We are All Called 

When I was in high school I wrote about this little girl who I saw from my school bus window, ultimately she reminded me of me. This girl sat alone in what seemed to be hand-me downs, her hair dark and greasy, her eyes full of emptiness and loneliness. She was lost in a darkness, in the same hole I was in when I was her age. All I secretly wanted to do was to rush to her and tell her “everything will be okay”, but I didn’t, I couldn’t. I longed to reach out for her, but as the bus drove by that relationship that never even begun ended. I didn’t know why at 16 I felt compassion towards that little girl, and why that 10 seconds of eye contact turned into a embed memory sketched in my mind. I had no idea at the time that in the end everything would be okay because Jesus defeated death itself on a cross. I realize now God has been using that very memory to show me one of the very reasons why He created me. 

The last few weeks I’ve been blessed to be able to interact with various kids and youth. These kids have warmed my soul.  Their love to know each other and their hearts opening to hear the gospel has been amazing to see. Their excitement in their eyes for each day has been amazing to see the emptiness begin to be filled just by people loving on them.

One of them, who came only once,  this little girl  she approached me Friday night. I’ve never had to chance to interact with her. But for some reason she felt compelled to talk to me, she felt drawn to me. The first words out of her mouth was, “Will you be here Monday?” I quickly replied “Yes!” And told I’ll be here everyday. I glanced in her eyes and I saw my reflection in them. This little girl just wants to be loved and someone to accept her. This time I have the opportunity to not only talk to her but to be able to love on her the way I couldn’t with the other little girl, with the love Jesus shows us.

God is given me multiple opportunities to share the love and good news of Jesus. Each of us are called to do just that.  Some of us it maybe fear or anxiety holding us back but neither of those are from God. If we say we want to live for God’s will then we need to start opening out hearts and mouths a bit more then we are. We need to extend grace more and show mercy even more. No one is perfect but every single person deserves to be loved and every single person deserves to know the love that awaits them in Jesus Christ. 

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.

 

Guilty Voices 

I’m guilty of a lot, but one thing hit me tonight. 

I was the advocate who stood up to remove God from schools. I was an advocate for seperate church and state. I was an advocate for removing God from this new world we call America. 

I’m guilty. I’m guilty of convincing people not to believe in God with facts and so-called “wisdom”. I’m guilty of putting labels on Christians and marking them as weird and full-of-themselves. I am guilty of a lot. 

But God saved me. God sacrificed his Son, JESUS CHRIST. I was guilty of those things, but in Jesus I’m made new. God placed a burden in my heart to stand for what I believe in, I just never realized I was rooting for the wrong team the entire time because I all I wanted to was to be like every other person I knew. I never dug deep, I never truly knew what I believed. I never realized that “fitting in” was a tactic of the enemy. God knitted you together, if He wanted everyone the same, He would’ve made us all the same. 

So many people today are scarred of what others think. Nonbelievers, Believers it doesn’t matter. We look around to see who has their hand raised in worship, because we don’t want to be the only one. We don’t like to pray outloud or in public because we are afraid of what others might think of us. Do you know what they might think? They might envy you. They might want what you have. They might want that kind of faith. So what if you get some who don’t like to feel uncomfortable around those “Christian folk”.  It’s not your job to please everyone. Every though some think so. I am majorly guilty of that. 

It’s a hard battle, but God has shown me a lot recently. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to have a voice in what I believe in. It’s okay to stand up for what’s right.

Listen, God gave of us a voice not to just talk about ourselves, our drama, and our cozy churches. He gave us a voice to stand up for Him to defend Him and to proclaim His Son, Jesus. 
Use your voice for the good and it can change people’s lives. 

Lasting Impression

Impression.

Today’s word is impression. Many of us try impress others to some extent. Us women, we wear make up; we try to make ourselves more “beautiful”, even go through the pain of heels. Why? Who are we trying to impress?

Besides what do we do on the outside to impress, what about how we act? Do we go out of our way to impress that one “important” person? Do we act more caring and interested when someone you know is getting married, a family friend gets a promotion, a friend tells you they are having a baby? We care but do we really care that much?  We may, but probably not. 

When a first time guests walks out of a church, the goal should be “leaving with a good impression”. Typically, the impression is done in multiple layers. From what they see and how they feel when they first come in, the people (How they are treated, what conversations they had, if any), research suggest the least two important part is the worship and the preaching. What does that mean? It means it starts with YOU.

If you are a servant of the Lord and I pray you are then it starts with your ownself. It’s a key to keeping a guest, it’s a key to building up the Kingdom of God. A popular command from Jesus himself is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Impressing is not loving, it is going beyond the means of your ownself temporarily to put yourself in favor. 

If we focus on our relationship with Christ, if we focus on the loving of self. We will not have to impress, we just do. Our extent of our self will overflow into our serving. Serving comes from the heart, serving isn’t a requirement, it shouldn’t be seen as one, it should be done in overflow of love. 

I’ve been to  a few churches, some mega churches. Some of them I felt it was forced. I felt like they were just doing; trying to impress so hard that they forgot why they are serving and who they serving. Some of them served their leader before the served their King. 

To be a true servant, you must first be a true Christian: ““Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” -Romans‬ ‭12:9-13‬ ‭

Therefore, impressing is not godly, or biblical. Leaving a lasting impression on someone is. If we show people who we are as the body of Christ, that we are genuine, that we love and serve with our hearts and not for affirmation. We can change people’s lives. 

Stop impressing. Start just being and allow God to use the you behind your flaws you cover up, behind the weakness you try to hide. God can’t bless you if it’s not the real you.  

Saying “Yes” to God: Freedom

 

Recently, I devoted my life to saying “yes” more to God and less time ignoring Him. Saying Yes is hard sometimes, even when you are in the most uncomfortable situation.

Saying Yes means you are following the path God has hand picked for you. It means you are living for God and not yourself and allowing the Holy Spirit that dwells within you shine through you.

My experience as of late has been incredible. Do you know the feeling you have when someone grabs your wrist? The feeling of being forced not to move or when to move you have to do it only by their hand, but when they let go, you realize how important it is to have freedom from the bondage they were creating.  That’s the feeling, freedom.

Freedom from chains. The chains that lets things of this world define you. Each link shows a moment, a moment that scared you, a moment that you hold on to, because you do not know how to let it go or even if you want to let it go.  But saying yes, is freedom from all of that.

Everyone knows the song, “Amazing Grace”, but the Chris Tomlin version, “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” is simply about that. It’s about surrendering it all, surrendering your life to Jesus and when you do so, your chains are let go.  You have freedom.

The more you let go, the more your life will shine. It will get harder, you will go through tough times, but remember God has overcome the world.

Say Yes. Jump. Don’t passively wait. God will make you soar, even if you hit rock bottom a few times.

 

Fitting in

Have ever had that awkward moment where you feel out of place?

I used to have it all the time. Ever since I can remember my goal was to fit in. I was to fit in because I believed I was not allowed to be different. If I was different, then I was strange, if I was strange then I’d be nobody and no one would like me. 

I moved in 7th grade from Maryland to a small town in New York State. I immediately did not fit in, but someone approached me, so I became more comfortable with them. I found out months later, they weren’t the good crowd. They did drugs, they smoked, they drank, and got lost in the streets of a small town. I couldn’t hang with them so they stopped inviting me out, but I wanted them as friends so I became cool by failing grades, skipping school, and hating life. At the time to fill my void of friends I began an online life filled with Chat rooms. I became addicted. I thought I could be me without facing anyway one physically. It wasn’t until recently have I realized I was never me.

Behind the pixelated screen was this scared little girl who just wanted to be accepted by everyone. She wanted everyone to like her. But the reality is not everyone did, not everyone will.

It’s a hard pill to swallow when you think normal is fitting in or blending in. But I have learned these past few months is that God called me to be different.

He knitted me, Tanya, together with care and purpose. He made me perfectly imperfect. Lately, more chains are breaking and walls are crumbling down. The core of who I am is beginning to show. I am loving every minute of it.

To every girl out there: No matter what society, peers, even parents say, always strive to be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not just to fit in or think someone will like you better. God has made you amazing, shine like you are. 

God Doesn’t Make Junk

Did you know God doesn’t make junk? Did you know God created you?…yes YOU!

God knows every detail about you, even the scars you hide from your past to every hair on your head. He knows it all.

As a new believer it was easy to grasps the logic theoretically but hard the grasp  in reality. Did He really knit us together in our mothers womb? Did God carefully knit together the DNA and genetics that make you and me up? Did he really give you and I all the flaws and weaknesses and all the strengths? We both can sit back and simply say yes He did.

I have discovered recently, it’s been a long time coming, that it honestly doesn’t matter how hard I try to figure out who I am, because simply I am who I am. God will change me, God will mold me, but ultimately I can’t change me, and saying I want to change and trying to become someone I am not, simply make it seem as if I am shouting “God you didn’t do a good job creating me… ” I’m sorry but God doesn’t make mistakes and God doesn’t create junk.

I’ve battled with the concept that I am not good enough or I am not worth it. I surrender. I may be awkward even awkwardly quiet sometimes it doesn’t make me any less valuable, any less of a creation of Gods. People may judge me because I am not like them, I don’t work like them, I don’t live like them, I don’t have the same background, regardless of how they judging me, regardless if they don’t even like me, I’m not meant to please them. I meant to serve and worship and praise our God.

I’m not junk. You are not junk. You are beautiful because God created you. You are unique because you have gifts that only God gave YOU, yes just you. You are an amazing person, even the times you feel the lowest. Because sometimes struggles happen, sometimes we have fall into the pit so we remember who created us and who has control of our lives, but it doesn’t make less amazing because you needed a reminder.

God loves you no matter what you look like on the inside or out. As my pastor might say, “You are perfection in progress”. 

The Enemy Within

Life. 
You may be single like me, you might be married, you might be a single mother, you might be a single father or even widowed, but each of us face challenges on a daily basis. One of them simply being the enemy within ourselves, the natural sin we were born with.  

I have a tendency to be selfish, I have a tendency to be doing my own will and not seeking God and doing His will through me. Yet, I long to do His will and not my own.  I am not saying that I don’t seek God on a daily basis, I’m not saying I don’t get into the Word of God but what I am saying is that if I look back on my decisions and my life I see more my own decisions then His. There are times when I know it’s Him, because I never would have the strength to run the obstacle and to overcome those challenges to break down the walls.

Yesterday, I sat in my car in tears. I cried because I wanted to feel loved by someone. I was lonely. I reached out but everyone was busy. But I reminded myself, repeating scriptures in my head, that I don’t need anyone. That I need to seek Him first because everything else will be added to those who seek Him.  Even if it’s not in this world it’s okay. The point is, I may have had a breakdown, but it’s okay because it pointed me back to the Messiah, Jesus. 

That challenges we face are only temporary. Jesus has be the Lord of your life. You need to let go of control of every decision. Let go and let him use you. 

I wouldn’t be where I am without Jesus. In a mere 3 years of a Christian, I have witnessed miracles, death, and new life in Christ. I have learned that living for me is lonely and depressing because it does not fulfill me. Living for Jesus, bringing him up in everyday conversation, brings forth life and joy. Being the light for others in darkness, that’s life fulfilling. Being your own light in your own world casts only your own shadow.

I will forever, till the day the Lord takes me home, battle with the enemy of my soul. But if  I fill myself up with things that give life and Gods word then it will quiet the enemy telling me: I’m not worthy, I’m ugly, no one likes me, I have no friends, if only I had one more thing then life would be perfect. Life isn’t perfect and it never will be. Stop searching and start seeking.

The Age Gap

As an almost 29 year-old, I am struggling. I am at an age gap where I want to be able to meet people, but a bar is not the place. I am at the age where I have to find a group of people who love me, and will be there when I need them, because its time to grow up, even though I’m stuck in my teens at heart. It’s time to realize the lies I’ve told myself were not true. The judgement I placed on people were my own fears reflected back to me. The lack of love I felt from people was not that it wasn’t there, it was because I was turning away from it, not looking at it straight on because I was afraid.

The lies I’ve told myself are lies of a teenagers mind, the lies that people tell you because of their insecurities. I’ve told myself I’m worthless, but I’m not. I’m worthy of everything as I am a daughter of a King. I’ve told myself I’m a failure, but I’m not because I have a purpose in my life to the will of my Father, and I can’t fail until the day I stop breathing. I’m told myself that no one will like me because I’m too ugly or too fat, that lies of a teenager still haunts me today, but the mere fact is they are not true. I’m a beautiful woman who may struggle with her eating habits, there’s help for me there, but God doesn’t judge me on my size, he doesn’t judge me on whether or not I have brunette hair or blonde hair or even if I put an effort on getting ready. He simply doesn’t care, only I care what other’s will think.

I’ve judged people, a lot of people, Lord please forgive me. I have misjudged people based on their attitudes that day, or their personality. Here is the thing, most of those judgments are a reflection of myself, attributes of myself, that I don’t like to see pawned out, whether it’s anger, bitterness, or any other fowl feeling mood. I am afraid that I will be the old me, full of anger and bitterness. So seeing those people I see myself and I judge them as not being loving, but it may just be there way of loving in the moment. Regardless, it doesn’t matter, because the old me is dead, where some attributes will forever haunt me, they do not define me anymore.

There are people out there who love me because I am me, not because I look a certain way or was born with their DNA. There is a Father in heaven who never once stopped loving me. There is my Savior who died for me, the ultimate love and sacrifice, dying for the sins I struggle with on a daily basis, who is seated at the right hand of the Father who loves me.

I maybe struggling right now in the age gap. But it doesn’t change who I am in Christ. I’m still a child of God. I am still pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus. I am full of joy knowing that I am loved through all my struggles and all my ups.

Communication 

Prayer is a powerful communication between you and your Father. Most of us including myself forget how much prayer and communication is important in our walk with Jesus. I was not placed on this earth to live a mediocre life, I was placed here to live a great life, living according the Word of God and living Gods will.
Recently, I have started a new way of approaching communication between my Father and I. Let me tell you, it is amazing. It will blow you away.

Get a pen and paper. Ready? That’s all you need, oh wait your missing the key thing, the Word of God. I have been studying and God has been speaking to me through this living Word. Things that I may skimmed or skipped over before. Things that I don’t even compute, but when I sit there and mediate on those words speaking from God through a human being. God speaks to me loud and clear. He’s giving me answers to questions I had on Christianity, that I never thought I’d find. He’s making look at things in my life and evaluate them.

He’s making me realize that I may not be able to change the world, by myself, but if I can change one persons life from the burning out of hell, that is all that matters.

I don’t care if I have to live a certain way to reach people. I don’t care if I have to give up things that are luxury in order to be able to reach people. There are lost souls out there that may have had a bad experience with another Christian. They may heard about Jesus, but if they never see an example of Christ in the flesh then they will never be able to have anything to relate to.

At our church, we has missionaries who devote their lives to Christ. They are there to be a light to young kids teenagers, young adults. They are there to be a living example of Christ so that maybe they can plant a seed, or at least attempt to lay a foundation. I am honored to be a part of a church family that cares, not just about themselves but the city and community around them.

If we never pray, if we never communicate with God. We will never get to see Gods glory in our lives, and maybe the lives of those around us. Someone prayed for me to be saved. 

My challenge for you is to pray your heart out for the lost souls around you, even if you don’t think they will ever come around. I was a lost soul. I was the one who challenged Christianity, but God saw favor in me and invited me into the kingdom of God, because he loves me and I finally allowed him to not only love me but to relieve love back from me. 

Read your bibles. Journal. Speak to God. Just don’t live a mediocre life, live the life God will provide for those who are faithful and surrender to Him.