Sunday, November 21, 2010


I am marveling at God's creation, in the form of my friend's sweet baby boy. His smiles, his gurgles, his cooing, how much he has grown in the past three months - God, you are a master artist. The end.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Align my Dreams to Yours...

"When my dreams are over
and my feet hit the floor
is my will enough to move on?
When we fight to get back
the love that we lost
will my hands be enough to push on?
Tell me, will i have enough to go on?

When there's nothing we can't afford to sacrifice, there's no way they can put out your fire
-Needtobreathe, Nothing Left To Lose

What happens when we allow God to heal us only so far - just enough to feel okay and somewhat whole? What happens when we allow Him to close the door on some desire outcome, but we cram something into the doorway to keep it open, even just a crack? When we only allow God to move ever so slightly or just enough to convince us we're okay, we are fooling ourselves.

I found myself in a place where I had allowed God to heal this specific wound just enough, so that it could ripped open and exposed again if this particular person reconsidered. I would allow myself to be led on by a broken past and hopes of a redeemed relationship. I would respond to this person, at the drop of a hat, when he thought it was okay to let me in; I would reach out, even though it was against my better judgement and would often result in the wound being split open again.

And then, I woke up. Or rather, I allowed God to shake me awake from this distorted dream. When we only allow God to move a little bit, or only give Him certain areas of our lives, we aren't fully surrendering to Him and His perfect will. I had been in this place where I bargained with God (oh, how we are creatures that love a good bargain), allowing Him to have His way ONLY if the future He had for me would turn out like I had envisioned and dreamt of.

But, when i actually opened my eyes, I realized that this so-called "love" I had hoped would be reawakened was merely the broken framework to a crumbling, charred structure. I realized that I had been holding on to a not-so-perfect match because I had allowed myself to assume that this one example i had experienced of intimate love between two people was love itself - and no other guy would ever be able to give me that love. But this imperfect example of love pales by comparison to God's love for us. It also kept me holding on to it, stubbornly loosening my grasp little by little.

After a much needed wake up call and after allowing the Lord to crush this broken image i had of love and throw everything out the window, I can finally say: MOVE, GOD. Take it all, have Your will and replace misconceptions with your divine and perfect love. Do not let me deceive myself, thinking I've got it all together, that i'm strong enough to deal with this on my own - i don't and i'm not. But i pray this acknowledgement of my weakness keeps me leaning on Your strength, for You are love and You bring new life. Give me patience, as You align my life and dreams to Your will. Fuel a fiery passion to live for You alone. Do not let past hurts cause me to build up airtight walls around my heart; rather, soften it, break it, refine it and do with it what YOU will.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life Lately

Life is sweet. God is faithful. I am now 22 years old and marveling at how much has been crammed into this past year! On my run this afternoon, my mind was racing and my heart was overwhelmed with joy upon reflecting on what this past year has held. Here is just a summary:

This past year - I have traveled!!!! Since last year i've been to Hawaii (twice ;P), to Jamaica, to Puerto Rico, to New York, to El Salvador and Guatemala. Seeing the world is one of my most favorite things to do, and i've been blessed to be able to see sites around the world with people i love so very much.

I have also seen two of my best friends marry their best friends :) What a joyous occasion it is when two people step into the next season of life as one body, united and rooted on Christ, the solid rock on which we stand? Chana and Jodi and their spouses are such wonderful friends, and it warms my heart to see the Lord's love and goodness overflowing from their marriages :).

I GRADUATED with my BA from the U of M. Only by God's grace, I was able to cram in 20+ credits/semester and graduate with a major and spanish minor in three years. Let me tell you, the graduation ceremony certainly marked a victory for me! My three years at the U of M were full of hard work, joys, rough patches, blossoming friendships and further awakening to this diverse world. I was blessed to have sweet roommates that are a few of my best friends to this day, and meet a group of fellow Elementary Education majors that became some of my good friends.

Other highlights: getting involved with middle school and senior high students at my church in Lakeville, being a part of the Miss Lakeville Scholarship Pageant (a challenge and something totally NEW that led to meeting amazing women), growing closer to my sweet spiritual mentor, finding a church community that believes church should continue outside the walls - one that challenges and encourages me and is such a perfect fit (here's the place where i give a shout out to Substance Church - check it out sometime!)

This past month: My so-called "Season of Rest". The night before i was supposed to start the teaching license program at the U of M (where i would start student teaching and taking classes working towards my teaching license and masters degree), I felt the Lord calling me to take a semester off. So, holding fast to the promise of His faithfulness and provisions, I obediently followed, thinking this time was merely time to rest before finishing up my teaching license. But boy oh boy, did God have a different plan. As of a couple weeks ago, I let the U of M know i will not be returning to finish up the program whatsoever. This season of rest gave me time to seek the Lord and truly wait in my watchtower (so to speak, check out Habakkuk 2:1) for His response. Long story short, in this time, the Lord has affirmed that His call on my life is still teaching - but not necessarily in the classroom. While i've been so focused on finding an identity in a career of being an Elementary School teacher, He's been bringing an even bigger passion into my life - youth ministry and missions - and revealing my identity comes from Him alone. God's plan for my life far exceeds anything i could've ever dreamed! His works are astounding - after touring Bethel Seminary and talking to a couple professors there, I had this overwhelming excitement that this is the place He's calling me to. It just...fits, you know? So, in the next couple weeks i'll be applying for the Master of Arts in Christian Education with an emphasis in youth ministry.

And, come January, I'll also be starting an internship with Hosanna! working with the youth ministry staff and checking out what goes on behind the scenes. I'm so PUMPED about it - I get to work with the church i grew up in and even some of staff that were a part of my own faith walk. God opens doors, let me tell you. He is good, He is good, He is good.

I'm still working at Applebees and love my coworkers. Plus i get a few photo gigs here and there too, which is rockin.

And I'm loving Substance church and the wonderful community of brothers and sisters in Christ. My dear friend Megan (who is so sweet and such an answer to prayers for more Godly women in my life) and I turned an unofficial group of people that go out to Flame after Tuesday's Deeper service into an official subgroup. I'm also hoping to get involved with worship at Deeper services, and am currently taking a Shift class and really enjoying the fellowship and friendships of so many amazing and passionate people!

Goals and Weaknesses: In this, my 22nd year of life, I want to accomplish a few things: 1) Get my photography site up and running. 2) Run a half marathon. I am not disciplined in the area of working out whatsoever. It's so sporadic and depends on my mood. While running is such an act of worship and is becoming my time to seek the Lord in prayer while marveling at His creations, it's also challenging. Meaning, I have to man up and discipline myself. God give me strength - HAHA 3) Learn how to say no and tell it how it is... In certain situations, I don't express how i truly feel. I've realized i resort to using humor to keep things lighthearted or to avoid talking about specific issues. I avoid certain situations. I also HATE letting people down or hurting people's feelings - i guess the term for that is people pleaser, huh? While God has revealed this area of weakness, He is now stretching me! I know conquering this weakness will require relying on Him and speaking truths in places i tend to avoid. I'm laughing right now, i think out of nervousness, knowing my prayer and goal to conquer this area of people pleasing will lead to God bringing situations and people into my life that will require me to tell it how it is...oh gosh. :)

Life is so sweet. Towards the end of my run today, I took a shortcut through a field that had recently been harvested. It brought back a memory of last Thanksgiving: I remember walking through a harvested field and being so burdened and full of sorrow by the lack of life and fruition in the trampled, stripped field. That field resembled the season of life i was in at the time - so broken and bleak. But today, a glimpse of this field brought me so much JOY!! God is God, in and out of season. He brought me through that painful season into a life where i strive to seek His heart in all i do. There will be seasons where God will break us down strip us of certain things, or allow us to walk through a season of sorrow. But, it is merely a season, meant to bring us closer to Him. Like the plowed field, He will bring new life from death. He will plant us, water us, grow us and mature us, so that we will be fruitful once again - even more than before. I pray that all things in this life will pale in comparison to seeking the Lord with every fiber of my being - Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. -Philippians 3:8 This is my prayer. Oh Lord, that You are my passion, that You reign over all things, that i may be someone You can use - for Your glory alone. Thank You, for the abundance of life and blessings You have given me. Thank You for being the only constant in this world. Thank You for the sweetness of life and for Your love, which is even GREATER than life itself.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Relationships: Do NOT Settle

My heart breaks for the women in my life who have grown complacent in their relationships and have chosen to settle. Much too often do i hear a woman doubting that they really deserve more or falling further and further into the pit of despair, hopelessness and so called "love" with a guy that doesn't treat them right. Or won't fully commit. This ANGERS me, to be honest. Young women and women alike begin to lose hope in love or lose sight of true love as they convince themselves that the rut of a relationship they're in are as good as it gets. So, I am blogging about it. My voice is but one weak whisper, but paired with my passion for truth and justice to reign, I pray that it will reach the ears of those it was meant to. Bottom line, women, do NOT settle. Couple points:

1) Will he commit? And remain through better and worse?
What is the point of relationships if you do not see a potential future spouse in that person? Upon entering a relationship, if that man is not willing to commit to you FULLY, wavers when the going gets rough, cheats on you, takes advantage of you, talks down to you, abuses you, pushes your boundaries further and further back, is controlling, etc. it is not worth it. If a relationship is preparation for marriage, and the guy will not commit now, then any future together is bleak and unlikely. Do not allow your heart to develop so many ties to this person, so that you are left making up excuses for him treating you wrong or for his non-commital attitude. You are worth so much more. Which brings me to another point...

2) Do you know your self worth?
This may sound like a cliche question to some, but honestly i don't think many of us really do know how much we are worth. Women in relationships - Do you have an unsettling fear that you can't do any better? Do you find yourself trying so hard to make it work because you don't want to end up alone? Do you feel like you're not good enough - for anyone? That you're not pretty enough or too weak to be on your own? These are all lies. All heartwrenching, wicked LIES. You are worth so much more. You deserve true, whole, unconditional love. Even in your lowest of lows, at your worst - you deserve the greatest of Love. No matter your past mistakes, the guilt you hold on to - God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) God sent His only son to cancel the weight of sin and grant us eternal life, because He LOVES us. So so so so deeply, that no one can comprehend. Lovely women in my life, there is NOTHING that separates us from God's love - neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor death, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us...(Romans 8:38) You are deeply loved, right where you're at, by a Savior so full of mercies, so faithful and so loving. He looks at us with unfathomable joy and calls us His own! "You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you" are the words that fall from His lips (Song of Songs 4:7). Cling to these truths - you are worth everything - someone that will lay their life down for you. You are worth so much more than abuse, than a non-commital guy, than someone who does not put you before himself DAILY, than someone who does not take up his own cross, who doesn't love God above anything else. "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces" (Matt 7:6) So the question is, have you settle for a dog or a pig that tramples you and convinces you you are worth nothing? If so, run. Run into the arms of someone who will never leave you or forsake you, who loves you and wants your absolute best. You are worth so much more. Don't ever question that.

3) Have you confused soul ties with love?
Sometimes, we mistake soul ties with true love. Souls ties often form when we cross lines with that person - be it physical intimacy, abuse, time poured into the relationship, spiritual/mental ties, etc. These soul ties restrain us and are so often confused with true love. I heard someone once say that "REAL LOVE will do WHATEVER it takes to lead you into life" (Luke Allison). Take a step back and examine your relationship. Is that relationship life-giving or life-sucking? Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you are nothing without that person? Does that person take advantage of you, tell you what to think, push you, control you, thwart your biggest hopes and dreams? Does this person commit to you physically but refuse to do so relationally? Is this "love" leading you into life? If not, it's not love.

So here comes the hard part. If you've opened your eyes and realized your relationship is not life giving or that you've settled, it next step is difficult. But i beg you, do not remain in the complacency and familiarity because it's easier. Take that leap of faith and stand up for who you are and what you deserve. End that relationship, and stick with your decision. It's going to be a fight, sorting through those soul ties that may have formed or allowing your heart to truly heal and recognize you deserve more. It's going to take time, and you may take three steps foward and slip back a couple countless times. But take that step - out of death, out of a damaging relationship and into LIFE, into Him. Find WOMEN that will encourage you and support you and uphold you and stand by you. Do not try to fill that void with another relationship or other transient things. You may protest and say i don't understand or that this relationship is different. Women, we were created to be helpmates - encouragers, uplifters. But do not be convinced that it is your job to fix or change someone. This will get you nowhere. Please take that step into LIFE and away from the 'man', the lies, the life that enslaves you. I promise you, if you trust that God has a better future and a better LOVE in store for you, He will not leave you hanging. He is faithful and will show you your self worth - if You let Him. He will provide - if you let Him. He will heal your brokenness, sever any soul ties, in His timing - if You are patient in the time of waiting and let Him. I beg you - LET HIM.

Books to Check out:
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Check out this website: