a lil biblical encouragement for finals szn

write em down. memorize em. hide em in your heart. pass em on.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace pf God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
philippians four six and seven

worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
proverbs twelve twenty five

be on guard. stand firm in the faith. be courageous. be strong.
first corinthians sixteen thirteen 

when anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.
psalm ninety four nineteen

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
psalm forty six one

“come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
matthew eleven twenty eight

God’s spirit is right alongside helping us along. if we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves…and keeps us present before God. that’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
romans eight twenty six – twenty eight 

those who hope in the Lord will renew the strength. they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
isaiah forty thirty one

“don’t let your hearts be troubled. trust in God, and trust also in Me.”
john fourteen one

the righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
psalm thirty four nineteen

God’s strong hand is on you; He’ll promote you at the right time. live carefree before God, he is most careful with you.
first peter five seven

“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. the Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all things. I’m leaving you well and whole. that’s My parting gift to you: peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left-feeling abandoned, bereft. so don’t be upset. don’t be distraught.”
john fourteen twenty five – twenty seven

“seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
matthew six thirty four

in my distress i prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. the Lord is for me, so i will have no fear…yes the Lord is for me; He will help me.
psalm one hundred eighteen five – seven

 

 

being 20 (part 1)

this one’s for my momma.

i’ve learned to process my thoughts through writing and these are just a few thoughts i’m willing to share that i’ve had the last 4 months.

20…the transition from teenage years to official adulthood. the same age Britney Spears was when she dated Justin Timberlake. having to decide if that pop tart really is breakfast material. knowing that almost every decision you make could impact your entire future. and like Taylor Swift said, “happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way.”

as if growing up wasn’t hard enough, being a 20 year old Christian in college is nothing less than challenging. standards are held extremely high, glory is fallen short of day in and day out and lessons are learned-often times the hard way. but, i wouldn’t trade a single moment of weakness, confusion or loneliness for the happiest feelings in the world if it meant losing my reliance on my heavenly Father. because as a believer, i know and trust that my faith will be tested for the sole purpose of furthering my strength in Him and reminding me that i can not do anything without His intentional grace and persistent love. 

lets start with the things my sweet Jesus has taught me these last few months:

my value is not directly parallel to someone’s lack of ability to love me for who i am-flaws and all. 

something i’ve been taught my whole life, yet never fully understood until just a few days ago, actually. no matter what i do…how much i workout…the number of meals i skip…how much of myself i so easily give to the people who don’t come anywhere near to deserving it…i will never ever ever be enough to the human eye. so why, then, do i strive for the world’s standard of perfection and continue to seek approval from people who were specifically made in the image of God, not made to BE God…who were not made with the physical ability to love me wholly and unconditionally or without flaw…from anyone who isn’t Jesus…who we know from scripture loves us more than words can say…why, Kenz? i needed to realize that not everyone will love me like i love them because we all fall short. i’m still figuring this one out, but in the meantime, i am learning to lay everything at the foot of the cross and refuse to pick it up again.

thinking i am not “pretty” enough or “smart” enough or “skinny” enough is a selfish lie straight from the pit of hell and it should stay there.

the only way i found freedom from believing these and countless other lies was finding the root of them. i had to dig and dig until i could pull them out of the ground and toss those little boogers into the trash. so i don’t have perfect skin or brand name clothes, i struggle in school, my thighs kiss…but these things don’t define me, my faith in Jesus Christ does. comparison-coveting-jealousy-insecurity-the amount of time i spend thinking of myself negatively is unhealthy and honestly just plain selfish. i shouldn’t be so self-consumed, but Jesus and others consumed…Jesus consumed until my cup overflows and my life radiates His Holy Spirit…others consumed; loving them until it hurts. the world wants me to think that i put too much effort into others and not enough into myself. thus, i have struggled to find a “happy medium” if you will. sometimes being everything to everyone can be exhausting and overwhelming. but the times i find myself more empty than i started are the times i’m not abiding in the Lord and going to Him with the things of this world. sometimes i take “treat yoself” to the maximum extreme and tend to lose sight of my calling to also love others and make them question why i’m always so willing and always so loving and always so encouraging. so, in order to find a healthy balance i needed to evaluate each circumstance for what they were. and i realized that no act of kindness is wasted. no matter how many times someone hurts me, we are called to love them without considering if they are worth it or not. everyone deserves the same love, regardless of faults and flaws. i mean, heck, Jesus loved the very people who committed His death on the cross by praying for them as they beat Him, cursed His name and spit at Him. when was the last time i prayed for the girls who leave me out or gossip about me? how about the boy who broke my heart, you don’t see me taking time out of my day to pray for him, do you? but more importantly, what about the lost? the ones who do not even know that Jesus existed to be the love they so desperately need? convicting, huh. i know…why should i say a prayer for the people who don’t give two poops about me? well, why would Jesus, a perfect man that you have never even seen before, die for you before you even knew about Him in hopes that you would receive His love and spend eternal life with Him? talk about heartbreaking. heartbreaking that i would try to limit the creator of heaven and earth and doubt the love He has for me by not showing His love to others! goodness. this was a lot for me to take in and i’m still in awe of how He loves us so much.

it is okay to admit that i suffer from anxiety and depression.

sometimes, the happiest, most joyful and encouraging people on the outside are fighting their battles alone. i’m not even sure when i first became depressed but i know that throughout the years it has progressively worsened. some days depression is so real i have to talk myself out of bed. some days anxiety takes over my whole body, taking my appetite with it. i’ve learned that admitting that i am depressed or anxious really is the first step to a long healing process. i have stressed myself into poor health and it has become evident that i have neglected to bring all my worries and troubles to the Lord, because when i do this i no longer feel weighed down by anxiety. God wants to help me, He designed me to rely on Him in times of desperate need and when i fail to allow Him in my life, it takes a major toll on my physical and emotional health. the only reason i am sharing this is because i no longer believe that i am the only one who deals with these and many other illnesses…i know that some people just need to hear it for the 15th million time that if they believe they are suffering from any emotional instability to get help. the first step, after admitting i was depressed, was prayer. find prayer warriors. tell your mom. tell a mentor or friend. tell someone. your life is too precious and valuable to let it be enslaved to something so dangerous. through this process of freedom from depression and anxiety, i am learning that i show signs of being both introverted and extroverted. however, i tend to be more introverted, especially when processing thoughts and dealing with circumstances. God made me this way and i’m learning to love it through his infinite and abounding grace. depression does not define me…anxiety is not where i find my identity; Christ is. i think this is why i find myself constantly wanting to be there for others…because i know that for the longest time i needed to just talk about what was causing my depression. if you know someone who shows signs of any emotional or mental illness, let them know that you are there for them for the hundredth time. be an encourager. be a light. you never know who is fighting inner battles.

“everyone is getting married or pregnant or promoted and i’m getting coffee…and it’s not even for me!”

brownie points if you know where the quote is from. but seriously, y’all. my very best friend since we were 4 years old is getting married in a month and it still doesn’t seem real. my cousin (who is, in case you were wondering, my age) is getting married in 3 months and possibly moving overseas at some point. i have friends graduating college and being offered jobs with political figures and internships that pay more than full time employment. and it seems like i’m just a bump on a log, doing nothing and being nothing. but, the Lord has graciously confirmed so many times that He has me in a different season of life than some of my friends, and that is okay. His plans for my life will look nothing like my best friend getting married soon. my future will not be the same as my friends getting high end, real-life, big kid jobs, and that is okay. i’m here for one purpose and that is to love God and love people. and through loving people, hopefully i will begin to understand my life and it’s reasoning.

Phi Lamb.

i joined my freshman year, but never got the full experience until this semester. when i became a member i was 18 and not very interested in investing my time into activities besides date parties and mixers. i was in it for the social part. but after being inactive from it for two semesters due to health issues, i have learned to appreciate it with such a different perspective. we exist to glorify God in all we say and do, and we strive to show other’s His love through philanthropy events, dances, mixers and service projects. i have been plugged into the most loving, open and honest prayer group and i am trusting the Lord to allow me to become vulnerable with these ladies on a deeper level in order to help me pursue Christ and to help me grow spiritually. if anything, i have understood and valued this organization with fresh eyes and an eager heart.

and here is a list of things i find myself missing regularly:

  1. dad’s homemade saturday morning breakfast with my family.
  2. taking communion and praying with my family.
  3. the mission trip to Nicaragua my junior year of high school.
  4. varsity mixed choral. student council. drill team.
  5. Carrie Golike.
  6. being a nanny and taking kids on adventures and experiencing life with them.
  7. country back roads and summer nights.
  8. listening to my dad warm up for worship practice on the way to church.
  9. Morgan-yes i miss you too.
  10. when i was a pre-teen listening to love songs wishing i had boy problems so i could relate…now i just have boy problems and wish i could get rid of them

while i wish my walk was more consistent and i relied more on the Lord for strength every day, i am proud of who i am and how far i have come. i am excited to see how much more i will grow this year and the many years to come. here’s to learning and growing as we go, and here’s to Jesus’ willingness to so freely allow me to try again every single day.

-M

 

different paths

let me tell you a story about a little girl.

she dreams. 

she dreams of becoming something when she grows up. something that fulfills her purpose in life, something that inspires others. something that will impact the ones she loves-the ones she may not even know.

she dreams.

sometimes she has one dream her whole life and no matter how unsteady life can be, that dream is the one thing that stays constant.

sometimes her dreams change. life changes. perspectives change. she changes.

but, she always dreams. 

then one day she’s told that her dreams aren’t worth it. she’s told that her dreams are less valuable-less important than someone else’s dreams. she’s told that her dreams are far too easy to achieve, and that makes them not worth it. and, for a second, she believes it. 

but, despite the negativity, she still dreams.

do you know this little girl? does she sound familiar?

unfortunately, this story is true for a lot of people- including myself.

and, unfortunately, we can find ourselves being not only the little girl; but sometimes, the people disapproving her dreams and passions.

what we fail to remember, though, is that life is so unique for every single person. life IS what we make it… but depending on circumstances and environments and backgrounds, life WILL be different for you than it is for me. that’s just how it goes. however, everyone has the same ability to turn their passion into life; to turn their dreams into reality. and everyone will go about it in their own way; a way that works to achieve anything regardless of current situations.

what we fail to remember is that everyone has a different path.

it’s all about what makes you happy while glorifying Christ in all you do. after all, that is our main purpose as children of the Lord-fulfilling our calling from Jesus and making known His sweet and merciful name to others.

“work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” colossians 3:23 nlt

“working willingly” can look different to different people. it’s inevitable because we are created so precisely unique, by the grace of God, to live out our dreams with fierce passion and dedication. and, what we often forget is that fierce passion and dedication looks different to the little girls who dream of becoming doctors or lawyers than it does to the little girls who have always wanted to be teachers. all we have to do is respect the diverse interests among everyone around us and graciously accept that everyone has a different path.

to the little girl who is pursuing the medical field: thank you for your heart to use the countless years of schooling and endless hours of studying to help those who desperately need it. thank you for never giving up on your patients. thank you for inspiring other little girls to want to do the same when they grow up. “hard work” to you may be taking highly advanced classes and spending more time in the library than out with friends. it may be choosing to volunteer and shadow at the hospital when you’re not in class. your path is different to the little girl who wants to be a lawyer…

to the little girl who wants to be a lawyer: thank you for creating justice in the world. thank you for your heart for serving people who find themselves in tricky situations. thank you for helping persuade people to make critical decisions to often determine life or death circumstances. thank you for inspiring other little girls to want to do the same when they grow up. “dedication” may be taking a year or two off of school to prepare for internships and choosing which law you want to practice. it might look like late night meetings with clients who are having a hard time defending themselves. your path is different to the little girl who dreams of becoming a teacher…

to the little girl who dreams of becoming a teacher: thank you for your heart for children and students. thank you for understanding the importance of school and how crucial an educational background is. thank you for encouraging students when they don’t perform well and for challenging them when they do. thank you for inspiring other little girls to do the same thing when they grow up. “passion” to you could simply be loving children so much and wanting to see them reach their highest potential. it could be going into this field knowing that it is not for the money, but for the improvements that you, as a teacher, have the privilege of seeing among diverse students. your path is different to the little girl who dreams of becoming a doctor or lawyer…and that is okay.

to all the little girls, even the ones still wondering what their dreams are: you are worth it. you are valuable. you are good enough. your path is just as purposeful as someone else’s. don’t let anyone tell you otherwise; don’t let anyone talk-down your dreams.

something to keep in mind is that people choose their careers for various different reasons. one little girl might become a CEO of an international company because of the wealth she can bring in to financially support herself or her future family…and that is okay. one little girl might decide she wants to become an educator to put her passion of loving children to life…and maybe one little girl just can’t wait to be wife and mother to be there for her family in ways that money can’t provide…and that is okay because we all have different paths.

if one little girl takes classes at a community college in order to save money and potentially earn scholarships…that is okay and we should encourage and support her until she accomplishes even her wildest dreams. if one little girl excels in academics and is able to attend a four-year private university…that is okay and we should applaud both because at least they are reaching for their dreams. at least they are working willingly to achieve what they might have been told was impossible. we don’t all have very individually specific DNA strands just to have the exact same ways of attaining the exact same aspirations; that’s just not how it goes. 

you see? everyone has their own path…and everyone should respect and empower each other to do their very best; whatever that may look like to them. the most important thing is that we glorify our Heavenly Father in everything we do. the second most important thing is that we are happy. if a little girl is happy with where she is, we should be happy for her, because if we are happy with where we are, we want others to be happy for us too.

so…if you wanna be a hard-working, independent and successful woman, YOU GO GIRL. and if you can’t wait to be the PTA president and soccer mom of the year, YOU GO GIRL. no matter what, your dream is worth it, your passion is valuable, and you can inspire someone by simply living out your dreams in the best possible way.

and to all the little girls out there…keep on dreaming.

 

 

 

work for a cause-not applause

this week hit me like a train.

i had to get groceries and fill up with gas and take quizzes and attend meeting after meeting until the wee hours of the morning and i was hired for a job less than 12 hours before my first shift and my allergies were out of control and my room was destroyed and i had auditions and interviews all at the same time, it seemed, and i could not get myself together!

(it’s called “adulting“…it’s what the kids are doing nowadays…)

yesterday, i decided part of the problem was i wasn’t making time in my already busy day for time with my sweet Savior. i wasn’t giving myself time to myself to be able to refocus and understand my place in all this madness.

when i first moved back to college station i was doing well at waking up early, eating a healthy breakfast, reading the bible and starting my morning off right. but once that nasty schedule of events we call “life” hit, it was like i couldn’t even see straight because i was allowing myself to go through my days without Jesus.

then i had bible study on tuesday and met with a handful of sweet sisters in Christ, all from different backgrounds and walks of life…all with one goal in mind: to be in community with other believers who struggle with the same sins as they do…a community that may not have it together every minute of every day, but can hold each other to one standard: grace.

we were reminded that no matter how “unworthy” we feel of Jesus…no matter how much sin…shame…regret we have, no matter how many mistakes we’ve made…GOD STILL LOVES US UNCONDITIONALLY! He shares His overflowing waves of grace with us, He saves us…every single day…with His blood! hello! of course we are not WORTHY of the name of Jesus…no, we are WORTH the sacrifice that was made, the death that was died on a precious cross to pull us out of the burning grave and into life everlasting with Him! so keep on pursuing the Lord, because He is STILL fighting for you. we were reminded that while others might judge based on our “outward appearance” (or something we’ve done that might make people question our intentions) the Lord looks on our sweet, precious hearts because He is the maker of every single one of them and He knows that you and i are born to sin…He knows that we don’t WANT to continue this toxic cycle of messing up, but, that it is what makes us human, and makes Him God! (see 1 samuel 16:7)

then we passed our bibles around the circle and everyone wrote their name next to their favorite verse in each bible, so every time we read that verse and see their name, we are reminded to pray for them!

no prayer is an accident and there is always something or someone to be praying for.

so, i would like to expand this idea and give people the opportunity to reach out to me with their favorite verses but also prayer requests, encouraging testimonies or maybe i can just be a friend to someone who needs it.

i want to live with passion, never missing the blessings or opportunities the Lord has set before me.

i want to work for a cause-to greater the kingdom of the most high God by serving others in love, grace, compassion and patience.

i want to put away my pride and stop trying to fill my heart with the satisfaction of pleasing others…of working for applause.

i want to be who i am meant to be in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

one way to help me do this is i decided to take an unallotted amount of time away from social media. i find myself looking for gratification in the meaningless likes, shares, retweets, snaps, favorites…i find myself unsatisfied because i am spending my time identifying myself in something other than Jesus.

so, i set up a way for people to reach out to me without me having to check any social media and potentially get distracted…i want to be available to people who need to be shown the love of Christ…who need the encouragement that comes from the Lord…who need healing that only comes through the power of the Holy Spirit.

i am open to feedback, i am open to prayer requests, i am open to bible verses or testimonies…i am open to living life with you. so here’s to being human, here’s to not always having it together, here’s to doing it all in the name of True Love.

i want to work for a cause, not applause, i want to live to express, not impress. 

~M

***contact me at: mckenzielbaca@gmail.com***

Daughters Will Love Like You Do 8.24.16

“Fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers, who turn into mothers. So mothers be good to your daughters too.”

I’ve got my Heavenly Father, my sweet daddy & the talented John Mayer to thank for inspiring me to share a precious moment I had today. Disclaimer: you might wanna grab the tissues. 

Fathers be good to your daughters…

There is nothing I regret more in life than not appreciating all that my dad does for me. 

All the late night ice cream requests being filled, last minute lunch drop offs, early morning homemade Saturday breakfasts, the short but faithful prayers of safety before traveling, times that he helped curl/straighten my hair in middle school…these are just a small fraction of the ways he is good to me. On top of the little moments of joy I’ve under appreciated, my dad also leaves the house every day at 7 am to go to his own architecture firm (David Baca Studio, downtown Sherman) and usually comes home around 6 pm. Some nights he is home long enough to grab a bite to eat and head back to the office to finish what he can in order to bring in a steady income to support my family. My dad is one of the most Bible-rooted believers I know. His walk is so consistent and he is never afraid to pray for us for anything we may need it for.

He is good at his job and he is good to us! 

This is how he was good to me today and how I was given a humbling experience in order to appreciate my dads life a little bit more…

I am the worst at asking for something I know I need if I think someone will be inconvienced or put out. Today I needed prayer to calm my nerves and ease my anxiety but I was so caught up in my own feelings to take time to realize that I can easily call someone, like my dad, to pray for me. 

God is so cool for working this out in my favor; He knew that I was physically too nervous to even think about stopping and asking someone to pray for me. But He also knew how to remind me of the importance of family, community in a body of believers and the absolute power of prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. 

He knew how to remind me of His goodness and love!

After my dad listened to me express my nervousness, he said “are you driving?” I was and he responded with “let me know when you can park so you can close your eyes.” My heart melted and I immediately pulled into a parking spot and he began to fill my life with words of praise and encouragement from above! He began to lift up my worries and once again I was reminded of how good he is to me and how little I appreciated him. 

When he was done I told him thank you and we both went on with our days, but as soon as we hung up I couldn’t help but think of the girls (and boys) who grow up in broken homes; who grow up without daddies to come to with questions and concerns knowing that he will know what to say and do to help guide in the right direction, who grow up without the care and love and support and encouragement that I absent-mindedly took for granted, who don’t know what it meant for a father to be good to them. 

My heart broke. 

But then I heard that still small voice whisper words of peace and comfort to me and I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that no matter how broken or unloved people may feel sometimes because of their home life, because of their parental situation; HE is more than good to those who call upon His name! HE loves them more than any earthly father could, more than anyone else does. And my heart became so full of gladness and trust in the Lord that He is taking care of His children. The love we experience on earth is far less than how He loves us. 

Our gracious and Heavenly Father bore the sons of every man in order to save us from eternal death and separation from His abounding love. 

As I’m reminding myself of His love I can’t help but think of the song “How He Loves” when it sings “if His grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.” Perspective is key and that amount of grace, my friends, is the major key.

…daughters will love like you do

We’ve all heard someone say, or said ourselves: “well they have daddy issues” about someone who just deep down really needed to be reminded of how loved they are; but do we really understand what someone is going through if we aren’t experiencing it for oursleves? Some people just need constant reminders of Jesus’ love for them. Some people may not have an earthly father to pour into their lives every day like you and me, but God doesn’t say “she doesn’t deserve my love because she doesn’t have (whatever it may be). 

This is where loving the unloved comes into play. This is where being a light to others in a world full of darkness is so important. This is where being someone a person without a steady home life can come to with their struggles knowing you will pray for them and continue to encourage, love and support them through the love YOU have received through the Holy Spirit. You see how it works? John Mayer knew what he was talking about!! 

In Psalms 149 verses 4-5 it says: 

“…God delights in His people…let true lovers break out in praise!”

If God delights in the people He created, and the way to show His love is by loving Him and loving others, then what are we waiting for?! I am so glad God reminded me of how to share the love of His son Jesus Christ by simply leading my daddy to pray for me; he showed Christ’s love to me, and now it’s my turn to show Christ’s love to YOU! 

So, to sum it up:

I have a pretty stinkin awesome dad and if you do too make sure you hug his neck tight before it’s too late, before its time for you to leave the house or before you go to bed, even. If you don’t, I hope this was an encouragement to you and others who are in the same boat; remember: 

God doesn’t do selective love, He doesn’t do circumstantial love… He does unconditional love for YOU! 

Photographic appreciation for ya, Dave: