Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Just google it"

Do any of y'all remember those V-8 commercials about getting "bop"-ed on the head when you were missing the point about eating your veggies? They used to crack me up because it was such a "duh" moment for the person being "bop"ed, and you just found yourself saying, "Ya dummy, just eat your vegetables like a normal person!" 

I just found myself getting (lovingly) "bop"-ed on the head from Jesus, and over a topic quite personal to me: my consistent thirst for knowledge from Google, instead of from His Word. 

Google has been my best and worst friend throughout the years. I look forward in anticipation to the creative logo design each day, especially those animated ones, and my heart races out of excitement for the endless possibilities of what's in store for my sometimes ridiculous questions. No matter what I've thrown its way, Google rarely lets me down.
"what do you do to stop your dishwasher from overflowing?"


"Questions to ask potential employers during interviews"


"how to not be scared of cockroaches"
Okay, so Google let me down on that one: it said that they're not harmful, "just like a ladybug or a butterfly!!" Uh, I'm sorry, but whoever wrote that should enjoy some quality time big pool with those suckers. THEN, I'd like to hear them tell me once again they're just like ladybugs or butterflies. 

Truly though, as times get tougher and the future grows in excitement and mystery, my desire for instant knowledge often surpasses my desire to seek Christ. That scares me, and it should for you too. In a society where the world is seemingly at our fingertips, we face the persistent battle of choosing to find instant relief to our answers, or have faith in those dimmer, more confusing moments. I am not bashing seeking counsel from outside God's Word. The Lord continuously gives us practical resources for us to use, ranging from mentors, friends, families, books, to even the good ole World Wide Web. I'm instead advocating for giving the Bible more credit than it is often due, in the realm of seeking advice. 

Life is scary. It's messy- like brushing your teeth with one hand while doing four other tasks simultaneously. But FAITH conquers life in one swipe, through Jesus and His strength. I read an incredible quote today about faith that flew off the pages from a book I'm reading called The Sacred Search (Thank you, Lizzie and Josh!)

'You won't know what the future holds as you progress in your marriage throughout life, but what you will know is the character of your spouse walking by your side.'

Although this author was talking about preparing for our earthly marriages, the main Author of life talks about our heavenly marriage all the time. We don't know what life will bring our way, but we know the character of Christ. We trust Him for who He is, what He's done, and what He will do. 

By knowing who He is, we are set free from the worries of tomorrow, or the desperate need to once again, have it all figured out. If Christ is who He says He is, I can read His word with peace and faith, knowing He will light the way for my feet while I trust Him evermore.
His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Psalm 119:105. 

Let's move forward with perseverance and strength, even when the troubles of life aren't clear. He'll provide the answers and the way. 
Trust in that, trust in Him.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

You don't have to have it all together.

This summer has been that of incredible struggle and joy, all wrapped in one big, messy bundle. As I begin my final year in college, I'm fighting that daily, internal battle of "I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE COLLEGE!" versus "Get me out of here so the real world can begin". Both sides are wrong though, because I think true joy comes from finding contentment in the present moment, not in our futures.

The uncertainty of the future has led to anxiety, mood swings, and some days, depression, because for the first time in my life, I feel like I really don't have it together. I used to be the girl with a plan for everything. I spent most of my life telling God MY plans, refusing to follow through when I felt Him nudging me a different direction in certain categories- like my career plans. The hilarious thing is I never hesitated to move when He would nudge me away from a relationship- I used that God card way too much in my early days of dating (guilty). But for some reason, I held my career plans so closely to myself that it took God prying them away from me to let me see that He has something better for me. I just don't know what it is yet, and that's the challenging part.

It's okay to feel scared, nervous, even a little anxious about the future. 

Stick with me here, you Christians who protest, " You shouldn't feel that way!! Fear isn't from the Lord!!" You're right- it's not. It's from our flesh.  What we miss though is the simple concept that we are human. We are broken. We're not perfect and won't be until we reach the feet of Jesus in heaven. Stop thinking that because you battle with human struggles you're suddenly ill-equipped to do something great in life. Personally, I'll beat myself up for days when I feel powerless, scared, without a plan, or depressed, because I tend to tell myself, "You're a believer. You shouldn't be feeling this way." This is the IMMEDIATE consequence from believing Satan's continuous lies that we have to have it together, all the time.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Jesus loved you before "you had it together", and loves you just as much now, no matter what's going on in your life. Although He came to this earth and never sinned, let's not forget His struggles. He was " despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). He faced heartbreak, defeat, betrayal, and death. He faced those battles head on by first acknowledging them before the Lord, and letting God's power move through Him to conquer those struggles.

Hear this-  God has an incredible plan for your life, He loves you to pieces, and He will provide a way for you to grow amidst whatever you're going through. Most importantly though, He sees and loves you in your pain and confusion. What a love.

Our mistake as a Christian culture is refusing to acknowledge the low moments within the body of Christ. We instantly throw encouragement verses about strength and perseverance, instead of taking that opportunity to love each other in our weaknesses by listening and acknowledging the pain! A beautiful thing happens in the hearts of many when the words, "I feel and understand your pain", are spoken. After that precious moment, bring on the encouragement. Send those verses! Write those "strength letters!" But never forget to first have compassion- love each other well.

 In 2 Corinthians, Paul talked about having a "thorn in his flesh", which lead to one of his most vulnerable, empowering encouragements to the early church:

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 

Some theologians speculate that Paul's "thorn in his flesh" was his depression and anxiety. The beauty behind it is what God DID with Paul's thorn- He took Paul's weakness and made him strong for the Kingdom by allowing him to persevere through beatings, persecution, and prison all because He was spreading the word about Jesus! This same power from God applies for us today- His power hasn't diminished through the ages!! He has equipped those in Christ with a strength equally matched to Jesus, which allows us to do greater things through Christ than we could imagine.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father." John 14:12 

Don't mistake your moments of failure, fear, imperfection for truth. Give yourself a break that you have to have it all together, because you really don't. Your strength should not come from what you can do, but what God can do through you. You have the power of Christ flowing through your veins, supporting you each step of the way, and His Grace is sufficient for you. Sounds like church talk, but do you know what that means? It means his sacrifice on the Cross covered ALL OF THIS pain, defeat, heartache, trials and tribulations, persecution. Every bit of it.

We didn't deserve His rescuing love, but because He gave it to us, it gives us freedom to be real with each other and most importantly, with Him. If you are in Christ, you don't need to fear His condemnation for anything you're going through.

So here's what you do. Bring them to His feet in prayer. Let Him hold you. Then let Him empower you through scripture, encouragement from others, and through your own story.

 Be real- He can work with that.

If y'all want to reach me, feel free to comment below or e-mail me at I mean that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So you've got trust issues... who doesn't?

                                                         MercyMe's "You Are I Am"

Trust: how do you even begin to define it? We hear it everywhere- "you need to be more trusting", "trust me", "trust the ones you love", "don't trust them, you'll only get hurt", the list goes on. Trust has the ability to bless or abuse us depending on where, or whom, we place it. Trust the wrong person, you increase your potential for hurt. Trust the right person, you give and receive love. Trust the wrong company, you lose your assets. Trust the right company, you grow in success.

But then we come to God.
 There's only one God, and He is good and perfect. No wrong exists in Him. So why is it that we have trust issues with the Creator who made us?

I'll tell you first hand that my lack of writing in months stemmed from my distrust in Him. Being open about it is the first step I suppose, but it's the honest truth. Trust makes any relationships flourish, but a lack of trust severs all growth, love, and depth between two people, and that's how I've felt with my walk. Each day I grew more frustrated with the secrecy behind the times we don't trust Christ with our lives. I grew angry towards those who consistently pretend they are 100% on board with Jesus. I grew bitter towards those who pushed others away from God because they thought they had to be perfect. Coming from the girl who lived her life that way for 12 years, I understand. Christians are too fearful to come out in the open and say, "Hey... I don't have a lot of trust in who God is right now. I believe He's the mighty Creator and Savior who died for my sins. But I don't trust Him enough to carry me right now."

 I'm telling you firsthand that my months of not trusting Christ with my future, or even my day to day struggles, have resulted in a more beautiful, abundant relationship than if I had coasted or faked my way through our relationship. Our walks with Jesus aren't imaginary, dear friends:  it was designed to be genuine, authentic, and flourish through communication and trust. I believe that if we spent more time looking at our relationships with Jesus the way we look at our relationships with our significant others, friends, families, co-workers, we would grow in appreciation for who He is, and hopefully grow in trust. But just like we falter in our daily relationships, there will be hard times with Jesus. The hope is that He is unfailing. His love is perfect, unconditional, and worthy of our trust. {Isaiah 51:12-13, Psalm 139, Psalm 31-32}.

If you're struggling with trusting Him, don't criticize yourself for it to a point where you feel unworthy of even approaching Him with your concerns. Your times of distrust are not abnormal, and don't disqualify you from His love. Christ desperately desires the love of His people, and His sacrifice on the cross proved it.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
Psalm 51:17 says He will not turn away a broken and contrite heart, in fact, He loves when you pour out everything to Him, no matter the issue. I believe that if we as Christians spend more time being real with those around us, and real with Christ, we will reflect the grace of God in a more practical, and genuine way than if we walk around pretending everything is fine. And maybe, just maybe, people can understand why we trust in Jesus.

He is worthy of our trust and praise! You can begin by seeking out His promises in the Bible- start with Psalms, Isaiah, and move to the New Testament (that always helps me!). Finally, pour out your heart to Him and lay it all down at His feet in prayer. It's okay to be honest, He loves you all the same, but this should break down barriers in your heart that will be replaced by His strength to walk boldly.

As always, you can e-mail me with questions, comments, or prayer requests. We're a community for a reason!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Buying into the lies.

You...are too much.

You...are not worthy.

You...are not enough.

You.. are not beautiful.

You...are too far gone for Christ's grace.

Do these haunting words sound all too familiar to anyone else but me? At some point in every one of our lives, we are plagued by these perpetual lies, sometimes in just a nagging, annoying manner, other times incessantly. Somehow, someway, these lies enter our minds, flood down to our hearts, and infect our spirit.

Baking is one of my outlets for creativity, and this past December I got crafty by starting to decorate cupcakes in a more...professional way than just slopping it on there like I usually do. I was trying to make the perfect red buttercream frosting for these candy cane cookies, but it involved adding red food coloring. Loads of it. As clumsy as I am, I just had this tiny feeling that red food coloring was going to end up everywhere BUT the frosting, and goodness was I right. Without fail, I got distracted (shocker) and spilled the bottle all over my hands and apron. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, but that dye wasn't going anywhere. My hands were stained, my apron permanently emblazoned with my mistake. Now, this may not sound like a big deal to some of you, but for the bakers out there, getting dye off your hands can be a pain in the neck. Oh, and you wasted half a bottle of food coloring, throwing money down the drain. Good one.

I think we all have to handle some form of "red food dye" in our lives. For me, the red food dye is the lies that Satan relishes whispering to me. I cannot avoid the lies, they're going to come...but I can handle them carefully, by handing them over to Christ. His hands are steady, where mine are shaky. His eyes are set, where mine wander. His focus is centered, where mine is scattered.  We are perfectly inadequate without Christ, yet time and time again we think we can handle the ingredients of our lives on our own.
"We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort...For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."  Philippians 3:3, 4:12
Part of giving Christ the power to handle our lives involves trust, which stems from faith in who He is. How often we forget not just how powerful He is, but how much He wants to fight for us. Ephesians 6 talks about how we can tap into His power-

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."

I don't know about you, but I'm so sick of giving Satan false victory over my heart, soul, and life. "Anyone that belongs to Christ has become a new person- the old life has gone, the new has begun." (2  Cor. 5:17).  The battle has already been WON for you by Christ dying on the cross, and being raised to life just three days later. If He can have victory over death, He will have victory over your struggles. It starts with us giving Him the chance to have victory though. It starts with prayer, just talking to Him and learning more about who He is, His power, His grace, and His perfect love. And it starts with handing Him the bottle of red dye and saying, "Lord, I trust you to handle this."

It's a continual work in progress, but I'm learning to appreciate that moving forward is better than staying still.

Prayerfully trusting,

"Don't worry about anything, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7