5.31.2013

Pray For Oklahoma

Hey friends,

As an Oklahoma fan and someone who would love to live there some day I wanted to remind you guys to be praying for them as they have been hit by several tornadoes this past couple of weeks.

Specific requests:


  • safety from any other storms.
  • comfort for families and friends that have lost loved ones.
  • needs to be met.
  • the peace of Christ to overwhelm them tonight and these next few weeks.
  • salvation for those who don't yet know the Lord.
Also, don't forget to thank the Father for the life you have and the life Jesus gives to all. We are so blessed and would do better not to forget it. 

If you're in Oklahoma, know that we're praying for you with love in our hearts. 

God bless. <3

5.30.2013

Altared {Book Review}

I almost didn't get Altared by Claire and Eli. I wasn't super into the idea of reading another book about marriage. Most of you that know me well enough to know my stance on singleness- it being a true gift and standing with what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7. That being said, I'm super glad I got this book!
 
I really, really like books that are written by two authors. Part of the reason why I enjoyed books like Do Hard Things and Firsthand so much. I like getting two people's opinions and perspectives on a topic.
 
Eli and Claire start off by telling you their love story and continuing it throughout the whole book. What I really liked about this book was how they didn't talk about marriage in the way most evangelical Christians do (not to say anything against my brothers and sisters. :) ) They addressed that many people today expect marriage of everybody without even considering whether God wants them to marry or not. They both shared their struggles in this type of thinking and how that played out in their relationship (Fyi, the way the story plays out is not what you'd expect. I'll leave it at that. You'll have to buy the book to find out for yourself.)
 
I also enjoyed how they discussed 1 Corinthians 13; loving God and loving our neighbors, even the ones we wouldn't choose to love, because as disciples of Jesus we don't get to choose who we love, we love everyone because Christ loves us.
 
I would recommend this book to all of you guys and gals. As a young adult, I know how it can be once you turn 18. In the South it's especially prevalent that people expect you to get a boyfriend and get married pretty quick. Claire and Eli do a wonderful job of discussing why that may not be the best thing to rush into.
 
This book is the best of both worlds, there's a story that is told throughout each page and there are very well thought out discussions on what God says regarding love and how that works in every area of our lives.
 
Thinking about marriage? Daydreaming of your future husband or wife? Go find this book and read it. It's well worth your time.
 
Note: I was given this book for free by WaterBrook Multnomah for reviewing purposes.
 
 

5.29.2013

Emotions, truth, a dream, and crazy conclusions.


I had a dream the other night that I wanted these really cute red pumps. When I was talking to my mom about them she said I didn't need them and couldn't get them. The conversation (from my dream) went a little like this...

Me: These are really cute and look! They fit my feet! (I have large feet so this is actually really exciting! ;P )

Her: You don't need those. They're too high and you can't have them.

Me: You don't love me.

*Conversation ends and I wake up*

Hold up. Whaaaat?

This describes me jumping to unnecessary and downright crazy conclusions all the time.

It's never about the shoes, or the hair, or whatever it is that causes me to jump to really weird and over dramatic ideas about why someone said what they said or did what they did.

It's always a heart issue. A trust issue. A I-have-believed-the-lies-too-many-times issue.

This isn't just a dream to me. It's part of my life. Something doesn't go my way and instantly I jump to, "I'm not good enough." "She hates me." "God must be angry with me." and on and on. This isn't just something that I do. I know others struggle with it as well.

So, how do you combat it? WITH TRUTH AND NOT YOUR FEELINGS.

Read that last sentence again.

Have you and I made our emotions counterfeit gods? Have we chosen to allow our emotions to lead us instead of our God and have we believed the lies that Satan has told us so many times that even if the truth slapped you hard in the face you'd never realize it?

Oh, God, open our eyes!

After a really hard week God gave me the revelation that in our relationship I had been letting a lot of emotions lead me and I hadn't really been following Him as much as I thought I was. I liked the butterflies, the excitement of being with Him, but on the days I was worn completely down I didn't like Him or myself so much. I was letting emotions run my life, not the Lord.

Emotions aren't bad at all. In fact, God gave them to us to use and enjoy. You can't separate yourself from them (PRAISE THE LORD!), but you can numb them. That's what you don't want to do. What we want to do is take these emotions to the Lord and say, "Lord, here's the emotions I'm struggling with. I don't believe they are in accordance with Your Word so please shape them to follow You. Lead my heart to align with Your Word."

Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is deceitful and nobody can know it. Translated: LEAD YOUR HEART. Don't let your heart lead you. Let God lead you. We must trust Him and know that even those difficult "You don't love me." moments can be worked for our good and His glory as we allow Him to shape us.

Amen?

There may come a time in your life where your emotions are confusing and you're not really sure you can follow God where He's leading you. It's in those times that you'll be thankful for not only His grace and strength, but that you can follow Him regardless of what you're feeling because of Christ in you. That's where I'm at right now and it's actually an awesome place to be. More on that later. :)

5.27.2013

Happy Memorial Day!


Sweet tea. BBQ. Family. Friends. God. Outdoors. Nature. Love. Laughter. Life.

I've always been very proud to be an American. That good ole American pride wells up in me every time 'God Bless America' or 'God Bless The U.S.A.' (which has been a favorite song since I was about 7. :) ).

Today I celebrate my freedom in America because of all the men and women who have fought and died and sacrificed so much to keep me and all of us in the U.S. safe and free.

I also celebrate the ultimate freedom we have in Christ. Each day I'm astounded by His grace and even more so recently (blog post coming on that soon).

So first off, thank You, Jesus, for dying to save each and every one of us and bringing us true freedom!!

Second, thank you to all who have served in the military! You're amazing and I'm convicted and encouraged by your sacrifices!

May God bless you and may God bless America. Happy Memorial Day!! Eat some BBQ! :)

Why are you thankful to be living in a free country? Share in the comments below.

5.21.2013

When the storm comes...


 
 
There will be storms in life. Some are small and over quickly and some persist for a little while longer. In those storms of life it is important for us to cling to God. 
 
One of my greatest struggles has been realizing that my feelings don't determine truth. God is true. Always. My feelings? Not so much.
 
So, friend, whatever storm you're going through right now cling tight to Him. Even when your feelings are overwhelming and you're not sure you can go any further, rest in His strength. Everyday His strength keeps me going. Otherwise I would be overwhelmed beyond the point of living.
 
Lord, when the storms come in our lives and the trials come to test our faith, please help us to believe You. When doubts, worries, fears, anxiety, and whatever else that we may pass through in this life come, remind us that we are walking through life with You by our side and that is why we can press onward. Keep us going today, Father. Help us to rest in You.
Amen.

5.16.2013

Amen. Hallelujah!

Deception crowded in. Lies filled my head and I couldn't shake them for anything.

I cried tears I didn't know I had and sobbed more than I knew I could.

"I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." - Psalm 34:4

I can't tell you how hard this week was. There aren't words to describe it. But I can tell you that His grace and mercy is still alive and well! HE IS STILL WORKING.

Are we looking for Him?

I read His Word more than anything else this week. Funny thing is I don't miss not reading the 20 different blogs I follow or the 10 "need to read" books I have sitting in my room. I don't miss them because they never have brought me life and never will. Only my God can do that.

Doubts like never before crowded in. Never. before. I thought it was hopeless and for at least three days it looked completely hopeless.

But it wasn't.

I was ignorant. I refused to believe the proof He gave me over and over. He would tell me one thing and I would say, "Yeah, but what about..." and completely go against that prayer I had just prayed.

But I serve the God who answers even His doubting child. I serve a God who listens to my cries and after I've realized how prideful and stupid I really was/am He comes and swoops me up.

Finally.

Finally.

So with a deleted Facebook and Twitter account, I have come back to my First Love. I have seen His blessings all around me and I have seen how easily fooled I was into thinking that they were not blessings, but rather burdens. Umm, hello? S-T-U-P-I-D.

Lord, keep Your silly, sometimes foolish, always needy servant in Your hands. Lord God, save us from our doubts, fears, and worries. Save us from ourselves. Move us into Your presence and away from things of this world. Renew our strength in You that You alone would be praised. Help us guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
                                                             Amen. Hallelujah!

5.13.2013

A Cat, bird, and a revelation

There was a cat in my backyard earlier. They like to come and visit from time to time so I wasn't surprised to see him.

And neither was the sweet, happy bird in the tree.

That bird squawked and alerted every other bird in the area (and person for that matter) that there was a predator around and to be on guard. Then, the bird moved to a higher place.

I believe the LORD gave me a revelation with that little picture of a bird and cat.

When we see the Devil coming with his attacks, fairly often we just sit there (by we, I mean me, for certain). We don't fight back by sitting there, we need to alert everyone (including ourselves) that a predator is coming and we need to move to higher ground (a.k.a. GO TO THE LORD!).

It's easy to believe the lie that we're strong enough to handle the attacks because so-and-so super woman/Christian can handle it, but there are different triggers to sin for us than there may be for another. We need to remove those triggers from our lives and move as swift and as far away as possible from those triggers and keep moving towards the LORD.

So, what cats have been coming at you lately? Have you moved to higher ground and alerted yourself and others or are you sitting there waiting for the prey (Satan) to eat you?

Psalm 25:15,

"My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare."

Psalm 25:20,

"Guard my life and rescue me;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you."

5.08.2013

Focus, knitting, and, Jesus.

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter or Google+ (yo', people are on there! ;) ) I've been learning to knit. It's really fun, but super challenging.

Wanna know the one thing that makes it so challenging for me? Focus. You have to focus when you're knitting. You can't just stop looking at what you're doing and expect for it to come out right (at least not for us beginners). I learned that last night when I went off into la-la land and realized I'd made a mistake and had to start over.

Focus isn't just a precious tool to have when knitting. In our relationships with Christ it's just as important.

When we set our focus on anything other than Him and His eternal promises we stop listening to the truth and start listening to outside sources.

2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (emphasis mine)

Taking every thought captive to Christ has been a battle I've decided to partake in lately. I didn't really want to before (Lord, forgive me.). I just thought my mind was just that- mine. But after He has shown me the importance of having a mind that loves Him and pleases Him and the importance of filling it up with truth, I've become committed to keeping my thoughts focused on Him. When they aren't on Him, I have the depressing thoughts, the insecurities, the fears, the pride. When they are focused on Him I know that all things are possible through Him.

So, where's your focus? What are you listening to? What are you setting your mind on?

If it's not Christ, it's not worthy to spend your life on. Let's focus on the eternal through His strength and let everything else be loss. Amen?

5.06.2013

Even In The Dark

She practically ran to her room and collapsed on the floor. Physically, she felt fine. Mentally and emotionally she was a wreck.

It was a strange season she was in. Strange emotions, strange trials, strange failures. Life had thrown her a curve and she was positive she could handle it no longer.

Exasperated, she sobbed. Tears fell so fast and so hard. She watched them hit the floor and oddly enough (what other emotion would go with such a strange season?) she started to feel peace.

Yet as soon as the peace came, so did the anxiety... the fear. She started to sob again and then she prayed,

Lord, I'm tired. So tired. I can't run anymore. I don't know what I'm doing and I don't know what I should do. Open my eyes. Give me Yours. Help me to live like You desire. I'm afraid. Please take my fear. I can't do it, but I know, despite all of these hardships, that You can.

Tears began to fall again. Freeing tears. She wasn't afraid to let Him see them anymore. She was tired of hiding and tired of running away. She ran to Him. She let Him know her fears and her doubts and  He said the truth would set her free.

She was beginning to see how true that was. How true He is.

The doubts still linger and the fears still come from time to time. She's not out of the strange season, but she's seeking Him while there.

Even in the dark, He is light. Hold tight, y'all!

5.04.2013

A Dream So Big - Book Review


I read for a day and put it up not to read it again until I had been through a discouraging week.

God knew I needed to read A Dream So Big. I needed the stories of hope, desperation, helplessness (which was actually filled with hope and help through Christ and His children).

I needed to be reminded that life is still not about me.

Steve Peifer takes us through a beautiful (though not always in the usual sense of the word) journey of his family and the tragedy that helped them see their future in Kenya.

I laughed a few times through this book, but I cried more and was convicted ever more than I cried. How often in America we forget how truly blessed we are and how we can use those resources to glorify God and help the least of these.

I could write a really long review about the stories I read that will break your heart or about the passion that God reminded me I have to do mission work all over the world (including the U.S. which is often neglected because people assume since we have so much poverty must not exist... well it does.), but I just really want to encourage you to pick up this book and read the stories for yourself. Allow God to let you feel the pain and then may we not numb ourselves to it, but let the Lord use it to propel us into great works for His kingdom and the lives of so many precious people on earth.

How about it? If you get this book please let me know how the Lord works in you and what you feel led to do afterwards.

I'm left with a sense of gratitude like never before thanks to the gentle reminders (and not so subtle ones)from the Lord and Steve. I'm truly thankful for that.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes by booksneeze.com

5.03.2013

Read Daily

This has been a very rough week. I have been in tears for most of it, but I'm so thankful that the Lord is as gracious as He is and has stayed with me, encouraging me through all of it.

As a result, I wrote this which I will now read every day. I hope He uses these words to bless your soul.

--
Today I am a new person.
I do not look to myself for strength, but to my Savior.
I give my all to Him as He gives His all to me.
I find strength to say no to sin through Him.
I will trust Him despite my feelings.
I will rest in Him despite my struggles.
I will turn from sin and run (run!) to Him.
I will learn from Him and follow. (<~ reference to Matthew 11:28)
I will fail.
I will fall.
My Savior is still great even as I fail Him because who He is does not depend on me.
He is perfect and by His blood I'm covered. (PRAISE DANCE!! HALLELUJAH!)



What truths has the Lord given you this week? Would love to hear about them!