Monday, October 25, 2010

God Moments

Hey there! So glad you stopped by. If you found me because of She Seeks welcome!

It's the little moments that God gives this Princess that sustain her. I have to tell you that the last week I was needing a God moment. Circumstances and different things that happened sucked the very joy and life out of me. Maybe you can relate? I felt like I was at the bottom of myself. When Sunday rolled around I could hardly pull myself out of bed. Things around me were overwhelming and quite honestly I was doubting my ability to hear from God. That lead to a pattern of doubt about who I am to Him. I was drowning in a sea of doubt.

I don't think it was just a coincidence that yesterday God gave me a tangible way to feel His love for me. I was sitting in church listening to the sermon very aware of myself. You know those moments where you are completely self conscious and your own actions which then become the object of your attention? It usually happens because you feel uncomfortable. Well yesterday this guy sat down next to me and I became very self aware. Let me explain.

The self awareness began not because of the reality that I am single (which would be the normal reason) but because of what God put on my heart. About half way through the sermon it was as if God was like you need to ask this guy to lunch. SAY WHAT?? That was my response. This Princess is old fashioned. I do NOT ask boys places. Boys that I know well even. It takes a long time and a large foundation of trust for me to even think about initiating something like that. And here God was tapping on my shoulder asking me to ask this boy next to me to lunch??? It was clear that he was around my age and that put the pressure up even more. Like I said I had been having a week of doubting if I can hear God and when I think I hear from Him am I hearing correctly. So naturally my mind went after it as soon as that thought popped into my head. Things like, "Uh God, I don't know Him." or "What on earth would we talk about over lunch???" This argument with myself went on for the rest of service. I leaned down to grab my coat when he grabbed my arm and said "I want to pray for you before you leave. So don't go anywhere."

I could not believe it. He wanted to pray for me? I knew in that moment that God was up to something. (no this was not a match made in heaven for all you ladies with an over active romantic mind) This boy wrapped me in an embrace and began speaking words of life over me. Divine words of revelation. He was praying for things that he could have never known about. He knew nothing about me. We were complete strangers and yet he lifted up some of my fears and talked openly about things that God had placed on my heart. It was a God Moment.

God's faithfulness showed up again. He wanted to remind me that He was never far away. God pays attention to the struggles and little details of my life and knew I needed more than anything to hear from Him. In that prayer and embrace I was covered by my Prince. Restored emotionally and spiritually.

And then I was able to be obedient and ask this kind boy out to lunch. We talked for three hours about the things God is up to in our life. We challenged each other, laughed and got excited about the Kingdom of God. My God moment went from a moment to an afternoon that filled me more than I had been in weeks.

I would love to hear about the moments that God has shown up and loved on you! You are a treasure to Him and this girl is convinced His fingerprints are on everything. So tell me about it :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Weighs Me Down

"...let us strip of every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race the God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

This verse hit me upside the head the other afternoon as the bell chimed on my phone. This email flitted into my inbox with a God sized intension. "What weights are pulling you down, Erin?" the still small voice whispered into the chambers of my heart. Ouch. Moments like that are when my eyes get wide and I look to the heavens with an expression of "really God?" WHY??? Couldn't we leave that box alone for now? NOPE is the resounding answer. Oh sweet Jesus, I love that you poke and prod at the issues of my heart. Really, really I do. It truly is love even though sometimes I am convinced a bikini wax would be less painful (This princess has NO intension of testing that one out by the way.) Anyways...

Shortly after this email so lovingly fell into my lap, the reminders of things that have been laid on my heart came to the surface. I realized I have loaded myself with ankle weights, arm weights and have been busy trying to push a semi across the road. (If you don't know me I am a fire ball but I have NO muscle.) Needless to say this poor girl is really weighed down. Weighed down by what? Quite honestly the if ands and buts of life. The "God, if ______ happened what would I do about______?" Or the "Oh and God I need ______". Or the classic one "But God I am not ready to try/do _______."

Why is it that I am so intent about figuring out the future and have so much trouble keeping today in perspective? Why does this girl think that jogging pushing a semi is going to help the plans that God has set before me? How much am I missing out on today if I am concerned about what is going to happen next week, next month or next year? (I'd like to blame it on the OCD first born child issues, but in reality I think there is something more). Sometimes I think this girl needs to throw her Vera Bradley planner (which I love by the way) out the window and take it day by day. If I were to lean into my Prince would He not guide me in the waltz we call life? Would it not be the most beautiful dance every choreographed?

Here is my theory, or maybe open confession. You can label it what you want, but I think the "OCD first born loves to plan" chick in me is really code for CONTROL FREAK. Maybe I shouldn't admit that out loud. That might be me setting myself up for a life time of singleness because let's face it ladies no man wants a control freak girlfriend. But let's be real for a split second. What girl likes to be out of control? Not me. I don't like when the winds are a blowin' around me and my hair is getting messed up, my skirt is in my face and I can't see a foot in front of me. I don't like when I can't predict someone's response to me, what their thoughts are or where I am going in the future. I enjoy people's approval. I love filling my day timer with to-do's and appointments and I love even more when I think I understand what God is up to. (Ha can I get a say what?) Like I know what He is doing?

So now that you know that this Princess is really a giant control freak that would like everything to go seamlessly and always know what is going on, let me tell you that my life doesn't work like that at all. Most days I don't get to follow a schedule. Most days God throws a curve ball at me and let me be honest, He really has been doing that lately (see relationship vortex post). I would like to dig my heals in and set up camp in a safe little environment where I know what is what and who lives where. Reality is God says no way. "Through off the weight of control freak my darling and run into the unknown, a race that I have made just for you." I love that He has a race for each of us to run that was charted out just for us.

Today I am starting with letting my calendar be. I will not be obsessed with what I think should have happened but rather be open to what His plans are. I am going to rest in His presence and accept the reality that I don't know what He is up to in any area of my life. Today I rest in that I am valuable simply because I am His. He chose me. He loves me and I am whole. When life spirals I white knuckle those truths and step one foot in front of the other in the race He has called me, just me, to run.

My Relationship Vortex: Beam me up Scottie

The relationship vortex is where I am living these days. The funny thing is I am not in a relationship with the opposite sex. Every other time I have visited this at times consuming place I have been in a relationship. Maybe you know this place and have been sucked in? You know it's where you are completely consumed by the opposite sex wondering why, how, what, who and when. Generally this is all pertaining to a particular individual. But this time I am alone. ALONE. I look around and there is no companion. No rainbows and butterflies. No skipping to the eternal love soundtrack. There is a part of me that wants to yell "beam me up Scottie" I am done living here. But unfortunately for me I get to examine this vortex instead. God wants me to stay here so this vortex feels more like a sad saga most days. (hear violins playing sullen music).

Let me explain. I am trying to uncover the good, bad and ugly of my relationships. Each of us construct what a relationship with the opposite sex looks like from a young age. It usually looks like something between a cross of a disney princess fairy tale and our parents marriage at about ten. But then life happens and well, we don't stay in that place. Relationships around us fall apart. We experience dating on our own. Some of our expectations change. We change. This is my problem. I experienced dating on my own and it looked more like a fun mirror chamber where I look at the relationship and it is fat on the top skinny on the bottom but then the next mirror is the opposite. Yikes.

There is a part of me that is grieving that I have to walk into essentially premarital sessions alone with nothing but me and my bible. Why did I have to experience the distortion I did? What weird person does premarital stuff alone? (Okay so Jesus is there). But it is not something I anticipated doing. Sometimes I am a cry baby. That part of me is screaming "BEAM ME UP!!!" Part of me is ecstatic because I have like hourly ah ha moments and it can be overwhelming. With that I am curious. God is not letting me sit stagnant with this one.

God, does NOT want me to stay there. He says "Erin, let me show you what relationship really looks like." In order to get there though I have to go through the field and pull out the weeds. I look around and say "AHHHHHHH I have so many weeds in this place!" My reaction is "God you are the God of the universe, you could just drop me in a new garden where there aren't so many weeds." Ha! That isn't going to happen. So the last couple weeks He has been the master gardener. I think it started with being able to recognize the problem of holding on to the shards of that past relationship. I straddled the fence for a while thinking that I could white knuckle it and create change. Ha! (That relationship is/was beyond help of any kind) Anything I am in control of without God never ever goes well. Then He brought in some people that would challenge my perceptions. It begins with girl friends who constantly remind me of Him and then transitions to my mentors/counselors and then ends with a boy.

Gasp!! Yes, I said it. With a BOY. This boy is an interesting boy. (well, he is a man-you know what I mean). This boy is interesting because he challenges all prior understanding of men. Especially christian men. Is he perfect? Far from it. Does he try to appear to be? Nope. Is he growing? Yes. Can he talk about his feelings towards things that have happened in his life? Yup. Is he willing to admit when he doesn't know something? Uh huh. Does he love God? Oh yes. But what intrigues me the most is the way he encourages me. He is not encouraging me in a worldly way, but instead in a Godly way. Sometimes I know that the words or scripture he gives me is God breathed. He reminds me of my intrinsic value. Odd, usually with a man I am experiencing the opposite. Believe me I have been waving my white flag yelling "God don't let a boy challenge my heart." Beam me up Scottie.

So not only is God working on me, He is rooting out some of my big issues. I am letting a guy into my life but in a different way. As a friend. As a person who gets to see the not so great parts of me but has to win my trust like everyone else. Will he disappoint me someday. Yes, he is human. Not superman. Could he walk away? Yes, he could. But that right there is an indication of my growth. I used to worship men and look to them to solve all my problems. Those days are over. I am not looking back to the place of worshiping them. And I also could cling to him to solve all my problems and tell him all the reasons why he needs me or should stay. This time I say: NO WAY. But I also don't treat him with contempt for his past mistakes and issues. That isn't fair. Ladies, we need to be able to realize that the men in our lives struggle just like we do. They have pasts, fears, insecurities, lies and ego's to fight. Good gracious. Can we be gentle and loving as Christ calls us and care for our brothers in Christ without condemning for their mistakes? Believe me, this has been a hard one. But God is working on me. He is not going to let me escape this one.

So life in the vortex looks something like Matthew 13:24-30 24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Walk with me for a second. Yes this is about when Christ returns. But for me it has a little different meaning at this point of my life. A great friend of mine texted me and told me that this is where they feel I am at. Remember the weeds? Well this is why it speaks to my heart. The enemy came into my heart and planted weeds to infest the pieces of my heart and distort my perceptions of relationship. God is bringing in the harvest now. Sorting out the weeds from the wheat and getting ready to burn the lies I carry about past relationships to the ground. Sweet huh??? Yes, this is where my heart is. It is being sorted right now. Harvested.

The best part is I get to do it with amazing women like you :) So for now I will resist the urge to say "Beam me up." Cause who knows, maybe one day it will help you!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Royal Tantrums

I am a stubborn child. This past week I have put on my tiara, stuck my nose in the air and stomped around the castle. High heals and skirts assist the drama of the tantrum. At least that is what I imagine in my royal position as His daughter. Thanks be to Him that He has patience that is unlimited because I was nothing shy of a cross between a teenager with an attitude, and a two year old.

I am sure you are wondering, why the tantrum? Or attitude? {well, I blush at the thought} I am mad. I am mad because I am tired of waiting. Waiting for what? Well, several things honestly. But I am tired of the rooting, disecting all the ugly stuff. I want the next phase and quite honestly I wouldn't mind if Prince Charming rode in on a white horse and took me off into the sunset. I know, all this about a boy? You through a royal fit over a man??? Uh, ya. I'm sure my single ladies can relate. I am over the reality that a boy won't solve my problems, but when God showed me that I look for my IDENTITY and IDOLIZE them I threw myself on my bed and kicked and screamed because this princess was in DENIAL. Yup. I said, "nope you have it wrong God".

Flash forward a day or two when I was still sulking and I saw it. I saw it in me. OH yes, my Daddy was right. That is when the teenage glare factor began. I was mad, mad, mad. I sat there and ignored Him. I said fine, be right and know everything, but I am not changing. Hahaha... that lasted ummm like a day. Why is he so gentle? Why is he so good at knowing just what my heart needs? I know, I don't even have to answer that question. But my Daddy sat this girl down and said, "Sweet daughter, I am jealous of these boys you look to, but most of all I am sad. You were not created to serve them."

How can a girl be mad at her Daddy who loves her? He wants me because He loves me. He promises to fill me and give me so much more than a man. I am tired of chasing the lie that a boy has the key to happiness, or fullness or whatever it is depending on the day. It is a lie. Instead I want to be intensional about dating my Prince of Peace and sweet King. He is what I really want.

Over and over in the bible God warns "You shall have no other Gods before me." Exodus 20:3. This is one that He drives home. I think so often we forget that an idol doesn't have to come in the form of something wooden or a statue. There are people that we put before Him, material position, jobs, ministry, appearances and keeping the law. In the New Testament God says "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves a son or daughter more then me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37. I truly believe that God desires His relationship to be number one NO MATTER WHAT. And that our other relationships and ambitions can creep up and take His place.

My issue right now is well, boys. I like them. I would like one to like me. But, I have to be patient. I can't order that to happen. And God's timing is so perfect. But it is important that I learn now to keep my heart in check and that I don't let any relationship sit in the place of my King.

So this princess is going to keep her heart in His this week and be intensional. How? I will let you know :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall is Here- What season are you in?

Seasons. Can I tell you I am loving the transition into fall? I think I am in love with each of the seasons for totally different reasons. I can honestly say when each one comes it is my favorite at the moment. I know, I am indecisive. But there is something so special about each one I just can't chose. It's like asking this Princess to chose which pair of shoes are her favorite {the polka dot rain boots for April showers, the summer sassy wedges, the fun patten leather flats that match my fall coat, or the boots I live in when it snows}. Naturally the answer is "Duh, I love them all!!! I wear them at different times." Anyways, I love it when I wake up to a cloudy day when fall creeps in and suddenly I can waltz to my closet and pick out a sweater and a scarf. {I may or may not have too much fun getting dressed in the morning-which is new for a former invisible girl--another story}. This is what welcomed me on the first day of fall yesterday. Not only were my senses awakened to the smell of homemade chicken noodles soup and banana chocolate chip cookies, there was a sudden crispness to the air that reminded me of the changing season.

This year for some reason the seasons are hitting more then the normal five senses. You see, most of the time this Princess gets sucked into fall by the feel of the crisp air on her skin, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, the sight of colors of the Colorado aspen's changing to their golden color, the taste of warm homemade apple cider and the sound of the pitter patter of rain drops on the windows. But this year there was a new sense of change with the transitioning of the seasons. God opened my eyes to the seasons of my own life. {Get ready for some ramblings of something that helped me understand my life}

It came about like so many of my God revelations when I was talking to one of my girlfriends. I was chatting with her about the excitement of fall and the question "what season do you think you are in right now?" just popped out. When you spend a lot of time with me you get to know that I am just prone to asking those kinds of questions. She asked me to clarify and I responded with "Well, are you in a summer, fall, winter or spring? And why?" She paused and thought for a moment and then asked me to answer the question first. Normally this Princess is on top of it and has an answer ready, but I could not put my finger on what season God has me in.

You might be about as confused as my dear friend right now. So let me get real with you for a moment and let you get inside my head. I am thinking about the seasons of life. I get these pictures of each one. Maybe because I walked through probably each season emotionally and spiritually this past year I am a little to aquatinted to the changes that occur when you are walking in the season's of the King. I know I know, still vague and convoluted. I'm sure you are thinking "get to the point". Picture this:

Fall- Your life is getting ready to be stripped bare of things as you know it. Relationships are dying. Jobs are changing or so on. I have found that fall for me is usually filled with a sense of loss or pain. There is usually this anticipation of great grief or mourning. Think of this- when autumn arrives things begin to die. While it is a beautiful process it also is a hard one. The life that was once there is now gone. Things have changed and in order for them to be well again they must die. A lot of times this is how I feel at the cross road of something or when I am saying good-bye to someone I imagined loving forever. It is hard because you still remember summer. It is usually a slow process. It also at times means an increased amount of awareness of what needs to change in order for God to move.

Winter- There is a sense of death. This is a place of true mourning. A lot of times you can not see the growth preparing to break through the ice covered ground. And yet there is a great covering of peace if you connect with the King. Much like a cold winter's night you feel the chill and emptiness inside. You cannot see how spring will come. You are deep within the place of grief. But the beauty is much like snow, soft, white and pure the destruction and death during fall is covered and lost. There is a silence but a stillness that is comforting. It at times feels long and the pain can be deep.

Spring- The growth bursts forth. You can see evidence of new life and growth in Him. There is a returning sense of life and change. The labors and pain of the long winter is easing. Things around you are warmer and brighter. It is a time of discovery and exploration. Curiosity and deep sense of awareness of the new things that God is doing in your life is evident. There is a sense of order and purpose in Christ. You really feel like the old has gone and the new is here.

Summer- Thanksgiving, joy and fruit for your labor is evident. There is a peace and wholeness in Him. The world is bright. Things are growing and much has happened since the cycle began. The evidence of winter is far gone, yet it is a memory. There is a life and a fullness around everything. Summer is often when you are standing in the understanding of God's purpose for the seasons. You see the productivity of the pain and can see the redemption and His hand in it all.

Okay- now that I have put you to sleep with my season's madness... or random download that God gave me on a whim, I wonder what season you are in? Where are you in God's cycle of life? I know, it is only fair if I tell you where I am.

Maybe it will make you feel better when I can say it is different for different parts of my life. Overall I am in a summer. I went through a long laborious winter. God felt absent, I felt empty. I could not see past the frost on my windows. There was nothing warm but a blanket to burrow my thoughts and opinions in. I was very hopeless and really believed spring would never come. I cried out for the warmth of my King. I knew He was there but could not feel Him. I could not see what He was up to. There was no labels to the things planted in me and no sight of birds chirping and buds on the trees. This is how I would describe the season I was in about six months ago when depression ravaged and took over my life. As I worked hard to plant the things that God put on my heart. Rested, and in some ways hibernated for the winter I came out into Spring.

I began to see the growth. I felt free from the chilling ice that had deadened my world. Things began to emerge and look new. Life changed. Flowers bloomed. Relationships bloomed. I could see God providing things I never felt would come. Opportunities opened up. But most importantly healing happened. I could see the healing. The fingerprints of His work. His glory. Things started to make sense. I could look at myself and understand my feelings. I didn't have the deep longing to stay in my bed and wish I never had to get out. I emerged excited about the day. That surprised me. I reclaimed a childlike curiosity about what life might bring. I appreciated the people around me and reclaimed God given joy.

So now I am in my summer. Sipping on the cool lemonade that my Prince made me {that looks and tastes more like His word} as I commune with Him as the sun slips down past the horizon. I feel whole. Complete and really just content. But then if you get into some of the ministry things I am working on I feel like I am in a winter. A winter of waiting. The cool snow is blanketed over the ministry and I have to wait for the earth to warm and the flowers to burst forth. Relationship wise I feel like I am in Spring {when I talk relationships this girl is talking about her girls and her mentors}. I am getting to know new friends, learning about their lives and opening up to them. It is exciting and amazing to see God bless me with that. I feel overwhelmed. As for men, dormant and completely in winter. But happy about the winter. Or maybe it's fall there because I am grieving some of the disfunction I have lived {another post down the road}.

Anyways... What's your season??? Where do you feel like God has you??? I think there is beauty and excitement to each one. It means progress and more intimacy with Him.

Welcome to the random thoughts in this Princess' head. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ennie, Meenie, Minie Moe....

Crossroads... Ever been there? You sit there singing the childhood tune "ennie meenie minee moe..." praying you chose the right one. There seems to be no right or wrong choice and you just wish God would hurry up and figure out how to text so He could inform you on your direct line which choice to make. I am sitting in the middle of a fork in the road trying to chose the right one.

This week has been somewhat of an emotionally roller coaster. I am not at one fork, but several. I can tell my Prince is beckoning me into a season of depending upon Him more then ever before. These choices are just the beginning. The other issues is some of them are timing issues. As I try to discern timing for the different decisions, I feel like I am spinning around in circles until I am dizzy and can't tell one from another. I want to run ahead of myself and jump into the season that is four steps ahead of me.

The major fork is the job fork {is it bad that I am picturing a fork stuck into a resume?}. A fork that most people come to multiple times in there life usually. In the past it has not been so crucial for me to find a job, but this time around I need to find a job. Money is dwindling and as I check my bank account the panic begins to well up in me. My parents came to me and informed me that it was time for this Princess to move toward financial independence. {I did my best to buck up and accept the adult responsibility that I knew was coming} The irony is I knew it was coming. God has been preparing me for it through conversations with different people in my life. {imagine that??} Now I cannot say that I entirely disagree with them. I can't depend on them forever and honestly do not want to. I think there is a time and a place for a child to leave their parents. This happens to be my moment. Looking for a job as a "soon to be graduate" is challenging. I don't quite have that piece of paper to prove I did something for four {almost five} years. Not to mention I look in the mirror and I can't picture what I see myself doing. So I wait, for God to slap me with divine revelation. And yet somehow I don't foresee it looking like that. {dang it}

The other issue is this Princess is antsy. You know when you need/want something so badly that you are anxious to make the next step? But then you look and there isn't even a choice yet?? Yup, that is where I am at. I am in a place where I do not even have a job opportunity so I do not even have a choice. So I am trying to be patient and wait. I am trying to be patient and pray. Both things that I think are important, but the pressure of having it figured out is getting to me. And then God spoke to me. Not it an audible booming voice, but through His Words. The shot straight to my heart like an arrow straight from Him.

Isaiah 43:1-2 says "But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you."

The redemption of my life is something I can see clearly. Just looking at that shows me His love. I adore that He calls me His. He whispers "Erin, you are mine." Eeek {must be the single girl in me-butterflies}. But the next part is what really gets me. "When I pass through the waters" He promises that they will NOT overflow me. Right now I feel pretty in over my head. I feel like the flood waters have rushed in and I am swimming, struggling towards the surface. But He says He will be with me. Ah!! My Prince carrying me through the flood {more like coming in with a life boat}and walking me through the fire. So tonight I am resting in the peace that He is there leading me through what's to come. My Prince will not let me drown.

So as I wait to play ennie, mennie, minie moe, I will anticipate that He will lead me down the right fork {resume included}...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Excitement after She Speaks

Hello friends: I do not know where to begin. I am really quite overwhelmed and am still recovering from airport drama. [I will tell you about that later] This past weekend at She Speaks was more then I could have ever anticipated. I went expecting to see God in ways that I had not before. I prayed that I would be a light for Him and that I would come home with one new friend. That prayer was answered in so many ways. He blew my expectations out of the water. My Prince gave me gift after gift after gift all weekend. [I just wanted to do my happy dance] I left the hotel overflowing with joy and renewed vision.

Imagine, six hundred talented beautiful women sitting in one place waiting upon Him. That was what this weekend was. I looked around me with joy to see my follow Jesus' Princess' waiting upon Him. Each woman was so beautiful. They each had so much to offer and share. I talked to these amazing women who continued to amaze me. Ever single person I met had a vision of chasing after Him. I kept thinking "Wow Jesus, you want me here?" Never, ever underestimate the plan that your Prince has for You. It is always much more then you can imagine. :)

I loved meeting the girls over at She Seeks, a branch of P31 Ministries directly for 20 something girls like me. They write fabulous devotions and I did not expect to meet them. You see with 600 women I was not sure if I would even see them. Oh man. Jesus boxed them right up tied a big purple bow and allowed me to meet them all. These beautiful women are women that inspired, nurtured, loved and encouraged me through my wanderings in the past year without knowing it. I would pour over their blogs, devotions and vlogs (video blogs) in great anticipation of hearing from my Beloved Prince. These women were real. They talked about the issues I faced and the struggles of wandering through life. But they were my friends when I had none. Yes, I realize having virtual friends sounds strange, but when you don't have a single person your own age to relate to, calling your or talking to you it is a big deal. I would venture that I am not the only woman that has felt that way about these beautiful women. If you haven't checked them out, You HAVE to [click home to check them out]. I loved them long before I met them and they are even more lovely in person. They each encouraged me and listened to me and I would be silly not to note that secretly I was star struck.

Another thing I absolutely loved was watching the different women speak. I went there hungry to learn how to publicly share God's heart with people. These women were polished and real. The best part was they were relatable. I watched Lysa Terkeurst, Micca Campbell,Karen Ehman,Marybeth Whalen and Renee Swope share their heart. I learned so much from their wisdom on how to reach an audience. God spoke through those women. My Prince quietly whispered and reminded me of things that we had be working through and thinking about the last couple months. It was moving.

The girls in my Speaking Evaluation group were so inspiring. They had such beautiful stories that captivated and touched each of us. Such strong women who have experienced so much. What I love is that they are eager to share with everyone the ways the Jesus has changed it all.

Oh there is so much more this Princess could say. I might bore you to tears with what could be the world longest blog post. I am so so excited about it all!!! I will continue to share the things I experienced and God put on my heart. But right now I am being called to laundry, job searching, nannying and preparing for my girls bible study!! Oh God is so good!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pride-It Knocked Me off my High Horse

Let me tell you about something that give you a peak at my oh so selfish nature. You see this Princess nearly gets her tiara knocked right off her head because of PRIDE. Oh yes, pride. That nasty five letter word is something I just realized I have been working on for months. Hmm.. what a revelation (writing generally pulls my thoughts all together). Anyways, I have been in this deep season of spiritual growth that honestly takes it right out of me. But about a month ago when things began to improve and life was a little less dreary, I began to think "Look at me, I am making it through this." A fine thing to think, I feel, assuming it doesn't go to your head. Well this Princess began shining her tiara a little too soon and her hair got a little too big because WHAM, I got knocked straight off my high horse. Let me tell you.
God had plans. Plans I was not even expecting. Upon a divine appointment I was prayed for by this couple at a service at my church. It was a Wednesday night service for those who had a hunger to go deeper in this series we had. Harmless right? I wanted to increase my faith and when I asked God who I should have pray over me He did not hesitate to reveal that to me. So, with anticipation in my heart I stepped straight into this divine appointment not knowing it would involve a nice fall off of my horse. Unbeknownst to me I had gotten very comfortable on this stallion of mine. I felt like I was running through an open meadow controlling towards the sunset in freedom. Oh no, God had different plans. This man who prayed over me happened to be a pastoral counselor and the words that him and his lovely wife spoke over me moved my heart. The hunger for more of sweet Jesus began. Upon being invited for yet more counseling by this kind pastor I made an appointment. Innocent, and still on my horse I arrive. I was excited to share with him how far I had come in this battle that I had been waging. Emphasis on the "I". Forgetting to acknowledge that I was literally carried out of the woods by My Prince Jesus. So I expose to Pastor where I have been and how I felt like I was making huge improvements. I was feeling like I was arriving in this new place that came with a whole lot more stability (to a point). Pastor hands me this piece of paper with his eyes shining and says "I want you to work through these scriptures. Determine if you believe the truth, or if you have replaced it with a lie." This list long list with tiny font is a list of "Who I am in Christ". No big deal, right? A growing gal like me should fly through this list. Being my eager, type A, determined personality I rush home and sit in my prayer closet and think "Jesus, I know I have made so much growth. I can't wait to get into this. I am sure that I believe most of these things on this list."
BAM!!! There it was. The moment I should have stopped teasing my hair. I let go of the reigns and the horse bucked me off. As I sailed through the air, my tiara got tangled up in my huge hair sprayed hair as I hit the ground with a nice thud. The first five verses I dug into I did not truly believe. It was here I was able to see my pride. My veil of pride was removed and humility sunk in.
I realized that I am not the reason I am growing. I am not the reason I am where I am today. He is. And yes, I am growing into the woman of God I want to be, but none of it has been done alone by my power. In that moment I again bowed down before my Prince and let Him place my crown back on my head. I am not His Princess on my own accord, ability or performance. No, he chose me. He walks with me. He leads me and sometimes carries me. And thankfully He continues to teach me.
Humility is a powerful thing. Pride leads to selfish state. When I try to walk into the wilderness alone it never goes well. Pride is the beginning of that. So with a small window into the beginning of the journey I will share here through a computer screen. The growth started with a fall that lead to my Prince reaching down and lifting me up. Are you willing to take his hand?

Jesus- I pray for the people that stumble onto this page. May to you be the glory. My journey has been carefully crafted, redirected and redeemed by You. May others see the dangers of pride and experience the power of growth in humility.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Out of the Forest

"Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:26-30
So I have really neglected my blog lately. Why? Jesus and I have been doing some serious work. You see He called me into this season of resting and healing, which can I say for a type A busy body Princess like me it has been more then difficult. Back in March I was really struggling on account I was trying to perform for people in this world. I became so consumed with pleasing people that I failed to notice I was hiking through thistles, bushes and headed straight towards a cliff. YIKES! I really missed out on the path my Prince had so kindly cleared for me. Instead this Princess forged a trail of her own tearing her dress and losing her shoes on the way. Did I mention I was toting like six suitcases of stuff for my self proclaimed adventure? This Princess probably had her tiara on backwards for several months like a baseball cap taking my royalty in His Kingdom not so seriously. You see I stuck my royal nose in the air and decided I did not need my Father to help me out. I felt that my path was going to work just fine. Needless to say I got a glimpse at myself. My tiara was beyond tilted. My dress run ragged and my adorable shoes, gone. I was a mess. Luckily for me my Prince was not far off. He does that you know? Watches me even when I think I know what I am doing. Instead of kicking and screaming and throwing a royal fit when He gently informed me that He knew a better way. Overwhelmed with relief that I did not have to climb down the cliff face I had just approached I dropped my luggage and let Him hold me. Now I was a blubbering, mascara all off, having a terrible hair day Princess. But the good news was that I was safely resting in His arms.
Emotionally and spiritually this is what I had been doing. I won't rehash what the last seven or so months have been like for me. Maybe one day if my Prince wants me to write it down I will, but I will save you the heartache for now. Perhaps you have been there. Your Prince has cleared a trail for you and yet you decide that you want to go another way. In the process you experienced bruising, cuts, scrapes and a tattered wardrobe. Denying that you are royalty and that there has to be a better way. The great thing, Jesus was right there waiting for me to return. He wooed me back to Him. I must say it was a relief for me that I did not have to go back through that forest to find Him. He led me back to the path of the righteous and even carried my luggage for me. (He is such a gentleman). Anyways, I can say I am safely being led by my Prince who has a map and not by my stubborn map less self.
But I can't skip the important part of this beautiful story. Yes, my Prince rescued me. Yes, I am back into my beautiful gown, shoes and fabulous royal accessories ;). But that took some time for my Prince and I. That time is what I am going to tell you about.
When I finally handed over my heavy burden and let my Prince carry me home I was a wounded girl. Out in the wild wilderness I had built up some defense mechanisms (something like swinging a tree branch, very effective), gotten some bruises and deep cuts. These wounds were the wounds of my experiences, emotions, and worse the lies of the enemy. Out in the wilderness I listened to the wrong voice. I began hearing, "look at you, He will never take you back." Or "do you know what you have done? You will always be like that." The enemy whispered to my soul and honestly I listened to him. I was becoming worn, tattered and broken. The worst lie he fed me was "look at you in that ragged, torn up dress. You will have to change to be desired by Him." I began to build my perception of who I was off of a web of lies. Shame filled my heart. I believed my tiara had been given to me by mistake.
Oh how wrong I was. When my Prince scooped me up and held me He took away my burdens and he led me to a place of rest. Since then the truth slowly began to penetrate my heart. By still waters I was able to begin to see myself for who I was. He opened my eyes to my beauty. Jesus washed and bandaged each of my wounds. My rags were exchanged for beautiful royal gowns. Robbed from me in the forest by the enemy my trust had been stolen. But the gentleness of Jesus' words He won me over.
How did this happen? I began to pursue who I am in Christ. I received a complied list of verses of who I am in Him and began working through the list a verse at a time. I would sit and meditate on each verse and try to decide if I believe the verse as truth about myself or if I had replaced it with a lie. This painful process revealed many of the lies that I had been repeating to my soul. I realized that I did not sit in a place of truth, but instead I
dwelled in the lies that I had chosen to believe. One by one with the help of my Prince the lies were extracted. Each was replaced with a seed of truth. Honestly I am still in the process of doing this. It is timely, but so worth it. I am beginning to see the Princess that I am. Do you know who you are in Christ? The next couple weeks I am going to try to blog the process I have been walking through in hopes that maybe someone will benefit from the discoveries my Prince has given me. It has been a beautiful at at times painful journey. Join me and we can clean out those messy hearts of ours.
I know now that Jesus wants so much more for each of his Princesses. He desires freedom in truth. So turn to Him. His arms are open for you. He will accept you no matter where you are and let him carry all those suitcases filled with shoes, dresses and things that weigh you down.

I want to be set free. Let me run back into your open arms. I know you are waiting to carry my heavy burdens and lead me to a place of rest and restoration. Only with you will I discover the Princess that I truly am. I love you and am sorry that I have tried to make my own path. Please forgive me. Thank you for cleaning and dressing my wounds and bringing me to a place where I can begin to see myself as you do.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A 21st Century Jesus

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103

I am new to this blogging world. I have been a quiet observer for about four months, and I love the encouraging messages that different bloggers share. It seems that often times my heart hears just what it needs to. The power of seeing Jesus move through the text on a computer screen gives me chills at times. Occasionally I wonder what Jesus' ministry would have looked like in a modern setting. Had he walked the Earth today would he send mass text messages and be followed on YouTube? Perhaps, He would have a Blog sharing parables where people could connect to His message. I cannot help but smile when I think about a 21st century tech savvy Jesus. Do I believe He could have done it? Definitely. But I do think that there is something beautiful about the ministry He had when He walked the Earth. He had something I think we miss out on at times in the age of technology.

Jesus' ministry was filled with relationship. People followed Him. Not on Twitter, or Facebook. They walked along side Him. Engaged in conversation that was life changing. He spent time in different people's homes. He traveled and shared in life changing conversations with people that He loved. Jesus healed, inspired faith, mentored, rebuked the enemy and challenged the Pharisee's in a very personal way. Through conversation. Am I arguing that the blog world is an impersonal place? In some ways it is. But I will say that the 21st century is at times devoid of relationship because of the constant connection we each have to those we are already engaged in friendship with. We have become comfortable not reaching out to new people we meet. I joke that I have more of a relationship with my cell phone and lap top at times than with my friends and family.

A couple months ago, I was sitting in a sermon that talked about what would happen if we treated the Word of God like a cell phone. I laughed at first but the reality is my cell phone is a very important part of my life. It connects me to the world. Through it I communicate with friends and family. It is in some ways essential and ironically I feel like something is missing without it by my side. In the sermon we were challenged to think about how we treated the technology in our life and apply that to how we treat our Bible. Whoa! Here are some ways I treat my cell phone:
-If I leave it at home I will turn around and get it.
-I check it multiple times a day.
-I sleep with it next to my bed.
-It is the last thing I look at when I go to sleep and the first thing I look at in the morning.
-I use it to prioritize and organize my life.
-I use it to connect with people.
-At times it draws me away from the world around me.

These are just a few of the ways that a cell phone plays into my life. Okay, so now apply that list to my Bible. (This was a convicting sermon). Do I turn around and go back to my house to get my bible because I cannot be without it for even 10 minutes? Do I check my bible multiple times a day? Do I sleep with it next to my bed? Is it the last thing I look at in the evening and the first thing I look at in the morning? Do I use my Bible to prioritize and organize my life? Do I seek the Word to connect with people? Do I let my Bible draw me away from the world around me?

I wish I could say that my Bible was as much of a priority as my cell phone is most days. I can't help but ask myself what my relationship with God would be like if I treated my Bible like my cell phone. I know that this sermon convicted me with some of the 21st century priorities that did not plague people even 15 years ago. However, I still feel that in some ways the age of technology has some benefits. I love reading people's blogs and connecting with people half way across the country. I like the reality that a friend can always get a hold of me if they need me. But I do not want technology to become something that overshadows my relationship with my King.

Since I heard that sermon the way I view my Bible has changed. I now look at it as the main way to connect with Jesus. My idea of the Bible has really been stretched. Honestly, I cannot go anywhere without it. When I do not have it I miss it. I believe if I did forget it I would turn around in my car to get it. While I still am working on looking to it to enhance my relationships and every day decisions, I am glad that God has grown my heart.

So the question is, how do you view your Bible? Is it a necessity in your life? Is it something that you cannot stand to leave behind? Is it as important as your cell phone, Blackberry, or computer? How does the way you view your bible effect your relationship with the Prince of Peace?

I pray that I can continue to connect with you. I desire to pursue you more then I do some of the blogs, websites and technological devices in my life. I want to treat you like I often treat my cell phone. I desire to value your word and relationship more then anything else. May you become my main priority and passion. In Jesus name I pray- Amen