Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Health In Its Rightful Place

I probably do not completely understand what I am. It is probably the melancholy in me that is always searching for a deeper meaning, when the truth is right in front of me. I also do not think that I have always understood the responsibility that I have on my body. Ya, I grew up knowing about being a vegetarian, drinking lots of water, exercising, getting plenty of sunlight, etc. What I was not putting together was the idea that all of these health principles were meant for a higher purpose. They were meant to cultivate a place for God to reside and work efficiently. 

We can get all hung up on the idea that health principles will or will not save us. I could easily explain that, no, following health codes will not get me into heaven. That I can state. What I am proposing here is something that goes beyond coming before God and asking for forgiveness and receiving that abounding mercy. It is a response to His love! When I realize what He has done for me and the extend to which I have been forgiven I want to give my whole for Him.

Despite whether I want to take His counsel or not, He has made a second covenant with His people. That covenant is kept within my soul. Down deep in the matter of my mind and feelings of my heart. There rests a promise which should be reflected in my behaviors. What does this covenant consist of and what exactly is written on my heart? The love. A simple concept and depiction of what God is. When Christ was on earth He explained what the law of God was narrowed down to. 

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind (there it is again!)
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These two principles involve what is within me and God Himself. Love = God. Heart + Soul + Mind = Yourself. Who we are as Christians should be so intertwined with who God is that we cannot help but love God and man. Oh, and one more matter. If God is merciful towards the unrighteous, sinful, and lawless ones, where are we to abide?

With this all being said, I want to point out that taking care of ourselves is of utmost importance. We need to keep our minds ready, our hearts open, and our souls refreshed. What better way to do all of these things? I used to think that keeping my body healthy was so that I could keep a clean place ready for God (metaphorically speaking), but honestly it is more than that. Being healthy is more for keeping the tool God is using ready and able to meet the needs of others. We are that tool and light in the dark. God just wants to give us the opportunity to participate in one of the greatest feats! God could come down and do this all Himself, bringing His children into the fold. But He wants to use US! He knows that it would be most effective to use us, the ones who know what it is like to fall, get up, and fall again. He knows that we have been through a whole lot. We can reach others. He wants to put His stamp on us and show others who He is.

I remember a gentleman telling me that he could not really wrap his mind around religion. He asked me how I could prove something that is unseen (that being God I believe). When our conversation was interrupted and he had to leave, I thought about this concept. How does one prove to someone that God is real? Then it clicked. Who I am can reflect God and who He is. If I appear different than the world and others notice it, they will question and wonder. I can reflect God so that others, like that man, can truely see God. No gimics, tricks, or false leading. Straight up truth and light. 

So I encourage you to be healthy, not so that you can be more right with God, but so that you can be his tool in reaching the world. Trust me, I am still gaining understanding in the healthy department. There is so much out there on it that it is rather overwhelming. I just think that if we have a purpose for it, trying to walk in that direction will be so much more helpful.

And to think that I got this whole idea from reading chapter 8 in Hebrews. The Holy Spirit knows what He is doing.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Mystery of Justice & Mercy

I often get stuck on visuals. I cannot seem to wrap my mind around the idea that God is real, present, and waiting to commune with me. But there are those moments that I find His soothing words comforting me, through the spoke Word. If I would just take the time to see that yes I do have a love letter from Him each morning, I would know that He is real and good. 

Throughout Christianity and even through the beginning of time, we as humans have gotten stuck. We take so literally God's commands that we fail to look at the bigger picture that He is trying to present. When Christ came, the Jews missed the mark. They followed the laws of Moses and then some to the point of pain. When the Jewish Christtians were struggling after Christ's acension, they still could not seem to get past the laws set forth by Moses. They had to be reminded that God set up these laws in preparation for a greater purpose and more perfect covenant. Trying to convice God's people that Christ was their forever High Priest was not an easy task. 

When I look at the purpose of the the tabernacle and all the different furnishings, I am always amazed at the dialog that is created between God and humanity. Before I have discussed a purpose behind the priestly garments and also the candlesticks, but I have yet to speak of the most powerful symbolism in the sanctuary.

The Ark has always spoken of power for me. I have seen the respect and disrespect shown toward this piece. I pictured how it looked and what went inside. I have gone so far as to wonder where the ark of the covenant is today. What I have learned today is that this piece is a mystery in more ways than one. What  it represents is a very mysterious thing indeed. All of heaven stands by and wonders. The law which resides inside of the ark represents the justice of God. He will make sure that all is brought to the right. 

We know what it is like to want justice. We see the pain caused, the children that are mistreated without reason (not that there should be), and the wickedness that just seems to be out of control. God sees this as well, but there is also another side to God. His mercy (seat) is where this equation gets a little tricky. As Christ comes before God pleading on our behalf, God grants His request and sees to it that those who repent of sin are pardoned. He gives them a fresh white robe and calls them His own. 

What the sinner repents of comes in all forms. What we do not understand is that God can give mercy to whomever He wishes and it is given to ANYONE that repents, no matter how deep and far they have gone into the disgusting realm of sin. Why wouldn't all of heaven stand in perplexity at such a wonder? How can I not think that God is so good? He wants to reunite with us. He wants to end the separation. 

Remember the cheribum that bend their wings over the mercy seat on the ark? They are representative of the wonder of redemption. They are the depiction of what heaven is doing. If heaven stands by and is inquisitive of this mystery, why shouldn't we ponder this every day as well? We are the recipients. We get all caught up in wanting JUSTICE for those who have treated others wrong, but what about the justice we deserve? Where is justice and mercy rightly given? We should let the mystery of justice and mercy stay in the hands of our Lord. 

-taken from parts of Hebrews 7&8

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Soul vs. Heavenly Wisdom

It is a real conflict that goes on in our souls. As a Christian I sometimes think that I have it all together, that I have all the answers. I could not be more wrong. It did not really click in my mind till I was reading a lesson in the book of James. Everything in me wants to find my own pleasure. I will do anything to get what I ultimately want. Selfish ambition has me tied naturally. 

I will spend ample amounts of time pointing out the faults of those I love just to justify myself. Even when it is possible that I might be right about their mishaps, it does not mean I have a right to place myself above them. It does not mean that I have a right to feel superior or get what I want after trying to win an argument. It does not mean that I am going to be taken advantage of or misused. 

What does it take for me to not let my behavior fall under the trap of this world? Where can I obtain a wisdom that is not of this world? The world likes to point out mistakes. It fights with revenge, anger, and jealousy just to make sure that it is the one that is RIGHT. God has a wisdom that does no such thing. Despite what may be true about our condition, God chose to love us. He chose to come to the earth, die, and redeem us. He came to the slaughter like a lamb, not fighting. 

So when I feel jealousy, anger, or the fighting words clinging to my tongue, I need to reevaluate. I have to stop trying to protect myself and let God do His job. I have to stop making myself happy and let God give me joy. I have to stop fighting, bickering, judging, hating, coveting, and being angry. In reflection it is strange really. I used to have open anger in my life, but God has shown me that the anger and selfishness runs deeper. It is not just the anger that is out of control in our lives that gets the best of us, it is the anger than we can control.

We can go about our day seeming normal, but in all actuality we are intentionally having thoughts of discontent towards others. We cannot stop because we do not want to stop. It is not the kind that blows up, it is the kind that ruins relationships slowly over time. In my own revelation, I plead with all of you to take the time to seek a higher wisdom. One that stops the confusion about us and allows us to reach out to those that have angered us. God wants to show us that we really have no right to point out anyone else's sin. We all fail. We all are human sinners. We are scum. The gift we have been given we do not deserve. None of us do. The love that God gives us, is the kind of love that is given to those who are undeserving. We need to stop defining what love really is and just GIVE.

This is the conflict of our souls. To be of a higher calling instead of a worldly ambition.

Monday, November 17, 2014

His Laws in Unlikely Places

I don't know about you, but I get stuck. I spend a lot of time trying to unfold what dead works and faith are and how we are actually supposed to live out our lives as Christians. I agonize over ideas so that people will know that being a Christian is more than doing or more than confessing. Hours upon hours are spent spinning thoughts in my head, trying to figure out how to explain to those, that have been wounded by "Christianity", that it really isn't what it seems.

Those elementary principles that we first learned need to be set aside. We  don't have time to sit around and discuss what they all mean, because we know what they are deep down. I think that what we are afraid of is a lack of hope. Can we believe that God will come through with His promises? God did not have to make 2 oaths with us so that He could avoid lying, just in case. He does not lie. Oath or no oath. He wanted to give us an assurance that what He says He will do, HE WILL DO.

Stop spending time trying to figure out a deeper meaning to those basic principles and just believe them for what they are. Don't get hung up on them and think that if we stop discussing them or openly enforcing them, that they are nonexistent. Believe that they will become a part of your life just as much as the forgiveness you have been given moves you to celebrate. The more that we follow Christ, the more those principles will shine on their own. 

Where Christ goes, we can also go. When He goes before the Father, we too have access to His presence. We can be steadfast, strong, and sure of what God has in mind for our lives. We just have to believe His promises. We have to stop being stiff-necked and get out there. We have to let Christ come in, melt us, and mold us. How else can the sin leave our lives? Do you believe that we can be perfected in Christ?

What I have seen is that God reveals Himself in the most unlikely places. His laws and His love unfold where no one else can unfold them. How it all works together is smooth and effortless. When we desire the life that God has designed for us, we are amazed at not only what He has done for us personally. We are awed at what He has done in others' lives. How simple He changes the heart. How effortlessly He moves the Spirit through our sin-sick lives. Through Him all things are possible. 

So when we spend so much time in discussion, let it be about moving forward in our faith. Let it be a moment discussing with God our desire to be changed. Let us put ourselves aside and let Him do what He has planned to do all along. Those blessings He talks of will become evident. The power He will give you will blow you away. Let Him produce in you the fruits of His labor. Let the law of His love work.

Hebrews 6

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Mind Exercise

Come with me for a moment and see what it is like for me when I run. It takes me a while to get myself motivated. I wear the gym clothes, put in the ear buds, tie my sneaker laces, and get myself out the door. Oh but before I even dress I have been prepping myself all day long. I think about the time of day at which I will run, where I am going to make my 2 mile loop, what hills or valleys will I fight. I drink at least 32 ounces of water throughout the day for hydration and to avoid cramping. I eat a good meal that also gives me energy, at breakfast and lunch. So when I walk out the door the only thing that I have to fight, is me. That mind of mine will play tricks that I cannot avoid.

I go out and start my run. I feel pretty good initially but then a third of the way through the first mile I get this cramp. I get discouraged because I drank all that water earlier. I keep going. Somehow the cramp works itself out and I am able to stand straighter. Then there is the hill that I prepared myself for. I climb it with my heart pounding. My chest gets so tight that its hard to even inhale. I begin to slow down, my steps small. But I keep going. I know that at the top of the hill, it evens out. I know that if I just keep going I will know that I conquered.

Finally I reach the top of the hill and my heart rate slows, I can sort of breathe again. I smile thinking about how I got through that without stopping. I start to notice the birds singing and fluttering in the trees, the breeze is light and cooling. Then after a while I become extremely warm. The sun starts to get in my eyes and I cannot see. Sweat is beading on my hairline and its dripping down my back. It's hard to breathe again. Not because of a tight chest but because the breeze stopped and the air is stagnant. I am almost to the end. The grade is just a slight climb and I must fight from stopping. And to think that I am not even racing anyone else. I am just trying to fight myself. I know that I want to get to the end.

Spiritually, this run is real. I know that at the end I will see Christ. His peace for myself is like a cool drink after sweating it out in the sun. My mind fights more battles than my body ever will. The exercise that I make it go through is harder to find or see. What I have found is that taking care of our minds spiritually is just as important as working our bodies physically. Being mindful of what we make it do, crucial.

1. We have to give our minds a purpose and a use. It needs to know what will happen, so when anything does happen, it knows what to do. Getting it ready beforehand is where the beginning of overcoming mental blocks, illnesses, and devastation will happen more frequently. We have to create a strategy. Work out those details so that when the struggles come, we are ready.

2. We have to get real serious in our attitudes about this. The quality time we spend prepping our minds will get us far. Letting God come into our lifestyles and examining our characters is rather revealing and makes us squeamish. We, easily, want to be set on fire and go crazy with our discoveries but what the Holy Spirit wants to do is balance us out. Our minds need to be steadfast and earnestly thoughtful. Not just moving on a whim. It is a deep awareness of God's presence.

3. We have to focus our desires on the grace we have been given. Cherishing that grace with our lives. What is that grace? It is an unmerited help from our Creator given to us so that we may be created anew. We are restored to a better, higher, and more worthy place. How did we find out about this grace? When we found Christ.

Being completely changed spiritually is powerful. It explains the gospel of Christ. We go through our lives living with the bad habits and behaviors like we are stuck. What the Word is speaking to me is that taking on that grace and being changed means a lot of soul searching and mind work. It means that it is possible to overcome ourselves. It is possible to have a character more in line with who Christ is.

The battle is real, but the strategies are endless.

*Based 1 Peter 1:13

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In The Middle, Together

Sometimes words are too much. They undo a moment completely visualized. Like a bubble of pleasure that has been popped. It's that elephant in the room that you cannot avoid. Without words, we can sometimes truly experience life. I used to visualize sensations in my mind as a child. They were strictly black and white images of textures. Like soft, prickly, smooth, silky, coarse, etc. For a split section I could see touch. Strange really, but I also know that I can put feelings into words. So what then is so strange?

Creatives go places that street smart people do not understand. They over analyze their emotions, compositions, and actions. Each time is one more step towards perfection and one more step towards being bored of that perfection. It is an unending cycle of always finding, searching, and showing others what could not be seen before. We may come across as cranky, flighty, moody, and overly exuberant. We feel dead inside when nothing interests us. Others tell us its just a phase, but for now it feels like eternity. When the ball really gets rolling it is usually because we discovered our own path and weren't looking down another's.

I know that I am not good at reading people or really making light conversation. I cannot take a hint and sometimes I am too blunt. Not with what needs to be said, but what has already been understood. There are two ways that I can go. Either I consider myself superior in my difference or estranged. What have I done to fit myself into society? How has being creative really benefited life?

Like falling, light weight, into the arms of someone strong, I have found myself in Divine arms. Where God places me I cannot deny. How awkward I may be or not be He uses me despite myself. I might not understand everything, but I can tell you what it feels like to be human. How the heart, instead of stopping, pushes up against the chest and gives a little climb in the throat. It is tight and shoots electricity across the limbs, but all the while I know the center of its core. You might see just a couple wet leaves, but I see the way they curve and reflect the light.  Or how the colors around hug what seems to be crumbling.

Those hearts that feel alone. Those minds that think they are above the rest. Here is my position. The one idea that took me the longest to understand or even put into words, was the idea of connection. Unleashing what I know and running into the dark toward something that tastes familiar but feels so unreal. It takes faith. Reaching out to another soul requires forgetting everything that you thought made sense and meeting in the middle of two realities. It is not about what you think is right, logically. It is making a whole new sense outside of yourself. We can force our own ideas into the picture, but it will never get us to where we want to go.

Ok, so to make it more visual it goes something like this. You have a blank canvas in front of you and another. It is wide, long, and even deep. You have your own tools that you have used in the past, and they have theirs. You both stand there looking first at each other and then at the blank canvas. You have several choices. Tear it up, put all of your own paint all over it so there is no room for theirs. Stand blankly as they seem to be enjoying twiddling around on the whiteness. They could be inviting you or you could be doing the same, but what needs to happen in order to BOTH create unity and togetherness is to make a new picture. Once combined you will discover a reality that takes you to another level. It adds dimension to your once alone world, gives adventure to your own structure, and joy where you didn't think it would be possible.

Creative or not, we all need to meet in the middle sometime or other. All these images are what I see and am willing to share with you. What you interpret in these images is completely up to you. I cannot make you feel what I feel in them. I cannot force you to like them even like I do. What we do as creatives is add another dimension to your life. What I hope for those in other paths of life, is that you will share what you have so we can paint a new picture. Together.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Golden Bells of Prayer

Misinterpretations can more often than not, get us farther away from Christ. No matter how innocent it may seem, it happens. I am so guilty of these moments. I either take someone's word for it or I remain steadfast to a thought I had YEARS ago, as a child. Taking even just a small moment to grow and mature, can unfold so many amazing discoveries that make Christ even closer. He becomes real.

As a child I remembered the stories taught to me in church. In particular,  I was struck by the duties of the high priest in the Most Holy Place in the wilderness tabernacle. At first I thought him to be pretty lucky to be in the presence of God. He got to go into ALL the rooms. He also had this garment he wore that was different than all the other priests. It had beautiful stones and gold woven fabrics. But there was one thing that made me fear this position.

The High Priest had these bells attached to the hem of his garment that would sound as he walked about doing his duties. I remember putting two and two together that if the bells stopped ringing inside the Most Holy Place, that meant that he had died in the presence of God and needed to be dragged out by the rope wrapped around his ankle. I knew that there were all of these rituals and ceremonies he had to go through to make sure he was presentable in God's presence, but it all just made me put God in this place. Somewhere far, fearful, looming. I didn't hate God for this apparent punishment, but it did make Him seem far fetched. Unreachable. I feared God as a ruler, nothing more.

Well today I learned something new about those golden bells that I never really thought about before. I was reading up on the garments that the High Priest wore, trying to get a better understanding of what Christ is as our High Priest. A  lot of symbolism in there, its amazing! Anyways, I wanted to understand what the symbolism was behind the bells. In reading our church's  commentary on this part of Exodus, it got me to thinking about the real purpose of the sound that echoed through the walls of the tabernacle. It started out by explaining that the bells were able to be heard outside the walls of the sanctuary. The people of Israel were constantly aware of his duties being performed. Before I could even go further in the rest of the description, I felt this sudden rush of comfort! A closeness that I had not understood before. The sanctuary was not left to be a mystery to the outside or even to me. 

The commentary gave such a good description of what I was beginning to feel. It talked about how Israel heard the bells and it brought them into contemplation of the whole process. They could be a part of the ceremonies, even though they could not SEE what was going on. They knew the man inside the sanctuary who was going before God with their sins and was making intercession. They could visualize within their minds what was happening. 

Today, Christ is our High Priest. He goes before God as a man, with compassion in His heart and a responsibility on His shoulders. He is there to remind God of what we are to Him and what He has done for us. As we stand outside the courts of God waiting for His return, we can come boldly in faith before Him in our hearts. We can see through faith what He is doing for us, though we do not deserve any of it. We do not have to fear that God will strike Christ down in the Sanctuary, for Christ is the Perfect Sacrifice and High Priest. Not a sin has He commited. 

Those little gold bells are there to remind us that we have a way to our Father. Though we cannot see Him yet, we have Someone who is going before Him for us. All our petitions and confessions are presented with utmost care. What are the gold bells in our lives today?

I would have to say that it is prayer and faith. Those two things are what bring us closer to God. It makes Him reachable. Compassionate. Forgiving. Full of understanding. How amazing is His love? Just taking moments in our day to grow and know what He is actually trying to offer is life changing. You have access. I have access. We are sons and daughters in His court. He knows that in our sin His presence could kill us. He has offered a way to Him despite our situation. How amazing is His love, that He would want us to participate despite our position?

We are the jewels on His breastplate, the treasures of His heart.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blessings in the Front Room

Blessings blast you away when you finally notice their presence. Sometimes they come like the silence in the night when all is quiet and still. When you need the warmth, it wraps around your aching body just right. Other times the blessings are hard to see. Through the fog, you make out the light that it gives, but still you cannot fully see it working.

I am sitting here in the front room of our 100 year old duplex after having cleaned all five windows. The warmth of the day is flooding the room along with a breeze. I hear sirens, cars squeaking by, continuous city sounds that happen during the day. I have boxes of office supplies waiting for a home, which I don't really have quite yet, and random arrays of just things. Outside the window there are homes very close by, with neighboring personal affects a few yards away. I am in the city. A place I didn't really think that I would be, but a place I am nonetheless.

At first I felt pretty claustrophobic here. For someone that is introverted, it sounds weird, but with all the traffic and sounds and buildings it was all rather overwhelming. Blessings abound in this place because God wants us to be here. I have no idea what kind of people we will meet or where we will go to church, but He wants us here so I am expecting an adventure. Like I said, sometimes you see the light through the fog though. Today, I am sitting here in this front room enjoying all the bright light, fresh air, and openness of what I do have. I probably am conveying this situation like its a hole in the wall situation... It is not true. I strangely, feel blessed to be where I am though it is different.

Though our humanity likes to wrap all kinds of negativity and sourness over everything, God still has blessings bursting at the seams. His beauty and care floods rooms and changes hard hearts. I could sit here and list all of the blessings that we have been given, but I feel that it would only dampen the magnitude of what we have been given. For now I just want you to know that where I am is where God wants me to be. A literal and spiritual safety that cannot compare to any security system, firearm, mean dog, special forces, or locked gate. We have freedom to roam. Freedom to embrace our talents and mission to do what He has called us to do.

Life can blast you with disaster, sneak up on you with troubles, and close in on you with worry. What God has to offer for our REAL lives, what He meant for us, is the complete opposite. It's life changing.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Replaced Fear for REST

I have been wrestling with the idea of REST. This world is going through so much right now and even in my small world there is major change. My life has been uprooted, moved, and plopped down in the city. I know that God wants us here outside of Philly, but I have no idea what He has planned. So through this whole transition I experienced these anxieties. I feared death, loss, damage, disaster, you name it. When in conversations with groups of people talking about ISIS or Ebola, there has been talk of Christ's coming. It all has become very real to me, making me feel this vulnerable fear.

The unknown is kind of hard to deal with on my own. I like predictability and routine, despite the idea that I think I would like spontaneous moments. Human, really is all I am. REST. The idea of just relaxing sounds so good doesn't it? While I was dealing with this fear deep in my bones, I realized that I didn't have the relationship I thought I had with Christ. I remembered that if I had Him close by my side, I would not fear death, pain, or disaster. I would also be able to face what the future has to hold for this world. With Christ so deep inside of my heart, I would be unwavering and deemed a child in His court, even if it meant giving up my life.

I wanted a definition and a feeling for what I was trying to search out. Thankfully I have been studying the book of Hebrews, which convienently talks about REST in chapters 3 and 4. While reading I noticed the vague concept linked with Sabbath so I did a little more digging. I wanted to understand the contradiction that seemed to be occuring with other biblical texts about the seventh day being the Sabbath of God. Inadvertantly I found what God had to say about REST. That undeniable REST. 

The author pointed out that Israel initially failed at obtaining a literal rest. They gave up Canaan, flowing with milk and honey, for their rebellion. Even after that first generation past, the next failed, under the direction of Joshua, at gaining spiritual rest even when they reached Canaan. A third time God invited Israel into His rest in the days of David, but their hearts were SO hard. Also the author pointed out that God Himself had a literal rest from all He had done at the end of the creation week. After these points had been made regarding the importance of rest, I realized that God is still pleading with me (and you) to enter His rest.

This time, today, He wants to give more than literal rest. He wants to give us a spiritual rest from the sins we are under. He wants us to stop working so hard at obtaining righteousness on our own. He wants us to come BOLDLY before His throne of grace. Those callouses need to come off. We need to spend all of our energies on finding that rest. We need to make it our ambition and lifestyle. So how do we obtain this rest? 

When it says to come boldly before the throne of grace, that means we need to come into the presence of God. We have to take the time to know Him, deeply. We have to walk through out the day thinking and breathing what He has to say. Our minds need to be open to His words. I just discovered this and want to know what it can do for my life. Why would God set one day a week aside for rest or why would Jesus say that His yoke is easy and His burden is light? God knows that we cannot handle this world on our own. We can't even handle ourselves! In what way has His REST changed your life?

Here is a song that made me think of this discovery, by Mercy Me:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Warrior Instead of Worrier

Trying to escape the inability to keep my mind steadfast, it is like a baby trying to stand on its feeble legs to walk. I wake up in the middle of the night suddenly, worrying about a list of items. I actually lay there wide eyed marking the issues individually, struck by fear. I  cannot fall back to sleep because for some reason those issues are larger than life. Why do I let this consume me then?

There are so many times where God has noticably come through for me. Maybe that isn't even the best way to describe it. The problem is I don't come through for Him. He does not want me to feel guilty about it, He just wants me to do something about it. He asks me to remain still, breathe, and listen for His voice. I have to pick up a new list and realize how much more power it contains. 

That list has all of the times and seasons God blessed me. He gave me the courage and ability to become confident again as a woman, not just as a child. He gave me a husband who is forgiving, a follower of Him, a giver, and knows how to lay aside the worry and make me laugh. He provided us with the ability to not only have a home but have the funds to make the purchase. Our home was warm in winter and the summers we had the ability to enjoy a pool to cool down. He helped me with my anger issues and impatience. He sold our home at just the right time even though we had to wait 3 months and provided just the right place to live in return afterwards. The church he provided while here has been a great blessing and I will miss my brothers and sisters in Christ. I love my bible study group comprised of a wide range of woman from differnet walks of life. I woulld not trade what I learned in that group for anything. I will miss them all so much, but know that there will come a day when we will not have to part. God gives me breathe each morning and gives me opportunities to see His beauty and signatures. I cannot continue to remain fearful and despondent. 

How does one remain steadfast and keep their faith? Well, first you have to know the One that you are having faith in. You have to know the promises He gives. Even a small piece of faith can take you far. I remember asking God to provide a way for me to stay home so that I could one day be there with my children. I  knew that that was something He wanted for me and my future offspring so I asked Him to work it out. I knew He would, though I did not know how He would do it. I prayed for all the avenues that it could be possible and just worked on ways that I could improve so I could potentially stay at home. 

For now God has answered my prayer, from what I can see. I say it this way because He might not be done with answering my prayer. He might have something even greater in mind that my heart cannot even describe or discover. I now have the ability to stay home with my future offspring. Chris and I do not expect to live extravagant lives and where is the creativity in that anyways? I intend to live an unexpected life. I intend to live a life that the world does not consider success or what a woman should be. What I do intend to be is a woman of God who is confident in her husband, dutiful and successful in raising a family committed to Him. I intend to invest my home in a great commission and remain out of debt as much as possible. Our home will be a fortress.

So, as you can see I need to be steadfast. I cannot contain the fear that I so often possess. I am human, but I have Someone greater as my Guide and Counselor to help me grow out of my baby legs and walk like a woman of God. My wish is that more and more women see the importance of being a warrior for HIm instead of a worrier. If He can do that for me, He can most certainly do that for you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

That ONE Relationship

A deep relationship with someone is powerful and almost unreal. Knowing all the secrets and commiting the most trust, it makes you feel like you have another limb. There are so many different types of relationships out there. Social, work, hobby, romantic, philosophical, and class. They all require something taken and given from each of us. Most of the time, when both parties incorporate their effort into the relationship, much is accomplished and successful. Knowing each others' place and responsibility is where the rubber meets the road. 

Have you ever considered your relationship with God? Have you thought about the situation that He is in or the one that you have placed yourself in? He wants to get us all out of this trouble and mess. Even though we betrayed Him, by walking away, He is there providing opportunity after opportunity. We just take two sides of the story in order to get what we want from Him with little effort. Here are a couple of scenarios that I have seen us all take...

Scene one, we see ourselves in this sin and get caught up in trying to take care of it ourselves. We have little monologues with ourselves about how we are going to get it all fixed so that we can see God again. Maybe if we just do this or that we will be pure enough to come before Him and have a conversation. He is pure goodness, so why shouldn't we? But there is God, sitting over there watching us mumble to ourselves as we scrub and scrub away at the scabs. He yearns to catch our eye and maybe strike up some conversation, but we are looking at our sin... and fixing... and mumbling.

Scene two, we find out that God has a sweet gift called grace. We sigh with relief that we don't have to feel guilty anymore and go on our merry way. Not even stopping to see God's face to see what He might have to say about the gift or what it can do for us. We end up wondering why God isn't having a monologue with the Godhead about all the blessings we should be getting. The gift kind of runs stale in our lives and we just settle for what the world has to offer because its... well.... shiny and immediate gratification. We have no idea that God is sitting there wanting to commune with us while we enjoy His great gift of salvation. He had so many secrets to success and ways of letting His love shine through us so that we could tell the world of what He has done.

I want to propose another scenerio to you. I want to suggest that you get in real deep with God. Have a real dialogue with Him. Discover what He did in the past (the Bible) for His people while He comes into your heart and speaks to you about what He can do through you. He wants to give you that saving grace and see you succeed! Together you can overcome sin with good. With a little grunt work or what some like to call discipline of your mind, God and you can tackle those whispers the devil throws at you. There is no way that you can do it alone and there is no way that God can perfect your success without your involvement. Sin likes to keep us away from that relationship. Either by pushing our noses in sin as we try to scrub or by taking for granted the gift we have been given. 

This building and cultivating does not come easy and it is not for the faint of heart. It makes you stronger, your burdens become lighter, and your courage like the fierceness of a lion. This is where God wants you to be. He wants you to stand and have the energy to honor Him, worship Him, and follow Him. A deep relationship, gives me the chills. Lets get the chills together.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Key to My Soul

It is much easier to look back on a life that felt helpless when you are grounded and secure. But how do you talk about recovery with someone else when you no longer have that overpowering sense of guilt, darkness, and numbness? How do you show someone the beauty that is waiting for them, when their life is completely different? 

No matter how cliche it all seems, God really is the key. I remember the slow, simple breathes that I took when I drew close to His presence. He has no sin, is repulsed by its existence, and kills it with the touch of His light whereever He goes. How than is it possible for me to be near? What gave Him the ability to become a human and wade through the muck of Earth? You would think that He doesn't understand at all. How does He know what makes my heart sing and gets me all choked up inside? 

Though I am full of sin, He remembers His destiny for me. In creating me He had a purpose and a design for my life. Even though I might ignore His advances, hide in shame, or say I do not need Him. He waits there just for the right moment to make His grand move. He sees that my heart aches for renewal and a drive to succeed in confidence. He places the people I need in my life, colors the sky with pastels, causes the birds to sing with soulful abandon and in just the right key. He changes my route with detours, let's the tragedy make me yearn for something more, just to get to me. Just to show me that what I am looking for is HIM. 

When I realize all that He has done to get my attention, I cannot feel helpless. I cannot believe that I am hopeless and useless. My value is greater than even this world can determine. He is the reason I get up in the morning and do my best. For Him I sing and Him alone. You would think that being a married woman, I should be focusing on my husband. Simply, we are here to help each other see Jesus every day. Like a reminder and a cue, we can keep each other accountable for what really matters. 

So what can I say to those who are struggling? What do I have to give that can bring relief and show others that there is a way to feeling valued and confident? All I have to give is Jesus. Putting the cliche aside, what I have to give you is the key to your destiny. Like a blue print to your soul, that is what God can be. He doesn't give warm fuzzies if what you really need is a kick in the pants. He won't tell you it will all get better when the worst is yet to come. What He will do is give you the courage to face the fight. He will give you the stronghold and like a rock you will overcome. He will light your soul on fire despite your fear. 

Once we take the time to see what God can do, we will do the following:

"Therefore, my beloved brethen, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." - 1 Cor. 15:58

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Not a Psychologist, Just a Mover

I haven't written in a few days. I was starting to feel like I was just pumping out words. Half of me has also been preoccupied with work and turning this house upside down. Looking at my life right now, I see how God does not let me stop. Each time I move, I get rid of more and more stuff. I realize the importance or lack there of, and think, He is slowly changing my priorities. 

I think that God wants us to live simple lives. Not cheap and barren, just full of what we need and enjoying the beauty that already exists. There  are some things that are hard for me to give up. Like dealing with the idea that I could live forever. For some reason that gives me the chills. Or those keepsakes in the attic stored in a huge blue bin. God is working on me and each little step is taking me to a new priority. For example, I had like 15 textbooks that I kept and thought I would never get rid of. They were examples of the knowledge I had gained, challenges I had conquered, and hours upon hours of time spend cramming my mind. They symbolized a path I had taken on my own. 

They looked all pretty on the shelf and let me tell you, I spent a LOT of money on those books. It is like they were my trophies. So, over the past few years those books resided at my parents in an upstairs bedroom. I kept meaning to get them back into my own house but I kept forgetting about them. I began to think about  how I wanted to get rid of the novels I had, but of course I was going to keep the psychology books!

Another thing that was happening to me was that I was rediscovering myself. I was over my fatigue when reading and I was unwrapping some new passions. I understood that it was possible that I might never do anything very directly with my degree but at the same time knew exactly what it all had given me. Those 4 years and money spent, I wouldn't trade for anything. I know what it is ilke to study with really smart people. I know that it is possible to be ordinary and have something in common with them. I know what it's like to challenge my professors and speak up in a classroom full of other intellectuals. And I used to be the shy kid in school. I know how to write an essay in 2 hours and have a professor be inspired. If I did not go to college my eyes would have been closed to the possibilities. Critical thinking and problem solving was all we ever did. 

So now that you might think that this was all for bragging rights, I have to let you know that a day does not go by that I don't think that I didn't challenge myself enough by not going to grad school. There comes a limit for everyone I think. Everyone knows their boundaries when pushing themselves. After college I wanted to live a little and not dread tests, homework, and research papers. I wanted to leave work at work and just enjoy my evenings. I got that and now I am seeing life differently. 

I have evaluated what seems necessary to keep in my life. I have spent many thoughts wondering what I am meant for. Everyone does this, no matter their education. So when I went to go through my books at my parents' last night, I easily put aside the Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology textbooks. And to think they were elective courses. I also knew exactly which books I wanted to keep... Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology, Biologial Psychology, A&P, etc... oh and that Cognitive Pscyhology textbook I actually never read all the way through. Confession time. I don't really know why God made it so easy for me to understand the nervous system. I don't know what He wants to do with it all. But what I do want you to know is that I am not a counsellor. I haven't done my time in clinicals or studied enough on behavior. I just like the brain, that's it. 

What I am trying to say here is that we can start out on a path thinking that we know exactly where we will end up. I thought I was going to graduate school to be a researcher, but that is not what I am today. I thought I would want to keep all those textbooks and that I loved EVERYTHING about Psychology. I almost felt like it was a crime to eliminate some of it, but last night I physically did. I kept what I feel is now important to me. I don't know, yet, where this knowledge will take me. I don't know why God made me LOVE the nervous system. Just a small selection on the topic of the human body. We can't go through life thinking we have to do what is expected. We can only do what we are CALLED to do. 

I want to live a simple life but at the same time I find the complexity of the mind and nervous system to be so facinating. It is where God's breath touches humanity. When it says in Genesis that God breathed into Adam, I believe He was igniting the nervous system and brain initially. It is our distinction. It is what gives us the ability to think, pray, feel, and love others. As we look into one another eyes we are also capturing the mind of another with our own eyes and minds. Crazy!

Anyways, it's getting late. No matter the destination or detours you have taken in life, remember, God uses it all! Thank goodness.  Here is to moving, thinking, and living life to the fullest!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Simplicity in Suburbia

I am in expectancy. Not because of a child but of the awaited time to be reunited again with my husband. A whole week of just being in a simple routine with him again. Even if it means not seeing him for 12 hours that day, I will take those small moments at the end of the day for random discussion or just being near by. 

This weekend I took the time to just hear him in the house. Kinda weird to some maybe but I liked hearing his foot steps or just how he would strum the guitar on the couch. Waking in the morning and hearing his alarm go off, holding  my hand for just a moment in the middle of the night, and watching him wrestle the cat. These are the times that I should think of often and really appreciate when we have had too much routine and become complacent. Mostly complacent in daily routine and normalcy. 

Some say living rugged and in the woods is a good way to appreciate the simplicity in life. This is most likely true, but I think it takes real character building to be stuck in the midst of suburban life and the hustle to train the mind. To think simply and be humbled by just the beating of our hearts. Honestly, if it wasn't for finally getting into positive thinking I would still be unsettled and negative. Ya, I still feel anxious for our reunion, but God only reminds me that this is a time to cultivate and renew. It is a time to discipline my mind and settle the reins. Take in my wild passionate crazy emotions and, breathe. 

What are the little things that make your heart sing? What really makes living feel alive for you? What place is your sanctuary in the midst of the bustle?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Like the Wind

What I have found is that Love is separate from myself. I don't have to find it or understand the logistics. I really have nothing to do with Love. I don't have to stir it up and make a recipe. Science cannot make a formula and hash it into a million perspectives. Far beyond our minds it exists and breathes without our help. It does not need me. It does not need you.

All that Love does it bind, cultivate, open, and revitalize the energy inside of you and me. There is no need to ask for what it can do, it comes. Does not ask for anything in return, remember it doesn't need you. Love just warms a cold room and breaks the fences of fear. The strength it possesses, undoes me.  Can it undo you? You can't really love, Love. It just makes you hold on for dear life. No one sees Love, for it is like the wind.

Working tirelessly without you even knowing, it strengthens your bonds. Letting it work alone is key. It does not need your advice. Nor will it be efficient if your heart has its own ideas. My mind looks back and has seen how I have changed. I am slower to speak. There is more of a sparkle in my eye and the little things make me happy. Thankfulness explodes from my insides. I cannot contain what it has done. Opening my eyes, changing my heart, unfolding the kindness. What Love has done is make me reflect its power.

Continuously working, constantly changing, forever by my side. This is Love.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Change, The Furry Monster

Change is inevitable. When I was a kid I HATED change. I loved wearing the same old shoes for years and was quite happy staying the age I was previously, during each of my birthdays. It was kind of annoying really and it made it difficult for me to grow up. I am kind of embarrassed by these facts. People who embrace change are hardcore and resilient. They possess the ability to lead and make changes for the best. They are respected and admired. I have to consider this position though. Why is it that we admire people who embrace change? It's most likely because no one wants to be the one to do it. No one deep down likes change.

When I got older I realized I had to deal with it. I had to accept the function of change and expect that if I was going to be happy I had to look for the good reasons why change had to happen. The more drastic the changes that occured the more I started to almost like it and crave it. For all the wrong reasons I saw how change could get me away from issues. That "greener on the other side of the fence" concept started to really latch onto me. I became unsatisfied when things weren't changing enough. Overall, you can tell that I pretty much was never satisfied from the beginning!

Why am I being so critical with myself here? Well, I am going through another drastic change. After having convinced myself that I was going to stay put in Massachusetts, live in the same house for decades, and live with what I had, Chris and I had the opportunity to move to New Jersey. After asking God about His opinion in the matter and getting a "yes you should go" we took it. But before the actual decision was made, I went into concern-mode. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about moving or even staying. 

I asked God to place in my heart the desire to be satisfied no matter the outcome. I wanted Him to give me the ability to be content no matter where my home was. I needed Him to give me the feeling in my heart that no matter where I am, I am home. He showed me how much I had been blessed by the home I was given. He provided me the opportunity to give closure to any issues that I might have had while living in Massachusetts. He expressed to me the fact that I was a conqueror and could move on, not because of avoidance or because of the greenness that could be expected. He gave me the ability to be satisfied. 

So with that being said, I will miss my little home. I will miss my family and new family. For the past 3 months I have been embracing each moment and utilizing my time to just be. I used to hurry through life, CONSTANTLY cleaning. Just looking busy. Right now, I am nostalgic. That is all. I am excited for the new opportunties. I am excited to meet new people, though it will shake my skins. Honestly, I cannot wait to organize and clean out stuff for packing. Why this gives me a thrill I don't know. 

Oh, and I am really looking forward to starting a new hobby when we move. Plants. I really really want to have plants in our home. They create cleaner air, make the home look cozy, and everything looks fresh. I will be starting out with succulents of course. My green thumb is only a wannabe. So, with all of this being said, change really is a good thing. It cultivates you, chisels out the bad habits, keeps you on your toes. I am blessed to have found that peace with change. Being mindful of the two ways to divert, when experiencing change, is also key.

Change anything, even if it's small, it means you get to grow. Like pruning bushes, you will become full and lush. Maybe bud a few flowers. Haha.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Heart. Your Heart.

Reaching the heart. I have only a small understanding of this concept. God in His overflowing love, cannot contain His joy when a heart starts to beat to the rhythm of His pulse. When that small heart has finally come home He makes room, sets up shop, and gets to cultivating its potential. As He chisels away at the darkness, pain, and selfish ambition, He fills it with a peace that no one understands. Once this stillness flows along, He sparks the ambition and punches the drive to fulfill. The eyes begin to sing even when the smile is small and each step becomes much lighter. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

God has gotten to my heart. When I was young I had unfettered love and adoration for His presence. Without a jaded spot, I was innocent in my love for Him. There was a moment in time when I felt I couldn't come to God. I knew I had taken my own steps into my own direction. Placed my emotions in front of His guiding. Spending time in His presence felt harsh and shameful. I couldn't get to Him, though I logically knew He wanted me. I felt tainted and dishonest toward Him. I couldn't bare to see the pain in His eyes. Little did I know that I had no idea what He could do with the shame. All that time that I did not talk with Him, He never ended loving me. He never gave up and moved on. 

I can say this now, but at one time I thought this was impossible to actually FEEL. I would never tell someone that God puts pain and loss in our lives to bring us closer to Him. He DOES NOT wish pain and sorrow on His children. His destination for us is in a place where we will have rulership over the beast of the field and the bird of the air (Hebrews 2). What I can say is that God uses the predicaments that we have gotten ourselves into, to open our eyes to what He has in store. I use this last statement loosely in the fact that sin is sin. Whether we directly committed it or someone long ago changed history, it is all sin and we are in it. Sin causes sickness, wickedness, destruction, and ultimately death. I don't want to spend time here saying who's fault it all is. All have fallen short of the Glory of God.

It is strange how God got to me. He took advantage of the loss I felt in my life to show me that He was all I needed. At the bottom of my heart bucket, I had no one to turn to. He was my only reason to live.  Gently He spoke to my soul and told me that though I am not the same girl that I once was, I am His. He has told me that what I have now no one can take from me. He has convinced me that this time I am stronger in His name, confident in His deeds, a fighter for His kingdom. I understand what sin has done, I know what God can do, and He has told me that I can take the armor and wear it in battle. Despite my past chaos. What He has also shown me is that I am no better than the next girl. He reminds me that what I have experienced will allow me to have understanding for another heart that might be struggling, floundering, lacking ambition. He has given me the ability for compassion and empathy. 

My personality lends itself to internalizing and forgetting the other hearts out there that I could touch. I often jump to conclusions and assume about others. Sometimes I don't even see it all. Kinda like I have my heart in the grey clouds of self. This I have struggled with and probably it is the one thing that will keep my humble. I have to ask God to help me. I want to reach another soul. I want to touch another heart. I want those hearts to see His goodness. I want them to feel the clarity and direction. He is the Light of the world. 

These past few months I have been trying to discover what my gifts are, given by the Holy Spirit. God has placed it within me, that there is an urgency and that my life cannot go on wasted. He has asked me to make a difference, to be the difference in others' lives. It has been a week since He has called me out on this. What I am discovering is not necessarily that He wants me to use my photography skills or my ability to sing. I often wondered why He never convinced me on photography or gave me a strong impression that singing was it. Someday it all may change, but for now I feel He is calling me to... write. I have felt it a long time, but not till now do I really understand that I cannot waste a moment or a day. 

Reaching the heart. I have yet to comprehend the mechanics and logic behind this action. What I do have is that I am a human, with a mind. A heart. That I understand. Let the Holy Spirit lead.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blossoms of Light

I decided I was going to get down to business. Forget that show I was watching and take life by the reins. It disgusted me really. After much time spent unwinding my distracted soul (I have moments frequently) I opened to the book of Hebrews.... 

Like a light in my world, I was fading. Searching for something out there I could touch and breathe, I wanted a passion. They say everyone has a talent, but I wasn't sure how I reslly fit in. I have read the advice given by creatives. That is what they call them now, not artists. I guess it leaves room for open boundaries. They talked about not focusing on other creatives and their abilities. It all said to hone in on your own vision and passions. I still had no idea what this meant for me. 

Have you thought about the symbols used by God? He visually takes you on a journey of discovery throughout the Bible. Whether it is through parables, visions, prophets, or actual structures. His holiness and wisdom far surpasses our ability to understand, so He comes to our level with metaphors and pictures. I find this quite fascinating and sort of like a puzzle.

I wanted to understand the tabernacle in the wilderness scene a little bit more. I thought that if I was going to understand salvation, I was going to have to take this by the ears and dissect carefully. I wanted to know what each piece of furniture meant. I wanted to know what God was saying to me through His visuals. There was the sacrificial altar, the laver, the table of show bread, and altar of inncense. All of them spoke to me about what God is and was doing for me. What got my attention though was the candlesticks. Made completely of pure gold, branches with seven bowls of olive oil to light the room, and almond blossoms.... what? I don't remember any blossoms. Why did no one tell me about these? Molded around the bowls of light were these flowers that I had no idea existed.

Ya, it all sounded extravagant and detailed. I read over and over the description in Exodus trying to understand. My thoughts wondered and I thought, "why did God put almond blossoms on a candle stick?" "of all things in nature this is the one thing that shows up? Besides the lamb and goat of course." I was intrigued. Then I really started spinning my brain, I thought "where else are there almond blossoms in the Bible?" "what can I learn about them?"

I googled almond blossoms and found that in Hebrew it means "to hasten" or "waken". I read on and also found that almond blossoms show up in the dead of winter on bare tree branches. I felt the promise and positivity ringing in my heart. I saw the struggle to survive despite the cold. I could see the color shining in the bleakness of doubt. I understood then that God was talking about a flower that is alive and ready despite the dead life of winter. Wow. But wait there is more.

The candle sticks also have something special about them. Made of one talent of solid pure gold they represent how we each are given an equal portion of time. That time, once given in complete submission to God, must be spent where He desires and for what He is aiming to accomplish. This I found at the back of my study Bible and I wanted to understand where this idea came from. I thought about the fact that almond blossoms also show up in the story of Aaron and how God chose him to be the high priest. The elders of the people and those on their side had just challenged Mose and Aaron's positions. Their jealousy and desire to take on some of the responsibility led to trajedy and they were all swallowed up into the earth. 

At this point God had several men provide their staff and wait for a sign from Him as to who should be the high priest. The next morning Aaron's rod was covered in blossoms and almond nuts. I used to think this was just some supernatural sign, nothing more. But God goes on to tell the people that they need to keep the staff in the Ark of the Covenant as a reminder. They should never forget that only God can designate responsibilities of His importance. Only He can call who he wants. We cannot stand back and wish for someone else's position or talent. We must wait on God for our OWN position and responsibility. We have no idea what is more important than the next.

My mind at this point was going wild. Here were two examples placed on the almond blossom that would help define our responsibilities in this life. It helped me discover my purpose and focus. The world can go on and tell me that, yes, we cannot focus on everyone else and their abilities. But as a Christian I have a second level in this position. Not only should I not desire someone else's ablities, I should only be focusing on what God wants me to do for Him. Not on my own needs and desires. Die to self, Paul calls it. 

In this age of selfish ambitions I cannot stress more about how we should really be looking to God for guidance. I still do not know exactly what God wants me to do to further His kingdom, but He has put a fire in my soul that wants to develop what I individually can offer. I am a vessel, a light in the darkness, a witness and a like a city on a hill. While I have been sitting around wallowing in my own complaints and pains, God has been trying to tell me that I too can be different and draw all men/women to Him. 

Oh, and along with those almond blossoms are the bowls of olive oil. That is a whole other conversation. Let the Holy Spirit lead you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Creative or Not, Here It is

I know it has been a while here. A lot of things going on that I am waiting to talk about here. For now I just want to talk about other topics. My heart has been really thinking about creativity lately. Today I asked myself what it was that made me think I was creative. I don't scrapbook or paint with little brushes. Sometimes I honestly play things too safe. You should have seen me at Home Depot the other day. I was struggling. Alone. I had a choice to make on wall paint. I would grab a color confidently and then would question and doubt. I felt myself saying it was too gray, too green, too boring, too crazy. I wanted to throw my hands up.

Strangely being married I have had more opportunities for experiencing independence and self preservation than I thought I would. Seriously, choosing wall paint alone is like man vs. wild. It's painful. I really wanted someone to reassure me, that it was right. I didn't want to make a mistake and have to add my gallon to the shelf of oops paint. When I finally just went with my gut and without anyone else's opinions it all worked out. The room is soothing and everyone likes the color choice. 

This got me thinking, don't creatives like the freedom to fly in possibilities? Why am I all caught up in fear, as if I think I have any say in imagination? I mean it isn't like the task I had was novel. What would I do with a blank slate? Would I squeal in delight? I kinda doubt it.

I admire creative people I have found. I like watching them work and it somehow releases my uptight heart. Like it's been given permission to breathe deep and smell the summer afresh. The air of blossoms, bursting. What creatives have to offer is colorful, bright, refreshing, alive, and joyful. At least those are the creatives I enjoy. 

If I could feel comfortable in my own skin maybe I would realize that I, too, am creative. I know what looks pretty but do I think that I am beautiful? It's all a psychological science. This confidence and self esteem deal has got me befuddled. I am literal. How does that make me creative? Why do I want to be creative? What's so wrong with the other way of life? What is that other way? I think that in the end all creatives want to be released from or to something. I ache to be released from my closed minded ness , self pity, fears, and perfectionism. 

Some thrive on mistakes. May I at east come to terms with them. "Perfect love casts out fear". Those are the words I must embrace. God is showing me His creative side so that I in turn have a chance to reveal what he has given me. Taking chances and just going with your gut instincts, even if it happens at Home Depot, is a big deal. 

One more thought. Sometimes we want to be someone else's creative. It is taking me a while to discover that my natural creative mediums have about the same punch in life. It takes a while to realize the grass is just as great on this side.  Go create, love, and most definitely laugh. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Excluding the Rod in the Name of Love

After discussing being a selfless woman, the question that runs through my mind is "what else is there to discuss?" At the core of our beliefs, as Christians, is a Christ-like focus where we try to wrap our minds around His amazing love. In order to shine His light and show others who He is we try to become more like Him. It is the ultimate witness.

I thought about it for a bit and came to another realization. While God's character is built upon the fundementals of love, He also has another side to His existence. Discipline and rule. Concepts that, as humans, we find complicated to believe along with calling God love. So I am keeping them in separate entities. This other side has been labeled many things and I am almost afraid to even give it a name. Almost is a key word. As someone who favors on the side of intolerance I cannot be afraid to call something by its rightful name.

God, in his very nature, will not exist without a government. After looking at how He organized the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years, I cannot help but be amazed at how much order there was. But I don't think I fully understood or appreciated it until the Israelites wanted a king. Once Saul and others lined up for duty, it all kind of went down hill. It appeared like chaos and here is something all women will understand... I saw DRAMA. And God let the Israelites have their way. Instead of letting their actual King rule the nation, they wanted someone they could see and other nations would take notice of. They wanted to be like everyone else. Sound familiar?

Just taking a moment to compare this with our own lives is astounding. I know that when I give myself to God and His form of government my life is a lot less dramatic. With that being said I have to consider God's holiness and power. With Him as my King I want to follow the guidelines that He has given, so that I can have the well developed life that He originally planned for me. I stumble everyday in this area. I worry and try to control situations instead of taking it to Him. I get impatient and angry when things do not go my own way, but I know that God helps me when I ask Him for His help in this area of life. The more that I acknowledge Him and ask for help the more I see Him moving and working. The gratification of seeing Him move, makes me want to keep going to Him.

I have also learned that God will only go so far with letting sin run its course. Consider the flood and how He was ready to destroy the whole earth and just start over. Consider how He dealt with the Israelites when they were blatantly not following His lead. Even when other nations feared their God, they still wanted their own way and had no respect.

I grew up with respect for God, but it wasn't till I really understood His love that I feared His power not out of sheer horror, but out of reverence. As my Creator I can only give Him my respect. Thinking that the truths in life are all relative to my own views is pretty much nonsense if I am going to follow God. He sets the rules and I am in no way allowed to go ahead and change them. I can try but in the end I will fail miserably and loose out on a life of pure fulfillment.

In this day and age our minds are tested when it comes to moral issues. I am noticing this more strongly every day. I fear that without focusing completely upon God and His government we will be deceived by the devil into thinking that what God has designed is really just relative. Our tolerant society has pretty much spelled it out plainly. I believe that once we let our minds mold love and government into one package we will find that following God's instruction is not a cruelty or closed-minded thinking.

Before we turn our hearts away from God ruling our lives,  let us consider that our examples here on earth are defective. The world has an idea of rule and government that is warped and deceitful. Even in Christianity God's government is misrepresented. I know that this topic today isn't really about my feelings or about my struggle, but I want us to focus on what is not of us. It isn't about warm fuzzies. I can say honestly that I found myself, this past week, trying to reason with moral issues. I felt myself wanting to please humanity in the name of love. With this realization it made me even more concerned for those around me.

With this concern comes the drive for me to read and study more of what God has to say about all of this. Again pray for each other.

- Warrior for Christ

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Help Meet or Pity Party?

From the beginning of time God has called us to be a helper for the men in our lives. More specifically our husbands. In Genesis God knew that Adam could not be alone and so he formed Eve from Adam's rib. Bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, literally. Sometimes we think that submission to our husbands is of a past time, but it honestly is an act that has been watered down and ruined. In its pure form, it honestly shows what being a "helper" is all about. If you were to look in the Strong's concordance you would find that a "help meet" in the King James Version means to surround, protect, or aid. There is another word that pops up... succor which is a British term for relief or bring aid. Basically rescue.

God wasn't asking Eve to pick up after Adam or even take commands from him like a servant. He was giving Eve the responsibility of aiding him in the garden. They were to care for and cultivate the land, while enjoying God's company. Talk about an ultimate equality and living as a perfect team. When we, as women, want to figure out the best way to make our homes a safe and inviting place, we need to get back to the basics. We need to figure out what God originally designed us for.

I have read the books about this topic and I have heard bits and pieces from other women what they think is the ideal situation for them personally. For me, I have come to find that in order to really live for God I have to understand what He created me for. I also want to share with you what I have found so that you can take it and see how you can develop your home life.

I am a new wife. I have no children but a wealth of family and friends. In my short time as a spouse I have come to find that in order to really enjoy this aspect of life, I have to untie my selfish motives and release them into the darkness. In its place I need to embrace selfless love. This is really hard for me to really make a life style. Those moments when Chris is out helping kids with baseball or practicing with his band, I get really lonely. He spends hours upon hours helping others. I will go into these little rants and self pity parties with myself while he is away. It really doesn't end well and honestly, just isn't productive. But I have done it.

Lately I have been trying to get over these feelings of self importance. I often get caught up in my own thoughts and feelings, placing them in what I claim as reality. In actuality, those feelings are made up by yours truly. Reality is far less complicated and stressful. When I start to think about how I can HELP or get myself involved in others' lives, I start to forget that I was even alone. It has taken me a LONG time to get to this place. I am still learning how to cultivate it so don't even think that I have arrived. There is never an arrival.

God calls us to be more like Him and in order to do that we need to look at His life. What I have seen in reading the gospels, so far, is that He is completely selfless. In the midst of experiencing the cruelest death and baring ALL OF OUR SINS, He prayed for His disciples' well being. Seriously think about that. Not once did he feel sorry for Himself or compare Himself with how the disciples were dozing off. He just did what He had to do.

So how can I help my husband in this life? I can stop complaining about not having enough time to spend with him. I can quit feeling clingy... I hate that feeling actually but somehow it just happens. I can provide meals for him when he gets home. I can keep the home clean and make sure that he has fresh t-shirts. I can have an attitude of encouragement and be there any time that he wants to discuss issues or accomplishments. Pretty much be like a cheerleader without the cheese.

Ya, I have asked myself why I haven't been given millions of responsbilities involving TONS of time. Sometimes we think that being majorly productive is where its at. But as it has been addressed, my life is not for itself but for a team. We need to take the time to compare ourselves only to what God designed and not what others claim is the best way to live. I wanted to share this with you in hopes that you will join me in this journey. Giving of ourselves is hard as sinful human beings, but I have found that letting God exercise those "selfless muscles" in my mind I actually feel lighter. Happier. Free and well in the midst of the Good News.

I have decided that I am not going to live a typical life. I have to remind myself every day of this. Trust me, those pity parties like to sneak in real good. Pray for each other. Pray that we might be the best warriors for Christ. You would be surprised what He will call you to do. You will be amazed at what a woman can do. We take on a whole other boat load of responsibilities.

Monday, April 21, 2014

He Became That Snake, So That We Could Be Clean

In my weakness I think that I am strong. Barely capable of accomplishing I think that I can survive this life. My heart is on reserve and my  intensions are defensive. All the power that I have seems strangely of another source but I cannot reason with it. I have no respect for the Giver of life. My enemies have me tangled even though I think I have the upper hand. 

Here is a perspective that ran its course for a while in my mind. I knew that God existed but I still claimed to do things on my own. I let worry run my life, avoidance smooth out my troubles, and anger protect my defenses. My feelings would reason with my mind, telling it that this is just how it is. This is my personality, there is no other way. It seemed normal. Natural really.

Maybe it is just the sin problem that gets us so wrapped up in ourselves. What is sin really? In a few words it is a "separation from God". We like to call sin the things we do wrong or what brings us woe. But in actuality it is JUST the ACT of taking ourselves AWAY from our Maker. Simple, but can take us in a crazy downward spiral. I want to introduce you to a new path. A direction that leads us back to God. Our Counselor, Solid Rock, Defense, Provider, and ultimately our Creator.

It is not till God comes along and pricks my soul, that He tells me I have it all wrong. What He does differently than anyone else is provide me with a solution. A solution that actually seems simple but at the same time feels unbelievable. The feeling of unbelievable is not what my mind has reasoned. It is doubt grabbing me single handedly.

God gives me hope after the discovery that I am the weakest of all. Forgetting the old way and taking on the NEW is so hard to do for this sinful heart. Comparing my ways with others and getting wrapped up in how I can save myself is consuming. It is a hard habit to break alone. I have a substitute and One who knows how to clean my heart. He can strip it clean to the bare bones. All that remains is room for Him to keep company and set His ways. 

We think that we have to clean up shop before we can have a real conversation with God. That kind of conversation where we can ask for guidance or just talk with Him like He has been our friend for a long time. Do we treat God like He will be like our human relations? Do we think that He will fail us or that He will not like what He has to find? Speaking for myself, I need to understand that God knew me before I even thought of Him. He knew my condition and in actuality.... He is the one that got me to think of Him in the FIRST PLACE!!!!  As a vessel for His kingdom I need to realize that with Him inside of me I can be what He wants me to be. I can live a full life set on fire! So can you!

He sets fire to the once dead talents and drives them to selfless abandon. I cannot fathom all that He has in store or how He can make me completely resolved in His likeness. In my weakness He can shine like the dawn and show the world that He is good and perfect. He has the way to perfect salvation. Each day I have to remind myself of the One who owns my heart. I forget, remember?

How can I call God severe when He has become one of us in order to hang on a tree? It was a cruel and humble death to have to hang where we should have hung. He became a representative of sin, like the snake in the wilderness, so that we may look up and be healed. We have been redeemed and who are we to neglect the gift? Who are we to say we have a right to be in the condition we are in?

I want there to be a common ground between us (specifically women) before I get into discussing more about how we can be shining lights for God's kingdom. I want to remind you (and myself) that the harmful life that we may have developed for ourselves doesn't really have to stay that way. With God in complete control we can get the ball rolling in fulfilling His call.

Do you wish that you had more moments of energy? Do you want to be able to fulfill an idea and have it produce abundant spiritual fruit? Are there moments when you wish you were more or had more to offer your family or friends? I ask myself these questions and am slowly discovering that with God, there is a place we can go. There is a way that we can be great warriors for Christ. We don't have much time left here on earth. We need to do what we can. Just take a moment to consider what Jesus has done for you and then realize that there is so much more than He can do through you. That is if you haven't already discovered this. If so, keep moving forward!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Women: You Know We Have Influence

I know that God is the ultimate power. I don't need to give all the reasons for I know that He can explain Himself quite eloquently, but He has told us that when we speak of Him it is more effective in reaching humanity. He will put Himself aside just to reach us, to show that He has the greatest love of all. He will wait thousands of years just to prove His love. When we finally are able to be with Him on that glorious day it will be the beginning of discovering all His glory, power, and love. We won't ever want to go back to way things used to be.

Ok. So with that being said I have to say that when a person has to prove themselves, there is usually an opposition. With God, His opposition is the devil. From before the beginning of human history the devil had this thought growing real strong in his mind that he for some reason should be sitting where Jesus sits. He feels he should be lord over the earth. He won other angels to his side and after going in too deep to turn back God had to cast him out of His presence. He is now here on earth prowling about seeing who he can deceive and keep away from the ultimate Truth. He knows that his time is short. So why does God have to wait so long to prove His point?

I know that I am a doubter. I feel like Thomas, who had to touch the scars in Jesus' hands AND side. I am visual and so its easy to get swept up in forgetting that God is around. At this point I cannot stress enough about how much we need to focus on God no matter how doubtful we may feel or how distracted we may be. Each little moment in time that we acknowledge Him is another strong moment for Him to present Himself a million times over! The devil knows this... so he will throw little thoughts out like "you rarely think about God. You must not really be that into Him, so why bother?" or "you can't really expect God to want you back or to want to talk after you neglected him for so long". Ya... its really like that isn't it?

We need to be aware of the battle going on around us. We need to aware of the opponent BUT focus our attention on Christ and what He has to offer. We have to realize that, yes, we are nothing... but that in Christ we can go before God the Father with our petitions. What are our petitions? Well they vary. Sometimes its requesting strength to face ourselves. Other moments its needing to pray on behalf of another that can't or doesn't know they can. Then we remember praising God for He has richly blessed us. Not with what the world counts as success but more. Spending time with God is more about God than us really.

Ya we come to Him in selfishness, but He still wants us. He teaches us how to put ourselves aside and look to what He can do. I mean, look at Moses. God told him that He wanted him to lead Israel out of Egypt and what did Moses say? What we would probably have said, "I can't speak well enough." And we have the odacity to tell God we are unable when He bothered to give us instruction. Hmmm...

I have this desire. After putting myself aside I have discovered that it is crucial as women that we need to be God centered. We can trip people up BIG TIME. Our minds work like machines and we analyze just about everything. We measure people up, get what we want through subtle little ways, let our emotions get OUT OF CONTROL, consume ourselves with gossip, try multitasking likes its the rage (without taking time to rest), influence men with our bodies and manners, and well you get my drift. 

As they say in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "The men may be the head, but we are the neck. We can turn the head any way that we want". Isn't that the truth? 

Which side of this battle do you want to be on? Who do you want to give your life for? Where do you want your life to matter? What purpose do you want for your life? I want to challenge you, as a woman, to evaluate your life and see where you want to be. In routine, exercise, diet, and spiritual endeavors we all need to ask ourselves who we are supporting. 

I think that in the future I am going to talk more on this issue. I can only speak for women because I am a woman, but I know that men also should evaluate their lives. God put a little thought in my head this morning and I think I am going to run with it.

Proverbs 31

Monday, March 3, 2014

Boundaries On The Infinite

We place ourselves in these barriers. And as I have mentioned before we place God in this pitiful area of prediction and boundaries. The fears we possess are really full of air. Like whisps in the wind they are faulty and flimsy. Why we don't realize this I don't know. Dramatic and seemingly powerful they paralyze us into accomplishing little. If we get too far into our sin (a.k.a. pride) we will be as the chief priests, thinking we can fool Christ. 

"Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him" -Matthew 26:3-4

Right before this Jesus predicted His death even. Why would they need to plot His capture? God had just spoken about revival, preparation, and commitment. A straight talk about the kingdom and this is what we do? The pain He must have felt BEFORE the cross. The desperation to reach even these evil souls! What can I do to even reach the innocent? 

I am moved, changed, and scared to death. Not that I am going to stop moving or clam up in fear. I am that kind of scared that thrills the soul. Like making a drop on a roller coaster when your stomach ends up in your throat and you scream just for the enjoyment of flight!  I sense the possibilities for making a difference. Since Christ has died for me and has taken the time to leave me with instructions  and a Counselor, I have a calling. I am starting small. Here even. 

Oh the struggle to overcome ourselves. That is really the only thing that gets in the way. Our powerful minds can go any direction. Which way is yours going to go? We won't get through the spiritual battle without a fight, but we can be reassured. Before Christ was even taken a woman (looked down upon by society) annointed Him for burial. This was His encouragement. This was a great gift of thanks and adoration. Simple and humble. While other pious souls mocked. What possibilities God has for us, is beyond us. 

Let Him lead. Let Him undo you and make you much more. Put those boundaries aside. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Midnight Cry Preparation

It is a struggle to develop a deep relationship with God for me. It honesty discourages and pulls on my inner pulse. Deep right? My soul aches to have him so close but I have almost felt too disconnected with myself that I can't even imagine a life of walking daily, beside Him. I decided a while ago that I was at least gong to be honest with Him. I knew my lack. I couldn't fool myself into thinking that I was a thriving Christian. Ya, I can smile a lot and go to church but what is that if my heart is dead?

I narrowed down what I had for a relationship with the divinity. Only seemed fair to put a bird eye view. I admired His care for me and found myself praising him quite easily. But that is where I left it. Just praise and thanksgiving. Another point I noted is that I had great respect for God. His Sabbath I take seriously and his laws I also find are wise and logical. But while refraining from profanity I found myself hateful and cold. Lots of anger resided in this mind of mine. I think when we try to avoid the reality of hatred we stay pretty shallow in most relationships. When we aren't shallow we dig real deep with a metaphorical knife in those we love. Or at least trust. Love is probably not honest. 

Ok so we can see the glitch in my spiritual system. I was barely floating in life. More recently I started to contemplate what it was that I was actually missing. I was  at the point in my life where I noticed God working tremendously, but I still couldn't seem to figure out what was REALLY missing. I started to wonder if I was making up the idea of actually missing something. 

It came upon me suddenly in the shower the other morning. This new thought. Putting a shout out for reading our bibles, I wouldn't have thought of this revelation if it wasn't for at least opening the book. That's how powerful it is. I read about the 10 virgins. I also read a background commentary which gives historical information. When I connected why Jesus used virgins in a parable, I was blown away. They all were waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus). They all had lamps (Bibles). They were all obviously virgins (pure in truth and love for God). 

What was wrong here? Ya they all slept while waiting. But the issue here is the lack of oil (Holy Spirit)! This is what separates. I thought about this for a second and then realized..... I am the foolish virgin without the oil! I respect God the Father and His truth. I am thankful for God the Son and feel the relief of his forgiveness. I forgot the Holy Spirit. Flat out ignored imagining a relationship with Him. I used to try to picture throne rooms but it seemed so big. I tried thinking of Jesus standing right next to me. My literal mind couldn't get passed the idea that He is now a human up in Heaven. 

The Holy Spirit then at that time seemed forgotten and waiting for me. That quiet friend you depend on but neglect to thank. Gentle and small. Almost like a wall flower. The way I feel sometimes. I suddenly could relate. At the same time I knew He wasn't just small. He is moving and influential. He compels hearts to feel good things. The way it should be. He knows how to hold back in patience when we ignore his prodding. Great strength so often overlooked. That oil in my lamp was slowly being discovered. 

I still have a long way to go and I still have to get in a routine with worship, but I found a new friend. Well we used to be good friends. Now I am back after a jaunt away thinking I could be honest without Him. I am older and He is faithful. I am ashamed but He is craving a moment with me. This is what fills us to over flowing. This is what God describes as joy. The Spirit is our Comforter and joy. 

Maybe for you seeing the Spirit would be a different experience. In showing us His character He shows us the signature He has placed in our personalities. It is strange how what the world sees as a weakness God possesses and places in us. Embracing our place in life will help to let His light shine!

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you...... If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" - Luke 11:9,13

Let us be ready for that day of His coming! That midnight cry!