Friday, March 30, 2012

I’ve come to a place in my life where I’m actually thankful for conviction. It means that God is still there and still cares enough about me to correct and continue His work in me. For me, when God convicts my heart of something it feels like love. Scripture says that God’s goodness and kindness draws us to repentance (Romans 2:4). This resonates so strongly with me because I’ve experienced it to be true. God’s conviction comes without shame or condemnation and it’s always in love and with the deepest compassion (Romans 8:1). I’m thankful that God still sees me and knows me enough to continue teaching and molding me. His conviction means He hasn’t given up me, and although Scripture confirms that He never will, it helps me to feel that pull toward purity and holiness through His loving-kindness. Last night I was at a worship concert and as I was singing the words to the song below, I felt God speaking gently to me, “don’t just sing them; mean them, believe them, because I’m asking something of you that requires you to live these words and make them your anthem.” So thankful for a loving Father that loves me and gently reminds me that I am His and He is for me!
I know that I can trust You.
I lean not on my own understanding for my life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven.
I know that I can trust you.
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.
There’s nothing I hold on to.
I am so in love with You, there is no one else for me.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Learning the Battle

This week has been one of the toughest weeks of my life. That sounds dramatic, I know, but my spirit was so vexed and so confused that it tore my world apart. In my mind, everything was unraveling. Everything that I had learned and experienced in the last few months felt like it had been voided. Satan was yelling to me, “I told you you couldn’t trust them! I told you that you were being led this whole time by your own emotions and not the Spirit!” and I listened and wept, crying out to God that His voice would be louder and bring clarity and comfort. I was furious; angrier than I have been in a very long time. My heart was, and still is, grieving. The amount of pain is hard to even describe.

Jonathan’s sermon on Sunday was prophetic for me. I was in a place to either believe in and practice unconditional love to someone that I felt deserved none. 

My flesh kept asking, “When does forgiveness and love turn into enabling sin & bad behavior?”, but when I really stopped to look at Scripture I realized that we are only commanded to forgive those who have wronged us and when our cloak is taken, to give our tunic also. All the rest is me trying to take control of what isn’t mine to own.

Throughout every thought and emotion God kept bringing this Scripture to mind:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 
Ephesians 6:12

So, if the battle was not against flesh and blood, I could choose to go into this war with my weapons of reason, intellect, justice and my own rights, or I could choose to enter the war without any weapon at all, but with Christ and His love seeking not war but peace. I could enter the battle with an attack that was sure to slay the one that hurt me or I could enter the battle with the goal of seeking truth, love and reconciliation and slay the true enemy. Ultimately, that is what I chose to do only by the power and grace of God.

I am pleased to be able to tell you that the outcome of that decision was blessed. I am still hurting and even still a bit confused, but God has given me a spirit of strength to move forward focusing on helping others heal rather than focusing on my own issues.

I am beginning to understand that His ways often defy all reason. God is teaching me that He is sovereign no matter what man does right or wrong, and I must trust Him in all things and worship Him out of my joys and in the midst of my sorrows.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The American Dream

There is this wrestling between heart and mind, nature and will, ideals and cultural realities.  Everything I dream to be my society does not easily allow.  Thus I long for other societies, other cultures and ways of living.  My fears are built upon my societal upbringing.  Man must build for himself his own kingdom, not relying on any other, autonomous and self-sustained.  I’ve seen this philosophy build and destroy, leaving people empty and constantly craving more. 
“What have I worked for all of my life?” 
“What have I really sacrificed in order to gain the life I was told I needed to have?”   

The dream they took on was not their own, but one contrived and conformed, sold to each person in a safe and neatly decorated box.  The American dream has killed imaginations and replaced them with entertainment that does our imagining for us.  We are no longer active participants in our own dreams, thoughts, lives, but have taken the role of bystanders allowing others the luxury of actually living.  We have chosen to watch them live from the safety of our own homes.  We watch color TV in black and white worlds.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Growing Pains

There is a battle within me.  An army of insecurities, fears, selfishness, & pride war against God’s desire for me and my obedience to it.  It seems my flesh takes up arms against any sort of internal growth.  Within my heart there is rebellion: a child with stomping feet and hurling fists, a deceptive adolescent with rolling eyes and a ruthless tongue.  These demons are meant to be driven out, but they fight hard.  These pains are healthy; leading to growth, redemption, and bringing us one step closer to righteousness.  The battle wounds become the roads on which we travel in our pursuit of the abundant life.  The scars and disfigurements bring about wisdom and remembrance of the journey.  And we remain hopeful for the day when all things are made right; redeemed, reconciled and perfect.

Monday, January 24, 2011

So here are a few more of my creative ventures:

1)  For Christmas we wrapped all of our gifts using newspaper (because it was free material) so I decided to try and get a little creative!  This one was for my nieces who are 12 & 13 and are in to playing guitar and writing their own songs, so I emphasized the picture of Taylor Swift :)  I made the bow out of the mulit-colored portion of the newspaper.

2)  Also for Christmas, we made everyone candles out of thrift store tins, which I mentioned in a previous post.  This was my favorite tin candle that I made, which was gift to my sister Heather.  I just think this tin is so beautiful!

3)  I was on my favorite blog and saw where THIS, and decided to try my hand at it.  It's not exactly what I envisioned making, but it was my first attempt.  I used scratch paper (old flyers from work that were going to be thrown out) and stitched the word "THANKS" on the front of the card.  I put two together so that the print from the flyer would not show.  I kept the two papers together by punching holes around the edges and threading yarn through, tying a bow at the top.

I know I am not the most talented artist or creator, but these crafts are truly therapeutic for me and even when they're not exactly what you'd hoped they be, you just feel good for having made something!