12.31.2012

2012: The Best And Hardest Year Yet

This year has been a blessing.

It’s also been one of the hardest ones so far.

I cried over so many things. Lost dreams, new dreams (that I'm still not really sure I want but they are His gifts so I'll thank Him for them.), people, sin, etc.

I was blessed with many new friends and deeper relationships.

Idols were destroyed, self-discipline was learned, learning to deal with issues and not run from them was displayed.

In all these things I thank my Father.

It was the tears I cried that led to brokenness that led to idols being crushed.

It was the new dreams that helped me realize the old ones were a part of a plan I had made myself and never given Him the chance to open my heart to new possibilities.

It was the difficult and beautiful people that helped me learn to love those in their worst times like He has loved me in mine.

It was the pain I endured for a few weeks that taught me to “weep with those who weep”.

It was the sheer joy of new opportunities (both mine and others') that taught me to “rejoice with those who rejoice”.

2012 was a beast of a year. Slowly, though, 2012 is nearing the rear view mirror and 2013 is appearing.

My prayer for 2013 is:
Obedience to continue. Love to abound. Peace to remain. Risks to be taken. Mercy to be shown. And in all these things, for the Father to be glorified.

12.28.2012

Defeated Before Daybreak

A sense of dread overwhelms me as I roll over.

Not again. Please, Lord, help me.

I don’t know where this sense of dread comes from. It’s not fear or anger... it feels more like regret over something that hasn’t even happened yet.

Weird, I know.

I’ve spent many of the last days fighting off sadness and tears.

I’ve prayed and prayed. Now, I sit in silence. Not angry silence, just don’t know what else to say that I haven’t already voiced.

But God understands this.

We are fragile, broken creatures in need of our Savior. Even when we are at our best, we are still in desperate need of Him.

There are many things unraveled and broken around me. Things I have no clue how to fix or deal with. But then I realized... He does.

He knows exactly where He wants me. He knows exactly how to tell me. I will listen and seek His face.

--
I can’t fight this battle.

I really can’t. It is too much for me. Sometimes I need to move on and stop clinging to past decisions. Sometimes I need to let go and push forward in trust.

I’ve learned to seek the truth instead of the lies. To pursue Christ, instead of the enemy. (Don’t go looking for trouble, right?)

I can’t do it, but Christ can. He is in me. He is my strength. He fights for me.

So I’m taking me out of it and looking to Him.

Don’t be afraid to remain silent before Him. Don’t be afraid to tell God that you feel defeated before you even get out of bed. Let Him speak sweet truth over you and then, ask Him to help you choose to believe it.

I’m praying for help in choosing to believe. It’s a fight, y’all. Gotta read and believe and apply the Word.

I will praise Him even in the darkness and the gloom. He is good, I will rest in Him.

“My soul, praise Yahweh, and all that is within me, praise His holy name. My soul, praise the LORD, and do not forget all His benefits.” - Psalm 103:1-2

--
I woke up this morning. The dread wasn't as strong. I smiled and told the Lord, "Thank You. Help me believe Your truth."

12.21.2012

Come Home: God's Desire For The World

So, it's the last week of the 25 day fast.

Probably no better time than today to talk about what the Lord has been doing in my heart and what He's shown me.

But for now I want to talk to you, the one who doesn't know Him.

You may know about Him, but you've never known His love for you or His grace.
You may know Him somewhat, but lost your way and now you're doubting everything so you figure it's best to just be stagnate for a while. No moving, no learning, no leaning, just standing still.
Or you may have been in church for a while, but after one too many exclusions you're done with that.

I want to share with you two words that the Father is speaking to you now:

Come home.

The whole reason I've been fasting this month has been for the lost children to come home to the Father.

We celebrate the birth of a Savior at this time every single year.

But have you known that? Have you known the reason for celebrating this Lord over all? Have you ever stopped to think how Jesus Christ fits in your life?

Satan is a schemer. He loves to lie to us. He loves to make you feel unworthy of the Savior. Unworthy of grace and forgiveness.

But that is not what God is saying.

He says to come home. He is saying to accept His grace and forgiveness and to stop living in bondage. It will be hard and painful, but the joy and strength in Him will help you overcome.

I'm sorry if you've been hurt in the past by people who claimed to be Christians, but acted contrary to that. Sadly, as human beings we will fail you. But that's what makes His promises such as never leaving us or forsaking us so beautiful and comforting.

You matter. You have salvation in the Savior because He died for the whole world and you are a part of this world, thus He died for you. Are you willing to accept His salvation? That's something you can only work out with the Father.

Praying for you. <3 If I can be of any help to you don't hesitate to contact me.

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

12.19.2012

I answer with silence, prayer, and works.

The past two weeks have been crazy.

Children and teachers being murdered. 20-somethings dying of cancer. Children starving to death.

This is just in the past 2 weeks and some of the things I've seen or read about... they go on every. single. day.

I don't pretend to understand all these situations. I don't try and equal them or make them more or less important. Because truth be told, I don't understand (God does!) and I have no idea if there is any "equal" or "more important" tags in these things... I simply know that they are all of great value to the Lord.

People want hope. They need it.

I answer with silence and prayer and works.

Not because I don't have hope, I do. But because right now I think words are so cheap. Words seem worthless (though they aren't most of the time), but actions speak louder and now is the time for them (actions) to speak.

While most Americans are filling up their Christmas baskets and preparing for that special day where everyone gets a bunch of stuff... there are some Americans sitting on the side of the road praying for death because they just want a meal and a blanket.

I'm guilty of the materialism during Christmas, too. You know, finding the "perfect" gift, that's "just right" for that amazing person.*

But what about the others? What about the people who are dying with no hope at all?

Let me tell you, you can say God loves them all day long, but why don't you prove it by showing them?

James talked about that... "If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?" (2:15-16)

Seriously, what good is it?

In modern terms James is saying, "If you go up to the homeless and share Jesus with them and end it all with a hearty, "God bless you!", but you neglect to provide the needs that you are able to, what faith do you really have?"

But this is our modern Christianity.**

Books... oh so many wonderful books to read to help us grow in our faith, but do remember that as faith grows so should our works.

I'm preaching to myself.

So, if you see a lack of blogging in the next few weeks it's probably because I'm actually out in the real world doing something for His glory and the good of the people around me.

Far too much time has been spent preaching to people on Twitter and Facebook and then going out and being that shy person who cares only for herself.

Lord, forgive me.

It's time to stop sitting on our hands and actually go do something. We are capable, not on our own, but in Him. We (Christians) no longer have to fear death because we are in Him and saved... so why not go out, take risks, and go after His pursuits hardcore?

* I think there is no problem with giving gifts, in fact I think it's a beautiful action that shows love to others and says that you care about them. I think the problem is just with how obsessed people get over buying a bunch of gifts during Christmas when we're really supposed to be celebrating the greatest gift of all- Christ!

** Before some of my brothers and sisters get confused or ticked off by that statement, I do not meant that that's all Christians, but I do believe far too many people label themselves "Christian" but refuse to live the life that comes with that. See Luke 9:23.

12.17.2012

Family Is A Gift - Monday Reflections

We were gathered in a circle around her, tears streaming down our faces.

"Please, don't die, baby. We love you. You need to make it until Christmas. We have some gifts for you!"

We spoke the words gently to my sweet dog (if you aren't an animal person then you will not understand). We thought she was dying. She's a part of our family and we thought she might not make it past that day.

Thank God, she's still breathing.

That moment reminded me of the importance of family.

I saw each gift my family members have in that moment.
My sister has a very gentle and caring heart. Many things bother her (which can sometimes lead to worry), but she usually does a wonderful job of telling people how she feels.

My mother has a lot of knowledge so she's very good at coming up with solutions to physical problems.

For me, I tend to stay pretty calm in crazy situations so it helps me think on my feet if I need to.

Family is a gift.

As often as they annoy me (and I them), we are together, by blood, for this life and hopefully- by His grace and salvation- in the next one. He placed us together for a purpose. I wouldn't trade them for anything.

I was also reminded of the beauty of my family in Christ this past weekend.

I got to catch up with a few close friends and I had some pretty sweet conversations about the Lord and life filled with lots of wisdom.

Family binds together in trying times. Family grows in adversity.

That's my prayer for the people in Newtown- that they bind together and that they grow together. I have no clue how they feel right now, but I know God has placed each person in that place with a purpose and now may be the time they get to use some of the gifts He has given them spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Don't forget to thank God for your family (in Christ and by blood) and to let them know how much you appreciate them. Maybe take some time to write them a note and talk specifically about some gifts they have that have blessed your life.

To the people in Newtown: know you are being prayed for by so many bothers and sisters in Christ. We are weeping with you.

12.16.2012

Everything - Mary Demuth {book review}

Mary Demuth is a beautiful writer.

In Everything she talks about life. She talks about past hurts, the healing of those hurts, and how God's hand was over it all.

There were a couple times I had to put the book down and stop. I spent that time in prayer and just thinking about my life and whether I really live all things for His glory.

Mary challenges her readers to let God be their everything because He is, indeed, our everything. He never fails us. He never leaves us. He is faithful. Mary shares so many stories that speak to all of those things.

The first few chapters really held my attention. The stories kept me entertained and into it, but as I went through the middle portion of the book I started to lose interest.

Mary did a very good job of sharing Biblical truth in each chapter. This book is filled with Scripture, quotes, and she does a good job tying it all together.

Overall, I would recommend this book.
I would say that if you're still what is commonly called a "baby" in Christ (have only been a Christian for a short time), then you will definitely enjoy this because it really teaches a lot of basic truths from the Word. If you're in need of some refreshment I would also recommend this book to you because it has a bunch of good reminders that we tend to forget when we've been a follower of Christ for a while.

Have you ever read any of Mary's books? Recommend any?

*Note: this book was given to me for free by Booksneeze.com for reviewing purposes.

12.13.2012

Everything Isn't Always Awesome

Everything isn't always awesome.

Some days are just junk.

Some days I wake up with a sense of dread and have no clue why.

My life is far from "normal"... (whatever the heck that is!)

Some days I'm super fired up for the Lord and what He's doing and other days I sit on the floor in my room and just cry.

People think that Christians are perfect (or want to be) and a lot of times those feelings are validated by the lack of struggles they see.

But those struggles are there.

Regardless of what any other follower of Jesus tells you, even having Christ in me doesn't prevent struggles, bad hair days, or the super snappy, not-so-nice comment to another individual.

Need examples?

This morning I woke up super excited for the day and not even an hour later with teeth clenched, anger started coming over me. Call it being a girl, or emotions, or whatever you want... I'll just say that I think the Enemy was awake at 5 in the morning too.

The past few days I've been snapping at my family all over the place. I'm not proud of it at all, but it's been another struggle.

To top it all off, no matter how hard I try to forget some things from my past they haunt me in my dreams and in my mind. They are what are commonly called "regrets" and though I know my Father used those things for His glory and my good, I still get sick to my stomach thinking about them.

It's not all rainbows and happiness.
It's not always pretty.

Sometimes it's ugly.

It's saying things in prayer time I never imagined myself saying, but knowing that He knew it all anyway so might as well speak it into the Light and deal with it.

It's mascara all over my face with a runny nose and tears falling faster than you can count.

Because this life is messy and hard and there's never a dull moment, truly. But it's in these moments that I find a Savior who is enough for me. He's better than I could ever be and He loves me knowing that.

Find His purpose in your pain (because there is purpose) and find His strength when you're frail and can't seem to get up.

Everything isn't always awesome... but God never changes.

12.12.2012

All Things

It's been one of those crazy, loud mornings.

You know, the ones where you can't seem to get one moment of peace and stillness?

I'm over here reading John Piper's Advent devo and also hearing conversations from the kitchen.

My first thought was, can y'all please shut up? I can't hear myself think. (Sorry, I'm human and these thoughts come sometimes.)

But I didn't say that.

I didn't say anything. I silently prayed that He would help me not be so irritated with people being themselves.

Oh, you think I just jumped from one limb to another, right? Not really.

My irritations with people tend to come from my thinking they should be/act a "certain way" and if they are a little bit different it throws me for a loop.

My family is loud (never let them tell you any different ;P ). I'm loud. That's the way we are, so trying to find a peaceful moment is a challenge... but it's not impossible.

I can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13).

All things includes finding peace on a pretty hectic day.
All things includes being given the strength to not yell at your family when they are being too loud.
All things includes still pouring into that person who wants nothing to do with God, because He loves them more than you do.

All things.

No matter how hectic today is for you, remember He is with you. He brings peace in the storm.

Trust and obey. All things can be done through Him and all things are for His glory and your good. (Rom. 8:28)

12.10.2012

The Gift Of Food - Monday Reflections

I’m so hungry. But this is for a bigger purpose.

I thought those words as I fasted a meal to pray for those who don’t know Him. I prayed that they would know Him. (Join me? *click here*)

I went a full 4 hours without any food (and for me, that’s quite the accomplishment. ;) but of course the Father helped me with it all).

4 hours.

That’s truly not that long.

After I got food and began eating, I had to stop.

How many people go days and sometimes weeks without a good meal? How many people go to sleep with growling stomachs and wake up to the same thing?

I can’t shake those thoughts.

In America, we view food as limitless. It’s always there. You don’t wake up (most of us don’t) and wonder where you’re getting your next meal. It’s all there. All ready for you to pour, heat up, or put together and enjoy.

Do we care that people are going hungry? Do we thank God that we have food and then seek to help provide others with it?

Those are just a couple questions I’m reflecting on.

Take some time to do the same and then, pray for those who have little to no food. Pray for them to not only have physical nourishment, but spiritual as well. And pray for opportunities to be His hands and feet and bring food to hungry (again, both spiritual and physical).

Happy Monday!

12.09.2012

The Unexpected Opening Door

It's in the near hopeless moments, the times where all you see is darkness, that His marvelous Light and overwhelming love comes through.

That moment occurs out of nowhere, sometimes.

--
The door is slowly opening.

The thing I've been praying for over and over again has begun to take shape.

It is appearing slowly.

The prayers aren't in vain.

The hurt that comes at times is not in vain.

The tears I cry so often are not in vain.

Why?

Because He is at work.

His work is sometimes messy, unexpected, and can look hopeless, but in those times He reminds me that just because I can't see His hand moving doesn't mean it's not.

This morning Galatians 6:9 made sense. It came to me in a lovely package wrapped in love by the Father.

It was right on time. His perfect timing leaves me speechless sometimes.

Oh, but not this morning. This morning I clapped, sang, and jumped up and down because of who He is and what He's done/doing.

Life is sloppy sometimes. It's crazy and tiring and irritating, too.

But in those sloppy moments I pray you remember He sees you and knows exactly what you need and when you need it. So don't worry. Trust.

"When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him." (italics mine) - Matthew 6:7-8

12.08.2012

Because I Want My Life To Matter

It’s not about how many girls I’ve influenced to dress “flashy” or “modern” while still being modest.

It’s not about how many times someone laughs at my jokes that are sometimes way too cheesy.

It’s not about how many likes I get on the internet or how many people like me in real life (that was a good one, right? ;P ).

No. None of these things matter if they aren’t done for His glory.

I never really considered living for His glory until Psalm 115:1 straight up hit me in the face and I realized it mattered what I did. Check it...

“Not to us, Yahweh, not to us. But to Your name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth.”

I pray this constantly.

Why?

Because I want my life to matter.

Not simply on this earth, but on the one to come.

I want to point to Him. Not point to Him to get others to point back at me.

I want to go love on the people that are forgotten 90% of the time not so I can get my “good Christian” badge, but so He gets the glory and they get the Savior.

I want to look like Him.
I want to love like Him.

I can’t even explain how much I desire this. I’m willing to sacrifice everything on this whole earth just to get more of Him. I’m not kidding, I’m not being dramatic, I’m not exaggerating.

This is my heart’s desire. This is where I’m at right now.

Lord God, bring glory to Your name through my life. Let Your words flow through me and Your works be done on a daily basis. I surrender.

12.07.2012

The Lost (It's A Biblical term)

7 days.

Week one. 

As some of you know (and some of you don't), I've been fasting and praying with some brothers and sisters for Jesus to save those who don't know Him.

I posted this last week.

I made a note that I didn't like referring to unsaved people as "the lost" because I believed it might be offensive.

That's changed.

I was looking at Matthew 18:10-14 earlier and here's what it says...

“See that you don’t look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of My Father in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save the lost. 12 What do you think? If a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the 99 on the hillside and go and search for the stray? 13 And if he finds it, I assure you: He rejoices over that sheep more than over the 99 that did not go astray. 14 In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish."

I don't think that lost is meant to be an offensive term the way we usually view it. I think it's just a fact of life. Without Christ, we are indeed lost. Why? Because we were made by God for God and living life for anything or anyone else is living in a defeated purpose.

The Gospel is offensive.

There is no getting around that. No amount of study or prayer or "tactics" is going to make it any less offensive. A person has got to get to the point (in God's time) where they don't like their life as it is anymore and own up to the fact that something (Someone) is missing.

That's when the Gospel takes flight. That's when the doors open. That's when the chains begin to break and the prison walls begin to shake and they begin to see the Light of their life standing before them dressed in a white robe with arms wide open. That's when the acceptance and grace rains down on their life.

That's where and when change takes place.

Y'all, I was wrong. I apologize to any of you that might have been confused by my statement.

I was lost before Christ, He was the One who found me and saved me.

It's not too late to join in on fasting & praying for lost sheep to be found by the Shepherd. If you're interested go here.
If you don't know this Christ I'm speaking of please feel free to email me or comment below. I would love to talk with you. :)

Praying you all have a blessed weekend. <3

12.06.2012

Missions Is My Marriage Desire

You don’t understand.

You’re probably scratching your head and wondering, ‘what on earth is she talking about?’

Missions is my marriage desire.

So many people- girls and guys alike- are just waiting, yearning, hoping, dreaming, and orchestrating their lives to get married. It’s their "one desire". It’s what they want more than anything.

It becomes an idol.

They are willing to sacrifice their love for any and all things on this earth just to love another human being and be deemed “theirs” forever.

I feel almost as strongly about overseas missions.

I want to go so badly. So strongly. Yet, over and over again the Lord replies, “Give it to Me.”

I cry.

I tell Him how much I want to go and He says, “Hand it over. I will give you the desires of your heart once you learn to delight solely in Me.” (Ps. 37:4)

The same reasons I give for why I find it so important to not date until you are complete in Him alone and not seeking delight elsewhere are the same reasons that slapped me in the face when I refused to let go of my desire to do mission work.

Missions isn’t a place, it’s the people. It’s the things you do on the daily that matter so much. For people like me, we think it doesn’t because it seems so insignificant. But it matters... a lot.

I’ve let it go again.

Overseas missions that is.
My heart still has the desire, but the Lord isn’t leading me in that direction right now.
So with tear filled eyes, I’ll trust.

I’ll trust that His will is far better than mine because that truth has been proved over and over again.

I’ll believe that He will give me the desires of my heart when I learn to delight in Him fully.

I’ll lean on Him as I walk step by step into whatever He has for me because He alone is my strength and my portion.

This letting go is a gift. Might not feel like it or seem like it, but all good things come from the Father.

This is a good thing.

12.04.2012

Peace

God has called me to singleness.

Yes, I have the gift of celibacy and I really have no problem with it.

I enjoy being single. I like it a lot. I get to spend so much time with Jesus. I don’t have to work hard for another person*, I can just do what He tells me. It’s a beautiful thing really.

There’s just one problem... I want children.

I want to hold little babies and rock them to sleep. I want to help teenage girls see their worth in His eyes. I want to play catch with sweet children. But I don’t have any. I don’t even have neighborhood kids to play with.

Sometimes I ask God why.
Somewhere some self-righteous person is shaking their head at that statement, but it’s the truth.

I ask Him why I have such a strong desire to have children to call “mine” and yet this gift of celibacy is all up in my face saying, “Welp. That’ll never happen.”
I ask why I have no option to enjoy a child's sweet presence. Not in a, "It's not fair, Daddy." kind of way, but just in a curious, "Why is this desire here?" kind of way.

I also ask Him why I have such a heart to do mission work and yet I can’t go anywhere yet. He hasn’t provided a place and I cry almost every night because I want to go. But He’s said no thus far.

I want to go.

I’m just like a child right now. I cry, I beg, I plead and somehow my prayers are met with a silent peace. He doesn’t really say anything He just looks on me in love and holds me while I cry.

Peace.

“But I want to go.”

Peace. Be still.

He knows. Oh, He knows!

He sends me out daily to bring His love to broken people. These broken people I don’t even know have grips on my heart stronger than I can describe. I trust His will and His plan. I know He has my good in mind and His glory.

So I trust.

The tears still roll. I ask why sometimes. I pray fervently for these opportunities to come. But I know the God I serve will show me the way, I must simply take each day step by step and walk in His peace.
* To avoid confusion I see no problems with marriage at all. I believe it's also a beautiful thing when lived the way God intended. Both singleness and marriage are gifts from Him and should not be thought of as anything less.

12.03.2012

The Gift Of Free Will - Monday Reflections

"You gave him the greatest gift a father can give his child: free will to do whatever he wants."

While watching a somewhat predictable Christmas movie a man spoke those words and of course my heart grabbed onto them and soared.

Free will - it's a gift.
Not just a gift that earthly parents can give, but a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Abba.

Let me tell you a little about that gift and how the Lord used it to transform my entire life.

About 2 years ago I decided that I was bored with being single. I wasn't so interested in this gift of celibacy He'd given me. I decided it would be fun and nice to have a relationship with someone. I got into one- one that was not emotionally healthy. One where there was far too much verbal abuse and I ended up very scarred by that.

It was my choice, though.

God tried to stop me. He provided many, many signs and words pushing me to go with Him and not this person I was so interested in. But He gave me free will and allowed me to go on even if it wasn't best.

That's what He wants. His glory and my best.

Months later the relationship ended. My heart was broken. My life seemed pointless (that's what happens when you make another person your idol). I was so hurt and soon the pain was too much and I thought maybe ending my life was an answer to it all.

He saved me.

Moments before, He spoke gently to me. He told me my purpose is in Him. He told me He'd take me back. He told me He'd heal my hurts. He just asked me to make the choice now.

I did. I prayed. I cried, sobbed. I didn't feel worthy of Him. I took His gift and I used it against Him. Yet, His love... oh, His love was so overwhelming and it held me for many months after that.

His love still holds me.

Jesus is our freedom. He is our gift. Christmas is a time where everyone talks about gifts, but we forget why we celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Him; His birth. Because He died to free us from the yoke of sin. Yet, even the Lord knowing what's best for us- He still allows us to choose what we really want.

"Any attempt to satisfy your wants apart from God's will ultimately leads not to delight, but to destruction. "

Gotta love Twitter. Read that earlier and it fits well, I think. See, we have the gift of free will... the freedom to choose if we want Him or we want sin ('cause those are the only options), yet, we will never find satisfaction apart from Him. We won't find true life and fulfillment apart from being in His will. That's why He tells us not to do something. It's not a punishment- it's for our good.

You have a choice. You can choose Him and the life He gives or you can continue living in sin and destruction and never be satisfied. I hope you know He loves you and that He really does want you.

You matter and are valued in His eyes.

Do you have a story of how free will led you away or towards Christ (or both)? Feel free to share!