God Uses the Unexpected and Unlikely

I am an unexpected and unlikely person for the Lord to use. Granted, so are you. The thing is, I have so little, if anything, to offer such a large God--it's kinda sad. However, I was encouraged by a podcast from my church (to listen, click here). It talks of the unworthy, unexpected, and unlikely people that are used in the Lord's plan. It also talks about how these unexpected and unlikely people are simply told to follow Him, regardless of the cost. In all of this, I rejoice in the assurance that my God continue to use me for His work and His Glory, no matter what if I feel like I am or am not qualified, good, worthy, or horrible...

It simply doesn't matter what I think when the Lord has a plan for me (Romans 8:28).

I need you, I love you, I want you, 
No one else can make me new
I need you, I love you, I want you, 
No one else can make me new

I will wait for only you
No one else can make me new
No one else can break the silence

I will wait for only you
My heart needs to hear whats true
No one else can break the silence

I will wait for only you
No one else loves me like you do
No one else can break the silence

I will wait for only you
No one else can pull me through
No one else can break the silence

I need you, I love you, I want you, 
No one else can make me new
I need you, I love you, I want you, 
No one else can make me new

Tenth Avenue North
I Need You, I Love You, I Want You


Pictures of Christmas

I wonder if you can guess what I got for Christmas? 
Anyway, I am glad its that day, and glad I get to spend it with my family. When I say it's not always easy, I know you all can relate. But at the end of the day, you realize what's really important involving them. 
I'm also really glad Christmas is over too. Christmas drives me crazy, and I think the reason why is because it's become way too complicated. I just want to have that peace and joy that we talk about in this season all the time, every single day. Who knows, maybe things will change by next year? 


The Thing Called Hope

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 

Romans 15:13

This verse has been following me around. It started out with me finding it and thinking "That's a nice verse" to it coming up in a devotion, then a sermon, then I found it again....you get the picture. 

What's really funny is that I blew it off at first. Hope is great, but not that important at all...that's what I told myself.

Then the pastor of my church gets up and says
"Hope is believing in the good before the good is believable". 

Do you know how many things that applies to? Like, everything? Before the good is believable....knowing that good is there...that's something to a least put things into perspective. I didn't really know how hard it was to hope and now that I think about it, so few people practice this well.

So my prayer for my own self is that I would learn how to hope in the deep truth that I know, none of the false stuff that only looks like hope, as well as be able to figure out what believe actually means to me, and to practice things like these that often look very impossible.


He's Worth It...Now

When faced with a problem, lots of thinking usually does the trick for me. If I just keep exploring the problem enough, I'll come to a conclusion that will make everything make sense and fall into place. 

With some problems, however, I keep circling back to the same thing. I keep asking myself "Why is this so hard?" and "Why can I not actually feel the hope that I know is there?" 
When you're sitting there, facing a new problem, a challenge or a change, please learn to remember something that I so often forget. Remember who God is. I sometimes forget why He sent my Savior, that He knows me best, and the simple fact of how big He is.

I forget to put my problems and trials in the context of the gospel.

When you forget this, you begin to buy into the lies and masks of the world. Masks just cover, hide and lie. When you start to really listen to people telling you how to feel, trying to help but saying untrue things or half-truths....this makes honesty with ourselves, others, or the Lord a lot harder. 

So I don't know about you, but often I feel like my life is a quest to break the mold and uncover the truth. The truth about how I feel and what God has to say about it, what He really thinks of His beautiful creation named Rachel, and simply to remember the gospel at all times and the promises our infinite God has made me. 

This all starts with learning to constantly work towards having a better, deeper understanding of this thing called Grace. Currently I am learning what it means when the Lord says that He Himself and His grace covers me.

The Lord in all His might comes in and covers me. He fills in the holes, closes the gaps, seals the cracks and heals the wounds...when you really, truly let Him in there is no room for anyone or anything else to take up residence in your heart, because the Lord covers completely. Do you even understand or see what completely even means? I don't. But I think I'm finally starting to. 

Because of this Grace upon Grace, I've begun to see that He's worth it now
Our comfort is that He always will be worth it--so worth it--and always He has been, but especially, especially, now.

Sometimes our problems are those that threaten to overwhelm you or swallow you whole, just like Jonah's did. But I think the one thing that we miss is how, if we let it, our Adonai's grace is even more consuming. 

"From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace."
John 1:16 


Loving People Close


I'm starting to realize that loving people entails a lot more in life than I thought.

A lot more of myself.

This is most certainly what my flesh works to resist.

Love is sacrifice--that much my Savior Jesus has taught me, if anything.

However, what that looks like when tensions run high in the family space...well, it seems like it's a different story.

What if it's not though? What if the act of love is still going and washing your dishes without saying anything?

Or doing those things that aren't even an act of service, but are just nice gestures?
Hm. This is going to be harder than it looks.


Come on Back Home for Now

Do you ever have those times when you are positively floored when you realize

That would be me.

I'm sitting here at home, typing--not strings attached. I have no homework, as I have just finished my third semester of college...I'm halfway through my sophomore year...can you believe it? Considering where I was this time last year, wondering if or how I was going to make it at all, it's simply ridiculous.

However, although I have survived this far, I feel like the ends of my nerves are slightly burned and frayed from these past months. It has not been easy, adjusting to working while going to school and having two other responsibilities outside of that, not to mention the rest of my life (which, someday I wonder what that actually means).

I have been continually, repeatedly confronted and bombarded with my weaknesses and inabilities this semester. It took me awhile to figure this out, and to remember why oh why I can't do this life on my own. Me getting burned because of my own pride is one thing, but when you are forced to deal with a kind of change that you've never had to deal with before, I was reminded of the fact that I am capable of nothing except through Christ.

It's still a fight, still a struggle some days, but God proves faithful, and that part never changes.


Weakness as a Gift

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness. So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak I am strong."
 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

For those of you who have known me for a length of time, you'll easily remember that this is one of my favorite verses. I've even done lots of blog posts about it, and included it everywhere I can.

The great things about verses is when not only do you begin to learn to really live them out, but when you learn something new about it.

So, here it is.

Have you ever thought of your weakness as a gift?

Not just something good.
Not just something that's yours.
Something you can offer to the Lord.
Isn't this verse exactly the best spot you can be in? Not depending on your strength at all, but His.
So much so in fact that all the bad things become those that give us our unfailing strength because He fills the rest of us up with Himself and His love and His spirit.

Today--not tomorrow, or the next day, or when you feel ready, or later--offer your weakness to God as a gift to Him. Show Him that you really do love Him and want to learn to trust Him more. He is the one who can take care of you. He is the one who can fill you.

He is the one who completes you. Let Him.


I Am Really Super Thankful

When it comes to true thankfulness, I realized that I am at a loss for words. Deep from the heart, I am humbled by my life.

I am thankful for the journey that God brings me on.

I am thankful that He calls me out on the water.

I am thankful that He gives and takes away.

I am thankful that He walks with me.

I am thankful that His grace covers me.

I am thankful that He's coming back.

I am thankful that He uses the good and bad things in my life to shape me.

I am thankful for how He breaks my heart with His love every day.

I am also thankful for my cat, dog, friends and family.





The Grace and Beauty of Not Being Okay

Recently I been figuring out what it means to really admit to myself that I'm not okay.
Because you know, sometimes I'm not.

There are things in this life that trip us up, that catch us off guard....that take our breath away. They hurt.

Some days, you think you're fine dealing with them. You've cried, mourned and moved on with life.

Then, it hits you all out of the blue. And you realize that you're really for sure not okay.

The interesting thing is that although you may not be okay, you can still be whole. It's like you got hurt in one place, the hardest and most painful place to get hurt, but can't get hurt there again. Just everywhere else. But no matter how you get torn up by the troubles and worries of this world, your heart will still be whole, protected. This is apart of the gift of grace...you're biggest problem is taken care of.

Your next step is to giving yourself over, surrendering like you never have before. It's scary because you are beginning to see less of yourself when you look in the mirror. Isn't that crazy?

All these images and pieces of your present swirling around.

Who's reflection are you going to eventually see?




Often, when I sit down to write, I have something to say, point out, or at the very least tell you what I've learned. However, this post is one that does that, but also is probably me thinking out loud.

But now I'm not sure what to say or where to start. So I'll start with last week. Last week was not a good week in my life because sometimes it's all just too much. Going to a mentor of mine was probably my best move--she did not give me advice, instructions or a list. She simply spoke truth into my life. Asking me questions--challenging me--"How is God wanting you to see the gospel more clearly in this situation?" (WHO knew that you could even ask that question? Sure we all know that the gospel relates to everything in our lives, but seeing it more clearly in specific situations? Life just got more real!) and "How is He re-forming your identity?". Questions like these are big, and answering them honestly can shake up more things in your life more than what is already happening.

Therefore, what to do with all of this? When truth is absolutely clashing with your previous beliefs?

The truth is, I can't actually tell you. This is something that you have to figure out for yourself.

Processing change takes time and cannot be rushed.

So step back, pray, take a deep breath and start to work through it.


The Truth About Humility



So you remember Solomon? How He prayed for wisdom and became a very wise man?
Well guess what? I've been praying for humility. Have I become a really humble person? Not by a long shot. However, after much prayer and a change of heart, God has taught me a lot about humility.

I've learned that it's less about how much you think of things and rather more about seeing things through God's eyes instead of your own. This changes things in your life, when you view them from a whole other perspective--not just simply the "less about you" that everyone talks about.

Praying for certain qualities--this is one aspect of prayer that people forget about, it sounds too good to be true. And selfish sometimes. However, if humility will enable you to do God's work more, why would He keep it from you? We know that God works for the good of those who love Him, and if you ask anything according to His will you will receive. Don't get me wrong--this is no prosperity gospel for you. God is the one who judges and knows hearts. He is the one who gives and takes away.
Therefore I encourage you to pray with a right and true heart about who you are striving to become--someone who looks more like Jesus. Don't underestimate the one who changes and works for you.

There is nothing about exalting God that should ever exalt us.



Learning Late...ly

So here's a list of things I've learned lately:

1) You don't have to be outside of your comfort zone all of the time.
Too many times we here "I have to be uncomfortable for things to happen" when really what we are saying is "I'm not doing enough". Lies and more lies. Yes, you do have to step outside of your comfort zone--a lot. But because the Lord knows what you need (often verses what is expected of you) more than you do yourself, you have to accept that, and what He's really calling you to do [or not do].

2) Preparation often hurts.
The Lord, being the one with the perfect timing, may start this process in you way before you even know what is going on. 

3) Productivity doesn't always refer to or depend on one thing.
Not just school work. Not just people. Not just trivial things. One of my text books described Type A personalities (something I suffer from, chronically) as those who are on a continuous race to do so much more in less time. I have to take a breath and realize that it can't all get done in one day.
4) Hebrew is a little bit more complicated than I previously though.

5) Real listening takes faith. The More Epic Truth About Listening

6) I don't have to like black coffee.
 Or even try to. I thought that was a goal that I had to work towards, because if you can drink black, often you can drink everything and anything. But it's hard, because it's gross, even working up to it. So one of my friends told me that I never had to like black coffee ever. Blew my mind.

7) God doesn't work in the ways that you think He does.
I know people say this, but I'm starting to realize He is more creative and direct and better than I though. And bigger, too.

8) Ministry is need based.
You do what is needed.
People ask me and wonder why I don't do things that have been done in the past regarding the prayer ministry at the bcm, and I really just want to ask them if they really know what they're asking.
9) Friendships can run deep.
Real deep. Like, being able to tell when someone is tired or sad or mad or doesn't want to talk or all of the above. And friendship is also not asking about something's, because you know they will either tell in their own time or it doesn't even need to be said.

10)  I'm still learning. And have a lot more to learn than I think.


The More Epic Truth About Listening

I'm starting to think that the reason people don't tell me some things is because they didn't know them in the first place. That would explain a lot.
Anyway, what I'm learning is that listening is a bit more of an in depth concept that I once thought. Everyone's like "I know it's hard--but just listen and be quiet and God will speak to your heart!".
I tried that. It didn't work. What was I doing wrong?
Maybe it was the fact that I was sitting back, expecting while all the while not giving anything, not being humble.
Not having faith.
What if this was more of your approach:
Listening, plus having faith.
Listening, plus being humble.
Listening, plus wanting and waiting.
Maybe it's a little more than you thought?


Small, Small, and Smaller

What God calls us to seems to be a question that is on our minds a lot. I know it is for me. Lately though, I'm discovering that it's not always the things you think. I'm starting to see smaller things. Because you know what? God sees those smaller things.

You know, I think we all have to come to the realization that we will not see all of the fruit of our labor. I know people know this, but realizing that you'll never see the fruit of all you do, whether its to take the credit for yourself or for you King, is a hard thing to come to terms with.....you'll just never know. You might not even be able to call your personal ministry fruitful... Imagine that.

But don't you see, it's all about doing these things--being obedient, and abiding in Him. He takes care of the rest, for He is good. The results will never be dependent on you, because if they were it'd all be an epic failure wouldn't it Being the sinners that we are? Only the Sovereign One who provides the growth is anything, is everything! 1 Cor. 3:7.

It is also scary when you can't tell if you're doing enough, or doing things right. If you're good enough. Even though we are constantly reminded that it's NOT about ourselves, that it's NOT about you, its still a scary thought. However, this is exactly what Satan wants us to focus on--how scary things are, how looming they seem and how so inadequate we are. The Lord wants us focused on His radiant beauty, and His justice and mercy and grace that never leaves. This is where our hearts have to be--undividedly for the Lord--because all we do is for Him!

So when you do your small things, and really start looking at what God wants you to do where you are, maybe you'll see something different this time as well as just being able to take things as they come.

"When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness."
Acts 4:31





Sometimes I sit down to write a blog post, and really, I honestly don't know what to say. I don't have all the answers, I don't know what's going on, I have more worries than before, sometimes people's lives are falling apart around me and it's a miracle that I got done what I did today.

My solace in this place and time of uneasiness has come in prayer. Prayer, prayer, prayer. I just have had this urge to pray for these people that I know, the people I'm around, and for the next step in some areas in my life. Or maybe all of them.

Because sometimes, you're just plagued, plagued by the world and thoughts and the feeling that you need to do so much more but can't even handle what you're already supposed to be doing. This has been the story of my week. Just get one more thing done today Rachel, stay up, get up, and do it. I swear, I know I'm one of those people that has to feel productive at the end of the day, but this has gotten ridiculous.

The thing is, this happens when I forget to embody the truth--I am set free in Christ and wake up covered in His mercy and His grace every single day (verse reference: the whole Bible....), no matter what I choose to believe each morning.
Sometimes those lies we believe are still at the forefront of our minds though.
This is the time where you have to decided is Jesus is your all--is he?--and if you are actually letting Him fill you up, instead of trying to do it yourself. Your spirit is willing and your flesh is weak. Is that not the truth?

Let Him

So many times we forget to do that.

I'm still learning what it is to be filled and to dwell in the fact that He's so filling. Go, and rejoice that this kind of salvation is yours.
"Do not lose heart. For outwardly we are wasting away, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day, for these slight and momentary afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory that is beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen, but what cannot be seen, because what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
"I know, Oh Lord, that your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
Let your steadfast love become my comfort according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight."
Psalms 119:75-77


What's Next

What's next is always an interesting question. You know where you've been, and [debatably] your present, but no one ever has a concrete idea of what's next.

What I am starting to recognize as very important is not loosing sight of the bigger picture. I know people say this a lot, but when you focus on the consistent things (in my life-case, God being the only one thing that fits in that category), the common threads, that's when you can start to see what's actually happening.

Someone once told me that if you want to know what God is preparing you for, then look at what He has been doing in your life recently. This comment made many things in my life make sense, and reminded me that there really was a purpose for certain events. He's been teaching me trust, dependence, the importance and reason for self-discipline, and of course, not to lose sight of the bigger picture-Himself!

Now, I don't use these things to speculate, worry and plan, but to prepare myself, and dig deeper into Him while I still feel slightly sane. To learn how to rest in His presence in all circumstances is something to be valued and useful too. A lot of this is figuring out how you are going to stay daily-attached to Him, and how you are going to love Him more.

The important thing though, is that you are continually striving to become more of that person God made you to be, because we all know that we each are made differently, with different spheres of influence to reach those people for Christ, the reason we are where we don't belong.