12.31.2011

What I Learned in 2011: Never give up!

2011 brought many, many trials and tests. I failed so many of them. However, I did win a few with the help of my Savior. :)

In 2011 I learned to never give up.

I've always been the type of person who knew what I wanted and did absolutely everything in my power to get what I wanted. That was, until my teenage years hit. Suddenly everything went down hill. I no longer wanted anything simply because I wanted it. It had to be what everyone else liked and desired. Then I would like and desire it too. I lost my drive. Mostly because the things I was forcing myself to like were things I was not passionate about. No passion = no drive. No drive = going nowhere.

This year throughout all the trails and tests I learned what I did want. What I liked. I learned that I love Jesus a lot. I learned that I want what He wants and truly that all my passion and desires are found in Him. I learned that when I'm passionate about what He's passionate about, the world changes.

There came a time this year.. around May I think, that life seemed to be going nowhere for me. I was so beyond ready to give up. I contemplated taking my life. I called a couple people hoping they'd talk me out of it. Got the usual, "Pray through it. You're in my prayers." and don't get me wrong, now I see how Awesome God is and how powerful He is, but at that moment I was thinking anything but that. I did what they told to anyways. I prayed. I was so tired. Emotionally I was worn out. My body was tired. Everything within me was just ready to go to sleep and never wake up.

BUT GOD, He did something within me. He told me not to give up. To keep pushing. To keep pursuing Him. To stop trying to be perfect and to just be in Him. To show my brokenness, hopelessness, hatred, tears, all of that, and lay it down at His feet. I did just that. My life will never be the same.

We are about to start a new year. I'm thankful that 2012 will be fresh and new and I'm positive and hopeful it will be even better than this year. However, you don't have to wait for a new year to change. I think we all do that too often.

You might be tired. Really tired. And life may seem like it's not worth living. Like it's not worth. Like there is too much going on for you to ever possibly get through it. Those are all lies! Satan is the father of lies! Don't believe him. You have a purpose and plan on this earth. God has got you. Let Him love you. Let Him lead you. You will never regret following Him. Ever.

Happy New Years Eve everyone! Have a blessed and safe one! ^.^

12.30.2011

What I Learned in 2011: Everyone has a story

The man at the coffee shop. That girl at the gym. The "thug" on the side of the road. The homeless man under the bridge. The single mother across the street.

In 2011 I learned everyone has a story.

We think that some of the people we come in contact with are just rude people. Some people are. However, I try and remember that you never know what a person might be going through. Or what they went through to get where they are. Maybe that cashier at Walmart is grumpy because before he came to work he found out that he has cancer. Or maybe the lady that seems to be all up in your business is just checking up on you because she's been down the same path before. You never know.

It's so easy to "judge a book by it's cover". To take one look at a person label them. This year I have been taken on a journey. I have lived life for myself (before) and now I live for the Lord. I have been the girl who judged others. I have been the girl other people judged by the 'evil' things she's done. Which is why I really try to make sure I don't do that to other people.

It hurts when people don't even get to know you and they're talking about you behind your back. I see stories of people committing suicide. I had a friend do so earlier in the year. How much pain must you be going through to do that? Did anybody care? Were there a lot of glances exchanged every time he or she walked into a room?

Everyone has a story. You have a story. Whether you've been told or not, you have a purpose on this earth. Your story matters. Your life matters. God has something very specific for you to do. I don't know what it is and you might not know what it is, but that doesn't mean your purpose is any less significant because God knows. He'll reveal to you what you are to do at the right time. Don't believe the lies. You do have a purpose.

Before you go judging someone, why don't you remember that they may be going through something really hard right now. Spread the love. Share the love. Pray for them. Pray with them.

Have a blessed Friday!  :)

12.29.2011

What I Learned in 2011: God is my first love

I want love. I want to be loved every day of my life. For a while, I just wanted a guy to love me. The beginning of this year I was begging God to let me have just one relationship with a guy. I got what I wanted. Love from a human being doesn't satisfy.

In 2011 I learned that God is my first love.

For years I have sought love from a male. Maybe it's because my father was never active or present in my life. Maybe it's because we are born with the desire to be loved by the opposite sex. Whatever the reason, that desire grew a little more each year.

When we begin to seek love from anything or anyone other than God we are getting ourselves into trouble. I lost... left my First Love for 7 months. I went out into the world and I found all that I was hoping to find, except it wasn't what I thought it was. Everything I found just wasn't enough. It didn't satisfy me, it didn't help me, it didn't fill me up or help me spill over all that's within me. I was so lost.

God didn't give up on me though. God never gives up on us no matter what. He is the constant pursuer. You'd think that with the great amount of love He gives us, we wouldn't run away. I mean, I don't know of any guy that would love me even when I spat in His face. Ohhhh, but Jesus does. ^.^ <3

I came back to my Lord. Broken and in need of major healing. He welcomed me back with hugs and kisses and for the first time I really and truly felt love. Not only did I feel it, but I wasn't second guessing whether it was real, or enough, or even there. No. Because God's love is very real and authentic and forever. His love satisfies me more and more each day. His love has filled me up so much that it just spills over into every area of my life. I am learning to love people with and through His love, not my own.

My desire for a man is still there. I haven't given up hope that God might have someone out there for me to marry. However, I'm not running out trying to find a guy to fill the void anymore. The void is filled. My heart is filled. My life is filled. Everything I ever hoped for has been found in my Savior. I am so thankful.

You might be seeking love. Chances are if you don't know Jesus, you are. My prayer... the cry of my heart is that you seek Him and His love and not love from a girl or from a guy. God is our First Love. Our Forever Love. He never leaves and never fails. Even an amazing husband or wife will fail. Not our Lord. We cannot love truly until we know Love itself and that is God.

"And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him." - 1 John 4:16

That's my prayer for us all. Have a blessed day! :)

12.28.2011

What I Learned In 2011: How to forgive & ask forgiveness

For the first 12 years of my life I withheld forgiveness from every person who had ever hurt me. No lie. No joke. I didn't know that it was only hurting me. That these people I was absolutely convinced were dying a little each day because I hadn't forgiven them, simply didn't care.

In 2011 I learned how to forgive.

I've always been in church. I've heard, "if you don't forgive you won't be forgiven." many times. Those were simply empty words on a page that meant nothing to me until I finally understood.
No forgiveness = no salvation. No salvation = no Jesus and no Heaven.

In the middle of the year, when I came back to the Lord completely, I had a lot of stuff that needed to change. He took me by the hand and led me day by day to what I needed to do to make things right. The first step was to forgive all the people who had hurt me.

That took a while. A lot of people believe (typically people who are in church) that forgiveness is something that should be simply a few words spoken, "I forgive you." and you've forgiven them. Not. True. Forgiveness is a process. If I tell someone I forgive them and I don't, and it only took one day, that's one day wasted. If I tell someone I forgive them, 3 months later, and truly do forgive them... all that time was worth it.

So after 3 months of going through every little thing that's hurt me by several people, I truly forgave. That doesn't mean just because I forgave them I allowed some of the people who weren't good for me back in my life. If you don't help me draw closer to the Lord and actually push me further from Him, you're not in my life. Not because I hate you or don't forgive you, but because God comes first to everything and everyone else.

Then came probably the hardest thing I've ever done before... asking forgiveness from other people.

In 2011 I learned to ask forgiveness.

After praying for a week, God showed me so many people I had hurt. One by one I went to each person and asked forgiveness. Most of them showed me mercy and forgave me, still some people didn't. Understandable. I pray that some day they can forgive me, not for my conscious sake, but for their soul's sake.

It's hard to swallow your pride and ask forgiveness... but it is something that needs to be done. There is power in forgiveness for us all. Without it, who would or could ever be saved? That's right. No one.

Stop holding onto the past. Those hurts and pains are very real. But it's time to get over it. Pray and seek His face and ask Him for His help to forgive other people. I definitely could not have forgiven anyone without His help. Ask the Lord to show you people you need to ask forgiveness from. Have a blessed day!! ^.^

12.27.2011

What I Learned in 2011: About Choices

I've always made the easy decisions. The obvious choices. Why? Because I didn't want to be uncomfortable or make a choice that will hurt me or someone else. I mean, come on, who would actually choose to make the hardest decision as opposed to the easiest one?

In 2011 I learned that sometimes the hardest decisions are the best ones.

There have been many times this year that opportunities came up for me to do something for the Lord that was a lot uncomfortable for me. So I came up with excuses about why I couldn't do it and how ill equipped I am and made the easy choice, declining.

It was easy to say no to the things that I feared, the things that were uncomfortable, the things I wasn't good at. A lot of the choices were the wrong ones, however I did learn from them.

But it wasn't just saying no to opportunities. I had to say yes or no to the more complicated things. Relationships (friendships), family issues, what to do about certain problems that didn't just involve myself. There were quite a few things I had to make a decision on towards the middle/end of the year. There were a lot of easy ways out. So many. In fact, most people in my life were telling me to say yes to the easy ways out because they didn't want me to be in pain, which is nice, but not always helpful.

I made a few extremely hard choices. I learned that sometimes the hardest decisions are the best ones. When I said no to my comforts, obvious happiness, extreme joy, easy life... and said yes to the uncomfortable, painful at times, extremely frustrating at times life, I found extreme joy and happiness. I found so much more than I ever thought possible.

I learned to seek God's will in my life and not my own. I learned to stop asking other people's opinions and then taking it as my answered prayer to do exactly what that woman of God or man of God told me to do whether it was truly God's will or not. I learned to fully ask God what He wanted and to simply do, be, live whatever or however He wanted/wants.

When we pray and seek God's decisions in our lives and stop trying to force ourselves into ideal situations, we are far more blessed than we could ever be on our own.

Instead of seeking the easy way out of everything, get on your face, pray and seek His will, and you just might find that though the decision may be one of the hardest ones you've ever made, and the choice you're making may not be what you really want, it will be a lot easier with Him by your side and obeying His will as opposed to your own.. Be blessed! :)

12.26.2011

What I Learned in 2011: Live Life

This week I'll be writing posts on different things I learned this year. Hope you enjoy! :)

At the start of the year I had many hopes and dreams. So many. However, they slowly got put to rest as the year picked up pace and my heart desired one thing... to be loved and pursued by someone... other than God.

My "wish" eventually came true and I ended up going so far away from Jesus that He could have been standing right in front of me and I wouldn't have known. I fell hard.

My thinking during that time was that if I could just get that one thing I always wanted then I would need nothing else. I wasted precious time that could have been spent with my Father, waiting and hoping and eventually getting, what I thought I needed.

In 2011  I learned to live life.

I've always been the girl who was waiting and hoping, waiting and hoping. I put everything on hold to get whatever it was that year that I desperately wanted. This year the Lord showed me that life is meant to be lived. Not living for the temporary or the sinful pleasures of the world, but living for Him and the life that only He can give.

I used to be the one would say, "My life will be amazing when....", "If _______ happens then I will be happy...". It turns out that all those when and then's that I focused too much attention on just didn't satisfy me. If they came to pass then I would be entertained for a little bit and then get bored again and go searching for something else.

Waiting for the temporary things aren't worth it. Waiting for fame, fortune, happiness, love in the future and not accepting the love and happiness and joy and extremely rewarding life that comes from the Father now... that's a waste of a life.

If you waste your whole life waiting for the perfect job, the amazing wife, that perfect man, etc. you'll eventually stop looking and seeing anything good because you're constantly seeking something that may be years and years away. That's coming from personal experience. I'm not saying don't dream. You should dream big dreams and hope for things that everyone else may say is impossible, but don't put your life on pause while you're waiting. Use your time wisely. Spend it getting to know the Father and letting His love overwhelm everything in your life.

Happy Monday! ^.^

12.25.2011

Christmas morning...

Christmas morning...

It used to mean getting up at the crack of dawn, running into the living room and begging my mom to let me open my presents right then. It used to mean stuffing my face until I couldn't anymore. It used to be all about getting and not at all giving.

Christmas morning this year...

I have an indescribable joy knowing that I celebrate my Savior's birth on this day. It means giving to everyone, including my Jesus. It means being thankful for all that I already have.

This Christmas morning is different from all the rest. I have realized the beauty of my Jesus and the beauty of my family. It's beautiful. Magical. Wonderful. I am so thankful to be blessed enough to have such an incredible family and such an incredible life.

Instead of focusing so much on things, try focusing on Jesus. There are no amount of things that can ever compare to Jesus and the indescribable joy you experience through Him. I pray today that you know that joy.. and if you don't then I pray You seek Him and find Him.

Merry Christmas everyone!! Blessings! :)

Saturday's post...

This post is from yesterday. No confusion, I am well aware that today is not Christmas eve. ;)

Merry Christmas eve everyone!!! ^.^

So I've been thinking a lot recently about people around Christmas time. Of course nearly everyone is happy and joyful. Selfless and giving. Peaceful and loving. However, I'm sitting here wondering about all the people who are hurting this Christmas. All the people who are lonely, sad, depressed, homeless, poor, cold, hungry, dying just to have a nice hot shower before the year goes out.

How is it that it seems the only time people give to others less fortunate, is during Christmas? Or the only time we really sit down and talk to someone and truly listen to them as they pour out theirs heart is during this time of year? Are our hearts so hardened that we don't care for the people who are hurt and dying? Who need a Savior? Who might thoroughly enjoy a hot meal, new clothes, and maybe a haircut and not just during Christmas?

I think about the families grieving over the loss of loved ones. I can name off at least 5 or 6 right now. If those are just a few of the people I know are hurting... how many others do I not know about?

How would it feel to know you were forgotten? On Christmas nonetheless? Tomorrow many materialistic people will sit down and be merry as they receive more than they gave throughout the entire course of this year. I'm not pointing fingers.. that person was me not too long ago. Since then God has opened my eyes and shown me how very wrong I've been. Now, I see that it is a greatly larger blessing to give to someone, than to receive.

Don't forget about the people who will be crying themselves to sleep tonight because their heart has been broken over and over again. Or the person who has no place to lay his head because he's got no home.

Just remember tonight, when you lay your head down on a pillow, to thank God above for the blessings that you already have! Pray for those who don't have as much. As a song I heard earlier today said, "I count blessings instead of sheep." I like that. Pray for those who would rather have a healed heart, than a brand new car. Material stuff can't heal. Jesus can!

12.21.2011

Selfless...

So continuing 5 things I've learned from the birth of Jesus here we are at...

Day 2!

So this is something I've been thinking about a lot... being selfless. What does it look like? How does my life display it right now? What can I do to be more selfless? Maybe it's because it is Christmas time and everyone is in the giving mood... I believe it's because God is teaching me something much greater.

What do you think would have happened in Mary had been selfish? What if she decided she would deliberately disobey God because she wanted to be "favored" in the eyes of man rather than in the eyes of Him? What if she wanted to be seen as "cool" or "popular"? She couldn't be seen as that if she was having God's Son. No one believed her and everyone just thought she slept around with someone. Nope. She would be seen as very uncool and extremely unpopular.

What about us? If you continue in your selfish ways you can miss out on all God has for you. He has been breaking me of my selfishness. I have been seeing life through His eyes... how great it is when I deny my flesh and become obedient and live my life according to His will and plan.

Mary and Joseph urge me on each day to stay obedient. God blessed them so greatly for their obedience and allowed them to be a part of one of the greatest love stories ever!!! Will that be you? Will that be me? I pray it will. Blessings! :)

12.20.2011

Faith trumps fear...

For the next 5 days I will be blogging about something I've learned from the story of the birth of Christ.

Day 1:

When reading about how the birth of Jesus came about we hear about a girl named Mary (who was probably 14) and who was told she was gonna give birth to the Son of God. She was engaged to Joseph. We can stop right there for a minute.

Can you imagine being told that you were gonna have God's Son? Much less you're gonna be (obviously) pregnant?! You're engaged... you're still not married... and the man knows it's not his child and even if it were, everyone still looks down on you. That's scary. She could be stoned for that. Killed. Dead. Never coming back. At 14.... I would have begged God to pick someone else.

Not Mary. She's such an example of faith to me. Sure, she was probably very scared. Anyone would be. However, she basically said, "even though I'm scared out of my mind and don't know where all this will lead me, I trust You, Father. I trust You have a plan, You will protect me, and You will make all this work out."

Thinking about that makes me want to swallow my fear and let faith shine through. Sometimes I shy away from doing certain things because I'm scared. What if what I do is...
wrong, stupid, everyone hates it, everyone hates me for it, I get talked about, etc.
There are many possibilities as to why I'm afraid, but if it's God's will for me to do something... I want to say without a doubt, "Yes Lord, may it be to me as You have said. I am Your servant. I follow You."

May my faith trump my fear. May faith trump your fear as well. If you say no to God and His will you could miss out on something beautiful (maybe not quite as spectacular) like the birth of God's Son! Shine your Light! :)

12.17.2011

I see hope...

Last night I went with a friend Christmas shopping and on our way home we went through an area that I've never seen before.

I live in what some people call the "ghetto". I don't think it is, really. I like it a lot. The people around me are wonderful. Some might be rough around the edges but that's all of us if truth be told.

While we were driving around I saw huge houses decorated to perfection with Christmas lights everywhere. It was beautiful. A little bit breathtaking. But the most amazing part of the night for me was driving up this hill that overlooked the city. I could see everything. Everyone. Okay... I couldn't really see any people, but it felt like it. ;)

That moment was very special to me. Sometimes being around the same place with the same people and seeing no change can be... hopeless. Recently I've felt like there is nothing that will change around here. In that moment... seeing all the city lights.. how much bigger the world is... I saw hope. I see hope. God was whispering, "Greater things have yet to be done in this city." I believe God will allow me to be a part of those 'greater things'. I am very thankful for that. :)

Christmas time shouldn't be the only time we find peace, hope, and joy. However, I am here to remind you now that there is hope for whatever situation you may be in. God is with you, by your side, through the easy and tough times. Cling to Him. Have a blessed weekend! :)

12.12.2011

They will try and take your smile...

Everybody doesn't like you. Everybody will never all like you. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. Sometimes it means that there is something RIGHT with you. "The world will hate you because of Me."

Last night was probably one of the hardest nights of my life. For real. And there have been some pretty intense moments. I was about ready to come unglued. Why is it that when we go to church, the place we are to build each other up and encourage, it seems to do the least of that? It's not just my church, every church is like that. There are hypocrites everywhere, but seriously sometimes I just want people to be real and genuine. Stop putting on that fake face and just be yourself. No cliques, no divisions, no hatred or unforgiveness, just God's people loving one another and trying to spread His Word throughout the world.

The world will try and take your smile (that's the 'they' in the title), but we don't have to let them.

I would say I'm pretty real. I try to be nice to everyone, show love to everyone, but sometimes people think that the girl who is always smiling, the girl who is always nice, is to be pushed over. My thoughts from last night,

Is it my smile that makes you angry? Is it my joy in the Lord that makes you want to trip me? Am I doing something wrong? Lord, what am I doing wrong? Did I hurt him? Did I hurt her? Why is this so hard? I can't smile right now.  

My smile was gone. It had been taken.. or maybe rather given up to a bunch of people who really didn't even notice. Yep. Fail.

God has been working on me all night, even when I was sleeping He has been speaking over me. He's been reminding me that the world will hate me because of Him. He has been teaching me that forgiveness is always the answer and that love (His love) overcomes all. I can't let a few people who are just hypocrites take me down. You can't either.

You'll hear this saying a lot in your life (probably already have), "Just ignore them." but sometimes that's just not good enough and really, it's not real. You can't ignore everyone. Some people really know how to dig deep into your soul and find the one sore that is still raw and jab some salt into it. Stand strong. Instead of "ignoring them", stand strong in God's love.

When someone intentionally hurts you, forgive them, move past that, and stand strong in His love.

When someone goes behind your back and does something you told them not to, forgive them, move past it, and stand strong in His love.

When everyone seems to be against you, forgive them all, move past it, and stand strong in His love.

Remember that "if God is for us, then who can be against us?". Remember that His love trumps all worldly things and matters. Keep your chin up. Just because the world will try and take your smile doesn't mean you should give it up.

Happy Monday y'all!

12.09.2011

To you... yes.. YOU!

Hello! So I love writing letters and this one is to you! I think you need to know you're thought about and important and that you deserve something done for you every once in a while. This is just a small thing I can do. :)

You have a purpose. Stop believing those lies from all the people who tell you you can't do anything. You're not "important enough" or "special" enough. God made you for a specific purpose that only you can do. Stop telling yourself you can't or you're not good enough. You aren't good enough on your own, but because you are His you are good.

You are a son or daughter of the Most High. Act like one. Respect yourself. Stop giving yourself away over and over to people who don't even deserve you. Who cares if they don't like you for it? God will bring people into your life who deserve to be there. Stop letting what people think dictate who you become. You aren't too dirty. You aren't worthless or a piece of junk. Stop believing those lies.

"He who is without sin can cast the first stone." Many people forget this. Don't you. Don't point out other people's flaws just to make yourself feel better. And when other people do this just remember that "Hurting people, hurt people." Gently help them out. Pray for them. Give them verses that will help them realize that they don't need to hurt someone to make themselves feel good. They just want someone to love them, and when they don't get that they think no one else should feel loved either. I was that person for a while. God changes hearts.

Okay, yeah you want a girl or a guy, just somebody to love. That's cool. However, until you get right with God it won't work out. You can't be completed by someone who wasn't meant to complete you. That spot for God can't be filled by a person. Only by Him. Stop forcing things to happen in dating relationships. Spend some time with the Savior and when He says you're ready the right person will come along. How will you know? God will tell you! :)

You are special. Chosen. Called. Loved. Beautiful. Wonderful. Read His Word. You'll find these things out. Find your identity in Him. I mean, after all, your real and true identity is in Him anyways. I love you. I might not know you, but you're my brother or sister and just because of that I love you. He loves you too. Wayyyyyyy more than me. Don't forget that. Keep your head up!!

Have a great weekend! :)

12.07.2011

A gift given without knowing...

I sat on the swings and watched a mother with her daughter.
She was teaching her daughter how to slide. The little baby just wasn't understanding it.
After about 5 or 6 tries the baby girl finally got it. She began sliding all by herself.
The mother then began to jump up and down and scream, "Yes! She did it!". I smiled.

While I was walking away God began speaking to my heart. Touching the very core of me.
He told me that that's how it is when He's trying to teach us something and we just aren't getting it. Once we finally get it I think He looks at us and says, "Yes! She finally got it! That's MY Child." :)

That lady didn't know it, but she gave me a gift without even knowing it. I'd been needing a reminder of my Daddy's love that day and seeing the way she interacted with her daughter blessed my heart so much.

Parents don't realize how much of an example they are not only to their children, but also to the people around them. There is something to be said for someone who loves their child regardless, disciplines them lovingly, and does everything they can to be a better parent each day. Those people are my examples of godly parents. I pray when I get older I could be such a person to my child.

Of course it's Christmas time and everyone is talking about giving. Today remember that maybe you don't have to go completely out of your way to bless someone (though be willing to do so) that maybe just your example will be a reminder to them of love, peace, joy, and hope.

Remember that we are to be giving and serve not just during this time of the year but all throughout the year. Have a blessed day loves! :)

12.05.2011

If all I can be is obedient...

I sat comfortably around my friends. Around the people I call my Brothers and Sisters.
And I watched.

I watched a man with deep pain in his eyes tell people he lives in Japan and because he lost his job he is considered worthless.

I saw a woman who had no other way to make money than to give herself away.

I watched a man puff out smoke because he thinks it will bring him peace and comfort.. even if only for a little while.

Then... then I cried.

Last night I'm sitting in my room thinking about the video I had watched. I'm thinking of all of the people everywhere on this earth who are hurting and in pain. I cried. Deep, soulful sobs for the ones I don't know and for the ones I do. I don't know most of their names. Yet I love them more than anything. I hate seeing people who have such great potential let it die a little more each day because they have believed the lies the enemy has fed them.

I couldn't help but think as I watched this video that there we were, sitting nice and comfortable not afraid for our lives, not freezing out in the cold, not half naked or might as well be because they're barely wearing threads anymore it's so worn out. I hate my comfortable life.

I want to move. Not really move as in get a new home in a different area. I want to move as in out of my comfortable life into one that I know God has for me. Not that being comfortable is a problem... but it kinda is. I'm not to be conformed to this world and I hardly think Jesus wants me to look out at the world and see all the hurt and pain and do nothing about it.

It's not just the homeless, the prostitute, the stripper, the drug dealer, etc. who are hurting. It's your next door neighbor, the person you sit next to at church, the girl who runs on the track with you every day, that dude at your work. I don't have to look far to see someone hurting. I don't have to look far to find someone to tell about the love and peace and hope I have found in Christ. I just don't have to look far.

I question myself... if I am comfortable in everything that I do am I even living for the Lord? Because being comfortable does not require any faith whatsoever. I don't believe I'm called to a comfortable life. I'm sure Paul wasn't comfortable when he walked this earth. He's one of the godliest men that's walked among us. A great example to us. He was obedient no matter what God asked him to do.

I want that to be me. Seeking God's will above everyone else's. Leaving the comforts of this world because I am indeed made for another one. I want those pained faces to be comforted not because of me... because I can't take away their pain, but because of Christ in me shining through.

Lord, if the only thing I can do is be obedient to You, then may it be so.

12.02.2011

Longed to be loved...

She sat on the floor glancing up in between crunches and sit ups.
I want to look like that, she thought.
I want to be pretty. Desired. Fulfilled. Find my purpose in life.

She longed to be loved.

He loves me. I just know it. He's confused. I'll keep him around. Make him happy.
Fulfill him. I will be his everything again. All I need to do is give him what he wants.

She longed to be loved.

It's gonna be okay. Everyone knows it. My parents will be happier. I just need a job. Be a better daughter. They'll be happy. I can please them. I know it.

She longed to be loved.

My life is worthless. So am I. All I do is mess up. Nobody loves me or cares for me and what on earth am I even here for?

She longs to be loved.

Chances are you are (if you're a female) one of these above. Maybe you're all of them. I've been there. The reason I can write the things I write is because I have had the same or at least similar feelings and experiences. It's not over though.

You ARE loved.

After I figured out that my appearance does not determine my worth (I'm still learning) and that my love for myself and for others does not come by how I look or how they look. I have found out another thing. God loves me. He cares for me. He sees me. He notices me. I wanted to be noticed so bad when I was younger... I'm really glad to know that I've always been noticed. Do you know that? You are noticed too!

You are pursued. You are cared for (more than you can ever imagine). God does not look down
on you with a grimace on His face. He knows every mistake you've made and will make. He still loves you. Remember this? He doesn't change. He never will. Which means His love will never change for you. Ever. Period.

I can't make you believe that you are loved and pursued. I wish I could. Really I do. However, I can't. This is personal. You have to pray to Him to help you believe it. He will answer. He has always answered me and many others. He always will. Psalm 34:4 says, "I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears." He answers.

My challenge to you, if you're having a hard time believing your worth and finding your identity go read Psalm 139. Read it over and over and over again and then start praying it. You will begin to see your worth as the beautiful, precious, holy, clean, pure, daughter of the Most High. I love you all!! Have a blessed Friday!

12.01.2011

Looking back when I should've said goodbye...

Pain. Hurt. Bondage.

Love. Grace. Freedom.

Satan has no arms. He can't hold me back or make me do anything. That's all me. Giving in instead of letting go.

Well last night at church I talked with a godly woman to get advice on some things going on in my life. While talking to her God began speaking to me. He told me I need to really let go. I thought I had.

People say all the time "let go and let God.", but honestly I think that not many people even know what it means to let go because it's usually never done. I know that sometimes I don't know what that means. We "let go" while still trying to control everything that goes on in our lives. Maybe it's not that we don't know what letting go means, but that we are afraid to let go.

I was hurt. He hurt me deep. I was so angry. It turned to hatred. I went through the process of forgiveness only to start it all over again a month later. I said I had "let go and let God", but really I hadn't.

The healing process is not fast or easy. Don't let anyone tell you it is a 'one day and done' deal. It's not. It's a process. Just like forgiving. You have to go through every little thing and say, "I forgive you" just like when you go to God you need to say, "Heal me. Heal this area... and this one... and this one." It's all a process.

I've been looking back when I should've said goodbye from the very beginning. Every time God reminds me that I don't need to look back because the past is the past for a reason, I still sneak a peek hoping maybe the past has changed since I last looked. It hasn't. It won't. It never will. The past stays the same. Never changing.

If you're like me you've been hurt. We've all been hurt. You might be holding on to it. You might be looking back when you need to say goodbye. I know hurt very well. You probably do too. "He didn't change."  "She never will."  "Why did he leave?"  "Why doesn't she love me?" etc.

This is a new month. Another fresh start. November is officially gone with all it's worries and hurt and pain. I think it's time to let go. All of us. Falling down at the Lord's feet and letting it all go. That pain, hurt, all the tears, worry, frustration, etc. Falling down I say, "Here, Lord, take these from me. They aren't mine to carry anymore."

"Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

He does. He cares so much for you. He loves you. Let go and let God... move in your life and make you brand new. He wants it all. Happy December!!! :)

11.30.2011

My God never will... change!

I like change. A lot. For instance, I got my hair cut yesterday and it's a pretty nice change. (Yeah I just wanted to share I got a haircut ;) )

I get a thrill from change. I thrive from change. Only if it's good though. Bad change... I don't like that so much.

I like making new friends. I don't like losing them.

I like going to a new place. I don't like leaving.

I like experiencing and trying new things (that are right). I don't like getting hurt.

Those are just a few of my 'good change', 'bad change' comparisons.

This year has had a lot of change for me. Both good and 'bad' (really it wasn't all too bad because God worked it all together for my good *Romans 828*). I got to deal with the loss of a family member and one that might as well have been in my family. I got my first boyfriend. I got my first heartbreak. I experienced true, lasting grace for the first time (JESUS!). I have learned a lot in regards to change and I thank God for that.

However much I may like change though, when a huge wave comes crashing down on me, I need stability. When I'm broken and on the floor I need Someone to hold me and say it's gonna be okay and mean it. That stability is the Lord. He doesn't change. When I do, He doesn't. That's awesome!! I'm so thankful!

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." - Hebrews 13:8

The same yesterday, today, and forever. Wow. That means His love, grace, forgiveness, heart, who He is, NEVER changes. So when you're doing through life change, He isn't and never will.

Remember today that no matter what you're going through God is going to be there with you to take you through it. Always and forever. Love y'all! :)

Praying for Your Future Husband {Book Review}

I have been reading Praying for Your Future Husband by Robin Gunn and Tricia Goyer.

I have enjoyed reading it. The book is filled with stories from both Tricia and Robin about how they started praying for their future husband, when they met him, and how praying for him had helped and continues to. You will not feel like you're just reading "another one of those books" that's trying to "self help" you get where you want to go and deal with something that needs to be dealt with.

I have this book to be very helpful. It's filled with prayers to pray for both your future husband and yourself. It also talks about how we must be prepared while we are single for our future husband which I 100% agree with.

If you're single and wanting to find the one God has for you I'd encourage you to read this. Pray during your waiting time.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me for free by Waterbrook Multnomah for reviewing purposes.

11.29.2011

Single and lonely...

My pastor has shared this quote with me many times and I must say I repeat it to myself all the time!

"It's better to be single and lonely than married and miserable."

That is so stinking true!! I completely agree. However, it says nothing about getting over being lonely or even if you will. I guess that's up to me. Maybe, maybe not.

So... can I just be real? Being single is fun and all, I like it a lot because I can just focus on me and and my Savior, which I love, but sometimes (like this past week) I get lonely. And when I get lonely, I get lonely.

This week I've been praying about it. I'm not dating right now because I feel this season I am in is for me and Him only. He is working on me. Preparing me. So that when the time comes for me to date (if it be His will) then I shall be ready for my future husband.

God has revealed a couple things to me. The first thing is this. You will not meet Mr. or Mrs. Right until you learn to be content in the Lord. You will not have a lasting, forever relationship with someone until you become content and happy with the lasting, forever relationship you have with the Savior. Simple as that.

The second thing is, when we get lonely, instead of running to that friend or thing that makes you forget about your loneliness, run to the Lord. We need to learn to run to God when we are lonely because truly He is the only One who can take away our loneliness. If you go into a relationship already lonely you can expect there to be problems soon because you are asking someone to fill a spot in your life that only God can fill.

Let God work on you and prepare you. Stop trying to force yourself into a relationship with a person and focus on your relationship with the Lord. He will bring the right person into your life when you're ready. Love y'all! Be blessed! :)

11.28.2011

Honestly?

Fake people annoy me.

I am a fake at times. I annoy myself.

I had no intention of writing today, or at least not about this, but you know.. God had different plans.

This morning I got up (thanking God for that!) and did what I normally do. I went and read some of the blogs I follow. I read a few and then came across one that I nodded my head with at the beginning and then completely disagreed with at the end.

Before you judge me as a "holier-than-thou" type... I don't like that term really because we are to be holy because God is holy. I am NOT perfect at all. Period. Only by God's great forgiveness can I sit here and share with you what He's taught me. Now... I can really get started. ;)

As I was reading this blog (for personal reasons I am not tagging the blog because they are actually a lovely writer), I see them talking about being a real, authentic Christian. Not being a fake. That was the part I was right there with them on. The part that lost me was not the really the fact that they said that they say the f-bomb all the time or even our God's name in vain (okay that part did make me angry). No, the part that really got me was that they said, "That's who I am. Let me be honest and open. I lead Bible studies, but I cuss all the time." It wasn't the fact that they cuss, really, but that they tell me that they knows it's wrong. They know it's something their not supposed to be doing and they continue to do it. That makes me sad for him or her and angry for the people who I know will be mislead.

I am not perfect. I make mistakes every single day. I am not defined by my mistakes. I am defined by Him. I am defined by His grace. That being said, if someone is struggling with something, that's only natural, but my Bible (do correct me if you've read something different) says to put to death the former things of life (old life) and accept the new life we have in Christ. We must surrender ourselves daily and take up our cross daily and when we fall down, we must get back up and keep pressing. One of the crosses I take up daily is my battle with food. I like food a lot and sometimes just eat to eat, but I know this is wrong which means I have to surrender this every day so that I can be made holy like my Savior. I also have to take up the cross of my mouth. I like to talk. I can open my mouth sometimes and talk too much and say things that would've been best left unsaid.

That is honesty.

I applaud them for being real and at least telling people what they are struggling with, but to have no intention to try and be more like Christ bothers me because they have already claimed His name.

I have had a hard time writing this post because I don't want to come off as being judgemental or condemning because that is not what I'm doing. I am sad that this person has believed the lies of the enemy.

Don't believe the lies. You cannot follow Christ and stay the way you were before you met Him. Yes, it's hard, but it's so worth it. Allow Him to change you today and every day after. It's a process. Just because you mess up doesn't mean you should give up. Let Him pick you up and keep walking with Him. Have a blessed Monday! :)

11.27.2011

Sit still and be quiet...

I talk too much. Everyone knows this including myself and I refuse to deny something I know to be true.

I've been struggling a lot with how much I talk. Sometimes I want to close my mouth and not open it for a few days... but that never happens. Teehee!

This past week I've been completely annoyed with how much noise is in my life. It's me, it's other people, the radio, the internet, the television, etc. I rarely hear the voice of God because I am so consumed by all the voices around me.

One day I went for a walk with no music and just listened and talked with the Lord. Pure bliss. That is exactly what it was. No loud noise, no irritating interruptions, just me and Jesus talking and interacting. I wonder how many times He's tried to strike up a conversation with me and I was too "busy" to listen.

I am challenging myself this week to turn off the distractions more often and listen for His voice. Nothing is wrong with the internet, TV, music, talking to people, but sometimes it can be too much and we need to take a break and sit still and be quiet and simply be.

Who's with me? Who will turn off distractions for say... an hour each day this week and listen to Him? It's really nice to go on a walk without a care in the world and hear Him the whole way. :) <3 Have a blessed Sunday!

11.24.2011

Thanksgiving...

Today is Thanksgiving (duh) the day we give thanks for all we have.
Thanksgiving is my one of my most favorite holidays! I love just being content and thankful with everyone.

Sadly though, we only take one day out of the year to really be thankful. So sad. And really some people aren't even thankful for the whole day because they are busy preparing for a sale where they can accumulate more stuff.

However, I'm not doing any of the Black Friday stuff (I really do try to stay away from that as if my life depended on it;) ). Here's my top 10 list of things I'm thankful for this year...

1. I'm thankful for y'all (my blog peoples!). I'm thankful I have people who read my thoughts, things I've learned, and what God has given me to speak and that I can read what you're going through and dealing with. I love y'all. :)

2. I'm thankful that I have an amazing family who despite all the stuff I put them through earlier in the year has stuck with me and helped me through it. I'm super blessed to have them.

3. I'm thankful for my friends (and the best friend who knows who she is:) because sometimes I need a kick in the butt and someone to talk to/listen to. :)

4. I'm thankful that I'm not the same person I was a few months back. God has changed me and I'm super grateful.

5. I'm thankful that I have food to stuff my face with.

6. I'm thankful that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade comes on TV (which I am currently watching while writing this) because if it didn't I wouldn't get my fill of  Broadway Shows and random balloons! :D

7. I am thankful that God has given me His Word. His Love Letter to me. When I have a bad day just a few lines can pick me up. :) <3

8. I'm thankful to be free both by the Cross and the amazing men and women who fight for my freedom each day. (Note: Pray for the families and the men and women in our military.)

9. I'm thankful I can enjoy life. That God didn't make us like robots. We can enjoy food, sun, laughter, joy, etc. :)

10. Last but not least I'm thankful that my Daddy has saved me and that I am His and He is mine. :)

Happy Thanksgiving loves!!!! Praying it's a great day for you!! What are you thankful for? Thank God. I love y'all! :)

11.23.2011

Cold and alone...

She was 11 maybe 12. Very pretty.
The wind hit her face. She looked cold.
I watched her for a little bit wondering why she was all by herself in such a secluded area.
I thought maybe I should ask... but I didn't want to be a creeper.
I continued to watch her to make sure she didn't get kidnapped or hurt.

After a while she began to walk away and so did I. Our paths crossed on the way and I said hello. She spoke a soft, "Hi." and continued walking.
She kept looking back. Maybe to see if someone was following her. Maybe to see if anyone had noticed her. She might not have known... I noticed her. And God did too.

I don't know why, but that little girl impacted me today. I'm not sure what she was doing.. running away, just taking a walk, hiding away... but regardless, she was right there. I said nothing to let her know that life will be okay. That Jesus loves her. That she's beautiful. I just said hello.

As I began praying for her, I began to wonder... how many people cross my path everyday and I never say anything to them? I never show them the love of God. It saddens me greatly to think that.

Maybe God wanted me to talk to her, but I didn't. Too afraid. Too scared. Too nervous. What will I say? What should I have said? I don't know. Simply stated... I don't know.

That is in the past. I may only look forward and keep going. Learn from my mistakes. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, and maybe the next, God will place someone there for me to talk to. Will I do it? Will I speak words of Life to them?

We never stop to think what someone is going through. Maybe that annoying person at the grocery store is dealing with a son or daughter who is in Iraq fighting for our freedom and she/he misses him or her.

Maybe that kid at school is so starved of attention at home that he or she decides to make it happen at school.

Maybe that man or woman at work is so grumpy because their family is falling apart.

Maybe that prostitute is a prostitute because she was never loved by anyone at home.

It's time to stop taking suface things. Stop judging people by how they look. Anyone can put on a brave face, but it's not their face that makes them brave. Step up. Next time you see somone who looks like they need encouragement go talk to them. I know it's hard, but pray about it. The Word says He (God) will give us the words we need to speak. Don't worry. I'm going to do my best to follow the Lord's voice wherever and whoever He leads me to. We can do this through Him. Be blessed!

**Special Thanksgiving post coming tomorrow! :)

11.21.2011

Mismatched...

So the other day I wrote this, and asked people to give me questions about something that isn't talked about too often and what they want to know.

Well, Clare wanted to know why it's so wrong to date or go out with unbelievers. Good question because it's really not addressed. We're just told not to do it and sometimes... let's be real, "don't do it." why? "because I said so." doesn't cut it.

So, first we must ALWAYS go to God's Word and see what He has told us about whatever it may be and here is a verse in 2 Corinthians that talks about being "unequally yoked" or "mismatched"...

"Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14

That's pretty simple. You don't mix light and darkness. Righteousness and lawlessness. Very true. But what if you want to go a little deeper?

Why?

Why don't we mix light and darkness? Why don't we mix righteousness and lawlessness?

Thankfully ("Give thanks in all circumstances for this God's will for you in Christ Jesus.") I've been in a similar situation where I was "mismatched" with.. someone who wasn't a true follower of Christ. Side note: y'all, just because they claim the name of Christ does not mean they are a Christian. Watch out.

So I was with someone for a little bit.. not very long and we had fun and stuff together, but somehow.. the person I started out being, and the person I was becoming while with them was not good for me.

After just a couple months, I was doing downright wrong things and letting this person become my 'god' (my fault, not theirs). Pretty soon my relationship with the Lord was all but gone. The only time I talked to Him was at night when I was going to sleep. That was it. I left Him and everyone else way back behind me while I pressed forward on a path that lead to death.

We as women, (if you're a guy... tune out for a sec ;), want to help everybody. We want to change everybody. Yet we all have to go through the process of learning that the only One who can change anyone is God the Father. No one else. No matter how hard you try, it just won't work.

That has been my problem for a while. I want to get with someone and help change them and the process of doing so, I just fall with them.

Did you catch that? Why do we not mix light and darkness? Because no matter how strong you are, you can't help but get drug down with someone who is not following the Lord. Our flesh is weak and while we can do all things through Christ, we must remember that when you spend a lot of time with someone who doesn't follow Him, our thoughts will be invaded by satan and his deceptiveness and we'll begin to think in a different, wrong way.

Our purpose in life is to know Christ and make Him known. You can make Him known without dating someone who doesn't know Him (yeah that hurts to hear, but it's the truth). Don't compromise who you are in Christ, just to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't know the Lord. Hope this clears up a bit of the confusion you might have had. God bless y'all!! :)

11.18.2011

Surrender now... and for the rest of your life...

Lecrae put on twitter today:

"Repentance is a continual act. It's a lifestyle not just a moment in your life."

Amen!!!!! Could not have said it better myself.

See today we have lots of youth services, mega-churches, "Jesus clubs", etc. and at the end of each one you hear a really passionate preacher or evangelist talk about how if you're living the wrong way you need to come to the alter right now and repent and then they go on their way.

Don't get me wrong, if it weren't for services such as these, I might not be saved. However, I can't help but wish that people would understand that while you are surrendering right then, that doesn't mean that that is the only time you surrender. If you're confused... it's not the only time you surrender to God.

I wish someone had told me that a few years ago. I didn't really know too much about it (it being surrendering to the Lord and living for Him), I didn't really understand that every single day I must die to myself. I thought you did it once and that was it. Not so.

This year I went through the process of understanding what it means and what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. Plainly stated, you're either all in or all out. Jesus does not want lukewarm recruits (followers), He wants completely and totally committed followers. You are either on Jesus' side and living for Him or you are on Satan's side and living for him. Simple as that. So... whose side are you on?

It's never too late to give Him full control. What we as followers of Him must realize is we need to surrender every single day. Not once a week, or once a year, every day.

Once I got that... once I realized that Jesus wants all of me or none at all, I began to be more blessed. (Side note: Don't misunderstand, the Lord wants and desires you because He loves you so much, but if you're only gonna put in half the effort, then you need to wait until you are ready to give Him everything... and that day will come. I pray.)

When you give Jesus full control you begin to live the life the Lord has always wanted you to live. The life He created you to live. That is truly living. So what's your choice gonna be? Don't rush, take your time, make sure you really want to live for Him and if so then surrender to Him right now... and then continue to do so every day for the rest of your life. I love y'all family!! Stay blessed! :)

11.17.2011

Oblivion or just not caring?

Why do people think that if they don't talk about something it'll be as if it doesn't happen?

I'm always curious why people think that. Maybe they are just trying to make themselves feel better. It's easy to lie to yourself and eventually believe those lies. Trust me, I know.

The Church's job (at least partially) is to help educate the believers so that they may help others in their exploration(s). Yet, so much of the time the very people in the church do not understand why they do or don't do something because it has never been talked about. People stick their heads in the sand far too often.

For instance, I literally can count on 1 hand the number of times sex has been discussed in the church. For real. Yet we are told to wait until we're married and no one can tell you why because it's an "uncomfortable" subject. Really? Why? We don't find it uncomfortable to talk about the Bible (at least you shouldn't in church) and sex is talked about plainly in the Bible.

I read a story the other day about a woman who got married and both she and her husband were virgins. They had grown up in the church, being told that sex was "bad" and not to do it before you're married (no pun intended) and when they got married... they still considered it bad and it made their marriage suffer. Their marriage suffered so much that they eventually got divorced. Now I sit here wondering how many other marriages have been ended over the same, exact thing.

To clarify, my belief (gathered from things I've read, opinions I've formed, and personal experience) is the reason God tells us not to have sex before we are married is because we awaken desires that we are not yet ready for. God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil not because he was punishing them but because the path after that only led to death not life. Same thing happens when you have sex before you're married.. you give yourself away each time and begin dying slowly and painfully. I shared my story regarding all this here.

I can talk about so much that isn't really addressed in church like widows, orphans, drugs, the Holy Spirit (yeah I find that one a little alarming, not that all the other's aren't as well), drinking, going clubbing (personally I just want to hear opinions on that one...), sex trafficking, etc etc. There are very important issues in this world that need to be talked about and have something done about and sticking our heads in the sand doesn't help at all.

Maybe if something bad was happening close to home then people might care. Just because it's not you or someone you know struggling in some small or large area does not mean it doesn't matter. It just means you might need a heart check.

I'm not trying to be a 'debbie downer' but I do find it very upsetting that there is so much that is not being talked about. So all this to say that starting right now I want to hear what you've been wondering about... what questions do you have? What is something that you've always wondered about but never had the courage to ask anything about it? I can't promise you an answer right away, but I will say I will address as many issues as possible. Together we can make a change by God's hand. :) Start asking away!

11.16.2011

Dear Brother...

Well ladies I wrote y'all a note last week found here. Now I'm writing to all the guys out there. :)

Dear Brother...
I know, they tell you in order to be a man you should have sex with a girl out there and then tell everyone about it. That's the "cool" thing to do, right? Wrong. The world thinks it's cool, but really it's not. You are not made a man by what you do or don't do. God has made you a man. You must find the character that lies behind that. His character.

Dear Brother...
I know she said she wasn't like all the other girls. She just wanted to please you, but in doing so you both fell. And fell hard. You might be struggling right now with getting over everything that you have done. You might be hurting really badly and struggling not to go find another girl who will do just what she did. Stay strong. Stop letting the lies of the enemy fill your mind to the point that you can't hear His truth. Fill your mind His Word and you will begin to hear everything satan says to you fall away.. or at least recognize them as lies.

Dear Brother...
So.. you're not like everybody else. You're not the "sports star" (maybe you are), or the "tech geek", or the "actor" or the "business man", but you are trying to fit yourself into different roles because you think that's what girls like and that's what will make your parents happy if you "make yourself something". But guess what? While you're trying to please everyone you're letting God down. He made you uniquely you for a reason. You don't have to try and make yourself something you're not.  If God doesn't like what He sees (just so you know He loves you!), He will change what needs changing. Stop trying to fit in a mold you were never meant to fit in.

Dear Brother...
I know home life can be rough sometimes because everyone wants you to "stand up" and "be a man" and honestly, you have no idea what a "man" looks like because your dad hasn't been around long enough to show you. Maybe he was never there. You feel hopeless and angry and hurt. But you only show the anger. 3 words. Let it go. Give it to God. He can make you more of a "man" than any person on this earth. The change begins on the inside and then slowly, gradually you begin to see the works on the outside. "Rome wasn't built in a day." So why are you trying to make yourself something right this very second that God is telling you "it's a process."?

Dear Brother...
I love you. I don't know (and then again, maybe I do), but I love you. You are a part of my family. Our family. God's family. He loves you. A lot. I hate to know how bad the enemy lies to you. That you think things that are just wrong because that's all that satan has filled your mind with. You can put a stop to it. Read His (God's) Word. Read it every single day. It doesn't have to be for a long time... just read. And pray. Prayer is huge because God hears our prayers and answers them. And maybe you should find someone who is or has struggled in the same thing and can help you out. That's always good to know you're not alone in a problem (and you aren't).

Dear Brother...
I'm praying for you. Right now. I pray that you see yourself through God's eyes and find your worth in Him and believe everything He says about you. I pray you stand strong. I know it's hard... it's hard for everyone, girls and guys alike, but we can do this together. By God's hand and with His help. Stay blessed. :)

11.14.2011

Words eternal...

"You're not good enough."

"He only likes you because you have big hips, and a big butt."

"It's not like I rush home to give you a call."

"When's the baby due? Haha!"

These are a few of the words spoken to me in my life that I still remember to this day.

The last one.. I remember that day better than most. I was going to a school "meet the teacher" day and because I was pretty fat when I was little, she (the teacher) thought it was funny and asked me if I was having a baby as a joke. I walked right out there and in my little 4th grade mind began hating myself and started to cry.

I've heard so many painful jokes that even though the person claimed they were joking, killed me inside. And if anyone knows me (and for those who don't), I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Yes, I know, I've been told it's not the best choice to make but I don't care. I am not going to pretend I am okay, when I'm not. So any time someone said something that hurt my feelings, I got quiet, I got angry, I began hating them and hating myself and I would cry. Maybe crying silently for a minute and eventually it would turn into sobs.

I'm sure right now as you're reading this you are remembering at least one (probably more) moments in your life where someone said something really hurtful to you. You can forgive them. You can love them. But those words will be in your mind forever.

There are plenty of people I have forgiven, people I indeed love with all my heart, that simply cannot change the fact that I remember those words spoken to me. No, I don't hold it against them. As far as I'm concerned it was a completely different person who spoke those words to me, but none the less I remember them and the pain that they have caused me for so long.

God's Word is eternal. That means it's here today, tomorrow, the next day, and even after this earth is gone, those Words will still be alive and active. His Word will never fail us because He never fails us.

What if we focused more on His Word to us, then we focus on the words of other people to us?

What if instead of seeking your confidence in another person, whether getting words of affirmation or words of hate, we sought our confidence in Jesus Christ and everything He says to us?

I think the problem with us is we don't value God's opinion as much as we value other people's. Even though what God thinks is true and what other people think are just... thoughts.

My life would look a little different if I did that consistently every day. If instead of listening to other people and what they say to me and about me, I listened to who God says I am. Wow. Powerful thoughts there.

I am going to strive this week to consistently, day to day, listen to the Lord and His Word each and every day and find my confidence in Him and nothing else. What about you?

Those words you remember from back in the day (even if it was just yesterday) do not define you. Who the Lord says you are is what defines you. Listen to Him because His Word is true. Love y'all! :)

11.11.2011

Temporary...

"You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis

That quote.. wow. God has been using it to wreck me. And when I say wreck.. I really mean it.

Everything is temporary. We've heard this so many times... but have you ever thought about it for real?
Have you ever gone past the surface, and dug deeper into that? No? Well me neither... until this week.

This week I started thinking about it. And some of the thoughts that I've had are actually mind blowing.

The first time I ever heard that quote from C.S. Lewis I completely disagreed with it. I'm not entirely sure why.. part of it had to do with the fact I've never thought about it in those terms so it was new to me. I refuse to accept something blindly... sometimes I refuse to accept the truth... I like to either forget about it (like I did) or dig deeper (like I've been doing).

Have you ever thought about how these bodies of ours are not coming with us to Heaven?
I thought about that for a good hour 4 nights ago.

What I've started to realize is, this body is not gonna make it past this earth. Who I am is not found in the way I look. Who I am is found deep within me. In my soul. I am a soul. I have a body.


"Your beauty should not consist of outward things [like] elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes; 4 instead, [it should consist of] the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God's eyes." - 1 Peter 3:3-4
 
I must've read that verse a million times and never really thought about who the "hidden person of the heart" was or is. I just thought it meant, be a good person, try to do the right things... don't lie, cheat, etc. Now that my eyes have been opened I see what it really is saying, we should not focus so much on our appearance.. our body. Instead we need to be focusing on our soul. Because in the end that's all that is coming with us to Heaven.
 
Our soul = our life. Jesus = life for our soul.
 
Stop focusing so much on your body. I know, I too spend a lot of time obsessing over how thin I want to be, how pretty I am or want to be, etc. but I see now all this stuff is temporary. Except... my soul. God has saved me. He has saved you. Let Him work in your soul so you can get to that "gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God's eyes." Love y'all! :)

11.09.2011

Dear sister...

This is to all the ladies out there: I love you all. :)

Dear sister,
I want you to know that I love you. Yeah, we girls can fight sometimes (or all the time ;) ,but that's just because we are all hurting.
It might make you feel better when you tell a person their ugly, or stupid, or whatever because you know.. they told you the same thing years ago.
Learn to deal with it in a mature, godly manner. I know it hurts. Believe me. But we must learn to forgive and move on. Why? Because that makes us a true woman of God.

Dear sister,
I know you thought that guy was "the one" but he turned out not to be and now you're hurt.
You're left wondering if there are any other guys out there who will love you and truly love you.
There are.
Trust God. He is preparing some amazing, incredible guy for you. Don't force yourself into a relationship with a guy who doesn't deserve you. It'll just hurt you both.
Be patient. Wait for the Lord. The right guy will come along when you both are ready.
Accept this as a time of waiting. Of preparing. Of living.

Dear sister,
I know you wish you looked like that super model. She's got all the "right" clothes, the beautiful hair, the gorgeous body, no pimples, or blemishes. But you know what? She's struggling just like you.
She wishes she had a true life. That she was more than her image.
She is. She just doesn't know it.
You don't have to be her, and she doesn't have to be you. You both need to be yourself.
This world needs you. There are so many things that only you can do. Let God make you fully His so that you can do those things.

Dear sister,
You are more than your image. Don't you believe that? You don't need to look like me and I don't need to look like you.
Wanna know why?
We are both fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). We are both beautiful.
We both have the potential to be that Proverbs 31 woman. We just need to choose whether we accept to be her.

Dear sister,
I'm praying for you.
I don't know you (maybe I do), but I don't need to know you to know you are going through tough times.
I know you struggle with pain, thoughts, heart ache, life; every single day.
I know it's hard. I'm struggling too. But the great news is God is with us. He is right beside us, holding our hand, walking us through life. And He is in us.
Helping deal with the things that no one around you may know about it.
I'm praying a special blessing over you right now. I pray you find the value you have in Christ and walk in that confidently every day of your life.

I love you dear sister. You are beautiful, valueable, wondeful, amazing, in every way because you are His. Believe that. Walk in it. Blessings! :)

11.08.2011

Losing myself...

So.. I'm about to share something that I am very passionate about (as of this year). I think it's a very important topic and something that isn't talked about enough, concerning girls. I'm gonna tell you my story...

Warning: If you have not had the "birds and the bee's" talk please don't read this.

A while back I lost my purity. Now before you go spreading lies (if you know me) or thinking about not reading my blog anymore (if you don't) I want you to understand, I have never physically had sex. But guess what? You can lose your purity without having sex. Read that again. Allow me to explain...

It just started out as kissing... which then led to something else, which led to something else, and then "things" became as natural as a kiss goodnight.

My purity was gone. After my first... hmm.. how to put this... "sexual encounter", it was like the blind fold had been lifted off my eyes and I found out something I never knew existed. It was brutal.

I didn't know what "Do not awaken love until it so desires." meant until then... don't fool around or "mess" around until you're married because once it's awakened, it's up for good.

My mind soon became consumed with getting my next "fix" as if I was a drug addict or alcoholic.

Nobody will understand any of this unless you have already been through it. For 2 months I did things I knew was wrong. I allowed someone to use me because I was too afraid of losing them to realize I was losing myself.

Everyday was a battle. I wanted him so bad. I wanted 'that' feeling so bad. I just wanted that 'want' to go away. But it didn't. At all.

Once we were broken up, then the battle grew more intense. Now I'm all alone, have no one to do anything with and I don't know what to do with myself. I hated this time so much.

I had lost self respect for myself and for other guys in general, thinking they all want the same thing. I hated myself for allowing someone to pressure me into something I knew was wrong.
I hated him for taking from me the one thing I thought I'd have until I got married.
I hated life because every day was another day to fight the urge to lose myself again.

I didn't think any other girls were going through this so I hid it. For a long time. I didn't tell anyone, I even tried to tell myself it never happened. I never.. "messed around". But the lies didn't work for me. I knew what I had done and that it was wrong and that I couldn't take it back... and that part, not being able to take it back, killed me.

Then a while back I came across The Good Women project. Thank God for that website! I finally figured out that I was not alone. That there are other girls out there struggling just as I was and that God has forgiven us all and wants to set us free.

People tell you that guys are the only ones who think about sex all the time. That's a lie. If you're purity is gone (physically or mentally) then it can consume you just like it consumes them.

I have now realized, it is by nothing that I have done or will do, that makes me good. Only Jesus Christ in me makes me good. Take Him away and I'm back to being the filthy soul I was before. Leave Him, and He makes me more like Him everyday.

I finally laid myself down at His feet. I laid down everything I have done and let go. I let go of the guilt I had. I let go of the pain I had remembering all the things I did. I let go of the lies satan had told me so many times before. And I let go of my full self and laid me down at His feet.

I found forgiveness for myself and for that person the day I did that. It was freeing. God set me free.

Now, it's not like a magical transformation. It is a process. Everyday I have to choose not to think about those things I thought about before. The new me simply cannot go back to the old ways of life. It's like getting a new car but putting old, worn - out tires on it. It just doesn't work.

I want you to know that no matter what you've done (or haven't done) God loves you unconditionally. He does not change. He is there for you always.

Let go of your sin. Let it go. It's doing you no good hanging on to the old things.
Welcome the new life you can have in Christ and let Him transform you every day. If you need to talk about this or something else leave me a comment with your email and I'll get back to you. I'd love to help you out. Also check out the good women project's website. It's such a blessing in my life. Love y'all! :)

11.06.2011

Raw honesty...

Judgement.

I see it all around me. At home, at church, at the store, in myself... it's everywhere.

I hate it. I hate feeling like I'm being judged, but if you really want to make me angry (my blood... yeah I think it actually does boil) judge someone who's around me.
I don't have to know them personally, if you call them a "slut", say a racial slur towards them, make fun of them because of who they truly are... we are gonna have problems. Promise.

I don't want it to be this way. I don't want to get really angry, but you know what? I am really angry.

I'm angry that people feel like they can't come to church because the people there are too judgemental.
I'm angry that satan has been lying to every person around me (and not).
I'm angry that there are people all over the earth that kill themselves because they think life isn't worth it.
I'm angry that people are excluded at the one place they should be accepted.

I'm just angry. Is it godly anger? I'm not sure. Maybe. Maybe not.
I know for sure that I'm angry.

Earlier I was so frustrated with people around me gossiping about others.
Guess what my solution was? To gossip right back about them!
How freaking messed up is that? To do the same wrong they did?! What?!

I can't do this on my own.
I've tried... many times in fact. Over and over and over.
Living life by myself never, ever works (the one time applying never and it being absolutely correct).

I need God. I need Him to the point that it hurts. Not in a bad way (sometimes because my flesh is so weak) but... like when you want someone so bad that it hurts you because you love them so much.. yeah, that hurt.

God is getting ready to do something big, I just know it. However, I believe He still preparing me for that and recently I've been closing the door right in His face. Then complaining that I can't see or hear or feel Him. Stupid me.

This is a time of testing for me.
I'm being completely real, honest, and open with you guys right now. If you're going through testing too remember, satan will attack your strengths because once those are out of the way, you're pretty much done.
We've got to stay strong. We've got to accept God's help and keep believing. If you close your heart to God, you might as well close the casket because you are dead. He can bring you to life. He IS life. Think about it...

Do you want life or death?

If you are struggling like me (really who isn't?) leave me a comment so I can pray for you! Prayers from you guys would be welcomed too! :) Love you all!


11.03.2011

Pain = Beauty.

Regret. Pain. Hurt. Tears.

Do these describe where you've been or are right now?

I'm pretty certain (like 99.9% sure) that everyone on this earth that is up to any age has experienced all those things. If not... well thank God for that.

There was a time in my life where for 2.. make that 3 straight weeks I did nothing but sit in bed, sleep, cry, pray, and repeat that process over and over and over again, day in and day out.

Can I tell you that was one of the worst times of my life? Yet, God turned this time into something so good. I just couldn't see it.

I used to dread anything that would make my emotions go from happy to anything that was not happy. I mean, who really wants to be sad or upset? Not me.

But God has shown me that it's those times where I am hurting, and crying out that He becomes even more real to me. I would say that when I'm happy... sometimes (not all the time), I don't always look to the Lord for help. I think, well I'm happy. That's good. See ya' later God. When I need You. When I'm hurting.

He wants to help me through everything. Not just my pain. Not just your pain. He wants to have complete and full control of your every moment. Why? Because His moments are better than ours could ever be... despite our best efforts.

The reason I was going through that pain months ago was because I was being completely disobedient to God and that was part of the consequence. He got my attention when I began suffering.

Instead of asking, 'why me?' when you are suffering, ask, "what are you trying to show me, God?"

Pain = beauty. Why? Because when we are in the most pain, that's when we begin to grow. Spiritual growth is beautiful.

God is moving all the time. Only when you truly open your eyes and heart are you going to see what He's doing. Open your eyes. :) Love y'all!!

Living Close to God (when you're not good at it) - Review

So I read this book by Gene Edwards called Living Close to God (when you're not good at it) and it was a really great book.

Basically Gene tells you what he did to experience God even more in His time in His Word. The main key to it is slowing down. That was something I needed to read and think about because a lot of times I don't slow down and read His Word, but speed through it and then wonder why I didn't feel it 'come alive'.

If you're looking for a good, easy read then I'd say you should go buy this book. I read it fairly easily because Mr. Edwards doesn't confuse you with big, over-whelming words or theories. He simply writes what the Lord puts on his heart and it turns out being simple, yet profound.

Note: This book was given to me for free by Waterbrook Multnomah for reviewing purposes.

11.01.2011

My 'hood...

I love my city... like.. LOVE it!

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't... maybe it's just because they can't see what I can see coming. Maybe it's because it's primarily black. Maybe they just can't deal with "thugs" and "hooligans". There can be many reasons, but whatever they think, I still love where I live and the people I'm around.

I see God raising up a generation who is gonna be unashamed and radical for His name. And I see that people coming and being used to save all the people that the... "holier-than-thous" do not want to talk to much less be associated with.

Most people I know who visit the area I live do not care for the people or the place. It's called the "ghetto" (admittedly, I call it that too, but mostly as a joke and it could be considered as such) and I have friends who will not drive through where I live.

Now before you think I'm living in the scariest place on earth, let me tell you, where I live I feel comfortable. Others may not because they aren't accustomed to it but the crime rate here isn't that high and when I walk down the stress I do not fear that I'm gonna be shot (despite prior beliefs).

Side note: there is crime everywhere (as I'm sure you know) and if you are trying to find a place where no bad things happen... sorry to disappoint you, but no such place exists.

I see this area, this city being awakened from the sleep they have been in for so long. I believe God is gonna use me and others around me to help bring this about. I see the people who are desperate, who have been doing drugs and dealing them, being healed and set free. I see men and women being set free from finding security and love in sex with people they barely know. I see children having hope and a bright future where they know the Lord and live to please Him. I see people letting go of all that hinders and stops them, and running towards the One who can do all things.

I can see all of this. I can almost taste it, I feel that it's so close. I am praying for revival.

Yet, I feel as though it's me against the world (even though I know I'm not). It's just I know people who said that they were "dedicated" to this area, who have gone to church every Sunday saying it's their purpose to be a Light here and then up and leave. People who are of great faith have left this place alone for so long, but then complain about the lack of Christ here. You cannot complain about what is going on around you, if you are doing nothing to help change it. Plain and simple.

No matter where you live, don't give up where you at. No matter what is going on. No matter what the crime rate. Get on your face and pray! God changes things when His people pray. He hears every word you speak to Him. He is listening. So go ahead... tell Him what you want done in your city! Tell Him what you want done in your state. Tell Him what you want done in this world and then wait patiently for His reply. Be obedient enough to say, "Yes, Lord." No matter what your role is. We can change the world by and through God and through Him alone. I love you all!

10.31.2011

For Real?

Lies.

We all lie, and if say you aren't.... please. Quit lying! ;)

One thing I've found pretty interesting... nobody "gets real".
We are all pretending.
We are all hiding behind a mask... something we don't want anyone to see or know.

I've been there, done that. I've just now figured out how to take off the mask for good and simply be. And it's still hard to maintain and continue just being who He wants me to be and not pretending like everyone else.

One thing I found myself doing was not just lying to people, or "pretending" but also lying to myself and shamefully, lying to God. As if I could ever hide anything from Him.

There was a time in my life not long ago, that I spent quite a while trying to please people and not being myself. I listened to lies not only from others; such as "you need to "grow up", I also got lies from satan like "you'll never amount to anything." "nobody loves you." blah blah. Most importantly they were all LIES.

Side note: Don't listen to satan because he is the king of all liars (the Word says so) and if anyone ever tells you to "grow up", not because they are seeking your good but wanting to degrade you, just say what I do... "I don't want to. I'm proud to be a child of God."

Why are people afraid to go deep? Our culture only goes straight to the surface and if you attempt to go any deeper, people stop you saying you're being a "downer" or the annoying response, "stop searching and just live!" That's the worst.

When do you get to the point that you're done with being satisfied with surface things and want to go deeper? Want to search? I don't have an exact time or age, but I would say that time is right now for me. Maybe it's right now for you. Maybe you should do some soul searching. Mere suggestions. Only you can truly answer those questions.

The other night, I sat down, before the Lord, worship music playing, lights turned off, Bible opened and just began praying and seeking. Seeking for what's missing. Seeking for why I am not satisfied with life as it is now and the Lord began saying to me that it's because He is not my everything. If my heart's desires are the same as His, if my wants are the same as His, if my love is the same as His I believe I will be satisfied, but to get there means to go through being unsatisfied with my life, my self, my everything, to find that His life, His self, His everything is true and satisfying and can never be taken from me no matter what.

I'm tired of me. Like physically tired and emotionally tired of me. I want Him. I need Him. I want His realness, trueness, love, faithfulness to be mine. I am His, He is mine. That must describe me. Define me.

Stop pretending. Sit down. Get away from the computer, your phone, anything that might distract you, and figure out what you want. Better yet, figure out what God wants for you (because He can think of things that are so much better than you can think of!!) It's time to take off the mask, stop pretending like you like everything everyone else likes, and figure out what's best for you and the Lord. Figure out what He wants for you. Stop believing the lies. Be real. Be His. Love y'all! :)

10.28.2011

Like a child... open your eyes and trust

Tonight has been a lovely night spent with the Lord in prayer and worship and reading His Word.

I highly recommend spending a good hour or longer one night a week at least (in addition to your quiet time) to just sit in His presence and unwind. :)

So as I was just enjoying time with the Father, He began to speak to me. First through a song, where He was telling me that He cares for all my pain, all the things I've gone through and will go through, and He's not angry (I too sometimes forget who He truly is and think He's angry with the choices I've made) because He cares for me.

Then, He then led me to 1 Peter 5:7 which says, "Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you." Wow... so I can just let go of all the stuff that's been bothering me, or weighing on my shoulders and He'll take care of it? Yes, He most certainly will.

After that, I read Psalm 131 which talks about a childlike spirit.

And that got me.

God began speaking to me and showing me my life. He was telling me about how down I've been, how I've lost my wonder at all His creations and love and I've lost the newness He's given me because I have allowed the world to tear me down.

He began telling me that He said He has overcome the world and will help me do the same. He told me that if I opened my eyes, I would see the beauty around me. And so I did. I opened my eyes and began to tear up.

Why?

Because I just experienced my Savior in yet another way. And you know what? It was beautiful.
My Savior... He is so beautiful.

Open your eyes. Stop worrying about that job you really want, that school you want to get in to, whether that girl or that guy will ever come into your life, and just trust Him as a daughter trusts her father and mother.

Trust that He really does love and care for you and will work everything out for your very good.

Open your eyes.

Look around, see the beauty God has placed around us, allow yourself to be in awe if only for a few minutes. Be a child.

I am proud to say I am a child of God. I love you all!! :)