In case you haven’t been told yet today. You are loved.

“Three words exist that you must hear from God today. NO matter what your circumstance, this trio of syllables breathes life, imbues hope, infused joy.

I.

Love.

You.”

-Margaret Feinberg

Think about all the words you hear each day. All the words your read each day. You wake up in the morning to hear your family talking about their day, you drive to work or school and hear the words from your favorite song or the heart wrenching update of the tragity that took place over night. You go about you day listen to people tell you what to do or where to go. You come home and listen to your family talk about their day, the new job opening at work or the snobby classmate your sibling has to sit next to in science class.

We go about our days hearing thousands of words and yet there are three that have the potential to change a whole day, or even week, or month.

I recently purchased a news devotional called Flourish by Margaret Feinberg. I will admit that I am one to judge a book by its covers in a very literal sense. When my friend picked out the book I was automatically attracted to it by its appealing cover. When I saw that it had coloring pages in it I was sold.

I read the introduction my first night, the second night when I flipped to the first day devotional I was instantly hooked when I saw the title. “The three words you need to hear, I love you.”

In those three short pages I was reminded that even though I am critically broken, I am also extraordinarily loved by God.

We are all guilty of sin. And my guess is that at some point or another we have all felt unloved. We have made choices that made us think that we are unworthy of love. Or we have lost that main relationship that we leant on for a reminder of how we are loved.

Personally, while I know I am loved by many people here on earth I also know that I have hurt many people that I love. I know that I have caused concern for people and have broken trust. And at times knowing that I have hurt people overrides knowing that I am loved. And it is a hard pill to swallow.

But the Lord is my water.

It is overwhelming how much the Bible talks about Gods love for his children. Just read the New Testiment.

Jeremiah 31:3 says “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

Psalms 33:5 says “The earth is full of his unfailing love.”

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world He sent His one and only son so that whoever believes in him will not parish but have everlasting life.”

Talk about love. He sent His one and only son to die on the cross so that we may be free if we know and love Him.

I truly believe that I have no reason to feel as though I am unloved. Not when I know the Lords words. That I am loved. Here is the even better news!

So are you.

 

Sometimes you just need a reminder that your life is not as hard as you think.


I complain, a lot.

Just yesterday I was driving in my car, that I did not pay for, thinking about how irritating it is that I haven’t been able to fix the big dent in the front of the bumper.

As the day went on I found myself trying to decide what to do for dinner. Irritated that I have nobody at home to cook for me since my mom is out-of-town on business I decided to get some fast food. I sat in my car legitimately frustrated because I really wanted Panera but did not want to get out of the car to go in and order it.

Today I went grocery shopping, frustrated that my brother spent $20 of the $100 my Mom left us for groceries I did not think I would be able to get a weeks worth of groceries with $80.

“Why does my life have to be so complicated?!” I thought to myself. Angry at the fact that my life is as difficult as it is.

Then, as I was driving home tonight, I noticed a women. She was clearly homeless with a blue beaten up pillow in her left arm and her hands full with the bags that carried her few belongings. She was walking alone in the middle of the night. She was not smiling but she was not crying either, she was just being. I noticed as the light turned green that she was simply paying fine attention to her surrounding. Reading all the signs on the buildings around her.

She did not seem happy, but she did not seem sad. She was just there.

As I continued my journey home I prayed. It was a simple prayer, asking God to cleanse me of my lack of greatfulness.

I have not had the easiest of lives, but I have it pretty good off.

No, I have it really well off.

I have a Mom that loves me with all her heart. I have a roof over my head and clean clothes on my back.

I have a warm bed to sleep in and food on my plate. I have family and friends that I know care for me more than I can explain.

But greater than all of that I know God.

I thank God for putting that women in my life, even if we did not exchange words she taught me too appreciate every little thing that I have because my life, it isn’t too bad at all.

I can only pray that that women comes to know and love the God that loves her with all His heart.

Every Christian has experienced a spiritual high. My goal is to experience a spiritual life.


Ahh yes.

That spiritual high.

I am confident when I say I think every Christian has struggled with this at one point or another. You go on that church retreat, that church summer camp, or even a missions trip. Your last day arrives and you find yourself changed. A new person with a new perspective on their faith. You find yourself stronger than ever in your faith!

A spiritual high.

Then you go home. Your friend says something that upsets you and you lash out at them. Or your parent asks you to do a chore and you moan and groan only to never complete the task. You go back to the real world where you aren’t being spoon fed Gods word. And you come down from that high. Disappointed that all that work was for nothing, but excited for the next trip so you can reconnect with Christ again. You tell yourself that the next time is for real, that this next trip is the one that will really change you forever.

I get it, I am on that high right now, only I am praying to never come down.

After recently having an amazing opportunity and growing much closer to God as well as those whom I spend my church time with I found myself in a new position. I spent a whole week in the middle of a forest with 10 other people.

No phone.

No flushing toilets.

No escape.

I was being fed the word of God daily. With fourth five minutes of devotional time and then a whole day centered around learning how to grow as a team that serves the Lord I left that camp ready for whatever God was going to throw my way.

I got home and I got my phone back. I got to take a nice long shower and a long nights sleep in my own bed. I got the hundreds of text messages that I had missed that week.

I got the latest scoop on who was dating who and what girls got in a fight, the group chats seemed to be never-ending pits of drama and bullying.

Hate.

Sin.

I scrolled through my Instagram feed only to see pictures of my friends half-naked on the beach with some guy they didn’t even know. I saw pictures of my classmates son. I saw everything I had been sheltered from for a week. And I felt weak.

Suddenly I realized that if I wanted to keep my “spiritual high” I was going to have to make it my life.

I realized that serving God means that I need to start serving Him in everything I do. In the songs I listen to and the words I speak. The friends I surround myself with and the choices I make.

I have been home for three days now and I have already sinned more times than I’d like to admit but I am still high up in the clouds. With a new point of view on my faith I have a newfound excitement towards the idea of teaching others about God. There is only one thing I am more excited about.

And that, is seeing His plan.

You can learn quite a bit from a kid.


Yet another post about my job. Because I love what I do and I spend a large majority of my time doing it, being a babysitter has changed me in drastic ways.

One specific family that I have come to care for dearly has taught me more than I can type in one post.

This family did not get life served to them on a perfectly clean plate, to say the least. But they are a group of people that I look up to greatly.

A few days ago I found myself is the storm called lunch time. With children all around not wanted to eat their sandwiches, begging me to just let them enjoy their ice cream. I found myself getting frustrated. I looked at the little two year old boy, who was screaming bloody murder because I wouldn’t let him out of his high chair unti he had one more bite of his sandwhich, in my mind I wanted to give him my stern you better do what I say now or there is going to be issues look, but I didn’t.

He is only two, and while giving him a stern look and a serious tone might make me feel better it was highly unlikely to be effective with him.

I looked at him and In my ‘I’m talking to a two year old voice’ I said to him. “Daniel will you please eat one more bite on your sandwich for me?”

That little boy, without even blinking said, clear as day. “OK!”

He picked up that sandwhich and took a bite. I, sticking to my word, unbuckled him from his seat and off he ran to his next activity, happy as could be.

As I was driving home later that day I found myself reflecting on that sandwhich incident. I came to realize that often times in life we are that two year old, stuck in the high chair screaming and crying to get out so we can get on to our activities. And life, well. Life can tend to be that sandwhich. That one load of laundry we should fold before taking a nap. That one apology text we know we need to send to somebody we snapped at earlier that day.

We kick and scream bloody murder hoping God will let us go about our activities without finishing our sandwhich.

Little do we, that innocent litte two year old, know that that sandwhich holds all the energy and encouragement we need to get throughout the rest of our day.

As I go into a summer full of fun nights with my friends and great laughs with my family I encourage myself, and you as well.

To eat the sandwhich. 

Accept that you can not do life alone and you are half way there.

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Probably my favorite thing about being a babysitter is that I get the privilege of seeing the kids that I watch grow.

I get to see them through their temper tantrums and their shining moments.

I don’t think there is a single emotion I have not seen a child experience. With everything I see the one thing I do not see very often in young children feel completely and totally defeated.

Yesterday I sat one the floor of a play room covered from left to right in train tracks. The three-year old girl I was watching was determined to build a train track. She even said she would clean EVERYTHING up when she was done, an extraordinarily large commitment for a three year old to make.

As I helped her claw her way through the piles of tracks I encouraged her to try to put the pieces together herself.

The idea of putting a train track together by herself excited her, she wanted to show me that she was a big girl.

That she could do it on her own.

No more than ten seconds into her attempt she looked at me with a face of distress.

“I can’t do it, Sarah.”

I looked at her with a fire in my eyes that screamed “yes you can!!!!”.

I was a tad shocked that she had given up defeat so quickly on something she was so determined to accomplish.

A scenario all too familiar.

That test that I was determined to get an A on until I realized it would require me going in for extra help after school.

That relationship I whisked away after an arguement that lived on a day longer than the usual bickering.

I did not give up on that little girl. I plopped her in my lap and guided her hand to help her understand how the pieces should fit. After a litle guidence and encouragement she did it. She made a train track. And with an exuburant smile on her face she watched Thomas chug down the tracks.

Far too many times I have found myself slumped in the corner, frustrated because things did not go as planned the first time.

Sometimes I have somebody physically there to hold my hand and help me build this track called life.

But more often I find that the Lord has picked me up, plopped me in His lap. And guided my hands to make the pieces fit.

And I will do it and I will thank Him with an exuberant smile on my face. And then the track will start to go downhil, but this time instead of giving up entirely I will turn to my Father and simply bow down on my hands and knees.

I can not do it on my own.

Nobody can.

To the women that has made me the women I am. Thank you. 


I think it is fair to say I am a little biased towards my Mom, but man is she amazing.

Last night as we sat down to discuss our plans for this years Mother’s Day my Mom shocked me with her ideal day.

“I’m so excited! I am going to wake up early before church and make breakfast and then after church we are going to do some housework together and then go on a picnic!”

I looked at her cross eyed. Reminding her that it is Mother’s Day and she shouldn’t be doing work.

She replied to me “I just want to do something with you.”

My Mom has not been handed an easy deck. In the 17 short years that I have known her she has shown me that she is a caregiver, a friend, a mother and and father, a good cop and a bad cop, and a person that loves me more than words can explain.

As I get older and I experience more of life I realize that not everybody has a Mom that will do anything for them.

Not everybody’s Mom will drive to their kids school in the middle of the day just to bring them some Advil for a headache. Not everybody’s Mom will wake up at the crack of dawn just to make sure that they get to school ok. Not every Mom stays up until two in the morning just to make sure her kids get home safely.

I am learning that not every Mom cares.

But mine does. 

My Mom and I do not have to best relationship ever. We are not enemies but of course I would like to be closer. We get in arguements because I don’t put the dishes away on time. She gets mad at me because sometimes I am home 15 minutes after curfew and I do not ask her first. We get annoyed of each other sometimes- but lets face it, that is pretty normal when you live with somebody. But at the end of the day my Mother is the reason I am who I am today.

She is the one that made sure my brother and I got proper counseling when my dad passed away. She is the one that made sure I had rides to my practices. She is the one that drives me to school on rainy days so that I do not have to walk in the rain. My Mom is the person that makes me soup when I get sick, and cuddles with me even thought she knows she will in turn be throwing up 24 hours later.

I lost my Dad at a very young age, and it was awful. I miss my Dad every single day. But God blessed me with my Mom.

Things could ALWAYS be worse. My Mom could have given up on my brother and I after my Dad passed. We could have lost her in a car accident, or a million other scenarios I prefer not to think about. But I still have my Mom.

So this Mother’s Day and everyday, to my Mom.

Thank You.

Today was a day my depression spiked up. But you would never know it.

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Today was an awful day.

I mean terrible.

But you wouldn’t guess it. Not by looking at me. Not by even talking to me.

Today I woke up to the same alarm as I do everyday. But the moment I opened my eyes I knew what kind of day it was going to be.

I rolled out of bed after five minutes of encouraging myself. I mustered up the energy to go into the bathroom and brush my teeth. I even took the time to take a morning shower in hopes of refreshing myself for what the day had ahead.

It did not help. Not at all.

I got of the shower feeling even more exhausted than I did when I woke up. But I put on a nice often. They tell you to dress how you want to feel. I wanted to feel happy so I put on a nice dress and did my makeup. I put in effort.

Still. Nothing.

I went to school and sat through all my classes. I participated in the class discussion. I laughed at all the jokes. I talked to my peers in the hallways.

But inside I was crumbling.

I came home and went to my tasks. I went to babysit and I laughed and played with the kids. Soaking in every moment, because to me the most joyful thing here on earth is the sound of a happy child.

Nothing.

I went to church and I sang all the songs and listened intently. I prayed asking God to just give me one moment of genuine happiness in that awful day.

Nothing.

You see the thing about depression is that some days just stink. Some days you really do just have to put on your big girl pants and fake it until your head hits the pillow. But that is hard to accept as a Christian. As a Christian I want to just be able to say that it is all in my attitude. That the day is only as good as I make it. That God is by my side so I will be fine.

I think that it is thanks to God that I am able to go through my day without a single soul knowing my world is crumbling around me. Because I know that it is by Gods grace that through all the thoughts in my head telling me I am worthless I am still able to function as an active member of my community.

That, right there, is how you know you have beat depression.

How do you get air out of a glass?

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It is a simple question. But you either know the answer right away or you are, like me, completely clueless. 

The first time I was asked how to get air out of a glass the first thing I thought was you can’t. Then I thought of breaking that glass. Or maybe taking some sort of vacuum? Turning it upside so nothing can get in?

If you don’t know the answer don’t worry. I will tell you.

You fill it with water.

It’s a metaphor, you see. The glass is life. The air is the struggles of life; the cancer, the murder, the sadness and pain. In order to get rid of the air you have to fill it with water, the positive.

Yes, you are still going to always have a little air, unless you fill it to the tippy top. But that is ok.

Bad things are going to happen. You are going to try and move your glass and it will shake, and water will spill out. But do not worry! There is always more to put in it!

When I first heard this metaphor I kind of let in go in one ear and out the other. It was interesting but I did not feel it applied to me. I truly did not believe I had the power to find the good in bad things.

Then one day I was sitting in English class and I started to have a panic attack. My first thought was “Ok, I know that I have the ability to excuse myself from class, so I will just go down to my counselor and process it out.”

Then I had another thought.

“I do not want to miss the information she is giving us right now, I need to try and stay. I will try that silly glass thing.”

I sat there and said to myself that I was grateful for my anxiety because it taught me how to be more understanding of others. I said to myself that If I could just get through the rest of that class then I could do anything; that I was grateful for the support I could go to but that I was grateful God gave me the strength to get through it myself.

I have not missed a single class due to panic attacks since then.

Not only that, I have mentioned the simple metaphor to multiple friends and even adults. Just the other day I got a text from a friend saying that thanks to the metaphor she was able to push through an uncomfortable therapy session.

Everything in your world might be falling apart. And you might be questioning if things could possibly get any worse. The truth is, yes, things could always get worse. But no matter how tall and wide your glass of life is, you can always fill it with water. You just have to do a little searching first.

Why I Will Forever be Grateful for my Abuser.


I am not one to say that the guy that abused me is a bad person. I believe strongly that he is a good person with so much weight on his shoulders that he doesn’t know what else to do but to hurt others.

I would never, in a million years, wish abuse on even my worst enemy.

But I will forever be grateful for the man that abused me. 

He taught me how a guy should treat me. Because yes, at the beginning he treated me like a princess.

He taught me how a guy should not treat me. Because yes, he used me and my vunerability many times.

He taught me that I can do better for myself. Because the day that I, by the Lords grace, was freed from that relationship was the day that I learned just how much I am capable of.

I know it seems odd to be grateful for being in an abusive relationship, and for a long time I wasn’t. For the longest time I let that relationship hold me captive. I let the things he had ingrained into my brain sit there for years after I cut ties with him, I was a victim of his long after I stopped communication with him. But here is what I have learned.

I was abused. It happened and there isn’t a single thing I can do about it. It will always be a part of who I am and that is ok. It is what I do with it that matters.

I could very easily crawl into a metaphorical hole and never talk to a single boy again, or I could use it as a warning sign. So that if I see a boy doing this, that, or the other I can stop in my tracks and walk away before things get complicated.

I could extremely easily be infuriated at him for the rest of my days, and nobody would think twice about it. But that wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. It really does take more energy to be angry than it does to forgive. The guy that took advantage of me must have had some extremely difficult things going on in his life that caused him to treat me and other girls the way he did. 

I pray for him. 

So are most people grateful for abuse? No, probably not. But this is what I have learned about life. Everything that has happened to you has happened. You can’t go back in time and change it. You can’t reverse it. God does what he does when he needs to do it. It’s what you do with those situations that truely matters. 

So to my abuser. 

Thank you. 

What is the real reason we don’t talk about mental health in the church community?

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Why is it that mental health in the church is something that is kept so quiet?

Are people afraid to speak up about it? 

Afraid to trigger or offend somebody?

Or do people simply not know what to say on the topic due to lack of information?

A few days ago while having a conversation with my youth pastor he told me that mental illness isn’t something that they are taught about in “pastor school”. I was shocked, but it made sense. In my few seventeen years I have never heard a sermon on mental health, and I have been to my fair share of churches.

Nothing against pastors, at all. In fact, my pastor is the reason I have freedom in Christ today.

I don’t know why the conversation of mental illness is swept under the rug in the church community, but I do know that as somebody who battles anxiety and depression, it is something that people with mental illness want to be discuss.

Are pastors and leaders afraid to speak up on this topic? Or do they simply not know how to go about the sermon due to lack of information?

I am a wild advocated for mental health. I believe that people need to be informed about the realities of mental health, but beyond that I believe that people need to know the reality of being a person the battles mental illness all the while clinging onto God every minute of every day.

My mental illness isn’t a sin, I am not unholy because of it. My mental illness is a chemical imbalance, that therefore causes me to over think little things, obsess over things I have no control over, and worry about the unimaginable.

Here is the thing, mental illness isn’t something that is cured. It isn’t a paper cut that heals with a band-aid and some neosporin. It is incurable, but it can be managed. You see the day my depression stopped controlling me was one, about a month after I was prescribed the correct amount of medication for the severity of my illness. And two, the day that I stopped letting the devil use my mental illness as an excuse for him to torture me.

Mental illness is really scary, for somebody that doesn’t have a relationship with Christ. I know because I have been there. I have woken up morning after morning with a pounding headache from the tears I had cried the night before. I have had more than one anxiety attack in the middle of a big exam. I know that it is not “fun” or “cute” to have depression and anxiety, contrary to what a large majority of society thinks. I also now know that none of my battles were or are from my mental illness, but from satan himself. He saw my illness and he knew that he could use it as a way to grab a hold of me. Now, It took me two books and months and months of guidance to realize that. But eventually I realized it and I got all the right balances of everything I needed. Now I look forward to tests, because they are a day when I don’t have to sit and listen to a 30 minute lecture. I love going to bed because I am able to reflect on the day and relax my body, spend some time with God.

I understand why it is a touchy subject. Even just writing this post I have fear of offending people who struggle with mental illness and don’t know Christ because I know what it is like to be on the other side. I sat and listened to my religious role models tell me that my mental illness was satan controlling me, and I thought it was crap. In fact it angered me that somebody that didn’t know what it was like to live my life was telling me that cause of my struggles. But I also know what it is like to have freedom in Christ. Not to say I don’t still have depression and anxiety, I do, and it will always be a constant fight.

But I also will ALWAYS have an astonishing God that loves me more than I could ever even begin to imagine.

And guess what? So do you.

An Open Letter to the People That Care About Me.

 

Everybody, no matter who you are, has at least one person that cares about them. Just today I was talking to my therapist about how it is both a blessing and a curse that I care about everyone so very deeply. Because, you see, I care about everybody a tad bit more than I care about myself. And that can cause trouble.

I am extremely blessed. I have people every where I turn that care about me. Some people care about me a little more than they should, given the role they play in my life. To the people in my life that care about me. Here is what I want you to know.

I don’t believe that a single soul cares about me. I know, logically, that people care greatly for me but on this one subject my heart and my head just don’t agree.

I could sit here for hours and tell you about specific times when it was made plain as day that I am loved. And in those moments, I felt flooded with love. But the moments fade and at the end of the night when my head hit the pillow I was left feeling lonely.

So, to you, the one that hasn’t given up on me yet. Know this.

Know that I thank God for putting you in my life.

Know that when I send you a text at 11 at night asking how you are it is probably because I am lonely and need some company but don’t want to be a burden.

Know that when you send me texts saying that you are thinking of me it gives me the courage to get through the day.

Know that I will cling to anybody that shows me they care. Because for me to truly feel genuinely loved is a rare occurrence.

Know that even when I am sitting in a room full of hundreds of people I feel like I am in a soundproof room, screaming for somebody to open the door and rescue me.

Know that I care about you. A lot.

And above all. Know that I am grateful for you. Because all though I may not always know in my heart that I have people that care about me it has been ingrained into my brain as fact that I am surrounded by people that have my best interest at heart.

To my friends, thank you for going on random drives with me to nowhere. Thank you for always playing all the right songs. And thank you being somebody I can be serious with and then dance with five minutes later.

To my adult role models and my non-biological family, thank you for always being just a phone call and a drive away from a pair of loving arms. Thank you for taking me in as if I was one of your own without even blinking an eye.

And to my family, thank you for loving me uncontrollably but never failing to make me laugh. Thank you loving on me when everybody else turned their backs. Thank you for understanding my crazy family in ways nobody else can. You make the holidays merrier and the sad days bearable.

My God’s not dead! He’s surely alive!

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Everybody questions their faith at one point in their life. It is completely normal!

I found myself questioning my faith for quiet some time. Until it became undeniably obvious that, as Newsboys say, “My God’s not dead, he’s surely alive.”

I did all of the right things.

I went to Awana and memorizes the verses. However, similar to cramming info the night before a big test, I would walk out out of church every Sunday night completely oblivious to what it was I had just been rewarded for reciting word for word.

My parents had me is church classes singing and dancing to “This little light of mine.” from the get go. Very catchy song! My friends and I still plug it into the aux to this day! But I was just learning the words, not fully comprehending the meaning.

I was, to the naked eye, a “good Christian girl” all the while on the inside I was questioning if God was even real. However, yet again, I did all the right things. I reached out to a trusted adult and made it plain as day that I was stuck. I admitted that I was just going through the motions, and then I admitted that I wanted to be free.

So I prayed the prayers and I read the books and they helped! I would be lying to myself to say they didn’t. But they also did not transform me. Until I had an experience that made it undeniably obvious that God is real. And he is GOOD!

I have always served in the church. Helping in the nursery since I was old enough to. Recently I was asked to help lead a small group of third to fifth grade girls. I said yes! I love kids and adore helping people, it was a perfect fit! One Sunday night I just did not want to go. I had just gotten back from a long weekend retreat in which I had really connected to God. I was tired, and knowing that I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to school made me just want to curl up and go to bed. But I went with a smile on my face, because I had a duty. Honestly, I could not even tell you what we were supposed to be discussing that night. The girls were just asking A LOT of questions. I was a bit overwhelmed. As I was the only leader that night (besides our adult supervisor) so It was a lot to answer. They were asking me simple questions about the issues of a classic elementary school girl.

“What do I do when my best friend turns her back on me.” 

“My friend told this boy that I like him when I really don’t”

“My “boyfriend” and I got in a fight over who was it! Help!”

Issues that are so extreme to these girls. I gave my best advice. Most of it was advice that I had been given over the years. I found myself constantly reminding them that none of this silly drama would matter two or four or six year down the road. Man, do I need to practice what preach! I did my best to reassure them that God has a great plan for them. But it felt insignificant. I felt that I was out of line to be giving advice to these kids when I had to push myself to even go that night.

After the discussion I had two girls come up to me asking for my contact info. Saying that I had really helped and they wanted to be able to talk to me whenever things got really hard. I was flattered. I later found out that one of those girls had an extremely hard home situation. Lacking family members that truly cared for her well being. I drove home that night astonished at the work God had just done right before my very eyes. I can honestly say that since that day I have not for a single second questioned if God is real. He IS real. He IS good. And he ALWAYS will provide!

 

Hebrews 11:6 ESV

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.