Category Archives: The Journey

Madly In Love

Philippines

Lucky in love has never been an occurring theme for me. From a young age I had the tendency to believe that I was unlovable or that something was wrong with me, yet I hoped that maybe…just maybe…one day someone would come along who thought I was worth loving.

Through several seasons of life and more odd circumstances than I know what to do with, it’s hit me little by little, then all at once:

If I define myself by my job, I’m only worth a handful of eyelashes and a few tubes of lipstick. If I define myself by my looks, I’m only worth a pair of green eyes, hundreds of freckles, and a couple of beaver teeth. If I define myself by my family and friends, then I’m not worth being an individual. If I define myself by what I’m good at, well, then I’m only worth a good laugh. And if I define myself by my relationships, I never seem to be worth a simple explanation.

But I take a deeper look into the area of life that matters most and realize if I define myself by my Savior, then my life suddenly becomes worth dying for. Whoa. Something so hard to fathom it gives me chills.

My heart thought it needed a love that only this earth could carry. In reality it was looking for the truest and most pure form of love in existence. A love far beyond anything this world has to offer. I could have wasted my whole life searching for the most precious gift that had already been given to me since the moment I was created.

Absolute peace and contentment encapsulate me knowing I have the privilege of being madly in love with my Savior every single day. His love for me was worth dying, which makes my love for Him worth living. A love that can never be broken. To wake up alone every morning and still feel completely whole, is one of the greatest blessings.

Lucky in love or not, I’d be lying if I said I got gypped when it comes to love. My life is happily full. Whether or not God wants to bless me with a love beyond what He’s already given is completely up to him.

Happy Valentine’s Day 💕

#madlyinlove #canyallstoptryingtosetmeupnow #thanks

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Pick Something

Pick something. Pick something today that you’ve always told yourself “I could never.” Then go and try it. Get a little dirty. Fall flat on your face. Fail miserably. Then go back and try it again tomorrow. Repeat this pattern every day until the thing you said you would never be able to do, becomes the thing you’re doing. Only then will you realize that you were never a failure, just a slow success. With the right attitude you have nothing to lose. Effort means you can only gain. You gain wisdom, you gain knowledge, you gain strength, you gain endurance, you gain self-discipline, you gain perspective and you get to learn a whole lot along the way. Once you understand that you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for, the possibilities are endless. Then you get the privilege of encouraging others on their journey.

headstand

Hayley Elise

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Worth Celebrating

reflection

Trust me, I get it….I’m the annoying girl on social media always talking about Jesus. Can’t say I’m sorry about it. When my heart is overflowing with joy, I just have to give praise where praise is due…can’t help myself!

This week 27 years ago, I was born. But this week 13 years ago I was finally brought to life. Reflecting on how much change and growth has taken place within those years has me completely overwhelmed at the goodness and grace God has brought into my life.

You all know the friendly, goofball I am today. The positive, upbeat, hardworking girl, who trips over air, wears her pants inside-out, says cheesy things, and is not afraid to laugh at herself. I’m a mess, but a completely different kind of mess from the disaster I used to be.

Sad as it is, my life was once ruled by negativity and insecurity. All I wanted was to fit in. I longed for some kind of talent or skill to define me. Good at nothing and fearful of everything. I was made fun of for being nothing more than a chubby, freckle-faced kid. I began to believe it. At times, I thought my life was a useless waste of space. The mirror was an enemy Satan used to feed me his lies. Not an ounce of self-worth. At my lowest, I begged God to take me off this earth; trying to convince Him that no one would even notice I was gone. Only now do I realize how much His heart must have broken to hear my thoughts.

My life began to take a turn for what I thought was worse:

We were supposed to be watching my sister graduate that night. The auditorium filled with chaos as we ended up watching my grandmother die instead.

Never had I felt such a thick layer of darkness come over my world as I did the night I found out my aunt killed herself.

There was the morning I watched the devastation cross my dad’s face as he got news of his brothers sudden and unexpected death.

I also remember the rainy New Year’s Eve I spent in a cold hospital waiting room. With watery eyes, I stared at the single drop of blood on the pillow next to my best friend’s lifeless body.

Death became so real to me. I think that’s the same time life started to become real also.

How thankful I am for the very last opportunity we had to visit my uncle battling Alzheimer’s. He smiled at me though he had no idea who I was. Since conversation was difficult to come by, my sister opened up to the book of Psalms and began to read. I watched my uncle close the eyes on his frail body, tilt his head toward heaven and quote every single verse word for word. Goosebumps rushed over my body at one of the most beautiful moments I had ever witnessed. God’s word was powerful. This kind of beauty had nothing to do with appearance or talent, but rather a condition of the heart.

That was the day I took a sharpie to a mirror. Instead of focusing on my skewed view, I scribbled verses all over that mirror of the things I hoped to reflect…in every aspect of life…because that was an unfading beauty. The only thing I could possibly control in life was my own attitude, actions, and willingness in allowing God to do His work in transforming me from the inside out.

He’s had His work cut out for Him.

It was in the midst of death, I finally realized the value of life; including my own. Not only was it a precious gift, but was overwhelming to think someone else found so much beauty, value, and worth in me, that He was willing to die for it.

My life will never be free from pain, hurt, or trials. God loves me far too much to make it easy for me. However, I’m absolutely blown away by the life I get to live free from worthlessness, comparison, jealousy, pride, anger, envy, anxiety, worry, etc. He’s made my faith far greater than any fear. I’ve got plenty moments of weakness, especially with the enemy knowing to hit me right where it hurts the most. But never is there a chain my Savior cannot break. Though I don’t always know what He is working on, He has somehow managed to bring so much purpose and potential to an ordinary girl like me.

How scary that I almost let myself get in the way of His wonderful work. My soul has slowly been set on fire over the course of 13 years; I can hardly wait to see how He uses the rest of it!

That’s a birthday worth celebrating

Hayley Elise

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Always A Kid At Heart

Thanks for all the birthday love!!! No doubt I’m the most blessed girl in the whole entire world to have such amazing friends and family Can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for 27. ‪#‎jeezimold‬‪#‎lifeisstilltooshortnottolaughatyourself‬ ‪#‎andtheywonderwhyimsingle‬

New age, new adventures. Determined to make 27 a good one….full of all kinds of cheesy shenanigans. 🙂

❤ Hayley Elise

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Finding Balance

“Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears my words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” Luke 6

What a blessing that my life has gone in every single direction, other than which I had planned. It’s been choppy, and it’s most certainly been turbulent. God’s grace alone has revealed my endless weakness, allowing me to rely on Him alone and stand strong in ways I didn’t think possible. Even when the waters get rough, I never have to question the solid foundation on which I stand. Though each new day brings surprises of its own, there flows a deep stream of joy, confidence, and peace within my veins, rejoicing that His ways are so much higher than my understanding.

“Cast your burdens upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22

Balanace

❤ Hayley Elise

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Falling For Haiti

This past weekend I returned from a trip to an orphanage in Haiti. As always, God had His hand working in every aspect of it. Another absolutely breathtaking experience.

Meet Baby Daniel. This beautiful soul was found in a dumpster shortly after being born. I have to fight back the tears every time I see his precious face. My heart is torn to shreds over the fact that these amazing kids don’t have the love of at least one parent in their lives. But what’s been so amazing is to see Gods love flow throughout this orphanage in so many different ways. Despite age, color, size, or any other life circumstances we get to share in the love of our Heavenly Father together. ‪#‎family‬

Baby Daniel

If you ever have the chance, don’t think twice. Just go.

“Religion that God, our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

❤ Hayley Elise

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Locks Of Love

12 inches lighter! One of the many things that sets my soul on fire, is doing my best to begin every day with an attitude of thanks and giving with all God has given me. No matter how much or how little I may think I have in life, there is still always an abundance of ways to give. I have so much to share! Never underestimate the power of a dollar, a minute of your time, a kind word, the simplicity of a smile, or even something as silly as your hair. It’s never silly to the one receiving it!

Locks of love

Hayley Elise

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Happy Monday!

Happy Monday my beautiful friends 🙂

Can you believe March is already here?

With the amount of heaviness filling my heart lately, I have almost forgotten how blessed I truly am. Thank goodness the Lord treats me far better than I actually deserve. Joy fills my heart this lovely morning as I am reminded of the extreme faithfulness I receive each day. Don’t forget how much you are loved even when it feels like nothing is going your way. As you begin a new month, a new week, and a new day, I encourage you to allow the Lord to do amazing things in your life. Even when it feels like nothing it happening, I guarantee you He is working. God is always for you, never against you.

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope, the Lord’s loving-kindnesses indeed never cease, His compassion’s never fail. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:21-23

❤ Hayley Elise

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A Simple Lesson In Humility

Yesterday was one of those mornings I woke up with a bit of heaviness on my heart. Not bad, just not my typical, bubbly self. Once the sun rose, one of the first things I did was wander out to get the mail. Normally I go days without grabbing the stacks of bills and credit card offers, yet I oddly felt the need to get it. Must have been the Lord tugging at my heart because what was waiting in that little box was completely unexpected.

My face lit up like sunshine when I opened the unrecognizable envelope and found two thank you cards and pictures from the kids I sponsor.

Shylet & Milicent

 Shylet and Millicent are two young girls I had the opportunity to meet this past summer in Zimbabwe. Now I am blessed with the privilege of sponsoring them every month. This ensures they will be able to attend school on a consistent basis as well as cover some basic food needs. Previously I had worked with World Vision, but I have to say it brings much greater depth, joy, and meaning to help those with whom you have had the pleasure of meeting and experiencing a part of what their reality is like. Meeting them for the incredibly short 5 minutes was no doubt the highlight of my entire summer!

Meeting Shylet & Millicent for the very first time.

Meeting Shylet & Millicent for the very first time.

This treasured little surprise warmed my heart bringing my morning back into perspective.  There’s no denying the Lord has been beating me with the concept of humility lately. He does this often; He’s got to do what it takes to keep me in line. In all fairness I knew a string of trials and challenges were headed my way. Isn’t that what initially happens when you decide to walk in obedience to what God asks of you? If obedience meant instant gratification, I think more of us would be willing to listen.

Looking at those precious faces again encouraged me in knowing how blessed I am to be disciplined and humbled by the Lord. It’s because as His child He loves me; He cares for me and doesn’t want me to fail. It’s because He knows I need a greater source of strength than myself; just as I feel about Shylet and Millicent.

No matter what I am going through in life, I always have the ability to rejoice, thank the Lord, and give back to Him with however little or much I have. I just need to get out of my own way, otherwise I’ll fall into the trap of believing the millions of little lies the devil plants in my mind.

Funny how the Lord quickly reminded me of those things in my daily devotions:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:6-10

What a great reminder that I need to always stand firm and be on the alert. Humility is never a bad thing. In fact, throughout a wave of challenges it’s good to remember the source of all you’ve been given. Pride and ignorance is like walking in front of a mirror at all times; you see nothing else and can’t get anywhere without tripping over yourself. As C.S. Lewis so accurately said:

“For pride is spiritual cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

Never ask God for things that you don’t intend to follow through with. Silly me, my current situation is exactly what I had asked for. Every Christmas Eve my family throws a birthday party for Jesus. Cheesy as it sounds, its my favorite tradition. This past year I wanted to give the Lord my appetite for life. Often I fill my plate too full thinking I can handle it all. Then sometimes I feel as though I don’t have enough. My hunger and thirst ought to be completely focused on Him; never biting off more than I think I can chew. Knowing I was walking into the exact place He wanted me, I also knew I would have no other choice but leaning on Him in all things. This plate sits on my counter to remind me that if I have the Lord, I have everything I need. He will provide my every need and will fill my plate as He sees fit.

My birthday gift to Jesus

My birthday gift to Jesus

As I celebrate the opportunity to put this into practice, I have to remember I am only human at best. I have to remember that I have tons of potential with the God of the universe on my side. I can be a light and maintain a joyful attitude no matter my circumstance. As little as it seems, I have to remember that there are people out there like Shylet and Millicent, who are in need of my ability to give. And in return I am abundantly blessed because that is what I was created to do.

Remain focused.

Stay humble.

Never turn down an opportunity to give in whatever capacity.

Rejoice always.

Shed a little light wherever you go.

Do it all for the glory of your Maker.

Allow the Lord to be your portion and you will always be secure.

Smile and keep going 🙂

Hayley Elise ❤

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Rise, Smile, and Shine!

Live intentionally

Time to rise, smile, and shine….it’s going to be a beautiful new year! No silly New Years resolutions for me this time, those never worked anyway. The only thing that has ever encouraged healthy change in my life is to live one with intention and purpose.

To think of others more and myself less. To pursue wisdom and practice the fruits of the spirit. To rejoice in my trials as much as my blessings. To make goals and and remain diligent. To set boundaries and stay consistent. To love without limits. To not wear socks with sandals. To be generous with what I’ve been given. To proceed with caution and have faith like a child. To push my mind and my body out of the box. To stay positive and never say never. To remaining committed in doing what I say I will do. To remember my life was bought with a price and my worth is far beyond what I could possibly fathom. To walk in truth and be a difference. To stumble seven times and get up eight. To live a life that has nothing to hide. And to always glorify my Maker.

That being said, I can already tell 2015 is going to be an incredible year! 💚

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