the only thing that will ever remain

A shot I took of my dear friend’s hands after serving a summer in Haiti

I’ve been studying Beth Moore’s David A Heart Like His study. Following David’s journey through all the turmoil that pre-existed his reign, how God chose him, and His actual reign is BEYOND challenging. It’s funny how God shows up as I’m studying. I don’t know if any of you have felt this way, but sometimes I’m curious if I’m doing what God wants for me at every moment. Specifically, what to study in my quiet times. I have not had that question at all while studying this. For example, today I was reading 1 Samuel 19:9-18, which is all about Saul’s jealousy and anger toward David. Basically David was in God’s will completely. He was victorious in his battles and well..the dude had joy! Saul’s son Jonathan was right there with David, guarding him from Saul and keeping David safe. Saul’s anger boiled over to him trying to kill David. Jonathan loved David so much and was so in tune with him he constantly attempted to save David from his father, Saul. I like to think that Jonathan was an angel figure. Not literally…but the Spirit of the Lord was so strong in him he was constantly protecting David from harm.

Jonathan had the love of the Father in him. He constantly risked his life by telling David the secrets of Saul. Jon didn’t care at all, David was his soul  brother.

1 Samuel 18:1 “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”

I mean soul brother, literally. The love of the Father was in Him so fully, he risked his life. At the end of the insert written by Beth Moore she shared John 15:13. I looked up the full passage and the words I read blew me away.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:12-18

Let’s see how Christ loved..for starters, he bore the slurs and profanity that the people yelled at him while on the cross. He gave up his rights for the world’s freedom’s sake. He held back any harsh and cutting words as the very ones he was dying for tortured him. He saved the sinner that was next to him on the cross. He obeyed his Father. Challenging right? As I was thinking on all of these things, the song “One Thing Remains” begins to play on my iTunes. I love when God does that. It’s a little piece of assurance that this is reading this very passage learning about His very love.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me
On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

Praise you, Father.

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busy being

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

It’s hard to just be. I struggle with allowing God to take control. Sounds silly right? My heart knows that I worship a God who has all things in control. He can handle any situation given to Him. He knows my worries, fears, and burdens. If it was my heart’s decision I wouldn’t struggle with giving over those things, but there’s a battle within me. My head is telling me “girl, figure it out. plan ahead. plan WAY ahead and guide your own life.” But all that Christ calls me to do is obey. If I would do that everything would be taken care of. When I obey, God speaks. When I obey, I move as God speaks and so on. You see the pattern. Obedience is everything. It’s the easiest concept, yet it’s the hardest action.

Sometimes I think back and wonder what I would be doing if I just allowed God to guide me completely. Would I be overseas? Would I be at a different college? Would I be working somewhere in a state far away? Who knows. That’s not the point though. The point is realizing that God wants what is best for me and you. That’s a promise. It may not be what we see as best. That’s partially because we have a temporal mindset most times. I wonder what God would do if I quit planning and just rest in His Word and plan?  I shouldn’t wonder, I should just do it and trust in Him. That’s all He wants. He wants me to trust and obey Him fully. I say I do that, but I absolutely don’t. I hand Him only parts of my future and life, but I hold back and plan the other areas of my life.

My prayer is to be released from the mindset of planning. I want to be released from the bondage of control and worry. I want to live in the now with an eternal mindset. That may sound contradictory, but it’s not. I want to wake up each day and strategically go out and further the Kingdom. That’s God’s ultimate goal for us. He wants us to spread His love and grace. It seems like a pretty easily accomplished goal especially if i’m obeying God.

But reality is I don’t wake up each morning with a clear mindset on what my day holds. I don’t claim to know all the answers. I refuse to claim that I spread the love of God daily. I can be a rude and cold-hearted person sometimes. Especially on the days that I forget how forgiven and loved I first was. One way I can show God’s love is through my art. I have a huge opportunity to show His love while taking photos of seniors, families, and couples. I am given those two hours to capture memories and shed light in their life. It could be through my work ethic, the words I choose to say, or how I affirm them. I am aware of the impact I am able to have and I am ready to run with it.

Since my 10th grade year, I’ve had the feeling of something big in my future. I’ve never understood what exactly it entailed, but anytime I think of my future and my goals I get an adrenaline rush. By opening different doors in my life, He continues to affirm my feelings about my future. I know He has huge plans for me that are even better than what I’m recording on post-it notes. All I have to do is obey.

for the love of His people {Agape II}

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Mission exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” John Piper

It was a rainy weekend. Rainy weekends are very close to being my favorite kinds weekends. The main reason being there is nothing to do. No school or responsibilities, so sleeping in is accepted, right??

It seems like the Summer is so far away right now. I feel like it will never be May 23rd. Why is May 23rd so significant you ask? Only because i’ll be getting on a plane and leaving the United States for about 8 weeks. It’s been a long journey waiting to hear where God is calling me this Summer, but a few weeks ago He made it very evident. I signed up in November to be on the Refuge missions team. It is unlikely for a Freshman to go on an all summer mission trip only because we are so young and most freshman haven’t been overseas or they just have too much on their plate since it’s the first year of college etc. Not knowing what my chances were to make it, I decided that if I did get accepted it was God’s way of letting me know that this was His will. I turned in my 2000+ word application/essay about me and hoped for the best. I was supposed to find out if I made it or not by mid December. Due to some internal issues with leaders and what not, the date was pushed back. This, as you can imagine, was very troublesome to me. I was beginning to think that God didn’t want me to go, or it just wasn’t my time. Not only was the date being pushed back, but the trip {Bolivia} I signed up to go to was not looking so good. There wasn’t a for-sure leader for the male team, there was conflict with churches over there, and many other issues. I knew the God was telling me no at this point and I was okay with that because I trust His plan. But when I found out for sure that Bolivia was not happening, I was not peace and no where near the point of being okay with it. I realized that maybe this was me being selfish and God is wanting me to stay in the States for the Summer. I began to pray that God would show me what He wants and that I stay out of it {as in let Him guide me}.

I realized that I had limited God from the first place. When I signed up for Bolivia, I said I’m either going to BOLIVIA {no where else} or I AM staying here and working. What if Bolivia wasn’t where God wanted me, what if that was my selfish decision. You may think someone is being unselfish by wanting to serve God for a whole summer overseas, but even though I had good intentions I was being completely selfish. I wanted to serve God because I love His people and being overseas has a huge place in my heart. I wasn’t wanting to go to glorify His name but rather I was going to serve His people. There is a fine line, and I had crossed it. I broke down at the point I realized I had given God an ultimatum.

In the beginning of the application process, the teams were required to write down three location preferences in case the first one didn’t work out. My three choices were 1) Bolivia 2) Prague 3) China. But I never really thought why I put down my second or third choice, because I was positive I would be going to Bolivia if I got accepted. I look back at it now, and I know for a fact God was writing those choices down. He knew that there was a lesson I needed to learn with my selfishness and that in the end I would be going with my unfamiliar second choice.

Everything is coming together. It’s amazing to see God’s plan actually play out and think back and remember situations that have led up to this point. I can’t wait to get on a plane with the team and fly overseas to an unfamiliar place to serve unfamiliar people for a God that loves all. I am going into this with zero expectations except for God to move in the hearts of the Prague college students and for his name to be ultimately glorified in it all.

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

I ask only one thing from you guys and one thing only. Pray. Please pray. Pray that God will soften the hearts of the students we will be staying with and hanging out with. Pray for the teams safety. Pray that team will work together for God’s glory. Just pray.

If you have any questions about the trip, my heart for missions, or why I feel it’s life changing to go overseas ANYTHING, please comment or email me! I am more than willing to share this passion with you.

that’s agape

My fuel {Agape}

John 14:20

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

I was driving around today and I saw a {in my opinion} crazy billboard. It was a picture of a guy sitting on a couch alone with a cat rubbing against his leg. I was confused by the picture so I read the quote underneath it. It said “Fill the void. Adopt a cat”. Hmmm that didn’t help my confusion much. I understand what the point of the billboard was but I think they went about it the wrong way. In my opinion, a feline will not fill the void most people experience.

I’ve been reading the book “Mere Christianity” by C.S Lewis and it has really opened my eyes to a variety of things. It has opened my mind to what free will actually is and why God gave it to us. It’s given me a different view on a “good” and “bad” situation. But most importantly, it has shown me what God has actually done for me and why our relationship to him versus the relationship of an animal with him is so significant. I finished the last chapter with this quote by C.S. Lewis,

God design the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to feed on..God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

This really amazed me. God made us. We are His creation no matter how hard we try to run away. That’s why we are not complete nor do we feel complete until He is in our lives. He is the only one that could possibly fill the void so many people find themselves having. This verse in Colossians explains it perfectly,

So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. -Colossians 2:10

If a child grows up without any attention from his/her parents, they find themselves trying to fill the emptiness. Whether they search for it in love or other things, bottom line they are trying to fill the hole they have. In the same way, we are God’s children except he is not the only neglecting us, we are the ones running from him. Whether you want to admit it or not, you run. I run. Everybody runs from God, until they realize that he is not a God that is waiting to strike you down but rather he is a God with his arms wide open.

{Excuse the alcohol comment, but I couldn’t help but throw a creed acoustic performance in here}

I give that visual often. A God with open arms. That vision hits me so significantly because for so long I was looking for acceptance in all the wrong ways. I mean who hasn’t been through that stage. I ran away as fast as I could, but just as fast as I ran away, once I hit my wall I ran back and collapsed in His arms.

I don’t act the way I do to earn God’s love because He can’t possibly love me anymore than He already does. I act the way I do to show a watching world what and who my priorities are. Stop running away. Instead run towards Him and accept the grace and love He has already given. It just has to be accepted.

That’s agape.