Friday, November 13, 2015

No Room For Fear

I haven't written in a long time.

Maybe a year?

I don't even know.

I got disillusioned.

I almost gave up.

I had a baby!! (She's adorable...and going on 6 months!!)

But tonight, right here, right now I have to write.

I have to write to process the craziness that is around me. Not me physically, but that which is in this world.

Tonight there were some insane, horrific attacks in Paris.

Bits and pieces of the news unfolding is catching my ears as I get my babies to sleep, kiss them extra, hug them harder.

I'm not going into the details about the attacks, but I have to write to process my heart.

I am a mom.

Before becoming a mom, I had a narrow view of life and our world. I took more risks, I was more carefree and fear never crept its bony fingers into my soul. Now, as a mom, the cement steps outside my door cause my heart to lurch as my toddler goes running out to hug her daddy home from work. All spiders are poisonous. Walking in a parking lot calls forth the hawk eye. Strangers being a little to friendly get my momma bear sense on high alert. I have two babies to care for, to love and look after. And now, as a mom, the fear of what could happen clouds our days if I don't consciously claim the freedom from fear we are called to.

And now this.

A tragic attack.

I can't imagine. No. I can. Too well. I can imagine horrors and terrors comparable to a psycho movie. So I don't go there. I don't let my mind go there. I can't. I can't let fear take over my inner, paralyzing me from moving, doing, going, being. I hold firm to the belief that we are not to live in fear. God did not call us to live in fear because all of this, all of this tragedy isn't beyond him and isn't a surprise.

It is said in the gospels that this world will be hard, this world will have troubles - but we must hold firm to the truth, the promise, that He has OVERCOME the world. In the end, this will all pass away and we will be in eternal glory with him. And that is where I put my hope. That is where my hope is grounded.

And with that I continue to go, to live, to buy groceries, to play at the park, to not give in to fear. There is no room for fear where I know my God is bigger. My God is bigger.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Untold Testimony

There is a testimony out there that doesn't get shared.

There is a testimony out there that gets brushed to the side.

There is a testimony out there that has fallen into the hands of the enemy.

There is a testimony out there that isn't being told because it has succumbed to the falsehood that it in and of itself isn't exciting enough, isn't 'bad' enough, isn't emotional enough, isn't deep enough, isn't long enough, isn't dirty enough, isn't enough.

And it like so many aspects of the Christian culture today has put emotional appeal above Jesus Christ - which in reality, in its purest form, brings the greatest joy and peace and fullness. More so than any story ever could.

Is it your testimony?

Are you the one hesitant to share because you feel its boring? plain? simple?

Maybe it includes some of the following:

Grew up in a Christian home
Went to church every Sunday - usually twice and on Wednesdays
Accepted Christ as a young child
Life wasn't perfect but God was always there

Let me tell you something. Something beautiful. Something life changing.



Because it's not about your story, it's not about you, it's not about the junk you got yourself into, its not about the mistakes you made or didn't make, it is about one thing and one thing ONLY..

In that moment that you became a Christian, in that moment that you accepted Christ as your one and only Savior, whether at 5 or 50, YOU WENT FROM DEATH TO LIFE.

You were dead, you were a corpse rotting in the sin of this world and Jesus changed you from that, to LIFE, to LIVING, to be FREE.

Every testimony has that at it's foundation and coursing throughout its veins and that makes EVERY testimony beautiful and powerful and miraculous.

Your story is beautiful!
Your testimony is powerful and life changing because of the one who changes lives and is all powerful.

Don't downplay your story or any story
Don't let it be the untold testimony


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Disillusioned Writer In Me

Yet Still Pressing Forward

A season of deep disillusionment with writing has kept me from approaching my computer with an intent to put my thoughts and feelings to words on the screen.

Disillusionment seemed to be the word that fit the inner struggle that has been happening before I even fully knew what that word meant. So, I looked it up.

My conclusion, what I thought writing to be, what I saw others doing with their writing and blogs, pushed me to lose sight of why I was doing what I was doing and what direction I was going with it.

I began giving this more thought in the past few days and weeks to try and pin point exactly where this was coming from and where I wanted to go, moving forward in the same or different direction.

Much of this feeling of unease and of being unsettled came from an annoyance of other bloggers. I let others and their blogs become my focus rather than pour into what I felt God was leading me to do. I would see their posts...which did multiple things that frustrated me: bible abuse to get an emotional reaction, writing the same sort of thing over and over (i.e. your typical 'I see you' 'I hear you' Cliche motivational type posts) and I became annoyed with the surface attitude and the dig and forcing of an emotional response.

I get it.

I get that as a blogger you want readers and to get readers you need to connect...but sometimes, many times, it felt so forced and fake. Even when they said they were being real it felt fake, forced. So maybe I also got frustrated with the community of bloggers. All doing the same thing, going in the same direction, but all spinning their tires trying to get there, wherever that is. 

Rather than look to God and stay focused on him and his guiding, I looked around me and became fed up with all that was there, or not there. 

All of this led to me feeling lost in my own direction of my blog. I didn't want to become a surface, emotional writer. I wanted my writing to hold more to it, to mean something more eternal, more lasting, less temporary as emotional responses are.

But I didn't know what that was.

I don't know what that is.

I feel I'm getting closer.



I just had to use this time to remind myself of why I write.
I write because when I do, when I sit down and begin to type, when I allow God to use my words, I rarely feel as close and connected to him as I do in those moments. With my computer open and my bible pages spread next to me I feel as if I am doing exactly what he is guiding me to do. I write because I have to. I write because this introverted self needs solitude and internal reflection to get all that runs through my head out before me so I can see it, process it, correct it, use it, grow from it.

That is the focus I need to hold on to. This isn't for anyone else. They may benefit from it, or not. But this ultimately is for me as I follow God in this.

And with that, the clouds break, the disillusionment begins to dissipate, the sun warms my face, I feel in the right place at the right time once again. Constant reminder.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why I don't like Christian Women's Conferences

(Ok, I've only been to two but have had similar experiences.)

A while back I mentioned having gone to a women's conference and that I was processing some things from the weekend. One of which was something I have been struggling with and working through since going. I know many loved the women's conference and I will say I did enjoy my time, seeing all those women worshiping God and being encouraged and inspired by the events of the weekend, but I struggled with the lack of bible, of Jesus, of gospel.

A lot of great things were said, a lot of truth spoken and encouragement delivered, but I struggled with the fact that very little scripture was used. This isn't to say that scripture isn't and wasn't the original basis of the things that were being talked about, its just to say that it wasn't very openly, deeply used.

And that rubbed me the wrong way.

I saw a multitude of examples of 'bible abuse' where pieces and parts and fragments of scripture are plucked up and inserted into someone's talk but in the process is taken entirely out of context or is molded and stretched to fit the point they are trying to make, to emphasize the emotional trigger they are going for.

Something about that didn't settle right.

And for the past few weeks I have been telling myself that it was just me being critical. It was just me, who watches sermons with her husband for fun, expecting more than what these types of events are all about. It was just me nervous that I will do the same thing the next time I get an opportunity to speak to a group of women. It as just me.

But then, toward the end of last week, I was reading in scripture and came across the following verse and so much of what was creating unease within my heart became clear to me as to why. Take a look with me. This passage is Paul talking to the Corinthians about not being divided, not being caught up following people but to be always following after Jesus:
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Is it possible that too many words, too much emphasis on creating catchy phrases and incorporating lengthy words empties the gospel of it's power?

That instead of Jesus getting the credit, the fancy talk is.

That many of the good talks have actually become a distraction from Jesus. An intricate combination of words peppered with pieces of scripture so it can be disguised as bible teaching and not just a good speech.

I'm not saying all messages presented did this, or that even any of them did, although it feels like this with some more than others. I'm not saying those messages don't have a purpose and weren't used in powerful ways to touch the hearts of women. I'm not saying that God didn't use the words spoken and allowed them to speak directly into the situations of those hearing.

I'm not saying that I could ever do any better.

In the end, if anything, my conclusion is that this was eye opening to me. The unease I felt, the unsettled feeling was necessary because it drew my attention to the direction any speaker could easily go - forfeiting the true power of Christ in order to get a seemingly bigger emotional reaction. Eye opening because speaking to groups of women is a passion and dream of mine and I want it to contain the power and authority of Jesus, not be mere words of eloquent wisdom. I don't want to get caught up in trying to say the right thing that I take away the power of Christ which is my sole purpose for doing any of it.

I praise God that he can take my weak but best efforts and turn them into whatever he wants to use them as. That he can take the powerless and fill it with power. That he can take the timid and insecure and overflow them with authority.

I pray that as I continue to speak to groups of women, that my focus be Jesus and that the cross be held forth, that the work of Jesus be glorified, the light shine on the power of God and not on the words coming from my mouth.

And for that, for the heart of the women who spoke, for their love for Jesus and desire to spread his love, for their passion to encourage and uplift other women, for all of that and more - I thoroughly enjoyed the women's conference and did actually like it. I pray that their efforts and hard work are used by God to cause a revival in the hearts and lives of women across the nation!

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Have you ever been to a Christian women's conference? What did you experience? How did God use that time in your life?

Live Each Moment By Faith

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Your Body: His Beautiful Creation

Last time I wrote about how I have come to love my body as it is and I have to clarify two things that I didn't have time to go into all in the same post.

1.) ONGOING PROCESS: While I KNOW that when I stay in God's word, washing his truths over me daily, moment by moment, it is the only way to maintain the correct perspective on who I am and the way I look. I know that, but it doesn't happen all the time. This is an ongoing process of refining and reforming my heart to look more like his. This is an ongoing process of fighting the lies of this world and transforming my each and every thought to line up with His. Also, this process will always be ongoing. It will be worth it. It will be tough, but worth it.
     Have you ever paid attention to your thoughts? The first time I read and really thought through the following verse:
"Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.." Rom 12:2
The first time I read that and stopped on it for a period time I realized something, you can't renew your mind, your thoughts, your self talk, if it happens so non-chalantly that you aren't even aware of what you are saying. So I decided to take on a personal challenge and write down every thought that I had that pertained to myself.
 Just me.
Not other people.
 Not situations.
  Not to-do lists.
But write down everything I told myself about me.
And not only was I surprised by the things that formed in my mind, but I was EXHAUSTED. Truth be told, it is hard work to pay attention to your thoughts and then even more draining to pay enough attention and gie enough time to stop those thoughts and correct them.
But, like I stated before, it was worth it. It is worth it.


Because as I continued to fight the thoughts, as I continued to correct the things I was saying to myself and about myself, my thoughts became more naturally, more instinctual and in line with God's word.

So extra work on the front end meant not only less work down the road, but a sense of freedom and lightness.

I was no longer bound by the harsh things I was throwing around in my head directed toward no one other than me.  Transforming my thoughts to the word of God and what he says about me brings about and has brought about unspeakable freedom and acceptance - I could accept myself. I could allow others to accept me. I could welcome in God's acceptance.


     From a girl who has graced both sides of extremes in weight, extreme dieting and utter neglect, neither of these is healthy, nor what I am talking about here. While God's word is filled with truths about who we are as daughters of a King and the way he sees us,beautiful wonderful creations of his just as we are, it doesn't mean we are to be satisfied with behavior that doesn't line up with his word, even in regard to our bodies.      
We are called to be good stewards of money, time, relationships just as much as we are to take care of our bodies. Not extreme dieting, not complete neglect. Realize the truths that are given in his word all the while doing your part to take care of your body. Take care of the creation that he has made in you. Take care of the temple that your physical body is and has become.

      Easier said than done. Yep. No doubt about that.
But I have found one way to help.
       Because Jesus died on the cross. Jesus rose then from the dead. And when he went to heaven, he promised that the Holy Spirit would be with us, in us, to be our support, our helper, our guide. Is it possible then that when it comes to what to eat and how to take care of ourselves physically that the Holy Spirit could and does guide us? Our physical bodies are important. Without them, we can't do the work that we do here on Earth. And therefore it's important to keep them healthy and do our part.

So what if you prayed and asked for guidance when you felt you were struggling with food, one way or the other? What if you prayed to have the Holy Spirit show you what to eat or how to exercise. I started doing this whenever I felt I was not being a good steward of my body and instantly I became more conscious of what I was eating and what I should or shouldn't eat. Try it? Couldn't hurt right? I also prayed about exercise and what to do. I started walking and over the course of a summer between walking and eating better, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I lost 30lbs. Was that my desire in the first place? Nope. But it was a benefit to being more aware of how I was taking care of my body.

More about this coming up in the next post on Friday - until then...

What is your journey with weight and your body? Good, Bad, Up and Down? I'd love to hear - comment below!

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Live Each Moment By Faith