The Liberation

tumblr_oo016d3SY31r3pmtuo1_540

Last night, I couldn’t sleep very well, so I decided to pick up a journal I had recently bought (the obsession is real), and try to fill the first few pages. It was such a success! When I was done writing, it was nearly 1:30am. I had made a point to put worship music on, and that influenced my writing & reflection a lot. I haven’t journaled in a long time, so to get everything out on paper made me feel lighter!

Here’s a list of some songs that I had listened to:

  1.  Tremble by Mosaic MSC
  2. Nothing But The Blood by Citizens & Saints
  3. Seasons Change by United Pursuit ft. Michael Ketterer
  4. You Are Worthy by Will Reagan
  5. High Priest by Rivers & Robots
  6. Everything To You by Bethel
  7. The Real Thing by Michael Ketterer
  8. You Hear Me by Rivers and Robots
  9. 23 by Red Rocks Worship
  10. Yahweh by The Brilliance

“These last few days have been unnecessarily hard on my heart. There have been too many attacks on my mind, telling me that I’ll amount to nothing in this life, and that I’ll never get to where I need or want to be. A whole bunch of stuff that does not have a place in my head.

What I totally skipped over in my thinking, was how important it is to speak truths over my life when spiritual attacks like this happen. They can come at any moment, so I have to be on constant watch. It’s important, because it’s very hard to function when all that’s on my mind is how awful I am.

Earlier yesterday, I was reading my devotional & the final pages in my leadership course. They both talked a lot about how we should speak out against the spiritual attacks and remember that we have plenty of promises to lean on from God. It allows for us to become more effective leaders when we learn to do this.

Isn’t it more liberating to know you can take care of someone & their burdens now that you’re not worrying about yourself? Yes!

This takes a lot of discipline. How? Well, we have to be regularly in the Word, reading the promises that God has for us; If we aren’t reminding ourselves of these biblical truths, or seeking them out, how will we know what God thinks?

We also have to pray. A lot. This is something I’m still learning to discipline myself to do. I know my day is unfulfilled if I don’t talk to God during the day. I feel guilty being in bed & talking to Him for only 5 minutes, right before I drift to sleep. Prayer takes a lot of our burdens off of our shoulders, and replaces it with peace. So why do we deprive ourselves of this?

Despite having to relearn discipline in these areas, I’m learning a lot. Learning to go to God with troubles I have is good. It’s important. I’m so glad and thankful for His patience with me. And I’m learning to speak against the things that Satan has planted in my mind. It’s time to put on some gardening gloves and un-root some poisonous roots. The time is so overdue, and I refuse to let it take over my mind any longer.”

Advertisements

Not a Proverbs 31 Lady

tumblr_on13vl6vEw1r3pmtuo1_540

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember reading this proverb for the first time and thinking, “That is not me.

Let me introduce you to the Proverbs 31 lady: She is someone who is always on the go. She’s innovative, good with numbers. She’s got a good home. She’s not afraid of what the future has in store for her. She is never found doing nothing. She’s strong, mentally and physically. She’s also a business lady.

I’m not insanely inventive, and I suck at math. I’m no business woman. I’m a fair cook, and I’d love to get better, but I’m no chef. I’m not a busybody. I’m almost always anxious; the thought of the future fills me with fear & dread. I don’t have my own home. My arms aren’t that strong, though I’d like to believe that I exercise my mind quite a bit.

Now, I know I’m not selling the prettiest picture of myself, and even though I feel led to write this, I’m super embarrassed about the image I’m portraying. As I write this, I’m finding myself thinking things like, “Is this enough? I do my best to better myself, but is my effort enough?

But the Proverbs 31 lady is also the following: She’s trustworthy, she’s eager, and hospitable. She’s humble, creative, helpful, welcoming, wise, and kind. She loves the Lord. She is all that 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says.

4″ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

When I was a teenager, early in my faith, I’d read articles on the Proverbs 31 woman. The messages I got from these articles were hurtful, and put doubt in my heart. Which is really sad, considering I was reading with the voice of supposedly godly women who are supposed to uplift and encourage young women. The message I received upon reading them were “If you’re not a perfect mirroring image of this woman, you are not worthy enough to be called a child of God.

But this woman is more than the simple mold of a Proverbs 31 girl- she is, in fact, a child of God.

I strive to be better than I am, and I believe that I am worthy to be called a child of God. It’s the gift that was gracefully given to me (and to you), when the price of death was paid on the cross where Jesus died. Though Proverbs 31 is a stencil on how a wise woman can be, I think it’s also a calling to be different in areas (e.g: just because you can’t sew, doesn’t mean you’re excluded from the kingdom of God).

We as children of God, should embrace our special individuality. I’m 100% here for it. Are you?

To Dwell Is To Repent First

tumblr_om95y7ekz21r3pmtuo1_400

dwell

(dwɛl)

v. dwelt dwelled, dwell•ing. v.i.

1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.
2. to exist or continue in a given condition or state.
3. dwell on or upon, to think, speak, or write about at length or with persistence; linger over.
To dwell is to remain. To focus. And this is what Jesus wants: For us to be still so we can focus on His voice and hear what He has to say.
Here’s my problem: I dwell too much. I don’t sing my loudest, and I am often too still. This is often my mindset when I enter in worship. The Lord calls us to be still in His presence, but recently I’m discovering that I’m too still.

There comes a point where we’re no longer still in the Spirit- we’re no longer worshiping. We’re frozen in our unrepentance. We’re not joyful in our worship & praise because we haven’t lifted our burdens to Jesus.

That’s me. I feel like I’m pretty much frozen stuck. I still love the Lord with all my heart. But I’ve gotten to a point where I’m no longer basking in the presence of God- I’m just standing there.  This is a big problem. I imagine Jesus standing there and saying to me,

“Where’s your joy, child? You’re redeemed! Saved from Sheol! Rejoice!”

So here’s my repentance: Lord Jesus, I’m sorry that I haven’t been apologizing for the offenses that I’ve done against you, when that’s the first thing I should be doing. Have mercy on me, please. I don’t know what I would do without your mercy, and I’m so grateful. I’m not worthy enough to receive your merciful hand. 
Your love changes everything. You are the epitome of goodness, and this makes me want to be better for you. You deserve so much better than what I give. You have taught me better than this.
I’ve been sick for multiple days now, and I feel like that has robbed me of my joy. Please renew my strength to obey & follow the things you say. It’s not what I say that goes, but what you say that goes, because you are my Master. I love you & revere you. You are so kind & merciful to me. Bless you, amen.

So friends, are you ready to go into this weekend in praise & rejoicing? Are you ready to dwell in the presence of God & be joyful because of the salvation which Jesus has gracefully given to you? I’m excited to see what this weekend brings!

Unloved (That’s A Lie)

tumblr_olp5dhsric1r3pmtuo1_540

I was trying to title my poetry (I’ve been stuck on it for days) in order to distract myself from how I’ve been feeling so unloved all afternoon. Who knew why in the world this was happening, of all days? How I wish I knew. It was like my brain was a broken record, constantly repeating the same four terrible words:

“You are not loved.”

It hurt so much. I know these are words from Satan himself. And I know that this statement is a lie. But I can’t help but allow those words to get under my skin. It’s weird; I’m a sensitive person, but tag me in dank memes, or call me trash & I’ll laugh hysterically because I know it’s true (also because my sense of humor is warped).

With a heavy & hurting heart, I decided to delve into some scripture, because I know that there is power in the word of God. There, I can find some of the highest encouragement. This is what I found:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” (Colossians 3:12)

I’m chosen by God, made holy by the blood of His that was poured out on the cross where He died for me. I am beloved. Dearly loved. What a great reminder. I should really remind myself of this more often. But this is what I grasped. God chose me. Little unequipped-for-life me. Why? I will never fully know. But He chose me. He picked me. He wanted me.

I’m still hurting, and that might not change for a little while. But I’m encouraged. And I feel both empowered & humbled by those few words. There are people in the world who will not choose me, who will not love me. But that doesn’t matter compared to the love that the Lord has for me. Because if I don’t have His love, I don’t have anything. So because I definitely have His love, I lack nothing.

This goes for you too, my dear friend who is reading this right now. You are loved, and wanted by the Lord. When we dwell on this fact, and focus on Him, the awful thoughts begin to dim, and goes from “You are not loved”, to “You are loved”. We have to remember this.

“I am loved.”

Responsive: A Prayer

tumblr_okr8q9lmwh1r3pmtuo1_540

“You lead me to the water,

Sweet water,

The water of life.

When I am sinking,

You lift me

Up out of the night.”

-United Pursuit, Feeling Low

Jesus, there is so much I have to say to you. First, I need to apologize, because repentance is the gate to your listening ear. I’m so sorry for not listening to your laws. I am a broken human being. I need you so much.

Please have mercy on my soul, & the souls of my friends. We go wayward more times than we feel comfortable admitting. But we need your patient & slow grace. Have mercy on us. We have no idea what we’re doing.

Please help us to become more in tune with your precious voice. We need to listen to the voice that you use to lead us in the way everlasting. Our own personal plans have no place in the light of your perfect plans for our lives. Without you, or your voice, we are dead bodies.

But our victory is set in stone.

“Speak to the silence of my heart…

Speak to the silence of my heart…

Speak to the silence of my heart…

& I will wait for you to come.”

-United Pursuit, Speak To The Silence

Oh, Jesus…how much are we compared to you…your glory…the greatness of your presence…the shadow of your cross…the weight of our burdens that you carried upon yourself?

You are so perfect in each way- so incomparable. You, only you could have done what you did. May we always look to your cross. We are desperate for something that only you can give us. We can’t do anything in our own power to fix our problems; to fix ourselves. We need to have you make a home in our little, mere souls, because only you can change us from the inside out.

We are messes of human beings, but we love you. We try. But we need your divine help. Oh, God. You are the most precious thing we possess. We love you so much.

Let us be still. Still enough to hear your voice. To sit, listen, and respond.

 

This Is The Way, Walk In It

Happy Monday, my friends! I have someone special I would like to introduce you to. Her name is Joelle & I have known her for about 4 years! Throughout these years, she’s become a great friend, and I admire her greatly. She loves the Lord with her whole heart & has a passion for ministry. She writes a blog, called Joyfully Yours Blog & if you click on it, you will be redirected to it. Please check it out, she has so much wisdom to share. Enjoy!

thumbnail_this-is-the-way

How do I hear God’s voice? Why would God speak to me? How does God speak to me? For a long time I thought that God only spoke to more “spiritual” people who had a special gift that allowed them to hear God. In the past few months, though, I have come to the conclusion that that is so false. My Heavenly Father desires relationship. And He is so close to me. He wants to speak to me!

Isaiah 30:21 says “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying ‘this is the way, walk in it.’” The Lord is so near. God’s Word was the catalyst of creation. It was there when Adam & Eve sinned. It told Noah to build an ark. The voice of God allowed Moses to move, to initiate the liberation of His people. It was there when that same chosen people refused to follow Him. God’s Word was with David through his deepest turmoil and fear. It told Jonah to go to Nineveh to reach those whom no one wanted to reach. God spoke to the prophets as they warned His people of His wrath and gave the hope of a Savior. The Word became flesh when Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem. And the Word is in us as we listen to the Holy Spirit inside of us –guiding, teaching and speaking.

God’s Word is constant and eternal. It allows us to move forward with confidence in a world full of confusion and insecurity. In Deuteronomy 30:20, it says: “… listen to his voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” God’s word brings life. Not condemnation, not fear, not hate, not shame. Life. Everything He says is perfect. If He speaks of such personal things, and if He cares so much, don’t you think He’d want to speak to you personally? Wouldn’t He want to sit next to you and talk to you about your career, your passions, your future spouse? Wouldn’t He want to help you through your deepest hurts? I truly believe He does.

Revelation 3:20 says that when God knocks on the door of our life and we let Him in, He will come in and eat with us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to tell you things, have long conversations about life, love and everything in between. Whether that be over a cup of coffee or in a dark room at 2AM when you can’t seem to fall asleep.

I believe the greatest way He speaks to us is through His word. He speaks clearly and boldly throughout the Scriptures. Deuteronomy 30:14 say that “the word of the Lord is very near you, it is in your mouth and in your hearts, so you may obey it.” God’s plans were perfectly laid out in the Bible – plans about His people, plans of grace, deliverance, and peace. There are even prophecies about Jesus in the book of Genesis! Isn’t that amazing? The Word was speaking then, why wouldn’t it be speaking now? The Holy Spirit speaks into circumstances that bring joy and those that bring pain. In all circumstances, He speaks life.  Everything He says is purposeful. In Isaiah 55:10-11 (y’all should check out the whole chapter; it’s pretty great!) it says

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

and stay on the ground to water the earth.

They cause the grain to grow,

producing seed for the farmer

and bread for the hungry.

It is the same with my word.

I send it out, and it always produces fruit.

It will accomplish all I want it to,

and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” -from Isaiah 55:10-11

 

Whenever the Lord speaks, it is for a reason. His plans are accomplished, hearts are restored, and love is on display. Learning to discern His voice from all others is so important. I’ve learned that, anything that leads me to discouragement or anger or shame, anything that doesn’t help me grow is not from God. When God speaks, He does so to point me to Him, to change my perspective, to remind me that I can’t do anything without Him. His words bring peace rather than confusion, healing rather than pain, and rest rather than turmoil. It’s okay to question, to research, to ask about what you are hearing (in fact, I encourage you to!). In the end, though, you’ll definitely see that God is always right and His Word is always good.

So, this is my challenge to you:

Seek Him. Read His Word. Pray. Listen. Find out how the Lord speaks to you. He is speaking to you in more ways than you think!

Coffee Chat: The Many Facets of Love

tumblr_ok9055duz91r3pmtuo1_540

Get your Monday cups of coffee ready & sit down with a blanket, because no Monday is complete without it! This morning, I opened up my Flourish devotional, and today’s topic was about love. Margaret asked, “What does love look like?”, and she came up with the following answer:

“Love moves. Love rejoices. Love protects. Love trusts. Love forgives. Love hopes. Love perseveres. Love leads. Love keeps. Love abounds.”

I read about how love is like a liquid; always splattering everywhere, splashing, and spilling over. I asked myself, “Do I love like that?”

I know God’s love looks like that.

His love looks like paint thrown on a canvas. Carefree. Always giving, giving, giving. Never tiring. His love looks like a diamond- it looks different when shown in different lights. Always helping us grow. He goes with us.

And this love fills us with love that we’re inspired to give to others. We overflow with it, and then He gives us a refill. We never run dry! I wonder if He could do the same with our coffee cups if we asked…ask & you shall receive, right? (I’m kidding! I wish it worked that way though.)

As I read on, I discovered that love challenges us to engage, embrace, and serve each other, even in the tiniest ways! Here’s a story of the time someone blessed me with small gestures of love (warning- tmi alert):

It was shark week (scandalous), and I was in the most unimaginable pain I’ve ever felt. As I lay on the couch almost in tears, the person I was with that day offered to go out in the pouring rain to buy a hot water bottle because they didn’t have one in their home. So they fed me my medication, covered me with a blanket, turned the TV on, and ran out the door. When they came back shortly after, they made me soup, and filled that hot water bottle to the top. I’ve never felt so loved.

It made me want to love that person in a better way.

I am definitely not perfect when it comes to loving people. I get impatient with people when they don’t understand me, I get upset over tiny inconveniences, and I can be unkind on my worst days. But I definitely do try. And when I hear of God’s crazy love for me, it makes me want to be a better servant. I want to love someone so much that they would describe it as “splattered paint on a canvas”.

How can you love someone today?

 

Rejection (Great Title, Robin)

tumblr_ojonhoshir1r3pmtuo1_540

Happy New Year, my friends! It has been a pretty relaxing holiday for my family & I, despite the touristy things & endless shopping trips we did in Florida. We went to the beach, met some online friends in Disney Springs, went to Universal Studios, and celebrated my birthday (21, wassup!!). For my birthday, we went to IHOP for dinner (those strawberry banana pancakes were something amazing), had some red velvet cupcakes for dessert, went minigolfing, and went to the bookstore! I added to my library quite a bit. Here are a few purchases I made: Daily Gratitudes by Amelia Riedler,  a beautiful journal, Pride & Predjudice (thanks mom & Vic), a new bible, Flourish by Maragaret Feinburg, and Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst.

Uninvited is a book that seems to focus on the topic of rejection, such a hard subject to talk about. I don’t think of myself as someone who is prone to rejection, but maybe that’s because I don’t put myself in a position where I could be rejected.

I began reading this book last night, with my new journal next to me- oh, how I went into this endeavor completely unaware of how this book would affect me from the get go. The second sentence had me writing. This is  what it said:

“Honesty wants me to speak to the least tidy version of the woman I’ve become.”

I can make try to make myself as beautiful as I can from the outside, starting from the clothes I choose to wear in the morning, to the make up I put on my face. But who am I before all of that?

Who am I really, once I expose myself to the light of day first thing in the morning, & face myself in the mirror?

From the outside, we are who we want to present to the world. With my pretty, made up face & tidy clothes, I am seen as put together, at least to those who don’t know me. To those who DO know me, and once I’m by myself, I can see that I’m messed up in all sorts of ways. I have deep cuts on my heart from bad memories that have shaped me into who I am now: afraid of love, always anxious, and tired of living, especially on my worst days.

I’m afraid that everyone will see this part of me & leave me rejected and alone. Is this what God thinks of me? Does He think of me as unworthy of the breath in my lungs? Is He afraid to love me because I’m sometimes afraid to love Him & give in to the lies of the devil instead of His peaceful Word? 

No, never

“26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” -Ezekiel 36:26

Even though I see the worst of myself & fear rejection more than anyone will ever know, He has made me new. He has made you new. We don’t have to fear anymore.

“18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” -1 John 4:18

I might continue sharing about what I’ve been learning from this book, as I read. But I just felt like sharing this with you. Have a great week!

Advent: Season of Comfort & Hope

tumblr_oimij2buud1r3pmtuo1_540

Though winter is a beautiful season, there’s so much beneath the sparkly tinsel, the effortless table-gatherings, food, lights, Christmas carols, and traditions. But behind it all, there’s a lot of depression, pain, and sadness. Maybe because of negative memories, or just because of the grayness of the season. I mean, it’s dark all the time, and where there’s no light, there’s an evident lack of hope, & joy.

I endure my share of seasonal & non seasonal depression. You are not alone in what you’re facing. It seems hopeless, bland, and as if joy will never be felt again. It’s gloomy. And even though I’m all for a nice, gray day, chilly enough for me to curl up with peppermint hot chocolate & Christmas movies, I do miss the sun. The absence of light. I know God is the light of the world (John 8:12).  But it’s so dark during this season. So where is God?

The Beginning (Genesis 1:1-2)

“1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Even though the world was dark, God was still there. He was there at the very beginning. Just because it feels like God isn’t around, doesn’t mean He’s not present, and that He isn’t getting ready to carry out His next step. The next verse says the following:

“3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

The darkness was still there. But now there was light. There was hope. The depression & dark times might not be entirely gone, but there’s now hope. When the world was at it’s darkest, God sent Jesus to be born. God could have chosen any time to send Jesus to earth as a baby; He knew what He was doing. Jesus was born for such a time as this. The world was hopeless, and suddenly a Light appeared in the world, and that Light was Jesus. He’s the Counselor, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He comforts those who hurt & feel weary. He restores hope to those who have none.

If you remember anything from this post, please remember that Jesus is ever present in your suffering. Rest in the comfort that He is here to change your life & provide you with a hope so strong, you will always feel Him nearby.

Know Us, Know You: A Prayer

tumblr_oigayq48k71r3pmtuo1_540

“Jesus loves you”, we say, but how often do we gloss over those three words? Let us remember those words like air, and study them thoroughly. Your love is not something to just skim over, like we do when we read books, so that we can get to the good part. Your love is the good part. You look on us with compassion, and care, and love. You really take the time to look at us, and you really want to spend time with us.

“Jesus loves you”, we say, but not out of routine. Don’t let us use those words out of routine. We really need to take the time to remember what those words mean, because they are powerful. Your name is powerful. Your precious name is life changing. Don’t let us become desensitized to those lovely three words. They are true. They are not to be taken lightly. These words demand to be reflected upon. Help us to deeply understand them.

There’s so much care, so much sweet softness in your character. Don’t let us forget this, because the moment we do, all light goes dim, and our lives becomes darker. Your name has the power to save. We don’t know how many minutes we have left in our lifetime to experience the love you have to give. Let us accept it, let us reflect, and think upon it every second. Please, give us the courage to share that lovely news to people who don’t yet know this:

“Jesus loves you.”