to have a friend // thoughts for friendship day

According to the always trusty Internet, today is apparently Friendship Day! Friendships are truly one of God’s greatest gifts to me, so I’m always down to celebrate the ones in my life. In today’s post, I think I’ll reflect a little bit on what true friendship has come to mean to me.

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low quality pic, high quality friends // via my instagram

When I was younger, my dad was fond of telling me the common saying “To have a friend you must be one.” As someone who made friends easily and never lacked them, that phrase fell on deaf ears. But as I’ve gotten older, that phrase has become somewhat bittersweet to me. During my teenage years, my family moved around a lot, and combining that with the fact that I was homeschooled meant my friend count dwindled.

During this very rough time of life, that saying of my dad’s almost mocked me. How was I supposed to be a friend if there was no one in my life for me to befriend? I became very lonely and bitter, and my self-esteem dropped wayyy low (which is something I’m still struggling with to this day). It got to the point when even I did start to meet people and make connections, I began to assume no one would even want to be friends with me. I felt ugly, awkward, and worthless.

But during junior year things really started to turn around for me. God brought an insanely amazing group of girls into my life via my youth group small group. For the first time in what felt like forever, I found a group of girls that I felt like I could just be myself with. I didn’t worry about them judging me for my looks, or being turned away by my awkwardness; they just genuinely loved me for who I was, flaws and all, which was a real turning point for me in understanding what true friendship is.

Most of these girls left for college when I started my senior year of high school, leaving me once again feeling alone and confused. Why would God take away something from me that was so good and building me up so much? Well, I think this was to teach me two lessons:

1) You don’t need friends to be worthy. For someone who struggles so much with self-worth and feeling less than, this was a tough but necessary lesson for me to learn. Not having a group of friends for so long took its toll on me, and seeing so many other girls being popular and surrounded by friends made me think something must be wrong with me to not have that as well. When I finally was blessed with a group of friends, I clung so tightly to them that they became my sense of worth and identity. Without them, I felt useless once more. So I truly believe God took them away (not permanently, because I know some of them will always be in my life) to nudge me and say “hey Maguire, your friends are not what make you worthy.”

“It’s Me who makes you worthy.”

It’s in God alone that my true and lasting identity and worth can be found, which is something He taught me through this experience, and is continuing to teach me every day.

And secondly,

2) True friendship is centered on God, not myself. Over the past few years, I’ve made countless acquaintances, only a few of which have blossomed into true, lasting, and meaningful relationships. I often wondered what that special ingredient was, but it wasn’t till senior year that it clicked. Sure I was I missing the fun and laughs that came from being around my girls, but mostly I found I was missing the growth and strengthening that came with those relationships. With some of these girls, our bonds went beyond something superficial, and the reason we were able to love one another despite our countless differences was because Jesus was at the center of our relationships. We weren’t in these relationships to get something out of it for ourselves; ultimately, these relationships centered around growing closer to Christ and strengthening one another in our walks with Him.

As I move forward into college and begin making new friendships, I know without a doubt that I want my most meaningful bonds to be made with girls who will point me to Jesus and encourage me in my relationship with Him. Those will be the friendships that stick.

So these are a just a few of the thoughts on my heart today on Friendship Day (which I’m still not entirely positive is a real thing – I’m trusting you here Google don’t let me down). I hope they’ve been impactful for you, no matter what your situation is friend-wise. And whether your cup runneth over with friendships, or if you feel like that cup is a little dry, remember these words from Proverbs:

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~ Proverbs 18:24

And of course, never forget that to have a friend, just be one.

You are loved,

Maguire

the heavens declare.

Hello lovely readers! It’s hard to believe that summer’s already almost over, isn’t it? Where I live, end of July/beginning of August means two things: 1. kids are going back to school (which to this former Midwestern girl who never started back till after Labor Day is still pretty bizarre) and 2. it’s monsoon season. Meaning that for about one month, our normally dry, bland weather turns into a who’s who of guest weather stars: windstorms, humidity, flash floods, thunderstorms, hail, etc. You name it, we got it. 

All this crazy weather, in particular an epic thunderstorm we had earlier this evening, reminded me of a draft of a post I wrote way back in May when I was still brainstorming for this blog. This post was inspired by a rainstorm that didn’t realize it wasn’t monsoon season yet and decided to show up prettyyy early in the year. Despite it being written three months ago, the thoughts I share in it remain true, so I thought I’d share! Hope you enjoy! 

When you live in Arizona, rain is a rare thing. In fact, before I moved here, I thought I’d never see a single drop of rain again. But contrary to popular opinion, sometimes there is a rainstorm in the desert. Last week, we had such a storm and I. Loved. It. There’s nothing more comforting to me then falling asleep to the rolls of thunder and the pitter patter of rain on the roof. But while I love rainstorms, I’ve never really paused to consider what comes before them. In between storms, I happened to glance out my window and see the sky was filled with dark clouds. Amazed at the beautiful sight, I stepped outside to take it all in (and maybe snap a pic for the ‘Gram). As I wandered barefoot around my driveway, trying to find the perfect angle for a pic, a verse suddenly jumped into my mind:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” ~ Psalm 19:1

I find it disturbingly easy to forget to wonder at God’s presence in creation. Every leaf, every star, every cloud absolutely screams about the Hand that lovingly crafted it. We are constantly surrounded by God’s handiwork, yet we rarely stop to look for Him in it. Even as I pulled out my camera to capture an image of a beautiful evening sky, I was mostly concerned with how the picture would look on my Instagram story. I barely stopped to reflect on my Creator God and how crazy it is that the same God who placed each one of those clouds into place loves and cherishes me. When God put that verse on my heart, it was a gentle reminder to put down my phone and look up at the sky again, this time with eyes opened wide and my heart filled with wonder at the glimpse of His glory displayed before me.

So next time you stop to marvel at a thunderstorm, gaze at the vastness of the ocean, or simply take in the beauty of a sunset, I would encourage you before pulling out your camera to capture a shot of Creation, take a moment to meditate and stand in awe of the Creator of such a masterpiece.

You are loved,

Maguire

“All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name. Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man” ~ Psalm 66:5-6

joy comes with the morning.

Well, I’m back. Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about how life was taking off for me. Orientation (which was amazing) came and went, and so did my week as a camp counselor (expect a full post about my experiences there soon). But only two days after getting back from camp, life came to a sudden halt, which is why I’ve been absent from my blog longer than planned.

Sorry if this all seems a bit rambling, but it’s hard to collect my thoughts about what happened recently. I never wanted to have to share this, but last Sunday, July 23rd, my precious Grandma Dora passed away.

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my grandma and I.

Her passing was both expected yet out of nowhere for me. Over the past few years, my grandma’s health had been declining, and over the last few months she took a turn for the worse. While I was at camp, she went into hospice. Everyone thought she’d have a few more weeks at least; my family was even going to try to plan a quick trip home to Kansas to visit her.

Although I knew my grandma would be eventually in hospice, I wasn’t aware she had gone in while I was at camp, so when I came home from work last Sunday and my dad told me through his tears that my grandma was gone, it was a complete shock. My heart was crushed, and it still is. Even after attending her funeral, it still doesn’t seem quite real. My mind can’t really grasp the fact that I’ll never hug her again, never get birthday and Christmas cards in the mail, never get to call her and catch her up on my life at college.

My grandma was one of the most important people in my life, so it feels almost impossible to explain what she meant to me. But if I had to describe my grandma in one word, it would simply be love. Unconditional, unrelenting, and unending love. Even in my earliest memories my grandma was always there, pouring love into me and all who walked into her house and into her heart. That unconditional love soaked into me all throughout my childhood, and continued to even when I moved 1,000 miles away. And although she is no longer with me in body, I know her love for me and my love for her will never die and always live in my heart.

This past week, coming to terms with this loss and going home to Kansas with my dad to bid her our final farewells was really, really hard. But I know healing will come, and that ultimately my sadness can give way to joy and peace, because I have a hope. 

The hope of heaven. The hope that even though I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my grandma on this earth, it doesn’t have to be my final goodbye. Because Jesus is real, and so was my grandma’s forgiveness from our Savior. And right now she is no longer trapped in her failing and suffering earthly body, but is instead in Jesus’ presence, free from pain and free to rejoice. And because of Jesus I am also free to rejoice and not be sad.

Because I have hope that someday I also will be in Jesus’ presence – and see my sweet grandma again.

I’ll leave you all for now with part of a passage that I read at my grandma’s funeral, a passage that has brought me much comfort in this time of hurt and heartache, and I hope will be encouraging to you as well.

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” ~ Psalm 30:4-5

You are loved,

Maguire

the (sort of) calm before the storm

Hey everyone! I can’t believe it’s already been a week since I last posted! I was hoping to be consistently posting every few days right off the bat . . . but life happens, and this week life happened pretty much out of nowhere. On top of work, I’ve been prepping for a couple of big things that are about to go down in the next week. But in the midst of the chaos, I decided to sit down and take a quick break to update you all on what’s happening in my life, despite the fact I have laundry to fold, a suitcase to pack, and my room literally looks like a tornado hit it. Hence the title.

So, here’s a (hopefully) quick update on a couple of BLT’s (that’s Big Life Things) that this week holds for me.

BLT 1. College orientation!! 

It’s hard to believe, but tomorrow I have college orientation! When I signed up for orientation back in April in the throes of senioritis, I was sure time was absolutely going to drag before this day came. Yet this summer has flown by so far, and suddenly the day I’ve been anticipating for years is tomorrow. Woah.

While that realization of holy crap I‘m actually going to college has been slowly dawning on me the last couple of months. orientation is going to make it actually real that my dream of going to university is going to be a reality in less than a month. I know it’s going to amp up my excitement for school by 1000% – but also my nerves. I’m kinda scared for tomorrow, but I also can’t wait, especially since I get to meet two of my suitemates while I’m there! I have a feeling it’s going to be an overwhelming day, but I also am sure that tomorrow will the start of the craziest and most amazing adventure.

And as if that wasn’t enough to be freaking out about for one week . . .

BLT 2. I’m going to be a camp counselor!!

Okay, I’ll admit, while I’ve been anticipating orientation for months, this second BLT kinda snuck up on me *insert that sheepish face emoji* I will be leaving Sunday for Royal Family Kids Camp, an awesome organization that puts on summer camps for children ages 6 to 11 from the foster system. I’m going to be a camp “cousin,” which means I will be paired up with two little girls and be their constant companion for the week.

Sounds simple enough, right? I thought so, at least. But my whole perspective changed when I attended a training session for the camp last Saturday. There it truly dawned on me what a crucial role I will be playing in these kids lives next week. These kids have been removed from abusive homes and have bounced around the foster system. Many of them have been abused, both physically and emotionally, and have never experienced a permanent home, the love of a parent, or a normal childhood. They are hurt, angry, and don’t know who to trust, if anyone loves them, or even if they have any worth.

Pretty heavy, sobering stuff, I know. That is why this week at camp can be a turning point for so many of these precious kids. During this week at camp, these kids will be given the opportunity for perhaps the first time in their little lives to just simply be a kid. They will get to play in a lake, make s’mores, going canoeing and ziplining, and even have a big birthday bash. But more importantly, for this entire week these kids are going to be shown constant, unfailing, and unconditional love by the counselors, and through that love hopefully come to the realization that they are loved by God.

I learned all this during training, and I left feeling wayyy in over my head. It hadn’t occurred to me how broken and loveless those campers could be, nor what an important role I was being entrusted with to pour love and encouragement into these little souls. I was terrified, and I still am. This role is going to be far outside so many of my comfort zones, and I don’t feel ready in the slightest to jump outside of my safe little bubbles.

But what I have to remind myself is that it’s not about me. It’s about them.

Who cares if I get no sleep, or can’t do my hair in the morning, or have to go up into the mountains right in the middle of the Arizona monsoon season, or have to bite my tongue and constantly show nothing but love to these kids even they swear at me or lie to me or tell me they don’t like me? Because this week won’t be about me and my comfort zones and making sure I feel safe and secure. It’s going to be all about these kids, and making sure they have the time of their lives feeling loved both by me and Christ. And if I lean on God’s strength and rely on Him to help me put these girls before myself, I know He will give the the courage and power to leap out of those comfort zones without even batting an eye.

So, this post is me also signing out for the next week. Once I’m home, I will be sure to write a post (okay maybe two or three) all about my experiences at camp. In the mean time, I desperately need all the prayers I can get. Pray that I will rely on God alone and not myself this week for strength and guidance, and that the kids at this camp will be able to freely enjoy themselves and experience both the love of the counselors and God.

Thank you for reading this (much longer than anticipated :P) life update! Please subscribe if you’d like to be updated on my RFKC adventures, and leave a comment if you have some encouragement for me for this upcoming week.

You are loved!

Maguire

p.s. if you’re interested in Royal Family Kids Camp and you’d like to learn more, click here.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

the fourth, freedom, and faith.

Happy Fourth of July fellow ‘Muricans! The 4th has always been a favorite holiday of mine, and what’s not to love? Grilling out, parties, fireworks, and of course getting to show an overabundance of pride for the stars and stripes.

But while I’ve always loved celebrating my country on this midsummer day, I’ve never really stopped to think about the significance of what today stands for. It’s right there in the official name for the holiday: Independence. Freedom. *eagle caws in the distance*

In all seriousness, freedom is incredibly important to me, yet is something I hardly ever stop to celebrate and truly be thankful for. I am so blessed to live in a country that grants me the freedom to express myself and worship God without fear. The simple abilities to go to church every Sunday and speak out about what I believe are such ordinary, everyday things, yet across the world there are people losing their lives to have those “simple” freedoms.

So before you start grilling hot dogs and lighting up sparklers, let me encourage you to take a minute and really reflect on what freedom means to you. To me, it means two things:

  • Freedom in my country
  • Freedom in Christ

Not only do I have access to freedom of speech and worship by living in America, but I also have a much more important freedom in Christ. Through His sacrifice, He has freed me from my enslavement to sin, and I am now free to love and serve Him with my whole heart. And because I am so blessed to live in this great country, I am able to freely worship God for setting me free and to share my faith in Him with others.

To me, that’s definitely worth donning some red, white, and blue and setting off some fireworks to celebrate.

Once again, happy 4th, and you are loved!

Maguire

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ~ John 8:36

Aside

so . . . I guess I’m a blogger now!?

Hello lovely readers, and welcome to My Wandering Heart! (aka thoughtsfrommywanderingheart.wordpress.com which is super long but the domain I wanted was already taken soooo that was that) I can’t believe I’m actually typing out my first ever blog post!

For what feels like forever now I’ve been playing around with the idea of creating my own blog, but excuses kept popping up: I’m too busy with homework, I have no clue what I should name my blog, why would anyone in their right mind want to read my word vomits, I have no clue what I should name my blog, maybe I’ll get around to it after I finish The Office, I have no clue what I should name my blog (coming up with a name for my blog was so daunting to me that it actually kept me up a few nights) etc, etc, etc. There were so many excuses that kept me from clicking that dreaded “Get Started” button on WordPress.com, but after a lot of prayer, brainstorming, and texting countless lists of potential blog names to my best friend, I’m finally here.

But why have I had this burning desire to start a blog? Well, at the beginning of high school, I discovered how much fun creative writing could be. One day I sat down to write a book, and not only did I enjoy writing it, but I also found I wasn’t all that bad at writing either. I did manage to finish writing my first novel – but the key word there is manage. Completing my book was a struggle, and there were many times when I felt overwhelmingly bored, frustrated, and ready to quit writing. I’m very proud of myself for finishing, but the experience did make me realize that even though I’m good at writing and can enjoy it, writing books for a living would never be for me. Books were too long, too complicated, and made me feel overwhelming pressure to the point where I couldn’t even enjoy writing anymore.

Discovering that I wasn’t quite cut out to be the next J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, or any other author with initials for a first name was pretty discouraging. God had greatly gifted me with my writing talent, yet I had basically given up on the best outlet for me to use that gift. Unrest grew in my heart, and I constantly worried and felt mad at myself for wasting such a great gift.

But then . . . (dun dun DUN) . . .

I discovered blogging! *air horns blare* *confetti flies*

I’m not sure how, when, or where it happened, but somehow I found out that blogging wasn’t just a thing that soccer moms and photographers could do, but it could be a platform for anyone to share their thoughts, stories, and experiences with the world. Slowly but surely, God began tugging at my heart, and soon a day could hardly pass without me mentally planning out a post or imaging what my site might look like.

Fast forward to now, and here I am, writing that post I’ve thought about for so long. Although actually starting a blog is incredibly intimidating, and I have plenty of doubts and worries about it, I feel confident that God will use this blog in some pretty cool ways. It was Him who blessed me with the gift of writing, and I am so grateful He led me to find such a unique outlet to both express myself and bring Him glory through doing something I love: tapping away at a keyboard. I know that blogging will have its own set of struggles and frustrations, but with God’s grace, the proofread button, and a whole lot of Coca-cola, I’m ready to take this new adventure on.

Please subscribe if you want to ride along on this blogging roller coaster with me, and leave a comment introducing yourself, dropping me some encouragement (which I really need cause I have no idea what I’m doing lulz), or pointing out my typos if you’re that type of person (grammar Nazis REPRESENT).

You are loved!

Maguire

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” ~ Psalm 9:1