Her.

22 05 2012

I have been thinking of this lady lately.

Maybe it’s because I saw her a few weeks ago and all of a sudden, there was this interaction of questions, hugs and seeing her eyes that were naturally flowing again. I love her eyes. Gentle and loving. Deep compassion is seen through them.

We laid awake chatting away in the dark on a blowup mattress. She summed up our time together quite well here.

As we laid there in the dark, I told her that one day I hope to be like her. (At least I think it was then.) Not just like her, but kind of like her, in a ‘Dre way’.

She is a woman that is trusted by many many others. She has wisdom like crazy. She has lived life and has so much experience in so many things. She has an incredible network of people (which is my thing for sure). She is visiting people all over, all the time (even if a big chunk is her big family). She makes time for people. She connects well with people, anyone at that matter.

When you meet her, you think you’ve known her all your life. She’s so intentionalShe is genuine and gentle but direct in her approach. She is incredible at asking questions, even if they are flying at you like spitting bullets.

But I love that she just wants to know you. I love her heart and that she doesn’t hold her self back. She just cares for people, and cares to love them with where they are. I know she’s not perfect, but she is absolutely amazing, and I know it’s not because of her, but it’s because she has lived a life devoted to Jesus and God is blessing her greatly in her pursuit of Him. He entrusts many with those who are faithful with little.

I love her love for the gospel and how she always, always brings anything and everything back to the gospel.

I think He has grown the people who connect with her, because she has been so good at entrusting those people and their situations and trying to point them back to Jesus.

Darcie, you are an absolutely beautiful woman, and I love you. I have thought of you often as I miss you, even if I do drive around town with yours and John’s super cute picture on my dashboard. I love y’all so much. Thank you for loving and investing in me. You truly are such a precious precious person to me. (And so is Mr. John Newton). ha.

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Warmth.

18 05 2012

I struggle with night time a lot. Not ‘I’m afraid of the dark’ kind of night time. But more… my mind won’t shut down and I wrestle and wrestle with my heart. I think about so many things and how much I need to do. I think of all the things I do wrong and it just spirals down so fast and so quickly.

Last week was an intense and stretching week. Spiritual attack was pretty crazy. This week I had a really awesome conversation with a friend.

But light… I love light. My friend and I discussed light vs. darkness. Light is one of those quirky things that I love. I don’t just love it, I long for it. Just like I love trees and love the analogy of what a tree is like and how they grow and what they produce and how it is used in the Bible (Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Jesus is light. Therefore I long for Him.

In the evenings I long for light; for Jesus because I want the darkness to be gone. ‘When I speak your name, darkness flees…’

Now that spring is here, the sun seems to be around more. A whole lot more than we had during our winter. No more gray skies, but rather this vibrant and beautiful light wakes me up in the mornings. Every day it peeks through my windows…

And every morning that I wake up, my heart is deeply thankful to Jesus. Thankful that I serve a God of faithfulness. No matter what.

‘His mercies are new every morning…’ and how evident and beautiful it is to me these days.

When my nights seem hard, long and tiring… I wake up every morning (that is a blessing you know), and as I walk across my wooden floors, I choose to walk over where the light is…

And the warmth is healing to my soul. The warmth brings His promises into a physical sense…

The warmth is a physical reminder that his promises are true… as true as the warm sun that I stand on…

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness and the promises you give to those who choose to love you and love your law… thank you being faithful to people who are not always so faithful to you… thank you for continuing to love me.

Every morning with the warmth of your love.

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Open.

21 03 2012

There’s something deep inside me that keeps trying to open up. It is unexplainable yet painful. Sometimes I feel that my heart is so raw, you could see it. Pain can run so deep, it feels unending; completely hopeless.

But I trust in my Savior. The healer of all, the one who has endured far far more and deeper pains than any of us will ever know. I am thankful he bore the nails for me. And it seems so far fetched sometimes to remind myself of the gospel. To remind myself that His pain and suffering were greater. But when I do think of that…

I can breathe. I can breathe knowing He has been there. He understands. He cares. Even when I feel like no one else can understand or care, I know that he does, and that is all the matters. There is no point in trying so hard to explain what is inside to people. It only makes this process harder…. I just need to trust that He will do the healing in His timing. For it will come from Him & only Him. No other person or thing can heal me, and that is such a hard reality to accept. But the sooner I do, the far less heartache I will have.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10





Apathy, excuse the soap-box.

10 01 2012

(This post is super-long and random.)

I got off work super early today. Thankful that I made some pocket change. I tend to focus on how much more I need. I just paid $157 on student loans on Friday, then received a bill the other day for $71.00 and received two today; one for $467.00 and one for $701.00. For real?

Therefore, my world is being run by the mundane life. The day in and day out of just trying to keep my head above water as I need to pay all this school debt off; six years of stress and (somewhat) hard work, with no degree to show for it. Six years of friendships in different cities. Six years of trials that typical young college people go through. Six years of many tears and wandering lonely roads as I search for answers and truth and the meaning to life. Six years of walking through a wilderness… and through that wilderness, my last year was the most stretching. Juggling 24 credit-hours (and however only 12 would be accounted for), working 30 hours a week and fighting the depths of my soul in a very real spiritual battle of salvation. Oh how I would not have traded those six years of wandering, and especially that last years super intense battle for anything. Now that I am where I am. I had to go through that. I had to walk through that in order to get to this rich season. I now have six years of seeing the Lord’s hand and faithfulness and absolute and utter grace poured out endlessly over my life. Time and time again, He was just wooing me to Him, it just took some time for my eyes and heart to be open and receptive.

But now, I have to choose to continue to believe and fight even though the battle for my soul has been won. Christ has saved me, and given me new life! What an incredible joy that is! I sometimes wondered how Christians could be so joy-less and passion-less when they had been saved, and they have the greatest person fighting for and with them. He has given everything we need if we would just stop being lazy and apathetic and take our focus off of ourselves and onto Christ! If we would only read His Word; the truth! If only we could read those words and have them contineously sink deeper and deeper into the core of our being… letting it be the truth that is pulsing through our veins and truly being the beat in our hearts. His truth brings life, and far too often we forget and don’t care. I forget.

And here I am. A believer. Apathetic. Lazy. Bored.

I get caught up on how my life should look. How I thought it would look at this age. I would be either engaged (not married, that is age 25) and planning for a wedding. I would also somehow be on the mission field in some way. Either already packed up and gone or in the process of packing up. I thought I’d be living in some crazy little hut in the bush of Africa or do some type of mission work where I had very little to live off of, cause that is what super-Christians do right?

Hmmmm. No.

Somehow, somewhere, I think as children, we think super Christians are the ones who surrender their lives completely and head off to other countries and help poor people. Or they go off to some seminary and become some sort of pastor.

But God hasn’t called me to either of those. It was quite clear during those four day sin the bush of Africa; I am not called to live in a little hut for the rest of my life. I highly respect and definitely admire those who are called to that way of life. And those who actually do it. I am by no means bashing missionaries or pastors. We are the body, and we all make up very unique and different parts of the body. I am all for it! As long as the gospel is being shared; that is, every part of the gospel. Not just the ‘let-me-make-you-feel-good-that-someone-loves-you-and-has-plans-like-Jeremiah-29:11’ but also sharing that we are born sinners. We are born with an evil in our hearts, and that we.are.no.good.without.Christ. Yes, if that is being shared I am for it! And if discipleship is happening, and leaders are raising up the younger generation, you bet I am for that. I just so long for the day when God’s glory completely floods this earth. I have no idea how that will look. Seems like his glory and wrath will all be intertwined… my thoughts just simply cannot begin to fathom that day… anyway…

What has He ‘called’ me to? I have no stinking idea. I have been asking for years, for some sort of clarity. Some sort of passion or love for some cause or people group or something; anything! But that is also something else I think we as young people get caught up in as well. It is how we are taught. Maybe not all church-kids, but a lot of us. We have been taught/ continue to teach kids to ‘listen to God’s voice. What’s your calling? What’s your gift? Where are you going to serve? What ministry will you be a part of? How much money will you give?

It is all about us and what we will do. I think we need direction and goals in our lives for sure. That is one area I lack big time. I am not a very determined or goal oriented or even motivated type of person. I float more on the apathetic boat. Whatever comes my way, whatever door opens without me having to life a finger is the one I’ll choose.

But I think we need to stop looking high and low for our calling. I think our calling as a believer is quite clear and simple.

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the ends of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

That’s it! We all have a calling. Those of us who Jesus has saved. Those of us who claim to be believers, but tend to float down the mediocre stream. We will be judged one day, and we will be weighed justly. I think we spend so much time searching and trying to hear some ‘special’ calling and… well I think this is quite huge! Granted, I think God definitely specifies our calling into categories such as pastors, missionaries, worship pastors, teachers, children’s ministers etc.

But this is the bottom line of each of those callings. You do not have to be a person in one of the above categories. He calls any and every believer to do this! That means students, moms, dads, garbage truck drivers, nannys, servers, bank tellers etc.

I think when you choose to look at Christ, He will make those paths clear.

I was challenged the other day by a friend of mine in high school. I lived with his family after I graduated high school for a summer. For almost six years I spend many holidays with them and made many trips to go back and see them. I have grown to love these four kids deeply as my own siblings. The oldest kid is in high school, my buddy Carson. He is in high school and has a passion to be serving the Lord and allowing Christ to have the glory for all the blessings and even the hard times in his life. It is so incredibly refreshing and challenging seeing his faith and how passionate he is about sharing it! The other day he said this… “I’m sick of everybody bein so down all the time! Honestly it shows just where God is in your life… Because if youre constantly complaining, or worrying, or bein negative all the time, obviously God’s not in the highest place he deserves in your life. Yeah I know crap happens…But seriously if Christ is truly your life, then NOTHING should bring you down b/c you can always rejoice in the facet that youre saved by a loving King. So while everybody else is worrying, complaining, and bitter, I’m gonna rejoice, cuz I know just who my God is, regardless of circumstances. **Psalm 146***”

Man! if that doesn’t challenge you, then I don’t know what will! God has been rocking my boat of apathy quite a bit lately, and He definitely did when I read this. The last month and a half I decided to sail away on this boat simply out of frustration. Frustration that I just want some answers. For some reason I felt (still sometimes feel) like I deserve them. I need them. I want closure. I want to be fixed, healed, whatever. I sorta-kinda gave up. I threw in the towel and hailed my white flag of surrender, and that only made things worse. It only drew me deeper and deeper into the waters of sin and disbelief.

Uhhh, self-centered? Just a tad bit. Melodramatic? Why yes, yes indeed. I can be good at that.

I shifted my focus. I took my eyes off of Christ and focused on what hurt inside. But Christ asks us to fix our eyes on Him! And HE will make our paths straight! If I would stop trying so hard to figure out what I will be doing in the future; what to do this summer, or if I need a new job, or what to do to make more money, or find a man, cause that’ll surely make me happy; or find some sort of far-off ministry to jump into because doing what I’m doing is nothing… if I would just stop thinking these things and just… go back to the basics; truth, I think my life would be far less stressful and have a lot more purpose and meaning.

I am in desperate need of a reminder of the basics:

-God has saved me. What an incredibly amazing thing! Seriously!
-I need to root my heart back into the soil of thanksgiving.
My life is a gift. His son was given to save my life; that is a gift. Every breathe I take is an undeserved gift of grace.
-He has given everything I need to endure this life through the Holy Spirit and the Word.
-I do have a calling on my life! he calls me to bring Him all the glory and to be a vessel willing to be a light and help bring lost people to His kingdom! It can only happen through Christ!

I love that when I go through hardships now, rather than a year ago, I am quicker at realizing what is going on. I know a little better how my heart works. My weak points; my triggers and the places that are too slippery to walk. I know what makes me want to instantly give up and quit. All my life I have been a quitter. Sports, music, friendships-anything really, I just quit. I rarely could be in anything for more than a year. I gave up really easily. Not only that, but then I just run. I quit and then get angry (another big sinful habit) that I quit, and run our of anger, frustration. I give up so easily, but that is why I am loving this book called ‘Relentless’ by John Bevere. I am being challenged to persevere. To run the race, and run it well!

Even though I feel like I already quite over a month ago… Christ is once again saying to me… Talitha Koum… get up… little girl GET UP! Step out of that sinking boat of apathy and follow me. As soon as you stand, look at ME, and nowhere else. When your eyes are fixed on me, I will guide you. Learn to trust Me… believe Me. Do not allow the whirlwinds of doubt, confusion or fear affect you. You are mind, and I will guide you… but you have got to choose to look at me, no matter the cost…

Talitha Koum…Talitha Koum…

And I respond with a shaky, yes. Yes. I will get up, and I will choose to look at Christ. Even though right now it hurts. It hurts to look at the cross because the tears of shame sting as they run down. The first of sin is the stinch that surrounds me… I am covered in it. The wounds that selfishness and bitterness are gaping open. The sleepless nights of un-forgiveness and bitterness are the dark shadows under my eyes… and I drag my beaten down and broken heart on the ground behind me…

But… yes, I may have caused all these things, but one step towards Christ and He can wash it all away. He catches those tears in his scars, and I am reminded He took all of this. All of this junk that I carry into the shadows of the cross; He has already taken it. All of this that I continue to meddle in even when I know it is wrong, He took… And yet,

He still believes in me.
He still chose me.
He still wants me.
He still loves me.

And…

I. Am. Still. His.





Prayer.

14 12 2011

Tonight, I was able to sit with three girls and talk about life. Talk about past experiences all across the board; church, testimony, family, *boys, friends etc. It was nice to sit with these girls that I really have not known but a few weeks, and to sit and just invest. Listening to these girls, my heart became so excited.Listening to them, I realized

This is where I am to invest.

These growing girls into women.
These growing boys into men.
These youth.
This church.
This. Is. It.

This is where the Lord has me, and it is so exciting to begin seeing more and more why I am here. I have never been so excited to come along side another group in the body of Christ, and invest IN that group. I was always looking at wanting to be invested INTO, but not willing or caring to do any of the gritty work or letting any of that be an out-pour out of my heart from what was going in.

After this conversation, my prayer life will get a little more exciting. I have more specifics on who and what needs prayer. The conversation helped me see a little more into this church and this body. Yes, it is not perfect, but this is where I feel the Lord has led me, and hearing the hearts of these girls and the kind of ‘this part stinks-but we are totally praying for this to happen’ was awesome to hear. To see the weaker areas, but to completely be looking at the positive and the heart in these girls that are prayerfully investing into those weaker areas.

Thank you Jesus for this time, this season. For these people and their hearts and passion for the Word, and to stand on truth and allow the truth to convict and challenge them towards You. I could not be more excited about this.

If you could be praying for this body, that the Lord would continue to unify and draw each other closer, and to be a little more intentional in challenging and praying for each other to grow. Pray for me, as I want to be more of a leader with these girls and that the Lord will give me discernment to go to the Word for everything, and not just throw out opinion-based answers that will ‘feel good’, but to be solid in the way I have been challenged and invested into the last year and a half. I have been given the most awesome examples of how to go about challenging and speaking truth, which is nothing but scripture, into situations and times of difficulty, and also times of triumph and joy.

I want to be able to give glory to the Lord for absolutely everything that is going on in my life, and I want others to know that it is He who is working in and through us, as His followers. I want to take no credit, but to know that the Lord is growing me and it is only He that is (hopefully) shining through and making Himself known…





On The same team

23 11 2011

A week ago today I came home from an awesome five-day vacay to Tuscon Arizona. Seriously an incredibly encouraging, challenging five days! First off, Tuscon is pretty cool. My eyes were trying to adjust to the gorgeous mountains that surrounded the city. It is just a new perspective that our God is so big.

I was able to have the opportunity to go visit my spiritual ‘Mum n Daddy’. The Lord really has blessed me with having them in my life. It totally was not easy at first, but I am thankful that they did not give up on this incredibly stubborn girl! The first year and a half that they have known me, was probably quite a challenge. As we were able to sit and talk about the ‘old Dre’, I had to laugh and just feel so bad for them! But definitely laugh about it. hu-ho!

I think about the many times we hung out since the very first time they met me. I cried a ton. I hated a lot of people. I hated going to church. I hated talking about the gospel. I cussed a lot. I cussed at the scriptures they would share. I think my only arguments I could ever come up with were the same; That’s dumb. That’s stupid. That’s B.S. haha, not very solid I can tell you that. I just wanted to stir up trouble and disagree because I felt I had the freedom to do that for once. I am so thankful that the were very loving, sometimes quite firm, but loving and patient through many conversations.

Now talking with them. There is, *relief.* I do not argue. I get so excited to tell them how I think I am learning and growing. I wanted to talk about nothing but the Bible and what I thought was cool that I had just learned or how the gospel continues to amaze me. I couldn’t wait to go to their church, and meet their Christian friends. I feel like we are on the same team now! I am still so little in my faith, but so willing and eager to grow and wanting to be as teachable as possible. I feel like many of my friendships have changed, and I am understanding what I was being told the last year and a half about the gospel. It makes sense to me. I am so thankful that they stuck around even when they wanted to quit, and are now able to see their many seeds of prayer and tears that were sown, are now beginning to blossom. I am thankful that the Lord finally made my heart able to understand and be open to the gospel. It might have taken 24 years, but now I have the rest of my life to share it! 24 years is nothin’.

Mum n Daddy. I love you so much. I am so thankful that I can call you that, and that it means so much to me. I am thankful that you were so patient in dealing with me. I am thankful that you continued to pour into me, even in those super hard times, and I am so thankful that you continued to allow the Lord to use you, even when I was a huge brat. Thank you for trusting and obeying Him, and for being a constant for me to look at your example of Christ and how He totally loves us! You are just a glimpse of how Christ loves and deals with me. Thank you for recognizing the importance of sharing the gospel a billion and one times to me. I am now continuing to share the gospel a billion and one times to myself. I know that Jesus is the one who ultimately saved me, but in a lot of ways, I feel like you helped truly point me to Christ. Not that others never did, but for some reason you were different in your approach. I think in a lot of ways, you helped lead me to the Lord, in a genuine and real way. I am thankful for the way you have ‘trained’ me as a babe in Christ. Thank you for continuously pointing me to the Word, and showing the desperate need and importance of scripture for my one and only solid foundation. Jell-O no more! hu-ho! I totally appreciate your continued prayers and support and encouragement to be running after Christ as hard as I can and to keep the eternal perspective in mind! We are ‘forever friends’. I hope the Lord continues to grow us so much closer now that we are running this race together. I am glad I can stand with you in the next years praying and encouraging however I can. I love you two so very much. I already miss sitting in the backseat watching one of my favorite views. Excited for this new season in all of our lives. Excited to continue to see the faithfulness of the Lord and to receive the many blessings and to continue to allow the gospel to sink deeper and deeper as our hearts swell bigger and bigger to share the good story! Thank you for loving me. There’s a lot of thank you’s in this, and I am so glad that we have a God to give thanks to for ALL of this! Our relationship ultimately points back to Christ! That is the coolest thing about our story! Anytime I talk about y’all, it is nothing but giving thanks to the Lord, because it would not have been this way without Him! So thankful that a year and a half ago, He heard or rather, put a desire inside the heart of a girl who worked at Olive Garden and wanted ‘THAT couple’ to pour into my life… and He did just that. I would never have dreamed we would have gone through what we have, and end up where we are, and I am excited what the years have in store….

Thank you for a super encouraging time. Here are a few snapshots of our superb weekend! Lots of these make me laugh because there are jokes in them. hu-ho Chachiiiiii!





Be All There…

23 11 2011

“Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot

This is one of my life mantras. One of my favorite quotes that I am reminded of from time to time. Having been a ‘cross-culture kid’, it is hard to just be in one place. My sophomore year of high school was the first time in 7 years to go to the same school with the same kids. I have friends all over the world. I want to be so much a part of so many people’s lives daily, but it seems my closest friends live so far away.

I am learning however, that it is okay to still be a part of their lives whether it is once every few months of catching up through email, or talking on the phone once a week. I am where God has put me, and I want to give myself here. I am learning to not necessarily move on, but in a sense move on, quicker than I used to. It is harder to give of myself in new places, because it means building new friends, having to allow people to learn about who I am, where I come from etc etc. Sometimes it just seems like far too much work, so I would rather just be alone because I do not always feel like working.

But as every past place I have lived, I have found amazing people. I have found good friends, and now they are/ were a part of my journey. I want to learn to be so thankful for those friendships, and that God has allowed me the privilege of meeting those people no matter how short or long my season with them living directly in my daily life or not.

I want to look at life through gratitude and not regret. I want to be thankful for the many many blessings that I have been given, because I have tended to look at life in such a negative way.

Learning to be humble about the little things in life, because it is such an awesome way to remind myself of the gospel. The gospel that tells me I am nothing without Christ. Any good that is found in me, is because of Him that is within me. Any good that I receive is from Him. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” James 1:17a. And when I realize that I am thankful for everything, the good and the bad, that makes me realize how much I cannot live this life without Him, and when I am thanking (or trying to thank) Him for absolutely everything, I am humbly being reminded it is not about me. How awesome is that!

So thankful for His grace upon my life. For His blessings that seem to be pouring out right now and thankful that I am able to see that He is the one giving them to me! It is not because I am an awesome person or anything, but it is simply because He can! He is so gracious to us!

I want to pour my life out into the people of Canton that I can. I want to love my far-away friends and I am thankful that I still can, but I want to learn to serve the people where I am as well.





Airport watching

10 11 2011

As I was flying to Tuscon the other day, I saw the sweetest couple ever. The little old man had the sweetest face. I watched as the woman was being wheeled in a wheelchair by an airport person, and the man slowly walked beside carrying their things. He was wearing a veterans hat, a nice bling bling that looks like it came from serving our country, and a purple shirt with slacks. He was so cute as they walked up to sit in the row in front of me, as he kept looking at me and winking, all innocent like old people do. They’re either sweet or grumpy. I think at that age, some people either realize the important things in life and cling to those, or they live with a lot of regret, or live through a lot of hard things and continued to allow the chips on their shoulders to grow deeper and deeper. This couple was so sweet in the way they chatted and talked with each other.

I want to know their story. Still. I think of them here, weeks later. I want to know what kept their marriage together. How long have they been married. 5 years or 50? I want to know who their children are, and if they have a sense of humor that he does…

I did catch small conversations with them on the plane as they sat in front of me, with a 30-something soccer player. He seemed to enjoy their conversation, and everyone who looked at the old man just had a smile as they watched him. He was just contagious with his happiness. His smile lit up the plane, it as so neat…

The other day at work, my last table was a late 60- early 70 year old couple. My other tables had gone, and this couple had told me earlier that they enjoyed my personality and wished I could sit and chat. So when my other two tables left, I pulled up a chair next to their booth and chatted for 45 minutes. I learned that they have been married for 62 years this year. They are so in love now, even as they were when they were young. He has worked in the same company their whole marriage. They have nine children. They said don’t ever have that many kids if a) you’re not emotionally stable. Something is ALWAYS going on, and you need to be emotionally stable in order to handle all the curve balls and crazy things life throws your way with that many children. b) you’re not physically healthy. You need to be able to keep up with them all! He said that his wife is brilliant and he didn’t marry a stupid lady. They said that they live for each other. They wake up talking, they talk all day, and they go to bed talking. They deeply love each other, and they are so happy that they pushed through the hard times. Even though for the most part, he felt like they were both pretty easy going. He told me don’t worry about not having a college degree. The world’s success shouldn’t be the standard I need to be holding mine up to.

I told them I’m a Christian, and as I sat and listened to all his success (even though he told me the world’s isn’t important, it was def. important to him, and the success of all his children was pretty awesome to hear all the big things and big businesses they are all working for) through his lifetime, I could not help but thing of King Solomon. As I read his story the other day. I wanted to ask him if he felt fulfilled. But I was not sure how to go about sharing the gospel and asking them if they knew that when they died, their work was not done in vain…

I have been praying that the Lord gives me opportunities to share the gospel at work. He has been answering that. And I am now asking, not only does he continue to give those opportunities, but that he will make my heart bold and courageous to share. I feel like I am so small in my faith, I do not know how to explain the gospel well, and what if I miss a big part of it? What if I say it out of order? Or they ask questions I do not know?

I hope this is not out of context but I like this verse… “Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a youth; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.'” Jeremiah 1:6-8

Praying I continue to plant myself in scripture and studying His word to the best of my ability, and that I can be sensitive to opportunities

.





Trees. Winter. Joy.

9 11 2011

If you know me or either of my sisters, you will know that the three of us share a special love for trees. I know it is kind of a random thing that the three of us share this weird love for, but it is really nice. There is something about the idea of trees. The fact that they can be planted, or grown naturally. The idea that after years and years of different seasons, they still seem to (well, most trees) grow so mighty and big. I love the idea that trees have so many limbs and trees all produce something different and unique. The pine needles are different from a magnolia tree. Some trees grow fruits and others money pine cones. ha.

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with someone, and it was feeling much like a winter season in my life. Honestly, all the way up till this point, I can honestly sit here and say that I feel my entire life has been nothing but a winter or rather desert season. Much of that desert time, I had hallucinations (figuratively speaking), of good things and good ‘words’ from the Lord. But hallucinations is what I really think they were. I think God spoke things to me for sure, but now that I am truly seeking the Lord and the gospel truly makes sense to me, all that I had before really was nothing compared to the truth I stand upon now. Not to discredit the spiritual journey before this season and the teachings and spiritual experiences from growing up. God was working then in my life just as He is working now in my life. I am not here to discredit my past churches or teachers or people who have walked along side me and with me through this life. Christ is really showing how all of that is being brought in full circle, whether I saw it then or not. So I am deeply thankful for all who have walked and encouraged me on my journey and the Lord is making more clearer my spiritual experiences and showing me how those experiences have now worked in my life. The good and the bad ones.

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Ahem, sorry. Back to trees. A few years ago, I was having a conversation with someone during a hard time. She told me, “Did you know that during winter is when trees actually grow their roots the deepest. And that is what you are doing right now during this winter season. God is just allowing you to grow your roots deeper in Him baby….” That idea has stuck with me since.

As I am now living in the North, winter is literally on its way (it is supposed to snow tomorrow). I have never been a fan of the cold or snow. But Christ is showing me to run with it! Embrace this life! Embrace all seasons for it is Him that is with me. He is allowing every season, every circumstance to come my way. The good and the bad. The joys and defeats, it is all in His hands. As long as I am placed in the center of His will, there is no other place I would rather be.

Since moving up North, I feel like this has been a spiritually small winter. But God knew what He was doing bringing in this cold front. It has been a very lonely few months because I have yet to find a body of the like-minded. I have met a few Christians here and there, but schedules just do not permit the type of investment that I want. I feel like I really do not really have a lot of friends but like two, and I am actually pretty content with that.

I did not see it the first two months of living here, but… I can see so clearly why the Lord brought me up here. At first, I kept thinking it was me who brought me up here. I made the super random and kind of abrupt decision to move, but really God did it. If I didn’t move up North, I wouldn’t have been brought into this super lonely season. During this time, is where I found God in the most… amazing way. If I hadn’t hit the bottom of my dependence on man, rather than on God, I would have never turned to God. The Lord had started teaching me a lot at the start of the summer, to not depend on man. Which has been a huge weakness my whole life. I find a person or two who begin to invest in me, and I turn into …. like a leech! And I just stick to them, wanting to have them ‘fix me’ or love me or something. So being up north, I didn’t have anyone to do that. God wanted to make sure I got this lesson… this lesson to focus my eyes on Him and the gospel. To look to Him for everything and anything that I need in this life. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

The lonely season came. My dependence on man was basically gone because I was alone. God shows up, and the reality of the gospel sinks in. My dependence on Christ is all I need. This might be a slight winter, but I am excited about it. I call it a ‘winter’ season just for the lack of friendships, and the lack of having a church home and the body to invest in, and to serve in. But other than that, this has been the best winter ever. My relationship with God is becoming so deep and rich. This is a rich rich season. I am left alone with my Bible and podcasts all the time! There is nothing better to really spend my time doing. God is speaking like crazy to my heart through the teaching of pastors in other states who are truly preaching His word and the Biblical knowledge is awesome that God is allowing me to understand now that my eyes and ears and heart are open to Him and His truth. I may not have a ton of friends, but I am feeling pretty content in that because, Christ is all I need. Christ is all I want. He is my joy, my satisfaction. He is more than anything in this world that I want. Just like in Ecclesiastes when Solomon says “I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine-my heart still guiding me with wisdom-and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the children of man. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

King Solomon had done it all, yet it was all in vain. It meant nothing. God has begun this lesson in my heart and begun to stir this idea, and transformation in my thinking that honestly, all that I can gain in this life, is meaningless unless it is Christ that I am gaining. I will lose my life in order to gain the eternal life. I want to live with the eternal perspective. The perspective that I can have everything taken away, but my joy is complete in Him, and I will not waiver in my faith just because all the temporary stuff is lost or taken from me.

I do not want to spend my entire life chasing after meaningless things. I spent 24 years doing that. I spent 24 years living a mediocre Christian life. Walking around calling myself a Christian, but the fruits were rare and few. My life did not exemplify Christ too often.

Look at the season you are in. Whether it is a good and happy one right now, or whether it is challenging and exhausting. Take hope in the cross. Take hope in Jesus that He knows. He is right there walking you through that season whether He feels near or not, He is. Sometimes the Lord chooses to be silent to grow our faith, but do not allow the silence to make your faith diminish. Take heart in Christ, and choose to have joy. If you truly believe in the Lord, then your contentment should be in Him, and not your circumstances. Good or bad. Your joy shouldn’t be based on whether your life is peaches and cream right now, or it shouldn’t be sucked dry because you’re feeling a bit defeated. One of my favorite Bible verses is “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11

Choose joy, whatever the circumstance. I am really learning that my joy is rooted more through my thanksgiving and praise to God. It humbles me to realize that He knows what He is doing. I am choosing joy on my lonely days. I am choosing joy when I want to move back to Texas. I am choosing joy when I feel defeated. I am choosing joy when I fall before the Lord and repent of my sins and accept His forgiveness for the billionth time. I am choosing joy when I do not feel I have the strength or want to encourage others. I am choosing joy when I fall on my face and ask for help. I am choosing joy when my words feel like they aren’t even hitting past the ceiling. I am choosing joy when I do not feel God anywhere close. I choose joy when my doubts begin to creep in. I choose joy when God answers the prayers that I didn’t even think He heard. I am choosing joy when my friends are being encouraged, stretched and growing in their faith and trust in God. I am choosing joy when God encourages me through His word. I am choosing joy when the Holy Spirit is at work helping guide me through this life. I am choosing joy when I think about how this life isn’t eternal, but my life found in Him is eternal. I am choosing joy when I can encourage my friends around me who are losing sight of Him during these hard days. I choose joy during the good bad and ugly.

Another favorite verse of mine says “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to Him.” John 14:21…

God says “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

I choose joy, because it is commanded in the Bible. Those who seek the Lord’s commandments and who are seeking to obey Christ, are the ones who are showing their love for Him. I do not do this to ‘check’ off of some list or out of obligation.I do it because I am beginning to desire to learn what God commands and expects from me, because I am a follower of Him, and I want to honor and obey Him because He says “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:1-3

I. Choose. Christ.

I. Choose. Joy.

Joy is something that is given to us, but no everyone chooses to receive and learn to discipline themselves with joy. So I challenge you, to choose joy. No, I am not happy all the time, and I have bad days and moments of anger and throw fits of rage and discouragement, but at the end of the day, I hope and my prayer is that my joy is still found in Christ. At the end of the day, that I choose not to go to bed with anger or with an unsettled heart that is harboring bitterness and sin. I want to live my life to the fullest, and I can only do that when I am looking towards Christ…

My joy is breathed through His grace. His grace is given with every single breathe I take…

During this winter season, my heart is finding its roots through His word. Deep in His word. My foundation is finally becoming solid. I can stand on my two feet only because Christ has allowed that, and because He is the foundation.

And I will close with my two favorite Bible verses (uh oh. If you know me, every pair of shoes that I have are my favorite, and every song on the radio is my favorite. It looks like every Bible verse is becoming my favorite. ha).

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. he is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the streams and does not fear when heat comes for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8

^ That verse brings tears to my eyes, I am so thankful the Lord saved me, opened my eyes and has planted me in the soil of his word! This scripture is so true and dear to me, because I can see that my life was like the beginning of this verse for 24 years, but when I began to truly put my hope in Christ, the second half became my life. So thankful!

and

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1: 1-3





Encouraged

3 11 2011

Today I woke up with such a thankfulness in my heart. Thankful that God is working in ways I cannot see, but are beginning to blossom, so I can see glimpses here and there…

Ever since I listened to that one sermon, on Christ’s agony our joy, my heart has been so desperately hungry for more of the Word. Now that things have clicked, and make sense after being calloused the last 24 years to the gospel, because it was “just what I knew”, there is this new hunger and drive to learn more about Christ, and what He did and to share that.

The last year and a half, when I was at that little church in San Antonio, all I did was fight against what I was being taught. I was so angry and fed up with ‘the Christian people’ and church and different experiences I had had, that I just wanted to be angry and go against all that I knew because I had been hurt. Now that my perspective has shifted, and my eyes and heart have been opened to the gospel, I am going through and finding sermons on everything I was against these last few years. I am finding sermons left and right about things I would argue.

One of my biggest arguments was “I don’t need the church to be a Christian. I can do it on my own.” I had built up this ‘one-man army’ mentality that I didn’t need anyone or any church or Christian organization to have a relationship with Christ. In some ways, yes that is very true. Your relationship with Christ is based upon you and Him. Nothing and no one else can make that relationship work. It is a very personal, intimate relationship between you and Christ. But I had taken that thought and gone way too far with it. I didn’t think I needed anyone because I knew I was deep in sin, and I didn’t want to have to commit to anything because commitment requires discipline from the church, accountability from people who want to pour into your life, and commitment requires work and people calling you out. But what the church also does, is love you through it. Or they should. All that stuff sounds bad, unless you do it in a Biblical and loving way.

I listened to a sermon once again, by Erik Raymond, called Why You Should Love the Church. This was such a rich and convicting sermon for me! The last 2 or 3 years I have done nothing but fight against committing and going to church and finding a place to put my membership in. I listened to this sermon and was so so excited about it!

Now that I am in a new city, with new people… it is hard to find that ‘like-minded’ group. Christianity falls along many different perspectives. And sometimes it’s just hard to find people who think closer to how you do. Especially since my perspective is changing quite drastically.

I had a phone conversation with a good friend the other day, and I was struggling a lot. This struggle was different than any other struggle I’ve had. I used to feel all my struggles were these big… physical destructive kind of struggles. But this one was rooted directly to my heart. And I haven’t felt like I’ve struggled like this very much before.

I was struggling with the fact that I don’t have a church, and for once in my life, I am truly and deeply craving it. I’m craving fellowship. I’m craving to listen to something that someone else is, and to discuss and see how it is applicable to my life. I crave to encourage others in their walk, and be encouraged in mine in our day in and day out lives. I crave to worship the Lord with the body and to break bread with like-minded people. I’m craving to pray for others and to watch the Lord work through that. I’m craving to hear how God is working in the lives of the people around me.

I. am. just. craving. the. Church.

The ‘one-man army’ mentality is gone. I cannot do this on my own. I cannot hold myself accountable to sin and struggle. I cannot push myself when I am alone when I’m being super lazy. I cannot hold myself well to discipline without the encouragement of others. I cannot learn what I need to know if I have no one teaching me.

Yes, I can seek and pray and ask  God and continue to grow, but we also need to be surrounded by like-minded who can also push and challenge you.

I tried hard to swallow my tears, and not show my discouragement as I talked with my friend, as I struggled with the fact that I do not have a church here. I do not have a Bible study or anything set in stone that I can be connected with and live life together.

This morning, I am thankful for the job that I have. It is a perfect place to witness even though it’s so incredibly hard. I tend to find many of my guests are Christians, and I love having conversations with them and meeting them. Last night a girl and guy came in, and I recognized her from a Bible study that I had tried when I first moved here but haven’t been able to go back since I started working. I went and took them from their table and asked if they wanted to come sit in my section, and she was so excited! We started talking, and she just started telling me how she is looking for a small group and just really wants to get involved with a smaller group and her heart just needs it. I told her that’s crazy because the night before another mutual friend of ours and I were talking about the exact same thing. There are now five of us looking for a small group. I’m having coffee with Naomi tonight, she’s a sophomore in college and just so precious! I cannot wait to hang with her and encourage her in her college time.

The Lord is stirring our hearts and answering the prayers and needs/desires of our hearts. I am excited and so encouraged about this time! Time to step it up, and start leading and stop doing all the following and waiting for people to serve me. My heart is beginning to hunger to use my gifts whatever they may be…

“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge….” Colossians 2:2-3

Praying that we can get a small group together, and that I can love and encourage the girls of Canton and that Christ will remain the center of my life. That I may boast in no one but Him…praying for my time with Naomi tonight, the Christ will be the center of our conversation and that it will be glorifying to Him!

And, if you get a chance to read this post, by one of my absolute favorite bloggers, please do! It is also on prayer. I read this after I wrote my post, and my heart was once again, so grateful and it seriously brought tears to my eyes, having the faith of a child, and the amazing ways God works in our lives day in and day out…





Remember…

28 10 2011

When I lived in Africa, I heard a quote that has stuck with me for so long… “Remembering brings revival to your own heart.” The way the quote was used was to remember the good things God has done in your life. The blessings He has given you, the dark times He has brought you out of… When I look at it now, with this new perspective, it’s kind of selfish to remember those kinds of things. If I ever share this quote, it is to remember something more greater than the good things in life that were given to me. The things to make me keep moving forward, just because a promise here or there was fulfilled. Do not get me wrong, I think it is important to remember the little things that God has given us, but I think the greatest thing that we should constantly remind ourselves of is… the story of the gospel!

In the book of Mark, Jesus is foretelling, prophesying in so many stories about claiming to be Christ, and that God has sent Him to die, for our sins. To drink the cup which would mean, drinking all of God’s wrath against mankind, for our selfish, evil, sinful hearts so that we can drink the cup of blessing… which eventually means we will be living in eternity glorifying the One who sent His Son. The One who gave the greatest blessing of all, for you, and me. The One who was so amazing that He created the earth and all the intricate details within the universe, The One who we will one day, ALL stand before , and either He will know us, or He will say that He does not know us and will send us to eternal damnation. All because we were too worried about having to live this selfish life and see how we could succeed instead of looking at the truth of it all, and humble ourselves, and fall to our knees and confess to the Lord, why YES! YES! I am a sinner, and I have no good in me Lord, but YOU, You are only good, and because of YOU living in me, I am good… because of His death, HE made me good. I was not good on my own, and I still am not good, because my flesh fights with my soul moment by moment, and it’s moment by moment I have to humble myself before Christ, and say Jesus, please, help me! I cannot live this life without YOU.

Tonight, as I sit with a hot cup of coffee, my amazing study Bible, and my ipod that can set the perfect mood for writing and studying the Word, Christ is reminding me of His goodness… I just finished a letter to a friend, that I pray will come to know Christ in a true, genuine way. I shared and explained some scriptures like Matthew 7:21-23 which was the set of verses that rocked my faith to the core of my soul, knowing that I wasn’t truly a believer without Christ. That living this mediocre Christianity by just going to church, throwing around the church lingo like ‘God bless you,’ and ‘I’ll pray for you’ and ‘God is good (only when things go my way that is) just isn’t enough. God very clearly showed me that those things will not be getting me into heaven! What will get me into heaven will be the reality that God has his wrath that is being stored up, and it will go out on this earth one day, and it will be the most justified day of judgement; and if you are not willing to humble yourselves before The One who created you, who knows every sin, every single evil and perverted thought that you’ve had, then yes, you will be given the wrath of God. Just because you may be slain in the spirit, or because you shake on the ground or talk in tongues, doesn’t mean you’re truly a believer. People can slap Jesus stickers on anything they want, but as the Bible says…”The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. I say that, not to bash the Charismatic side of Christianity, I am not here to say I agree or disagree with those things, but I want you to look at scripture and examine your heart. Matthew 7:21-23 says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” If that verse doesn’t make you sit back and truly think about whether you’re just doing things just because you think it’s ‘good’, or if you’ve truly surrendered your life, and Jesus is the out pour of your heart, then I don’t know what else can rock your world. A few verses leading up to that set of verses even says…“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:7-8

After reading these verses, and explaining how Jesus opened my heart and eyes to see the truth in these scriptures, my heart is just bursting at the seams with thanksgiving and praise that Christ has come! Not only that He has saved me, but that He has finally opened my eyes to the depths of His work and love. The depths of my sin and that I desperately need a Savior! I think lately, just thinking about the gospel, I get very emotional. I’ve never been one to be emotional over the gospel because I didn’t truly get it. It was just a story that happened back then, and yeah it was good I guess, but I didn’t know why. But I just long for the day that I will be united with my King. My love and gratitude is so shallow compared to what Christ has done for me! The smallest thing I can do is to simply give my life to Christ… and give all of it to Him! I want my life to be an out pour of gratitude for what He has done for me, and not only be an out pour but to share that with others! I get emotional when I share it, because I can see it in people’s eyes when I share this new reality and perspective, people just don’t get it. The blank stare in the eyes, yet the slight smile, says they’re happy and they just do not know how to respond to the foreign language I am speaking… The only thing I can really share is scripture, and I just pray, and hope that the truth I share through scripture will only come alive and speak to these people’s hearts just like it has mine! I long to share the gospel, and see people’s lives transformed because of Christ! My heart just breaks for those who are trying to fill their lives with this stuff that is just so completely unsatisfying and worthless! There is greater joy out there than the American dream of having the perfect family with 4.5 kids, the white picket fence, the job that pays the bills and pays for two vacation cruises a year… there’s so much more than trying to find a fulfilling life in drugs and alcohol, work, or school…

That joy come through absolutely nothing but Christ! “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10-11

Jesus, I am so humbled right now, and thank you that this week you have done nothing but continue to remind me of the gospel and what you’ve done for me. You have put me in my place time after time, and I pray that my life will be an out pour of all that you are! Jesus may my life reflect your goodness and grace that you bestow on all who choose to recognize their sinfulness and choose life through Your Son by falling at the mercy of Your feet, repenting of their lives and accepting Your grace that is so undeserved! Thank you for your gift of life, and that I can lose mine, to only gain it all!

Remembering brings revival to your own heart… Remembering His Son, and the free, undeserved gift brings far more than just revival to my heart…





The Gospel Take 1.

25 10 2011

This may sound crazy to those of you who have not walked closely with me the last year and a half. But this week, the gospel finally clicked for me. It finally makes sense to me, in a whole new way!

Yes, I was raised in the church, in a good Christian family, in a good church with a very unique and awesome youth group. Since I have been in college, I have been fighting my faith out. For the longest time, I went along with what I was raised, but over the years, after many different experiences all across the board on the different perspectives and theological views of Christianity, I was confused and just didn’t know what I believed. “…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Ephesians 4:14

The last year and a half in San Antonio, God so graciously placed me in this little church, that did nothing but take me in and present me the gospel time after time after time again. These people challenged me in my everyday walk and way I lived my life. The first nine months were more of a season of spiritually just fighting out all the different perspectives and questions I had. This church was very patient and loving while walking with me through my season of doubt.

Most of my time there, I could not understand why they cared so much about the gospel, and why they talked about it all the time. I just thought it was a big group of Bible thumping people, but something deeper inside me was drawn to their way of living. I was constantly told that I needed to be reminded of the gospel day after day, moment by moment, and honestly, it annoyed me more than anything…

The last year and a half, layer by layer, the Lord has been so gently peeling away the questions and doubts, and breaking down walls that have been built up over the years of anger and bitterness. I had built my own prison of being a “victim” and God has so graciously opened my eyes to that, and broken that perspective!

This last week I started listening to podcasts because I do not attend church right now because of work. A friend of mine sent a link to a pastor, Erik Raymond she listens to. So one night I randomly picked one that had an interesting title. It was called Christ’s agony, our joy. I liked the contrast in the title, so I listened… if you get a chance, please check out that podcast, it seriously changed my life in a weird way.

Basically, he presented the gospel and for some reason, it totally made sense to me! I never focused on much except the physical aspect of Christ’s death. I never thought much about the spiritual aspect of the cross (crazy, i know. Thats kind of the big deal here.) The whole idea of the ‘hour in the cup’, seriously was nothing but a poetic line in the Bible. I didn’t understand the meaning of what the cup actually stood for. I truly believe Jesus met me in a very real way that night, and I have had an unspeakable joy in my heart. I am also so glad that that ‘Jesus moment’ came through because of scripture. No questions or doubts can be raised, because it was straight out of the Bible what I was hearing and reading and soaking into the foundation of my heart. It wasn’t some super- out there crazy experience, it was simply reading the word, or rather hear it being read and explained to me.

The last year and a half God has been slowly and gently working in my heart. Breaking away those experiences that had slapped a ‘Jesus’ sticker on them, and left me super confused and with no foundation. He has been chipping away the unforgiveness and anger in my heart, and pointing out some deeply rooted heart issues and sins that I danced around.

I am so thankful that the Lord has been working so much in my heart this last year, and truly revealing Himself through scripture and not an experience that had the approval stamped ‘Jesus’. I believe that what the Bible says is nothing but truth, and I am beginning to see the goodness and richness of His Word. “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified. in truth.” John 17:16-20

I am thankful for the patience and prayers of so many people in my life, I am blown away by the overwhelming amount of love that has been shown to me the last few years. It’s amazing how God works, I don’t understand it, but I am so glad I’m not in charge.

And I will end with my favorite verse. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”