More Than Meets the Eye

If I live with my eyes focused on the past, I’m walking in the direction I came from. If I live with my eyes focused on the present, I’m tripping over my own feet. If I live with my eyes focused on the future, I don’t see what is in front of me and I stumble. Most of the time, I live in the present. My whole generation has made that their motto. But spiritually, it’s no way to live. When I live in the present, I see more of what God is doing, but I’m not involved in it. I would see what is coming, and I would know to be prepared  if only I would look up. But I don’t. So I miss opportunities. I’m not obedient. Too often, when God asks me to “set my mind on things above”, I shift my gaze upward…and look at the future. But the future stretches beyond me. Not above me. Granted, I’m no longer staring at the ground. But when I focus on the future, I miss what God wants to do in my life right now. I choose not to hear his gentle voice teaching me along the way. I use my dreams as rough estimates for the path God wants me to take. And friend, that’s no way to live.

When God commands us to “set our mind on things above”, He isn’t asking us to direct our gaze to the past, the present, or the future. He’s asking us to look at Him. That’s the only way we will ever be able to see Him working in the present, yet be prepared for what He wants to do in the future. That’s the only way we can let go of the mistakes of the past, and follow Him in freedom. That’s the only way we remain teachable and the only way we can be completely certain that we are walking in the will of God. I wake up every morning with my eyes cast down to my toes as I plant my feet on the floor. I wake up with my mind ready to live in the present. If I don’t make and take the time to meet with God, and to seek His face, I’ll walk out the door with my eyes still focused on my feet. And when I step back through that door at the end of the day, I’ll wonder where the day went. I’ll wonder if I really made a difference. I’ll wonder if there was more I could have done for the Kingdom. And the difficult truth is I could have done more. But my mind was fixed on me. It was set in the present. It was staring at what was in front of me. I chose not to seek Him first. I never consulted with Him about what He wanted to accomplish that day.  And so I did what I wanted, and I missed the chance to be doing what He wanted. It’s the same for each of us who set our mind on the world instead of on Him.

Do you take the time to hear what is on God’s heart? Each day we wake up, we are alive for purpose and that is to glorify Him. There is something He wants to accomplish in you and something He wants to accomplish through you every day. Have you asked Him what that is?  Do you want to know? I understand. It’s hard to fix our minds on things above. It takes a lot of faith. It requires that we stop trying to straining our eyes to see something in the darkness of future and completely surrender our future to Him. No matter where He may lead us. We must let go of living in the present and believe that God offers a life that is more abundant than one the world around us promises. We must face our past, and determine that it will no longer define us. Following Jesus takes a lot of faith. Especially when we can’t see where we’re going. But “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. It’s not based on sight. It’s based on Him.

I want to challenge you today to deliberately and intentionally choose to focus on Jesus. The world can be chaotic. It often clamors for our attention. But is reliving the past worth never experiencing true freedom? Is walking in the present worth making decisions we’ll regret? Is staring at the future worth the awful sinking feeling that you missed something important? Is the gazing at the world around you worth never experiencing the fullness of what God has in store for you? Your actions will reveal what you truly believe. 

“So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.

Colossians 3:1-2 (HCSB)

Categories: direction, Faith, God, learning, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Learning Faith the Heart Way

There is a point in the life of every believer when doubt inevitably creeps in and makes us question the promises of God. I can name quite a few times in my own life when I chose not to believe in His promises. Maybe it was because I didn’t want God to fail me. I wanted something to fall back on in case He fell through. The ability to say “He didn’t really mean that” or “I must have misunderstood him” was a sort of spiritual insurance. In better terms, my “spiritual insurance” was a complete lack of faith and a skewed understanding of the very nature of God, and it was caused by deeply rooted fear in my heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”.

Our hearts are prone to doubt, to fear, to wickedness, and to darkness. We know this, and yet we still allow ourselves to be controlled by our heart. We even allow our faith to be controlled by our heart. This manifests itself in many different ways. I’ve mentioned a couple already- doubt and fear, but we also see it through comparison and emotion. You’ve probably experienced all of these in some way. We doubt our salvation or the promises of God. We are afraid to completely surrender everything to God, to follow wherever He leads, or to stake our entire lives on a God we can’t visibly see. We compare our walk with Christ to that of other believers, and rate our spiritual maturity or effectiveness in ministry on how we measure up to someone else. And finally, we base our worship, Bible Study, spiritual strength, or even our salvation on how we feel.

It’s clear our hearts have a lot of influence, and it’s not positive influence either. So how do we change this? What needs to happen? Let’s take a look at 1 John 3:19-20. It says, “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 

“Set our hearts at rest in His presence…” Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who talked so much you couldn’t even comment on what they had to say? I think we come to God like that sometimes. When are hearts aren’t at rest, they are babbling on and on. They are consumed with fear, with doubt, with emotion and focused solely on those things. I wonder if we miss some important things that He wants to say to us when we refuse to quiet our hearts as we come into his presence. We drown out his voice with our worries, instead of resting in Him, instead of trusting that He is in control.

“If our hearts condemn us…” Essentially, this occurs when we believe the lies of the enemy. This is the moment when we come before God doubting our salvation. When we hear that voice saying that we are eternally condemned, even if we are truly saved!

“We know that God is greater than our hearts…” What a wonderful reminder! As powerful and influential as our hearts can seem, they are no match for God. We can set our hearts at rest because we know that he is not only above our hearts, but He is above our thoughts, our circumstances, our lives, and our world.

“And He knows everything…” As it talks about in the beginning of 1 John, God is light and in Him there is no darkness. When he sees our hearts, He sees everything! Too often we imagine deep dark places in our hearts, but there is no such thing. Turn the light on, see your heart as He sees your heart- sin and all. He knows all of you, and He still died for you! He also knows the truth about our salvation. He is truth, and He will reveal the truth to you as you seek after Him.

We must turn our eyes away from our hearts that so desperately want attention and instead fix them upon Jesus. We must come before Him with a heart that is at rest and is ready and willing to hear His voice. We must remind ourselves that He is greater than our hearts and he knows all. That is how we change the influence of our hearts. This is what needs to happen in order to begin to have the kind of faith that moves mountains.

Categories: Bible, comparision, Faith, God, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
 
 

A Recap of 2016 and a Preview of 2017: A Testimony of the Faithfulness of God

I’ll be honest, I’m not the type of person to make a New Year’s Resolution list. Usually, with some prodding from my Mom, I churn out 3 to 5 vague goals I hope to accomplish in the future. I’m 99% sure my resolutions for the year 2016 were something along the lines of:

  1. Start running
  2. Lose weight
  3. Be healthier
  4. Love Jesus more
  5. Read my Bible everyday

I had noble ambitions, to be sure. Awfully shallow, noble ambitions. What is it about goal-setting that I never fully embrace? Maybe I feel it infringes upon my go-with-the-flow attitude. I just want to LIVE another year of my life. I want to make a difference. I want to be able to look back and I know that I spent my time wisely, and I furthered the kingdom of God. I want to have memories to hold onto forever, both good ones and bad ones. I want to soak up every moment. To make every breath count for something. To live a life filled with purpose and inspiration. To seize every opportunity to be grateful, to laugh, to find a new friend, to revel in the vivid colors of a sunset, to watch the sunlight through the trees, to hear the echo of bird calls over the mountains, to be captivated by emotion, to be changed by conversations. I want more than just goals. Just things to work towards. I want to live a life of more. Never just going through the motions, never just trying to make it through another day. I want my years to be characterized by abiding in Christ, and allowing him to make my life worth something more. Greater than just the ordinary. Bigger than mundane. Every second of every day, I want to hold tightly to the promise that God has a plan for my life, a plan to prosper and not to harm, a plan to give me hope and a future. If He is for me, who can be against me?

Though my resolutions for 2016 might have been shallow, God still managed to accomplish amazing things through me this year. I’ve been reminded time and time again of His unfailing grace and His thoughts that are higher and deeper than mine could ever be. He took this humorously weak list, and did something incredible. It mirrors what He did in my life this past year. He took me, humorously weak, and used my life to do something incredible. Something that can only be explained by God. He deserves all of the glory.

I actually did start running this year. I made it through about 3 weeks of running at the beginning of January before I injured both hamstrings and had to stop. As the summer progressed, my goal became to run a mile. In all of my life, I’ve never run a mile without stopping. But summer is a difficult time to run in South Georgia, and I stopped just short of finishing half a mile without stopping.

I started college at the University of North Georgia in the Fall, and after realizing I had to hike to my dorm every day, set out to reverse the common phrase “Freshman 15”. I went to the gym, but that lasted about a week before my time table was filled with more important matters. I went back intermittently during the semester, and I tried to eat in a somewhat healthy manner, but I wasn’t sure how much difference it would really make. I could feel myself losing weight, but with no scale, I wasn’t sure how I was actually progressing. When I finally made it back home for Christmas break and stepped on the scale, I was shocked. I had lost 12 lbs. total. But God had something even better in mind. On December 23, 2016, I completed my first full mile run.

Losing weight and exercising has been on my resolutions list for close to 4 or 5 years now. It was something I could never seem to do. In fact, I only seemed to gain weight. The summer of Sophomore year of high school, I weighed over 150 lbs. This made it nearly impossible for me to run without causing severe pain to my feet. It was a Catch-22. I couldn’t lose weight to exercise and I couldn’t exercise to lose weight. January of 2016 it finally dawned on me. I was exercising and counting calories and staring at the numbers on the scale because I was insecure. Because I wanted to impress other people. Everything I did, I did out of a feeling of inferiority and a growing desire to be accepted. It never got me anywhere. For a while, I tried to tell myself I was doing it because it was the right thing to do. Because my body is a temple, and I need to glorify God. That’s true, but even though I knew it was true, I didn’t live like I believed it was true. Until this year. This year, from the very first moment my brand new running shoes hit the asphalt, I surrendered my journey to God. It was difficult. But it was worth it. There were times I thought about giving up, times I did give up. But God never gave up on me. And I am a living testimony of how powerful the God I serve is. He broke down the lies I believed about myself. I learned on a deeper level that the way I look to God matters so much more than the way I look to anyone else. He used the painful process of getting the most un-athletic, out of shape girl to exercise as a metaphor for my spiritual life. As I grew in physical strength, I saw how he was growing me in spiritual strength as well. It was hard. As with running, there were times I wanted to give up, and times I did give up. But He never gave up on me. He remained faithful. He remains faithful.

I’d love to say I read my Bible every day this year, but that’s not true. A majority of the days this year, I did pick up my Bible and read, but not every day. But I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I came to love Jesus more this year than I did the last. I faced a lot of new challenges to my faith. Things I was forced to trust God with. It was somewhat painful to realize that the things I thought I had entrusted to God; I had really kept to myself. But that’s what real worship is all about, surrendering everything you have to God. Even when it’s hard. Even when you’d prefer to hang on to some dreams. But I learned that I must die to those dreams. I must sacrifice them on the altar and present them as an offering to God and believe that God is good. If those dreams are meant to be resurrected, they will be. If not, God has something unbelievably better in mind, and who I am to choose something I may think is good over the very best that God has for me. He knows me better than I know myself.

This year, I’ve decided to make real resolutions. Yes, I want to lose weight. Yes, I want to be healthier. I’ve still got a ways to go. But I know that I am able to honor God because He gives me the strength to fight temptation and to continue pressing on, even when I may be weak. I’ve been reminded of his steadfast love and continual faithfulness this year, and I know that this will be present every day of my life. He will still be faithful to me.

So, without further ado, I present 17 New Year’s Resolutions for the year 2017!

  1. Love Jesus more than I did the day before.
  2. Be motivated by love for Jesus, not obligation or a desire to impress others.
  3. Worship God.
  4. Make time for Bible Study and fight to keep that time, amid the pressures of life. Look forward to hearing what He has to say.
  5. Cultivate a spirit of peace, joy, and contentment- in ALL circumstances.
  6. Remain confident of God’s love and provision, even during difficult times.
  7. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  8. Follow His leading, no matter where He leads.
  9. Give every problem and crisis to Him and trust that everything will work out for my good and his glory.
  10. Focus on building the kingdom of God, not my kingdom. See the eternal, not the finite. Invest in what is everlasting, not in what is perishable. This includes investing my time. Be a good steward of the time I have been given.
  11. Spread the Gospel!
  12. Make lifestyle choices that honor God, and stick to them, even when it gets hard.
  13. Continue running the race that has been set out before me, both physically and spiritually. Find my strength in Christ alone.
  14. Become a prayer warrior and fight for the Body of Christ.
  15. Encourage and challenge others in their walk with Christ.
  16. Learn how to be a better leader.
  17. Choose faith over fear.

I am confident that the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me in 2017. Here’s to the future, full of confidence knowing that the one who walks beside me has already been there before me. I’ll see you next year! 🙂

-Mackenzie

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Faith, God, life, New Year | 3 Comments
 
 

A Letter To My Exchange Student Friends

Dear Exchange Student Friends,
It seems like only yesterday we ran into one another. I remember the first time I met each of you…
Sunny, I met you on the way to Chow. We walked out of our rooms at the same time and realized we were neighbors! Stephanie and I walked down to Chow with you and we talked about Survival Daze. After lunch, we all walked down to the square. You took pictures of everything. But I understood perfectly. You wanted to remember everything. Every smile, every trip, every experience. Then, we invited you to come make sugar cookies and cheesecake brownies with us. That is something I will never forget. Having you there brightened up the whole kitchen. Your name fits you well. You really are a ray of sunshine. I can’t tell you how many times I passed you on the way to class and saw you smile and wave. That always made my day. Getting to know you has been such a pleasure. Thank you for your continual kindness and generosity. You hold a special place in my heart. I am really going to miss you.
Grace, I met you in the Dayroom on our hall. I saw Sunny, and went in to talk. All of you were eating those spicy ramen-noodle-type things (the name escapes me at the moment), and I sat down with you. I tried those noodles for the first time (they were both spicy and incredibly delicious) because of all of you. From that point on, every time you saw me you would wave. The fact that you recognized me and would say hi, even after just briefly meeting me, spoke volumes. You are by far one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I absolutely love talking with you. You speak very eloquently, and your words are always encouraging and uplifting. I admire your compassion for others and your calm, gentle attitude. Keep making a difference in the world, one person at a time. Thank you for friendship. I am going to miss you so much!
Lily, I met you in the Dayroom also. I saw you sitting there by yourself and felt that I should talk to you. And talk we did! You invited your friend to come and talk to me in Spanish because I said I had taken Spanish in high school. It turned into one of the most interesting and hilarious conversations I had all semester. We spent at least an hour or two trying to master the words to “Happy Birthday” in French and Spanish. You make me laugh! I walk away with a smile every time I talk to you. Your enthusiasm is so infectious. I wish I had the kind of exuberance and excitement about everything that you possess. Never let that die. You have the rare ability to make people laugh and smile even when times are tough and stressful. I will miss that next semester.
From laughing in Starbucks until it closed, to taking pictures and dancing at SnowBall, to learning Chinese and Korean- I have so many memories I will never forget. All of you mean so much to me. I refuse to accept that this is good-bye. Someday, our paths will cross again. In the meantime, keep looking at the world in wide-eyed wonder. Never stop taking pictures of what captivates you- whether it be friendship, the sunset, or a perfectly placed cup of coffee. Don’t miss a moment. See the little things and be grateful for them. Laugh, smile, and make friends wherever you go. Love people to the fullest, make memories, and leave a legacy. Know that I will always be here for you.
This isn’t goodbye. It’s more like “to be continued”. I can’t wait for our next adventure! I love you all very much. 
Sincerely, your friend from America,
Mackenzie
Categories: converstions, friendship, people | Leave a comment
 
 

A Letter To My BCM College Students, Both Past and Present

Dear College Students,

My first day of college is fast-approaching and the dreams of being a college student I had as a little girl are about to become a reality. It is truly unbelievable. To say that you have been an important part of my life is an understatement. You mean the world to me. I don’t know that I will get the opportunity to speak with each of you and tell you how much I love you. I might not get to share my memories of that time when I hit you with pool noodles and then brought you ice water to make up for it. Or the time when I sat in on your small group and talked about what God was doing in my life through a message. Or those impromptu jam sessions in the Big Room where I got to stay up extra late because my Daddy knew just how much I loved making music with you. Needless to say, I have wonderful stories to tell about all of you. I remember how we met. I remember when you told me your favorite color and that you liked red skittles the best. I remember watching you grow spiritually in college and thinking “I want that to be me one day”. I promise I can never forget you. It’s safe to say I still vividly remember close to 14 years of students. If you ever believe you went unnoticed, let me prove you wrong. I did my best to see all of you. Not just physically acknowledging your presence, but trying to understand who you were and how God could use me to encourage you.

I wanted to thank you for always being there and listening. I wanted to thank you for showing me what real friendship looks like and what real transparency means. I want to emphasize that you challenged me spiritually with both positive and negative things. It wasn’t your “perfection” and maturity as a Christian that grew my own faith- it was the recognition that you were all imperfect people saved by grace. It was the realization that God was present in every circumstance, strong enough to save, and powerful enough work bad things for our good and his glory.

I am writing you this letter to say goodbye to all of you- at least for now. I know I will see many of you again, but there may be a few people that I might not get to see. I wanted all of you to know that you have made a difference in my life and for that I am forever grateful. I will treasure all of the memories I have made with each of you. You hold a special place in my heart. I am on the verge of finally experiencing BCM as a true college student, a thought that is both exciting and saddening. I will no longer be the one to watch carefully as you grow from timid freshmen to confident seniors. I will no longer get to experience the joy of watching you share your testimony at Impact as a sophomore when you were too scared to speak in front of anyone as a freshman. I will not get to see you grow into incredible men and women of God like I have been accustomed to in the past. Instead, I will be the one growing. I hope to have younger students looking up to me, watching as I mature in Christ. That reality is frightening and wonderful at the same time. I am trying to look joyfully toward the future, live presently where I am, and hold the past close to my heart all at once.

Please know that you have been the best group of students ever. I wouldn’t have asked to be a part of any other campus ministries than the ones at Midwestern and Valdosta State Universities. I am going to miss you all terribly. Keep me and the BCM at UNG in your prayers. If BCMs prayed for each other, just imagine what God could do at college campuses all across the state of Georgia- all across the nation! Prayer is so powerful. Never take it for granted. In fact, I want to say a pray over all of you now.

 

Dear God,

I pray that their faith will continue to grow. That they will trust You with both the big and small things.

I pray that they will love each other and not let insignificant quarrels divide them.

I pray that the Devil will not have a foothold in their ministry.

I pray that they will humbly submit themselves to a life of prayer and fight hard against the enemy with Your strength and not their own.

I pray that they will believe with all they are that You are good even when circumstances are not.

I pray that each of them will know Your presence and know that they are never alone.

I pray that they will put You above all else and that they would allow You to have control of every part of their life.

I pray that when life gets chaotic, they will run to You first.

I pray that they will trust You and know that Your plans for them are good.

I pray that they would refuse to settle for what is good and instead chase after what is best.

I pray that they would surrender all their relationships to You and allow You to work in them as You want.

I pray that You would clearly show them the people they need to hold accountable, the people they need to keep in constant prayer, the people they need to be intentional with, and the people they need to witness to.

I pray that they will be obedient to You. No matter what it may cost them. No matter where You may lead them.

I pray they would submit themselves to Your plan.

I pray that when your Holy Spirit moves them to do something, that they would do it without question. Forsaking their own pride, casting their fear aside, and allowing themselves to be completely obedient.

I pray that they would trust You for the right words, and not their own eloquence or lack thereof.

I pray that they would be faithful and stop being afraid.

I pray that they would choose honesty over their own pride.

I pray that they would be transparent with one another and that they would never pretend that they are perfect people who have their lives together, because that is a lie.

But I also pray that they would share their faults appropriately and tactfully, with the intention of letting in the people who would keep them accountable and challenge them to go even deeper in their walk with You.

I pray that they would share You with their campus like they never have before.

I pray that their hearts would be broken for the lost.

I pray that they would be guarded against self-righteousness and pride.

I pray that they would build one another up in love and that their love for one another would reveal the truth that they are Your children.

I pray that they would never get caught up in merely doing good things and being a nice person for You.

I pray that they balance their actions with words so that people will know they are followers of You because of what they do and because they’ve shared with others what You have done in their life.

I pray that they would have a unquenchable passion for Your Word, and they would hunger to know You more and more each passing day.

I pray that they would love You more today than they did yesterday.

I pray that they would continually put on the full armor of God so that they may stand against the Devil’s schemes.

I pray that they might know that they are in college for more than to get an education; they are there to be lights for You.

I pray that they would remember that obedience to You and a willingness to follow You is a powerful thing.

I pray You will do something they couldn’t possibly imagine- even if is not what they thought it would be.

I pray You would do a mighty work in their lives.

I pray that at the end of this school year the only thing they can say is “to GOD be the glory, great things HE has done.”

I pray that they will experience both Your power and presence like never before.

I ask these things in Jesus name,

Amen.

 

I love all of you so very much,

Mackenzie

Categories: Change, encouragement, prayer, relationships, School, students | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Learning the Definition of Rest

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about rest.

What does it mean to rest? It means to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. But rest also means to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.

I’ve been praying for rest, but I neglected to appreciate the rest he’s given because I was focused on only one definition of rest. And it wasn’t the definition He had in mind. When I thought of rest, I thought of sleep. Of relaxation. I fervently prayed for rest during late nights of homework, hard classes at school, and from annoying conversations. It didn’t seem to happen. I’ve been sick for nearly a month. Everyday I would wake up and I was still just as sick. Still just as tired. I wanted to stop all work. To take a break from everything connected with life. To be honest, at times  I wanted a break from faith, from reaching the campus. I had no strength left. I would wake up early in the morning just as tired and I believed that maybe he hadn’t heard. But he did. Because rest is more than sleep and relaxation.

To rest is to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position. God knew what I needed when I didn’t know how to ask for it. I needed more than just sleep, I needed endurance to stay in the position that I’ve been placed in as a light on the campus. He supported me. From the moment I woke up to the time I fell asleep again, he supported me. I accomplished each and every task that was required of me. I was exhausted, but I was at rest.

I wonder if Proverbs 31:17-18 is misunderstood by some.

¨She sets about her work vigorously;

   her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,

   and her lamp does not go out at night.¨

Many women look at the Proverbs 31 woman and see an impossible standard. I mean, it’s almost like this chick never takes a break…ever. Not even to sleep. And then she gets up and keeps going, full of energy, full of power. She seems so…perfect. She has unending reservoirs of strength. Physically, mentally, emotionally. How is this possible? And why do people tend to see her as woman without exhaustion? In reality, a woman like this is tired, so how is she so strong? Whatever she does she has the strength for, because her rest doesn’t come from sleep. It comes from God. Because of God. She’s tired, but she never takes a break from the fight because God enables her to stay in her specified position.

The parallels about rest in the Bible don’t end with the Proverbs 31 woman. Think about Matthew 11:28 ¨Come to me all you who are weary and burdened (heavy-laden), and I will give you rest.” Suddenly, it means something a little different than it used to. It’s not just about physical rest. It’s God’s promise to be our rock, our support when things are too much for us to take. It’s strength to keep battling the enemy.

Yet again in John 4:6, we see that Jesus was tired, ¨Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.¨ This is the beginning of the story of The Woman at the Well. This will soon be a major turning point in the life of a tired woman and a frustrated town. But it could have just as easily never happened. Jesus could have asked for water because he was tried and never engaged the woman in conversation. He could have decided to just rest. To take a break from it all. The important truth in this verse revolves around the fact that Jesus never walked away from what God had called him to do because he was tired. At first, that seems nearly impossible as well. But it’s not. He didn’t find his strength and restoration from physical rest. He found it by resting in God. He maintained his position because God was supporting Him and he leaned on God’s strength for everything. He did not rely on his own physical strength and abilities because he recognized how frail they were in comparison to God’s. We are reminded yet again in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Our physical exhaustion may be a weakness, but when we ask God for rest, he turns it into a power.

Categories: Bible, encouragement, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, rest, sleep, stress | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Never More Than You Can Handle

It’s often said that God will never give us more than we can handle. In a sense, those words can be comforting. In some ways, it seems to indicate that we won’t be taken in over our head or be burned in the fire. But it’s a complete and total lie. God never promised us that he wouldn’t give us more than we could handle, in fact he promises just the opposite. He gives us way more than we could deal with on our own, takes us deeper than our feet would wander, and perhaps singes us in the flames. That phrase comes from the verse 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises he will never let us be tempted beyond what we are able to bear or handle. God places a burden upon us that we can’t possibly carry on our own- and we are left with a choice. Will we try to take the load up ourselves and walk on our own? Or will we acknowledge that we can accomplish nothing in our own strength? In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul has just finished describing his struggle with what he calls a “thorn in his flesh”, we don’t know exactly what he’s referencing, but through his battle with this, he hears the voice of God speak to him the words “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul concludes the verse with the phrase, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” The key is to not be strong. What do I mean? When it comes to spiritual matters, we cannot have the mindset of “suck it up, be strong, and just get through it”. That attitude puts us in control of carrying a responsibility that we can’t possibly deal with. It will never end well and it won’t make us stronger than before. It’s like trying to lift 300lbs when you can only really lift 30. Lifting that weight isn’t going to make you any stronger, in reality you’d probably end up breaking an arm. It doesn’t end well because we were not capable of lifting that weight ourselves. We must learn to be spiritually weak, so that God’s power is able to shine though us. As Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Our weakness brings our good and his glory. But don’t get me wrong, being weak doesn’t mean we stop exercising faith, in reality, it takes more faith to be spiritually weak than it does strong; this is because our weakness is a sign of humility and a sign of trust. It’s surrender. We recognize the fact that we can’t do it alone, and we roll that sense of responsibility back onto him. We place one end on the shoulder of God. God meets us at that moment when we are faced with something we can’t possibly handle, and He’s there when our faith his goodness and sometimes our faith in him run out. He quietly asks the question, “Will you let me help you?”

There are times when we must walk on the raging sea, go through the fire, or carry a burden so that, as James writes in verse 1:4, “we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” But we never have to carry it alone. God gives us more than we can handle so we turn our eyes back to him, walk with him, and watch as he does incredible things in the middle of our weaknesses. In those times where we don’t know what to say. In the times were we feel inadequate. In those moments where we are scared out of our minds to take a leap of faith and be bold. In the times where our perfectionism and our fear of failure swallows us up. In the times when the world is falling apart and you know you can’t possibly piece it back together. We give it to him. And he works it for our good and his glory. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”. We can’t fathom the power that is accessible to us through the Holy Spirit. God does so so so much more than our minds can comprehend. His reserves of power never run dry. He never gets exhausted. Only when we admit to being weak can God fill us up with that kind of power. Only when we place our faith in him and trust that he’s going to pick up the other end of the load. He won’t let us carry it on our own. Only when we believe his promise in Matthew 20:28 that he will be with us always even to the end of the age, and we tell Jesus that we are through trying to get though it on our own. That we can only do things when Christ strengthens us.

What about you? Where are you? Are you caught up in trying to do things on your own? To power through one more day? To soak up some strength from who knows where? I challenge you to fall before the feet of Jesus and tell him that you’re ready to be weak. Ready to trust completely in his power and his plan, even though you don’t know what that might mean for you. Ready to trust his goodness and his sovereignty, even when things don’t seem to be good. To cast all your cares upon the one who cares for you. Because he has a purpose and a plan even when you can’t see it, and it’s to prosper and not to harm, it’s a plan to glorify him, it’s a plan that means the best for you and will give you hope and a future. Do you truly trust him? Be weak. God has promised to never give you more than He can handle.

Categories: Bible, Church, Faith, Trust | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Happy 2nd Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Guys. It’s been TWO YEARS since I started this blog. Is that crazy or what? I admit, I didn’t do so well this past year with posting regularly. There wasn’t much to read. Which is why I am so amazed that this blog has only grown over the past year. God is so good. But, in order to get the whole idea you’ll need to see some numbers, so without further ado…

Number of Hits: 1, 980

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts/ Pages:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 147 views

About Me– 118 views

To God Be the Glory– 98 views

Number of Followers: 40

Number of Comments: 61

Number of Posts: 26

Again, I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been over 40 countries represented in the views, even some countries in which the internet is highly censored. God is using this blog to share the gospel in counties like that all over the world. I am only a minor character in this elaborate story God has designed and I couldn’t be more grateful to be used by God to reach the nations with the gospel. If you would, take a moment today to thank God for how he has used you, even when you didn’t deserve it. Dear reader, thank you for reading the few posts I had this year and not dropping out of my followers list even when you rightfully should have. Now that my blog is exactly how I want it to be with those new pages ready for anyone to read, I am certain that the gospel will reach farther in this coming year than it has in the previous years combined.

Prayer is powerful. Join me in praying big prayers over this blog. Not So Supergirl doesn’t belong to me. I don’t claim it. It belongs to God and I pray the words I write are the words he wants me to say. I don’t know what the next year will bring; but I do know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog. God is going to keep doing jaw-dropping things through it, and I hope you will continue to follow along with me on this journey. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You are my source of inspiration. Each day presents an opportunity to know you better and fall in love with you more. I want to make the most of each of those days. Guide me when it gets tough. Remind me that you’re always, always, always, in control and you’re still on the throne no matter what happens. This blog wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Check This Out

In case you haven’t been by the blog to notice, I’ve made some renovations! I changed my subtitle/motto from “The Not So Heroic Deeds of Not So Supergirl” to “Truth, Hope, and God’s Way”; modeled after Superman’s motto, “Truth, Justice, and the American way.” I also made some tweaks to the overall design and added three new pages. Most noteworthy, I completely revamped my About Me page. I had taken it down about a year ago with the intention of redoing it and I never had the time to make it say what I wanted. My other new pages include  My Beliefs (the title speaks for itself), FAQ (the page where I can answer your questions about anything), and How To Become a Christian (the gospel). I hope you’ll take the time to stop by and see the new additions and leave a few comments about what you think! I’ll post another blog post sometime in the next week, so be on the look out for more of my scribblings. Have a wonderful week!

God Bless,

Not So Supergirl 🙂 

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, God, happiness, Holy Spirit, Jesus, looks, waiting | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Don’t Fill in the Blank

“There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

-Oswald Chambers

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So often I find that God has erased all my plans for the future and given me a clean slate. A blank space. And the hardest part is looking at that space and realizing that I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. I naturally want to fill it in. And many times I do. The space that was a clean work area for God to make and mold and move me becomes a cluttered mess of notations, desires, plans, and calculations. If you ask me, I’ll tell you I know where I’m headed; but that’s about the time God comes along with an eraser and wipes away each one of those ideas. He again gives me the space that begs the question: “Do you trust me?”. I’ll say that I do, and I might even wait a few days for God to do something. But eventually my patience wears thin. I wind up with a metaphorical expo marker in my hand. And I’m drawing something new. Why?

Part of the reason is that there has to be the seamless unity of believing and doing. I must say that I trust God to fill it in when He wants to, and then prove that I trust him by waiting on his timing and not filling in that blank space myself. It’s not that my plans are necessarily bad plans. I might have been planning to go to India and be a missionary for the rest of my life. It was the fact that God has something different and God has something better and I have to still myself and wait for him to give me direction. I should never run before God’s guidance. When he takes the time to erase my plans, it means I should take the time to wait on his plans.

Right now, I have a blank space. Not to long ago God erased all of those plans I had made and began to show me why they weren’t part of his plan. I wanted to do this to please this person. I wanted to go there to meet that person. I wanted to stay here to become this version of myself. I had hidden intentions in each one of those carefully crafted ideas. And God saw those, even when I couldn’t. . He penetrated through the murkiness of my imagination and sorted the stuff I had piled on top of my plans to make them seem more appealing. He showed me what he was seeing as I sang “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go”.  Sometimes following God’s will means waiting on him to fill in those blank spaces in His timetable; not yours.  His will for our lives isn’t some incomprehensible theory that we have to struggle and strain to somehow get on board or grab a glimpse of. He says in Leviticus 19:2 “…Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”

When we wake up committed to following him and growing in him, we become more like him each passing day. His will isn’t for the future, it’s for now. It’s that process of maturing in holiness and righteousness that sets us walking in the right direction, in his will for our lives. Even when we may only see a blank space in front of us, rest assured that God has plans for it, and wait for his guidance. Don’t rush to fill in the blank. “When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

Categories: Bible, blank, Change, christianity, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, space, Trust, waiting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

7 Things I Learned in 2014

This year has been incredibly busy. I could almost say that 2014 has been one of the busiest years of my life. This summer was packed full to perfection with an amazing vacation to the North Carolina Mountains, Williamsburg, Virginia, Washington D.C, and Baltimore, Maryland. This school year was packed with AP classes and time-consuming, tedious work. It’s a flimsy excuse for not sitting at the keyboard to post, even when I did have time, but I’m hoping that I will be able to start the New Year with a commitment to blog more (just one of my resolutions). But I didn’t log in just to tell you about how busy I’ve been, I wanted to share with you 7 important things I learned during the year 2014. There’s been ups and downs and through it all, I couldn’t be more amazed at how much I’ve grown spiritually this past year. Which leads me to the first thing I learned in 2014…

1. How to get in the Word…and stay there

I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday and I heard the Word, but often I wouldn’t take time out of my day to have a quiet time. I would usually take out my Bible and read a  huge chunk of scripture and then never read again for the rest of the month. But that changed in March of this year. After learning some context about the book of 2 Timothy, I dove in and committed to read my Bible everyday. I haven’t been perfect, but I have absolutely formed a habit of it, and I have seen the difference it has made. I notice a change in my faith, life and mood when I make the choice to read that day or not to read. That alone has been the defining point in my life this year.

2. My determination never gets me anywhere if it’s not something God wants to happen.

I can work hard. I can muster up enough determination to challenge a metaphorical Mt. Everest. I can try to tackle it. But in the end, it only takes me so far. There are always situations that are out of my control, and I have to accept that God’s plans are so much better and so far above my own. My determination should always be to bring glory to God, no matter what my circumstances are or what the outcome might be. God is ALWAYS in control. He is still sitting on his throne no matter what is happening in my life or in the world around me.

3. Savor the small things

This year I’ve gotten better at living in the moment and finding wonder and reasons to worship God in the things that could be overlooked. It means that I am not so focused on the future that I forget to look around and see what’s now. Because my “now” is a painful, complicated, beautiful work of God’s heart, and there are so many things he uses to get my attention so that I can become even more brilliant. And this year I’ve barely scratched the surface of seeing those things like they’re meant to be seen.

4. Fear is temporary when God is involved

No matter who you are or how old you may be, there is always some type of fear that plagues each and every one of us. My approach at the beginning of this year was simply to power through them. To face them. Show them who’s boss. To wrangle them into submission. In case you’re thinking of doing the same, I have a warning- that doesn’t work. I tried to. I wanted them to go away. And at the beginning of the school year, I spent some time in prayer. And Jesus told me where the problem was. The fear in my life was never something I could handle, power through or beat into submission. It was something that had to be placed in God’s hands and left there. Fear had to be given to God every single day. And there were times when a paralyzingly spirit of fear was fervently prayed out of me by people who care about me, and that was when I found myself free to accomplish each and every action God was calling me to take. Because when God is the center of my life, fear has no room to stay.

5. When I wake up committed to follow God each day, I will follow His Will for my life

Slowly but surely, I find myself on the path he wants me to walk when I give him my simple obedience day after day. “Be holy as I am holy” is what God asks of me, it’s his will for my life, and I become more like him when I wake up surrendered to whatever he might call me to do that day. I give up my own dreams and my own will and I align my will with God’s- that’s when I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

6. A change in procrastination and priorities gets more done

I’ve proved this to be true in my own life , especially as it relates to school. When school gets busy, I am tempted to let God take a backseat to my exhaustion and the growing amounts of him work I have, most of it could have been done earlier, if I hadn’t procrastinated. This year, I’ve proven the statement “When God is your top priority, everything else falls into place.” When God was my priority, things did flow smoothly, even in the midst of chaos. And, when God wasn’t my priority, even when things weren’t too tough, the schedule I was juggling seemed to fall apart. Procrastination is still a sin that needs works in my life, but I am confident that in the next year Jesus and I can straighten some of my laziness out of me. But this year has been a wake-up call to me regarding my procrastination, and next year, hopefully I’ll get more done. And finish everything all the way and to the very best of my ability.

7. I’m never meant to be center stage

I mean this in a spiritual context, because another thing I wanted to work on this past year was my humbleness…or lack of humbleness. Through different events, God has shown me that he is to be the one thing people notice about me. With my abilities or talents, I am meant to glorify him and put attention on him, not myself. And most importantly, it’s not about me, it’s all about him. There’s nothing that’s worth seeing if I’m the center of attention.

Take some time to think about what God has taught you over this past year and get ready to celebrate the new one. Here we come 2015!!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, New Year | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

The Fairytale of Pain

Once upon a time, I wanted to learn how to play guitar. My daddy could play and I remember sitting in front of him on the floor while he sat on the couch and played 80’s worship songs. I sang along. Over the years, I had a growing desire to learn how to play acoustic guitar. I saw amazing worship leaders who all played guitar or songwriters who strummed their guitars while figuring out songs and I wanted to do that too. So, when I was in seventh grade, I expressed my desire to learn and my daddy printed off a chord sheet at my request. He demonstrated the chords G, E minor, D, and C, and told me to come back to him when I could play them fairly well. I sat down on the guest room bed with my daddy’s guitar and tried to play G. The cheat of G is where you press down on the tiny E string with your ring finger and strum the bottom strings. At first I tried to play it, but it didn’t sound quite right so I pressed down harder and switched to my middle finger and there it was! The G chord!

I examined my finger, which had a growing red line through the fingertip from pressing down so hard. I rubbed it, shook out my hand and had second thoughts about playing guitar. It wasn’t supposed to be this… painful…was it? But ever determined to learn how to play guitar, I formulated a solution. I cut off the sticky parts of a Band-Aid and stuck them on the tips of my forefinger, middle finger, and ring finger on my left hand. My mom came in and asked what I was doing and I told her that I was learning to play guitar, but it hurt when I pressed down on the strings, so I was coming up with a solution where I could play guitar without hurting my fingers so much. She told me it wouldn’t work; but ever convinced of my genius, I set out to resume learning guitar. After conquering E minor with a little more difficulty, I realized that my mom was absolutely right. It didn’t make much of a difference. I still had red lines running through the tips of my fingers and the Band-Aids were starting to come off. I sighed and attempted D. It sounded right about 20% of the time. Nearly defeated, I went back to my daddy and asked him to play them for me, so I could hear how they were supposed to sound. He took the guitar from me and played each one perfectly, one after the other. Awed by his impressive guitar skills, I asked how in the world he was able to do that. Didn’t it hurt? He told me to practice every day and allow callouses to grow on my fingers. With renewed interest, I went back to the isolation of the guest room and tried to play again.

The next day, I went back to my daddy and played those four chords. Did they sound right? Probably not. But I begged him, give me a song to play and I can do it. I asked him to print off “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band and I went back to the solitary confinement of the guest room and tried to play. My fingers throbbed and were bright red. Purplish trenches appeared on the tips. The fling lasted about three days. Learning guitar wasn’t worth the pain it caused my fingers. The Christmas of 2011, I opened my eyes to find a guitar. I vowed that I would learn to play this time. But, things got in the way, my fingers hurt and it sat untouched in the corner of my room. The summer of 2013, with nothing to do for the month of July after youth camp and a mission trip in June, I felt God telling me to pick up my guitar again. So I did. Convinced that God had something for me to do with my guitar, I set out to re-teach myself what I knew and learn what I didn’t. And it hurt. My fingers throbbed and were red, I saw purplish lines, and I asked; why would anyone ever want to play guitar? Why would you torture yourself for this? And my mom replied, because it’s something they want to do. They put themselves though the pain of it because there is a reward, being able to play guitar. So I grumbled, but with the reassurance that God had something for me to do with guitar, I sat down and practiced.

Almost every day of July, I practiced. Through the pain, so sure that God had something in mind for this. And sure enough, I grew callouses, and playing guitar didn’t hurt anymore. In fact, I enjoyed playing guitar. To this day, I only know those four chords, but I can play almost any song for you and sing it in the key of G, including the very first song I learned, “How He Loves”. So what’s the point of this story? I think it can mean many different things. But it’s more than just a “No pain, no gain” story. It’s about life and it’s about the things we can’t accomplish on our own. Over time, I’ve had other experiences similar to this. I wanted or needed to accomplish something, it was painful, I stepped back, and God pushed me forward. It’s not normal to run and embrace things that are painful; it’s not a part of natural human behavior. We shrink away from the things that might make us hurt. I know I easily lose sight of the reward in the midst of pain, and I take a step back. But sometimes, God asks us to do things that are painful in order to develop us. Take a look at this verse in James:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

James 1:2-4 (MSG)

God challenges me to do things. To fight through the pain and embrace him with all that I am, to let him carry it for me. God does the same with you. Under pressure, we find that maybe we aren’t as tough as we thought we were, that suddenly the pain doesn’t seem worth the reward. We take a step back and think to ourselves, it’s not supposed to be this…painful….is it? And God pushes us forward and tells us that the reward is worth it. Whether that reward is being able to play guitar, live a healthy life, or fall even deeper in love with him. Maybe you’re learning to play guitar and God is teaching you so much through the red throbbing fingertips that will become smooth callouses if you just keep on playing. Maybe you’re trying to get in shape with exercise and proper nutrition and God has told you to trust him, not your own willpower. Maybe he’s working in your heart, developing places that he can take control of and show you that the pain isn’t really as painful as you thought it was, because the reward is so much greater. To show you that the pain only makes a sweeter “Happily Ever After”.

Categories: Bible, Faith, God, Guitar, learning, Pain | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

To God Be The Glory

For the longest time I dreaded Easter Sunday. Don’t get me wrong; I loved shopping for a new dress, I loved  waking up to chocolate bunnies, I loved hearing about Jesus. But I dreaded Easter Sunday. The problem lies in the fact that at our church on Easter Sunday, they would show “graphic” clips on the big screen of Jesus dying. As a young girl, blood and gore were not things that I relished seeing. Even now I’m not particularly fond of it. I feared watching Jesus suffer. I told myself that if I had been alive then, I would not have mocked Jesus; I would have been crying or I would have ran off to the hills somewhere so I wouldn’t have to watch it and I wouldn’t have to hear it.

We moved and our new church didn’t show such clips in big church on Easter Sunday. But our youth group did. I clearly remember curling up in the plastic seat as a 6th grader my fingers plugging my ears and my earrings digging into the palms of my hands. My eyes shut tightly, humming worship songs and praying. Anything to block out the screams and chants of the crowd and the Passion of the Christ’s depiction of Jesus dying on the cross. I was promising Jesus that if I was there, I wouldn’t have been mean to him. But the thing is, Jesus changed everything about my life. I am the way I am because of him. I was raised to be nice. My parents raised me to be nice because of what Jesus did in their life. And the list goes on and on. If he had walked up that hill and gotten to the top and then decided he didn’t want to go through with it after all, who’s to say I wouldn’t have been one of the people in the crowd. But he finished what he’d begun. He died. Willingly. For me. Even now as a Christian, I suppose I’m comparable to a member of the jeering crowd. I sin, knowing what I’m doing. Laughing in his face as I do it, mouthing the words, “I don’t care about you”. And not just once, over and over again. Multiple times a day. He knew that. He still died for me. You do the same. He knew you would. He still died for you. And that’s what we end with. Jesus loves you. He died for you.

But that’s not how it ends. He didn’t just die. Yes, that was an incredible act of divine love, but the part we seem to miss is that HE ROSE! Easter Sunday was never about graphic scenes of Jesus dying on the cross or long sermons that beg us to understand the torture he went through. That first Easter Sunday was filled with joy! With people running around asking everyone if they had heard the good news. And the good news was that Jesus was alive. He accomplished what no leader of any other religion has been able to do- he rose from the grave. But he didn’t just rise. He defeated death. He defeated hell. He defeated the grave. That is something to dance about. My Jesus is VICTORIOUS! And we have been given the responsibility to tell everyone.  Our chains have been broken, he has set us free. His love, grace and mercy have been showered upon us and he conquered all by rising from the grave.

Easter matters so much because it means that Jesus Christ has won the VICTORY! He defeated sin and death by dying on the cross and rising from the grave- all to show his awesome glory and power and rescue us- even as we stood mocking him, wallowing in our sin. No one forced him to be whipped. No one ever forced him on to a cross. He went willingly. He was God, but he loved us so much that he submitted to torture and separation from God on our behalf. He took the punishment that should have been ours. But thank God the story doesn’t end there. He rose! Defeating the things that once would have tied us down and made us powerless. And that same earthshaking power can now dwell in us, and we can share a part of his glory and holiness. He saw something in you and I and everyone else, so much so that he died for us. To GOD be the glory! Great things he hath done, so loved he the world that he gave us his son. Who yielded his life an atonement for sin and opened the life-gate that all may go in. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the Earth hear his voice. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice! Oh, come to the Father through Jesus the Son and GIVE HIM THE GLORY GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE!”

Categories: Blood, Cross, Easter, encouragement, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Sunday | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

Strong and Courageous: Leading Well (Part 4)

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:1-9

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What God’s asking Joshua to do here, isn’t all about moral support for a leader, it’s about asking Joshua to trust Him . To let go of fear, and let Him take it’s place. Fear comes when we don’t trust God. That’s how perfect love casts out all fear. Where there’s perfect love, there’s perfect trust. I wonder if Joshua was scared. He’s painted as a strong leader, unafraid, ready to do anything God would ask; like Moses. But he must have had his doubts. With Moses dead, he must have been wondering what God was up to. When God said, “Moses died, you’re taking over”, and I don’t imagine there was a lot of gusto on his part. He probably felt like a deflated party balloon. Going to see the promise land one minute and the next being told the leader of the whole mission had died and he was in charge. Everything is different when you have a whole lot more people looking up to you. He saw what these people were capable of. What if they didn’t like him? What if he failed? What about the enemies? The danger? What about war? They can’t just waltz in there an expect them to give up their land without a fight? So now he’s an army general? Even better. A new leader, responsible for land, lives, lunch, and large groups of snickering people. 

And God says: “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

God is telling him that he’s gonna be with him, just like Moses. His role-model. Who was so close to the glory of God his face shone so no one could look upon it. This guy was legend. His faith and leadership were legend, because of his trust in God. And God’s giving him the same thing? Wow. Ultimate confidence boost. Now Joshua may have been a fearless person who was so tight with God he just trusted him without hesitation. But I believe these words by God were said to him for a specific reason. Maybe because he had begun to take responsibility on himself for the people’s well-being or because he felt so inadequate to carry out such a task.

God replies: “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “

But maybe we still worry about messing something up and in response to that God answers: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

He said something similar to that before. Before, he said “I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” He reminds us that he is with us now, and will be with us in the future. There is nowhere we can go where he will not be there with us.  Looking over these encouraging words I was inspired to write a prayer I feel Joshua would say in the face of his circumstances. This prayer is something I desire to say in my own life, an act of surrender and recognition of how powerful God is. Maybe you need to remind yourself of these things as well. I think it should go something like this :

“Lord, I can’t be strong or courageous on my own. I can’t help but be frightened or dismayed by all that has happened recently. But you’ve promised you would be with me before. And you promised that you are with me now, and will still be with me no matter where I go or how old I get. Knowing that is the only way I could ever be strong and courageous when faced with what’s before me. Lord, I can’t lead these people. But you can, because their your people. I can’t take care of the land; but you can, because you’ve made it and chosen to give it to your people. I can’t give these people food, but you can, because you’re the great Provider. You’ve done it in the past and you’re just a capable now. I can’t win a war, but you can, because you’ll fight for your people. Lord, I can’t be strong, but you are. I can’t be courageous, but you can. Whatever you want to do with what I have to offer, take it. You’ve reminded me that I can’t do anything without you. I can’t be strong. I can’t be courageous. I can’t lead people. I can’t provide. But you can. And not through anything that I have done, but all because of what you have done and will continue to do. Trust casts out all fear. Where there is perfect love, there is perfect trust. So lead on Lord. Take everything I have and use it for your glory. Let them see your power and your might. Let everyone be utterly astounded by how great you are.”

If we would only take action instead of questioning God and letting our minds fill with doubts about our own abilities. They are justified doubts if we were required to do everything on our own; but we’re not. God will never call you to do or face something that you are improperly equipped for. He knows you better than you know yourself; and he also knows himself. He is stronger than we are, but so often we try to carry our burdens alone. He is wiser than we are, but we so often use feeble logic and reasoning to solve our problems. He is more courageous than we are, but, again, we look at our own small ounce of courage and maybe try to take a leap of faith. But we find our courage depleting fast, to the point where we have nearly none at all, and the leap is more like a wobble from one foot to the other in the wrong direction. Leadership isn’t about us being strong and courageous in the face of trouble. It’s about trusting him with our whole heart and letting him do the rest. And sometimes, the strength and courage come in when we take a leap of faith, not trusting our on footing, but expecting a free-fall before being caught in the arms of the Almighty God. “Be strong and courageous” is all about trusting him and letting him do the rest. And leadership requires much more of that than any skills we have we have to offer.

Categories: Bible, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments
 
 

Behind the Name

With the one year anniversary of this blog only yesterday, I thought it would be appropriate to give some background about why I started this blog and what the name “Not So Supergirl” has come to mean.

On WordPress, unless you pay money, it seems almost every blog URL you could think of is already taken.  I didn’t want to use my name and I did want it to make it sound exciting- something that sparked people to want to read. I was becoming desperate after a few days of trying (unsuccessfully) to think of a blog title that wasn’t already taken. My mind began to wander and I thought of blogs that already existed. Not So Wonder Woman certainly sounded nice- but obviously that wasn’t the right choice for a blog by a teen girl. And thinking in that same mindset, I came up with Not So Supergirl. After milling it over in my head for a day, it began to sound better and better. But what did it really mean to me? Looking back, when I first started, it didn’t mean much at all. It just sounded like a good blog title. God was working in my heart and in my mind, and because it was his blog, his plan for the name meant much more than how it looked on a computer screen. After about 3 months into blogging, I figured that I should explain the title. But what was there to explain? And that’s when it hit me. There was much to explain.

Ever since the 8th grade when we made our own personal websites for class to share our writing, I knew that blogging was the perfect ministry opportunity. We were required on our website to tell something about us, and what better way to talk about me than to talk about Jesus. My friends said the testimony I wrote for my website was deep. I thought it was shallow. It wasn’t much more than stating the Great Commission and telling people that they needed Jesus in their lives. After 8th grade was over, I still visited my website the summer before my teacher had to take them down so another class could make their websites. Even though no one was ever on those pages again, I started my own miniature blog at the bottom on the page after all my writings. When the websites were taken down, there was great remorse on my part. I loved being able to share my thoughts with the world and, in a greater capacity, Jesus with the world.

There was a desire in the back of my mind to have a website again. At first I planned to have a blog that I posted my writings on. Things like my poetry, book reviews, and short stories. And to share it with my mom so she could write too. She never found a great host for that kind of website and didn’t have the time to set the whole thing up. I decided to look on my own. I then found the “themes” page for WordPress. It took away a lot of the effort in designing the website, it was free, and had some sort of protection to keep people from stealing the things you write. I brought the proposition to my mom who told me she’d think about it, but really, she had to, because I asked her almost everyday what her decision was. It was during this time that my whole ambition for the website had changed and I knew that this blog, if given the permission to began it, would become my world-wide platform for my Savior.  I was going to write about my faith in him and use it to encourage and challenge others.

“Not So Supergirl” is a subtle rebellion against the way of the world and a surrender of everything to Jesus. Super Girl is the ideal girl: blond, skinny, powerful, she’s everything a girl would want to be right? You save the world and have tons of admirers. And that’s where my rebellion comes in. I’m not Supergirl, I never will be. I never want to be. She represents false ideas of beauty, and enforces the standards that the world tries to place. Standards that I’m determined not to live by or follow. Why? Because they aren’t realistic and they are not the measure of beauty or power. Beauty fades, as stated in Proverbs 31: 30

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

And “beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes; rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4.

“And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.”1 Timothy 2:9 (MSG).

That is the measure of true beauty. Godly beauty. The kind that never fades and never dies, the kind that is remembered and holds more power than unnatural abilities. Which leads me to the point that Not So Supergirl is a surrender. I don’t have it all together. I don’t have supernatural abilities. I’m just ordinary. And because I am, that means God has the freedom to show himself through me. It happens when I give up myself and everything I think I can do, and place it in his hands so that he has the ability to make the Not So Supergirl something special after all. Something with his purpose and someone who is used to bring glory and honor to him. He’s the superhero. I’m that one girl who needs saving. And frankly, when you’re not a superhero, there aren’t as many people that you have to keep from discovering who you really are.

Categories: beauty, christianity, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Happy Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s already been ONE YEAR since I started this blog. It just doesn’t seem real. God has used this in amazing ways, but it was his blog in the first place, I was merely writing what he told me. So in honor of Not So Supergirl, I have compiled a list of the stats. And drum roll please….

Number of Hits: 1, 445

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 142 views

My Future Husband– 86 views

Speechless– 76 views

Number of Followers: 22

Number of Comments: 42

Number of Posts: 18

I have to say, I think that’s pretty good. Okay… more than good. When I look at all the stats I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been nearly 40 counties represented in the views, not including the USA. To my readers, thanks for sticking around this long. I haven’t always been the best at posting regularly- even though my intentions were good. After a while the “new blog” excitement wears thin and you realize you need to keep writing, even when you don’t always feel like it. Not just for people to read, but to keep your own faith where it needs to be; to come to God and sit down for a while and let him speak to you, even when your not feeling it.  I know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog and God is going to keep doing wonderful things through it, and I hope you guys still decide this stuff is worth reading. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You give me so much inspiration and I’m positive it will never run out. That’s just what I love about you, the more I think I know about you, the less I really do. This blog (not to mention me) wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, words | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

20 Things To Be Thankful For

In light of how blessed I truly am, 20 isn’t many things to list. Yet, it can seem so hard to think of things. That, my friends, is pitiful. I once heard someone say: “What if the things you didn’t thank God for today, were gone tomorrow?” If it were me, unless it was the day after thanksgiving, I wouldn’t have much of anything. We take so many things for granted. And so, without further ado, I present a mere 20 things I’m deeply thankful for:

1. Jesus- For dying on the cross to save me, for overcoming sin and death, for his forgiveness and everlasting love that he gives even when I don’t deserve it, for guiding me through the things I don’t understand, and….well, for everything else that comes after this, because it wouldn’t exist without him.

2. Family- For raising me in a Godly home and having parents who love and provide for me, and  little sister (who can be annoying at times) but encourages me and inspires me with her love for Jesus and her incredible talents.

3. Friends- for making my days brighter, for making me laugh, for always being there for me, though my good days and my bad ones, and for keeping my faith in Christ strong through encouragement and accountability or because of opposition.

4. Teachers- For blessing me with their knowledge and pouring information about the world into my life. They’ve shown me how little I know, and how much I can learn. They have allowed God to increase my knowledge of things incomprehensible to human nature though things I can comprehend.

5. Words- For giving us ways to express emotion, and create surges of emotion in one another. They’ve given life and caused death, but set us free with the truth daily. They can bring hope and peace about, and help people find common ground.

6. Voices- For ways to sing, and ways to show others how much we care. Because they demand a response or leave us speechless when accompanying words and give the words a bodily form that allows us not only to hear, but receive and believe what they tell of.  I love that they can inspire, guide and lead, be comforting, passionate, or mournful, all at the same time.

7. Clothes- For an entire closet full of clothes. With different outfits to actually choose from, and for an abundance of them- given to me, so that I can give them to others when they are in need.

8. Music- For a way to express myself and become excellent at making something beautiful out of an array of shapes and sounds. For a way to share the gospel that makes people listen and a way to simplify the gospel so people can understand. For moving me to my knees in worship and into action afterwards. For giving me a way to tell my creator- the most talented musician of all, how much I love him and appreciate everything he has done for me.

9. Books- For drawing you into a new world of endless possibilities, and for teaching you things you never dreamed of knowing before.

10. Memory- For never letting you forget things that others do. For capturing sweet memories of the past, for making life seem so much more beautiful, for nostalgic thoughts that reminds you of how good things were and how good things still are today, and for allowing endless storage of knowledge.

11. Time- For time to ” be born and to die, to plant and to uproot, to kill and to heal, to tear down and to build, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance, to scatter stones and to gather them, to embrace and to refrain from embracing, to search and to give up, to keep and to throw away, to tear and to mend, to be silent and to speak, to love and to hate, and a time for war and for peace.” [Ecclesiastes 3:2-8]

12. True Love-  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]                 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” [1 Corinthians 13: 4-8]                   [Psalms 136].

13. Bible- For giving me direction, for reminding me that God is in control, for stories that show me how me how to live my life, for something to base Apologetics on, for it’s detailed historical records, for true stories about Jesus that make me love him even more.

14. Food- As Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a, once said: “Food is essential to life, therefore; make it good.” And boy, do I love me some good food. Especially on Thanksgiving.

15. Letters- the ones you write to your pen-pals, because they encourage you and give you a reason to send things via snail-mail and wait for a long time to receive a piece of what’s going on in their lives.

16.  Hands- For allowing me to touch and feel and to create words, pictures, art, food, music, and so many other other things.

17. Eyesight- For letting me see all the beauty in the world and noticing the little things in life. For allowing me to see the vibrant colors splashed over everything and worship God because of it. It leaves me in awe daily. For letting me see to play my instruments and write things. For allowing me to draw (even though I’m atrocious at it) and paint (bad at that too), and read my Bible and other books.

18. Coffee- I had to include this somewhere. With a coffee snob as a father (he roasts, grinds, and brews fresh international coffee every morning) I love my coffee; it’s required.

19. Technology- For air conditioning in South Georgia (can I get an amen to that), for computers that allowed me to create this blog. For spreading news faster and making life easier, for keeping people safer and more comfortable. For allowing the gospel and the Bible to be translated into many different languages so everyone can hear about Jesus and everything he has done.

20. And last but not least, My BCM College Students- For encouraging me in my faith, for helping me grow spiritually, for making me laugh, for being people I can confide in and trust. Thanks for playing games (such as hit the college student with a pool noodle) with an eight year old who was new around here, to singing songs in harmony with a 15 year old who could have never made it though the move without ya’ll. Thanks for being reliable and making our family’s job easier (especially my dad’s…some of the time). I couldn’t be more happy serving anyone one else. You have changed my life in ways I can’t describe, and a simple “thank you” doesn’t do enough justice. I love every one of you and am looking forward to how God is going to use you in the future- because he will- and he’ll rock this world with his power and his love in the things he does through you. Keep growing in Christ and inspiring more people like you’ve inspired me. Love you guys!

Categories: God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, students, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

People Pleasing: Leading Well (Part 3)

1 Samuel 15:24

                      “Saul gave in and confessed…“I’ve sinned. I’ve trampled roughshod over                                                           God’s Word and your instructions. I cared more about pleasing the people.                                      I let them tell me what to do.”

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People are very influential beings, and often very selfish. They think about what  they want, when they want it, and they use people in order to get it. Words can be as sharp as a double edge sword or as smooth as butter, leading people to their downfall. God placed kings to be examples of good leaders, designed to bring peace and prosperity their domain, if they sought after what the Lord would have them to do, and stayed in that will. He also placed certain kings to be examples of discipline and downfall, to show what would happen to the people if they strayed from him, to let them know how helpless and purely mortal they were. Riches and stone towers cannot protect people from everything. Even kings were ruined, sometimes inside their lavish homes. Some kings were evil and caused the people pain, but the people brought it upon themselves because they wanted a king, and were not content with God’s power and leading alone. Saul was the first king, made king because of this desire of the people.

This verse was written after he had blown his last chance at being a God-fearing king. He has heard the news that he is to be replaced, and that the Spirit of God would no longer dwell in him. God was tired of having the being in which he dwelled, consistently pursuing the wrong things. So, God said, “Enough”. It was that “last straw” that got my attention. It was his confession that got me thinking. His last chance at proving himself a godly king ended because he tried too hard to please people, and not hard enough to please God. Many times, the downfall of a leader is another person, or in this case more than one person. When we try to please them, instead of pleasing God, it creates problems. Our focus comes off of what God’s will is for something and onto what will make the most people happy. Often times, the things God calls us to do don’t make very many people happy, but that is where it becomes important to choose him over popular opinion.

I’m a people pleaser. I love people. I want them to like me. If they don’t, I think there is something wrong with me personally. I don’t stop to think that maybe they are the ones who need to do something different, instead, I try to change myself. Now, that doesn’t mean I go off and become someone I’m not, but I take their opinion of me personally, when their opinions aren’t personal to me at all.  It’s hard to be task oriented when you focus too much on the people involved. It’s hard to be people oriented  when you focus too much on the task at hand. There has to be a balance. Because if there is no balance, either nothing gets done or people get their feelings hurt, and sometimes, some of both.  Saul in this verse, not only paid too much attention to pleasing a crowd, but he got so caught up in pleasing the crowd, that he went in the wrong direction completely. God was angry because he specifically asked Saul to do an important task and Saul said “no”.  So God said “no” to his being king any longer. Leaders are entrusted with an important task, and straying from that task in order to please others is just as bad as saying “no” to the face of a holy God. There is no respect, no fear, where there rightfully should be, and God’s command isn’t something we need to rebel against like an immature teenager. At the very end of the chapter, 1 Samuel 15: 35, reads “…God was sorry he ever made Saul king in the first place.” I would hate to have God be sorry that he ever entrusted me with a task as great as the one he has given me.

We are not defined by what people think of us, we are defined, and always should be defined, by what God thinks of us, because his opinion matters so much more than any other person on this planet. “Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” 1 Timothy 2:8-10.  We are not here to please ourselves or to please others, but solely for the glorification of our God and one true King. Leading well requires us to forget about pleasing people, and instead make it our aim to please God in everything we do.

Categories: christianity, Faith, Kings, leadership, people, perfection, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Do I Trust You? (Jesus pt. 82)

I read this post this morning and thought about how many of us need to hear this and ask God this question. There is something in this post that strikes a chord in each one of us, some area of our life that we need to let go of to let God take control. This post challenged me and I hope it challenges you.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments
 
 

The Following: Leading Well (Part 2)

Proverbs 14:28 (MSG)

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.

**********************************************

This is the second lesson that God is teaching me regarding leadership. The verse really speaks for itself, you are not a good leader if you have no followers. It makes a lot of sense, you don’t to talk to people you don’t want to hear speak. You don’t hang out with people you don’t like. You don’t follow people who don’t lead well. Because this next year, everything will be new to me, I will see how many people follow me.

I will post things about Youth camp later this summer, but I wanted to shine a light on the commitment that I made to my youth group while I was there. Each night, we would have a worship session and then the speaker would stand up and give the message. That night, the message centered on this question, will you be able to walk across a graduation and have people say about you, I can follow her because he/she follows Christ. He/She constantly seeks after what God desires of him/her and I know that he/she is going to be on the right track, I know I can follow him/her because of their relationship and closeness with Christ.

My youth pastor posed this question, and what I heard was a call for leaders to rise up in the youth group. I stood. It is a big responsibility to have an entire youth group looking up to you and watching your actions to see if Christ is evident in your life, but for a while I could hear God calling me to do something more with my youth ministry. The teens in the youth group were being poured into, but it was hard to tell if they were pouring anything out. It was time to start a revolution, beginning with me, because I was willing to let God use me to change the church attitude both in myself and in others. I asked for accountability, because if I’m leading, not only do I need people following but people alongside me to point out things in my life and bluntly tell me; Mackenzie, if you carry this on any longer, you are going to be leading people into sin.

I’ve been gone for most of the summer, and I haven’t had a chance to notice if my commitment had produced any followers. I may not ever see the people who seek after Christ because my relationship with him changed them. I hope I will be able to look back across the graduation stage and look back at people who have followed me as I followed Christ and know that even as I step out into the real world, I will continue after what he asks of me with all I am, no matter the cost.

I want to be able to lead the people at my school this next year and the people in my youth group this summer and for the rest of my high school years, and if I notice that I have no followers, I know it’s time to back off and let someone else do the leading, while I follow.  With Christ at the center of everything I do, I want to lead people to walk in his ways, and get up people out of the pew and onto the road. If you always live your spiritual life in one place with no risks, you’ve never really lived at all. And besides, I need some followers. You can’t lead if no one is following.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, learning, life, people, purpose, School, students, summer, teens, Trust, Uncategorized, words, youth group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

I’ll Be With You: Leading Well (Part 1)

Exodus 3:9-18 (MSG)

9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”

15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.

16-17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.”’

18 “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship God—our God.

*********************************************************

For a long time, I’ve been behind the scenes working for Christ on campus. I’ve been there, I’ve led in my own subtle mannerisms, but never noticed a big group following behind me, or was ever entrusted with the care of their spiritual growth.  I prayed, was outgoing, witnessed, all of this leading in its own way, but never truly led. This next year, I have the chance to lead. From what I have heard, I am a very possible candidate for a leadership position with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. You have no idea how excited this has made me. I get my chance to lead people. People will look up to me and I’ll challenge them in their faith. More witnessing will happen and the school will be turned upside-down because of the call he has placed on my life. But I’ve never truly led.

The reality of this hit me one night and I was suddenly asking myself, “How is it possible that I could be leading others?” I wondered what I would say to get their attention. How I would say it? I planned out all the things I wanted to get done and everything that needed to be done. And I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought of leading actual people. Even more so, people my age and older than me. Of course the cute Christian girl praying at her Dad’s college meetings is enough to inspire a Christian college student, but not lead them. I’m not teaching Bible Stories to five-year-olds either. After moving, I hardly had any friends. In middle school, I integrated with the “outcasts” of middle school society and felt a whole new way to stand up for what I believe in , from a bunch of atheists who hated god, a bunch of skeptics who didn’t think he existed, and a bunch of hurting people who couldn’t accept a God who had never done anything for them and allowed them to feel pain. My faith dwindled and then grew as I was able to tell them what they needed and was able to stand apart from them, but allow a safe-haven for them even though I believed in something different.

I was still left out sometimes, most being of the popular Christians crowd.  As the two groups of us moved further away from each other, a fear began to grow inside of me that kept me from going back and finding Christian friends. It was a fear of rejection. We were only 3rd and 4th graders when we met. I didn’t know one person my 3rd grade year who had  felt what it was like to be new someplace and have no one to welcome you.

My story turned out for the better, I stepped outside my comfort zone and the haze of lies the Devil had fed me to keep me away from the people who might help to grow and encourage my faith the most. The Christian people like me. Of course, the giant gap remains between my group of lesser on the popularity chain to greater on the popularity chain. I feel like I can’t relate to  Christian people sometimes. These people have always had Christian friends, they always seemed to be accepted by everybody. I haven’t. So it was this that I came to that night. That I had a chance to lead the people I had been afraid of and bridge the gap between my group and theirs. Where do I begin? What do I say? They won’t listen to me! I’ve never led anyone before. Near tears, God spoke to me. He said “I’ll be with you, believe me, they will listen to you. I gave Moses the words didn’t I?” . I remembered this passage and read it over and was so overcome with joy.

That night he promised me that he would give me a full training in how to be a leader. I know it will make me better equipped and a better leader than any “how-to” book on the market or any year-long seminar. He’s the best leader there is. I love how he gets irritated with Moses. He says that he will be with him through everything, that he will give them the words and the victory, yet Moses doubts God. My favorite line is one I’ve said myself many times, ““But why me? What makes you think that I could ever _______________________?” And every time God answers me,  “I’ll be with you.” He’s with you too, whether it be leading an entire body of Christians or overcoming the initial shock of something extravagant he asks of you. He says,  “I’ll be with you” and proves it to be true every time.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, prayer, teens, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Completions and Complications

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog, and before you go off on me about not writing for a few months, hear me out. I have this class that was a little behind grade-wise in AP U.S. Government and Politics (most of you know where this is headed) but before you go thinking that I’ve failed the class, I want to clarify that we are talking about a perfectionist (me) who “failed”. In other words, I was making a B and my 4.0 average began to slip down the drain. I’m not bitter that I was temporarily grounded from my blog, because I felt the same. Taking an AP class consumes a lot of your time, and like the usual me, I couldn’t get my priorities straight, and so my parents straightened them out for me. You have no idea how glad I am to be back and how glad I am to be able to write about the pieces of my life you missed this past month, and also about all the experiences I will have this summer. It’s going to be epic, just saying.

I titled this “Completions and Complications” because it sums up life for me right now, pretty well. As I have had the chance to read other’s blogs and let them pour into my life, I realized that I enjoy reading blog posts where people are real. Not the fake “I’m doing fine” not the teaching of what they learned about Jesus this past week, but when they sat down and said, look, my life is a mess. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It’s hard for me to write this. It’s deeply painful to sum up what’s going on right now, but healing can be painful and I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to. It inspires me. Because I never for one moment think; “wow, they don’t have it all together” or “their faith must be really weak because they can’t trust him with this”, instead I think, “I want faith like that”. It takes a lot of confidence to put out the things you are struggling with at this season in your life. You suddenly become more vulnerable than you’ve ever been, and it’s scary. Like stepping out on a limb that you’re not sure will hold you up. I’ve made the decision to write like that. I’m stressed. I’m worn out. I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It may be hard for me to write like that. It may be deeply painful. But healing can be painful and I’m going to I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to.

The school year has ended and I cannot believe how many close friends I have made just in this school-year alone. This summer will be difficult to begin, I’m going to miss those dear friends so much, and they will always have a place in my heart. I’m finally beginning feel that I have accomplished something. I still have so much that I have to learn, and so many things that God has to pull out of my life. Just as the school-year ended, he put a pin-point on a fear I had lived with for a long time, and I was able to begin to overcome it. As this summer begins, expect to see shorter posts with more content, for as many days as possible. Thanks for coming on the journey this far, in June my blog will be 6 months old.

Categories: AP Civcs, Change, christianity, communication, converstions, failure, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, prayer, reality, relationships, School, speech, stress, summer, teens, Uncategorized, vacations, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Spilled Milk

Many of you know the phrase “it’s no use crying over spilled milk”. I have heard that a lot at the breakfast table when my sister or I, knocked over a glass of milk after just waking up. When something is spilled, I’ve noticed people have one of two reactions. One, they jump into ninja mode and pick it up so it doesn’t spill anymore. Two, they watch in horror as if they can’t believe they’ve just knocked over a glass of milk. Knocking over a glass of milk usually isn’t intended, something like that isn’t in your plans for today. There are things you just can’t plan for, things that are painful at the time but are really for the best. God ruins plans. If you want to make God laugh, make plans. When something doesn’t line up with what he wants, you can forget about it. It’s not easy to accept spilled milk. It’s not easy to cope with ruined plans. So people have one of two reactions.

People like me see their plans about to be ruined and they jump into action. Sometimes jumping into action can mean pleading or making bargains with God. “Pretty please, with a cherry on top?” Or the classic: “If you just do this for me, I promise to read the Bible more, pray more (etc.)”. As if you actually have something to trade with God. Or you think because you want something for yourself, God wants it for you. I know I can’t see into the future. I don’t know how bad things would end up 20 years in the future if I did it on my own. He knows. His reasons for ruining plans are to bring him glory and honor, to let you prosper, not to harm you.

Sometimes jumping into action can mean attempting to fix the issue on my own. When I see something falling apart, I began to feel like God really didn’t know what he was doing after all. I think that in my vast knowledge of the world and everything in it, I am the only one who can fix something I’ve screwed up. I push others away; I push God away. I believe I have it all together. Until the pressure builds up to such an intensity inside me; the lies I’ve believed of myself shatter, and I’m left with a bigger problem than I started out with. It’s like trying to wipe up milk off the table, and to your utter dismay, the entire table collapses.

The more comical reaction to spilled milk is to stare in horror. As if you can’t believe you’ve just knocked over a glass of milk, or you can’t believe the things you planned didn’t work out. You just stare. The second part of that isn’t as funny; you then start blaming God. “God, why did you let this happen?” “God, where are you?” “God, you’re supposed to be good!” “God, don’t you care?” “God, I don’t understand” “God, why me?” “God, it’s your fault.” God knows what he’s doing. God has always been there. God has always been speaking to you; maybe you’re just not listening to the right things. God is good. He is incapable of being anything else. Even when our world falls apart and things get broken, he is still good. God cares. He doesn’t want to see his children struggle, but as children, sometimes the only way to get our full attention is to knock us flat on our backs, until we have nowhere else to look but up at him. Other times, he needs to teach us things. Still other times, he wants to test us and see if we will still be faithful to him through hard things that don’t seem to have an end. But it’s only a valley. And there is an entrance and an exit to every valley, no matter how dark. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts; his ways are higher than our ways. We can’t comprehend him even in our wildest dreams, much less his plans for our lives. God knows why you may be going through what you’re going through. It could be to encourage someone else along the way. It could be to teach them. It could be to grow your relationship, you trust, and your love for him even more. But ultimately, God will show you why you are going through what you are. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week, and it even could be 10 years from now. I am just as guilty of this as I am of trying to fix it on my own.

This weekend, I went on a retreat to Panama City Beach, FL, and had the privilege to listen to one of the godliest women speak to me (lone high schooler) and the other college students who attended the retreat. If you want to check out her blog, it’s www.deannadavis.wordpress.com. She spoke about hearing God in the midst of distractions, and paying attention to what you’re paying attention to. She also talked about inner world things and outer world things. Your inner world is the dark, scary place you hide all your emotions and everything else you don’t want people to be able to see. Your outer world is the place where everyone sees, the one you can polish up and paste a smile on and no one can tell the difference. I took away lots of deep spiritual truths from this weekend, but the most important was the fact that Jesus wants my inner world. He wants to see the things I let nobody else see, possibly even myself. The inner world is like a monster under the bed. It scares you until you shine a light on it and see it for what it really is. When something goes wrong, I can take my emotions and store them in my inner world “for another time”. When milk gets spilled, I try to fix it myself; and all the issues and the emotions I’ve tucked inside my inner world come pouring out and I can’t stop them. While the first instinct is to shove them back in and hope nobody saw that, this weekend taught me that where there is emotion, there is an issue. And where there is an issue, there is an inner world to be healed. And where there is an inner world to be healed, Jesus is waiting for me to let him in and allow him to clean up the mess for me.

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Beauty in Exile

Here is a little short story I wrote for Easter Sunday. Enjoy!

As far as I was concerned, I was worth nothing. I had rags for a dress, soiled hands and a dirty face. I was an outcast of society; I deserved nothing but to be spit upon by a crowd of mockers. I was an orphan, without family or home. I had no name. I was exiled from the Kingdom, as ransom for a fault of my ancestors, many years before. They soiled the honor of our King. I suffered under the weight of their fault.

A prince sat in his castle window, staring out at the barren land where the outskirts of his father’s kingdom lay. It was dry, where the exiles lived. The exiles who soiled the honor of his father, exiles with rags for clothes and soiled hands and dirty faces; a people who knew no love, no home. His heart ached for them.

I worked hard with little pay and the only satisfaction I got was the hope of death, which was never a comfort. My freedom held me captive, all day long. I knew I was free to roam, but inside, I yearned for something more fulfilling. I needed to know my life had a purpose. I needed to feel loved. I shoved my thoughts out of the way, and toiled on. My search for water was unending.

The prince sat at the King’s table, feasting on the finest food. The king stood. “My son,” he said, “have you not longed to see what I have despised?” “Therefore, I send you out unto the exiles to live among them, to see what they face.” “Bring them back to me, and I shall make them my children, they shall be loved.” The prince, nodded solemnly, knowing this would be his last feast at his father’s table for a long time. His father continued, speaking softly “but you know they cannot be accepted without a price”. The prince stood, wiped away a tear and said, “It will be done.”

I watched the cloud of dust come closer, the only thing it could mean was a new arrival. The person who came stumbling down the road was not eye-catching, but there was something about him. When he looked me in the eye, I saw no scorn, no mockery, nothing I had been used to receiving from travelers. When he spoke, there seemed to be great authority, and his next words shocked me. “I am an exile.” “I came from my father’s kingdom to live here for a year and bring you back to him after your ransom has been paid.” I laughed at such ignorance, but lead him around and showed him the life I lived in this dust bowl, a life without water, a life that seemed to mean nothing. Through the months, his phrase echoed through the walls of my mind. “…To bring you back to him after your ransom has been paid.”

The prince lived among the exiles, and experienced the heartache of the people. He felt their sorrow, a stabbing pain in his heart. He healed the sick, and they listened to stories of life in the castle, although they never believed them. But the days were drawing close when their ransom had to be paid. They would know the joy of love and family; he would feel the weight of their burdensome faults. A pack of thieves galloped down the road; he bowed his head and prayed before leaping into action.

We never had thieves. There was nothing to steal, and yet there they were before us, holding us hostage. The prince came out of the cloud of dust, his face set in a firm line, holding out a ring with the king’s coat of arms. “I know what you’re after”, he said, “Let them go.” The thieves dropped us to the ground and sprinted to the prince. I could only watch as a cloud of dust arose and the prince’s cries were heard above the noise. I turned my head; I couldn’t bear to watch it unfold. The others around me laughed and jeered, ugly people enjoying the spectacle of pain they never saw the prince go through before now.

The thieves, after finishing their work, left off into the sunset, while the prince lay motionless on the ground. The others around me wandered off. I ran to him. I watched, in awe as the river of blood flowing from his veins took form, creating a beautiful red dress. The prince stirred, and said in a hoarse voice, “take it, put it on, and walk back into my father’s kingdom, there you will be accepted, and there you will find rest and love.” I took his hand, and he died. The ground shook and the sky turned black. I put on the red dress and started my three-day journey back to the kingdom, carrying the dreadful news to the King- that his son was dead.

The third day, my heart felt lighter, as if the weight I had been under for so long was now gone. I looked at my red dress; it was a brilliant white as I climbed up the steps to the King’s palace. They received me inside, although I had made no appointment. I walked the narrow hallways to the throne room, my heart pounding furiously. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror; no longer was I ugly, I wasn’t dressed in filthy rags, now I was stunning, the white dress reflecting off the walls.

A voice from inside the throne room called me in, and I walked into the brilliant light. There, my King stood tall and welcomed me to his table, and said I was his child. I opened my mouth to tell of how undeserving I was, when I saw my prince. He stood and spoke for me. He told of the wonderful things I had done for him while in exile. His father nodded. I was lead to the table, and knew that I was loved. I was lead to His table; and I knew I was home.

Categories: beauty, Change, christianity, encouragement, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, identity, Jesus, life, listening, looks, love, Moving, people, perfection, prayer, purpose, reality, relationships, selfishness, words | Leave a comment
 
 

Work in Progress

I’ve had people ask me a lot of challenging questions this week. I’ve gone through many faith-challenging things these last few weeks. I found that through my walk with Christ, I’m able to give things to God more easily. When something comes up that I feel like I don’t know how to handle, I’ve learned to give it to God. It’s still a work in progress. That phrase, “a work in progress”, describes me well. My tennis skills: a work in progress. My gym class tolerance: a work in progress. My faith: a work in progress. Mackenzie: a work in progress. There are many things I need to work on, and many things God needs to work out of me.

I find that people often say “be strong” when you’re faced with hard circumstances, but I’ve found God tells me just the opposite. He tells me that through my weaknesses, he is made strong. Basically, he says “be weak.” When you become weak, you become flexible to God’s schedule as opposed to your own. You’re giving him control, letting him turn something into a masterpiece, instead of trying to make it on your own, without even knowing how. You’re trying to make something perfect out of nothing. Have you ever done pottery before? Imagine an instructor sitting a ball of clay before you and saying, make a flawless teapot. I don’t want to see any cracks, and make sure all the air bubbles our out and make sure you use the spiral method. Oh, and don’t forget to wedge and knead the clay before you hollow it out, also score and slip the pot before adding the handle. Unless you really know how to make pottery, you might be a little lost.

I’ll explain. If there are cracks in the clay you are molding with, it will be hard to shape and falls apart easily. If there are air bubbles in the clay when you fire it in the kiln, your masterpiece will explode. The spiral method of making pottery is difficult and it usually comes out lopsided if the clay “snake” is not rolled out evenly. You wedge and knead clay to get all the air bubbles out so it doesn’t explode in the kiln. You must also hollow out the inside of your pot because you couldn’t use it if you didn’t and also because there is a great chance there are air bubbles in that clay and it will explode in the kiln if you do not knead them out. You score and slip pieces of clay that you want to attach together, because they would not stick otherwise. Slip is a mixture of clay and water that acts as a glue for pieces of pottery. Scoring refers to the process of roughing up the surface area of the two objects that you want to attach, where you want to attach them; scoring is like making scratch marks in the clay with a utensil such as a plastic fork before slipping it and attaching it. If you do something wrong, your masterpiece will either fall apart or explode when you try to complete it.

I wonder how many of us, would have known exactly what to do, without being told any of that information. How many of us could have made perfect, flawless teapots? And yet we treat our lives like a piece of pottery that we know exactly how to mold, which is the biggest lie. Does a pot know how to mold itself? So for God to accomplish his purpose in us, we must first become weak and willing. We are all works in progress. None of us are perfect. I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I look at people who don’t seem to have any problems in their life and wish I were them. Comparing myself to a broken, useless person who God has fixed, isn’t perfection. It’s a broken useless person who God has fixed and given a purpose to. I’ve misunderstood and undoubtedly misplaced perfection. We have God’s full attention. He is intent on making us into something wonderful. We never take the time to notice that our creator is perfect. We never take the time to compare our own lives to his. We are too caught up in comparing ourselves to “perfect” people. Like I said, I’m a work in progress, and only when I become weak, can God turn me into something breath-taking.

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 (MSG)

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle.

Categories: beauty, Bible, clay, clay pot, comparision, Corinthians, creations, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, perfection, potter, pottery, purpose, relationships, Self-esteem, Thoughts, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The past few weeks have been a challenge and I was tempted to write a blog post about it. But finding out where to begin was hard, and I feel like I’ve posted enough posts about the sadness in my life. Optimistic and cheerful are two words describing me in the dictionary and I want to keep up the image. This blog is to encourage others in their faith, not to tell them my life story. So while I was worrying about what to do, a song came on my iPod.

“Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life, we have some trouble
When you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……”

I love this song. If you’re having a bad day, this song is perfect. Spiritually this song has great value as well… but not as much as this verse:

Philippians 4:6-7(MSG)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

I hope today has been blessed, and don’t worry…don’t do it. Be Happy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Categories: Bible, christianity, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, happiness, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, Moving, people, prayer, reality, speech, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, words, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Learning to Listen

I’m a chatterbox. There is the plain truth in black and white. If someone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them. They will hear much more about my life than they ever wanted to. It’s comical really. But I also have a tendency to be a chatterbox to God. I talk and talk and talk about my problems. Why this, why that, I wonder about this, I wonder about that, on and on and on. It’s good to pray. It’s good to talk. But sometimes all the talking drowns out what the other person is trying to say and you miss something important. When my mouth isn’t moving, there is something wrong with me physically. When my heart is talking, there is something wrong with me spiritually.

Why is there something wrong with me spiritually? It’s because I’ve completely ignored what God is trying to tell me. I’ve interrupted and kept talking. “Be still, and know that I am God.” For me, God is trying to tell me in that verse to stop being such a chatterbox and just quiet down and listen. He is God! He holds the entire world and my problems are nothing compared to him. One of the first steps toward having gentle and quiet spirit is to be quiet. Many of my friends are quiet people. That leaves me to do most of the talking. But when me and another friend both like to talk, it creates serious communication issues. You try to talk at the same time and all the words are jumbled together. When you tried to say “my fish is sick” and they tried to say, “I bought some tuna” you wind up with something like “my tuna fish is some stick”; not at all what you were trying to get across. It’s the same thing with God, though with a not nearly as funny outcome.

When you talk so much you can’t hear God, your almost saying “what I have to say is so much more important that what you have to say, therefore you must listen to me before I’ll hear anything from you.” It’s a detrimental spiritual disease called selfishness. It grows in your soul and has to be weeded out by a professional gardener; otherwise, it spreads and you think you are entitled to everything because the world revolves around you and what you want. This is what I’ve done when I needed to listen to God. Because I don’t, I wind up completely and utterly confused and lost. Because I don’t focus on his directions, I lose sight of the way he wants me to walk. Being quiet takes practice; it takes vigorous spiritual exercise to listen. When all you want to do is tell God about your problems, you forget that he is trying to tell you how to fix them. Spiritual chatterboxes don’t make strong Christians; they make confused Christians who have a selfish slant to their lives.

Praying is a wonderful thing. But prayer is a conversation, not a journal you’re keeping. With prayer, you talk to be heard and you talk to be answered. Spiritual talking is almost like a cheat prayer. You just talk to talk and whether anyone responds isn’t your concern. Each trial we face in our lives, is for us to learn from, whether we want to learn or not. The trials build up our faith and the more you learn from it, the stronger you faith becomes. But how much you learn depends on how much you listen.

Categories: Bible, Change, chatterbox, christianity, communication, converstions, encouragement, Faith, garden, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Journals, learning, life, listening, love, people, prayer, reality, relationships, selfishness, speech, Thoughts, Trust, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

My Future Husband

While Valentine’s Day and New Years are very much different, I have resolutions to be the best fiancee. I read at least five verses in Proverbs about not being a nagging spouse. About how living with a nagging spouse is worse than listening to a leaky faucet and how it would be better to live in a cabin alone than to live with a nagging spouse in a mansion. Ouch. While I’m not married yet, I have the best future husband ever! This is the long post where I tell you all about him. But really, it’s too short to began to describe how awesome he is.

He asked me to marry him when I was six years old. And, of course, I said yes. We then began growing our relationship even more and began planning our wedding. He told me about a place he knew where we would have our wedding. It sounded so beautiful, I couldn’t help but agree. I almost didn’t believe him, except for the fact that he never lies to me.

I met his dad, and absolutely loved him. He remains just like a father to me and I usually tell him all about my problems. Did you know he is both a counselor and a doctor? His dad is a pretty good teacher as well, so my future husband has the gift in his genes. His dad lives in the place where we will have our wedding. I told him, “It must be so wonderful because you live there.” He most definitely agreed with me.

My future husband writes me letters all the time. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the time to read them, but his dad told me that you make time for what is most important in your life. It made me feel guilty about the things I hadn’t read yet. My future husband never forgets to tell me how much he loves me and how he thinks I am the most beautiful girl in all the universe. He writes me songs and sings them to me and makes sure that I always feel loved. He shows me where I am wrong and tells me gently how to fix it. Sometimes, I let him be the handy man and fix it for me. There are some things that are beyond what I can do to repair.

He tells me not to be a nagging wife and trust him always because he knows best. That’s hard. My future husband doesn’t want me to drive the car, he wants to drive it for me so he knows that I am safe under his watch. He hugs me when things go wrong so I know I am safe in his arms. He tells me to dream big, because his dad can do anything, but not to dream so big that I lose sight of what really matters. Because it’s more important to have a bunch of people move to where his dad lives and see the wedding, than it is to make a big show of how many decorations we will have.

My future husband loves me so much that he moved away from his dad to come and ask me to marry him. At first his dad wouldn’t allow it, but my future husband gave me a red dress to wear while I’m around his dad, and now his dad has forgotten all the bad things that I did to soil his honor. But that red dress cost a fortune. My future husband had to pay a lot to give that dress away. It cost his life. He loved me enough to do something like that. I didn’t think I was worth it. But he told me that I was chosen, and no one can take me away from him, because I belonged to him and him alone.

My future husband moved back to where his dad lived . But he never forgot me and still writes me letters. Sometimes, I forget about him and the price he paid to have me. I find exciting things that live around me and I forget about my future husband. They become more important to me than my future husband. And my future husband gets mad, well… not mad, jealous. They never paid as much for me as he did, and he tells me that. We go to marriage counseling with his dad and I tell my future husband how sorry I am. I broke the contract we had, I shrugged off that red dress like it was nothing. I never expected to be forgiven. But I was.

My future husband loves me in spite of what I’ve done. He tells me that he still loves me and always will. He says I’m beautiful. My future husband never gave me a diamond ring. My eternal valentine never gave me a box of chocolates, a necklace, or a rose for Valentine’s Day. He gave me him, and that’s all I will ever need.

My future husband and I are getting married when I move up to heaven and all the wedding guests have arrived. They’ll ring the bells and the service will start. The best food will be served and we’ll all be praising him and his dad. My future husband’ s name is Jesus and we hope you’ll come to our wedding. My future husband… he’s awesome.

Categories: beauty, Bible, christianity, Church, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, looks, love, Moving, people, prayer, purpose, reality, relationships, teens, Thoughts, Trust, Valentine's Day, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Speechless

I’m not often speechless… or wordless. Words are so natural for my person; most everything I’m good at has something to do with words. Being speechless is not something I like. Having the right words to say at the right time is something I find confidence in, something that I can lean back onto when most other people don’t know what to say. Very few things have left me speechless. I was left without words again this week; at a time when I counted on them to get me through a conversation.

I was shocked into reality by a truth this week. My imaginative, optimistic self doesn’t like to come into agreement with reality sometimes. It would much rather stay where it’s comfortable off in la-la land somewhere prancing happily around like nothing is ever wrong. But sometimes there’s no other way to come to agreement with reality without facing it head-on. This time, I didn’t have a choice whether to face it or not, I was forced to. God wanted me to see that some of the most perfect-seeming people are struggling, broken people just like I am; and I was shocked. Not that I think less of them because of it, not even that I don’t want to talk to them for a few days because of it. I was just shocked, speechless, wordless, while I processed that fact that my mental images had been shattered into a million pieces. That a person I thought I knew, I really didn’t know at all.

Not that it hurt me to sweep up the glass image; I needed the blunt truth shoved into my face in order to realize that God is doing something great with my life. Something so much bigger than myself and “Mackenzie’s World”. That I need to step out of myself sometimes and realize that people are hurting around me and I’m doing nothing more than staring blankly at their lives. Loving people for who they are, in spite of what they’ve done isn’t easy. I can only imagine how hard it is for God to look at my life and still love me in spite of some of some of the things I’ve done. I’ve broken his heart a thousand times, and he’s never left me. The thought of someone willingly dying for me is beyond crazy. Who would want to? It’s sad to think someone could love me that deeply and I brush him off as if finding that sort of love happens every day.

What am I supposed to say to a person who has gone through something I can hardly comprehend? I have to say something! But like before, I’m speechless. I’m wordless. No encouraging words will come. They all sound fake, like a person saying, “Don’t cry it’s going to be okay” when they’ve just lost their legs. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to say? “Everything is going to be all right”? It sounds fake. They’ve heard it a million times but hardly anyone knows what it’s like to be in their place. You’ve just spoken a bunch of empty words. People talking because they don’t know what to say when faced with that sort of thing. People talking because they don’t want to be left…speechless. It’s as if a giant elephant sat down in your lap and you have no idea what to do with it now that it’s there. It ruins a conversation.

This week, I need prayer. I need the right words to say when I’m speechless. I need to be encouraging when all I can think to do is slump in a chair and process the words. I need God to show me just how to trust him for words and not my brain. I’ll finish with a letter from Paul to Corinth.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (MSG)

We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.

Categories: Bible, christianity, Corinthians, elephants, encouragement, Faith, God, hearing, life, love, people, perfection, prayer, purpose, reality, relationships, shock, speech, Thoughts, Trust, Uncategorized, words | Tags: | 5 Comments
 
 

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing

To be honest, earwax isn’t the most pleasant thing. Unfortunately, I have gotten to know that really well. A few weeks ago, my ear was clogged up… and wouldn’t unclog. We went to the doctor and, what do you know, a big hunk of earwax was stopping me from hearing things correctly. During that time, I really stopped to think about my spiritual life. Is there anything clogging my spiritual ears from hearing God’s voice? What is the earwax that keeps me from doing what God has planned for me? For any of you who know, it can be kind of cool to hear your own voice after your ear gets stopped up, but eventually it just gets annoying. You try to remove with a Q-tip… nothing. You try all these different things because by now; it’s beyond annoying, it’s maddening.

I went to Disciple Now “D-Now”, a youth retreat at my church, last week. During the icebreaker, my fun fact was that I blogged. Since I said that, I was forced to blog about D-Now. But that’s not the only reason that I brought it up. It really was an awesome weekend that dealt with finding your identity. And as a teen, that can be difficult. You try to find it in so many different things other than God, and soon you’re entangled in a false identity, not at all what God wanted you to be. I will blog along those lines later. What I really struggled with this weekend, wasn’t finding my identity. I knew what my identity was, it was Christ, what I struggled with, was surrendering a few things.

I devoted the weekend to seeking after God’s plan for my life and not my own. I realized that sometimes, living fully for Christ could mean giving up things that you’ve held onto for a long time. Things like your biggest dreams, your firmest hopes, and your obsessions. I can name at least one that this theology struck really hard. I felt like it nearly killed me to give up control of it. I found out something though, once you make God the desire of your heart, things began to change… fast. So fast, it’s like you’re caught up in an amazing whirlwind of his love, his holiness, and his grace. I am completely and utterly in awe of him.

After the youth retreat, I got to talking with my youth pastor and he offered to let me teach a small-group of 6th grade girls this summer. To let you know, no youth lead the small groups, it’s all college students. Teach at church; become an even bolder person in the faith? No way, my life had been planned so drastically different. Last Sunday, my Sunday school teacher offered to have a student teach the class, I was dying to, but before I could say anything, my class members unanimously elected me via the “stare vote”. So I’m teaching now.

I believe it all came from one prayer. I advise you to use these words carefully as they always bring about change as soon as God knows you’re willing. I had been warned, but I honestly thought I could imagine up what God wanted me to do. Take me seriously on this, unless you really want something to happen in your life, which includes all of your dreams falling to pieces in light of God’s supreme plan, don’t pray this prayer.

The prayer: use me, bless me, do whatever you want with my life. I give you all my hopes, all my dreams; I want you to be my heart’s desire. I want to fall in love with you. Take all my plans, and turn them into whatever brings you glory. Here I am, send me.

I finally got the earwax cleaned out of my spiritual ears; and once I did, I heard God loud and clear. What are you waiting for? God wants to do amazing things in and through your life if you’ll just listen. Chances are; you have spiritual earwax. Clean the earwax out of your ears, and give him all your attention. He’s worth every second. And that earwax… toss it in the trash.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, Church, comparision, D-Now, earwax, Faith, finding your identity, God, hearing, identity, life, prayer, purpose, small groups, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, youth retreats | Tags: | 7 Comments
 
 

The Potter

Imagine that you sat at the potter’s wheel and made a clay pot. Okay, so it’s a little lopsided, but it’s your creation, its perfect and it reminds you of yourself. Now imagine that this specially created clay pot could talk. It couldn’t say much at first, it’s a pot, com’on. But through the years as you made other clay pots, it could talk. And this beautiful pot, this perfect clay pot, started comparing herself to all the other pots in the house. She said, “I want that pink pot shape, and I like that color blue better than my own. My rim is too big and I lean too far to the left. I don’t have that kind of voice and my height makes me feel self-conscious. I feel overlooked, like you care about all the other pots more than me. You have so many, why spend time admiring me? What makes me so special? Why was I even created? Is there a purpose for me? What am I going to be used for? Do you even know? Do you even care?”
If your pot said this, your perfect clay pot that you specially designed to remind you of yourself, that you mixed the perfect shade of blue for it, made sure it had the perfect shape; its rim was the perfect size. It leans just far enough to the left to make it look beautiful; it had the best voice you could offer. Its height was the perfect height for the purpose it was designed for and you spend lots of time admiring it. So how does God feel? When you spend time staring in front of the mirror looking and pointing out everything wrong with you. That your nose is too big. That you look too fat. That your ears are too big or your hair is too curly. His perfect creation, saying that he made the wrong choice; you were given what you have been given by mistake. How does he feel? Imagine that you sat at the potter’s wheel and made a clay pot.

Categories: beauty, clay pot, comparision, creations, Faith, God, looks, perfection, potter, pottery, purpose, Self-esteem, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments
 
 

Fighting For Life

My friend sent me a text today asking for my help in spreading the word about something she wanted to do this Tuesday morning in honor of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. She proposed that we gather at the courtyard of our school before first block and pray against abortion for and the support of life. She said, “I just feel like we need to pray out against the murder of unborn children and mercy for women who have gone through abortion. I know this issue probably affects several girls at our school currently, and while I believe we as Christians shouldn’t stand for it, I believe picketing the issue isn’t the way to show how much we actually care about this issue and the many lives lost to it. This event isn’t a picket for abortion or even something that would condemn the mothers and children. It is a prayer time where we can quiet our hearts and ask for help and healing of this nation and the hurt surrounding this issue. We need to pray for comfort for the mothers, whether prepared or unprepared for children, who decidedly give up their child, whether forced to or unforced. It is a sight to see what this nation has become…after everything we used to be. We survived here, we fought and won this land, not anything of our own doing, but because God chose to bless us. Because our founding fathers left everything they knew, to come here, and worship God the way he should be worshipped. My pastor quoted Dr. Russell Moore, the Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, in today’s bulletin. This is what Dr. Moore wrote:

Why I Hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

“I don’t hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I think it somehow, unbiblical. No, indeed. The entire canon throbs with God’s commitment to the fatherless and to the widows, his wrath at the shedding of innocent blood. I don’t hate it because I think it’s inappropriate. Just as every Lord’s Day should be Easter, with the proclamation of the Resurrection of Jesus, and Christmas, with the announcement of the Incarnation, so every Lord’s Day should highlight the worth and dignity of human life. I hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I’m reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say.
– Mothers shouldn’t kill their children
– Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies
– No human life is worthless regardless of skin color, age, disability, or economic status.
The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness.
But I also love Sanctity of Human Life Sunday when I think about the fact that I serve a congregation with ex-orphans all around, adopted into loving families. I love to reflect on the men and women who serve every week in pregnancy centers for women in crisis. And I love to see men and women who have aborted babies find their sins forgiven, even this sin, and their consciences cleansed by Christ.
We’ll always need Christmas. We’ll always need Easter. But I hope, please Lord, someday soon, that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is unnecessary.”

This too my hope and prayer. I hope you’ll join me this Tuesday in praying over this. For my high school folks who are here for information about this event, we will meet in the courtyard (by the flagpole) just before the tardy bell rings for first block. We will have a time of prayer for the children who are affected or will be affected. We will pray for the mothers and/or fathers that are going through this rough time, and the doctors and nurses working with these women. We will pray for those giving or receiving advice, whether directly or indirectly involved. We will pray that people everywhere will realize they can make a difference and eventually stop the necessity of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

Categories: abortion, Change, Dr.Russell Moore, Founding Fathers, God, human-rights, life, pregnancy, sanctity of human life sunday, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

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