Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dove Chocolate wrappers: not meant to be taken literally

I was sitting at my desk eating Dove chocolate, really my favorite thing to do at work ;), while pondering a somewhat stressful relationship in my life. If you're anything like me then you know what I mean by "pondering" is over analyzing everything, trying to figure out how I messed it up, always in the back of my mind, disappointed over the tension, and down right angry over certain things that by pondering I really mean obsessing. As I was thinking about all these things I opened up my Dove Chocolate and printed on the top of the wrapper it said "do what feels right"..I stared at it for about four seconds and then crumpled it up and threw it in the trash.

I thought how funny that I was just wondering to myself what the right answer is to help this relationship in my life and I read that phrase. It made me angry because I thought how just doing "what feels right" is usually what gets us into the most difficult situations in the first place. We let just anything come out of our mouths to another "just because it felt right", we give another person the cold shoulder instead of having direct conversation with them because that "just felt right", we make decisions that we think will protect us but really they just isolate us because in that moment "it felt right". If we keep doing what just feels right then some of our relationships will never mend and we are setting the course for a very lonely life.

I don't want to do what feels right, I want to do what is right. 

And from my own prideful heart I can't correctly judge the difference between what feels right and what is right. This is where the word of God becomes invaluable. The right thing is not only to forgive but forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21). That doesn't feel right to me but it is the right thing to do. When I feel wronged by someone's harsh words or wrong judgements the only thing I feel in that moment that will right the wrong is to fight back the same way they hurt me...but when I read 1 Peter 3:9 I then understand how I am to really respond. My point is if we just go around and keep doing what feels right that is not the best for others or for ourselves. If we just let our emotions lead us will we not be led astray?

I'm thankful that the Bible tells us of a more excellent way to live. A way that frees us from ourselves so we don't ever have to be enslaved to our emotions. Relationships can be messy but we always have a choice of how we want to respond. I don't want to do "what just feels right" there is no freedom in that! We are at our worst when we know the right thing to do and consistently choose the wrong thing to do. We can choose to have faith that if we choose to forgive, God will choose to make it right. It all comes down to choices not emotions.

and I'm obviously an emotionally driven person since I just sat down and wrote an entire post about what a Dove wrapper said...yeh...pray for me! ;)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Believing in God is Not Enough

You ever get to that point in your life where you just feel stuck? You know, when you feel like you just keep going around the same mountain over and over again, no sense of moving forward, still dealing with yesterdays struggle today. You know, just stuck. Oh yeh okay…me either. NOT!

Have you ever struggled with something for so long you get disillusioned with God? We start to think things like God I heard you were my healer so aren't you HEALING me? Or I'm trying to apply your scriptures in my life I thought your word had POWER why do I feel exactly the same?? Am I the only one??

After a long long time of feeling "stuck" and after many many months of thinking and wrestling I finally came to the conclusion that believing in God is not enough, we have to believe that He is good too. If I want to "move forward" in God then how I view Him is really important. I need to believe that He loves me and has the best intentions toward me not just that He is there with me. I need to believe in who He is REALLY, not just some skewed picture of Him in my head seared by pain and negativity.

If I want healing the question is not whether or not I believe in God the question is whether or not I think He is good, and not just good, but good towards me. Healing comes when we trust that His heart is for us and not against us. When I stop believing that I have found that it literally shuts off the process of healing in my life. The only reason I finally came to this conclusion is because I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and I was desperate (and still am) for a remedy.

Just because other people hurt us doesn't mean that God has hurt us. Just because there are disappointments and loss doesn't mean that God intended harm for us. I think somewhere along this process we all will have to recognize that the pain that happened to us didn't come from His hand, even though at one point we may have been convinced that it did. Bottom line is I can't expect to attribute the works of the devil to God and be healed of my broken heart. So out of desperation to see tangible change in my life I have learned that one of the keys to healing is fighting to keep an accurate perspective of God. I say fight because I have to fight for it. My emotions want me to believe every lie that the enemy can throw at me about myself and about God, but thank goodness we don't need to believe everything we think. If I start believing unbiblical things about the Lord in my pain then surly there is no hope for me, for who can heal themselves?

The message that satan communicated to Eve in the garden is the same thing he whispers to us while we wage our private wars. It is something along the lines of "does God really know best?" How we answer that one question will determine whether or not we will walk in victory.

Therefore, the question is not just do we believe in God but rather what do we believe He is truly like?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

WNY Life Together Event

Honored to be apart of this event happening this weekend! A "homegrown" gathering for women of all ages. Come connect with God and others! All info can be found by following the link below!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Popular Culture, The Church, & Jesus

I don't pretend to have all the answers, more so I just feel like I am joining a conversation that has already been started. There is this constant conversation around the word "relevant" in the church today and what that looks like. Some say the church isn't relevant enough and that's why we're not reaching the lost, others say the church looks just like culture and that's why we are ineffective. How does the church be/stay relevant etc.. What does it look like to be in the world but not of it? How do we intertwine enough technology and "props" into the church so we can reach the lost that live in this culture? When is it too much, where is the line, or is there such a thing?

I agree that we should use whatever means possible to reach the lost and if the church hides her head in the sand and refuses to change with the times I fear we will miss out on reaching an entire generation. However, with that said changing with the times never should mean a loss of the potency of the Gospel. Parties should never be a substitute for power. Sometimes we can think that the power of God is no longer relevant to this generation. Even if we never say that out loud that is what we really are thinking even if we are not completely aware we are thinking it! But it comes through in our marketing, and actions, and the focus becomes more on outreach and entertainment than actually introducing people to Jesus. If we just have enough parties, or cool outreach events, or enough "fun" then people will want to apart of this thing we call the Church. Out of the goodness of our hearts we truly do want to reach the lost but somewhere along down the road the Gospel gets lost in a modern marketing package of lights and good programs. Programs don't save people, Jesus does. Do I believe in good programs? YES. Do I believe in the church using modern technology in a spirit of excellence to reach this generation? ABSOLUTLEY. But a good program is just that, a good program. Programs should never be a substitute for the presence of God.

The church should be the moral standard bearer for culture not the culture the standard bearer for the church. Obviously not in a condemning way but certainly in an unapologetic way. Jesus hung out with drunk people and partiers to the point that people thought he was one. However, Jesus carried God's standard of holiness with Him to those parties and He never lowered it just to gain their approval or just to get them to accept Him. If He had done that He would have lost His potency and ability to actually change people, to offer them anything different than what they already had.

The church (and when I say church I don't mean my church I mean THE church) needs to learn how to be in culture yet never lower her standard that Jesus calls us to bear. When we are with unbelievers may we always be the standard bears in humility and love but never in compromise. We in the church need to understand that dumbing down or downplaying the Gospel and the power of God will never save this generation. This generation doesn't need anything new spiritually, Jesus still works just as well. I believe what it takes for a church to be effective in this western culture is to marry modern technology with the raw power of God and watch a generation come to Him in droves. It is not either or, it is both and more.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hidden Person of the Heart

I woke up a few months back with this verse running through my head. Some versions refer to the inner self as the hidden person of the heart. Lately (meaning the last few years) I have been in somewhat of a mundane season. Go to work, go to church, clean my house, repeat. Sounds boring I know, of course there are other things added into the mix of life but in general this has been the basic routine. The mundane of life in itself is not bad but it does have a way of dulling us if we're not careful. Subtle distractions that pull on our hearts to look somewhere other than Jesus, or perhaps just to settle and stop fighting for passion in our lives. In this season I noticed that there were things I started to pay more attention to that I hadn't before. Things on the outside that I wanted just so when before they didn't take such a place of importance.

I slowly, subtly, but surely, somewhere within the routine of life started to make the outward things primary and the inward things secondary. I started to feel the emptiness but dismissed it most days, who has time in the business of the mundane (how's that for an oxymoron?) to tend to such things? Until I woke up that one morning and God dropped that above verse in my mind. It didn't bring instant change of course, I thought about it, and churned over it and then eventually weeks later I took my correction. 

The inner things should be primary and the outer things secondary. Neither should ever be neglected, only kept in the right order. Some live lives of pristine on the outside. You walk into their home and all their china matches, it is never messy, they always look sharp, but when they open their mouth and the majority of what comes out is negativity, criticism of everything, and endless words about nothing in particular you start to wonder if the inner things have been attended to. I myself show these symptoms when my heart has been left to itself.

The hubs and I decided to "deep clean" the house a few weekends back. As I was moving the couches to vacuum behind them there was one spot in particular that was a pain to reach. I thought to myself about how I could just leave it dirty and no one would even know because the couch would go right back over it. But I would know it was there, I would know our house wasn't really "clean" even if others wouldn't know the difference. Is it not the same with our heart? The inner man is a place only God sees, if we left certain parts of our heart unattended who else would notice? Just you and God. But you would know something wasn't quite right…

What Peter is saying to us is that we shouldn’t tend more to the outside than to the inside. Both need tending to the key is to have them in the right order. We need to take the time to sit with Jesus and adorn our inner man with faithfulness, kindness, love, patience…those are the rubies and gems which are true and not just for show. 

So in the business of our mundane routines may we make the time to sit with Him and adorn the hidden person of the heart with His definition of what real beauty is. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Sunshine State

We started off our summer vaca early this year by taking ourselves to Florida in early May and yes I am just blogging about it now! It was the right choice as it has made this summer feel so much longer! I wanted to share a few pics from the trip! I would say my first trip EVER to the Sunshine state (yes I know I'm 25 and it's a little embarrassing) was a success. :) 

Cause sometimes you just need to treat yo'self

              I LOVE how these pics of the beach at sunset below came out. I took them with our Canon.

His & Hers

Sometimes you just need to fly a kite

I'm here...maybe.

Wow! Haven't been here in a while :) I have been in such a divided place lately. I have been torn about everything, including blogging! I want to blog but then there is a growing desire in me to keep everything private. It's strange. On another note, This summer has been glorious. It is SO MUCH better than last summer! I am hoping to post about some travels, friends, places, and thoughts soon! ...or at least I set a goal for myself to get some posts done by the end of the summer. I have thought about re-vamping this whole blog, but then I think no I like it as is...but then I think I don't want to blog at all! haha, welcome to my world where none of my thoughts seemed fully formed as of late! ;) Anyways, just wanted to say heyy and that I'm still here and I am hoping to starting posting again soon and more frequently...but we will see what the future holds...ha there I go again being all vague and ambiguous!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is it possible?

So many times over the past year I have sat down, written a post, and then deleted it all. I write but at the end of it I am disappointed. My words proving to be insufficient, at least to me. Trying to articulate thoughts has been a frustration..

Over the last few years I have read multiple stories and books about those in the persecuted church, about those who were/are in prison, about those who survived genocide, about those who survived the trauma of humiliation, about people who kept their faith in the midst of horrific evil. I have read biographies, auto biographies, accounts of miracles, stories of the Gospel spreading through concentration camps and prisons...stories of people keeping their dignity, and sanity, and faith in the darkest places of suffering. My eyes wildly taking in every word reading about people who painfully lost everything because of the unjust choices of another man or the corruption of their government.

It dawned on me the other day while I was driving my car that over the last few years I have not just sought these stories out but I have frantically sought these stories out. why? I realized then that I have been searching for something. I realized then that I have had this subtle gnawing question deep in my heart for quite sometime now and I suppose I was searching for a remedy. I so badly desired to know if people could keep their hearts soft and unoffended at God in the face of immense injustice and tragedy because my own faith, I felt, proved to be faulty when it came to this. One disappointment in my life and there I go, questioning God. But more than own experiences with loss and grief I have felt produced a hardness of heart within me towards Him and I have been grieved over that. Something has been crying out within me, "teach me!". Teach me what you know, teach me about humility, teach me about love when all seems lost, teach me how to have an unoffended heart towards Him no matter what...and I guess I was thinking maybe I could be taught through these stories by the people who have lived to tell them.

I wanted to know how people kept their faith in God's love even though they suffered torture, loss, devastation, a concentration camp, the heartbreak of betrayal, humiliation, a dark prison cell, solitary confinement, death, and deep heartbreak. Is it possible to not let one's heart become embittered against God and man in those circumstances? Is it possible for people to keep their hearts soft and unoffended at God in places like that? Surely the Sunday school answer is yes. But when you have been touched by those things yourself simple answers and cliches will not satisfy. I wanted to read about people who had actually lived it, I needed know that it really was possible. Of course I know it is... but I went on a search anyways..

"with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (matt 19:26).

In all the stories I have read all the characters who display great courage and strength all have something in common. Humility. Their stories have taught me to embrace mystery through humility, and without humility we will never be able to relate or get to God. Only through humility can we trust Him at all times with all things. Embracing Him, the mystery, through humility. Those who have lived to tell about it afterward have become some of my personal heroes, those who have kept the faith. Those who have been through the toughest of circumstances only to come out more loving and soft and tender then before. They truly are my heroes and my teachers. They also have another thing in common, that they have no regrets. they all realized at the end of their lives that walking with Christ really did prove to be the greatest adventure full of danger, full of risk, but also full of fulfillment and true love. :) 

The love I have read about in these books is not a love laced with sarcasm, nor with criticism, nor with conditions, but a love that loves just because it's love! If that kind of love exists how can we not be ruined, wrecked, and undone by it? Surely I have been and will be again.

Friday, December 21, 2012

*Christmas is almost here*

 Here is some Pre-Christmas cheer from our lives lately! Hope everyone has a great Christmas!


Pine Cone Painting

Ugly Sweater wear at it's best

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fall Feature

Well fall isn't over quite yet and I'm happy about that! I wanted to share some pics we took a few weeks ago with our new camera. Just kind of a test run of sorts. :)