Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Daughters of God...

This month's blog posting is a guest blog from my great friend and brother in Christ, Brian Ellis. He has continually proved to be a solid spiritual example in his walk with the Lord, and never fails to speak Truth! Feel free to check out his blog "Abiding in Him", and as always, post any comments or questions you have! 

My dear sisters in Christ, 
You are the pinnacle of creation. You are daughters of God, Daddy's baby girls, His beloved. In view of His love for you, and as your brother in Christ, I wish to encourage you and share with you some things that have been on my heart in order to spur you on towards honoring the Lord with your spirit, body, and life. 

Prepare yourself to be a good wife.
Proverbs 31:10-"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies" versus Proverbs 21:9-"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife."  A good wife is more valuable than jewels, she comes from the Lord. A bad wife is a curse. Many of the proverbs are only repeated once, there are only a few which are repeated many times; one of which has to do with wives. Work towards developing qualities in the areas of: 

  • having a gentle and quiet spirit, 
  • being submissive
  • offering your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord
  • having a servant's heart.
Choose who you date carefully.
The man you marry will be your leader. He will lead you as Christ leads him. He will also have an unbelievable influence over your children, especially in regards to spiritual matters. This being said, it is imperative that you choose wisely who you date towards marriage. Notice how I said towards marriage: you're either brother and sister in Christ, moving towards marriage, or married. 
Here are some tips:
  • Proverbs 31:30 can apply for men too! 
"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a man who fears the LORD is to be praised." Don't date a man because he is charming; it's deceitful, it disappoints and betrays. You won't get what you expect. Beauty is fleeting...find the most attractive man alive today and then look at him in 100 years. He will look grotesque. It's here today, gone tomorrow. Rather than seeking a man who is charming and handsome, seek FIRST a man who gains favor from the Lord."
  • If you find a man who esteems you higher than he esteems the Lord, run from him like the plague.  
  • Look at the way a man treats others, not you! Look at the way he treats people in inferior situations, his boss, those who can do him no good. IN THE BEGINNING OF RELATIONSHIPS A MAN WILL PUT HIS BEST FOOT FORWARD, BUT WHAT YOU SEE ISN'T ALWAYS WHAT YOU GET. You don't want a performer. Spend time and get to know the true him. What's his reputation? If he doesn't respect his mother, doesn't respect women, he won't respect you when he gets your heart. Look for a man who can lead when you're married, who will be a good husband and father. Ask his closest friends about him, see what people say about him. Seek wise counsel. Look for spiritual fruit developing in his life (Galatians 5:22-23). If you don't, you're making your own bed and you will sleep in it.
Be like Ruth.
Many women are encouraged by Ruth, as you should be. She was a loyal, compassionate, God-fearing woman who exhibited the fullness of the beauty and majesty of womanhood. You can learn a lot from her, especially in terms of relationships. Read this passage from Ruth:
“Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4) 
The man's duty is to pursue the woman; he make the moves, he initiates. Boaz was the kinsman-redeemer (meaning he married the relative's widow to redeem the inheritance). He had to pursue Ruth. But the woman has a job as well: to show the man that there is something to be pursued. Ruth showed Boaz that there was something to be pursued, that he had a job as the kinsman-redeemer that should be honored. Ruth's reputation had also preceded her, as Boaz already knew she was a woman of noble character. If a girl tries to show she isn't interested, but she truly is, it will throw the guy off. Don't play hard to get. No guy in his right mind will pursue a girl who doesn't show an openness to being pursued. Be like Ruth and present yourself in a manner that shows you are open to being pursued. You don't have to say "I want you to pursue me," but you can drop those little hints in the way you act that convey that you like him and are interested. Actions speak louder than words!

Your BOYFRIEND is NOT your spiritual leader. Your HUSBAND is.
I've noticed something in dating relationships: boyfriends begin to think it's their duty to lead their girlfriends, and girls think it's their duty to submit to their boyfriends. Where does Scripture say "girlfriends, submit to your boyfriends as unto the Lord?" Where does it say "the boyfriend is the head of the girlfriend as Christ is the head of the church?" Is that the King John Version translation? Is that in the book of 1 Matthew?
When in a relationship, it's important to see if a man has the capability to lead. But he is not your leader until you are married; he is not responsible for the development of your spiritual maturity until marriage. In the same way, you should learn how to be submissive, but you do not submit to the man until you are married. A husband leads his wife as Christ leads the church; he leads her as Christ leads him. If you aren't married, Christ is your leader; you have not yet been given to marriage, you are His. You should, however, encourage one another towards Christ and the pursuit of godliness while you are dating (the same way you do with your brothers and sisters in Christ, which you both still are until you become one flesh), there is just no leading/submission. Woe to the man who tries to be your spiritual leader before you are married-God is a jealous Father who cares for His children...He is a protective Daddy and He has not yet given His daughter in marriage. 

Wait on God to give you away in marriage to your husband.
I know that you've probably heard it a million times. But it carries truth. In almost every society, fathers give their daughters away in marriage. God gave Eve to Adam. In the same way, our heavenly Father gives His daughters away in marriage and He will give you away when He's ready. Until then, delight in Him and wait on Him...His timing is perfect! Dance with God and He'll allow one of His sons to cut in.


View yourself as God does; Let your beauty come from your inner self.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of godly jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:2-3. 
In society, we put great value in our outer beauty; in Scripture, 
Jesus said "...what is valued among men is detestable in God's sight" Luke 16:15. 
"Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at things people look at: people look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" 1 Samuel 16:7. 
In God's eyes, physical beauty is vain, meaningless, futile, and empty...but a good spirit is of great worth in His sight. Notice how in 1 Peter 3:3 it says unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit and in Proverbs 31:30 it says beauty (physical) is fleeting, but spiritual beauty is eternal. No matter your physical beauty, there will come a day when godly women will shine in the Kingdom of the Lord like the sun- they will shine with a glory and beauty this world has never dared to imagine. Beauty here is fleeting, there it's forever and you can see hints of this true beauty in your inner being, not outer. Plus, beauty is defined differently depending on what culture you live in: American beauty values thinness, while in Nigeria fuller figured women are viewed as beautiful. The view of beauty to the world changes, but the view of beauty to God never changes, because He never changes. Jesus Himself is the perfect example of true beauty! The Bible says that physically, Jesus had no attributes that drew people to Him...He just wasn't an attractive guy. Now spiritually, He was the most beautiful person who ever walked this earth. Compare Him to Satan, who Scripture says was physically the most beautiful angel...but his spirit was rotten. As we seek to follow Jesus and become like Him, we should begin to let our beauty come from our inner self. 

Monitor the amount of social media you intake. Most of it will point you away from Christ.
We live in a society that strives for certain things, and if you don't have these these things they tell you you're not good enough and you need to change. The world encourages us to find our identity in what you wear, what you drive, how you look, how wealthy you are, etc. You shouldn't look to magazines and tv commercials to find your identity, you should look to the cross. Your identity is found in Christ and your beauty is found in the work He has done/is doing in you. You are the workmanship of God, like His masterpiece:
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
I urge you to remember that, sister! Love the way you are, remember the One who made you makes beautiful things and He took special care in making you!


Address the heart, and then the hemline. 
Any biblical discussion of modesty begins by addressing the heart. This is because dressing modestly is fruit of the transforming power of the Gospel. Modest dress is centered around the Gospel because a modest heart precedes modest dress; it's the fruit of a godly, regenerate heart. Read this excerpt from John McArthur on addressing the heart, not the hemline:
“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?…. Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her…beauty?  Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.”
Read this too:
 Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.”
You see what he's trying to say? A modest, humble heart will lead to modest dress. Immodest dress is an expression of arrogance, it reveals the absence of humility. Proverbs 11:22 says "like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." Discretion=prudence, discreetness, gumption...polar opposites of immodesty. A gold ring in a pig's snout is something nice in an extremely ugly setting. Can I remind you that this is Scripture; this is Holy Spirit inspired. God is speaking through Solomon. Can I also remind you that back in the Old Testament, the pig was the most unclean animal. He relates a beautiful woman who shows no discretion to the most unclean animal. 

Therefore I urge you sisters, show discretion in the way you dress. Remember, YOU ARE A SAINT, A PART OF A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. Discern what you wear and the message it conveys, and make the way you dress an act of worship. Let your clothes highlight your face, not your body. What is most catching about you? Your clothes? Your body? Or your character? Remember, a tree that bears good fruit pleases God and He prunes it to be more fruitful.

Most fashion advice today encourages sensuality. The more revealing it is, the more sexual it is, the better. You should discern who is making these fashion trends: are they people who fear God and are devoted to Him? Or are they unregenerate and of the world? God still loves them and Jesus died for those people, so you should still love them and not judge them...but you should not be ok with their fashion choices if the fashion is sinful. 

Dress in a way that won't cause your brothers to stumble.
Before I begin, I want to say we are all accountable for our own sin. A man makes a choice in his own heart to lust. But a woman may make it harder for a man to keep a pure thought life. Some of the things women wear are extremely revealing (yoga pants, leggings, tight running shorts) and can literally be the match that ignites the flames of burning passion within a man's heart. I understand that those articles of clothing are comfortable, but when has dressing comfortably been an excuse to dress revealingly? How is that putting the needs of others before your own? How does that honor God? Dressing revealingly promotes sensuality, which God hates and we should too. One reason you should not promote/provoke sensuality, lust, or sexuality is because...
"Young ladies can be ignorant of the war with lust men confront daily. No women will truly completely know the struggle with lust that a man has. They are often ignorant of the effect of their bodies on the eyes and hearts of men. They are often ignorant that men are visually stimulated. But after this message no one can claim ignorance."
Ladies, there is serious spiritual warfare going on in the hearts of men. Now that you are aware of this, will you be a stumbling block to your brothers or will you link arms with us as we make war with lust?

Daughters of God, I hope the Lord has touched your heart through this blog post. I want to encourage you that godly men are on your side and want to spur you on in your pursuit of godliness; you are not in this alone. Continue to live in a way where the world can see the purity and reverence of your life, your utmost devotion to the King! I want to finish this post with something I've read in 1 John:

"Dear friends, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known."-3:2 
"If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."-3:20
No matter the distance you see between who you are today and who God is making you into, don't reject the truth that you are a child of God and He loves you! We are becoming, and we cannot see the end result right now! But know that God IS continuing the good work He began in you. Don't condemn yourself because of this distance either; your heart may try and condemn you but He is greater than your feelings, and our feelings aren't always capable of telling us the truth of who we are in Christ! Fact(truth), Faith, Feeling...never put feelings first! No matter how much you fail to live up to the title of a Daughter of God, a Proverbs 31 woman, a Heiress of the Kingdom of God, turn your feelings of guilt, failure, etc over to the one who knows you better than you know yourself and is at work in you!

Much Love,

Brian A. Ellis

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Victory in Surrendering

I woke up this morning to this stunning sunrise. This picture doesn't have a fun Instagram filter on it either... it was just that beautiful. Gahh, You never fail to surprise me, Lord. 

Not even within five minutes of going outside and enjoying his beauty, then coming back inside, I felt a war on my mind.  I started getting frustrated over little details, rude things someone said to me, and truly, stupid things that had no right to steal my joy in that beautiful moment with Christ. I believe war can occur on the soul, heart and spirit, so a war on the mind is nothing surprising (Ephesians 6:10-18). It is Satan's way of trying to steal God's glory, like a jealous peer sneering from the corner while the star of the show performs.

"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8

In that moment, I had to surrender everything to Christ, all over again, just like I have to do daily, hourly, minute...ly? (not a word. moving on). Our thoughts control every move we make, biologically speaking. 2 Corinthians talks about "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" and that's exactly what we have to do. 

We as Christians must be prepared to fight the good fight against all that seeks to negatively control us, that being Satan. He has no power. He holds no victory over Christ. OUR KING is mighty though, OUR KING is victorious, and OUR KING is strong. (Psalm 24:8).

Don't be discouraged when you feel like everything in life is warring against you. Surrender it over to Christ, let Him fight for you.
"The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." Exodus 14:14 

In His strength,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Moving On or Moving Forward?

{ Although this particular blog is posted during sorority recruitment here at Texas A&M, take relief knowing that this has nothing to do with that process! Writing is just a way for me to catch my breath  this week, exciting as it has been!  Regardless, if you're a potential new member currently going through rush, my encouragement is to please follow your heart and choose the sorority where you feel the Lord is leading you to serve Him best, not where you'll be comfortable.  It's easy to go through college living in a comfort bubble, but when did Christ call us to be comfortable? Be in tune with His spirit, listen well, and go. ("Here I am, send me!"- Isaiah 6:8) }

The concept of moving on versus moving forward has been a spinning concept in my head throughout this summer. You hear people talking about "moving on" everywhere- songs, TV shows, magazines, Facebook statuses, tweets, blog postings. I was driving one day and counted eight songs about moving on in just under two hours. Our world is obsessed with moving on from whatever is holding us back, but rarely do you hear someone talk about moving forward.

 Okay, so what's the difference, you say? I tapped into the strong intellectual skills college has taught me....and googled it.

[Moving]:  capable of or having movement; causing or producing motion.
 [on]: so as to remain supported or attached from; so as to be attached or unified with.
[forward]:  toward a place, point or time in advance; ahead

Put two and two together and you'll see that when you try to move on from a hope, dream, person, situation, you're still attached to them while attempting to make motion. It's like trying to swim across a pool with a huge ball and chain attached to your ankle: not gonna happen. Moving forward, however, brings hope. Nowhere in "forward" does it mention current attachment, meaning you have complete and total freedom in pressing forward toward that place, point, or time in advance!

I don't know where you are in your life right now, but I pray you're striving to move forward instead of settling for just moving on. Agree to surrender it all to Him by laying it at His feet by just being open and honest with Him, then trust Him to break the chains of hurt, bitterness, or confusion in order to help you move forward instead of moving on. Christ breathed freedom into my life this summer by showing me the difference between the two, and although it's not an overnight transformation, it's a work in progress. For me, it means giving my burdens over to Him every morning, sometimes every hour depending on the situation. 

Trusting Him to heal your heart while also moving you forward is more fulfilling than staying attached to all that was holding you. It's not easy, but He is mighty, powerful, and strong.
He loves you. 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest..." Matthew 11:30

"Lord, You're mightier than these problems. You have a plan for my life, and staying attached to this hurt is not apart of Your will. Break the chains. Amen."  

Friday, July 13, 2012

His will be done.

To say I experienced a sliver of heaven's joy tonight would be an understatement!! My heart literally feels like it's going to swell up with not only happiness, but true passion for the Lord's work and plan. My junior year of college is coming up, and at this point in our education, most students have an idea...or at least pretend... like they know where they're going in life. I've been plagued with questions time and time again throughout college as I've tried to piece together what life will look like once I graduate- will I get into Physician Assistant school the first go-around? Should I and will I need to work as a nurse or EMT first? Where will I live? Will I have 20 cats?! They say if you want to give God a good ole belly laugh, tell Him your plans. All I'm saying is that God must have side cramps from laughing so hard at all the ridiculous plans I've devised.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. "
Jeremiah 29:11

His faithful plan rang truer and louder than ever to me tonight though while working and shadowing at one of the local hospitals in the area. It was my second volunteer shift of the week in Cardiac Care, and needless to say I was tired after a long day of trying not to fall asleep studying my anatomy book. Honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was be surrounded by more terms I barely understood, but I felt a tug to pay attention tonight. The Lord stepped in when one of the nurses asked for my help in checking on a patient's tubes. Mid-check, it hit me that we weren't just working with a patient, but a person: someone with a life story, with family and friends, with hopes, dreams, fears, accomplishments, and failures. That patient didn't need another medical professional in there- they needed someone to look them in the eye to let them know that they mattered, that they were loved. I caught a glance at the patient's bedside table to see an open Bible to Psalm 91. God gave me the courage to ask about their favorite Psalm, and even in their few sentences, His love shone mighty and strong in their eyes. In that moment I understood how Jesus had compassion for the hurting, the lost, the sick, the lame, the hopeless, the unloved. He looked at them, and loved them. Jesus's compassion for people ran thicker than blood through his veins, constantly pouring out time and time again for their sake, even literally on a bloody Cross to die an unworthy death for us.  I want that compassion. I crave His compassion, because goodness knows I can't do anything on my own behalf. Trust me, it's not pretty.

Philippians 3:10 defines my heartbeat right now when the apostle Paul says,
 "I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead...to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, so that I may experience the power of the resurrection."

His will be done,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Scripture Cards

Summertime is the perfect time for crafts, sweet tea, and some good ole Jesus time. I've been really wanting to learn Scripture better, but didn't have a quick, efficient way to learn say, 50 of the most important Bible verses about God, Salvation, Assurance of Christ, Confession & Temptation, etc. I'm a big nerd for flashcards, but wanted something at least a little cuter and portable to put in my purse or bag on trips.

These only took me about 30 minutes to make and put together, not including the time it took to write the verses on the cards. If you wanted to be super tech-savvy, you could type up the cards on a standard rectangle format, then print those out and glue them on the card. But personally, I think nothing is better than handwriting them.

All you need is:
  • Deck of cards
  • Cardstock (I used pastel and glitter, but you can use whatever you please!)
  • Scissors or a Cricut machine (Optional: I used the Cricut to make standard rectangles, but you can cut them out the old fashioned way too.)
  • Superglue or a very strong glue
  • Holepunch
  • Rings
  • Decorative sticker letters 
Ready to go? 

 1. Cut out rectangles from the cardstock.
2. Glue them on the front/back of the deck of cards.
3. Holepunch in the corner, then put them on the ring. 
4. Write Bible verses on them!  (I borrowed these verses from http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/category/character/bible/ - she compiled a list of the 50 most important Bible verses to memorize! So helpful) 

Pretty easy! Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments- brittavorhies@gmail.com. Happy crafting, friends,


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Confessions of a People Pleaser

I'm a people pleaser.

Welcome to my battlefield. I care about what people think about me. I pretend like I can fix everything to make it better so no one looks down on me. I get upset when someone legitimately dislikes me. Yes, it's a little embarrassing. My face is red just typing it.

I know I'm not alone in this battle though. It's just that no one wants to be vulnerable enough to admit that they struggle too.

Somewhere within each person is a natural desire to make someone happy. It's not about being fake, because there's authenticity in pleasing someone out of love, but the tricky part lies in when we begin pleasing the world out of fear for judgement, persecution, or reputation. There are those of you gifted with the carefree attitude of not caring what anyone thinks, and those of us who care a far greater amount. My father is in the first category- We fondly call him the Captain, and I love him with all my heart. He was a captain in the Air Force during the Vietnam war, and was a commercial airline pilot for almost 30 years, so he faced his fair share of conflict. A visible quality of his is that he leads a life worthy of the calling of Christ, and doesn't let mere opinions or snide comments bring him down. He knows and is aware certain comments and opinions are not of Christ, and literally lets them roll of his shoulders. Now, I'm sure it's not always that easy for him- I'm sure comments sting every once and a while, but he doesn't let them become his stumbling blocks in his walk for the Lord. He keeps going, keeping his eyes on what the LORD says, not what the WORLD says.

Christ modeled the same life during His time on earth.

He was
spit on
cursed at
nailed to a Cross.
for the jewish priest. for the prostitute. for his mother, brother, friend. for a stranger. for those who screamed for him to die. for those that cried for him to live.
for us.

He lived a transparent life for all to see, never fearing that someone would judge Him, or heaven forbid, think badly about Him. The benefit of that came in His faithful action of listening to God's calling to die on the Cross for us, and following through with it. Imagine what would have happened had he let the world dictate His life. What would our lives look like if we modeled our lives after Him? I believe more of God's work would actually get done if we tuned out the distractions hindering us. I love what Paul writes in Galatians 1:10,
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." 
I've spent my whole life desiring to please the world, and it's exhausting. I wasn't blessed to get my father's genes, but I do have a heavenly Father who created a Son that lived to please only His Father. I want my life to reflect Him. Our lives don't have to be about pleasing the world. That's such a relief to me. If we think that God can't conquer our problems, fears, or insecurities, then His death on the cross was for nothing. He died for a greater purpose.
  "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
"But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts."                             1 Thessalonians 2:4
So let's start over.
Hi, I'm Britta. I'm not perfect, nowhere near it. But I'm striving to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ, because He is worthy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Open Your Eyes

It's that time of year again: finals are here, ladies and gentlemen, and they're about to hit full force. You know what I'm talking about. They've been creeping up on us with that ever-pervasive stench for a couple of weeks now, leading to stressful rants, sleep deprivation, cranky moods, and this disgusting, overall lack of compassion and sensitivity to the outside world. The problem lies in the fact though that we're  living in this bubble where it's appropriate and almost encouraged to "shut out the world" the minute stress is evident in our lives, but that's the most backward thinking I've ever heard. 

We're not suffering from sleep deprivation or stress overload- we are suffering from selfish lifestyles, devoid of genuine kindness. 

I'll be the first one to raise my hand and confess that I'm prone to running away when my life is on overload. Literally. I run away. I escape to anywhere filled with silence or some semblance of peace, and rarely look back. While I don't see any problem with that occasionally, my heart is rarely in the right place when I do go on my "disappearing adventures", because suddenly the world becomes about myself. My problems, my fears, my stress, my this, my that. And that's where I've been so wrong... that's where we're all wrong. 

Compassion has taken the backseat in our lives, creating this awful self-centerdness that hides itself behind the pathetic label of "busyness". The first thing we often defend in our lives outside of family and friends is our schedules- how much we have to do, how filled our day is, etc. Ask someone for something, it can be anything regardless of importance, and the general excuse often has something to do with "being too busy". However, I've learned that you make time for the things that are most important to you. You only have 15 minutes before class? Somehow you'll make time to grab a bagel, check your facebook, respond to that text, check your e-mail.Yet why is it so much harder to serve a friend in need when we only have those spare 15 minutes? 

Or how about this- you know the classic, "Oh my gosh, if you need ANYTHING please let me know!!" phrase? I want to ask you, how often do you follow through? I've been guilty of this. It's incredibly easy for us to make these empty promises of supporting one another, but we lack the genuine heart in following through. It makes sense- we truly feel concern for the person in the moment and truly want to help, but lack the direction for how/when/where to serve them. Let me tell you something though- that person in need probably isn't going to verbally ask you for help. They will, however, plead for your help with their actions or attitude. We have to become better about looking for how and where to serve instead of expecting it to magically be made known to us. We'll say, "I wish you had told me!" And somewhere deep down they've thought, "I was trying to... you weren't listening." We as Christians and human beings, need to start listening not only with our ears, but with our eyes, our intuition, our hearts. Open your eyes to what's going on in the world around you. Look up from your sorrow, pain, stress, whatever you're going through, and understand that God created a world bigger than our own lives. If he conquered death, He can conquer our problems. We're missing the boat by thinking this world is only about us. He wouldn't have created us simply to co-habitate with each other. That would have been a complete waste of time. I believe He created us to first love Him, then love and serve one another selflessly. 

As the school year winds down, let's not lose sight of why we're here. Yes, we need to be diligent to school and our commitments, but that doesn't excuse living life without kindness and compassion. Open your eyes...be kind... listen. Find that person this week who truly and deeply needs love or encouragement. Devote time to actually listening to someone vent. Set aside time in the Word for God to fill you up, and ask for patience this week. I'll be asking for plentiful amounts of it, that's for sure. Finals and stress in general shouldn't be our reason for shutting the world out or failing in our friendships. That would be giving them too much stock. Let's instead put our stock in the LORD, and  constantly remember that His patience, kindness, strength, and majesty is bigger than our problems. He was faithful before, He'll be faithful again. 

"Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." 
Mark 9:35

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To Those Who Wait

To Those Who Wait- Bethany Dillon
I am waiting on You,
I am waiting on You.
You say You’re good to those who wait.
My heart’s discouraged,
So I come to You expectant.
You say You’re good to those who wait. 
Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.
Oh, wretched man that I am!
Free me from my distractions.
You say You’re good to those who wait. 
Then confession and repentance
Find me in the quiet.
You say You’re good to those who wait.
Now I know You’re good to those who wait.
Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.
Oh, my soul,
Wait upon the Lord.
Keep your lamp filled with oil.
Oh, my soul,
Be not deceived!
Wait for Him.
Don’t be quick to leave.
Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Sunday, February 5, 2012

To the guys.

"Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something you have to be all the time." Luigi Pirandello

Guys, this post is for you, and I'm not speaking only on my behalf, but that of so many godly girls desperately praying for you to rise up and stand out. For those guys already doing so, you have not gone unnoticed!! Even if we can't see you, your works aren't ignored by our Father who designed and loves chivalry- "Your labour in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:18)".  Christ treats His church with the same love, respect, and devotion, and He expects nothing less from us towards each other. This is for the guys out there wondering, "What does and should a girl expect of me if I'm to pursue her as Christ pursues the Church?" Please know I'm not providing a formula of ANY sort or trying to be legalistic, but simply putting down some thoughts accumulated from so many girls I've talked to about writing this. Consider them.

Nothing is more attractive than a man in love with Jesus. You don't need to be 6'3, 210 lbs to be masculine in our eyes- all we ask is that you have a heart for the Lord, and are trusting His strength and wisdom to guide you every step of the way. A man who is trusting the Lord in that way and has a visible desire to serve Him is incredibly attractive. Our prayer is that you will be more in love with Jesus than with us.

We pray for you. Mind boggling to you, I'm sure, but we do. It doesn't matter if you're our brother, father, cousin, best friend, future husband, we pray for you. My main prayer for the godly men in my life is "for the Lord to strengthen, bless, and uphold them throughout their daily lives, for them to run wholeheartedly towards Christ, and pursue a life modeled after Him." I know that one day God will bring a man into my life who'll become my husband, and even though I don't know who he is, I pray for him every single day. My hope is that one day I'll get to see God's glory come full circle by discovering which prayers He answered and when.

Your words are held to high esteem. When you take the time to uplift, encourage, and inspire us towards Christ, it makes us want to move mountains! You encourage us to "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:14), and some days that encouragement is just the thing we need. We don't expect everything that comes out of your mouth to be all "C.S. Lewis", because let's get real- that's not everyone's gift, and we understand that! Sometimes all it takes is a, "Thank you for ____", or even, "Hey, I'm really proud of you." On the flip side, your words can tear us down in a second. Phrases such as "Shut up", "Get over here", "Hey thunder thighs"(oh yes, I've heard it) and other derogatory words, hurt us deeply even when you're joking. Be gentle with our hearts, please. Don't purposefully lead us on if you have no intentions beyond friendship with us, and if you do, make those intentions known. We love clear communication; it certainly makes life a little easier for everyone. 

Manners still go a long way. There are some girls out there who don't appreciate men opening doors for them, offering their seat on the bus, paying, pulling out her chair for her, being on time, etc. Our only explanation is that we often feel bitter towards chivalry because we rarely see it anymore, so instead we've become cynical and doubtful. We love when you prove us wrong though! It speaks volumes about your character. 

The little things count. This could be taking five minutes out of your day to call us just to see how we're doing, reminding us of things you like about us that we may not know, a big bear hug, quality time without cell phones/technology, random acts of kindness, even praying for us! If you're sitting there thinking, "I'm not creative though!!" or "Maybe if I had time..."- don't worry, all it takes is a genuine heart with sincere intentions.  Promise. When you make the time to go out of your way for us, we notice and appreciate it more than words can explain. 

I'm sure there are so many things I'm missing- trying to share girls' thoughts is like trying to count the drops of water in an ocean... only God knows the number. And I know there are many things you guys wish you could say to us. Girls are always asking each other, "What do you think he's thinking?!", so by all means, feel free to let us in sometimes. We're on equal playing ground in that no side is better than the other, and we're blessed to be able to hold each other accountable! I love what Paul says in Philippians 2:1-4,
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." 

All that is within me wants to believe that chivalry is not dead, that there are not only true gentlemen out there, but strong gentlemen of Christ devoted to His cause, yet all I see and hear is society screaming back, "Dream on." And dream I will.

Prayerfully hoping,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pressing Forward

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6

I'm a big believer in repetition, whether that be in re-occuring dreams, repeated phrases or words, you name it. It catches my attention. In my case, I've heard Philippians 1:6 five times in the past three days alone, and I am confident that God is laughing over the fact that I'm baffled by His persistence. I mean, it's God- I should know by now that He enjoys getting my attention this way. 

The journey continues in fervently battling fear and worry, and although there have been many steps in the right direction, there have also been the days where I feel like I stumbled half a mile behind. One situation in my life is requiring so much patience, hope, confidence, and love that I'm not certain I can physically handle it on my own. Praise be to God though that I don't have to go through it alone! The struggle within that struggle for me is overcoming the desire to just give up. The other night was one of those "half a mile back" nights, and goodness was it a storm. I'm so blessed for the friends who remind me to stay the course, despite my inner desire to throw my hands in the air and cry out to God, "I'M FINISHED. I WANT OUT."

As I took the time to sift through some of the emotions, a simple image came to my head of a little girl and her Daddy, walking hand in hand along the beach.

The bond between this Father and daughter was unlike many of the broken relationships you see these days. His love for her radiated like a burning ember, and every ounce of Him desired to protect her, to care for her, to want the very best for her life. Nothing less! The daughter, however knew her Father loved her, yet didn't have the maturity to comprehend why He said no to certain things, like running too close to the waves when He knew she couldn't stand against them. Nevertheless, she loved Him, and sought joy in making Him smile. As they walked hand in hand along the beach, both with an empty bag craving shells, she boldly declared, "Father, I want to collect every shell on this beach to fill my bag!" Her Father calmly advised her, "Sweet daughter, only spend the time searching for the purest shells, the ones that take your breath away, and leave the rest here on the beach." Heeding her Father's advice, the little girl spent delicate time only picking the beautiful shells. She found joy in each creation, marveling over their beauty. However, she became lazy and started settling for those shells which had live creatures in them, were covered in seaweed, or were too heavy for her bag. Slowly, her big increased in heaviness and the precious shells at the bottom of the bag started to crush under the weight of these newer, uglier shells. Time and time again, the Father watched her pick these shells, softly reminded her of His warning, and offering to hold the bag for her. Soon, the daughter's bag became too heavy for her little hands to carry, yet she refused to hand it over to her Father, because in her mind it was her bag, her shells, her walk. Eventually she looked up at her Father with big sorrowful eyes and asked, "Father, will you please hold my bag? I can't carry it any longer." Without any hesitation He replied, "I've just been waiting for you to ask." He swept his daughter into His strong arms, and carried her the rest of the way on the beach, emptying her bag of shells along the way to only contain the precious, beautiful shells of worth again. 

In the same way, our Heavenly Father seeks to walk with us, spend time with us, but if we become distracted in seeking the worthless shells that only weigh us down, we hinder our walk with Him, as well as destroy the beauty He's trying to display to us. God's comfort and compassion for our struggles, pains, and heartache perfectly emanates His love for His children. My mind is blown that He deeply desires to rescue us from our pain. Kind David wrote in Psalm 40, 
"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord."

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30, 
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.”

Let Him carry you today, including your troubles. He is loving and strong enough to handle it. Our Lord does NOT give up on us, He is faithful and enduring, and desires to "continue His work in us until the day when Christ returns." 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paralyzing Fear

"JOY is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be okay; and the determined choice to praise God in all things." 
-Kay Warren

Now that the holiday season is over for oh, the next 300 days or so, this gray fog of dullness has started to settle in the world around us.  It could be the idea of losing those 15 pounds you gained over the break, or the mere thought of heading back to work and school, but either way it seems the fog is unavoidable. For me, the fog came in the form of being miserable in my own circumstances. I felt like I had held it together pretty well for most of the break, being positive and enjoying some actual quality time with friends and family. But as I drove up to College Station for CARPOOL training a few days before school started, my chest tightened up as if someone had stuck me in a 19th century corset, and tied the strings beyond their capacity. Memories, thoughts, emotions flooded me like a tidal wave from this turbulent last semester. In September/October, I nearly lost my best friend Brianna to a rampant infection, and the world around me crumbled with my depression and heartache over the idea of life without her. Meanwhile, my friendship circles drastically changed, my vision for life suddenly got cloudy, and honestly, I nearly lost sight of myself. My faith in Christ was the single string that kept me grounded- every other string had snapped, split, or dissolved right before my eyes. So there I was, back in College Station, paralyzed with fear over the upcoming spring semester, and there was nothing I could do but face the fear head on. I sobbed the entire drive home, chest still tight with fear, and heart sickened with sorrow over everything that had happened. Yet in typical Britta fashion, I tried pulling it together for my parents when I got home that night because there's nothing I hate more than crying in front of people. There was no hiding it though- my eyes turn bright green when I cry, and I stop talking entirely. Not a peep. Nothing. It's not that I don't want to talk, it's that I physically can't get the words out without crying, so I just stay quiet. But it was in that pure moment of vulnerability that I finally let my mama in to teach me one of the most important lessons I've yet to learn in my life:

Happiness should not stem from your circumstances, but rather from your attitude.

Personally, that sounds kind of "newage-hippyfreelove-listentomeimsowise", but it makes sense. I can't keep basing my happiness on what's going on in my life. I have to make the conscious effort every day to choose joy by choosing how I'm going to let it affect me. Let's be real here though- I have about as thick of skin as a caterpillar; my feelings are hurt easily, I take many things personally, and I have this awful way of overanalyzing things to make them worse off than they actually are. It's hard for me to let people truly get to know me. But I trust and know that the Lord made me this way for a reason, because without these ever-present struggles, I would not rely on Him.

So here's the deal. I wear this basic rubber band on my wrist, and every time I worry, I pop the band. I'm not talking some dinky little "pop", but more like a SNAP. Yeah, it's loud, and yeah, people look at you, but big deal, not their problem. This is my reminder to myself that fear and worrying produces nothing but pain. In that split second after snapping the band, I thank God for being a fountain of joy, and humbly ask to mold my mind around Him, and everything He encompasses- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. You should try it too, then let me know so we can be band buddies. That's right I said it. I'm actually kind of serious though. 

I'm going to try blogging more throughout the process of overcoming fear, so I pray you'll follow me every step of the way. Go getchoo some rubber bands now. 

“I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
                                                                                        Isaiah 41:10