create something beautiful out of brokenness.
I pray that this year would be one of elevation. I pray that this be a year of making Your name great. I pray that you elevate us to new heights. Ones that make others question how we got there, one’s that are unexplainable without You. No matter how high You take us, let us never forget the lows you have brought us from. Give us humble spirits, one’s that seek to glorify You in all that we do.
I pray that your will be done this year. I pray that you would help us to align our desires with Your will for our lives. I pray that we would come out of this year as victors and not victims. I pray that we would conquer this year with a confidence that only You supply.
Asking all of these things in Jesus’ name