Sunday, September 13, 2015

T R I A L S


Why do we need to experience trials? 
What is the difference between trials and temptations? 

Experiencing trials in our walk with Christ is vital to our development in becoming mature, godly men and women. Without hardship how would we learn to lean on The Lord's strength or even desire to lean on Him at all? How would we measure His goodness? His grace? Trials, although unpleasant-give me the opportunity to persevere, to grow and to overcome my weaknesses through Christ's deliverance. Temptations similarly strengthen our relationship with God for we have the ability to call on His name and trust in His power. Neither are fun - Trust -  but both are necessary as well as encouraging.
Encouraging?!
Yes. We are called to rejoice in the face of trials because we know that The Lord has a plan and is changing, growing, maturing us for His perfect purpose. 

Can I be honest? I've always hated that. "Have more faith," they say. "Pray more," they say. Although people (including me) don't always have the right words to say to those facing hardship I'd like to think their hearts were in the right place...when they said the off-putting, "maybe you just need to pray more?" kind of thing. 

I know life is hard and I know that trials are trying... but I also know that I have learned a lot about how God cares for me. He cares enough to teach me lessons. If a parent didn't care about their child then they would not bother with punishments. Punishing kids is hard! They fight you and they push their will and their agenda and they cry and they don't understand why what they are doing is wrong.... 

Sound familiar??

It is done for our own good and done out of love. This too is God's position, to teach us because He loves us and some lessons are harder than others.

I like how McGee explains how God does not test us with evil. I have made this mistake in the past and continue to hear others' claim temptation and trials to be one in the same. They are not. If a man loses his job due to no other reason besides the company's need to make cuts this would be considered a trial that The Lord has allowed to happen. God knows what is next for this man. God knows how this trial will teach and mold the man to be better and He will be transforming the man to be more like Christ, maturing him in his Christian walk and preparing him for his future. Trust that God knows what He is doing.

A temptation however could result in a hardship as well. If a man loses the respect and support of his friends and family due to his poor decisions, say gambling their savings away, this would most definitely cause hardship. However this hardship was a result of his own sin. The temptation was always there.Temptation will ALWAYS be there. It is not a sin to be tempted. But the greed within his heart, longing for more, was what he gave into, causing him to act and to sin. It would be easy for the man to turn his anger on God during the fallout - but it was his own flesh that caused the hardship. He gave into temptation.
The great thing about The Lord is that He is in the business of forgiving. He changes hearts and and gives us strength to turn our eyes away from the temptations that surround us. He is faithful and will never give up on you. He won't give up on me and I am thankful. When you fail and don't turn to The Lord in time, remember to call on Him and ask Him to help you out of the hole you dug yourself into. He will be there. Make sure your pride does not bury you alive.


Suffering...by trials or by our own making...is no fun. My favorite thing I have ever read in regard to suffering was written by Oswald Chambers. Look it up! His devotional, My Utmost For His Highest - June 25th -  Chambers writes about the importance of suffering and sorrow. He claims that "sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness, but does not always make a man better." He goes on to explain that, "if a man has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, he has no time for you. [However] If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people."

I know this to be true first hand. The hardship I faced in a breakup turned out to be an asset to my walk with The Lord and a tool to use when sharing my love for Jesus. I was able to connect with others who have felt similar pain, pain that if I hadn't experienced I'd likely not be as compassionate or as understanding. It was the best thing for me and I was able to help so many other young women see the good that God had coming for them. I am thankful for the suffering, even though I couldn't appreciate it at first. 

Jeremiah 29:11 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Sunday, July 19, 2015

T W E N T Y - F I V E


I remember vivid moments of my childhood, imagining myself all grownup. I would be beautiful and happy and responsible. My smile would dazzle the world and I would be comfortable and confident in my own skin. I’d take bubble baths and dance in my kitchen. I would wake up to the smell of coffee every morning and read my Bible with my husband.  

… I've been twenty-five years old for 20 days and I am not that woman.

I’m not sure I’d even call myself a grownup. Responsibility is not as glamorous as I made it out be in my 8 year old head. I've danced in my kitchen, I’m sure at some point in my life but it was more accurately my parent’s kitchen - not yet my own. I read my Bible but not as often as I should and I’ve never read it with my husband.

Instead I have a crazy laugh I love and a crooked smile I’m embarrassed about. I’m still growing up and I hear it’s never good to accomplish that fully. I love where I am right now because no one else will ever think my thoughts the same way and no one will ever see the world the way I see it and I’m honored to be allowed to live this life.

Today I am grateful for The Lord’s grace. Tomorrow I will try to be grateful again. I won’t give up on becoming more like Him and I will do my best to create a life He is proud of. A life I am proud of.

My life - I live for Him -  I’m aware it doesn't always appear that way - please do not assume I don’t know that I fail in almost every way - it breaks my heart -  but I won’t let it keep me down. I trust Jesus with this heart of mine and I am confident in His ability to heal.

Some days I don’t know if I’m happy but I know I could be a lot sadder


Though my life is different than I imagined it would be - I’m content today, in this hour and that I think is the goal. To enjoy where you are because in a few moments you won’t ever be here again. Never can you re-live a moment. Never can you go back. Never can you choose the past over the present. And that is beautiful and unique and terrifying all at once.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Twenty Fifteen


     Writing has always helped me sift through the thoughts I have bouncing around in my head. When my heart feels heavy I lighten the load by writing it all down. This year I want to dedicate more time to writing... to making my heart lighter and happier. I have a few prayers for this blog as well.




Prayers for my readers

I pray that you will be blessed by what you read here.

I pray you will learn from my mistakes and more importantly from God's triumphs in my life.

I pray you will feel safe to ask questions... and share your thoughts if you have that sweaty palm, racing heart kind of moment when you know you have something to say.

I pray most of all, that each of you will come to know Christ Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars



A couple of years ago I spent a hellish summer in Romania. I remember it was raining hard and extremely windy (a favorite kind of day). The five of us spent the day inside our apartment. Natalie, glassy eyed and red nosed,  passed the kindle to me. "Here, you can read it next." (Umm... I am crying enough all on my own without a cancer book to help my tears make their way down my cheeks, thanks). I passed on reading it. I knew it would be great. I knew I would love it. I also knew that it would break my heart. I saw the misery and swollen eyes this book was leaving in its wake. Nope, not me. My heart was already a broken, painful heap of emotions that demanded their own life rather than borrowing on another (fictional or not)'s pain.


So here I am, finally reading it. I'm only 38% done (ughh....don't you hate that?!) Freakin %'s I'm reading it on the Kindle app on my phone, logged into Nat's account. I feel like a traitor every time I use my Kindle. My love for books has only grown but my wallet has not. Borrowing books when I can, no matter the form is sometimes necessary.  


Sunday, July 13, 2014

austin&chanel


This pretty lady got married last Saturday! I had an amazing time being a part of their special day & I'm currently jealous  of their two week honeymoon vacation in New Zealand!! I know__RIGHT?!?
...more pictures to come. Oh and that's my mama!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The opposite of a bump in the road...

Sometimes God leads me to giant potholes. It's dark and He is my source of light. Taking each step forward is me choosing to trust Him. Then we reach an edge.
|||  edge?  Where did this come from? I thought we agreed God, to live the straight and narrow not the dangerous unknown of scary edges. Edges imply cliffs which = falling. I remember the discussion when I asked you to be Lord of my Life, I do... straight and narrow, walk side by side, fighting crime, you know the normal conversations we all have with Jesus. But this! I do not remember ever agreeing to scary cliffs in the dark.
And then He is silent! He hasn't left me of course, He just isn't talking. It's like He is waiting for me to stop freaking out and continue forward, trusting that He knows what's best for me.
The thing about God is that He is always right. He is good and is never going to lead us off a cliff. People, even those closest to you fail and/or disappoint you somewhere along the line. Not to hurt you but because we are flawed. But Jesus doesn't disappoint. He just doesn't. He may not work in your timing but He is God. He doesn't have to follow your timeline. Yours is flawed, as is mine. He sees what is ahead for all of us. Sometimes it helps me to remember that God prepares us for what's ahead.

For example:
If you were going to run a marathon or fight in a boxing match. Wouldn't your trainer put you through pain, discomfort and exhaustion? Wouldn't you feel beaten down and want to give up? But eventually you feel stronger and you can run longer, and you're not as tired.. Your prepared for the race/the fight. We can't know what we will have to face in the future. Life is really hard sometimes and God is doing what is necessary to prepare us.

The same goes for this edge...turns out it's not a cliff its a pothole. It's a part of the journey. We faithfully step off the edge and touch the bottom almost instantly. Now, the reason for this pothole may be different for everyone however stepping up out of it is pretty much the same.
Depending on how long I stay in this pothole - how long it takes me to get over myself and learn whatever it is God is teaching me - results in how difficult it is to get out of it. Every day I live...I walk with Jesus. If I am in a pothole than all I am doing is walking in circles. My constant circling causes the hole to erode away little at a time. I've realized that if I cling to God and seek His guidance right away (ALWAYS) then my time in this pothole is short and stepping out of it is fairly easy. It's when I try to find my own way out I get deeper into the ground. Soon this small step to get out turns into a wall that seems impossible to climb. And even then, (since I have been there way more often than not) the only way to get out is by turning to The Lord and asking Him to help me.





  pot·hole
/ˈpätˌhōl/

Noun

  1. A deep natural underground cavity formed by the erosion of rock.
  2. A deep circular hole in a riverbed formed by the erosion of the rock by the rotation of stones in an eddy.
    *3. A point in life that requires God's assistance in order to get out and keep going.
Synonyms
hole - pit - hollow



Dear Church, _____ Love, James

    After reading the book of James through a couple times, we see that the letter is addressed, "to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations" (James 1:1). James, the author is considered to be the brother of Jesus. This being the case, the recipients would recognize James as the Head of the Jerusalem Church. First he was a brother who did not believe Jesus to be the messiah (John 7:2-5) then being one of the men whom Jesus appeared to after the resurrection (1st Corinthians 15:3-8) and ultimately becoming a devout follower of Christ and a leader of the church. James writes to the church body as a whole rather than a specific city or congregation. The church at that time was mainly, if not completely, made up of Jewish believers. Reading through James it is evident that our authors purpose is to offer encouragement as well as warning. He seems to clarify and emphasize the importance of works accompanying faith. Faith is the foundation of our walk with Christ, however what is faith without action to demonstrate the Lord's calling on our lives- that we are to be set apart? (Romans 1:1) We see here the importance of action in carrying out the gospel message as well as restraining our tongues in order to bring glory to God. The church is experiencing trials and James encourages them to keep faith in The Lord and to trust that God is working in them patience and testing that their faith in Christ is genuine. He also writes in James 4:14, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes," in hopes that we will remain humble. James is expressing the duality that we alone are insignificant without Christ but we must remain mindful that our spirit is also eternal.