Design 

A year ago I had no idea what I was doing. I was thrown into an opportunity that I had no formal training in and not getting trained in something for me was hard. I like guidelines, I like bullet points to what I need to achieve to do well in a role or project. But there was no bullet points, no checkboxes. I literally just had to be me. But it was hard because I see so many flaws in myself that the idea of being me was scary. So last year I did my job and interacted when I had to or if they they needed help. It was very hard for me to be me in front of them so I put on a facade and I tried not to let them see the broken me inside because I was afraid they’d find out how I really felt, fake. 
But this year, God moved mountains in my life. I’ve learned to embrace my flaws as who God designed me as. I’m not perfect, I never will be. I have a tendency to tell myself, “If I only talked more maybe people would like more. If I wasn’t so awkward maybe people would invite more to things and I’d have more friends. If I wasn’t so big maybe then I’d win a guy over. If I lost weight maybe then I’ll love myself.” I could go on, the criteria I put on myself to be able to accept myself is not God ordained, it’s pure evil. I could never obtain it. I’m seeking perfection when God says ‘no, you weren’t designed to be perfect. You weren’t designed not to have flaws, you weren’t designed to get everything right the first time. You were designed to love and to care for others. You were designed to teach others about my Son. You were designed to lead the way for young believers. You were designed to be you. But do you trust me enough to let me use the person I designed you to be? Or do you want to try to constantly aim for something you never hit and live a life we’re all you see are failures because the criteria of perfection is too high to be obtained?’

Don’t live a life of failure. Live of life full of grace and love. One of the hardest things for me is allowing myself to have grace, I’m the hardest person on myself, but there’s freedom found in it. Be who God designed you to be and allow him to mold you to be exactly who he made you to be. Trust in him. 

My God

I’ve talked about it multiple times before I am going to go back to where it all began… my story.

When I was little I was the problem child. The child always into something and getting into trouble. In church, I was that “evil rascal”, I was the one who got caught kissing some teenage boy in the nursery at church when I was maybe 9 or 10.  The one who was running up and down the pews, the one laughing when people started raising their hands, running around, screaming. I was the child no one wanted to see.

I was the person everyone thought would fail. I was the person that people thought was hopeless. Maybe growing up with negativity thrown at me constantly, may of had something to do with it, but I believed them. I began doing miserable in school, I failed 9th grade while in special ed classes. My life looked bleak. I began online relationships because it’s where only words mattered, and the idea of “love” and “attention” is what I was craving. I began watching porn through this entire thing,  triggering an addiction. At 14, my life was in shackles. I wanted to end my life. I was ready. But right when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I was knocked down and strangled, literally. After that moment, I remember laying in bed crying thinking if there was a God then why is my life so bad. If there was a God why doesn’t he just end my life, but there was turning point in that moment that I took a deep breathe, to just be. I remember looking back at happy me, and I wondered if I could ever get back there.

To be honest, I don’t know what my definition of “happy” was back then. Maybe it was a feeling of love, maybe it was a laughing little girl, maybe it was me being completely rotten, either way I wanted to be that person again.

Today, I look back and see God was writing my story. I see him woven throughout my entire childhood, always placing a hand over me protecting me. When I went the darkest corners, He was with me and I didn’t even know Him.  There are so many things I can pinpoint that I know where He was writing my story.

But yet there are times where I tend to forget all that and I look around and say “where are you?” I look around and feel empty, unloved, worthless, and I feel he has forsaken me. However, a God that made sure I didn’t end my life, a God that helped me get through my darkest moments, that God would never forsake me, would never un-love me, would never disown me, that God would cherish me. That God is my God.

I am thankful God led me to where I am. I am thankful for my church family. I am thankful that He saved my life over 2000 years ago and again 16 years ago when I was at the end of my rope. I am thankful He still loves me no matter how much I denied Him, challenged Him, and gave up on Him.

 

 

The Mission

Imagine what life would be like without the device you are holding. What would life look like?

What would this life look like without social media?

What would life look like if weren’t trying to get that perfect shot?

Sadly, we will never know. Social media is a way of life. It’s not a fad but a way for us to “connect”, or brag about our lives to other people. It’s a way for us to share our views and hide behind a screen. It’s one of the ways we can spread the Gospel. It’s one way we can share the good news of Jesus. Yet, we would rather share an inappropriate post, take a selfie, and/or share our opinions about fad topics or politics.

Now let’s image life with social media, but with every person who calls themselves Christian, sharing and reflecting Jesus in their post, actions, and interactions. How would social media be different, sure you may get some blocked people for being that “crazy Christian”, but for the four or more other people who may have been having a bad day who read your post, maybe you planted a seed or watered one.  Maybe you made their life just a tad bit better because they saw something in you, the Light. 

This may never happen. But imagine what God could do through us if we all aligned with his mission and lived it out personally, socially, and corporately. If we lived out God’s will and not our own. If we aligned our hearts with God everyday, not just when it’s convenient or when there’s someone else to see you do it.

Reflect God in your everyday life. Let the light weave through your posts. Because it is only then when people learn about new life in Christ, it’s where they learn that there is a God who loves them unconditionally, it’s where they learn that they are not alone in this world, it’s where they learn who Jesus is and what he died for.

Love your neighbor… even if you don’t always agree.

Where are all the Christians?

We’ll see how that title pans out by the end of this. Typically I write one and change 12 times before determining the right one. However, this one struck me while I was driving this evening, so I’m going to stick with it.

You may be gasp or wave and say “hey I’m right here…” but are you really? Andy Stanley talked today about how we will be remember as “American church goers”, not necessarily the Christian that is described in the Bible.

He went over Acts 4, how Peter and John stood at death door mat and courageously stared into its eyes. Yet didn’t back down. They stood in front of the same people who just crucified Jesus, they didn’t budge. Instead they prayed, they asked for more boldness…

Do you know what we don’t have today Bold Christians, Courages Christians. Why? Today’s society in America we let it beat us up. We let it take control of our lives. We let what others think dictate our actions.  You can say you don’t, but you post on Facebook, you strive for that like. You want to make sure your post sounds great or the snapshot of your life is the perfect angle. We do it everyday and we don’t even realize it.

When was the last time you stood up as a courageous Christian and stood for what the Bible said declare as true, rather than shaping it to for your opinion or opinion of others.

I’m guilty of all of is. I’m a passive Christian. I don’t got out on a limb. I don’t speak my mind, let  alone the truth.  I don’t go up to people courageously. I try to keep my mouth shut and let others fight and gossip on Facebook or media around me. BUT yet I’m just as guilty because I don’t take the stand. 

We need to courageously seeking truth, seeking Jesus. We need to go out and take on the battlefield of life that we are in armor up, but otherwise all we are going to do passive wait and never go anywhere.

Unintentionally Intentional Ignorance

Today during the sermon, I began to question whether or not I was intentionally avoiding connection with God or if it was unintentional.

There’s this saying that is “You will set time for things you want to set time for” So if you don’t make God a priority are you intentionally avoiding connection with Him?  You could argue both sides. However, I believe at least for me, it’s  unintentionally intentional. Meaning that at first I unintentionally placed God on the back burner. I unintentionally allowed my time with Him to be put aside, but as time marches on you get to a point where you recognize it, but instead of acknowledging it and setting time aside, you continue ignoring it and it becomes a pattern in your life.

Why do we get to that point? Why do we let it become a pattern?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this whole connection thing. Maybe it’s just me who feels broken and tries to hide it and hide from it. I mean seriously if I don’t talk no one will know right? If I don’t say anything no one will know that I’m secretly struggling with my connection with God, if I don’t say anything no one will know that I struggle with loneliness, no one will know that I struggle with worthiness, no one will know that I struggle with accepting any compliment as genuine, no one will know that I struggle with relationships, no one will know that I am a complete mess and completely broken.  Hiding prevents the light from coming in and allows for darkness to creep in.

Don’t hide. Don’t be afraid to tell people who you trust in your life what you are going through because God doesn’t want you to go through life alone. God put those people in your life for a reason. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but God doesn’t grow you in your comfort zone. You are allowed to struggle. You are allowed to not be okay in moments. You allowed not to be perfect. Don’t let your sinful self be what’s holding you back from your connection with God.

So if we don’t make God a priority  we will lose that connection. We lose our ability to keep fighting, because we aren’t allowing God to provide our strength, we only rely on our own. God has amazing plans for your life, you just have to be able to make Him a priority again in your life. Let God be your King of your life again, let Him be God again.

God’s in Control

 

Let’s be honest for a moment, we all know God is in control. But how many of us would rather say, He’s not because we don’t want to face that fact that we are not perfect, that we fall short, we don’t want to admit that we need Jesus every day of our lives. We all do, even the people you see as “they can do no wrong” they too fall short! We can do nothing in our power, in our own strength, to make us not fall short. The beauty is Jesus came and died for us to build the bridge, so that we no longer fall short. He covers our sins.

You can say, “I know that”, but do you? Do you actually sit there and realize that every time you have a setback, that God is in control? I bet if you get the promotion, “it’s all God, thank  you Jesus.” But in the hard moments do we go and say, “thanks God, I know I fall short, and I know you and me have some work to do, so thank you so much for allowing me to go through this hard moment.” No, we don’t, we say, “Where is God” “I don’t understand” ” What did I do wrong”. We underestimate God in the hard moments, we feel if he was in control, then we wouldn’t be going through the things we go through. But sometimes we have to go through the hard moments, to get us to where He wants us.

Those hard moments are when we have our biggest growth. Why? Because you get on your knees, you get back into your relationship with God, you realize the sins that you have been allowing to dictate your life and you give them over to God, and you start focusing on the voice that should be.

So many of us are called to do great things, but sometimes we get discouraged because we have a major set back happen, or maybe we get depressed. And we let our circumstances dicate our life versus letting the Light dictate it.

I have battled depression for years. But the moment I surrender to it and I let it control me, is the moment I find myself, isolated and alone. I have to battle it, I have to fight it because I wasn’t called to live my life depressed, I was called to serve a God with joy, I was called to love others, I was called to be where I am in this moment. I can either take my depression and hide it away and pretend it’s not there or I can help others going through the same thing.

Yesterday, at church was so powerful, we did an illustration on how we are better together. We were told to lift our hands, to feel the burn of burdens we carry everyday by ourselves. Then we interconnected with each other, showing that that if we keep each other lifted, we can hold together longer, we can help each other when someone begins to fall. It was in that moment Pastor read out all the things we wrote down that were battling. We are better together, we get through things together not alone.

So when we face that next challenge or setback, there is a reason, even if you don’t see it. Don’t run, don’t hide, face it because God can use this moment in your life to help someone else out down the road because you’ve been there. God knows what he is doing even if it doesn’t feel right in the moment. Look around you, there are people there who’ve been through similar things, connect with them, learn from them, we do better when we do life together.

 

 

Saying “Yes” to God: The Journey

The Journey

I don’t know where you are in your faith walk, maybe you just accepted Christ in your heart and you’re searching, maybe you’ve been a Christ follower for years, maybe you are just struggling right now, but regardless of where you are or who you are, God is there with you. Like what it is written, God will never leave you nor forsake you. He is always be there, you cannot hide from Him, even when we think we can.

I say this because there are many times I struggle and I feel like God hasn’t been with me, that if God was in it would not be this particular way. But that’s just me trying to control my own destiny.Which my path was already written by God, he knows when I’ll  fall, he knows when I rise up. He knows it all. He knows your path too, he knows what he is doing.

But if you don’t trust him, if you don’t hand the reigns over to God, and you try to steer,  your life just keeps repeating it self and you wonder why things are not going anywhere. It’s because you’ve been spinning in circles trying to control your own life. Listen, God has a path for you. There will be some rockiness, there will be storms, but there is also light, joy, happiness. Trust God no matter which direction he calls you.

I’ve recently battled on of my worst depressions of my life. I felt that God was not with me, I felt that abandonment. I had followed what God had called me to do, and I end up in a dark pit. I was scared, I was worn out, I was curled up and was done with life. But here is the beauty of it, God was there the whole time. He never left me. I just had to look up.  I was so focused on my own self pity and my own self worth, that I never realized how much God was trying to steer me, I just had to let him.

If you would have told me that today July 1st would be the last day of my job, that I didn’t hold at the time, if you would have told me that I would start working on July 5th in the administrative side of ministry, I would call you completely crazy, but not to God. If I didn’t follow his calling to quit my job, I would not be here right now, I may have not fallen into that pit, but I followed Him. God was there the entire time, even in my darkest moments.  God is not done with me yet, and he definitely is not done with you yet.

God is on the move in your life. Just trust in Him. Lean on Him.

 

 

 

 

Who God Says We Are: The Light

A Christian cliché, you are the light. It’s a commonly used phrase in todays world. But do we really know what it means. Do we really know what God truly intended for us to know about being the light.

I say cliché because it’s so over used and so under defined. God uses the light to represent him, we all know that. BUT do we really believe it. We can say it, because God says it but doesn’t mean we believe it.

Many of us struggle with who we are in God’s eyes but yet to him we a prince and princess, we are redeemed and saved by God’s glory through Jesus. But many of us still go on day after day and do not practice who God says we are, we simply go by who we say we are.

But God doesn’t want us to do that. He doesn’t want us to sit in our daily lives and repeatedly beat ourselves up over the lies we tell ourselves who God says we are. We don’t believe it enough that God says we are His children, we don’t believe we are worthy, we don’t believe we are good enough, we don’t believe in ourselves, we simply don’t believe we are the light.

Some of us believe the light is someone who has it all together, it’s the “perfect” christian, it’s the “non-sinner”. But that’s all wrong. We are the light because we are BROKEN and we are far from perfect. We are the light because God saved us.

It maybe hard at times to remember we are the light because momentarily we are battling darkness, and that’s okay. But the more we are the light, the more we are who God called us to be, the more we are like who God says we are.

Let’s get the walking shoes on. Let’s start walking in a different manor. We don’t sit sidelines any more. We be His disciples. We be His light shining for the world to see.

 

Judgement

We use social media only to show our best side, only to impress others. This is true. We use every source to impress others typically without even realizing what we are doing. Why? Because most of us only want people to see our good side, we don’t want to be judged by others. We live the majority of our lives in fear of what others might think, or at least I do.

But the blessing is God will not reject us.

God is by our side every time we fall. Every time we trip during our walk with Jesus. According to Psalm 139,  he was the very creator of your path, why would he judge you on the very thing he put in your life for to grow from?

I am know that I will fail, that I will be judged because I have posted something wrong, or have offended someone. I constantly worry about what others think, where that may be a gift at times, it has stopped me from doing things I used to love, to opening up to people, to just being me.  But it also has helped me, it has allowed me to realize God is the only one who can truly judge me.

In todays world, we are constantly judging others. We judge them based on their looks, on their skin tone, on their attitude, on their past, on their decisions, on every detail of their life. Why? Because they are not like you.

You may hear, “Oh, I wouldn’t have done that” or “Look over there [giggle]”. Let me tell you, I am afraid of judgment it has paralyzed me at times. I am afraid sometimes to make decisions or to say what I feel is right because I am afraid I will be wrong, and if I am wrong, then I will be judged and unworthy of everything. I can blame society for this, I can blame the fact that I have this shy little girl inside of me that gets her feelings hurt if someone says something negative to her. But I won’t. The only true one who can judge me is the very creator who knitted me together in my mother womb, God.

I did not pick my life. I did not pick what I went through as a child. I did not pick my skin tone. I did not pick my personality. So if people want to judge, let them judge because they are stating that God didn’t know what he was doing. But He did.

I am the only person who can let judgement affect me. I am the only person who can let it get under my skin. But from this moment I am walking this walk with Jesus, not afraid on condemnation, not afraid of judgement, because let people judge. I have nothing to hide.

Giving Up

I give up.

I’m packing my bags and shipping out. I’m done with the Christian walk. Tapped out. I surrender to that fact that this takes a lot effort, talent, time, treasure, it takes work. I don’t have the energy nor the strength. I’m done but God’s not done. I want to give up, but God won’t let me just walk away. I have no energy, it’s okay because it means I have rely on God’s strength to lift me up.

God will not give up on me, even if I walk away.  Even if I decide to never to serve Him. Even if I decide to never to go to church again. God will not give up on me. He will always try to pursue me.

If you recently have been battling with the idea of walking away from God, don’t. God will not give up on you. You will go live your life, but there will always be something missing, a God-sized hole that only He can fill. God loves us too much for us to think we can just run away from Him. If you think you can just turn back on your very creator, then you surely don’t know the power of God.

If a child runs away, the parents will take every dollar, every waking minute, every drop of resource they have to find their missing child. God will do the same for you, He will not give up.

Many of us grew up in a going to church, including me. But we turned our back because of bad practices, ungodly ministers, and evil doers. We just didn’t fit and we didn’t think “church” was for us. BUT the thing is faith and Christianity is not about what church you go to, even though, many of were taught that. Being in a relationship with your savior and walking the narrow pathway with him, is the real Christian walk. Not going to church on a  Sunday/Wednesday/ every other day the church doors were open. Community is great, but it can only go so far, especially when the people who you grew up with are not the “Christians” you thought they were.

The “church” I grew up in, was full of people who classify themselves as “Christians” but did not practice it at home. They put on their mask every Sunday and they were “happy”. There was no true testimony, there was no true relationship with our savior.

I found Christ in a middle school auditorium, 15 years after I left the “church” I grew up in. I didn’t think a church that met in a middle school could be an actual church, especially one that did not use the KJV translation.  But this church iginited something inside of me, and allowed me to see Christianity isn’t just about meeting on a Sunday morning. It’s about building a relationship with the one true King, our savior. It’s about building godly relationships with godly people. It’s about serving our God that way Jesus served. It’s about testimony, and sharing the gospel. It’s about walking the narrow pathway with your life and doing God’s will. It’s about forgiveness, grace, and mercy. It’s about LOVE because God is love. It’s admitting that we are not perfect and we need Jesus’s blood to cover us. It’s about giving up your sin and leaving it at the foot of the cross. It’s about picking up your cross daily and following Jesus.

I could keep going, however, compared to what I was taught, ‘Be perfect and fear God because God has all power’, Christianity is so much more.

I cannot walk away from God. I cannot walk away from a savior who voluntarily got up on the cross and died for this sinner who is writing this. Growing in a relationship takes work, it takes time, but I am more than willing to build a deeper relationship with my savior. Christianity isn’t easy, especially this day and age, but I wouldn’t change who I am and who I am becoming for the world.