1.31.2014

Some Days Are Just Simply Days To Be


 
Some days are just simply days to be.

 
You can be tired and be relaxed about it, knowing that the rest of the day is simply for getting things done. On a deeper level though, often when I am my most tired and weary I am most at peace. My soul has finally reached the point in my week where I can just sink into the fact that I know that I have given up my own strength in turn for God's.

Yes, I am tired, but I am also tired of doing things on my own. I don't want that anymore. I seem to go through this a lot, but now, by the end of he week, it usually comes to this. The real point is though, that this lesson of letting go that I am relearning cannot be a cycle anymore. It just can't happen.

Therefore, my new resolution is to give up before I'm broken and weary at the end of the week. I have to give myself up on the Monday morning, Sunday night, on the Monday morning, on the Tuesday afternoon, on the Monday morning.....Because you see, it's the hardest to give up ourselves when your are so full of strength. When you embody energy and movement and sound and all your dreams just sort of pour out of you...this is the time when you have to let go and receive the grace that we need oh so much.
 
 
 
 

1.30.2014

Let It GO

I've been holding on so tight
Look at these knuckles they've gone white
From fighting for who I want to be
I'm just trying to find security

But you say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one's who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go

Well it's hard enough to hear
Harder still to move beyond this fear
We know there's nothing I can bring
So tell me what do you want from me 


What do I love
What do I hate
What will I lose
 What will I gain
How do I save my soul, oh
What if I bend
What if I break
What will it cost
What will it take
For You to save my soul, oh

You say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one's who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul


Let It Go
Tenth Avenue North


This is what I'm learning. I woke up this morning, tired after a night of battling allergies, and was just simply worn and overwhelmed before the day began. This song has just been stuck in my head this morning, and I realize my need to seek the truth of those words, to see that doing this doesn't look the same all of the time--it gets harder, it hurts more. In the middle of the trail, I have to remember the all-consuming dependency I must have on my Lord hat I can't even begin to breathe without, whether I feel like I can do life or this very day on my own or not. This is the time to step closer to our Lord.

With the new, crazy circumstances that I face, God is using them to rid me of myself, break me piece by piece, to transform me, rearrange me, to show His love for me. He says "Let it go, Rachel, I love you and care for you and have a plan for you, isn't that enough for you to trust me?" How come I feel and act like it's still not? How come I still pull away? I know that He never said it would be easy--but living for Him (denying ourselves and picking up our cross) is what He's called us to.

After saying some preparing prayers, God showed me His goodness in a surprising way today. Of course He does--of course He did! His will and way have nothing to do with my expectations! Thank goodness, right? Our God is good and almighty, every day, no matter anything about us.


"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."
Matthew 16:24

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

"For these slight and momentary troubles are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory that is beyond all measure because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can been seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:17-18



 

1.29.2014

So, So Very Long Ago

So long ago was this morning.
I'm laying on my bed, Bible open, and really just think about how long the day really has been.
I'm exhausted, I have to say.
Not that it's been a bad day--it's actually been pretty good.
This whole week is learning how to readjust, and that's what takes a lot out of you.
I basically am in the process of  developing a new approach to school work and learning how exactly to apply my more alive faith.


I'm also learning a lot about the sometimes daily frustrations that throw me off so much. How little they seem! But how much damage they do. I'm beginning to learn that sometimes while being frustrated is granted, being frustrated over certain things is a sign of selfishness. It didn't go how I thought it was supposed to go, how I wanted, how I expected, how I can handle it....Oh, how we forget that we are so small. And all the while, I'm just learning how to deal with frustration in general. This is an emotion that is rarely used in my life, and makes my life extra messy and maddening when it surfaces.

However, what I do know is this: it's all about your response. How you respond not only in your actions, but your thoughts, heart and mindset. That's the real challenge, the real test. And yes, I am feeling very challenged right now. Actually, I've never felt this kind of challenged before. I can't yet put it into words. Maybe it's just called growing up and making choices. And I'm learning how to be guided, which you have to let yourself be open and receptive to that. You just have to trust like nothing else before.



 

1.28.2014

Giving Up

Giving up.


Your life,

your will,

your way.

All for Him.


You look at the cost. Sometimes it is putting yourself out there. Sometimes it requires trials. Sometimes it means a lot of the unknown and really frustrating feelings that you can't always place.

But then you have to remember to look at the bigger picture. The how's there's more, the now, the future, the dawn after the darkness.

The reward though, the glory that gets to live inside you because of the Son, spreading your excitement over His word and law and heart and love--you get to tell others about Him. And there's the fact that you get to wake up each day and know that you get to spend it with Jesus--that's gotta be one of the best parts.



 

This Next Semester

This semester so far feels like a brick wall has just ran into me. No, not the other way around--it's I didn't run into it, it ran into me.

Apparently I was under the assumption that when I came back that most things would be the same. Well, that's not true. And it only took one day for me to figure that out. Some of the changes I was expecting--sure I'd get new classes, try start better habits, get a new roommate and have a different schedule, but boy oh boy. These past few days have really reformed the way I think. Not only have they forced me to grow up a bit more, but they again just show me how large the world is, how small I am and how BIG my God is still.

How much I am learning about just getting up and getting stuff done. How much I have to do! And the thing is, it’s just that simple. Honestly, there aren't many complexities—just getting up and doing things is all there is to do. It’s that step, that initiative that makes things happen and keeps certain things rolling.

I've gotten kicked in the butt about this lately. I've been reminded that trust is not necessarily sitting back and waiting for things to happen, but taking action and knowing that God's in the middle of it all and the outcome is in His large loving hands. I'm reminded on the conversation in Where the Red Ferns Grow between the boy and his grandpa. His grandpa told him that sometimes, you have to meet God halfway--do your part, and He will do His. Now, I've also learned that  discerning this is a bit harder in certain situations, but you have to be able to let go of obsessively controlling the outcome and actions involved with it.  

During this time of tribulation and change, I know that God is walking with me, even if  my life feels like an impending plane crash.
 
 
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you too; abide in my love."
John 15:9


 

1.25.2014

The Last of My First Winter Break

It's felt like a mini-forever. A very long mini-forever. But it's nearing it's end, so I'm not sure how I feel about it. I just know it's been a long time, and when I go back I'm gonna have to actually do work.

What I'm going to miss:
 
My cat
 
My dog
 
Slow mornings
 
Karate and the people there
 
Reading as much as I have been and actually having time to
 
Being at church with my church family :)

Watching cooking shows
 
Learning how to be a better cook...and no, I don't have the experience that the Chopped people do, and yes, I still need a recipe.
 
Watching Grimm with my brother
 
Being with my youth group
 
Seeing old friends from far, far away
 
Seeing my extended family, if only for the holidays
 
 
 What I have to look forward to:
A new roommate................................?
 
Seeing friends again (Today's new friend becomes tomorrow's family) and making new ones
 
New classes!
 
A hopefully better organized me/routine/better habits...like taking my vitamins...?
 
.....and a bunch of other unknowns....

 
.....but mostly the fact that I am able to see how God is continually at work and changing my life.




 
 

1.24.2014

On Love and Trust


              "You left your perfection,
                                     And embraced our rejection...
               You left your perfection,
                                    And fought for our redemption,
               This is love, you gave yourself..."

You Bled by Rend Collective Experiment


How wonderful is this? Even in our moments of trying to take His spot--God still loves us and has ultimate and total control.

I feel like myself, as well as others around me are really learning what trust is...to trust God in the times when nothing is like it used to be, and when we know nothing is ever going to be the same. The times when there is no "normal" anymore. Oh, how much we have to give ourselves to Him! Surrendering is trusting when its seems crazy to. But our Lord is God who fought for us with a redeeming love, something that we can't even comprehend. It's SO much bigger than we though--than we think. He's someone who's steady and trustworthy and loving and caring and avenging and overall, steadfast and holy. Giving ourselves to Him is really learning how we were really meant to live our lives, and being close to Him so we can learn to trust despite everything else.

He's just showing me how CRAZY trust really seems...and how beautiful and scary it is. With all the things that could--and may--go wrong I wonder how I can move forward. All I have to do is look outside at the snow on the ground and I am reminded that OUR God is a STRONG God. There is nothing else I need.




Winter SNOW!

  



  




 



 
  
 






 


Going Back




Finally. I'm sitting next to my friend Kendra. She's back from her mission journey in Chad.

When people go away for awhile and come back changed, its easier to identify with those people who have done the same thing. It's like there's some understanding that things aren't the way they used to be--that we aren't the way we used to be.

And then we talk about how I'm leaving again. I go back to school in a few days. Monday actually starts off with an 8 AM. Great.


Actually, I am really excited. Really excited. I can't wait. But part of me is going to miss the people I actually got to see, talk to, build, rebuild and improve relationships with. Since WKUs break is longer than most, I feel like I actually got to be involved in their lives for once, instead of just seeing  them on Sundays when I come home for the weekend. I feel like I have gotten to just be with them and love with them differently, on a more real level, one not so consumed with me.

It's been kinda rough too, learning how you don't fit back in the way you used to...and how you're not supposed to....


And I'm going to miss my dog. :(

1.23.2014

Lessons Learned

It's taken me so long to learn these lessons I'm being taught over break.
 
 
First of all, I kinda forgot how to talk to and relate to adults. The only people I'm around are teachers--the rest are college students. So that was weird. Being thrown back in a world where everyone is significantly older than you...
 
One lesson I learned was that I have to remember to be all here---not missing the moment. Just giving myself permission to simply be where I am. It takes courage to do this because it's so easy to hide in the future or be consumed with the past. Way too easy and frankly, sometimes too tempting. Do it even if opening your eyes and realizing where you are with all these unknowns floating around you hurts.


Then, I have to actually learn what rest is. Why has it taken me a whole break to start to understand this? It's more of an issue of the heart, I think. You can go about and still work on the things you need to (you can be busy), but it must be done without a hurried heart--with one of peace. A peace that allows your heart and mind to rest.


Also, I 've got to realize that my life is not mine in any way--I lay me down I'm not my own, I belong to you alone--and all of my future, it's in His hands--It will be my joy to say your will your way--I can't afford to doubt anymore. I have to take that step and trust. I know my God is one of transformation, Lord of all the power and might of the oceans and the tides. Take this life and let it shine--So how come one summer with empty plans is so daunting? "Really Rachel?" I say to myself, "Hasn't He proven Him self a million times over?" Indeed He has, I just need more of Him to cure my disbelief.


Most of all, I've learned that to be who God made us to be, we must learn how to be simply ourselves.We can't deny ourselves or others ourselves. That means daring to be fully us, including your gifts, talents, passions, weaknesses, quirks and weird habits despite any other critic or obstacle you may face and knowing that God is the God of all, and the God of outcomes.
 
 
 
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9
 


 


 

  
 

1.22.2014

For Those Times When You Are Simply Holding On

Those times when you are simply holding on.......

                  everything may be changing,

                               the things that you had planned are no longer,

                                             you have to be incredibly patient,
                                                                           
                                                        you're still trying to figure out who you are,

                                                                   and how you fit into the bigger picture......

                                                      

Some days just hit us hard. It all comes out of the blue. Like a giant tidal wave.
As a matter of fact, it probably happened because you drank the rest of the orange juice straight out of the carton today (come on, how many people are feeling convicted now? Hehehe..).

The reason why these things come out of the blue is because we are so, so small. So very small. The things we imagine and dream are not nearly big enough to scratch the surface of what we are meant to be or are designed for. His plan for us is So. Much. Bigger. Than. Anything. An example? This blog. Never in a million years would I had ever though or dreamed that I would--that I could--have something like this. How opposite of me it sometimes still sounds. But when I really think about it, it kinda makes sense, too. I love how God uses the unexpected to transform, and ultimately use all for His Glory. For God uses the unexpected, the little, weak, scared, broken, hurt, loud, discontent, ugly, damaged, restless, teary-eyed, pouty, mistrustful, sinful, incompetent, secretive, worried, shy, impatient, and the angry.

My dear friends, the good new is that we have a Savior who came in place of us to take our beating, our punishment, our nails. Thank goodness God uses us in the condition we are, and that we no longer have to be alone or receive what we deserve. Or worry.

"....let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you.....but obeying the commandments of God is everything.....even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever.......in whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, remain there with God."
1 Corinthian 7:17-24

"Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted among the earth."
Psalms 46: 10

Along with these verses, read all of Psalms 66 (Pay attention to the other words that are used in other translations for the word "place" in the end of verse 12, including "to a saturation" according to a footnote on my NRSV Bible).

1.19.2014

DNOW 2014

Sometimes I feel like I'm not really a teacher, even if I am in that position--I feel like my kids teach me more than I teach them.

This weekend was all about hints. Hints of my future and what I am called to do. Wrapped n this weekend was lessons about changing things for the better, denying myself even more, taking that step that scares you ever so much, doing things selflessly and seeing how God is at work in the middle of it all.


 So I lift my hands,
 open wide,
let the whole world see,
how you loved,
how you died,
how you set me free! 

Open Hands
By Matt Papa


Ten Things to Remember When Telling Your Story

Your Story is how God has transformed your life. Simple as that.

1.    It’s not your story, it’s God’s

God made you, you’re His. You belong to Him.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Galatians 5:24

 
2.    You don’t tell it to glorify you—you tell it to glorify God

God is the center of your story. He’s in every word, every fiber of it. Your story is not about you.
Psalms 66: 1-2,Galatians 6:14, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10          
 

3.    It’s all about change

Our God is a God of transformation. You and your story will change, even if your circumstances stay constant or always look different. Change is one thing you can’t stop.
Proverbs 3:25-26, Psalms 46:1-3


4.    It  doesn’t have to start at the beginning of your life

Change can happen anywhere and at any time. Sometimes you’re not even ready for it. Actually, that’s most of the time.
Hebrews 12:1-2, Lamentations 3:22-23


 5.    Expect BIGGER.

Much Bigger actually. God has a tendency of going WAY above your wildest dreams and highest expectations. Allow yourself to be led by the Spirit—relinquish control—and look to him for everything.
Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 8: 26-28, Proverbs 3:5-6


 6.    It’s not supposed to be easy

It’s your story—you telling people about your past, your hurts, the change…this is not an easy topic to talk about. The thing is though, you’re the only person who can tell it. It’s God’s story of you.  The good thing is that God’s glory is revealed when you share the real story, the real you.
Psalms 19:1-6, Psalms 29:9


 7.    It’s your best evangelical tool

Not everyone has the spiritual gift of evangelism but that doesn’t mean God can’t or doesn’t use you. Your story is something unique to you that you can tell anybody to visibly show them the Salvation and Light you have received--It’s all about God.
1 Peter3: 15-16, Matthew 24:14, 2 Timothy 4:2


 8.    It’s not the same each time you tell it

Maybe for a specific reason….it’s not about the details. You don’t even have to tell them. Just tell about how God is changing you.
1 Peter 2:9, Psalms 73:28


 9.    Tell it! Let people know the change that’s happened and is happening

This is SO exciting! Even if you stand there shaking with fear and can hardly hold eye contact, much less a microphone. But when you have an opportunity to tell your story, do it for God—that’s what it’s for--no one else, not even you.
1 Peter 1:6-9, 2 Corinthians 3:18

 
10. It’s not over

Our God is a deliberate God. If you think you’ve reached a stopping point—just wait. Whatever point you are at though, cling to Him, continue growing closer to Him. Build your faith and do not fear the future.
Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 2:4


Ask God about your story. It's yours. Only you can tell it.

 
 
 

My Grace is Suffient #2


"...but he said to me, '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 weaknesses so that the power of Christ may well 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
 
What does this verse mean to you?

 
"In my weakness" simply means I have exhausted my human efforts and have no other place to go but to the Lord. When I am weak I have no option but surrender myself and trust and depend completely on the Lord. The irony of this is that is exactly where God wants me. For when I trust and depend on Him He is free to work in me without obstruction. He can demonstrate his grace and transformational power without my humanness getting in the way. Therefore, when I am weak that is when I am the strongest. For in my weakness I discover "His grace is sufficient for me."

The reality of the matter is that God is present in me. However, the question that remains is that will God do His work through me or in spite of me.
John


God calls us into situations where we must rely on Him. When we find strength in ourselves, we are building our kingdom, not God's. We must be pushed into Him more and more, and that's only possible when we see that the world around us is lacking. We are lacking.
We become holy by relying on the one who is holy. We become transformed into the image of Jesus through trust, and that trust is tested and strengthened in struggle where we must free-fall into Jesus Christ and trust that we will not fall or be destroyed.
God's grace is all we need. And it is in our weakness and outside our comfort zone that God reveals that truth to us---He is sufficient, He is power, He is strength, He is all we need. Nothing else matters. We think we are so big as children, but in our weakness we see how much we need (and always will need) God. And as we our brought back to this realization through suffering, through persecution, through weakness, He is always there, eager to embrace us and transform us in the radiance of His glorious love.
Rebecca


"Paul is in the process of defending his reputation against the judaizers by saying that they live to give themselves a good reputation, when true apostles should be using their lives to make much of Christ instead. So to me, it means that the supreme purpose of my life (that which will bring me the most joy and have he greatest impact on eternity) is to put God's greatness on display, even though that often happens through circumstances that make me look "weak" and "unsuccessful" to the world. As long as the primary aim of my life is to bring God the highest honor, then even when that requires "weakness" on my part, I am "strong" in that I am achieving the life most worth living!"
Sammi

 
"In life, there are so many things that you aren’t sufficient to handle on your own. As a rule, human beings are transient and powerfully emotional creatures. Sometimes all it takes is coffee on a white sweater or feeling awkward at a dance party to set us over the edge. Without God, we are fragile and paper thin, living only in consequence (be it good or bad) to the situations around and affecting us. Point being, we have fragile natures permeating our earthly bodies and must live according to those weaknesses.

Here’s the cool thing, however. In every weakness there is a way to deal with it, and many people choose many different paths. You can run from weaknesses, avoid them, exploit them, or wallow in self-pity over them. You can read about them, pretend they don’t exist, or even try to strengthen them on your own. But imagine strengthening them with the help of someone who created you; someone who knows the depths of your innermost being and weaved you together, faults and all. When you clear out your own tools and simply allow God to see and respond to your weaknesses and your need for Him, several things happen.

First off, you get closer to Him. To the Lord. This guy (God) who created the whole entire universe but still longs for your love more than you could begin to imagine or understand. When you rely on God to strengthen your weaknesses, you are admitting that you can’t do things all by yourself (which is scary, especially for independent people that want to be able to tackle the world and say they did it without any assistance). No one wants to be dependent upon anyone, because we don’t know perfect love on earth. Dependency on your parents ends, dependency on your friends is conditional, and dependency on the world and your circumstances is fickle. Dependency on God is absolute and unwavering. He wants nothing more than for you to lean on Him, for you to call on Him in not only moments of joy and exuberance, but in moments of uncertainty and confusion. When you don’t know where to put your feet and you look to God, you grow closer to Him in a two-way relationship. The more you talk with Him, the better you get to know Him and the more you start to trust Him.

Secondly, you get stronger. When you are weak, then you are strong, because you realize your weaknesses and let God replace them. Imagine that. Your weaknesses are reinforced by God’s golden bondage, reinforcing you and allowing you to learn lessons from your daily experiences. When you ask for God’s guidance and assistance, He gives it to you ten-fold, even if it’s in ways that you can’t recognize or appreciate. In your weaknesses, you are made stronger, because you begin to lean on God and act through him instead of through your own warped rationalizations. Not that human intuitions are always warped, but they are when strangled by a response to fear. God will literally remove or repair your weaknesses when you call upon Him for guidance and help. How could anything be stronger than a person acting with God living in and through them?
Let God’s strength dwell through your weaknesses. Where you are lacking, He will pick up the slack, if you only ask. When you acknowledge your shortcomings and appreciate why you have them, God moves in them and creates beauty and power that you never would have known you had within you. Maybe because God really likes to surprise us and send spurts of unexpected joy. Hardships give you character, depending on how you handle them. Or should I say, how you let the Lord, the Lover of your Soul, lead you through them, holding your hand every step of the way.
Jessie

 

1.17.2014

The Hardness of Art

Art Series #3

It usually takes a few paragraphs and layers of writing to scratch the surface of what my soul really wants to say. And today it gets as deep as the snow outside.

Making this art, is so, so hard. Blogging is now a part of my art for this time in my life. Sometimes it’s hard though. I love doing it and I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing now. However, writing has ups and downs of its own, and combined with emotion—well,

No. This isn’t what I want to say, nor is it what I’m trying to say.

Blogging as an art is hard because I sometiems still worry about what others think of me and my posts.

The thing is, I know that this worry is not really important for several reasons.

1.       I am a child of God who can rest in His love. I just have to breathe.

2.       If God has given me the words to write and a blog to post them on, nothing should keep me from turning my gifts back towards the Giver and using them to praise Him.

Granted, I have little feedback so there’s not too much to go on in that department—but again, isn’t that the point? Isn’t living for an audience of one my life?

Why is it that I am still so deceived?

What is not getting through to my head? My heart? Why do I make this harder than it is?

What is not getting through to your head? Your heart? Why do you make this harder than it is?

The thing is, we don’t really know what we are up against. We think we know, but we really don’t. The way that God loves—that's what we fail to understand. How much, how fully, how it’s all the time…that passionate, avenging flame, that deep, caring ocean…all of love…we just don’t see how much God is a relentless God. One who loves above all else.

 

1.16.2014

Banished Expectations

Art Series #2

This is an issue that I feel like plagues many people, especially girls, but is not addressed nearly enough. Expectations. Expectations and all the lies, lists, masks and worries that come with them. We feel that there is so much expected of us—how to look, act, speak, smile. How to achieve, receive and look at people.

The world tells us we are too much and not enough, all at the same time.

Wait—how does this even make sense? How can we be both at once?

The better question is how can we believe that? Why do we believe that?

The thing is, we don’t have to anymore. The One Who Came to Save has sent His Son. Just for you, just for me.

All this weight that we tend to hold on our shoulders, expectations we strive towards, the masks we feel we have to hide behind, the lies we adopt as truths—they ARE all SHATTERED by Christ.

How do we break through all of these things that cover us? By being whom we were made to be—

Art.

It’s a verb.

Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.

Who God made you to be.

You’re His.

There are no more expectations, lies, fear, worries, and masks to hide behind—

Only love to fall into. 




Romans 8:28 and 8:38


 

1.15.2014

The Art of Being Yourself

Art Series #1

So lately I've been studying art. Not the painting that I so love to do (no matter if it looks like a bunch of blobs that I tend to get allllll over myself in the process...), but your art. My art.

It all started with a book A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman. It's about when we become ourselves and do what we were made to do, how God comes out of us in a million little ways.  http://www.chattingatthesky.com/a-million-little-ways/

Maybe you've never thought of it like this, but maybe art is a verb. Something you do, not only something you make.

Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.

Who you really are is who God made you to be. No more masks. Nothing to hide behind. He won't buy that fa├žade anymore. Actually, God never did. He knows you, he knows you inside and out, backwards and forwards. He knows your deepest fears and darkest secrets and everything you hate about yourself. God also knows your gifts and talents because He made them! He made you.

What'd He make you for? To make art! To be the uniquely wonderful you, gifted in talents and weaknesses, just as you are for HIM.

But sometimes it hurts to be yourself. It hurts so much. Why? Because it means admitting your iniquities and sins and faults and failures and the fact that you can't even make ravioli right. Admitting yourself to you and to others, and living to be yourself  is such a something that has no barriers...no walls, no nothing. It's just you. Doesn't that scare you? Usually I feel like we have walls up to protect ourselves from ourselves! How unproductive is that? Art comes out when your walls are down. Being yourself is also something that's on a level so raw, so deep--because it's something God designed.

You may have heard some of this before, but really, let your layers and masks that help you hide from yourself and others slowly drop away. There's a whole other dimension of yourself and your potential that you probably haven't tapped into. You think God is good now? Let Him work through you more and I can guarantee that there's something bigger and better up ahead.

"Part of the art is having the faith to believe that Jesus still works in our weaknesses. Maybe especially so."
Emily Freeman


Who am I to do these things and still be loved like I am?

A child of God, that's who.


That's you.



1.14.2014

Times

I know I need You
I need to love You
I love to see You, but it's been so long
I long to feel You
I feel this need for You
And I need to hear You, is that so wrong?

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.

Now You pull me near You
When we're close, I fear You
Still I'm afraid to tell You, all that I've done
Are You done forgiving?
Oh can You look past my pretending?
Lord, I'm so tired of defending, what I've become
What have I become?

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.

I hear You say,
"My love is over. It's underneath.
It's inside. It's in between.
The times you doubt Me, when you can't feel.
The times that you question, 'Is this for real? '
The times you're broken.
The times that you mend.
The times that you hate Me, and the times that you bend.
Well, My love is over, it's underneath.
It's inside, it's in between.
These times you're healing, and when your heart breaks.
The times that you feel like you're falling from grace.
The times you're hurting.
The times that you heal.
The times you go hungry, and are tempted to steal.
The times of confusion, in chaos and pain.
I'm there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame.
I'm there through your heartache.
I'm there in the storm.
My love I will keep you, by My pow'r alone.
I don't care where you fall, where you have been.
I'll never forsake you, My love never ends.
It never ends."

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
 
Times
Tenth Avenue North

1.13.2014

One of Those Days Was Today

Today is one of those days when you turn your multiple alarms off and go back to bed. You also get out of your car and shut a chunk of your hair in the car door. Frustrated, you get out and are walking into Wal-Mart and end up seeing someone from your  church so your day is made instantly better, after you get over your initial fear that they are trying to run you over. After stopping to talk, you go in, and look at all the dozen of notebooks on the shelves and wonder if trying to find the perfect notebook is actually you stalling from writing what actually is supposed to go in the notebook. So you go home and proceed to write in only one of the notebooks you bought and try to get some work done. Over the period of the day, you down a whole entire 2-liter of ginger-ale (in my defense, I hardly drink sodas and I got it to calm my stomach) and spend what seems like the other part of your day in the bathroom. I'm just being honest here. Your evening is watching multiple episodes of Grimm and eating barbeque chicken pizza with stuffed crust. Your night is making sure your brother is okay since he's sick and writing, reading and catching up with those whom you haven't seen via social media.

It's days like these--the ones when all you want to do is curl up and watch cooking shows with a fuzzy blanket--when you realize the importance of managing your time and giving yourself a break at the same time.

Tired days. Stressed days. Although they may not be bad, they come every once in awhile. The trick is to learn to breathe during those times and be where you are, not in any other place, because sometimes, we just need an actual break.  


1.12.2014

The Choice of Prayer

Some days, you really feel like writing. Others, you don't. Right now I am sooooo out of it for whatever reason, and can hardly keep my head up. I think it's all these choices I have to make. Especially those where you have only hours or minutes to decide. Sometimes the best I can do is take a deep breath and pray.

Speaking of prayer, I was reminded of a responsibility that I have, that we have, as Christians. Sharing with one another in prayer.

I got to do this on the Sunday our church calls Love Shelbyville--our service day to the community (http://www.loveshelbyville.com/blog/). Most members and guests go out into the community and serve in various ways, but a group also stays at the school (yes, our church meets in a school right now--we got to pray in a 2nd grade classroom) and prays. That's what I got to be apart of this Love Shelbyville day. A lot of sharing went on in the group and I was burdened for all these people that were lifted up in requests (most of those lifted up don't even know that they are being prayed over) and for the people in the group who love those they pray for.

"Bear one another's burdens, as to full fill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."
James 5:13-16

How good does it feel that when you exchange prayer request cards and yours goes to someone who you know has a faith of a prayer warrior and will pray much for your long list of concerns?

If this is how I feel when I know someone strong in their faith gets my card, how much more safe do I feel when I finally understand that God holds the before, the after and the outcome?

This is the kind of relationship I have with my church family, and I can't even begin to say how thankful I am for their guidance, prayers, and that they are the examples that they are. I learn so much from them about smiling and about love and about sharing life. Seriously, moments like these, praying in a class room with these people that I've gotten to know is one of the things I miss most when I'm away. The only thing that keep me from being too sad is that fact that I have been placed in another church at school that loves me and it's community too.

The thing is, this all comes to pass--and we have the choice to pray about it. A time between you and your Savior where you can just let go of your life and all of who you struggle to be. Lifting up all these needs and wants and desires is a time to empty yourself out to Him Who Keeps You Safe. He will take care of them.


1.11.2014

With an Open Heart

At a church service one day in early January, the topic of new years resolutions came up. As the speaker talked about this in relation to our faith, I told God to break me however He wished. I knew that I did not know how He was going to do this, and part of my knew it would probably hurt--maybe much more than last time He broke me. Turns out it did--but the result was tenfold compared to the last time.

I don't want to ask myself, "What if I had given everything?" No. That's not going to happen. My Lord is my God, and with the gift of salvation He's given me, there's no turning back. He get's my all.

Now that 2014 has rolled around, I get to pick my words oh so carefully again.

With an open heart, I again pray that God will break me for Him this year like never before.





To sum this up, here's a PERFECT song with a lyric video that is just PERFECT. I love it. Check it out.

Any Other Way
Tenth Avenue North

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdi1drzYvew

1.10.2014

Friday Nights







  
 

 
 

For When You Feel Empty



For moments when you feel as empty as this jar of peanut butter...some words in lyric form to encourage you...they never fail to put a smile on my face.




You broke my chains of sin and shame
And You covered me with grace And You mend my life with Your holy fire
You cover me with grace

And You are the hand that reaches out to save

And I am set free, oh oh oh
I am set free, oh oh oh
It is for freedom that I am set free


I Am Set Free
All Sons and Daughters
*************************

All we have, all we had
Was a promise like a thread
Holding us, keeping us
Oh from fraying at the edge

All we knew, all we knew
Was You said You'd come again
You'd rise up from the dead


Buried in the Grave

All Sons and Daughters
*************************

Oh How I Need You
All Sons and Daughters
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-ZpcJzGBpE

 

1.08.2014

Catch Your Breath and Breathe

Today I'm tired. Worn out. It's only 10:56 AM.

It's more than realizing I can't do it on my own, it's about how there's no level or time when I can do it alone--ever.

In my past how did I miss the fact that I was so unable? What did I ignore?  Because some days I just look up and there's so many things all around me. I have to keep my eyes above. Far above.
 
 
"Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory"
Colossians3:2-3


The thing is, I fee like our days are like this when we especially need to lean, to breath Him in, in a deeper way than ever before.

 
"If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit."
Galations5:25
 
"But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord my God my refuge, to tell of all your works."
Psalms 73:28


Lord I need you, Oh I need you,                                                         Sing out,                                  
Every hour I need you,                                                                       Lift your voice and cry out,
My one defense, my righteousness,                                                   Awesome is our strong God,
O God, how I need you                                                                      Mighty is our God
Lord I Need You                                                                                Strong God
Chris Tomlin                                                                                      Desperation Band



No matter how many posts I post about this, there will never ever be enough to emphasize this fact. No matter how many times I have to relearn this it will never be enough.