Monday, December 14, 2009

Because you ARE beautiful.

God put you on my heart today … so strong… that he woke me from my sleep.
I feel it would be wrong not to write to you. 
I want to let you know first off, that I am not writing out of judgment. I am writing out of love. 
Love because you are my sisters in Christ. You are my friends, the ones I am running the race with. 
And I would not be justified in any form of judgment since I was in the same place myself, a few years ago.

You are beautiful. You are a treasure. You are good. You are lovely, none can compare. 
You have the heart of a warrior, the mind of a dreamer, and the spirit of a child. 
You are our Savior’s beloved. He calls you His beloved. You are HIS. 
He sees you differently than you see yourself.
He does not see your failures or your flaws. He knows your weaknesses, but he does not use them against you or allow them to keep Him from loving you. 
His love isn’t filtered by what you do and don’t do. It is unconditional. It is unchanging. It is never ending.
And even when you are done loving Him, He is not done loving you. 

Ladies, there is nothing we can do to remove ourselves from His love.
But there are things we can do to remove ourselves from His best. 

Nothing hurts me more than to watch people walk away from His best.
For some reason, we choose momentary satisfaction even if that means eternal disappointment.

I know you are dealing with pain. I know you have been hurt by false teachers. I know the words people have always spoken over you, echo inside of your mind. I know you are afraid of becoming what they always said you would become. I know you are afraid of disappointing. I know you are afraid of not being good enough. I know you are disappointed in yourself.
I also know all of these fears and disappointments make it easier and easier for you to give up and lose sight of what you know is true. 

But I encourage you to take every one of these fears and thoughts and disappointments captive. 
I encourage you to give them to God and let them go.
Do NOT allow them to shape your decisions and choices any longer. Do not let them have the victory.
The Lord is you shepherd. 
He wants to bear the burdens that are trying to cripple you.
These same burdens have been following you ever since you can remember. They are heavy and they are trying to slow you down. WHY? Because the enemy knows what you are capable of, he knows the good you are supposed to do. And He will do whatever he can to distract you and slow you down. He wants to keep you from reaching the high places. He wants to take every alter you have ever built, everything you have learned along the way and shove it in your face. He wants to make you forget.

He puts every possible thing in your way to distract you.
And as much as it pains me to say this…right now… you are enabling him. 
You aren’t fighting like you used to. Something has caused you to lay down your armor. 
You are on the front lines of battle where you are most susceptible to injury… but you don’t have your shield or your weapon.  

You need to guard yourself. You need to protect the beauty and the purity of your heart and of your future.
You do not know what a day can bring. You do not know where you will be tomorrow.
If you are awakening intimacy with someone who is not yours, knowing that you cannot fulfill this intimacy, I urge you to stop. 
Because the choices you make now affect your tomorrow. 
You could be hurting someone you love, or are going to love, very deeply with the decisions you make today. 

If you truly love each other… you will guard each other. You will protect each other’s purity. 
The best way you can show your love for one another right now, is not to be physical. The best way you can show your love is to be strong for one another. 

In a world where innocence is a massive struggle to hang on to, please CLING to yours. Do not let it slip away so easy. You have a God-given right to remain pure. It is YOURS. Even if it has been taken before, God is the re-builder and replenisher. Do not allow yourself to be convinced that you are beyond repair. 
If you have lost your innocence, lift your hands to God, repent, rebuke the enemy, and demand that purity back. Claim it. God makes things new. Thats what He does. And in Christ, YOU ARE A NEW CREATION. 

Please do not awake love until it can be fulfilled. 

Quit flirting with danger.
It is fun I know. But there is only pleasure in sin for a season. And after the season of pleasure… comes the season of regret. 

You are way too beautiful of a treasure to get trampled under foot. 
So I ask you to PLEASE rethink some of the things you have allowed in your life. 
Know your worth. Know your beauty. It is something to be kept safe and pure. 
It is a gift you get to give away all at once. Not piece by piece. 

I love you so much. 
I will be the accountability you need... if you'll let me. 
I am praying for you. 


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A prayer from a selfish sinner

Father I am sorry.

I have been selfish.

I have made this life about me and not about you.

And I have blamed you for the things I have allowed to go wrong in my life.

I pretended that you didn’t care because it gave me someone else to point the finger at besides myself.

I know you are good, yet I convinced myself that goodness could be withheld.

I looked at my life and saw all of the things I didn’t like…all of the things that sin has provoked in my life and I blamed it all on you.

I allowed myself to believe you caused me pain. I allowed myself to believe that your gifts are not good and perfect.

I know this is wrong.

I know every good and perfect gift is from you.

I also know that even when I suffer… that is a gift.

Because sorrow and suffering reap joy and peace.

I may sow tears now but because of this I will reap joyful shouting.

I know that trial and tribulation produce in me wisdom and understanding that will not and cannot be gained anywhere else.

I know that it is not your will for us to be in pain, but you will allow it because you know it helps us to grow.

You love me and you allow me to call you Abba.

Because of your goodness and love I don’t have to face an eternity of sorrow.

And though sorrow may last for the night joy WILL come in the morning.

You have given me a gift that cannot be tainted. You have given me the promise of your love forever.

Help me to focus on what is important.

To remember that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.

Trust is a beautiful thing. I don’t want to doubt you again.

I trust in your unfailing love.  


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adored by God

A friend of mine was talking about a guy she was slightly interested in. She was explaining their relationship and how this guy went from pursuing her to asking her for advice about another girl.  As I listened to her talk I could hear the frustration in her voice. This was not at all the type of guy that she wanted to be with. His morals didn't match hers, his choices were obviously immature and there was no consistency in his affection. But regardless, he gave her attention and made her feel desirable, so her interest remained. 
As we talked, I could see how much it bothered her that he brought another girl into the picture. This guy, who wasn't even close to the type of guy she dreams about, was hurting her and she was enabling him to. 

I couldn't understand it. This girl was beautiful, talented, smart, funny. A hopeless romantic who's heart has been kept safe and protected. She had spent 19 years growing into the type of woman the bible urges men to find. She was carrying around the most amazing gift that was intended to be given fully to the one who God had reserved for her, but she was beginning to break off pieces and hand them to all of the impostors along the way. 

I thought to myself, "This is crazy! Doesn't she know that God has something so much better He wants to give her." 

And God whispered in my ear "No she does not."

This girl didn't see herself as special to God. She believed in His goodness, and she believed in His blessings, she just didn't believe that His goodness and blessings were for her.

Her perception of her heavenly father had been distorted by her earthly one. 

Her earthly father was good, but he gave all of his love and affection to her two older sisters; and when it came to her, there was never anything left to give. 
She had been found wanting her entire life. 
Her expectations were never met. So she decided not to expect anymore. 
And finally, this carried over to her relationship with God.

I once heard a pastor say,
 "How we view God has everything to do with how we respond to him." 
So many of us have a distorted view of who God really is. 
Many times our view of him is affected by prominent relationships in our lives. And more time than not, that view is a negative one. 
But the inconsistent nature of humans should never be thrust upon the unchanging nature of God. 

How we look in the eyes of other humans is nothing like how we look in the eyes of Christ. 
He is a God of love who came to give us abundant life.  He does not desire to withhold good things from us. On the contrary, He desires to bless us. 

The Lord is our shepherd We SHALL NOT WANT.
The Lord is our shepherd, He does not leave us wanting.
The Lord is our God and our care taker. He watches over us and supplies all of our needs.
The Lord is our father and the lover of our soul. He delights in helping us. He longs to bless us.

We have no ranking in the eyes of the Lord our God. He does not see us as the youngest. He does not see us as a number on a list. He simply sees us as His child.

There is no line we have to wait in. Our God is not confound by titles, numbers, or time. He is a good God that blesses us far beyond what we deserve.

And the sooner we can change our perception of Him, the sooner we can experience the amazingly abundant life He came to offer. 

I want you all to know that God adores you. He sees you differently than anyone else sees you. He sees you differently than you see yourself. 

Believe in His promises. Believe that His blessings are for you. 
It will change the way you think. It will change the way you dream. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pursuing Holiness

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy;
without holiness no one will see the Lord. 
Hebrews 12:14

Wow. Has anyone ever really contemplated the second half of that verse. 
Without holiness NO ONE will see the Lord.  
We are given a huge responsibility here. Holiness is not just about winning favor with the Lord. 
Holiness is about helping others to see Him. 

We look around at our nation and the surrounding godless countries. We wonder why everything looks like it is on a one way train to hell. It is in our movies. It is in our music. It is in our relationships, it is in our government. It is in everything.
Everywhere we look people are lost.  And we can't figure out where to place this blame?
We even go so far as to blame God. 
Well I have a very sad truth. A truth that brings tears to my eyes and a sickness to my stomach.
A truth that sends chills down my spine as I sit here and write this to you. A truth that convicts me to my core. 
We are the culprit. We are the ones to blame. And we can continue to point our finger at God. We can even continue to point our finger at the devil. But until we realize that we are responsible, we will live in a desperately lost godless world. 

I am not saying the enemy plays no part in this. He is definitely a confuser, a deceiver, and a tempter. And he deserves a good amount of the blame. 
But one of the easiest ways for us to forfeit all responsibility is to blame everything on the enemy. And if we forfeit all responsibility then we live as if their are no consequences. 

We have been made holy by Christ Jesus. And we are, therefore, called to be holy on a daily basis. Holiness should be something we desire. 

"If there is not, then, at least a yearning in our hearts to live a holy life pleasing to God, we need to seriously question whether our faith in Christ is genuine.... True salvation brings with is a desire to be made holy. When God saves us through Christ, He not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but also from its dominion."
Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness

Holiness is not a condition of salvation because we are not saved by works. But it should be a byproduct. As children on the King, we should be grieving over the sin in our lives, not trying to justify it. 
My problem is justifying the little things. The movies, the innuendoes, the jokes, the language, the humor. There are so many little things we allow into our life that are in all actuality disgusting.  
We fill our heads with mindless garbage and then we wonder why we don't have the influence we would like to have. We want revival for our generation. We want change. But we are no different then the people we are trying to save. And we wonder why God wont use us. 

"Holiness is necessary for effective service to God....' If a man cleanses himself from ignoble purposes, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.' (2 Timothy 2:21). Holiness and usefulness are linked together. We cannot bring our service to God in an unclean vessel."  
Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness

This doesn't mean that we have to be perfect for God to use us. We all know that is impossible. We are flawed human beings.  And on our own we are desperately wicked. But "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2. Cor 5:21). Our righteousness is not our own. To live a holy life we have to surrender ourselves daily to God's righteousness. We have to understand that strength begins with Him. The moment we think righteousness is our own, is the moment we become overwhelmed by the calling on our life. Living with that mentality will cause us to stumble in our salvation. It will cause us to despise ourselves instead of the wickedness that lives within us. It will cause us to give up.
We need not live with that kind of burden. 

"You, if you diligently pursue holiness, must often flee to the Rock of your salvation. You flee there, not to be saved again, but to confirm in your heart that you are saved through His righteousness alone. You begin to identify with Paul when he said; 'Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst' (1 Timothy 1:15). It is at this point that Christ's holy life lived on your behalf becomes so important to you." 
Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness 

We need to recognize the sin in our life, realize our need for His righteousness and begin to live lives that are holy and pleasing to the Father. 
We need to stop settling for moral mediocrity and call sin what it is. Our hearts are wicked and they will justify, rationalize and excuse our actions. We need to ask our Father to search our hearts and  make us aware of our iniquity so that we can turn from it. 
We need to realize that Satan is the accuser and he will spend forever trying to discourage us in our sin. He will make us believe the battle isn't worth the fight. 
But let us remember why this battle rages. There are hearts and souls on the line. There are people who need to see the image of Christ in us. And they will not see it, if we do not strive for it. Holiness is not a request. Holiness is a demand.

 "Be Holy because I am holy." 
(1 Peter 1:16) 


Monday, August 3, 2009

Fix Your Eyes

One of the hardest facts I have learned to face is that people will always disappoint you. 
As harsh as that sounds it is true.

I cannot name one person who has ever proved this wrong. 
Its not that people are hopeless, its that people are fallen. 
They can't help but be human. 
Whether or not they are moral, you cannot count on them to be flawless.
One of the most dangerous things we can do as Christians, is fix our eyes on other believers. 

I have met a countless amount of people who have walked away from God or left the church because of the hypocrisy they saw in the Christians around them. 

I admit, it is a difficult thing to expect greatness out of someone and watch them fall on their face before your very eyes. 
But when this causes your own faith to be shaken,  you must ask yourself what you were putting your faith in in the first place. 

Too many times we put our trust in people rather than the God they serve. 
We admire their choices and place them on pedestals they were never meant to be placed on.
We watch intently as they go though life making note of every characteristic and choice that we want to emulate.
And when they fall, as humans do, we stumble along with them leaving our faith at the mercy of their humanity. 
I cannot think of a more dangerous place to put our faith. 

There is one being in this universe that will never disappoint us; one who will be faithful to us in every aspect of the word. One who will love us selflessly and unconditionally forever. One being who will not and cannot fail. And that is God. 

We must take our eyes off of whatever we have put in His place.
Whether it is a role model, a pastor, a teacher, a leader, a parent, a friend, a relationship, or whether it is ourselves, we need to turn our eyes back to heaven and fix them on the one person who is incapable of failure. 

Our faith will be the strongest when we put it in a powerful God. 


Monday, July 27, 2009

Stepping Out

What are you afraid of?

Think about the one thing in the world that is keeping you from living the life you have always wanted to live.

Is it fear of rejection, disappointment, embarrassment, or failure? Is it fear of losing something or someone? Is it fear of not being accepted?

What fear is hindering you? 

Too many times we miss out on life because of fear.

We confine ourselves to what we are comfortable with, even if that means mediocrity. 

We give up on adventure, accept loneliness, wave goodbye to dreams, forfeit our influence and lay low because of fear.

We build up wall after wall after wall until we are enclosed so tightly that we have only left room for ourselves.

We close our eyes and shut out everything that intimidates us, then open them and wonder why our world is so small.

It’s because we’ve allowed it.

Fear is apart of our sin nature. And just like any other sin, it is something we have to fight against.

We spend way too much of our time letting fear control us when we should really be focusing on learning to control it.

We sit in the boat watching everyone else step over the side. And just when we muster up enough courage to throw our leg over, fear tells us that we aren’t ready. 

God wants to use us now, but fear tells us we have to wait.

It is crippling.  It keeps us from moving forward in life. It makes us believe we aren’t capable.  It steals our courage, our joy, and our peace. It causes us to live in complacency and slowly convinces us we are ok with it.

 Living in fear means we are living with the mentality that everything is in our hands.

There is nothing biblical about that.  The Bible says in Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind,

 Where does this power come from? Where does this love come from? Where does our help come from? It does not come from within. It is not something we can achieve on our own.

Our power, our love, our help comes from the Lord, a God who loves us perfectly.

And perfect love cast out all fear. If we know we are loved perfectly by our creator, then our fears have no choice but to leave.

 God does not send us into any situation by ourselves. There is nothing he expects us to do all on our own. He is always with us.

In any and every moment, God is there.

We need to be living with that mentality.

 God wants to use us. Not as a pawn but as a vessel. A pawn is a dense object that cannot be filled, but a vessel is hollow. God wants to first pour himself into us, and then send us out for His purposes.

There are so many things He has planned for us. But we must first learn to get out of our boats.

 Sometimes getting out of the boat isn’t exciting. It’s not always going to be a “walking on water” experience. Sometimes getting out of the boat just means talking to someone you are intimidated by or being vulnerable and opening up to a family member or friend. Sometimes it means caring more than we want to or loving freely without fear of losing.

 Sometimes getting out of the boat just means having the courage to leave your house, stepping out of your comfort zone, or letting go of your daily routines and activities.

Whether or not it is exciting, no matter what getting out of the boat entails, it is something we are called to do.

And until we do, we won’t be able to fully experience God’s blessings.

God is waiting on us to throw our fear aside, swallow our pride,  fix our eyes on Him, and step out.


“Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, would have done, but did not do.” 

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just ask Jonah

"Teach me Your way, O Lord; 
I will walk in Your truth."
Psalm 86:11

My husband Caleb and I spent the last week in Minnesota with our family from his side. They have a tradition, one they have kept since Caleb's dad was a little boy. Everyone, including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, in laws, etc, meets at a place called Cragun's. 
Cragun's is a resort right by Gull lake. Each family gets there own cabin and spends a week together, boating, tubing, skiing, fishing, EATING, playing games, watching movies and just having fun together. 
Well this year was a little different. This year Minnesota had record low temperatures. Which means, we didn't get in the water much. 
We had a huge thunderstorm where it rained 6 inches and every other day was way too cold to even think about skiing or tubing. 
Everyone was saddened by this. And even though I thoroughly enjoyed the rainstorm and the weather, I could understand why everyone was disappointed. 
Its because an expectation wasn't met. 
Everyone packed their shorts and tank tops and swim suits and coolers, and tubes, and skis, and hauled their boats all the way to the lake expecting to use them. 
But that didn't happen.
Everyday we woke up and looked out the window expecting to see that the weather had changed. 
But that isn't what God had in mind for that week. 

For some reason God wanted us indoors. Maybe He wanted us to slow down, maybe He wanted us all to bond as a family. Maybe He was saving us from an injury that could have happened out on the lake. I don't know. He didn't personally reveal His reasoning to me, but I know He had one. 
And I am convinced that if we had packed up early and ventured off to another lake who's forecast promised sunshine, we would have arrived to find it was gloomy there as well. 
Why? Because God doesn't confine Himself to meet our expectations. 

Our God is a good God. He is a God of love and He loves to see us smile. But that doesn't mean He is going to change His mind on something just because we don't understand it. 

Far too often we try to convince ourselves that what WE want is what God wants for us. 
Not only do we try to convince ourselves, we try to convince God as well. 

If we want something bad enough, whether it is a certain career, a relationship, a sunny day, etc, we will stop at nothing to justify it in our minds and before God.  
And if we don't get it right away, we act as if God is not listening. 

We question Him on His integrity without even thinking about the fact that maybe, just maybe, we are asking for something that isn't good for us and our God has a better plan. 

I myself am SO guilty of this. I am always questioning my standing with God. I think that if He doesn't respond right away with a YES, then He probably doesn't hear me. But that couldn't be more false. 
God hears every prayer offered up by His children. He doesn't always answer with a yes, but He always answers for our good.
Our efforts shouldn't be put into selling God on our brilliant ideas.
Our efforts should be put into understanding God's brilliant ideas for us. 

The longer we keep running in the wrong direction towards our plans, the longer it will take for us to fulfill the purposes God created us to fulfill. 
Just ask Jonah. He had a whole night in a whale's belly to think about his decision of heading to Tarshish instead of Nineveh. 

God will do what it takes to get us back on the right track, but we can skip the whole getting swallowed by a fish thing if we just choose to look at what God wants before looking at what we want. 

"The Holy Spirit speaks to neutral hearts. By that I don't mean passive or indifferent hearts.... I mean being consumed with discovering what pleases the Holy Spirit rather than working to convince Him of the wisdom and brilliance of our plans. I am afraid many of us pray with the goal of talking God into things rather than trying to discover His will.
As a result, we never hear Him."
Charles F. Stanley 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Through Different Eyes

Three years ago today

I was living life the way I wanted to. My eyes were closed, my head was turned. I wasn't allowing myself to see the truth. I was mindlessly going through life, ignoring all of the "turn around" signs God was putting in my path. I had replaced God with something I thought would bring happiness. I took Him out of the priority position, and filled the void with an unhealthy relationship.With every passing day I felt further and further away from my God. I eventually stopped running back to Him because only in His presence did I feel convicted. Only in the presence of a Holy God did I see my sin for what it was. And I despised myself.
Although my self-indulged point of view brought me many tears and sleepless nights, I remained in it waiting for the day things would "work themselves out."
I convinced myself that my hidden rebellion towards God was a stage everyone went through.
I made myself believe I was happy.
But my heart was fragile, and at times I could literally feel it break.

Two years ago today

I was finding my way back to the Father. The relationship I was holding onto so tightly finally decided to let me go. After spending many nights sprawled across my sister's bed weeping and questioning God, I began to realize His best for me was still waiting to be discovered.
I learned that God wanted me to seek Him first, not just because He is a jealous God, but because nothing will ever be satisfying or fulfilling if He is not in it.
I learned to ask for things in His name.
I started every single day off with prayer and devotion.
In every prayer I asked for a man of good character.
I asked for someone that was passionate and God fearing.
I requested that he would be intelligent and sweet and perfect for me only.
"Oh and God... you know I love to laugh... so can I have someone funny?"
Yes, I even asked for humor. :)
Through much prayer and time spent with God, I began to love myself again. I began to see things through His eyes rather than mine.
God brought me through amazing experiences with amazing people and slowly but surely rebuilt my heart.

One year ago today

I was in Minnesota with one of my best friends. It was a hot humid day. He took me all over the beautiful campus of Bethel University where he used to go to school. We spent the day talking about life and things we used to do. There were strong winds and Tornado warnings that day.
He led me up the stairs in one of the buildings and in through the doors of a small prayer chapel.
The lights were low, the candles were lit and there was a water basin in the middle of the stage. He asked me to sit down. With a steady voice he read me passages out of the Bible about love. He reassured me of his affection for me. He told me what an amazing woman he thought I was. He asked if he could wash my feet. As he was washing my feet he looked up at me with his big green eyes and said "I want to get up every morning and serve you with this kind of attitude. I want to love you this way for the rest of our lives." He finished washing my feet and got on one knee. He asked me the question I had waited my entire life to hear. I said yes!

I am celebrating an amazing day given by an amazing God.
As I look back on these past few years I realize how much of a difference it makes to see things through God's perspective.
Our definition of "best" cannot even compare to what God has in store.
But sometimes our hands are so full of what WE want, we leave no room for God to put in what HE has.
We go through life trying to provide for ourselves and then wonder why we always end up with mediocre.
Its because what God desires to give us is more than mediocre, it is even more than good. What God desires to give us is great.

Mark Batterson said it perfectly in his book, In a pit with a lion on a snowy day,
"Good is often the enemy of Great."

When we live our lives the way we want, we end up settling for mediocrity.
But when we live our lives the way God wants, there is no telling what He will do.

So I urge each and every one of you to let go of what you are holding onto.
Lay it at the feet of Jesus. It doesn't belong to you anyway.

This isn't always easy, but I guarantee you its what is best.
Let go. Free your hands. Free your heart. Seek Him first.

And ALL of these things will be added unto you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Redemption Is Here

I know I am not alone in saying there are things I have done in life that I am not proud of. 
As human beings we have archives of regrets.  Its because we are imperfect.
We were born into a sin nature, and a byproduct of that is... well... sin. 
That doesn't make it ok. That doesn't justify it.  It just gives us an idea of why its so easy for us to mess up.

I don't think the enemy's biggest victory is getting us to sin.
I think his biggest victory is making us feel unforgivable.
He gets us to our lowest point, reminds us of our terrible failures, and then whispers lies into our heads about how we aren't even worthy enough to ask our Father for forgiveness. 

And because we feel so inadequate, we run farther away. 

I know exactly how this goes because I have been there. 
I was so surprised and frightened by my sin that I felt like God was surprised and frightened too. I felt like I had somehow shocked God with my actions. 
And instead of falling on my face before Him begging for forgiveness, I allowed myself to believe that His grace wasn't sufficient enough for me. So I stayed, dwelling on my sin, awaiting my next failure. Because that was easier than facing an unforgiving God. 

And thats where the enemy gets the victory. 
He convinces us that we only get one chance. 
He makes us believe that our loving God isn't capable of forgiving us. 

The enemy is the deceiver and the confuser. He always has been. 1 Peter 5:8 says that he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 
He delights in our weaknesses. He finds joy in our suffering. And he wants us to stay there. 

But God is the complete opposite. 
The God we serve is a God of love. He is the strength in our weakness, He is the joy when we suffer and the last thing He wants to do is leave us in our sin. He is the restorer and the rebuilder. He makes all things new. He is the Father that RUNS to us when we call out to Him. Christ hung on a cross because He knew our wickedness would keep us from spending eternity with Him in Heaven. So He took on our punishment. 

The saddest thing we can do is cheapen His grace. To look at ourselves and say, "You're grace may be sufficient for everyone else, but not for me." 
Who are we to believe that our righteousness was ever our own? 

We are told in Hebrews to approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Ladies, I encourage all of you to approach that throne today. 
No matter what you have done. 
God wants to redeem you. He wants to make you pure again. 
Stop believing you are the exception to the rule. 
Come out of your hiding place. Be vulnerable before the Lord. 
Restoration is waiting. 
Abundant life is waiting. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Love That Waits

After reading Esther's blog about dating and hearing all of the different responses, I realized this topic really sparked a lot of your interests.
Today as I sat at my computer and read letters from different women who have been hurt by relationships or frustrated by the lack of, God put it on my heart to really elaborate on this subject.

I think Brooke Frazer hit the nail on the head when she wrote a song called "Love is Waiting."

Love, true love, the thing girls dream about as children, the emotion we long to experience at least once in our lifetime, the desire we pray to be fulfilled, the commitment we will spend the rest of our lives upholding, is worth waiting for.

But sometimes...actually most of the time we get impatient.
We are so hungry for love, we will take it anywhere it shows itself. Our hearts are tricked into believing that anyone who says they want us, will love us.
Sadly, this is far from true.

I have seen many girls waste their lives away in the wrong relationships. In an effort to feel wanted by someone, they give themselves over to someone else's pleasure; someone who doesn't see them for who they are, someone who, in reality, doesn't even care.

I myself was in a very unhealthy relationship once. I spent two and a half years trying to become the person he wanted me to be. I let go of who I truly was, I let go of who God wanted me to be, and I became someone even I didn't recognize.
I realized that the relationship was terrible for me.
I wouldn't admit it, but in the back of my mind, I could hear the voice of truth SO strong telling me to get out. But I loved him. Despite everything the relationship was doing to me, I was ready to marry him. And I stayed
At the end of those two and a half years, I was not Brittany.
I was broken, I was bruised, I was everything he wanted me to be, yet I was not enough. And he moved on.
I felt like an old pair of shoes. I did the job for a couple of years, but eventually I got old and he out grew me. So I was tossed aside.

I was overwhelmed for a while after wards, but God met me in my brokenness. He helped me rediscover my worth.
I realized that God knew I wouldn't leave the relationship, so he provided a way out.
When I look back on it now, I wonder why I stayed in something SO wrong for me for SO long.

Part of the reason I stayed so long was manipulation (which I will get into another time)
but the other reason was my longing to be loved.
Even when the love didn't fit, even when it felt so wrong, I wanted it.
What I didn't realize is that it wasn't love at all.
It was selfishness, lust and desire using the alias "Love."

And that is what we as women need to be careful of.
The alias called "LOVE"
There are so many things out there using the name of love.
Everyday women easily fall into these traps.
Impatience makes us act without thinking.
Desperation causes us to give up on what we truly want.
And true love is left out of the picture, because we couldn't wait on it like it has been waiting on us.

My mom always told me "God is never in a hurry but He is ALWAYS on time."

I tell you the truth, God has a purpose and a plan for every woman out there.
If it is His will for you to get married, then it will ONLY happen perfectly in His timing.

And all we are left to do is wait.

Like I said in an earlier post, "waiting" is one of the hardest things we have to do as humans.
But let me encourage you to find beauty in this period of waiting.

Being single was such a beautiful period of my life. It showed me I am capable of independence.
It reminded me of my need for God. I grew so much closer to him and learned so much about myself in the process. I woudln't trade that time for the world.

Now that I am happily married to a man God placed directly in my life, I can look at Caleb and know I am with him, not because I wanted a husband and he fit the role, but because God made something beautiful out of our waiting and brought us together in His perfect timing.
Trust me, to experience a love you know without a doubt was God given, it worth an eternity of waiting.


"I'll give it time, give it space and be still for a spell
When it's time to walk that way we wanna walk it well....
and like I can't force the sun to rise or hasten summer's start,
neither should I rush my way into your heart"
Brooke Frazer / Love Is Waiting

Make a Joyful Noise!

This morning was a busy one and I didn't get the chance to reflect and write. 
But before I rush off to work, I want to encourage everyone with this....

Find God in something today.
He is in the details. 
He is God of the big things, but He is also God of the little things. 
Search for Him today. You WILL find Him.
And when you find Him, PRAISE Him, because He is so worthy of your praise! 

We spend most of our lives doubting him, begging him, yelling at him, questioning him, directing him, taking from him, 
But today lets take the time to do what we were made to do. Glorify Him! Praise Him! Make a joyful noise to Him. 
No matter what we are going through or how hard it is, He is worthy to be praised. 

Monday, July 6, 2009


"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him." 
Isaiah 30:18

Is it just me or is patience one of the hardest things to practice. 
You think we would have learned how to wait patiently by now.
We have been doing it for YEARS!
It feels like everything in life requires waiting. 
But it is still so difficult. 

We are progressive people. We don't like to be the same today as we were yesterday. We expect to see growth. And if things don't change exactly when WE think they should, we get antsy. We start praying things like "God, where are you...can you still hear me?" We convince ourselves that we have been forgotten about and left behind. We start to believe that every closed door is God sticking his tongue out at us. Then comes feelings of hopelessness and depression. 

I believe that the enemy uses depression as an attack weapon.  He sneaks into our thoughts and fills our heads with lies about our future. He tells us we aren't good enough. He makes us believe we will always be stuck in the same rut. He singlehandedly uses lies to kill our motivation until we give up on what we were made to do. 

Our problem is, once again, our mindset. The voice of lies stops us dead in our tracks and we allow ourselves to believe that the God of love would actually forget about one of His own children.
We limit God everyday with our thoughts. 
For some reason we see him as the enemy. 
We forget that He is outside of our realm of time. 
We forget that He is in control. 
We forget that He wants the best for us.

It is WE who forget ... not God. 

"Is there a problem too awful or too hard for God to handle? If your answer to this question is anything other than 'no', your understanding of God is too small. Our God is a great and limitless God. He dwells in eternity and operates in infinity.  He has all things within His understanding and all things under His control. " Charles F. Stanley

Waiting is difficult. But it is something you will, most likely, always be asked to do. 
Just remember which voice to listen to when you are waiting. If it is a negative voice, it is the enemy feeding you lies. 

Always listen to the voice of truth, if you can't hear it maybe you aren't listening....or maybe your own thoughts are too loud. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Freedom to Dream

I think that sometimes, some of us are afraid of our talents and dreams. We know they are there, we know that we love them, we know that we would absolutely LOVE to use them, but we leave them alone... because of fear.
Fear that we won't make it.
Fear that we aren't good enough. 
Fear that no one else would consider us talented.
Fear that it wouldn't be practical to pursue them.
Fear that our dreams are silly.
Fear that we will disappoint.
This list goes on. 

But let me tell you... fear is the killer of hope and dreams
It is nothing but a lack of faith. 
It is putting all of the weight on our shoulders.
It is us allowing ourselves to think that God has lost control and has left everything up to us. 
And that couldn't be farther from the truth. 

The only thing we are biblical allowed to fear is God. And fearing God doesn't mean trembling in a corner because He is so scary. Fearing God means standing in awe and revering Him. Because He is everything. 

God created us. And with each person he formed, he designed unique talents to go along with them. He made yours ESPECIALLY for you.
You might think there are a million other people in the world with your specific talent... but that is not true.  There is no one out there EXACTLY like you. 

Today is a day set aside to remember and celebrate our freedom. 
It is your freedom and your privilege to exercise your God given talent. 
Don't let another demeaning word, haughty look, or self-conscious thought take that freedom away from you. 

Do not bury your talent. God wants to use to to bring glory to His name. :) 


"God gave you specific talents and abilities to use in fulfilling His plan and purpose for the ages. He made you to bring glory to Himself... to have fellowship with Him and to be in a close, intimate relationship with Him. I can think of no higher purpose than for a person to be a close personal friend of God and to use the talents that God has given him to the best of his ability all the days of his life...
It is for this purpose that the Holy Spirit helps and guides us on a daily basis."
Charles F. Stanley, Day by Day God's Way

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Million Chances

I love the feeling of a brand new day! Especially when she sun shines through my window and wakes me up. 
It is like a chance to start over. If you didn't like how you felt yesterday, or the choices you made, then Today you can change it! 
I think it is amazing. God is not just the God of second chances, He is the God of a million chances. He knows how our minds work so he allowed the sun to set and rise every day for the rest of our lives; giving us the mentality that we don't have to be what we were yesterday.
Every day is new and His grace is sufficient EVERY single day for the rest of our lives. 
What a gracious God. 

He loves me OH how He loves me. And He loves YOU! 
So today, make a choice! 
Don't let the frustrations of yesterday keep you from pursuing you life! Whether you felt complacent, depressed, embarrassed, ashamed, purposeless, fearful, unwanted, unneeded, unloved, no matter HOW you felt yesterday...TODAY is different.  God created this day. He has known for a LONG time that it is coming. This day is here on purpose and so are you! 

This is the day that the Lord has made
let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Psalm 118:24 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

amazingly difficult yet amazingly wonderful

"When you enter into marriage with you put your desires aside because the truest love is selfless love.
It's not about winning the argument every time. Its about dying to yourself and loving him enough to understand him and put his needs before yours. 
Philippians 2:3-4 says
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others. 
Your husband is no exception to this rule.

You are not in this marriage to be loved, but to love. And yes, being loved in return is a beautiful byproduct.
Regardless, on your wedding day, you are allowing him to become one with you. From that day forward, you don't only have yourself to look out for. You have a human being, a lover, a soul-mate to consider as part of you. So in every decision you make, you can't help but consider how it will affect him. 
Marriage is tough because we are, by nature, selfish people. We want someone to be there for us when WE need them. But you're not only married on days when you need a helping hand, you are married every day for the rest of your life. This means sacrificing your wants and momentary desires for the one that you promised to love. 
Marriage is amazingly difficult and amazingly wonderful. You can't sum it up with one fight or one victory. It will be up and down for the rest of your life. But be confident of this. "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." This means, that until Christ comes back, or until he takes you away, he will be working in you and your husband to love one another more and more every passing day.

1Cor. 13:6 says 
Love does not delight in evil, but REJOICES in the truth. 

Every morning when you wake up, look for the good in each other. Don't let the enemy attack your thoughts and trick you into thinking that your love is diminishing. Do not let your feelings one day, get in the way of the rest of your life. Because we do NOT act on how we feel, we act on what we know. You know that you are loved by God and by the man you chose to spend the rest of your life with. So rejoice in that truth. Perfect love cast out all fear. So remember that you are loved and all of those fears have no choice but to subside. 

Love always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love Never fails." ---

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wonderfully Made

I grew up in a house full of beauty. The second of four sisters and the daughter of a cosmetologist, I was surrounded by hair and makeup my entire life. With image constantly in the forefront of my mind, it was easy to be consumed with my appearance.

Am I too fat? Am I too skinny? Is my hair too thin? Why is my face so round? Where did these hips come from? Can I get rid of them? The thoughts that I allowed to cross my mind were ridiculous to say the least.

If it wasn’t my appearance it was my personality. I was the shy one; the one who’s nervous habits provoked laughter from the other kids. I froze at the sight of a cute boy, speechless, unable to flirt or even show a little bit of confidence. I watched as every boy fell in love with my older sister. I saw the way she made people laugh and smile. I stood in amazement as everyone tried to be more like her. She was confident. She liked herself. She was contagious.

I remember talking to my mom one day; ashamed of who I was, I told her I wanted to be more like my older sister.

My sweet mother, who always had a way of making me feel perfect, looked at me and said “Brittany, there is someone out there and they need you JUST the way you are.”

This phrase changed my outlook on myself.

I realized that God had made me this way on purpose. I knew that he had already set my life into motion and if I were any different, things wouldn’t turn out like they were supposed to. I began to love myself.

Years down the road, I am able to look back and see all of the people who have come into my life. I see how our personalities worked so well together. My husband is one of the best examples of this. He is extroverted to the nth degree. And while I have come out of my little shell, I am nowhere near as outgoing as he is. But that makes for the perfect balance. We wouldn’t work so well together if we had twin personalities.

God has used my quietness for his glory. He has given me wisdom and enabled me to be a counselor for many girls. In order to be a good counselor you have to be a good listener, and in order to be a good listener you have to be quiet.

His ways never cease to amaze me.

I want to encourage every girl out there to LOVE yourself.

You are beautiful and God made you the way you are on purpose.

There is nothing about you that happened on accident.

Every hair, every freckle, every tooth, is there for a reason.

Every laugh, every sneeze is supposed to sound that way.

Whether you are quiet or loud or both, God will use it for his glory.

I am sure you can look back on your life and see how he already has.

We always look at others and see what THEY have that WE don’t.

But I encourage you to look at yourself and find something that YOU have that others don’t. Without being conceited, find what makes you special and different and learn to love it.

“I Praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14