Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Failing to yield - striving to rise above

1 Timothy 4:12

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

This verse has always been one of my favorites. Being a young Christian, or should I say being a Christian that is young, does not make me any less capable than those who are older.

From the moment I came to know Christ as my Savior and Lord, my goal has been to live in such a way that others might see Christ in me, even in my youth… especially in my youth!

Being young has its sets of challenges and enticements. It’s been my desire to not use my youth as a hindrance or a waste, but as an example. To be an example in what I say, in the way I live, in my love, faith, and purity.

However, often times I fall short of this and show myself to be the sinner I am.

I confess that just the other day, I fell short once again….and it just so happened to be over something as simple as a shirt.

Every 4th, I find it so fun to be able to find a festive shirt to wear. Every year it’s a struggle. They tend to be sold out, expensive, or immodest. The majority of the time when I am making clothing decisions, I don’t allow excuses for purchasing something I shouldn’t. But, as hard as it is to admit, I gave into something that wasn’t quite up to my standards this year… or maybe it wasn’t my standards, but God’s that I fell short of.

Maybe to the world my festive shirt was cute, fun, and looked good in pictures. Maybe to me it was close to perfect and only slightly immodest…You know, “not that bad”...especially “compared to what everyone else is wearing”. BUT if that’s all it is, then I missed the whole point.

 It’s not about what others think or even what I think. It’s about what God thinks.

I may have worn it the whole day and thought it was cute, but the fact of the matter is, the whole time I also felt that God was calling me to something higher. Something more. Something better. Deep down I knew when putting that on, it wasn’t what God desired of me.

Sure, it was festive and fun and it looked good in pictures. But by giving in and wearing that, it meant failing.

Failing to yield to the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

Failing to rise above the world’s standards, and even my own standards, for the sake of the highest standard: God’s.

Failing to stand out and lead as an example of Christ.

Maybe the whole thing was completely harmless in the eyes of the world. But I know that’s not enough. I know that’s not ok. I know God’s standards are higher. I know He seeks more of me.

I confess that I gave into the festivities, and my own selfish desires. I confess that my voice and the voice of the world began to speak louder than that of Gods. I allowed it to be so and my heart now aches because of it.

How often is this true of myself? How often do I allow the world’s voice to speak louder than God’s? How often do I fail to yield to the Spirit’s conviction for the sake of myself or this world’s attention? How often do I sink to the world’s standards? How often do I fail to live and lead as the example God seeks me to be?

Yes, often times it is my clothing that is a stumbling block. But more often than not, it’s other things too. Maybe what seems so harmless in our eyes and the eyes of the world is actually grieving God to the highest.

It pains me to know that I had a chance to rise above and stand out for HIS sake, yet I gave that up for a silly shirt. It pains me to have felt the tug of conviction yet shoved it aside for something that is only important looking through the eyes of the world.

Although my heart aches because of the choice I made, I’m thankful for the burden that God laid on my heart over this issue. After all, if our heart is not being burdened in some way by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, then is our heart really in the right place?

Oh, how I pray that I would begin to silence my own voice and that of the world’s so that the voice of Christ’s is all that I can hear and respond to.  I pray that all of us would stop living by the standards of this world and instead, seek out and live by God’s standards. Because no holiday, no hot weather, no special occasion, no anything is an excuse to be less than God’s best.

Monday, March 28, 2016

13 things every young girl should know

Life as a girl can be difficult. It can also be beautiful. This world taunts and tempts us with so many lies that sometimes it's hard to know what's real and what's true. As we live and grow, we are going to face challenges. We need truth to help us live this difficult, beautiful life. As I reflect on what God has (and is) showing me as a seek to become a godly woman in the midst of a God neglected world, I've put together a list of 13 things I believe every young girl should know. Some are encouraging, some are down right hard to hear. However, we need a little of both. My prayer is that it would not only continue to be a reminder for myself, but I pray that it would challenge, convict, and encourage all young girls(and women) as they face the difficulties and beauty of this life.

ONE:  Jesus and the cross is everything
There is nothing of greater importance than knowing Jesus Christ and what He did for you on the cross. This world will try to offer you many things but nothing comes close to what Jesus has to offer you. If there is ONE thing that you can or could ever do right, it is to know and accept Jesus. If there is ONE thing you could ever do completely wrong, it would be to deny Christ. His life, His death, His resurrection is the single most important thing for you to know and understand. The power of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross holds the power to change your life. With it, you gain life. Without it, you lose it.  Don’t even continue on until you know and understand what He has done for you.
SEEK HIM above ALL else.

TWO: You are a girl by God’s design
You are a lady. A lovely lady made in the image of Christ. Understanding what that means and the beauty that lies within it is hard, especially in this twisted society. But, despite what this world says, being a girl is a truly beautiful and wonderful thing. God has designed us different than men, and His design is beautiful. You were made in the image of God. You were made to be a woman. Understand it. Embrace it. Live it. Understand that God’s design for a woman is not like that of man’s design. It’s different, yet it’s beautiful and lovely. This world will push you towards things that destroy God’s design for womanhood and erase femininity. We can’t live by the ways of the world. We must live by God’s way and His alone. I could spend pages telling you what I think it means to be a girl and what a lovely thing it is, but I challenge you to search the pages of His word to discover His design and the beauty of it.

“To me, a lady is not frilly, flouncy, flippant, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle, she is gracious, she is godly and she is giving. You and I have the gift of femininity... the more womanly we are, the more manly men will be and the more God is glorified. Be women, be only women, be real women in obedience to God.”- Elisabeth Elliot

THREE: Being you is a unique and beautiful thing
Who you are is beautiful. God is both the creator of beauty and the creator of you. Therefore, you are beauty. He has knitted you together in your mother’s womb and designed you just as He desired. You are unique and wonderful. Ignore the world when it whispers in your ear that you need to be somebody or something else. You are not too skinny. You are not too fat. You are not too ugly. You are not too smart or dumb or quiet or loud. Who you are is who God intended you to be. You are different from others and meant to be unique in your own way. God is going to use your personality and individuality for something special. If you try to be someone or something else, you miss out on the something special God has planned. Being you is a unique and beautiful thing. Rejoice in that and embrace it for everything it is.

Psalm 139:13-16

FOUR: Beauty is more than makeup and clothes
Beauty is more than skin deep. We live in a material world full of material girls. Our culture has destroyed the meaning of beauty and made it vain and shallow. Dear girl, don’t search this world for the definition of beauty. Search God’s word. God’s word tells us that true beauty lies within. Don’t worry about your outward self-- your makeup, hair, clothes, and your body. Seek to become beautiful from the inside out. Cultivate a beautiful heart and spirit. Makeup, clothes, and fancy hairstyles are all fun things and can be wonderful and beautiful. BUT, true beauty must come from within. You can’t dress your outward self with makeup and fancy clothes and forget to clothe your inner-self with gentleness, quietness, and ultimately, love for the Lord. Beauty flows from your love for the Lord, not from the makeup and clothes you dress yourself in.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
Proverbs 31:30

FIVE: You do not need a boyfriend
You need only God. One of the biggest lies and temptations you will face is the lie that you need a boyfriend (or husband) to make you happy or to fulfill you. Let me warn you, a boyfriend will not solve your loneliness. A boyfriend will not complete you. He will not fix your insecurities and he will not meet all your needs. Don’t get me wrong, a godly relationship can be a truly beautiful and wonderful thing. But only when it is given by God… in His time. Understand that until you know the Ultimate Lover, Jesus Christ, you won’t experience the real beauty of a relationship. You may find yourself a boyfriend but until Christ becomes your all, it will only leave you more empty and unsatisfied. You do not need a boyfriend, you need only Christ.
Ephesians 3:19
Isaiah 30:18
Solomon 2:7

SIX: Life is not a fairytale
Before you go on with life and think that everything will fall into place just how you imagine or dream it to, slap yourself across the face and take note of this: Life is HARD< but God is faithful. It’s important and wonderful to dream big and develop deep desires but it’s far more important to leave those desires and dreams in the hands of God. Don’t expect all your dreams to come true and all your desires and plans to fall into place perfectly. Life is hard. You must expect and prepare for hardship, struggles, and pain. Don’t live life with a spoiled attitude but instead a humble one. Know that life won’t be perfect but that in that imperfection God is faithful and has a beautiful plan. Know that your desires and dreams will take hard work, prayer, and the hand of God. His picture for your life is far more beautiful than any fairytale. He will take the imperfection, pain, and struggles and turn it into a thing of beauty. Beauty and happiness do not lie in our dreamt up fairytales, but in God’s faithfulness in our lives.

“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.”  Elisabeth Elliot

SEVEN: Life is short, eternity is forever
Your life here on earth will soon be gone. You can live it up and try to extend your days as long as possible, but the truth is, you will soon be gone. This life is temporary. This life is short in comparison to eternity. What you do with this life will affect how you spend eternity. If you chose to live it up and deny Christ, your eternity will be one of misery. You can have all the fun in the world and spend your days being thrilled and entertained, meeting each and every one of your desires. Yet, life on earth still ends and eternity is waiting. Don’t get so caught up in this world and its pleasures that it causes you to forget your Creator. For one day it will be too late. I tell you, dear girl, it’s better to seek your Creator and live a life of suffering here on earth then to deny Him for the pleasures of this world and spend an eternity in Hell. Life forever with Jesus is far better than any short-lived thrill here on earth.
Ecclesiastes 11:9-10
Ecclesiastes 8:12
Ecclesiastes 12:1

EIGHT: You are capable
Oh, how capable you are! You are capable, regardless of how young or how (old) you are. I don’t care how old you are. God doesn’t care how hold you are. He can use you and He will use you. He has given you talents and gifts and strength. He has made you capable. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Just. Do. Great. Things.
1 Timothy 4:12

NINE: Friends come and go, but family is forever
Be careful not to get so caught up in your friends that you choose to shut out your family. A time may come when those friends you chose over your family do not choose you… and your family will be all you have. Some friends may very well become your family, but often times, they simply come and go. They may move away or enter a different stage in life and you’ll soon become disconnected. However, your family is who God put you with from the beginning. Family is a forever bond. Remember that no friend is worth ruining that bond for. Enjoy your friends, but cherish your family.

TEN: You don’t know it all
As much as you think you do, you DON’T know it all. You don’t know what the future holds, you don’t know what will or won’t hurt you, and you certainly don’t know what’s best for you. You barely know right from wrong. You’re young and inexperienced.  You’ve barely seen life. STOP thinking and pretending you know it all. Be open to advice, criticism, and correction. Be open to guidance and wisdom. Your parents, teachers, and elders have been through life and have experience in a lot of things you are going to go through. They know things and have knowledge to offer you. Quit resisting it and just simply take it all in.

ELEVEN: Iron sharpens iron, so friends sharpen you.
Choose wisely who you surround yourself with. Pick your friends carefully. Those who you spend your time will have an influence and effect on you. Some will lead you down a path of destruction- maybe quickly, maybe slowly. Flee from this sort of influence. Seek out those who will lead you to Christ and challenge you to become a better person. Choose to spend time with those that make wise choices and good decisions. Friends are good to have, for they can help you succeed. But choice wisely.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

TWELVE: You have an enemy and he seeks to steal your soul
This world we live in is a dangerous place. There is an enemy prowling around seeking to devour and destroy.  (1 Peter 5:8)

Satan, the enemy, is real and if you do not stay alert, He will attack. I kid you not. A vulnerable, young girl like yourself is a big target. As scary as it may be, I want you to know it’s true. I want you to open your eyes to the reality that you have an enemy and he seeks to steal your soul. I also want you to know that there is a way to overcome the enemy… and that is by the power of Jesus Christ. He has ALL power and He stands in victory over Satan. I highly suggest that you don’t strive to take on this world alone. Don’t step out without Christ and those He has given you on this earth to protect you. God has given us people to help guide us and protect us from the dangers of this world… for example, your father. He is a good, good gift given to you by God. He is meant to be your protector. Put aside your doubts and your desire to do things your way. Don’t leave his protection unless or until God offers you another source of protection. I urge you also to seek out protection, guidance, and wisdom from those who are older and wiser. Don’t be too stubborn, independent, or prideful to have help. The dangers of the enemy are not to be taken lightly. Suit yourself in the armor of God and don’t deny or resist the help and protection He offers through those He has graciously given you.
Ephesians 6:10-17

THIRTEEN: You have a purpose
Last but far from least, you have a purpose. And first and foremost, your purpose is not meant to be a self-fulfilling one, but a God-glorifying one. Your purpose on this earth is solely to bring glory to God. Don’t for a second think it’s to achieve happiness or fame or pleasure. No, your purpose is to bring glory, honor, and praise to the one and only, God Almighty. Each and every person has a different path, but we all have the same purpose. If your life doesn’t reflect that purpose, then stop and change directions. Serve and honor the God who gave you life. Become more like His Son. Live in such a way that others want to know King Jesus because of what He is doing in and through your life. Help advance His Kingdom. Deny yourself and talk hold of Him and the cross. Praise Him with your every breath. Lift His name higher and higher and higher. That and that alone is your purpose.
1 Corinthians 10:31
1 Peter 4:11

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blessed beyond stressed

Have you ever had those days that seem to be so overwhelming that you can barely contain it? Maybe it's been more like weeks, months, or even a years worth of it?

My life seems to be full of that right now.

Sleepless nights.
Did I mention stress? The list just builds and builds.

Everywhere I turn there's something else to add to the list. Even the answers to prayers and the things I enjoy in life tend to build into an overwhelming mess of things.


BUT. You know what it's also full of?

God. Yes, GOD. It is so full of God and his love, his strength, his goodness. His blessings.

Prayer. Power given to the God above. The One in control. The Giver of all things GOOD.

Growth. You know that little problem right there? Or that inconvenience over there? Yeah, I just grew from that. God decided right then and there that it was time to step it up a notch.

Knowledge. Every ounce of worry or difficulty that arises in my life causes me to open that heart and mind of mine to gaining the knowledge I need to fix it. To solve it. To conquer it.

Wisdom. Guess what? All this craziness that's going on is a God-given, hidden blessing to gain the wisdom and insight I need to conquer the bigger, more powerful battles in the future. 20 years from now, I'm going to conquer that. And that. Oh, and that. And my kids are too. Cause, that's right, I'm gonna share my wisdom with them. And you. And any other person who needs it.

A broken me. A frail, wondering me.
AND an all consuming Mighty God ready to reach down and scoop this frail heart in His hands and unleash His mighty self all throughout my life.

Joy. Mmmhmm I said that. Joy! Undeniable, deepening, uncontrollable joy overflowing from the peace of having a gracious God care for you, strengthen you, and carry you through. He's got your back. He's ready to equip you, teach you, help you. Oh, and BLESS you.

Satan is a big, fat, generous giver of worry, stress, problems, busyness, and distractions. You name it, he'll leap for the opportunity to hand out anything that keeps ya from moving in the right direction.

Everything that jumps into my life, into your life, is an opportunity to either fall into the hands of Satan or jump into the hands of God.


What will it be?

A life full of Satan and his distractions?


GOD. And His rich river of blessings and peace.

The other night I went to check another thing off my list of things to worry about..Ya know, the kind of  hurry up and get it done and over with real quick so I have one less thing to worry about, kind of thing? Well, it was that kinda thing. And who woulda guessed God would make His way in and intervene. Who woulda guessed I would gain way more than I was asking for? Who would have guessed I would gain what I needed? Really needed. Instead of what I thought I needed.

It happened.

A simple visit turned into an opportunity, that I believe, was made to be given back to God.

I blessed. And was blessed.

God gave. And He received.

Everything in this life, whether it's good, bad, rough, or easy, is meant to be used by God, with God, and for God.

Who wants to miss out on that?

Not me.

I want to be ready to take every single thing in this life and make it an opportunity to serve God, honor Him, and grow closer to Him.

So stressed? Me? Ha! I'm blessed beyond stressed.


Blessed beyond stress.

The beauty taken in by a blessed beyond stressed kind of day. No filter needed.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Embracing beauty and displacing God's temple, modestly.

After writing Beautifully Bound, inside and out(which I highly encourage you to go read before continuing at, I thought this would be a great follow up to that. I mean after all, modesty and beauty go hand in hand.

I wrote this article on modesty a few years back after God laid on my heart the need to not only remind myself of it but the world as well. Modesty is such a battle in today's world and I know I continue to fall short of an example of modesty.  I admit first hand, I need the reminder and the push to keep trying. But with all that said, I thought this would be a great way to point out one of the ways to embrace and display the glorious beauty of God within. And that is, through the act of modesty.

Here it is, plain and simple.

-Have you ever thought of your body as a temple of God? Or that it does not actually belong to you? God tells us that our body is not our own, but a temple of His Holy Spirit, and that we must use it to honor Him. And in part of doing that is in the act of modesty.

Today’s culture makes us think it’s OK to dress and act however we want. It tells us that it’s fine to show off my body and do whatever feels right. The label from the clothing brand, Xhilarition, pretty much sums up this cultures view of clothing. It tells girls that, “There are no rules. Whether you choose to dress crazy or dress to thrill-make a statement, make a scene, wear what you want and it won’t be wrong." But the truth is, it can be wrong. God calls us to be modest in the way we dress. And anything outside of that is wrong. He says in 1 Timothy 2:9, “And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” Now, just to be clear, this isn’t saying we can’t have fun or be fashionable with our clothing, but that we must dress in a way that pleases God and displays modesty. As Mary K. Mohler says,”…there is nothing wrong with being stylish as long as your love for fashion does not supersede the good rules of modesty.”

In order to understand the importance of modesty, I would first like to point out that Christ is to be Lord of our lives, and as Lord of our lives He is to have control of every area of it, including what we wear. By saying that God is in control, we must completely understand that and live that out. We can’t just say, “I’ll give you control in this area but I want to be in control of this or that, or I want to be in control of what I wear.” We often think that what we wear isn’t a big deal, so there is no need to take it to God. This motive is wrong. We must let Him show us what is right and what is wrong, even in what we wear. For He is Lord over everything. And after all, our body is not even our own, but His. For 1 Corinthians 7:19-20 says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price, so you must honor God with your body.” So therefore, in all honesty, an immodestly dressed women is not only denying Christ lordship over her life, but is also giving away something that doesn’t even belong to her. If our body is not our own, but is God’s, shouldn’t we dress in a way that pleases Him? Shouldn’t we honor our bodies and model them in a God-honoring way? Yes we should. For God says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat, drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” This includes the way we dress. We must put on clothes that will not disgrace ourselves and God, but bring Him glory and honor.

Not only does dressing modestly honor God, but it also helps keep our brothers in Christ from sinning. We must remember that men battle and struggle with staying pure by the constant surrounding of the vision of women. We must respect them by dressing appropriately in a way so that they may not fall into sin.

Most of the time we don’t even realize that what we are wearing can be sinful. Our society drags us into the thought that tight jeans, shirts, or any type of tight or short clothing is just normal. But really, that sort of clothing just draws attention to our body in the wrong ways. Flashy clothing, or clothing that really stands out can also do this. Clothing or jewelry that puts attention on the wrong areas can very easily lead to sin. We all love to have fun and show our personalities with our clothing, but we must be careful to do it in a way that will not put the attention on our bodies, but on our hearts.

Hopefully you can now understand a few of the purposes and needs of dressing modestly. God calls us to be lights and stand out for Him. Matthew 5:16 tells us, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Let your modesty be seen and be an example to others. I challenge you to dress in a way that does not show off or draw attention to your outward appearance, but brings out your inner beauty, and the glory of God. As John Piper puts it, “Clothes are not meant to make people think about what is under them. Clothes are meant to direct attention to what is not under them: Arms and hands that serve others in the name of Christ, ‘beautiful’ feet that carry the gospel to where it is needed, and the brightness of a face that has beheld the glory of Jesus.”

So therefore, let us live by the definition of Modesty: regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress; simplicity and moderation. May Christ be glorified.

1 Timothy 2:9
The Message (MSG)
Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Beautifully bound, inside and out

How many of us struggle to feel beautiful? Fear to look in the mirror? Or look, yet end up not liking what we see? How many of us fear the judgement of others? Fear not being able to know the sweet feeling of beauty?

1 Peter 3:3-4
"Don't be concerned about outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

"..You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within.."

"...the beauty that comes from within.."

Somewhere, somehow, those words have began to slip from my mind. In the mix of this world's ways, I've created a mindset that forgets my inner being, and sees only my outward self. And most the time, the lack of beauty it holds.

It's about what I wear, or even what I don't wear. It's not just about the clothes and makeup I put on, but the body and face underneath.

Am I pretty? Am I beautiful?

I find myself in a battle to feel beautiful. To feel pretty. I struggle to find the beauty looking back at me in the mirror. No clothes are good enough. No jewelry, no makeup, no ribbon. Nothing can make this body look or feel beautiful.

Am I alone? Or are there others who feel the same?

"You should clothe yourself instead with the beauty that comes from within."

It was those words right there that I let slip my mind. I let that simple truth become blocked away. My focus slipped from the beauty that lies from within. The beauty of Jesus Christ living inside my very soul. The beauty of a soul that bears the Spirit of the living Son.

That's where my beauty lies. That's where your beauty lies.

Seek out the beauty within. Seek out the presence of the Almighty God inside you. Allow it to transform your inner being. Your soul, your spirit, your heart. Then, and only then, will your outward appearance become transformed as well. Beauty will flow from your body, your lips, your actions, your life. Jesus will be reflected.

Allow the presence of Jesus to make you feel beautiful on the inside so that the beauty on the outside can be revealed.

Once that inner beauty is embraced, your outward beauty will shine through all on it's own. The power of the living God will do it's work and shine through. Find His beauty, and He'll clothe you in it.

When I stop feeling beautiful, I close my eyes and look deep. I look for Jesus. I look for His light and presence within me. I search for the way to incredible, unending beauty. Everlasting beauty.

And time and time again, God's mighty hands have captured this frail heart with His beauty.

Open up. Look deep. Allow your beauty within to be found. Embrace it.

1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reminiscing in the old, bringing in the new.

As I look back at this past year, I see the goodness of a great God.

Joy, pain, sorrow, fun, tears, memories, brokenness, newness. All that is written across this year is God's goodness. His perfect love and His complete faithfulness.

Bad happened, good came. Hurt severed, love healed. Brokenness bleeded, joy conquered.

I guess you could say it's been a year of trials. A year of loss, a year of trouble, a year of hearbreak. But somehow, in the mix of all that, goodness flowed.

Yeah, bad happened. But so did good. A whole lot of it!

I look back and I see lessons learned. I see God's strength and mercy poured out, and His love overflowing.

I see a girl who's heart was healed and strengthed. I see God give renewal and hope in something so broken and lost.

I see man's strength turn into the Almighty's strength. I see God bending down to His beloved children and holding them in His mighty hands, laying upon them His precious protection.

I see the definition of trust being re-evaluated. Trust in man turns to trust in God.

I see family broken, but bound. I see the love and the tears and the support poured out from loved ones. I see the power in just one hug, or one line, capture a heart. One line spoken to build, not break.

I see relationships built. And I see friends coming together to be pieces of Jesus to each other.

I see the wounds of an aching soul be covered in the prayer of God's warriors.

I see people coming together to share in the pain of those hurting. I see hearts opening to those in need. Selfishness put away. And selflessness displayed. I see words spoken in love and sympathy and encouragement. I see God among it all.

I see a man broken. A man left in tears, a man hurting, call out to God. I see a man let go of His own strength, his own power, and ask for that of God's. I see a man humbled. A man searching with all he has for the One, True God. I see his hope fulfilled in God's very response to Him. I see a God who is faithful, and true. A God who cares. A God who comes.

I see smiles. I see laughter. I see God lighting up faces shining for all to see. I see God granting joy and laughter so that this broken place can have a glimmer of light. I see Him. I see Him smiling down saying, "I love you dear Child. I love you."

I see God's goodness poured out on those who put their delight in Him.

I see new faces in the pews on Sunday. I see the love of God filling the hearts of another lost one. The sweet gift of Jesus whispered into another soul.

I see Jesus. I see the cross. I see the gift of God poured out for all to enjoy.

I see God working. I see God transforming. I see His love, His faithfulness, His goodness. I see Him.

I see hope for yesterday. Hope for tomorrow. I see hope for the future. Hope for the new year.

I look back at this past year and I see the goodness of a great God.

I can think of all these things I hope for and want in the new year, but honestly, all I truly seek is to once again see God's goodness.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Where is your courage?


Where is your courage? Where is your boldness? Where is your light?

The other day I ran into a girl that I knew from a long time ago and probably hadn't seen in over 7 years. Since I seen her last I've come to know the Lord and I actually ran into her at a bookstore. She was helping me find a book and it just so happened to be a Christian book. Of course the thought going through my head was, "I wonder is she thinks I'm a Christian?". I had the hope that she did and that at least one tiny speck of our conversation and situation could be a tunnel of light to Christ for her. But...BUT. There was still fear. That tiny speck of ruin set in. The fear of being shut out. The fear of not being received because I'm a Christian. Fear.

Where is your courage? Where is your boldness? Where is your light?

One of my deepest desires is to one day witness someone coming to Christ. Or to encourage someone to seek the Lord. I often pray for that and ask God to help me be a light and tool for Him.. Yet, how is it that I let fear overtake me at a given opportunity to stand out? To be a light? How seriously do I really take my desire? My prayers? How devoted am I? How can I expect to experience that desire when I let fear overtake me? And worse yet, how am I to work on overcoming a fear when I don't even cause an opportunity of fear to arise? An opportunity to share Christ.

Where is your courage? Where is your boldness? Where is your light?

God is light. And Jesus has come to be our light in a dark world. For He says in John 12:46, "I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark." And because of Him we now have light. "For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8). And because of that light, because of that goodness, He calls us to shine and stand out in a world full of darkness and evil. He calls us to be a light. For He tells us, "...Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people." (Philippians 2:15)

So where is my courage? Where is my boldness? Where is my light?

He is light. I have Him. Therefore, I have the power and strength to be bold. To stand out. To be a light. Yet, do I?

I was having a conversation with a friend a couple weeks ago and we got to talking about the way we project ourselves. She was questioning if the conversations she had with others and the actions she used showed that she was a follower of Jesus. And it got me questioning and wondering the same of myself and my own life. Do others actually know I love Jesus? Do I act in such a way that shows the light of Jesus? Do I speak or shine in such a way that Christ's name is proclaimed? And if I do how often is it? Is it sometimes or all the time?

Every part of me is to be a light shining to God. An invitation to come to know Jesus. My movement, my words, my actions, my conversations, my silence, my all.

Yet, so often I fail. So often I let fear grip me and the world consume me.

Where is your courage? Where is your boldness? Where is your light?

Colossians 4:5-6
"Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone."

I have a changed and renewed life because of Jesus. I have a precious gift bestowed on me through Jesus. My life is made beautiful through Him. But I know through that, I am called to do great things. I am called to do things that may not always be easy and most the time require pain in this world. Through that, I'm called to conquer my fear. To live a life of boldness and courage. To live as though Jesus lives within me. To live as light. A light shining directly to Jesus. And if my life is such a gift because of Him, shouldn't it be easy to shout to the world for Him?

Where is your courage? Where is your boldness? Where is your light?

Just as Paul expressed in Philippians 1:20, I also expect the same of myself. "For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ whether I live or die."

I fully admit, I hope to become much more bold in my future, because my past is full of fear and failure.

For a great man by the name of Charles Spurgeon once said, "He that is ashamed to speak the truth has to be ashamed of himself." What words to soak in.

God has called me to be bold. To speak the truth. To speak of His power, His love, His sacrifice. He has called me not only to speak it, but live it. To show it. He has called me to live a life of courage. A life that shines brightly. One in which lights the way to Him. I pray that the next time an opportunity arises, that this frail heart of mine would not be overcome by fear. But instead, may the power and boldness of God's Spirit shine through me. He has called me to live a life full of this. He has called not only me, but you.

Matthew 5:16
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

 Where is your courage? Where is your boldness? Where is your light?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Testimony of a 19 year old girl

I often get asked the question, "What do you do?" Or, "What keeps you busy?"

My given response usually consists of the words "home and/or "family". And as you can imagine, it doesn't exactly come off as the most respected response. Especially for a 19 year girl. And an unmarried one at that.

Being 19 years old now, 2 years out of high school, no college experience, and having no outside-the-home-job(aside from babysitting), people often wonder just what it is that I do.

Well, my response is, I serve my family in my home.

Now, here's where the questions and funny looks start pouring in. Maybe even a big stand still of silence occurs. But, funny looks and all, I proudly say, "I'm at home, serving my family".

I believe God's greatest calling for a women is in the home. Married or not, there is serving to be done in the home.

 The world abandons the home. The world abandons the family. God doesn't.

And I haven't.

The world calls girls to leave. To go. To go off to college, to get a job, to move forward. To let go. To find their own way. And maybe even God has called you to do this.

But God has called me elsewhere. God has called me to stay. To stay and serve. To serve right where I am, in my home...for the family He has so richly blessed me with.

I've been given the opportunity to leave. To go to college, to get a job, to go off and do as the rest of the world does.

But God has called me. And I have chosen.

I have chosen to not take the "normal" or "expected" way. I have chosen God's way for me.

For years it's been a struggle. The questions, the thinking, the praying, the wondering what it is that I'm supposed to do. I've watched others move forward. Go off, get married, go to school, get a full time job, become missionaries.

Yet, God has called me to stay. To stay right where I am...yet, move forward in a tremendous way.

I'm not gonna lie, I've struggled. I've struggled with the thought of watching others move forward while I stay. I question God. His purpose, His plan... And the truth is, in that questioning I miss out on the blessings laid behind the purpose.

I no longer struggle. Now, don't get me wrong, I struggle! But I no longer struggle with where God has me. I no longer struggle with questions.

I see the beauty of staying. I see the beauty of serving. I see the beauty of the home. I see the beauty of the family. I see the beauty of God...and the beauty in His ways and His plans.

I spend my days serving my family in whatever way that it need be. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, holding a child, cleaning up a mess, finding shoes. Ya know, all that tedious, repetitive stuff.

But guess what, it's more than that. It's getting a sad, broken child to laugh. It's spending time with my siblings and teaching each other life lessons. It's giving hugs and kisses to God's precious children. It's taking a walk and giving them that much needed bonding time. It's kissing an ow-wee and wiping tears from a hurting heart. It's opening a hand to a fallen child. It's opening an ear and shutting my mouth to a wounded, aching soul. It's delighting in my parents and finding ways to help their lives be easier. It's so much more.

I struggle. I fail. I'm far from being the servant God as called me to be. But by letting go of the questions and setting aside the world's way of things, setting aside even my wants and desires, God has shown me the joy of doing such a thing.

I know it's not possible for all girls or even all women to find themselves with the opportunity to stay in the home, but for those of you who do have the opportunity to do so, seize it! Delight in it! Take advantage of it. Use it.

And those of you discouraged by being at home, don't be! Ask God to give you a new perspective.

Don't let the rest of the world question you in where you are. Seize what God has for you. Whether it's serving in the home, or at work, or in another country, don't miss out on what God has for you.

Just as Paul told Archippus in Colossians 4:17, we too are called by God to carry out the ministry, the task, the plan He has for us.

Colossians 4:17
And say to Archippus, "Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you."

If I let questions capture my thoughts, I'd miss out on family bonding and life-long memories. I'd miss out on becoming a better sister and daughter. I'd miss out on preparing myself to be a wife and mother. I'd miss out on learning to be a homemaker and housekeeper. I'd miss out on the lessons, the training, the changing, and the disciplining of God. I'd even miss the beauty of His glory being done in my life.

Although, my own desire would be to one day be married myself and serve my own family in my own home, I'm not anxious. I'm satisfied. God has His way and His way for me right now is to be serving in the home He has me in. I won't let myself be robbed of that joy, thinking of what could be. I delight in His way, His plan, His home for me.

So, funny looks and all, I proudly say, I'm at home, serving my family.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world."

Oh, the greatness of such words. The truth and life and peace laid behind such words. The blessings that are received in response given to such words.

Here I am; wondering, questioning, asking, thinking, trying, doing. And God's only request, His very only response is, "Be still and know that I am God."

Like most, I get wrapped up in circumstances and problems and I let myself worry away in time. I'm anxious, stressed, and concerned about anything that seizes my control over things. After hours and days filled with worry, after constant praying and even the shedding of tears, God's only response is, "Be still and know that I am God."

When my joy is gone and life seems out of control; when I'm searching and seeking out every area, every page, every inch of God's word looking for hope, looking for life, His only response is, "Be still and know that I am God."

When I'm lost in the ways of the world trying to find a way out; when I'm alone trying to grab ahold of even the slightest glimpse of something, His only response to me is, "Be still and know that I am God."

Even the times when I'm trying and thinking of ways to do something for Him. When I'm praying for ways to serve Him. After so many prayers and so much time gone by, His only response to me is, "Be still and know that I am God."

I spend so much time trying to figure out what's next. Or asking why. Or worrying or wondering what's going on. What should I do? What should I BE doing? Or worse yet, I am doing... what I SHOULDN'T be.

Why is it so hard to be still and know God? Why is it so hard to do nothing except take in the precious gift of life through Jesus Christ? Why is it so hard to focus on a love that entirely shapes my very being? Why is it so hard to set my eyes on His Sovereignty? Why is it so hard to just be quiet and receive the grace, and truth, and love of God? Why? Because I am broken. Because I am a sinner. Because I am selfish. Because I am human.

I take my eyes from Him and put them on myself. I take my focus of what should be on Him and I put it on me. Instead of being still and seeing and knowing Him, I run a hundred miles per hour doing everything in my OWN power just to wind up going no where.

What if I, no! What if we were all to just be still and know God? What if we were to stop running, stop searching, stop trying and were to be still instead? What if we were to be still and know God? To know Him, to see Him, to hear Him? To take our eyes and hearts from ourselves and see His goodness, His sovereignty, His love? What if we were to be still and know God?

Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world."

It is in that simple response, to be still and know God, that He is honored and glorified. It is when we let go of our worry, our questions, our thinking, our doing, and our way, and we sit in silence taking in God's greatness that His glory is revealed. It's in the moments of quieting ourselves and finding His holiness and His sovereignty, that His grace, and His mercy, and His love flow. It is letting go of our circumstances and letting God be God. It is in that that He is honored. It is then that He is glorified. And in all that, we are given such a stillness, such a peace that there's nothing more to do than be still and know God.

What if we all were to be still and know God?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Night under the stars

If you have not yet experienced a summer night under the stars, I recommend you do so! Not only did I have an awesome summer adventure doing just that last night, I was also reminded of how romantic God can be! If you don't think God is a romantic, intimate God, then I suggest you go spend a night under the stars. Or 2 or 10 nights! Soak in the night sky. Fill yourself with the sound of the crickets singing. Take in the cool night breeze. And feel His tugging of your heart. God doesn't just intend to love you. He intends to love you personally and intimately. Even romantically. God's love is a great love. You just have to allow yourself to receive it.

God's love calls to me
  It calls to me in the night sky,
  It calls to me when the moon is high.
  It calls to me in the bright stars,
  It calls to me even from afar.
  It calls to me when the breeze is still,
  It calls to me with the slightest chill.
  It calls to me in the silence of the night,
  It calls to me in blind sight.
  It calls to me with the sound of cricket song,
  It's call to me is mighty strong.
  It calls to me with the flash of a lightning bug;
  Yes, it calls to me in God's sweetest form of a hug.
  It's call to me isn't God's voice shouting loud,
  But instead, in the simple form of a cloud.
  God's call to me is heard,
  By the tugging of my heart, without a single word.

Psalm 19:1-4a

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.[a]
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world.