Cherishedheart


Reach Out In Fullness!
November 19, 2012, 6:43 pm
Filed under: encouragement, inspirational, Uncategorized | Tags:

This last month has been extremely trying and I have fallen ill twice just in that period of time. The reasons for this include that such as me getting a job, then realizing how poor my time management skills were, then leading to exhausting my body to major debilitation and as a result launching myself on a turbulent emotional downward spiral. Sounds rough doesn’t it? Well, yes, it was. However, I have learned so much in the last month not just about my poor time management skills but also my poor self-management skills. I know this idea is extremely vague but I will elaborate.

Oh, it is not emphasized how important “self” is, and how taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually is what first enables one to be able to pour out love selflessly into others. We are to be full, not empty when reaching out to others in our life. I received a wake-up call when one week I found myself piling on the responsibility and having two meltdowns that week that were not tipped off necessarily from the schedule itself but from social situations. I was feeling burned out and hoped that I would be completely satisfied by relying on friends to fill me up again. So after the last two crazy weeks, the Lord suddenly placed a sort of Proverb in my mind and I wrote it on my hand to remind myself. Here is what I wrote:

“Reach out in fullness, not out of emptiness.”

This little proverb has proved to challenge me in every area of my life, in all of my relationships, positions and obligations that I encounter or seek. This initially applied to a more intimate matter, and I will be vague but honest. I fancied someone and was seeking to have a friendship with this person… after much frustration and blowing things out of proportion I ended up becoming emotionally wounded. Not really because of the person, but because of how I approached the friendship. Even though on the outside I might have seemed casual and mild, in reality in my own heart (something not realized until I wrote that little proverb on my hand) I was acting ou of desperation, and out of emptiness as I fought for this person’s attention and affection. I expected some sort of fulfillment friendship, even if I was blind to the prospects of their returning any inkling of care or affection. That person’s indifference caused an emotional breakdown and many tears were shed. I had been reaching out to that person to fill a void I had in my own heart for perfect love, instead of our friendship and fellowship simply being an outpouring of Christ’s love that was already full inside of me. So, in the week seceding I said to myself constantly, “Reach out in fullness, not out of emptiness.”

The other aspect of my life that this principle became more revealed to was in my obligations and responsibilities. My crazy week from Hell (excuse the language) a few weeks ago put me over the edge and its insurmountable stress was not made sense of until a week later. I wanted to try all of these different things, and volunteer in multiple areas and I was running around all day not to get back to my dorm until nine or ten at night where I proceeded to study with half a brain until two or three in the morning for over a week straight. I was physically drained which led to my distorting many social situations and causing an influx of emotional turbulence. I was extremely sensitive, easily offended and hurt during this week. I reflected days later why I had gotten myself so involved and entangled in many social and serving obligations and even more why I felt like I had to be so involved. I realized, once again, that I was reaching out in emptiness. When I wanted to get involved in something I was reaching out hoping that being involved in this one thing would finally stabilize and deepen my spiritual life. Do not get me wrong, it is great to serve others… however I began to question my own motives. Was I serving others out of the fullness Christ’s love within me? Or was I serving others because I felt that this activity would bring me peace in my spirit?

As I realized this truth I began to receive wisdom through the things that I heard in the days following. First, what was uncovered was that there was a tug-of-war going on inside of me where I wanted to do the will of God but at the same time my own will was tugging at me. That old mindset that I had before I committed my heart to God – that lie – that human affection could somehow give my yearning heart peace was tugging me in the opposite direction and driving my to make decisions that would overall hurt me and make my focus on God foggy. As a response I listed out things that I desire, whether it be a healthy desire or simply a desire that burns within me and then put what it is I know God wants for me.

The other thing is that I was looking at ministry in the wrong way. I went about ministry (or serving others) as a method of filling myself. I went about it with an empty hearted attitude and expected to get filled. I should have been walking in the fullness of Christ and been pouring into others. That’s what ministry is about: pouring into others.

No matter how much we may deny it, we reach out to others -friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends – with an expectation that they will completely fill the desire we have in our hearts for perfect love made complete and tangible. God definitely intended for us to have relationships and commune with one another; however, I believe that he created us to only be completely satisfied in Him and Him alone. The fact that we still sin, separates us from ever fully experiencing with every sense the love of Christ completely consuming us until we walk through those pearly gates and into God’s everlasting arms in eternity. This love that we feel and experience through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit while in our earthly bodies is but a foretaste of how it will be in heaven. This is our hope, that we will be united in complete love with Christ.

…more to be added…

-Bethany



Strain ’til the Harvest
October 22, 2012, 12:36 am
Filed under: Diaries, encouragement, god-inspired poetry, inspirational, Uncategorized

Toil, toil,  n’ turn

To prepare the ground.

Laboring in the hot, hot sun

And trying to water the ground with the sweat of my brow.

Spending noon, evening and night

With one thing on my mind:

Maybe harvest will be good this year?

I work until my hands ache,

I collapse and wait and wait

And hope that maybe the harvest will be good this year.

As I wait, I wait

Summer has past and autumn wakes

Yet all I have are the tilled rows that I

Watered with the sweat of my brow with but a hope

That the soil would be suitable for a harvest.

Maybe, my toil will be good enough this year?

Dry is the ground,

I grow weary of the cycle:

Toil, Till, Turn and Tire,

Then with labor I look to what is only barren.

Why won’t the harvest come?

Not one small sprout breaks up the drought.

I throw the rake down,

I break my hoe in two,

These wearisome years of worrisome work have wielded but wretchedness and wile

Now I lay in the dirt that I revile and its scorn settles on my skin.

I’m weary,

O, so weary.

I lift my eyes up to the expanse above

For my eyes traced only dirt these years my land has laid in waste.

It took but my looking up for rain to begin pouring down on my face,

All the soil was first washed from my wretched skin,

then rain watered the forsaken grounds that were but a ruin.

Already sprouts were growing in a jagged, beautiful manner.

Who is this laborer? echoes in my mind.

My hands are still, my heart is weak,

Whose hands are these?

O, Great Gardener! No longer will I toil in vain

With aim that my own hands will bring me gain.

I need not have neat rows and sweat with the turn of the plow.

Till my heart O, Lord, and bring harvest

Renew my soul!

_________________________________________________

I just began writing this free verse at the end of a college service I went to, God had really touched me and was beginning to break loose some things I had been holding on to. I had the urge to write, so I grabbed my notebook and started scratching out things that were pouring over from my heart. More like from my Father’s heart to my own.

The whole message of this poem is about trying to work the ground of one’s own heart to try and make it satisfactory or adequate enough to be deserving of a “harvest” or in other words to be able to receive what the Lord already freely offers those who claim Jesus the Christ. The laborer is trying to make neat rows, till the ground, water in a sense with their own efforts. This only leads to long waiting and then they grow weary, and their life goes back to chaos due to burn out. They notice their disorderliness and attempt to work again to make the ground suitable for harvest.

My life has much been like this. I will try and keep up my life, make it look neat, and when I move just a fraction of a degree in the wrong direction and I suddenly am thinking, “I did all of this work to try and be right with the Lord and I still screw up? What gives?” and then I collapse and the dust of self condemnation settles on my skin. I sulk in self-pity.

My mother has always told me that I am extremely hard on myself. I am not sure where this self-condemnation originally began. I have been an over achiever, I have always striven for perfection. Maybe that is it right there, that word that I just used: “striven.” Let me look the definition of that word up…

“to exert oneself vigorously; try hard; to make strenuous effort towards any goal.”

I am trying extremely hard to make myself adequate and worthy of the grace and blessings of God. I am straining for the soil of my heart to be suitable for His love to pour down on me. That is a bit of a twisted and religious view.

In a sense, I am trying to get to the Father through the work of my own hands. This seems to be a bit of a apostasy towards what Jesus mentions in John 14:6,

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

(Aside: Folks, this post is extremely casual compared to my other ones because I am receiving revelation  from God and scripture as I am going along! We are learning together this is exciting :) )

This scripture does not just pertain to any particular religion, it pertains to having that heart that seeks to receive salvation through their own efforts and to earn it on one’s own. This is not the way! It is only when you completely surrender to Jesus, realize that you are completely unable to make yourself suitable or “tilled” enough to come the Father and let His grace rain down on your screwed up, infertile and unprepared life. The gospel cannot be relevant in your life without first giving Jesus the rights to come into your heart and do all the work. God cannot be glorified through people who are simply trying so hard – striving – in their own strength to be “perfect.”  Its when God takes us in our brokenness, tills the land, rains down his grace and his mercy and his seeds of love grow and take root in our lives that we get our first blessing: a testimony.

Okay, now I am simply rambling and starting to not make sense. This is what happens when it is really late but the mind and heart are buzzing and the Lord is good and and and yada yada yada… :)

Simply put, here is my charge:

Every single person out there, whether you confess to be a Christian or not,

STOP TOILING, STOP TRYING TO MAKE YOURSELF WORTHY OF GOD

let Jesus, the mediator between us and the Father of salvation, take your heart

let him make it new, restore it and do what he wants with it, because,

you know what? He knows what is best for you.

Even if this tilling Jesus does reveals certain icky things about yourself

and it hurts, He only wants to abolish them to make room for more

of his seeds of love, joy, peace….and the list goes on.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature…Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:1-3, 33,34

So… I am completely and utterly incapable of saving myself through whatever deeds or disciplines I engage in. Lord, let me just receive your unending grace and not fight to try and make myself worthy! Your grace DEFINES me.

Okay, I’ll stop rambling now.

Love,

Bethany



Mountains are Mere Bumps
September 19, 2012, 4:17 pm
Filed under: encouragement, inspirational, Uncategorized

So, if it was not already known, I am in the middle of my fourth week of college as a freshman! Even in this first month I have been stretched and challenged in my own worldview about God and the people around me. I walked on to this campus nervous and anxious hoping that life as I knew it -growing up in the same town, going to the same church and being around the same people- would keep me afloat. How I sunk deeper and deeper into the waters that I thought were a little pond. The bottom gave out and I tried grasping for the little that I knew that floated at the surface, however when I looked around I was not in the familiar pond, but in a vast ocean. I have always been a weak swimmer; I have always been terrified of drowning. Now, here I am fully submerged in the cool deep. Above me lay that which is obvious, below me the continuing density of the unknown things about God and life that float in the dark depths. It is hopeless to try and go to the surface. I cannot anymore. I can only go deeper.

It is not a very comforting feeling when you wade into the waters thinking that you know its borders, depth and widths, then realizing that all you ever really  have known lies on the surface of reality. It is useless trying to paddle back up to the surface where comfort lay because God has created us to desire increase in every area of our life. Once I have had a taste of  wisdom (or increase in any aspect), I cannot just go back to the level of understanding that I had before even if they have cookies and a comfy couch.  I have tasted the super saltiness of the deeper waters of wisdom of who God is and my place in his plan, it has coated my skin and I want nothing more than to be even saltier (maybe that is to what “seasoned” refers).

I hope you get the picture that I am trying to paint with my words. This is the purest way that I can express the way moving out and moving a thousand miles away and attending college feels. To use a more common, rather cliche phrase : The world has opened up so wide to me.

So, in this new place, where I realize even greater the the scale of my petty wisdom against the entirety of reality, I have really come to understand the scripture,

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are MY ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 (ESV)

As I was began to be humbled so greatly by God, room was being made in my mind and heart to receive new wisdom from the Lord. The plans that I had assumed, began to get turned on their side, and flipped upside down. Other passions that I had followed are beginning to find their place in the foreground of my life while other passions are sliding into the background. God has been placing new desires and new visions for how I will minister to people in the future. In these images I see myself doing things that I could never do on my own strength. In these visions, I see my weaknesses having no relevance. I don’t feel able, I don’t feel worthy or such awesome plans; but, God does not see these weaknesses, he only sees me strengthened by His infinite strength. Oh, how His ways reach high above my human understanding!

These mountains, and seemingly improbable plans God has for me are but bumps in His eyes. I desire so much that I would began to see things the way the Lord sees them and I would not shrink back when I see the mighty things He has in store for me. There is no other way that God can be glorified through humanity other than using ordinary, boring, weak people to accomplish great, amazing and incredible things through Him. Just as in the book of 1 Corinthians when Paul is addressing the church in Corinth about wisdom,

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to wordly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 (ESV)

These monumentally impossible things that people are doing through Christ, cannot be attributed to man alone. All man says is “You are where you live,” or that those without a college education will never go anywhere in life; God says I give you all the riches of my kingdom: I give you my strength, joy, peace and wisdom to accomplish the desires and dreams that I have placed in your heart.

“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (ESV)

God chooses us in our ignorance, and unrefined natures and desires to mold us into beautiful pottery. God has a bit of an obsession with taking us in our brokenness and making us into glorious beings that glow brightly for Him. He wants to meet you where you are, in your particular degree of shame, give you a taste of His love and wisdom of who He is and take you into the ocean of His grace* where He will take you places you never thought you would go.

A few weeks ago in a student chapel, the student body president shared a word from the Lord. I didn’t realize how much it brought on this post until now! He was using rather hilarious, physical examples of how many times we stay in the “kiddie” pool of faith in and understanding of God when God has a whole ocean in store for us filled with His love and all of His goodness. God is calling us to jump in! Search the depths of who He is: He is wisdom. In this scripture in Proverbs a personified “wisdom” is speaking,

“Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord,” Proverbs 8:34-35 (ESV)

So I want to reiterate the benediction of my student body president and of God himself:

Dive deep into the waters of my love and who I am! Don’t settle for the little pond of understanding in which you currently dwell.

-Bethany

*grace: the favor and lovingkindness we receive ONLY through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice that we may draw near to God and become more like Him.



Second…Maybe Third?
August 23, 2012, 10:47 pm
Filed under: encouragement, inspirational, Uncategorized

My whole life, from the time I came to an age of self-awareness, I have always felt like I have just missed the mark and I have been left

Silver Medal Blues

unnoticed. It’s like finishing the “race” in second place and being the one who watches that “other” person rush through the tape with your eyes covetously following and your feet dejectedly walking off of the track. I have constantly struggled with this: the “first” factor. I want to be first! It is written in my human nature to be noticed and to receive attention for every deed, and accomplishment. Being the over-achiever that I am, this need seems to be quite hulking compared to others that I have. Certain times when my efforts go unnoticed, especially when someone else’s do instead, I crawl into an isolated place in my mind and sulk, sulk, and sulk.

In recent weeks, this ugly part of my nature – and a developed habit – was exposed wide open when I read in Philippians 2:3:

“ Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. ” (NLT)

I took a good look at my behavior. It may not have been noticeable to others, but I was desperate; desperate for attention. I would take any opportunity to get it. What triggered it was the desire to be better than others, to finish first in the invisible human race of pride. In that scripture Paul was telling God’s church to make themselves second, to be content in their humility, to consider it joy to have that silver – or even bronze – hanging from their necks as they labored under the shadow of another.

It is definitely not easy to reform the mind to have a “second place” attitude and to accept it with joy. I was just talking with my mother about the concept of humility in different religions. Specifically, the desire to obtain this virtue. I began to think of religions such as Buddhism or New Age where it is imperative to meditate for long hours to gain these virtues. This meditation requires looking deep inside one’s self to unlock this virtue as if it had been hiding there all along. This contrasts heavily with Christian thought and Biblical imperative. Wordly religions place all the focus one “self”. It seems rather paradoxical of trying to look inside yourself and make yourself humble on your own strength. Maybe that’s just because I am thinking in terms of God’s words that, “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13).  It also says in Romans 3;23 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Am I not trying to abolish my pride by admitting my own inadequacy? Isn’t it prideful to assume that I can obtain humility by myself?

As Christians, we should rely on Christ to make us humble. Why take lessons from an All-Mighty God? It is written in God’s nature to be humble. Don’t believe me? Look at instances in the Bible and look at your own walk with the Lord. How many times in the Bible did God place his love for His people higher than anything we could understand? How about when he sent His only son to experience humanity and became sin and died an excruciating death for a great many and only few actually know about it and consider it mere fantasy? How many times have you failed Him? Countless. Has he ever failed you? Never.

“Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly,
 yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.[b]
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.[c]
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
 my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
    for he will bear all their sins.
12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
    because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
    He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.” Isaiah 53 NLT

God is calling us to “Be Holy, as I am Holy.” We are to imitate Christ, and be like Him.  Just as it says in Isaiah 53:10 he made his life an offering, and so I want to make my offering humble like Christ’s. I look back at my little pity parties, and I am definitely not proud of them. However, I am beginning to see these “degradations” (as I would normally consider them) of selfish pride as eternal elevations. These humbling experiences have become blessings and caused me to come out from the “race” with a silver medal and a beaming face as I remember how my Jesus also remained the “servant of men.”

-Bethany



Safe in the Dark

Okay, I admit it, I am a very weird person. I do things that sometimes won’t make sense to the average bear, yet somehow I give them a seat in the logic department of my brain. For the longest time, I would fasten my seatbelt by bringing the straps around so that one was behind my shoulder and the other in front. Then I would awkwardly untwist myself from the knot I had made. I honestly didn’t notice until my mom pointed it out and I was like, “What the?” All I needed to do was bring it down with my hand across my body like a normal person and I wouldn’t have to do this little dance to detangle myself. It was almost rhythmic and mindless; I did not even realize I had done that. Another instance just occured to me minutes ago. My lights were off in my bedroom and the door was shut and I was shuffling around looking for a t-shirt, in the dark. The switch was a half-pace away and yet, I didn’t turn it on. Honestly, I like being in the dark, I like how it feels to dim out the harsh lines and figures around me and all that exists are the shadows of the familiar and only the essences of things. Reality is swallowed up in the enveloping black. Sounds creepy? No, not to me. There is a somewhat comforting aspect about the dark in that it can hide, and  it can even out any appearance to seem to be void of any flaw.

Just think about it, what people do in the dark or the shadows. Theres so much, and besides sleeping, the majority of it is not deserving of a shiny halo. For example, people rob houses in the dark. Why? Well, obviously they don’t want to be caught easily. The dark provides them a stealthy prerogative (in their eyes) and they inherit the treaures of their claimed throneroom without the fast conviction that the light would provide. I just thought of those movies where the angsty adolescent would sneak back into their house in the dark of night and when they are about to ascend the staircase to their safe haven, the parent turns on the light and they are sitting in the armchair with a the look of utmost scorn on their face. The kid thought to have nearly escaped that instant conviction was caught in the midst of his act of disobedience and he recieves the talk or even the look of disapointment that he was trying to avoid. If he could just escape down that shadowed hall in the quiet dark who keeps its eyes shut to all vice and whose mouth remains in a neutral state without confrontation on its lips. Thats why so many creep around in the darkness. To avoid the gritty exposure of the light that highlights all inconsistency and flaw. The darkness justifies what the light exposes to be at fault.

What causes us to stumble around in the dark? What causes us to avoid confrontation, conviction and realizing that we do not have it all together? To crawl on the floor with bloody knees and callused hands and eyes down to avoid the light that endlessly burns above? It is such a comfort to sit in dark and see ourselves as right, no wrongs accounted for, and absolved from any guilt for the darkness seems to have saved us this pain. For a time anyways, until that darkness is no longer the neutral bystander but the very reason for our bruised knees, and shamed selves. Guilt has found us, in our workplace, in our school, in our church, in our bedrooms with the doors locked, we are all guilty. We fear exposure, we fear to truly see ourselves for what we are.

The things about the darkness is that in it, nothing thrives. Take a flower, it needs sunlight to grow and blossom, it cannot thrive in the dark. That flower was designed to be in the light and designed for the light. All that was designed to be in the light cannot thrive if kept in the dark. Humans were created to be in the light. Physically, we need the vitamins to be healthy. Name just one human who has lived alone in the dark all their life and isn’t either downright insane, wretched or dead. So why do we continue, as well, to grope in spiritual darkness?

What comes into question is redemption. Is there any escape to this pervading guilt that seems to be avoided only by remaining in darkness? Yet, it still is always there. Like a heavy weight on your back and you stumble along in your suffering. That need to be pardoned is found in every pulse of your heart, yet the only solution lies in exposure, which hurts. Pride keeps us from coming into the light and it keeps us from salvation. There was one who claimed to be these things. It is HE that carried that very same burden on his back except it was not HIS guilt he carried, but YOURS. He stumbled down the way of suffering and was physically and emotionally tormented just like you have been while stumbling in your dark place. He went there. He claimed he was the light:

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 (NLT)

The Light stepped down into the darkness in which you stagnate and let it seep into himself as he took on all of the guilt that hung in that dank air.  All of this so your no longer had to be guilty, for he took all of the blame upon himself so you did not need to walk in shame. He calls you to come to Him, that is all he asks. Those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). Come with your cut knees, bruised shins and pale skin, and he promises to make you new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ did not come down to us to simply tell us that He loves us, but to BE the LIGHT, to SHOW us the TRUTH of His love: That it would go to the extent of corrupting itself with all every lie we told, person we disappointed and every sort of hypocrisy, just so that we could know that we are pardoned. We are saved through Him. He came to expose us so that we might live and thrive in his light again as He created us to do. We were made to thrive in the light.

I heard someone once say that Jesus has come all the way to us but leaves one step left. It is that step that is the hardest. It is that step into the light in which we realize that we have done wrong, that we are not perfect and that we in need of a Savior. What does the Lord give us back for denying Him so many times, he gives us forgiveness. He takes that guilt away and tosses it into the sea of forgetfulness and then He opens up His arms. It is there is his arms that we find home for the first time.

Make that choice and take that step. Stop groping in the dark and trying to ignore that guilt and shame. Step into the light where the Lord stands ready to rid you of it.

Warning, once you truly meet Jesus for the first time. You will want to leave all of your old ways and follow Him everywhere because you find peace in no other occuptation.

Give your guilt to Him and give your life.

 “After he has suffered, he will see the light of lifeand be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:10 (NIV)

Read all of Isaiah 59

-Bethany



So today…

Tuesday, A Week to Remember Part 2: May 7-13

__________________________________________________

So today…

I kept on losing things. I had an orthodontist appointment today and had a note that I was going to give to the office so that I had permission to sign myself out. Everything was going well in the morning, my mom had written me a note and I swiftly brought it into my hands. I remember my mother telling me ,”Put it somewhere where you won’t lose it!” I shot back smugly ,”I won’t lose it.” putting emphasis on the “won’t” as I walked down the hall. Next thing I know I am halfway to school and mentally running through my schedule for the day and I found a gap in it.Where is my note?Ran across my brain. I could not turn back because I was giving my neighbor a ride so when I pulled into the parking lot I tore apart my backpack and searched frantically inside of my car. You may ask, why so worried about a little permission note? Well, it wasn’t the note but that my pride has recieved a jab in the stomach. I had to get off of my pedestal that I had started the day stepping on to and… call my mother. If you remember being eighteen, you remember wanting to do everything on your own and most definitely remember never wanting to call your mother to help you.

Lets just say the note disappeared completely. My mom didn’t find it anywhere in the house and I, no where among my belongings. Along with it, my pride disappeared in that time when I realized that I wasn’t as fly as I thought.

So, that is completely irrelevent to what I am going to talk about next but I thought I would just throw in that short narrative.

Onward!

So, I want to continue talking about what was discussed in “When are you living for?” This time, I want to go more into depth about being present.

This journey of living for today has lasted some months. It has been my focus. In the very beginnings of it when I was beginning to feel pressures mount I would simply try to get through each day. On the way to school one morning, I recall putting in my earphones and trying to drown out the sounds around me and let my mind kind of take a trip somewhere else. In the next moment I remembers what the Lord has told me that morning, “Be present. Don’t miss today living for tomorrow.” and I took out my earphones and literally said to myself Be present. God was (and still is) calling me to crawl out of that enclosed cell in my mind and interact with the world around me. When living in the present, my purpose on a day to day basis has been clearer. I am seeking out friendships, reaching out to others, doing the things I love and seeing the wonders of God all around in a magnificent display.

Joy much?

One thing that I had neglected all of high school was beginning and mostly maintaining friendships. I was so absorbed in what tomorroe or the future has that I was racing speedily past and the people around me were but a blur and became irrelevent in my life. I would only venture into friendships where I was comfortable and my plans for tomorrow were not upset. If a friendship was not convenient, it would be placed far below the list of duties that I had compiled. However, as soon as I began living for today I see friendships as such an important aspect of life. I am more willing to pour my heart and love on to other people because I do not fear so much what its effect will be tomorrow. I don’t mean that I go around being too open with people, I am saying that the people that the Lord has placed in my life were actually becoming not just a thing to do on a list but a true joy. I am now investing in others lives more readily than before knowing that the Lord takes care of my tomorrow when I can brighten someone else’s today.

Lets just say in the last few months I have had a breakthrough with my music and writing. First off, I am writing more. I am not saying that every poem is a masterpiece or every chorus as beautiful as a symphony, I just mean that I am actually doing these things that before I denied myself the time. When I would leave tomorrow for tomorrow and do what I had to do today, I had not only physical time left over, but I had more space in my mind to be able to recieve inspiration and revelation from the Lord. All the noise and clutter was being replaced so I could truly take in all that is around me. I can hear the music in my head when I am composing and the next rhyme in a poem before I get there. I am becoming a vessel, more holy than before for God to fill with inspiration and wisdom and passion.

I am becoming more aware of myself as well living in this present attitude. The convicitions from the Lord are stronger and whenever I stray from the right path just a fraction of a degree, I feel it deeply in my spirit and I cannot remain in that state. I know what I want and am able to use the brain the Lord has given me to weigh my options and what truly would be best for me in a given situation. I am not afraid to stray outside of my little day plan I have set in my mind to go and smell some flowers or run outside to peer at the late spring sun setting. I am enjoying all that God has given me to enjoy on this earth! Anything that comes from my Creator I want to be near it because that is where I recieve inspiration and see reflections of his marvelous beauty in people and places around me.

God wants all of this for you today, tomorrow and everyday of your life.

No doubt, I am still a work in progress. I will continue to be in progress until I walk through those pearly gates and am the holiness of Christ floods my entire being. Time is unnecessary because the King of Kings holds eternity in his fists. Ah, that is something I am looking forward to.

-Bethany



When are you living for?

Monday, A Week to Remember Part 2: May 7-13

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Wowzers, its been 10 months since my last post… time flies!

(Excuse me as this post will be more like stream-of-consciousness than anything else)

Speaking of time,

As humans we must rationalize everything according to what we currently understand. Time, a complex subject in idea, has been been formulated and split up into weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds and so forth. We accept and understand this as it has been taught to us from childhood. We have been taught today is Monday, yesterday was Sunday and Tomorrow is Tuesday; this month is May and the next is June. This time-telling method has marked history for centuries and has been what we base our lives upon. It truly is a gift from God.

However, that moment when you are loosing sleep oveTime flies :Dr an event that is going to occur in exactly 24 hours or 24 days and planning out how that day is going to pan out, consider this: have you made time your god, or your God the Author of time?

If you know me, you know I am meticulously an overplanner. I find myself planning out how tomorrow will commense while lying in bed, I place all of these expectations upon myself and others around me. I then spend the days preceding sprinting through eachday, never looking to my left or right, smelling the roses, or even paying attention to much around me, even my current emotional, physical or spiritual state. What runs through my mind are the words gotta get through today quick, gotta plan for tomorrow, gotta get to tomorrow. No rest finds my thoughts as they race with the possible outcomes of that one day. Until a few months ago, I had not realized that I had made time my god. I worshipped it, I feared it and gave it a higher place in my life than its very Creator. I let what I understood, what I could comprehend with my small earthly mind, govern my every step. Heavenly time was not a concern of mine, for its loftiness was not only out of my mind’s grasp, but out of my control.

It was not until the weight of college planning hit me that I smashed into the rocky floors of my heart. I was loosing my mind, thinking about tomorrow, thinking about all of the responsibility and obligations to come. Each day I went through was a blur and I wasted more time worrying about college than actually effectively preparing to attend. It was not until my mother brought this scripture to my attention a few times, I came across it in my Bible reading and someone used it while praying for me that it truly came alive to me for the first time:

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today”

-Matthew 6:34 (NLT)

I had heard it so many times and it didn’t sink in so much as that moment. Next, God spoke to me in multiple ways about this sort of thing. One way was through a lyric in an Ascend the Hill song that said, *”I offer up my time to You, so keep me and hold me still…” when revelation flooded over me and it occured to me I can give my time to my God as an offering.

So, tired of being constantly stressed, feeling like you have no time? Or worrying so much that when it comes time to perform, you are burned out and miss out on other opportunities I challenge you: offer up your time to God and dedicate every second to his governship. You must give up any conceptions you have of time and ask God to give you wisdom on how to handle timeHisway, from that eternal perspective. For His ways are higher and He knows the beginning and the end so why not seek wisdom from Time’s Master? That anxiety that you feel, the kind that eats you alive or keeps you up at night does not have to be there at all. Tomorrow is in the careful hands of our Lord and Master Creator. As long as we, his beloved, remain in obedience and just spend all our time loving God and others, and we seek out his wisdom and not our own, our paths will be straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). He promises provision for those who give of themselves to him. So, if you give up your time to Him, whether it be a deliberate dedication each morning, a time of prayer or fasting when normally inconvenient, or anything that he is pressing on our hearts to do, he will return that with a blessing tenfold. You will get back more than just time, but your time will begin to mean something. Every hour is more cherished and lived out more fully because burdensome worry has been lifted off of the shoulders. He urges us through the apostle Paul:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7, NLT)

Peace. That goes beyond my meager human comprehension. Marvelous.

Attainable, yes, but not through any human means that can be broken into formulas. It is a day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute thing. Letting the grace of God cover everything in your life, your past failures and the ones you are to make in the future. His grace is limitless and only needs a vessel to flow into, not matter how tattered or overused. No matter how time-crunched or destroyed. He simply wants you to come, step out of all that you presently understand about life and just bask in all that He is which is Wisdom, Grace, Love and Peace.

-Bethany

Look out for a new post tomorrow! I will be here all week baaaybeee! A Week to Remember Part 2

(P.S. I have actually impulsively literally stopped to smell the roses twice this week :) Progress? )

Here is that Ascend the Hill song if you want to listen: http://chcaptivation.tumblr.com/post/16028884087/spend-it-all-ascend-the-hill

Peace: this is how I picture it.




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